Spending Money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13068/all en-US Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20 http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_cash_20_39629376.jpg" alt="Finding brilliant ways to stretch $20" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Few great things in this life are free. Even the most frugal folks have trouble staying under $20 doing any particular activity. The world is quite the pricey place now. But if $20 is all you have left to spend on weekend fun, here are 72 ways to drop that Harriet Tubman.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_diy_painting_000017057578.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less?ref=fbf">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a> &mdash; Is that $20 burning a hole in your pocket? Put it to good use with some simple and frugal home improvement projects. Because you really don't need to throw away big bucks on every repair or piece of decor.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-baltimore-the-20-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in Baltimore: The 20 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; If you find yourself in Baltimore, check out one of the last remaining drive-in theaters, visit the grave of John Wilkes Booth, or take in the city from the water in the Baltimore water taxi.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_applying_makeup_000060162238.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-brand-name-beauty-buys-under-20?ref=fbf">10 Great Brand Name Beauty Buys Under $20</a> &mdash; You don't need to settle for store brand beauty products to score good deals. These brand name beauty products are top notch, and will fit right into your limited budget.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-new-york-city-the-15-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in New York City: The 15 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; Strolling around the Big Apple wondering if a gourmet coffee and a slice will deplete your funds? Never fear! You can check out the Brooklyn Bridge, see an off-Broadway play, or grab a bite from a food truck. The options are endless in this beautiful city.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/los-angeles-5224486542_688f23ce34_z.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-los-angeles-the-16-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in Los Angeles: The 16 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; And on the other coast is sunny LA, where the people are gorgeous and the pressed juice is in abundance. But don't waste your $20 on just one pricey juice, when you can be an audience member at a live show and still eat all the tacos.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20?ref=fbf">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed 'Em for Under $20</a> &mdash; Hosting a dinner party is stressful, especially if you only have $20 to feed everyone! But here are some brilliant tricks to fill the bellies of your guests without going over your $20 limit.</p> <p><em>What other brilliant ways can you stretch $20? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">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/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</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/flashback-friday-45-life-lessons-youd-give-to-your-younger-self">Flashback Friday: 45 Life Lessons You&#039;d Give to Your Younger Self</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/flashback-friday-84-reasons-to-be-done-with-summer-and-get-excited-for-fall">Flashback Friday: 84 Reasons to Be Done With Summer and Get Excited for Fall</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/flashback-friday-the-81-best-tips-for-saving-big-at-the-grocery-store">Flashback Friday: The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store</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/flashback-friday-63-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-leftovers">Flashback Friday: 63 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting $20 beauty entertainment fbf flashback friday frugal living money management Spending Money weekend activities Fri, 22 Jul 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1757097 at http://www.wisebread.com The Real Reason We Still Spend to Impress http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_80217451_LARGE.jpg" alt="spending to impress" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money and relationships have always gone hand in hand. From the practice of paying wedding dowries, to the formal class system, which kept layers of wealth strictly separate. But we're over that now, right?</p> <p>Maybe not.</p> <p>In some ways, society never really moved on. And the amplifying effect of social media and easy communication can actually make us more likely than ever to be tempted to spend to impress. Here's why.</p> <h2>Herd Behavior</h2> <p>As sophisticated as our modern lifestyle might be, we're all still powered by brains that evolved more to keep us out of the way of wild animals than to encourage us to develop prudent retirement plans. The primal part of the brain is hardwired to take over when there is a threat or pressure &mdash; making it responsible for much of the reflex action that drives the sort of &quot;keeping up with the Joneses&quot; conspicuous consumption.</p> <p>While our more rational mind might recognize that we risk spending money we don't have, buying things we don't need to impress people we don't like (to paraphrase Dave Ramsey), the instinct to keep up takes over. Faced with the perceived threat of being left behind by the herd, our instinctive responses make it far more likely we will spend to maintain or improve our place in the pecking order. And before we know it, our brains can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">trick us into spending</a> on an impulse, no matter what our more rational intentions might be.</p> <h2>Old Habits Die Hard</h2> <p>Conspicuous consumption is a concept over a century old &mdash; appearing in the 1899 economics book, <em>The Theory of the Leisure Class</em>. At the time, it was intended to describe the habits of the emerging upper class, made rich by the industrial revolution. While wealth had been condensed in the hands of very few, this up and coming class felt the need to cement their worth in the eyes of their peers &mdash; and spent to an outrageous degree to do so.</p> <p>A more modern term for this practice is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-youre-suffering-from-lifestyle-inflation">lifestyle inflation</a>, in which the basic building blocks of our lifestyle start to cost more than we can afford. As we live beyond our means, the costs can snowball quickly, and spending becomes a defining part of our identity.</p> <p>Stuff can define us. While the &quot;greed is good&quot; years might have passed, the brands we identify with, the places we choose to spend our leisure time, and the districts we live in still form the backbone of the persona we present to the world. We tend to be drawn to others who make the same choices, and the whole circle becomes self-fulfilling. Spending to impress never went away, it just got a new name.</p> <h2>Social Media Amplification</h2> <p>Possibly the biggest challenge today is that when it comes to lifestyle, everybody is faking it. Social media promotes unrealistic ideals when it come to the perfect beach body, but it is responsible for projecting a lot of unrealistic lifestyle images, too.</p> <p>It's not malicious. Most of us use social media primarily to share good things and celebrate successes &mdash; keeping life's challenges out of the unrestricted sharing of the Internet. But naturally, you then see a social media feed full of only glamorous vacation pictures, new purchases, and awesome parties. It's easy to think that this is how everyone else lives their life. But when the truth is that nearly half of all Americans would struggle to find the ready cash to cover an <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/">unexpected bill of only $400</a>, the reality seems a little less glitzy.</p> <h2>How to Break the Cycle</h2> <p>So doing poorly thought-out things on an impulse, to impress the crowd and retain our place in the social pecking order, might have been with us since our cavemen days. Despite our sophisticated outlook and lifestyle, our basic instincts have not evolved beyond this stage &mdash; and won't any time soon. With aspirational images of lifestyles we can't afford popping right into our phones by the minute, it's no wonder that the boundaries of what is realistic are blurred.</p> <p>Even though we can't change our brains, and are unlikely to be able to step away from the social media feed for very long, we can take a look around us. We can actively learn to appreciate the things we already have, rather than looking for the next thing to provide temporary fulfillment. It isn't easy, but practice makes perfect.</p> <p><em>How do you make sure that you're not getting sucked into lifestyle inflation? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress">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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</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/5-ways-to-make-retail-therapy-good-for-you">5 Ways to Make Retail Therapy Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Spending</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/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</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-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping bad habits debt impress impress others keeping up with the joneses shopping habit Spending Money Wed, 29 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Claire Millard 1740967 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Do We Feel Buyer’s Remorse, Anyway? http://www.wisebread.com/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_19096631.jpg" alt="Woman feeling buyer&#039;s remorse and wondering why" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Jackie Lam does just about everything she can to avoid buyer's remorse &mdash; the sinking feeling you sometimes get after making a large purchase, like you've just made a big financial mistake.</p> <p>Lam, the head writer and founder of the frugal living blog Cheapsters.org, calls herself a big fan of taking her time when buying big-ticket items. As she says, &quot;I create as much friction as possible, or barriers to making that purchase, so I can really mull over my decision to make sure it's the right one for me.&quot;</p> <p>But even Lam admits to feeling the occasional twinge of buyer's remorse.</p> <p>The truth is, buyer's remorse might be inevitable. There's an actual science behind it.</p> <h2>Avoidance vs. Approach Motivations</h2> <p>The WhoWhatWear blog last year ran an <a href="http://www.whowhatwear.com/why-we-get-buyers-remorse">interview with Art Markman</a>, a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. He told the site that something called the <em>avoidance motivational system</em> is the tool that helps consumers avoid negative consequences such as accumulating large amounts of credit card debt. Say you see a computer that you really want. Your avoidance motivational system might kick in and prevent you from making that purchase if doing so would result in huge charge on your credit card bill that you can't pay off.</p> <p>Ideally, the avoidance motivational system would encourage you to, say, save up enough money so that you could pay off that credit card charge in full at the end of the month.</p> <p>Markman, though, told WhoWhatWear that there are times when the avoidance motivational system is overwhelmed by a second motivational system, the <em>approach system</em>. This system encourages you to get whatever you think will make you happy at a given moment.</p> <p>When you're out shopping, whether you're looking at big-ticket items such as cars or homes, or smaller items such as clothing or perfume, the approach motivational system will override the avoidance system, causing you to make purchases that maybe don't make financial sense.</p> <p>Then, when you get home with that new laptop or flat-screen TV, you'll start to feel guilty about spending your money. That's because the approach motivational system loses its power after you've made a buy, letting the avoidance motivational system kick back in, stronger than ever. This leads to that awful feeling of buyer's remorse.</p> <p>Linda Jones, chief executive officer of Be Wealthy &amp; Smart, an online business and wealth mentoring company, sums it up this way: &quot;Buyer's remorse is a physical reaction to chemical endorphins released in our body. Studies have shown that shopping gives us a rush in our brain, a high. But it only lasts a short time.