Spending Money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13068/all en-US 23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too) http://www.wisebread.com/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/portrait_of_woman_carrying_vegetables_in_crate_at_farm.jpg" alt="Portrait of woman carrying vegetables in crate at farm" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Believe it or not, going green and saving money often directly align, since consuming fewer resources results in less pollution and costs less, as well. Here are a few ways to help the earth by spending less &mdash; or even by spending nothing! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Green Living Habits That'll Save You Every Month</a>)</p> <h2>1. Eat less meat</h2> <p>Eat less red meat and move down the food chain for cheaper food and less environmental impact. You could also incorporate a meat-free day of the week to scale back on meat consumption, while also helping the environment and spending less on groceries. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso" target="_blank">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy (or Lazy) Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>2. Fight food waste</h2> <p>The best way to spend less on food is to throw less food away. Shop carefully to avoid overbuying, and preserve excess food items to reduce food waste going to the landfill.</p> <h2>3. Drink tap water</h2> <p>Infrastructure is already in place to provide drinking water to your home, so why pay extra to have drinking water bottled and shipped hundreds of miles or more? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a>)</p> <h2>4. Resist fast food</h2> <p>Cut down on fast food with its wrappers, bags, boxes, disposable cups, and plastic straws. You'll keep waste out of the landfill and save money, too.</p> <h2>5. Catch water with a rain barrel</h2> <p>Use a <a href="http://amzn.to/2frw4yo" target="_blank">rain barrel</a> to provide water for your plants with no chlorine or other added chemicals. This saves the energy of pumping water out of the ground, and you'll save on your water bill.</p> <h2>6. Create a no-mow zone</h2> <p>Consider creating a natural space in your yard that does not require mowing. This will save time and energy mowing, and provides a habitat for wildlife in your yard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Turn Your Backyard Into a Wildlife Refuge for Under $40</a>)</p> <h2>7. Drive a gas-sipper, not a gas-guzzler</h2> <p>Get the most fuel-efficient car that meets your daily needs. If you occasionally need more capacity, you can borrow or even rent a vehicle and still come out ahead. You'll spend less on gas every day and add less pollution to the air.</p> <h2>8. Air up your car tires</h2> <p>Keeping your tires fully inflated is the easiest thing you can do to improve your fuel economy. Air up your tires for a couple quarters at the gas station to save money &mdash; and gas &mdash; every time you drive.</p> <h2>9. Walk whenever possible</h2> <p>Everyone knows you can save money and burn less gas by walking or riding a bike instead of driving. If this is not feasible, try to combine trips to reduce how much driving you need to do.</p> <h2>10. Use public transit or carpool</h2> <p>You may be able to have someone else drive you to work, freeing up some time to read and relax on the ride while saving gas, too. If you do not have convenient mass transit in your area, see if your employer has organized a carpool, or start your own.</p> <h2>11. Send email, not snail mail</h2> <p>Use email rather than snail mail for letters, paying bills, and sending greeting cards to reduce the carbon footprint from trucking mail around. Plus, you can also save money on postage.</p> <h2>12. Avoid gratuitous tech upgrades</h2> <p>It takes a lot of resources and energy to produce a technology device. Before you get rid of your current device and pay extra get the new model, consider whether the upgrade is really worthwhile.</p> <h2>13. Use rechargeable batteries</h2> <p>If you find yourself throwing away a lot of batteries, pick up some <a href="http://amzn.to/2wsaON1" target="_blank">rechargeable batteries</a> you'll save money and reduce waste from spent batteries going to the landfill.</p> <h2>14. Resist Ctrl+P</h2> <p>Work to reduce the amount of printouts and paper copies of documents you make. Save paper, ink, toner, space, and money but cutting back on printing.</p> <h2>15. Reduce A/C and heating</h2> <p>In summer, turn off the A/C and open the windows (and maybe turn on a fan). In the winter, turn down the heat and put on a sweater. You'll end up saving fossil fuel and money.</p> <h2>16. Replace furnace filters</h2> <p>Regularly replace your furnace filter with a clean one so your heating and cooling system runs at higher efficiency, saving money and energy.</p> <h2>17. Reduce wasted electricity</h2> <p>Turn off unused lights and unplug appliances when you're done using them to reduce your electric bill and your demand for electric energy production.</p> <h2>18. Dry clothes on a clothesline</h2> <p>Use free solar power in your yard to dry clothes on a clothesline. Save money, electricity, and wear-and-tear on your clothes dryer.</p> <h2>19. Use LED bulbs</h2> <p>An easy green upgrade is to replace your incandescent light bulbs with <a href="http://amzn.to/2vNBA5l" target="_blank">LED light bulbs</a>. This will save you money on your electric bill and reduce your energy consumption to light your home.</p> <h2>20. Reduce disposable products</h2> <p>After realizing how many plastic spoons and forks I was throwing away at lunch, I took a set of silverware from home to work and use it every day. Try to identify disposable products you are using and replace them with reusable products instead.