&quot;</p> <p>And when that rush disappears? Regret over an unnecessary purchase often kicks in.</p> <p>Jones points to research by Brunel University in the UK saying that shopping is associated with increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is linked to positive thinking and pleasure. The report found that levels of dopamine can rise significantly even if you're just window shopping without planning to buy anything.</p> <h2>Beating Buyer&rsquo;s Remorse</h2> <p>Jones said that the best way to avoid buyer's remorse is to understand this science and to take the steps necessary to beat it. This means making a list of your spending priorities and following it, even when your brain is telling you to overspend on that new outfit.</p> <p>For instance, you might decide that your first priority is to spend on your home, your second on food for the week, and your third for any school supplies or clothing that your kids might need. By keeping these priorities at the top of your spending list, you'll increase your odds of resisting that urge to splurge on a sports car that could bust your budget, Jones said.</p> <p>Others avoid buyer's remorse by going on what Elle Kaplan, founder and chief executive officer of LeXION Capital, calls the all-cash diet: You carry around the amount of cash you've budgeted for the entire week while leaving your credit card at home. This way, even if the chemicals in your brain are telling to you buy something extra, the money in your pocket won't let you.</p> <p>&quot;Buyer's remorse can leave you with more than a regrettable purchase; it can also lead to spiraling debt and bankruptcy,&quot; Kaplan said. &quot;It can be easy to get swept up in the moment and buy that 'must have' big-ticket item while ignoring future consequences.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you stave off buyer's remorse?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway">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/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-its-hard-to-be-frugal-and-how-to-talk-yourself-into-it-anyway">When it&#039;s hard to be frugal (and how to talk yourself into it anyway)</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-terrible-money-situations-you-need-to-stop-getting-yourself-into">6 Terrible Money Situations You Need to Stop Getting Yourself Into</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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buyer’s remorse cash must-haves overspending psychology regret Spending Money Wed, 22 Jun 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Dan Rafter 1736374 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Spending http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_sign_000089846875.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways brain tricks her into spending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We know how <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-shopping-jedi-mind-tricks-and-how-to-spot-them">retailers trick us into spending</a>. Putting more expensive branded goods at eye level in grocery stores. Bombarding us with &quot;too good to be true&quot; deals. Getting to us via our kids through &quot;pester power.&quot;</p> <p>But did you realize your brain is in on the act, too?</p> <p>You might think you're in charge when it comes to your spending, but sometimes your subconscious mind has the steering wheel &mdash; and, boy, does it like to shop.</p> <p>Check out these ways your brain is tricking you into parting with your hard earned cash.</p> <h2>Anchoring Bias</h2> <p>Your subconscious mind steers your conscious thought without you even realizing it. A series of impulses and preconceptions &mdash; known as cognitive biases &mdash; are the culprit. When they're in play, you might feel like you're exercising conscious and logical decision making. But in the cold light of day, your thought processes don't always stand up to scrutiny.</p> <p>Anchoring bias is one such cognitive bias which can have an effect on your spending habits. This subconscious quirk is seen in our tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information we receive. Our brains are wired to pay more attention to the first facts we establish.</p> <p>So if you are researching a potential purchase online, the first product that comes up in a search automatically creates a frame of reference by which you'll measure all the subsequent products you see. Retailers know that, making it smart for them to ensure that the first product that comes up on your search is a sponsored ad for a premium product. By establishing your benchmark high, even if you subsequently trade down for your purchase, you probably spend more than you would have if the very first product you found was a real bargain.</p> <h2>Bandwagon Effect</h2> <p>Marketing teams know that chances are you'll be swayed by what others around you do, say, think &mdash; and buy. In psychology terms, that's the &quot;bandwagon effect,&quot; and that's also why peer marketing and social media are so effective. We are far more likely to trust the advice or opinion of a friend, so if they're backing a product, then it is likely that we are also &mdash; consciously or not &mdash; doing so.</p> <p>The bandwagon effect can also explain why you might get sucked into spending at a level you (and your friends) can't afford. We see, or hear, about what others are spending, and want a part of it, too. Of course, you might register a twinge of jealousy if your best friend talks enthusiastically about the vacation she has just booked or the great new restaurant she just went to. But the same effect is felt on more subtle things, too. Perhaps you never see unbranded food items at your girlfriends' places, or you register without even consciously noticing, that they seem to eat out more. The subconscious takes this all in, and it shifts our assumptions about what is normal, and our perception about the standard of living we &quot;deserve.&quot;</p> <p>This would be fine if we all lived within our means and were honest about the state of our finances. Not so smart when you realize that many of us are out of our financial depths, and we aren't talking half so much about our credit card debt as we are our new shoes.</p> <h2>Survivorship Bias</h2> <p>Back in the cognitive bias camp, this time it is &quot;survivorship bias&quot; that could be doing your savings some damage. Fundamentally this works because our ability to weigh up the probability and effect of something is influenced by the stories we hear. History is always written by the victors, right? The same is true in all aspects of life.</p> <p>This matters because what we hear about influences how we anticipate the outcome of decisions we make. We read about celebrities and entrepreneurs living the high life &mdash; but don't hear half so often about people who blow their financial well being seeking celebrity, or on a doomed entrepreneurial venture. The media loves a good story, and the glamorous lives of the rich and famous are certainly more enticing than our everyday working reality.</p> <p>The message that leaks into the subconscious is that success is easy, even if our logical mind knows that it's hard fought. So we end up biased to believe that anyone who founds a startup (or buys a pneumatic figure) is destined for good things, skewing our perspective and potentially causing us to take gambles with our financial well being.</p> <h2>Salience</h2> <p>The final internal enemy of wealth is <em>salience</em>. This is the way the brain seizes onto the most easily recognizable aspect of an idea or concept.</p> <p>This helps to explain why the neat and flashy packages of ideas sold to us in advertising messages work. Admen keep it simple and digestible. They want us to believe that if we buy a lotto ticket, we will win; if we go out drinking with buddies, we will be popular; and if we hang out at the mall, we will be cool.</p> <p>But here, it is not the super smart advertising executives we need to worry about &mdash; it is actually our own brains. Even if we are fully aware of the negative impacts of excessive gambling, drinking, or shopping, these are far more complex, and so far more ignored by our subconscious brains. And as it's our subconscious who's calling the shots, you can bet that the advertisers' messages aren't lost.</p> <p>Human brains are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">hugely complex and beautiful things</a>. But even when you think you've got yours under control, your subconscious might be lining up your actions long before you've decided on them. It can help to get some perspective &mdash; often we can see the decisions others make with far more clarity than we can our work. Take a step back before making financial decisions, and see if your conscious brain is aligned with the nagging (and often mischievous) subconscious voice.</p> <p>Make friends with your subconscious mind, and you will notice when your brain is tricking you into spending cash you can't afford to splash.</p> <p><em>What is your subconscious spending downfall? Is there something that gets you every time? Share in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress">The Real Reason We Still Spend to Impress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-its-hard-to-be-frugal-and-how-to-talk-yourself-into-it-anyway">When it&#039;s hard to be frugal (and how to talk yourself into it anyway)</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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</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/why-do-we-feel-buyer-s-remorse-anyway">Why Do We Feel Buyer’s Remorse, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping bias brain tricks keeping up with the joneses psychology Spending Money subconscious Fri, 13 May 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Claire Millard 1707637 at http://www.wisebread.com Afraid of Spending Money? Here Are 5 Perks of Your Phobia http://www.wisebread.com/afraid-of-spending-money-here-are-5-perks-of-your-phobia <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/afraid-of-spending-money-here-are-5-perks-of-your-phobia" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000018386682_Large.jpg" alt="she&#039;s afraid of spending money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Several years ago at a blogger conference, I was telling a fellow freelance writer how difficult it was for me to get work done while I traveled since I didn't have a laptop. It was 2012, and I had been a professional writer for two years at the time.</p> <p>My colleague's mouth fell open. &quot;You do know that you could take a tax deduction, right?&quot; she reminded me.</p> <p>I knew. I just couldn't justify the expense of a laptop when I had a perfectly good desktop computer to work from at home. Maybe my writing career wouldn't work out, after all, and then I'd have spent the money for nothing.</p> <p>Looking back, I now realize that my irrational refusal to buy a laptop was probably a symptom of <a href="http://jessicamoorhouse.com/chrometophobia/">chrometophobia</a> &mdash; the fear of money, or the fear of spending money. I have been a chrometophobe my entire life, even as a small child. I can remember refusing to spend snack money on a field trip in elementary school, just in case I needed the money later.</p> <p>But unnecessary travel stress and rumbly tummy aside, being afraid to spend money isn't all bad. Here are five unexpected perks of feeling the irrational fear of spending money.</p> <h2>1. You're Covered in an Emergency</h2> <p>My fear of spending money really comes down to a fear of wasting money. I did not buy a laptop for myself until well after my first book was published because I was worried that purchasing a second computer would be a waste of money if my writing career didn't pan out. I didn't want to waste the cost of laptop if I didn't ultimately need it.</p> <p>That level of irrational fear does give me a robust emergency fund, however. Since I am afraid to spend money unnecessarily, the unspent money ends up in my savings account, where I can count on it in case of a real emergency. I would even argue that I get much more visceral satisfaction out of seeing the numbers in my accounts go up than I ever would get out of buying a material possession.</p> <h2>2. You Find Creative Solutions to Problems</h2> <p>Spending money is often the simplest and easiest method of problem solving &mdash; but those problems still need to be solved if you are afraid to spend that money. For instance, while I was in graduate school, the latch on my favorite purse broke, making it impossible to close. I could have bought another purse or spent money to have it fixed. Instead, I decided to MacGyver it, and come up with my own solution.