</p> <h2>21. Buy stuff that lasts longer</h2> <p>The initial cost of higher quality products may be higher, but the overall cost of ownership is lower over the life of the product. Longer-lasting products are greener than products that need to be replaced after a short life, as it requires less resources to meet a lower product demand.</p> <h2>22. Just say 'no' to excessive packaging</h2> <p>Choose products that minimize packaging, and therefore waste. For example, use refillable dispensers for items such as hand soap and laundry soap that you can replenish from an efficient bulk container. The bulk supply is often cheaper than buying a new dispenser each time, too.</p> <h2>23. Use reusable shopping bags</h2> <p>Paper or plastic? How about neither! Some stores offer a discount if you bring your own shopping bag. For example, a local store near me offers 10 cents per bag discount, or you can donate it to charity. Plus, I find that my <a href="http://amzn.to/2vCY2xq" target="_blank">reusable bags</a> are sturdier and better protect my items than disposable plastic bags.</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/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">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/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</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-128-creative-ways-to-upcycle-your-trash">Flashback Friday: 128 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Green Living buy used go green green lifestyle pollution recycle reduce reduce waste reuse saving money Spending Money Fri, 11 Aug 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2000692 at http://www.wisebread.com How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-658617512.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've been living on a tight budget for a while now, you know it's not all fun and games. Sometimes you don't want to compare prices &mdash; you just want to buy the groceries you need. But frugality is worth the effort, not only because it leads to greater financial freedom, but also because, in many ways, it contributes to a fuller, more creative, and more satisfying life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-today-to-be-happy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Happy</a>)</p> <h2>You choose experiences over things</h2> <p>When you're trying to rein in your spending, you know that going for a hike, enjoying the sunset, listening to music, or playing games can provide just as much fun as shopping and spending money. Experiences provide joy and satisfaction through memories, and over time those memories keep boosting our happiness.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the new wears off on those new possessions, and as objects become familiar, they provide us with less satisfaction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons You Should Splurge on Experiences, Not Things</a>)</p> <h2>You emphasize quality over quantity</h2> <p>There's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap" target="_blank">frugal, and then there's cheap</a>. Frugality emphasizes not buying stuff you don't need, but also getting the most for each dollar you do spend. Cheap items may cost less, initially, but they wear out and need to be replaced sooner.</p> <p>Another great aspect of prioritizing quality over quantity on a tight budget is that you prevent more clutter from accumulating. Clutter is stressful, and gets in the way of you having a clean, peaceful home. Who needs that?</p> <h2>You focus on relationships</h2> <p>A limited budget means you won't be able to splurge on expensive hobbies and other pricey forms of entertainment. Instead, you're more likely to invest your time in relationships. You could volunteer at a community garden, make art with your friends, explore your local parks, or host potluck dinners. And in focusing on community rather than cash, you're creating a more full and satisfying life. When we have an extended network of friends in place, they help us manage crisis and change. With friends by your side to help you move, adjust to being a parent, or recover from an illness, you're better off in every possible way.</p> <h2>You increase your creativity</h2> <p>When you have an endless supply of funds, you can just throw money at a problem and not give it a second thought. But when you live on a budget, you need to get strategic and creative about how to make day-to-day life run smoothly. If you've ever had to come up with a weekly meal plan for four on a budget of $100, you know how to get creative. If you've had to DIY the solution to some household problem because you couldn't afford to hire a pro, you've learned to problem-solve. If you've learned to borrow and barter instead of buy, you know how to negotiate and use connections.</p> <p>It's the restrictiveness of a small budget that induces creativity. Creativity thrives on boundaries. By giving yourself financial boundaries, you've enhanced your own creativity. And the more you use it, the more it grows.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Living%2520on%2520a%2520Tight%2520Budget%2520Makes%2520You%2520Happier.jpg&amp;description=How%20Living%20on%20a%20Tight%20Budget%20Makes%20You%20Happier"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Living%20on%20a%20Tight%20Budget%20Makes%20You%20Happier.jpg" alt="How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs 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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</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-lessons-on-how-to-be-a-financial-grownup-from-bobbi-rebell">6 Lessons on How to Be a Financial Grownup From Bobbi Rebell</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting happier happiness tips happy life mental bias saving money Spending Money tight budget Mon, 31 Jul 2017 08:00:04 +0000 Annie Mueller 1992321 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do When You've Blown Your Budget for the Month http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-youve-blown-your-budget-for-the-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-when-youve-blown-your-budget-for-the-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/budget_jar.jpg" alt="Budget jar" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're a week into a new month, and you take a look at your bank account &mdash; only to find it dangerously low. You've spent way more than you had budgeted for way too early.</p> <p>Overspending happens. Sometimes it's planned (like for a vacation), but other times things get out of control, emergencies occur, or you end up in situations where spending money legitimately seems like the best way out.</p> <p>No matter the reason for your blown up budget, there are steps you can take to limit and mitigate the damage.</p> <h2>Assess the situation</h2> <p>Start by being completely honest with yourself about the situation. Determine what caused it, how much responsibility you bear, and whether it's going to be ongoing. For instance, a medical emergency could be over after a couple of days, or it could be something that you're going to need to budget for into the future.</p> <p>If the budget blowout is your fault, admit your mistake. It helps to tell someone, whether it's your spouse, a good friend, or someone else you're close to. This makes it real, and it also means you'll have someone to keep you accountable.</p> <p>If the issue was beyond your control, let yourself off the hook for any guilt. Emergencies happen. Simply focus on trying to bounce back and don't stew over the situation.</p> <p>You also need to determine how you will be affected financially for the rest of the month. Do you have the money to cover your bills and expenses, or is this going to leave you totally strapped for cash? You can't bounce back until you know exactly where you stand.</p> <h2>Tap your emergency fund</h2> <p>While it's best to save an emergency fund for a true emergency, like a medical crisis or an essential car repair, you may need to use it to bail yourself out of a tough financial spot.</p> <p>The key to using an emergency fund, though, is to replenish it afterward. If you overspent and it saved you, you need to start putting money back into it the following month. As long as you make sure you are doing this regularly, you will be more likely to have that financial cushion again when you need it.</p> <h2>Cut your losses</h2> <p>Stop spending wherever you can. No matter your situation, there are things you can do to spend less. Cut out restaurant and takeout meals and prep your own food at home. Pack a lunch to work. See if you can walk, bike, or even carpool to the office or out on errands. Don't spend money on anything that isn't an absolute necessity.</p> <p>If you are in a budget hole of your own doing, this is the time to get strict with yourself. Maybe you need to spend a week of evenings at home instead of out with friends. Maybe you can invite them over instead of going out. Or, maybe you need to face your shopping addiction, and learn to cope with negative feelings in other ways.</p> <p>No matter where you are and what is going on, the first thing you need to do is stem the outflow of money.</p> <h2>Make a plan</h2> <p>Once you know how you're going to stop the bleeding, it's time to make a plan for how you're going to cover your expenses and pay off any debt that has accrued.</p> <p>If you're in the middle of a crisis, this may not be something you're able to do until later. If you can sit down and assess your finances, though, you will probably be better off. Grief and pain can be overwhelming, however, so if the best you can do is put things on a low-interest credit card until you can deal with them later, that's an acceptable temporary move. Just be sure to make paying off that credit card balance a priority once you're back on your feet.</p> <p>Note that you may need to revamp your budget for a while to accommodate extra credit card payments or reestablish your emergency fund. You may even have to cut your spending for a few months into the future. Knowing this ahead of time can make those months less of a financial struggle.</p> <p>This is also the time to look beyond the surface at what caused this crisis and determine whether you can do anything to keep it from happening again. Do you need a larger emergency fund? Do you need to cultivate more discipline with money? Do you need to talk to a therapist about how you feel when you spend? Make a plan not only to cover the amount you spent, but to keep yourself from similar situations in the future.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-do-when-youve-blown-your-budget-for-the-month&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520to%2520Do%2520When%2520Youve%2520Blown%2520Your%2520Budget%2520for%2520the%2520Month.