</p> <p>With some hot glue and a color-coordinated hair rubber band, I managed to fashion a loop that held the latch closed and looked great, without spending a dime. It even made me love the purse more than I did before it broke.</p> <h2>3. Spring Cleaning Is MUCH Easier</h2> <p>While much of America is just now embracing the minimalist, Marie Kondo lifestyle, chrometophobes have long understood how beneficial it can be to own only what you need. If you are afraid to spend money, then your house will already be a lovely minimalist retreat, with no repeated trips to Goodwill necessary in order to get there.</p> <p>Relatively empty homes are also much easier to keep clean and organized, meaning chrometophobes who also suffer from germaphobia have a leg up on keeping their homes nice and tidy.</p> <h2>4. Receiving Bills Is Not Stressful</h2> <p>The fear of spending money is not exactly fun. I can distinctly remember the ice cream my elementary school best friend bought on the field trip when I refused to spend my snack money, since it probably tasted much better than the air in my mouth.</p> <p>However, when you feel stress about spending money, you don't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-but-no-one-talks-about">feel financial stress</a> at the time most people do &mdash; when receiving a bill. There is actually something rather satisfying about receiving your credit card bill with a $0 balance, because you've either spent no money or you keep it paid off.</p> <h2>5. You Avoid Getting Burned by Fads</h2> <p>For about as long as they have been available, I have yearned for a FitBit. This is because I have the (mistaken) impression that this is <em>the gadget</em> that will finally help me achieve my goals for fitness, sleep, and organization &mdash; along with the ability to summon unicorns. Despite all of the hopes that I have pinned on the FitBit, I have not yet purchased one because that would send my chrometophobia into overdrive.</p> <p>However, not buying a FitBit (or any other must-have purchase) has proven to be a great thing. By not purchasing the latest thing as soon as it comes out, I am able to avoid the bugs that early adopters must put up with. Also, waiting allows the market plenty of time to come up with cheaper alternatives, and it means I have a wealth of reviews and information to learn from when I do finally decide to make a purchase.</p> <h2>Learning to Love Your Chrometophobia</h2> <p>It can be easy to only focus on ways that your fear of spending money can be a drag. But handled correctly, chrometophobia can actually enhance your bottom line without negatively affecting your life.</p> <p>Just learn from my biggest mistake: Don't pass up the opportunity to buy ice cream. Ever.</p> <p><em>Do you have a fear of spending money? Share your money management tips with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/afraid-of-spending-money-here-are-5-perks-of-your-phobia">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/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</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/5-ways-the-ebola-outbreak-could-hurt-the-economy-and-your-wallet">5 Ways the Ebola Outbreak Could Hurt the Economy — And Your Wallet</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-choosing-temporary-freedom">On choosing temporary freedom</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/meet-meg-favreau-our-senior-editor">Meet Meg Favreau, Our Senior Editor</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/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living fear fear of money fears money fears money management perks phobia Spending Money Tue, 10 May 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1706756 at http://www.wisebread.com The High Cost of the "Treat Yourself" Mindset http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000053298210_Large.jpg" alt="when the &quot;treat yourself&quot; mentality goes too far" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you stressed? Tired? Depressed? Is daily life getting you down? Maybe you need a treat!</p> <p>Except that treating yourself can be expensive, and it doesn't actually make anything better. We are trained to believe that it will, though, and that the money we spend is justified in the name of self-care.</p> <p>Just recently, my family went through a very stressful time with my husband's job. Since he makes the majority of our income right now, that was hard on me, too. As we processed the situation and dealt with the stress, I found myself spending money. I'm a pretty frugal person, so it wasn't anything obscene, just a $20 workout top here and a lunch out with the kids there.</p> <p>Over the course of a month, though, it added up, and I realized what was happening. I was buying these things to make myself feel better or to try and make my life easier, but they weren't helping because they didn't actually address the stressful situation. I had fallen prey to the &quot;treat yo self&quot; mindset (made famous by Donna Meagle from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SG16TIC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00SG16TIC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MMUUVQNHZCRUZOPD">Parks and Recreation</a>), like up to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/retail-therapy-shopping_n_3324972.html">a third of all Americans</a>, especially women, do when they're stressed out.</p> <p>Fortunately, I caught myself before I did us any real financial damage, and I was able to stop. But that whole situation made me think about spending money on self-care and what it has come to mean for us.</p> <h2>Self-Care Can Be Pricey</h2> <p>Self-care can cost us quite a bit of money. Many people don't even realize that they are spending to soothe themselves until they get a credit card bill and, by then, the damage has already been done! Even folks who really don't have extra money to spend get sucked in by advertising messages and other spending pressures that permeate our culture, and make poor financial decisions in the name of alleviating stress and pressure, even just for a little bit.</p> <p>However, the costs of treating ourselves when distressed go beyond the financial. Too often, we end up confusing self-care with coping. Coping isn't always a bad thing, and we need coping strategies to get through really bad times, but they aren't something that should stay around. They aren't something that we normally think of as good.</p> <p>When we let ourselves continually care for ourselves with coping strategies &mdash; like spending a lot of money on ourselves &mdash; we never learn to actually address and overcome our problems. We risk not being aware of our own feelings, and numbing ourselves rather than telling ourselves the truth and dealing with that truth. And I don't think that's what we set out to do.</p> <p>Interested in addressing your stress without excessive spending? Here are some strategies I've found helpful.</p> <h2>Pursue True Self-Care</h2> <p>The idea that we need to take care of ourselves is actually true, but that doesn't need to involve spending lots of money. Instead, when in stressful situations, we need to focus on a few key things.</p> <p>First, look to your diet, exercise, and sleep. It's hard to be disciplined about these things when facing major stressors, but addressing them will help you stay strong and avoid adding personal illness to your list of difficulties.</p> <p>You don't have to do anything hugely out of the ordinary here. Make sure that you are eating vegetables and not filling up on sugar or other processed junk foods. Even if you have to eat out a lot, some choices are better than others. And take a walk every day. Even 20 or 30 minutes of exercise can change your whole mindset. Finally, do whatever you can to get at least seven hours of sleep. Even if you get by on less than that normally, being stressed usually means you need more sleep than usual.</p> <p>When you're under stress, you probably won't be able to be consistent with all of these, all the time. Still, making them priorities will help you focus on them when you can and hit your goals more than you would otherwise.</p> <h2>Pick and Choose Your Treats</h2> <p>It's not always a bad idea to spend money on something when you're under stress, as long as that thing will truly make you feel better. If you can get intentional about your treats and know which of your needs they are meeting, you won't feel like you need so many.</p> <p>For instance, a bright pedicure might actually make you feel better in a dreary hospital room. Or a steak dinner might be just what you need after living a couple of weeks on convenience food in order to hit a big deadline. Paying someone else to clean your house might actually relieve some of your stress if you are injured and can't do it yourself.</p> <p>But pick one or two things to spend your money on, rather than choosing everything that comes to mind. And know, ahead of time, why you're spending your money in that particular way by listing, out loud or on paper, which need you're addressing. This can help you focus on buying essential things, or at least things that will actually help, rather than spending willy-nilly.</p> <h2>Focus on People</h2> <p>Many times, when we are in stressful situations, what we really want is for someone to hear us, to listen to us talk about the situation, and sit with us in it. That can be hard to find, especially if you are under stress away from home or your family and/or close friends are involved in the stress, too.</p> <p>If you can, call that person up. Ask them for a coffee date, or even just a few minutes on the phone, and be yourself. Pour your heart out if you need to. This will make you feel better than any purchase you could possibly make, and it will lighten the load you're bearing so you may no longer feel the need to purchase anything at all.</p> <p><em>How do you deal with stress? How effective are your strategies? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset">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/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</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/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</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-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save 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/6-terrible-money-situations-you-need-to-stop-getting-yourself-into">6 Terrible Money Situations You Need to Stop Getting Yourself Into</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-shop-with-purpose-and-save-more-money">How to Shop With Purpose — And Save More Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping retail therapy shopaholic shopping habits Spending Money treat yo self treat yourself Thu, 05 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1703710 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Make It Rain Today http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000079452745_Large.jpg" alt="thinking up a smart way to make it rain" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When money gets tight and you need a little extra cash, the last thing you should do is take out payday loans or add expenses to your credit cards. Before you do that, did you think to look under your mattress? Did you check your closet for unused items you might be able to sell or rent out? Don't wait until times get tough before you try these six smart ways to make it rain.</p> <h2>1. Couchsurf and Sublet Your Place</h2> <p>The people at Airbnb got it right. Yet, so many people are still afraid of the sharing economy and hosting strangers in their empty bedrooms &mdash; who might just be graduate students, traveling professionals, or airline stewardesses. So consider crashing on a friend's couch for a few nights and rent out your space &mdash; just make sure your lease doesn't prohibit it. In New York, it's the new normal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space?ref=seealso">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a>)</p> <h2>2. Find a One-Day Gig on Craigslist</h2> <p>People use Craigslist to post classified ads of all types, including one-day gigs. Job posters sometimes create ads for gigs in the jobs board, or you could simply search under &quot;gigs.&quot; For instance, check under food/bev/hosp and you might find gigs to staff events as servers or hosts. You might even end up with a steady flow of cash from occasionally picking up these temp jobs.</p> <h2>3. Smile for the Crowd at a Trade Show</h2> <p>If hamming it up in front of the camera is your thing, you could join an agency like <a href="http://www.models4tradeshows.com/">Models4TradeShows</a>. This site keeps a database of promo models to hire for ongoing local events. Find one in your area by doing a city search for promo modeling agencies or event staffing recruiters. &nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Be the Studio Audience</h2> <p>Get paid to attend the filming of popular daytime TV shows like <em>Beat Bobby Flay</em>, <em>Steve Wilkos</em>, and more. In order to make it rain joining local audiences, you'd obviously have to live in Los Angeles, the Tri-State area, Pennsylvania, or in a region like Atlanta, where these types of shows are filmed and produced.