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Do%20When%20Youve%20Blown%20Your%20Budget%20for%20the%20Month"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Do%20When%20Youve%20Blown%20Your%20Budget%20for%20the%20Month.jpg" alt="What to Do When You've Blown Your Budget for the Month" width="250" height="374" /></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/what-to-do-when-youve-blown-your-budget-for-the-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</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-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-still-stuck-in-a-financial-hole">8 Reasons You&#039;re Still Stuck in a Financial Hole</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Crisis emergencies emergency funds overspending ruined budget running out of money Spending Money Thu, 27 Jul 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1990723 at http://www.wisebread.com It's Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_516174758.jpg" alt="Woman dropping rules of money etiquette" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Good manners are important to me. Over the years, I have made a habit of reading Miss Manners, Emily Post, Letitia Baldridge, and other etiquette experts to make sure my politeness game is on point. But as committed as I am to the many etiquette rules that help to make life more considerate, there are some rules that should be retired.</p> <p>Specifically, money etiquette rules have not necessarily kept up with the changing economic times. The following six rules now cause more social awkwardness and embarrassment than they prevent &mdash; and that's why it's time to drop them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-rules-of-etiquette-we-wish-were-still-around-today?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Rules of Etiquette We Wish Were Still Around Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. The man pays for the first date</h2> <p>The standard of a man paying for a first date is based on the assumption that he's the higher earner. But that's hardly the case in the modern world. Today's romantic pairings very likely include women who far outearn their dates &mdash; not to mention the fact that this old-timey rule excludes same-sex couples.</p> <p>A better rule, and one that Miss Manners has always promoted, is for the person who issues the invitation to pay for the outing. That being said, the invitee should always be prepared to pay for him or herself, just in case.</p> <h2>2. Salary discussions are always off limits</h2> <p>While it will never be considered polite to straight-up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-questions-you-never-have-to-answer" target="_blank">ask someone how much they make</a>, the limitation on salary discussions does need to be lifted. For one thing, not discussing compensation has helped to entrench the gender wage gap. You might recall <a href="http://us11.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a5b04a26aae05a24bc4efb63e&amp;id=64e6f35176&amp;e=1ba99d671e#wage" target="_blank">Jennifer Lawrence's essay</a> on Lenny Letter about how shocked she was to discover that her male co-stars in the movie <em>American Hustle</em> made significantly more than she did. The only reason she was aware of the pay discrepancy was because of the Sony email hack.</p> <p>But there is more at stake than just the gender wage gap. When you don't know what other people with commensurate skills and experience are paid, then your employer always has the upper hand in salary negotiations. This is called &quot;information asymmetry,&quot; wherein one party in a transaction has more information than the other. The only way to tilt hiring and salary negotiations in your favor is to talk openly about salary with your colleagues and friends.</p> <p>That being said, it's still a tough topic to bring up. The best way to go about it is to ask a trusted colleague if you can talk about money, and be willing to take no for answer.</p> <h2>3. The bride's family pays for the wedding and the groom's family pays for the rehearsal dinner</h2> <p>This rule is a holdover from when financially dependent brides went directly from their parents' home to their new married life, and the tradition has even older and more offensive roots. Back in the day, a bride's family would pay a dowry to the groom in order to compensate him for taking over financial responsibility for their daughter.</p> <p>While the origins of the tradition that the groom's family will pay for the rehearsal dinner are not as clear, the upshot of this rule was that it gave the new husband's parents an opportunity to host a portion of the wedding celebration.</p> <p>For both of these rules, the assumption was that the parents of the bride and groom &mdash; rather than the new couple themselves &mdash; are hosting the wedding.</p> <p>A better rule would be for couples to plan on paying for their own nuptials rather than assuming their parents will cover the costs. This way, any parental offers of money to go toward the wedding can be treated as a gift rather than an obligation. This will prevent any unpleasant surprises if the couple's expectations don't match their parents' financial abilities (and vice versa), and can ensure that the couple gets the wedding they want.</p> <h2>4. Parents pay for family dinners out</h2> <p>When adult children go out to dinner with their parents, there's an expectation that the parents will pick up the check. This etiquette rule seems to reflect habit rather than true politeness, and it's a habit you should grow out of as your parents age. Adult children in the thick of their careers are likely to have more disposable income than retired parents on fixed incomes, and you should keep this in mind rather than simply assuming that your parents will always pay.</p> <p>However, changing this dynamic can be a little tough, even if you make it clear ahead of time that you're inviting your parents out to eat and that it will be your treat. A good way to make sure there's no scuffle over the bill is to let your waiter know ahead of time that you're paying. You can get up just before dessert and hand over your credit card so the meal is truly your treat.</p> <h2>5. Tip waiters 15 percent for normal service, 20 percent for exceptional service</h2> <p>The 15 percent tip was the gold standard for dining out through much of my childhood and young adulthood. I was taught to calculate my tip as 15 percent of the pretax amount of my food. This rule most definitely needs to change because the federal minimum wage for tipped employees has been stuck at $2.13 per hour since 1991.