</p> <h2>5. Become a Tasker</h2> <p>Join <a href="https://www.taskrabbit.com/">TaskRabbit</a> and become a Tasker. This will require you to spend some time creating a profile and being selected for tasks, but it's worth it for well-paying gigs. The company pre-screens it's clients and handles the money transactions for you, so you always know you'll get paid.</p> <h2>6. Just Let It Go</h2> <p>Sell your unwanted and unused stuff on <a href="http://www.letgo.com/">letgo</a>. And don't worry, it doesn't matter what it is, how old it is, or how worn out or beat up it is. Sellers on letgo are advertising everything from a beat up old pickup trucks, Tickle Me Elmos, and brand new motorcycles.</p> <p><em>When money is tight for you, how do you earn extra cash? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">10 Easiest Items to &quot;Flip&quot; for Cash</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/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</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/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">12 Legit Ways for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads to Earn Some Extra Cash</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-unexpected-side-benefits-of-your-side-hustle">5 Unexpected Side Benefits of Your Side Hustle</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income cash extra income income make it rain sell your stuff side job Spending Money Fri, 18 Mar 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1675101 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Ways to Save Money That Go Too Far http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-save-money-that-go-too-far <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-ways-to-save-money-that-go-too-far" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_freezing_cold_000018372138.jpg" alt="Man saving money and going too far" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are some real advantages to reducing your expenses. You can focus your spending on only the things you value most, helping you direct more money into building assets that will allow you to achieve financial independence.</p> <p>But there are times when efforts to reduce spending and save money go too far &mdash; and are actually harmful to your financial goals.</p> <p>Are you guilty of any of these ways of being too cheap when trying to save money?</p> <h2>1. Driving an Unsafe Vehicle</h2> <p>Driving an old car is a good way to save money, but driving an <em>unsafe</em> car is not. Your car is unsafe if the brakes do not work reliably, or if the car has serious mechanical problems. For example, severely worn ball joints can cause a wheel to fall off while you are driving down the road! Driving with bald or visibly damaged tires is also unsafe.</p> <p>Driving an unsafe vehicle puts yourself and others at risk of injury, not to mention the potential cost of lost earnings, medical bills, and property damage if you are involved in a car accident.</p> <h2>2. Skipping Dental and Medical Appointments</h2> <p>It may seem like skipping dental appointments and avoiding the doctor&rsquo;s office is a good way to avoid an immediate expense. But cutting corners on your health will catch up with you eventually, and cost much more in the long term. Untreated cavities get worse over time and eventually require larger &mdash; and more expensive &mdash; fillings, or even tooth extractions to treat. Minor health issues can develop into more serious conditions that require expensive treatment and lost time from work.</p> <h2>3. Downloading Bootleg Movies, Books, Games, Etc.</h2> <p>There are dark corners of the Internet where you can find stolen content offered for free. Many of these sites are loaded with viruses and malware. Once you get to the stolen content, you may need to fight through pop-up ads to view it and endure painfully slow streaming and unreliable servers to access the files. Even if you eventually get the content you are seeking for free, you&rsquo;ll waste a lot of time in the process. Not to mention that stealing copyrighted material is illegal. Worst case, you could end up in serious trouble.</p> <h2>4. Eating an Unhealthy Diet</h2> <p>When I was in college, I survived mostly on grilled cheese sandwiches, baked potatoes, and instant iced tea. This diet was great for my food budget, but not so great for my health. Poor diet can lead to all kinds of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Surviving on the cheapest available food is too cheap.</p> <h2>5. Buying Extreme Fixer-Uppers</h2> <p>You can find some really cheap stuff that needs a lot of work &mdash; such as houses, cars, bikes, and other projects. These can be a good investment if you are capable of fixing up the cheap project to make it functional, but buying something in poor condition and not spending the time and money to repair it is a bad financial move. Your fixer-upper will likely deteriorate and lose what little value it has while taking up space. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a>)</p> <h2>6. Extreme Couponing</h2> <p>I use coupons all the time, but I don&rsquo;t spend much time or effort on it. I feel like the small effort that I put forth into finding and keeping track of coupons is more than offset by the amount of money that I save. But it would be easy to go too far. If you spend half a day sorting through and organizing coupons before each grocery shopping trip, you may be going past the point of diminishing returns. Your time is worth something in terms of opportunity cost. If you could get more value doing something else with your time, then extreme couponing is too cheap!</p> <h2>7. Reusing Disposable Products</h2> <p>Disposable products such as paper towels and Ziploc baggies are meant to be used once. You can easily expend way too much time, effort, and soap trying to wash and dry these disposable items. Reusing things is great, but use a cloth rag instead of a paper towel, or a glass/plastic container instead of a baggie.</p> <h2>8. Wearing Embarrassing Clothes</h2> <p>My kids tell me that I look like a homeless person when I wear my weekend clothes. My wife once refused to go into a store with me because my shoes repaired with duct tape were too embarrassing. It wouldn&rsquo;t cost anything for me to repurpose my most worn, out of style, embarrassing clothes into rags and wear my slightly newer, less worn out clothes. Goodwill wouldn&rsquo;t even accept most of the clothes I wear as donations, which means my embarrassing clothes are too cheap.</p> <h2>9. Setting Extreme Indoor Temperatures</h2> <p>Setting the thermostat down a bit in winter and up a bit in summer is a great way to save some money on your utility bill. Using less energy is good for the environment as well. But there is such a thing as going too far with thermostat settings. I have awakened on a cold winter morning to find frost on my bedroom wall. I had the wastewater drain to my washer freeze, and I have had my kitchen sink drain pipe freeze. One summer, we did not use the air conditioner at all even when it was over 100 degrees and humid. At some point, the discomfort and damage from extreme indoor temperatures outweighs the savings.</p> <h2>10. Cutting Back on Personal Hygiene</h2> <p>Hot water and soap costs money, but there is such a thing as cutting back too much trying to save. Some people recommend taking shorter showers, which seems reasonable to me, although the savings would only amount to a few cents per shower. Some people have stopped buying soap and shampoo at the store, and make their own soap at home instead. At some point, cutting back on personal hygiene to save a few cents becomes too cheap!</p> <h2>11. Ruining Clothes to Save on Laundry</h2> <p>Back when I was still allowed to do laundry, I would pack whatever clothes needed washing into the largest loads possible, without consideration for color or material types. I operated the clothes dryer using the same principles. My goal was to save time and money doing laundry, but the only result was lots of ruined clothes and an angry wife.</p> <h2>12. Not Throwing Away Spoiled Food</h2> <p>Trying not to waste food is a good thing, but taking risks with food safety can have serious consequences that can far exceed the savings. A few years ago, I ate some questionable sliced meat that I got on clearance and ended up violently sick in bed for several days with food poisoning. Last night, I got caught cutting the moldy end off a loaf of bread and serving the rest. My family helped remind me that serving ruined food is being too cheap.</p> <h2>13. Using Broken Things</h2> <p>When I chipped a dinner plate, I decided to to keep right on using it. But the chipped dinner plate looked horrible and had a sharp edge. Plus the rough ceramic under the chip provided an uneven surface where germs could easily grow. I eventually decided not to keep using the broken plate after all because the consequences could be worse than the small amount of money I could save by not replacing it.</p> <p><em>Have you ever gone too far trying to save money and ended up doing something that was too cheap?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-save-money-that-go-too-far">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/does-your-culture-support-saving">Does your culture support saving?</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-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</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/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</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/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</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/afraid-of-spending-money-here-are-5-perks-of-your-phobia">Afraid of Spending Money? Here Are 5 Perks of Your Phobia</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living cheapskate saving Spending Money stingy too cheap unhealthy unsafe Thu, 25 Feb 2016 11:30:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1660231 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Fun Facts About Valentine's Day Spending http://www.wisebread.com/12-fun-facts-about-valentines-day-spending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-fun-facts-about-valentines-day-spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000022938501_Large.jpg" alt="what did this couple spend on valentine&#039;s day?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Valentine's Day. A day for lovers and hopeless romantics everywhere. But what about the costs of being a big sweetheart? What are we, as a nation, spending to let our significant other know just how much we care about them? Some very revealing data from a <a href="https://nrf.com/sites/default/files/NRF%20Valentine%27s%20Day%202015.pdf">2015 National Retail Federation study</a> lifts the lid on our spending habits on Valentine's Day. Here are 12 fun facts about the where our money goes on the day of love.</p> <h2>1. Americans Will Spend Over $19 Billion on Valentine's Day</h2> <p>You read that correctly; <em>$19 billion</em>. Last year, the spend was $18.9 billion, and that is only going to increase, especially as the economy continues to improve. Does that mean we're all a bunch of big romantics in this country, or are we just suckers for gift-giving holidays? After all, no one <em>needs</em> a special day to treat the love of their life to roses, chocolates, or a candlelit dinner for two. Perhaps it's a mix of peer pressure and not wanting to be &quot;that guy,&quot; aka the guy who didn't buy gifts on the big day.</p> <h2>2. Men Spend Twice as Much as Women</h2> <p>All is not equal between the sexes on Valentine's Day. On average, men spent $190.53 on the day of romance last year, as opposed to the $96.58 spent by women. Why? Especially these days, with women wanting equality in the workplace, and equal treatment in all aspects of life.</p> <p>A quick poll of my friends and family was quite revealing. It seems as though men believe they are supposed to spend more than women; that this is a time to treat their significant other. Something else that came up was that gifts for women cost more than those for men, and also, women seem to care about the holiday more than men, and therefore, it makes sense to spend more. What do you think?