</p> <p>While your server's hourly wage may be higher depending on where you live, since different states have <a href="https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm" target="_blank">different minimum wage regulations</a>, the bottom line is that wait staff <em>depend upon tips to make a living</em>. Continuing to tip 15 percent on your pretax bill could make a big, negative difference on your server's finances.</p> <p>These days, tipping 20 percent on your whole bill (after tax) for normal service is a better rule of thumb. You can always up your tip to 25 percent or more if the service is extraordinary.</p> <h2>6. Don't mention gifts on an invitation</h2> <p>One of the diciest etiquette land mines has to do with the expectation of gifts for weddings and birthdays. The old rules require you to say nothing about gifts, other than profuse thanks for any that are given. According to these rules, guests can ask about what the birthday child or bridal couple or expectant parents would like when they RSVP for the event.</p> <p>Miss Manners has expressed her horror at both the proliferation of gift registries and the inclusion of the words &quot;no gifts, please&quot; on an invitation. According to her, a gift should be an expression of affection from the giver to the recipient, and any mention of gifts on an invitation sullies the joy of gift-giving.</p> <p>While disdain for clear gift-grabs is absolutely warranted &mdash; no one wants to feel like they have only been invited to a party to increase the number of presents &mdash; the hard-and-fast rule of no mentions of gifts on invitations has become outdated.</p> <p>In general, most wedding guests want to have some idea of what the bride and groom would like or need, and most parents of birthday-party-aged children would like to turn off the onslaught of stuff that accompanies a modern childhood. Bridal (and baby) registries make life much easier for friends and family who would not otherwise know what to give. Spelling out these expectations helps diminish confusion, resentment, and waste at gift-giving occasions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fits-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FIts%2520Time%2520to%2520Drop%2520These%25206%2520Rules%2520of%2520Money%2520Etiquette.jpg&amp;description=Its%20Time%20to%20Drop%20These%206%20Rules%20of%20Money%20Etiquette"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Its%20Time%20to%20Drop%20These%206%20Rules%20of%20Money%20Etiquette.jpg" alt="It's Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette" width="250" height="374" /></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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">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-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</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/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching 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/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</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-moves-to-avoid-on-the-first-date">6 Terrible Money Moves to Avoid on the First Date</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-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage">4 Ways Millennials Are Changing Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle budgeting etiquette money etiquette money rules saving money Spending Money Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:00:17 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1986887 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/she_has_too_much_work_recently.jpg" alt="She has too much work recently" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you were in jail and you had a parole hearing coming up, would you rather have it in the morning or the afternoon? It doesn't really matter as long as you present a good case, right? As it turns out, the timing of your hearing matters quite a bit.</p> <p>A study conducted by the Department of Management at Ben Gurion University showed that the number of decisions a judge has had to make in a row, and how long it's been since he's eaten, drastically affects the outcomes of these hearings. The <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/108/17/6889.full.pdf" target="_blank">more decisions that a judge makes consecutively</a>, the less of a chance a prisoner may have of going free. (So if you ever have to schedule your parole hearing, try for one of the first slots in the morning or right after lunch!)</p> <p>This phenomenon doesn't just apply to judges, though. We all tend to suffer from <em>decision fatigue</em>, and when we do, it can lead us to bad choices.</p> <h2>What is decision fatigue, exactly?</h2> <p>Decision fatigue is what happens to all of us when we have to make too many choices in a row. When we have too many individual choices, or a few choices with too many options, we get tired and we stop choosing based on our values, our logic, and our best selves. Instead, we begin to choose anything just to get the choice made.</p> <h2>How it affects your money</h2> <p>Decision fatigue can affect everything, including your money. I have a friend who always tells stories about making choices for her new home. She and her husband were building, so they went to the design center to select flooring, cabinets, add-ons, and other things. They had a limited budget, so they went in with a list of what they wanted, hoping it would keep them on track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a>)</p> <p>The way she tells it, everything went well until they got to the flooring, because with flooring, there were a million options. First they had to choose where they wanted carpet. Then they had to choose what kind of carpet they wanted. For the rest of the house, they had to choose between wood, laminate, and other materials. And then they had to look at samples. She talks about how inundated they were with samples and information, and how eventually they looked at each other and just chose something, anything, to make the situation better. They blew through their budget because they were tired and overwhelmed from all of the decisions.</p> <p>Even if your story isn't as drastic as that, you can probably think of a time when you bought something just so you didn't have to think about it anymore. So often, throwing money at a situation makes it go away, even if we regret it later. This isn't usually good for your budget, though. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>How to fight it</h2> <p>So what can we do? How can we mitigate the effects of decision fatigue?</p> <h3>Take choice out of the equation</h3> <p>Whenever possible, eliminate superfluous choices from your life. Maybe this means having a simple wardrobe, eating the same thing for breakfast every morning, or always renting the same model car when you go out of town for business.</p> <p>Because we live in a world with so many choices, taking the ones that don't matter out of the equation will leave us more energy for the ones that are more important to us, or that we can't remove.</p> <h3>Become aware</h3> <p>So often, it helps just to know what is happening and why. When you come to understand decision fatigue and see how it's affecting your life, you'll be in a better place to combat it. This can take some time, especially if you haven't thought about the phenomenon and how it intersects with your life before. But be patient, and pay attention.</p> <h3>Make important choices first</h3> <p>You can lower the impact that decision fatigue has on your life by making your important decisions first thing in the morning, before fatigue has time to set in. This means that you have to decide what is important and organize your life so that you face those decisions first.</p> <p>This might mean exercising early in the morning, or setting up your business meetings so they are as early as possible. Basically, it means looking at what is important to you and prioritizing that when it comes to your time and decision-making energy.</p> <h3>Flip a coin</h3> <p>Let chance make some of your decisions for you (obviously ones that aren't terribly important) and save your decision-making prowess for the things that really matter.</p> <h3>Make some things nonnegotiable</h3> <p>When something is nonnegotiable, you don't have to think about it because the decision is already made. The more things you can make like this in your life, the better you will be at living according to your values. So that 5 a.m. workout? Not even a choice.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520How%2520Too%2520Many%2520Decisions%2520Costs%2520You%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=Heres%20How%20Too%20Many%20Decisions%20Costs%20You%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20How%20Too%20Many%20Decisions%20Costs%20You%20Money.jpg" alt="Here's How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money" width="250" height="374" /></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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</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-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You 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/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping decision fatigue mental bias saving money shopping shopping habits Spending Money Thu, 13 Jul 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1983091 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Good Financial Deeds that Can Backfire http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/silly_young_woman_slapping_hand_on_head_having_duh_moment.jpg" alt="Silly young woman, slapping hand on head having duh moment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The saying goes that no good deed goes unpunished. Perhaps there are actually some good deeds that don't backfire, but there are many financial good deeds that can come back to haunt a generous soul if they're not careful. These favors can cost you more money than you expected, or hurt your credit. Before you embark on an expedition of financial kindness, consider these examples of good deeds that can backfire.</p> <h2>1. Co-signing a lease or loan</h2> <p>You may hope to do a friend or family member a favor by helping them buy a new car or land a new apartment. But even if you are assisting someone you know and trust, you are putting your own finances at risk. If the other person fails to make a loan payment or doesn't pay the rent, you will be on the hook for whatever is owed. If you can't make the payments, it will show up on your credit report and hurt your credit score. Even if the other party pays on time, you are increasing your debt-to-income ratio by being a co-signer to any loans, and that can hurt your own ability to get a loan.</p> <p>If you feel strongly about helping someone out with a lease or loan, it's better to protect your own credit by making them a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-16-cardinal-rules-of-loaning-money-to-friends-and-family" target="_blank">personal loan</a>, preferably one that won't sink you financially if they don't pay you back.