</p> <h2>3. More Than Half of Valentine's Day Gifts are Candy</h2> <p>As a country, we certainly do have an affinity for sweets. Over the last decade, around half of all Americans surveyed said they were going to buy candy as a gift for their significant other. In 2015, that number was 53.2%. Coming in second, at 37.8%, was flowers, followed by jewelry and greeting cards. Remember, if you're a frugal shopper, all that candy will be 50%&ndash;75% off the day after Valentine's Day. So, if you want to treat him or her to candies, perhaps do it over the course of a few days. It prolongs the holiday, and you can save money at the same time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/celebrate-love-not-money-with-these-recycled-valentines-day-gifts?ref=seealso">Celebrate Love, Not Money, With These Recycled Valentine's Day Gifts</a>)</p> <h2>4. Nine Out of 10 People Will Treat Their Significant Other</h2> <p>It appears as though we're a nation of sweethearts. Apparently, 91% of us will do something for our partner this year, with the average spend being almost $90. The other 10% consist of people who either don't believe in the holiday, will forget it, or have already agreed on doing nothing with their partner. The stats don't take into account people who don't have a significant other, or those who plan to be someone's secret admirer.</p> <h2>5. Adults Ages 25&ndash;34 Spend the Most Money</h2> <p>Hold onto your wallets. Last year's data reveals that people between the ages of 25&ndash;34 will spend an average of $213.04 on Valentine's Day! That's a huge sum of money. Coming in second, and well below that number, are 35&ndash;44-year-olds, who will shell out an average of $176.21. Surprisingly, third place falls to the 18&ndash;24-year-olds, spending an average of $168.95. It looks like the older generations may be saving their money for something else.</p> <h2>6. Discount Stores Play a Big Role in Valentine's Day</h2> <p>It looks like we're not just a bunch of romantics, but we also love a good bargain, too. Second only to department stores &mdash; making up 36.5% of last year's most visited locations &mdash; discount stores were the place to shop for gifts. And 35.2% of us went to these kinds of stores to shop for Valentine's Day gifts last year. So who cares if it's a bargain, as long as it's a gift that comes from the heart?</p> <h2>7. The Nation Will Spend Over $1.5 Billion on Cards</h2> <p>Yes, cards. This one is a head-scratcher. As <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jim-gaffigan-can-we-get-rid-of-valentines-day/">Jim Gaffigan once said</a> about Valentine's Day cards, &quot;I guess that's something I'd say &mdash; I'll just add my name here. See what that other person wrote about how I feel about you?&quot;</p> <p>With greeting cards coming in between $4&ndash;$6 each, it seems like an incredible waste of money. If you want your significant other to know how you feel about them, write them a letter. Pop it in an envelope, and seal it with a kiss if you want. Guaranteed, they would rather read something personal on a piece of paper, than a quick &quot;Love you, Babe&quot; under a verse that a professional writer composed.</p> <h2>8. Over 20% of Us Buy Gifts for Our Pets</h2> <p>You don't have to be human to get in on the Valentine's Day action. Last year, 21.2% of people surveyed said they bought gifts for their pets. Thankfully, people used good financial sense here, spending on average only $5.28 on a gift. However, when you do the math, it means the nation will spend over $703 million on Valentine's Day gifts for pets! You have to wonder, with the pets not having a clue what is going on, is that the best use of your hard-earned money?</p> <h2>9. We Spend an Average of $6.30 on Classmates and Teachers</h2> <p>As Valentine's Day approaches again, the parents of younger kids will know all about the tradition of the homemade Valentine's mailbox. It's a shoebox, or other cardboard box, decorated and used to collect the many little gifts and cards given out by all the other kids at school. Although these gifts are often just a lollipop glued to a notecard, they soon add up to a box of sugary treats that will rival a Halloween haul. Teachers are also included in that mix, although usually they get a card, and nothing more.</p> <h2>10. Other Family Members Get Treated, Too</h2> <p>As a Brit, this one floored me when I first got here. Valentine's Day was always about lovers. So imagine my surprise when I saw cards that said, &quot;Happy Valentine's Day, Grandma&quot; and &quot;With Love On Valentine's Day, Son.&quot; Wait, what?! As was explained to me, quite quickly, it's considered a holiday to show your love for other people in the U.S., not just in a romantic way. And with Americans spending an average of $26.26 last year on family members, it's a gesture taken quite seriously.</p> <h2>11. Americans Will Spend Over $2 Billion on Clothing</h2> <p>You have to wonder how much of that $2 billion will be spent on sexy lingerie and skimpy night attire. After all, this is the one time of year guys can look around Victoria's Secret without feeling completely out of place. Whatever kind of clothing you plan to buy for your partner, just remember to keep the receipt, and check on the return policy. You don't want that lovely gesture to become a costly one.</p> <h2>12. Over $3.6 Billion Will Be Spent on Movies and Dining Out</h2> <p>Dinner and a movie may seem as cliché as flowers and chocolates, but that's what we like to do, and we spend billions proving that point. Last year, we spent over $3.6 billion on Valentine's Day trips to the theater and restaurants. Those figures were slightly skewed by the fact that many restaurants have &quot;romantic specials&quot; that cost more than a typical dinner for two. But even taking that into account, one thing is clear &mdash; you better book ahead to avoid disappointment this year.</p> <p><em>How much will you be spending on Valentine's Day? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-fun-facts-about-valentines-day-spending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</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-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">8 Negotiating Skills Everyone Should Master</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-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves 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/the-same-actions-will-produce-the-same-results-ten-tenets-for-arranging-your-rich-part-2">The Same Actions Will Produce The Same Results (Ten Tenets for Arranging Your Rich: Part 2)</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/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice">11 Silent Budget Killers You Don&#039;t Notice</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Budgeting fun facts money saving money Spending Money Valentine's Day Fri, 12 Feb 2016 10:30:25 +0000 Paul Michael 1655104 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Valentine's Day Picks Your Pocket http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-valentines-day-picks-your-pocket <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-valentines-day-picks-your-pocket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000018836956_Large.jpg" alt="Ways Valentine&#039;s Day picked this couple&#039;s pockets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>February 14 is approaching, and you know what that means; panic. People everywhere are trying to figure out the perfect gift, the ideal date, or the romantic verse they will write in a card. A day for couples is nice, but let's be honest&hellip; it's just another way to get us all to spend money. And as someone once told me, you shouldn't need a special day to make the one you love feel special. So, if you've been thinking about giving the day a miss this year, here are eight costly reasons that will tip the scales.</p> <h2>1. Roses Are <em>Way</em> Overpriced</h2> <p>At any other time in the year, a bouquet of a dozen roses will set you back anywhere from $10&ndash;$50, depending on where you buy them. On Valentine's Day, you get &quot;surge pricing.&quot; In other words, because roses are in demand, you have to pay way more for them. As Reuters points out, the wholesale <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-retail-roses-idUSBREA1514620140206">cost of roses peaks dramatically</a> around this holiday, and those increases are passed on to customers.</p> <p>In New York, you can expect to pay between $5&ndash;$8 per rose, and if you're getting them delivered, tack on another $20&ndash;$30 for that. It's not unusual to pay $99 or more for a dozen roses on Valentine's Day. And for what? They'll be dead in a few weeks, if not sooner.</p> <h2>2. Restaurants Take Advantage</h2> <p>Don't be surprised to see the restaurants in your area charging hefty prices for &quot;romantic dinners.&quot; Zagat states that a dinner for two jumps from $70 on a normal day, to over $146 on Valentine's Day. The restaurants know all too well that dinner is usually a big part of your planning, and you'll also have to book weeks in advance if you want any chance of getting a table. Unless, of course, you decide to go to McDonald's or Taco Bell. Plus, expect the service to be slow. The servers are going to be inundated, and the chefs will never get a break. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurants">10 of the World's Most Expensive Restaurants</a>)</p> <h2>3. Greeting Card Prices Are Bonkers</h2> <p>Americans buy over 180 million Valentine's Day cards every year. Seriously, who feels the need to buy someone a card for $6&ndash;$7 that contains a cheesy verse? A card that will, in most cases, go in the trash in a week or two. The price of a piece of cardboard is less than a dollar at most craft stores. You can fold that in half, write something that comes from your heart, and glue something fun or sweet on the front. Maybe one of those sweetheart candies?</p> <h2>4. Boxes of Chocolates Are Marked Up</h2> <p>It's the usual combo of flowers and chocolates that most men select as gifts on Valentine's Day. And to mark the occasion, the candy companies make heart-shaped boxes, or big, romantic packages. But it's the same old candies inside them. You're just paying extra for the presentation. By the way, those same chocolates will be <em>at least</em> 50% off the day after Valentine's Day. If you have a cool partner, suggest having Valentine's Day one day later, and you could save a bundle.</p> <h2>5. You Could Set a Costly Expectation</h2> <p>Imagine that you are in a new relationship, and Valentine's Day is just around the corner. You want to impress your potential boyfriend or girlfriend. You may pull out all the stops, with fine wine, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and perhaps a night in an incredible hotel. Just remember, this is a first impression that could set the standards for the whole relationship. A good friend of mine told me one of the biggest mistakes he ever made was creating a lavish Valentine's Day getaway for his third date. She was absolutely blown away, but he spent the next few years trying to live up to that. She always compared everything to that night. Save the grand occasion for an important anniversary, not a date with someone you have yet to really know.</p> <h2>6. Hotel Rooms Are Expensive</h2> <p>If you plan on making a night of it, a romantic package at a hotel seems like a good idea. But, a lot of other people have the same idea, too. Hotels know that Valentine's Day is a big draw, so room rates will <a href="http://www.traveldailynews.com/news/article/64701/venice-hotel-prices-increase-by">increase significantly on that night</a>.&nbsp;The cheapest rooms will go very quickly. That means if you don't book well in advance, you may be left with the King Suite as your only option. And that can be a very costly night out, especially after dinner and a movie.</p> <h2>7. Lingerie Can Be a Pricey Mistake</h2> <p>Let's be honest, men buy lingerie as a gift to themselves. They know their partner will look sexy in it, and that's their treat. But the difference between what looks good, and what feels good and fits well, is huge. I did a quick poll at work asking who had bought lingerie for their wives and girlfriends in the past, on Valentine's Day. And then I asked how many times they saw their partner wearing it. It seems as though men will shell out a lot of money on something that will either get used once, to be polite, or will go straight back to the store the next day. Hopefully, for a full refund, but some stores have strict return policies on intimates.</p> <h2>8. Specific Delivery Dates Cost More</h2> <p>If you're looking for flowers, chocolates, lingerie, pajamas, jewelry, or anything else to be delivered on Valentine's Day, you will pay a hefty surcharge for that privilege. Some stores will tack on $10 or $20 extra to ensure the gift is delivered into the hands of your loved one on that specific day. However, this year you may be out of luck even getting that delivery date. Valentine's Day 2016 falls on a Sunday.</p> <p><em>Now... if you're planning to skip Valentine's Day this year, what's your reason?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-valentines-day-picks-your-pocket">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/13-ways-to-make-money-from-valentines-day">13 Ways to Make Money From Valentine&#039;s Day</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/celebrate-love-not-money-with-these-recycled-valentines-day-gifts">Celebrate Love, Not Money, With These Recycled Valentine&#039;s Day Gifts</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/12-fun-facts-about-valentines-day-spending">12 Fun Facts About Valentine&#039;s Day Spending</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-budget-challenge-2016-how-to-live-frugally-when-you-have-no-time">My Budget Challenge 2016: How to Live Frugally When You Have No Time</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/flashback-friday-104-sweet-ways-to-celebrate-valentines-day">Flashback Friday: 104 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Holidays money Spending Money Splurge Valentine's Day Tue, 09 Feb 2016 12:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1653232 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000075723379_Large.jpg" alt="Woman enjoying life by paying less rent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying rent is one of life's necessary evils. And you have to toil away to cover the cost of your too-small dwelling that seems to <em>always</em> need the Super to fix <em>something</em>. But let's think happy thoughts. What would you do, in a perfect world, if you paid less rent? Here are eight smart and fun things to do with all that extra cash in your pocket at the end of the month.</p> <h2>1. Take Classes to Learn a New Skill</h2> <p>A few years ago, my husband spent an incredible amount of money on helicopter lessons, because learning how to fly an aircraft has been a pursuit of his since his Navy days. Okay, I get it, people have dreams and all, but I also think that if you're not rich, like we aren't, those lessons should somehow pay for themselves or earn income down the road. But they didn't, and still haven't.</p> <p>Thus, let my disdain be a lesson in and of itself: If you want to use your leftover rent money to take a class, I highly recommend it, but you should have a purpose, an endgame. For instance, if you'd like to take a pottery class, that's all well and good, but are you doing it so you can make everybody ashtrays and vases for Christmas, or are you visualizing the potential of becoming proficient enough to sell the items or market yourself as a potter? The choice certainly is yours, but you'd be doing yourself a solid by trying to <em>monetize </em>your new skill, whatever it may be.</p> <h2>2. Upgrade Your Vehicle to Something You Want</h2> <p>There are upsides and downsides to buying a car brand new or used, which should be considered when deciding on a vehicle. But many times we get so lost in the details that we don't end up with the vehicle we actually <em>want</em>. If you're in this situation &mdash; driving a car or truck that gets you from A to B without much joie de vivre &mdash; maybe it's time to upgrade. It'd be a real possibility if you paid less rent.</p> <h2>3. Enhance Your Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>No matter where you work, somebody is judging you on your professional attire. And whether or not you want to believe it, the way you look plays a part in your income potential. It's not fair, no, because dressing &quot;well&quot; is a relative concept, but it behooves you to be on the trendier, more fitted side of the spectrum. If you're not feeling as confident as you'd like when you walk into the office, use your rent surplus to upgrade and enhance your wardrobe. Just a few key pieces &mdash; a fitted suit and shinier shoes &mdash; can do the trick.</p> <h2>4. Pursue a Healthier Lifestyle</h2> <p>It's true that nobody really needs to pay for exercise. You can do that on your own, without a trainer or even a gym. However, having the ability to work out by your own motivation and <em>wanting</em> to do it are two different things. I'm a self-motivator in all other aspects of my life, but when it comes to exercise, I need help. Which is why I don't feel bad paying for my gym membership or my personal trainer because I'm using these services to their full potential and seeing results (which is necessary for these expenditures to make sense).</p> <p>If you're like me, there's no harm in using what you would have paid in rent to better your health and your body by getting help along the way.</p> <h2>5. Save for That Always-Out-of-Reach Vacation</h2> <p>If you find yourself with the good fortune of paying less rent, you probably won't be able to pack your bags and jet off on your dream vacation right away. With about a half a year of saving &mdash; depending on how much you were able to shave off your rent &mdash; that always out-of-reach vacation will be much easier to grasp.</p> <h2>6. Establish a New Side Gig or Small Business</h2> <p>With the sharing economy in full effect &mdash; thanks to services like Airbnb, DogVacay, and Uber &mdash; you can start earning income with little to no investment. But not all side gigs or small businesses are that easy. If you have an idea in mind that requires start-up capital, use your rent surplus to fund this endeavor.</p> <p>In fact, I would say that this opportunity trumps everything else on this list so far. Adding another source of income can help you get to those other things faster, but establishing a new revenue generator should always be a priority. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-must-know-about-money-before-you-take-a-side-job?ref=seealso">10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before You Take a Side Job</a>)</p> <h2>7. Funnel Cash Into Your Home-Buying Fund</h2> <p>Nobody will ever convince me that <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303948104579534230618539424">renting is better than owning</a> your own home &mdash; not even the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>. Because why pay someone else to live in their house when you can pay yourself to live in your own house? Get out of that rental prison quicker by establishing a down-payment savings account and sending your rental savings there every month. Stick to it, and you'll have enough for a down payment before you know it.</p> <h2>8. Invest in Yourself</h2> <p>Go back to school, pursue a higher paying job, learn a new language &mdash; do something that will make you a better person <em>and</em> a more attractive employee. The best investment you can make is in yourself. Unless, of course, you have a hot tip on stocks; then I'll stand corrected.</p> <p><em>What are some of the smart and fun things you would do if you paid less rent? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">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/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</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-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</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/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</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/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Real Estate and Housing budget frugal fun activities rent rent money Spending Money Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1643601 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Resist a Splurge http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000075600861_Large.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to resist a splurge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you went into debt buying gifts for the holidays, the time has come to pay that money back. What's more insidious than that, is the fact that most of us get used to spending over the holidays. We buy special gifts, special meals, special tickets, and more. But come January, most of us need to stop these splurges. We can't live that way all the time, or we will run out of money to pay the bills and buy what we need.</p> <p>It's hard, though, to see what we want and not buy it, especially when we've become lax with our self-control in that area. Here are some ideas to help you turn your spending around, and ultimately resist the urge to splurge.</p> <h2>1. Understand Your Feelings</h2> <p>Many of us overspend when something negative is going on in our lives. We want the instant gratification that comes with having something new because something else isn't working. Rather than making the purchase, we can stop and focus on what is making us feel bad, work that out, and then we won't need to buy anything in order to feel better.</p> <p>If you can't make yourself stop and think about your feelings <em>after </em>you've felt the urge to splurge, try sitting down and identifying the types of feelings that make you want to spend. Think over past splurges and see if something else was causing you the stress that buying something alleviated. Put some serious energy into this exercise, and you'll be better prepared to resist temptation the next time it rears its head.</p> <h2>2. Consider the Context</h2> <p>Before you make a spontaneous purchase, force yourself to consider the entire financial context in which you're making the purchase. If you buy this thing that you want, will you be able to pay your bills this month? Will it cause you to go into debt? Will it keep you from reaching your overall financial goals?</p> <p>Often, considering the cumulative effects that a purchase can have will help you stave off the spending spree. When you see the ways that spending now could impact you negatively later, it's a lot easier to walk away without putting your money down.</p> <h2>3. Think About Anything Else</h2> <p>Sometimes, we splurge because we can't stop thinking about something we saw, wanted, and almost bought. After you make yourself walk away initially, think about something else. Go back to work, call a friend, make plans for the weekend &mdash; whatever! Just get your mind off of whatever it was you considered spending your money on.</p> <p>If this is hard for you, make a deal with a friend that you'll help each other. When one of you wants to buy something, you can call or text the other and know that there's someone to help you redirect your thoughts. That way, you won't be alone in your quest to avoid the splurge.</p> <h2>4. Calm Yourself Down</h2> <p>Buying something often makes us feel better because it stimulates us. We get excited. Unfortunately, we don't always make the best decisions when we are following our excitement.</p> <p>If you're in the middle of the store or out with friends, try taking a few deep breaths. If you can escape to a bathroom &mdash; even better. Close your eyes and breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, and leave your lungs empty for a count of four. Do this several times and you will find your mind clearer. You'll probably make a better decision about what to buy, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money?ref=seealso">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a>)</p> <h2>5. Wait Before You Buy</h2> <p>Make an agreement with yourself, before you buy another thing, that you have to wait a certain amount of time before you spend money impulsively. This might be 24 hours, two days, or even a week. The point is that you give yourself time to consider your purchase, decide how it fits into your budget, and deal with your feelings before any money leaves your wallet.</p> <p>Some people only do this with purchases over a certain amount of money. For instance, you may decide that it is the purchases over $50 that are really hurting you. In that case, you can decide that you have to wait a week before you spend anything over that amount. It helps to have someone to keep you accountable here, so you don't override the decision on a whim.</p> <h2>6. List the Things You Want (Rather Than Buying Them)</h2> <p>When you want to buy something, add it to a list of wants, rather than making the purchase now. Sometimes, this satisfies the urge entirely. And even if it doesn't, it often settles the feeling that you have to buy it now or you will never find/see/encounter it again. If you're buying online, save a picture of the item and a link somewhere. If you're in a store, snap a photo of the item and another of the price and store those.</p> <p>This can sound crazy, but it definitely works. I have a friend who &quot;fake buys&quot; things all the time, and another who keeps a Pinterest board of all the stuff she'd like to get. Capturing an item in this way can satisfy the urge to possess something, without spending all of your money on actually getting it.</p> <p><em>How do you stave off a splurge? Would you recommend your methods to others?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">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/50-great-things-to-do-with-50">50 Great Things to Do With $50</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</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-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress">The Real Reason We Still Spend to Impress</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/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset">The High Cost of the &quot;Treat Yourself&quot; Mindset</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping broke budget shopaholic shopping spree Spending Money Splurge Mon, 25 Jan 2016 10:00:03 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1642989 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_classic_car_000028718312.jpg" alt="Woman in America spending her money in the 1950s" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans tend to think of the 1950s as an idyllic time when the babies were booming, the jobs were plentiful, and the country was flourishing.</p> <p>Our parents and grandparents had good reason to feel prosperous. The average yearly income rose from <a href="http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1950.html">$3,210 in 1950</a> to <a href="http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1959.html">$5,010 in 1959</a>, and post-war Americans were enjoying access to products and services that were scarce during World War II. Finding good uses for disposable income in the 1950s began the American love affair with consumerism. That love affair that continues to this day &mdash; although our spending priorities may have changed somewhat over the years.</p> <p>Here's how Americans spent their money in the post-war 1950s, and how their spending habits compare to ours in the 2010s.</p> <h2>White Picket Fences</h2> <p>The American dream of owning a home has deep roots the 1950s. Not only were many of the 16 million returning WWII veterans looking to buy homes, but the GI Bill offered them liberal home loans, and the end of the war saw the beginning of the baby boom, all of which drove demand for affordable houses.</p> <p>Large homebuilders met that demand. They began applying assembly-line methodology to home building &mdash; by using panelized construction and drywall rather than wet plaster &mdash; which allowed them to create &quot;cookie cutter&quot; tract housing, giving birth to the modern suburb. An amazing &quot;<a href="http://www.achrnews.com/articles/87033-the-1950s-pursuing-the-american-dream">three out of five families</a> became homeowners, and suburban living became a national phenomenon.&quot;</p> <p>There was a dark side to this housing boom, however. While favorable loans and newly built homes in suburbia were available to white veterans and families, African Americans and other minorities were actively excluded from communities, such as Levittown, and from access to home loans. These entrenched patterns of racial discrimination in housing continue to affect housing and home buying to this day.</p> <p>For those who could access the American Dream in the 1950s, homeownership looked very different from today. To start, the average size of a new single-family home in 1950 was a mere 983 square feet, whereas the average new home built in 2004 boasted 2,349 square feet. According to Margot Adler of NPR, &quot;Back in the 1950s and '60s, people thought it was normal for a <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5525283">family to have one bathroom</a>, or for two or three growing [kids] to share a bedroom.&quot;</p> <p>In addition, the time frame for purchasing a house has changed since the 1950s. Modern young adults consider buying a home an important step before having kids. According to Casey Shipley, a mortgage loan originator from Lafayette, Indiana, families in the 1950s saw home ownership as &quot;something you did when you were settled and done with babies. Most families had children in their early 20s, so looking for a home was something you did after that first big promotion, maybe when you were in your 30s.&quot;</p> <p>Part of that wait-to-buy-until-we're-settled mindset came from the fact that most families lived their entire lives in one home. Financing such a once-in-a-lifetime purchase with a 30-year mortgage allowed a family to have their home paid off by the time the breadwinner was ready to retire in his 60s.</p> <p>The median home price in the United States in 1950 was $7,354 (which is equivalent to $71,360 in today's dollars), rising to a median of $11,900 in 1960 ($93,830 in today's dollars), and housing represented about 22% of a 1950s household budget. For comparison, the median home price in October 2015 was $281,500, and the modern household spends about 43% of its budget on housing.</p> <h2>Cool Rides With Tail Fins</h2> <p>Of course, living in a new suburban home meant dependence on another big status purchase: a car. And Americans embraced the automobile with open arms, making it the center of our culture. Just look at the rise of American auto manufacturing (one out of every six working Americans were employed directly or indirectly by the auto industry), the creation of suburbs and interstates, and the introduction of the drive-in theater, fast food, and the classic car song.</p> <p>As much as Americans loved their cars, the standard was for each family to have just one automobile. Owning more than one car often indicated top-hat-and-monocle levels of wealth. The one-car family can seem pretty odd in retrospect, considering how inexpensive a new car was back in the day. At the beginning of the decade, the average sticker price for a new car was $1,510 ($14,650 in today's dollars), and rising to $2,200 ($17,350 in today's dollars) by the end of the 1950s. Modern new car prices average $33,560 in 2015.</p> <p>But it's important to remember that cars of the 1950s, as solid as they may look, had vastly shorter lifespans and required a great deal more maintenance than their modern counterparts. According to Craig Fitzgerald of BestRide, &quot;it was exceedingly common to carry a little envelope with flat ignition wrenches in the glove box, so that car owners could adjust ignition points and timing, which started going out of spec the moment you turned the car on.&quot; Additionally, cars were more likely to rust out from under you, which is why many families made do with cardboard-covered holes in the floors of their cars.</p> <p>This meant cars tended to last no more than 60,000 to 80,000 miles, between the ignition point issues and the overwhelming problem with rust. All-in-all, families in the 1950s and modern families spend a similar percentage of their household income on transportation &mdash; it was about 15% of a 1950s family budget, and is about 18% of a modern family budget. The difference is that we now own multiple cars that we keep for longer and have to maintain less.</p> <h2>TVs and Sugary Snacks</h2> <p>In addition to houses and cars, there was one more big purchase families in the 1950s scrimped and saved to make: the television. TV sets cost around $200 in the 1950s ($1,600-$1,950 in modern dollars), but that was not the end of their influence on American spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-much-a-rent-to-own-tv-really-costs">This Is How Much a &quot;Rent-to-Own&quot; TV Really Costs</a>)</p> <p>Changing the American downtime from radio-listening to television-watching meant that our grandparents suddenly had visual examples to imitate in real life. For instance, TV shows from the 1950s were all about families living in gorgeous, spotless houses. Watching television prompted American families to yearn for their own homes, and to spend more money on cleaning products to make their homes as squeaky-clean as the sets of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013FCLEIG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B013FCLEIG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=44G3NJ7SEW37PC5C">I Love Lucy</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038SUBDC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0038SUBDC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OIBYQW6BP6S26TWI">Leave It to Beaver</a>.</p> <p>Television also helped to create a brand new demographic: the teenager. While teenagers were already at work forming their own subculture, advertising agencies realized that teens were a potentially lucrative group to target since they had leisure time and spending power, unlike previous generations of adolescents. So television commercials were geared toward the new demographic. Teens responded by spending their money on <a href="https://youtu.be/bgAt4dMgwwU">Coca-Cola</a>, <a href="https://youtu.be/4gtM_mmvDww">M&amp;Ms</a>, and all the other products commercials sold to them &mdash; and by influencing their parents' spending habits.</p> <p>The financial power of the teenage demographic remains incredibly strong, but advertisers have had to change their tactics as our consumption of entertainment has changed.</p> <h2>Keeping Our Spending Habits, But Changing What We Buy</h2> <p>While the specifics of what Americans bought in the 1950s might look different from modern purchases (when's the last time you saw someone rock a coonskin cap?), the habits themselves were remarkably similar. Homes, cars, and the products advertised on your screen of choice are the items people most wanted to buy then, as now.</p> <p>That's because the spending habits we consider normal were born in the post-war 1950s. Prior to that decade, few households could boast discretionary spending, and before television, there were not as many large-scale outlets that allowed advertisers to tempt consumers into unnecessary spending.</p> <p>We may no longer consider a 983 square foot house or a car with a rusted-through hole in the floor to be normal, but our expectations for spending discretionary income remain mostly the same.</p> <p><em>Would you have preferred to live in the 1950s? Or another decade? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</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-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less">10 Ways to Improve Yourself for $100 or Less</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-5-best-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping 1950s American spending shopping spending habits Spending Money Tue, 12 Jan 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1635539 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Silent Budget Killers You Don't Notice http://www.wisebread.com/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_exercise_gym_000053454904.jpg" alt="Woman discovering silent budget killers she didn&#039;t notice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you feel like you're constantly going over budget, but can't figure out why? You might be victim to silent budget killers &mdash; those small expenses that you don't consider &quot;expenses,&quot; or perhaps you've forgotten about altogether. Here's a reminder of some sneaky, money-sucking line items that you might want to flag and eliminate in order to put a few more bucks back in your wallet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today">13 Dumb Little Purchases You Need to Stop Making Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Underused Gym Memberships</h2> <p>I'm a regular gym-goer these days, but for years I just had memberships &mdash; very expensive memberships, in fact &mdash; to facilities that I would visit three, maybe four times a month. I would let them go, because I kept telling myself that I would start going more frequently &quot;starting this month.&quot; But &quot;this month&quot; turned into next month and, well, you know the drill. If this sounds like your situation, cancel the membership &mdash; or at least very least put it on hold (but consider that this will also incur a fee) &mdash; until you've re-committed yourself to an active and healthy exercise regimen.</p> <h2>2. Online Subscriptions</h2> <p>Memberships to online subscription sites can run the gamut from professional social networks like LinkedIn, to entertainment sites like Amazon or Netflix. The problem with these sites is that they always sound good in theory (in that moment when you impulsively signed up because maybe you needed it right then), but now that the need is gone, you're not engaging in them as much.</p> <p>&quot;I see this more with business owners, but it can affect non-business owners as well,&quot; says Amanda Abella, savings advisor at MoneySavingPro.com. &quot;Have you really taken any of those business/health/etc. courses you're paying for? Have you really watched all of those videos you pay for?&quot;</p> <p>If the answer is no, log in and opt out.</p> <h2>3. Music Streaming Services</h2> <p>Honestly, the whole idea of music-streaming services makes me shake my head. Have we all forgotten that the radio is free? Do you really need to hear those obscure songs by WhoKnowsWho right this second? Is it worth the fee you're paying for a commercial-free experience? And are you using it enough to justify the cost? The latter is the most important question, I suppose. If you're getting your money's worth, then okay. If not, it's just a waste.</p> <h2>4. Irregular, But Necessary Life Expenses</h2> <p>&quot;Non-regular but necessary expenses like car tags and renewing dental insurance &mdash; they always seem to sneak up on you, and then you're surprised when they roll around because you didn't budget for them,&quot; Abella points out.</p> <p>There's not much you can do about these expenses, so it's good to have at least a little cushion in your monthly budget to cover these surprises.</p> <h2>5. Currency Exchange Fees</h2> <p>I'll admit that I'm not terribly familiar with currency exchange fees, but you may be if you travel often or own a small business that operates internationally. Alon Rajic, managing director of MoneyTransferComparison, explains more in detail how currency fees could be taking more from you than you should be paying.</p> <p>&quot;If you're an expatriate, an immigrant, a small business owner, or an overseas investor, currency exchange fees are undoubtedly a silent budget killer for you,&quot; he says. &quot;Even fairly financially savvy individuals often check the direct cross-border transfer costs (ranging between $15 and $50 in the USA), instead of focusing on what really matters: exchange rate markups. These markups (the difference between real interbank rate and buy/sell rates) can amount to 3%, 4%, and even 5% of the lump sum exchanged into foreign currency. For anyone transferring money regularly between different currencies, or investing a significant portion of his money in foreign investments, FX fees could very well be the biggest factor affecting personal finances.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Surprise Expenses for Your Child</h2> <p>Every parent knows that children always need <em>something</em>, and that something is not always in the budget. This especially becomes a budgeting nuisance for separated or divorced parents who use a child-support system to pay for their children's expenses.</p> <p>&quot;A silent budget killer for separated and divorced parents usually arrives in the form of surprise expenses falling outside the monthly base support payment they exchange, such as an impromptu dentist visit, class field trip, or friend's birthday party,&quot; says Sheri Atwood, a child support and multi-household finance expert at SupportPay.com. &quot;These little expenses pile up against the extracurricular activities parents are also expected to pay for, but still don't fall under the monthly child support payments, like gymnastics class, baseball gear, and more.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Extra Fuel for Your Car</h2> <p>Gas is much more affordable at the moment than it has been in the past, but it's still not &quot;cheap.&quot; It's also one of those commodities that we can't really live without, and an expense that easily can send your budget overboard depending on how much extra driving you do &mdash; for instance, at the holidays for shopping or playing taxi for the kids. Try to look ahead at any out-of-the-norm driving you'll need to do over the next couple weeks to lessen the impact of falling short elsewhere.</p> <h2>8. Leaving Stuff Running at Home While You're Not There</h2> <p>Electronics plugged in or on when they're not in use, lights on when nobody's home, heat or A/C running when it's not being used &mdash; these are all <em>major</em> money suckers. We're talking potentially hundreds of dollars in misused gas and electric if you're not mindful. To ensure your energy budget stays on track, or perhaps even declines, think about investing in more efficient sources, like LED lights and &quot;green&quot; appliances, and obviously turn off what's not in use right after you're done using it.</p> <h2>9. Automated Payments</h2> <p>You may have automated payments scheduled for items you don't use or no longer need &mdash; like those gym or online memberships &mdash; and because they're automated (which essentially equates to &quot;out of sight, out of mind&quot;), you're letting them slide every month. Stop doing that. Review your automated payments to make sure that everything is a necessary expense. If not, dump it.</p> <p>There's also a chance that you could be charged incorrectly with automated payments if you're not careful. SavingFreak.com's Paul Moyer explains.</p> <p>&quot;Any service where the price can change and you have an automatic payment is a potential silent budget killer,&quot; he says. &quot;Two of the biggest examples are insurance and cable television. With these two services, they will slowly raise your rates until you turn around and find out you are overpaying by 20%-30% without even realizing it.&quot;</p> <p>Provided that eye-opening information, perhaps it's worth investigating your automated payments to make sure everything is on the up-and-up.</p> <h2>10. Auto-Renewals for Membership Sites</h2> <p>One of my biggest pet peeves about membership sites is their auto-renewal policies, many of which require you to return in a certain amount of days to cancel the service &mdash; especially if you're taking advantage of a promo &mdash; or else you're charged a premium.</p> <p>The other scenario is that auto-renewal occurs a year later &mdash; which, granted, is generally preceded by an email warning &mdash; but if you miss it or you're just not expecting it, it can throw your budget out of whack in a flash. As a general rule, I steer clear of auto-renewal options so I don't have to deal with the hassle. Plus, you might not even be interested in whatever it is you're subscribing to a year later, which also is something to consider before signing up long-term.</p> <h2>11. Online Price Discrimination</h2> <p>Did you know that you may be paying more for virtually everything you're buying online based on your location? It's true, and Karen Mesoznik, inbound marketing manager for SaferVPN, claims that you can keep your budget in the black by being just a little more Internet savvy.</p> <p>&quot;One silent budget killer many people don't notice is <a href="https://www.safervpn.com/blog/save-money-on-flight-tickets-vpn/">online price discrimination</a>,&quot; she reveals. &quot;When you browse online, your IP address is your unique identifier, revealing your geo-location. What many online consumers don't realize is that airlines, rental car services, software providers and streaming subscriptions charge different prices according to the information they receive from an IP address. Price discrimination can be avoided by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to change your IP address to match that of another country where the cost of services is lower. For instance, booking a flight from Brazil could cost hundreds of dollars less than booking it from the U.S.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some of the silent budget killers that you've noticed lately? I'd love to hear a few of yours in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice">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-fun-facts-about-valentines-day-spending">12 Fun Facts About Valentine&#039;s Day Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</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-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</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/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting budgets money money wasters Spending Money Fri, 01 Jan 2016 16:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1630229 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Stop Your Spouse From Overspending http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_saved_piggy_banks_000055929726.jpg" alt="Learning how to keep your spouse from overspending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spouses aren't always honest with each other when it comes to money. A study released earlier this year by CreditCards.com found that nearly one in five U.S. consumers have hidden purchases of $500 or more from their live-in partners or spouses. The same study found that nearly 7.2 million people have hidden a bank or credit card account from their spouse or partner.</p> <p>It's no surprise, then, that partners often butt heads over spending decisions. One partner wants to save. The other likes to spend, and will spend enough each month to break the household budget, often hiding these purchases until they show up on next month's credit card statement.</p> <p>What if you are the financially responsible partner in a relationship? Is there anything you can do to stop your partner from blowing your household savings on video games, clothes, or expensive electronics?</p> <p>There might be. Changing a partner's bad spending habits requires plenty of work and even more communication. To start, check out these four tips for changing your partner's free-spending ways.</p> <h2>Set a Regular Money Meeting</h2> <p>Robert Stammers, director of investor education at the CFA Institute &mdash; a trade association serving investment professionals &mdash; says that couples need to be willing to talk about money. Unfortunately, too many couples never hold these financial talks.</p> <p>This isn't surprising: Money often scares couples. A survey released in early 2015 by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 47% of couples say that money disagreements are the most common <a href="https://www.nfcc.org/press/multimedia/news-releases/january-nfcc-survey-reveals-top-financial-relationship-stressors/">cause of stress</a> in their relationships.</p> <p>But not talking about money as a way to avoid these disagreements is a mistake. A partner who overspends needs to realize the consequences of this behavior. That can't happen if partners never talk about money. Stammers recommends that couples set a regular meeting date &mdash; maybe once a month &mdash; to talk about money issues.</p> <p>&quot;No two people have the same ideas and philosophy about money and investing, so it is important to determine upfront what is important to the both of you,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>Set Aside Some Fun Money</h2> <p>Creating a separate bank account for fun money might be a solution, says Kelley Long, resident financial planner for El Segundo, California's Financial Finesse, and a spokesperson for the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.</p> <p>This account will give the overspending partner a bit of financial freedom, and might prevent this spouse from breaking into a couple's main account set aside for paying the mortgage, car payment, and other bills, Long claims.</p> <p>&quot;This money can be spent without restriction or comment,&quot; Long says. &quot;When the money in the account is gone, the spender has to wait until the next payday to spend again.&quot;</p> <p>If the overspending partner raids other accounts after cleaning out the &quot;fun money&quot; account? Then a relationship has more serious trust issues that must be addressed, Long says.</p> <h2>Don't Let the Money Come Home</h2> <p>Michael Chadwick, chief executive officer of Unionville, Connecticut-based Chadwick Financial Advisors, has a more practical solution: Send more of the money you're earning into a retirement account and less of it into your savings account. Your overspending spouse can't spend the money you've stashed in a 401(k) account.</p> <h2>Let the Spender Take Control &mdash; For a Month</h2> <p>It may be counterintuitive, but it might help to have your free-spending partner pay the bills and manage the budget for at least a month. As Chadwick says, this might provide your partner with some insight into why wasting money on unnecessary purchases is such a problem.</p> <p>If none of these tips work? Your overspending partner might have a more serious issue, one that perhaps only counseling can solve, Chadwick says. &quot;Spending and shopping when out of control are no different than smoking, drugs, or alcohol.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you and your spouse or partner manage money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-stop-your-spouse-from-overspending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</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/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</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-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</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-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-when-its-okay-to-take-a-loan">6 Times When It&#039;s Okay to Take a Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Family couples finances marriage Spending Money Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:00:28 +0000 Dan Rafter 1399139 at http://www.wisebread.com