</p> <h2>2. Adding an authorized user to your credit card</h2> <p>It's hard to build credit when you're first starting out. That's why some parents choose to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-add-your-teen-as-an-authorized-user-on-your-credit-card" target="_blank">make their child an authorized user</a> on their credit card. This is often a great way for your teen to start building credit.</p> <p>But there are right and wrong ways to do it. This strategy can backfire financially, especially if you're not keeping an eye on their spending. Missed payments and high debt levels could impact <em>both </em>of your credit scores.</p> <p>It's best to add your child as an authorized user only if you can closely track their spending. Once they've established that they can be financially responsible, let them get their own credit card if they qualify for one.</p> <h2>3. Donating to a bad charity</h2> <p>It's unfortunate, but every once in awhile you'll hear a story about a nonprofit group that either failed to live up to its mission or was a complete scam from the start. Hopefully, if you've donated to a bad charity, you've walked away with nothing more than a few lost dollars. But in a worst-case scenario, you may have unwittingly contributed to illegal activity.</p> <p>Before you donate to a charity, take some time to research the organization. Read their annual report and any public financial documents. Ask for their tax ID number and tax forms. Giving money is great, but it's worth taking the time to make sure it's going to a good and honest cause.</p> <h2>4. Lending money to your kids</h2> <p>There's nothing philosophically wrong with helping your kids out with money if you're in a position to do so. But if you're constantly giving them money or bailing them out of situations, you may be throwing good money after bad. Moreover, you're failing to teach them how to be financially responsible on their own.</p> <p>Even young children should learn the basics of budgeting and saving, and the consequences that come from, say, spending all their allowance on candy and then not having enough money to go to the movies with their friends. Teens should be encouraged to get part-time jobs if possible to help pay for vehicles or college. These lessons give them the skills to be financially independent, making them much better off financially in the long run than if you simply give them cash whenever they need it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a>)</p> <h2>5. Paying for your kid's college</h2> <p>With college costs rising to outlandish heights, many parents are making an effort to save for all or part of a child's education. This is a generous deed that could result in a child avoiding costly student loans.</p> <p>It's important, however, to avoid taking away too much from your own savings goals. If you save for your children's college education instead of saving for your own retirement, this may impact the lifestyle you can afford after you stop working. It's always possible to borrow for college, if necessary. But no one's handing out loans to cover your 30-plus years of retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>6. Socially responsible investing</h2> <p>There are many investors who want to make money in the stock market but don't want to go against some of their core beliefs. They may choose not to invest in energy companies that have gotten in trouble for polluting, for example. Or they stay away from investing in casinos for religious reasons. There's nothing wrong with this, and it's definitely possible to invest well without violating your principles.</p> <p>But it's important to know how these choices impact your investment returns. For one thing, there are many well-performing stocks that you may find objectionable, so you need to be comfortable with the notion of giving up some potentially big returns. It's also not easy to find an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds" target="_blank">index fund</a> (an often-recommended type of fund that mirrors a particular stock index or market segment) that doesn't own shares of at least one company you might object to, though socially responsible index funds have become more plentiful. Just make your decision to abstain from certain investments with full knowledge of how it might cost you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Good%2520Financial%2520Deeds%2520that%2520Can%2520Backfire%2520%25281%2529.jpg&amp;description=6%20Good%20Financial%20Deeds%20that%20Can%20Backfire"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Good%20Financial%20Deeds%20that%20Can%20Backfire%20%281%29.jpg" alt="6 Good Financial Deeds that Can Backfire" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire">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/8-reasons-youre-still-stuck-in-a-financial-hole">8 Reasons You&#039;re Still Stuck in a Financial Hole</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/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</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/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</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/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance college gifts good deeds loans saving money socially responsible investing Spending Money Thu, 06 Jul 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1977971 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Items You Should Never Buy Online http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/problems_buying_online_with_credit_card.jpg" alt="Problems buying online with credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Online shopping makes life easier. There's no doubt about that. But what about when it doesn't? Depending on the retailer, returns can be a huge hassle, and some make it difficult for you to prove that an item was received in poor condition or wasn't what you ordered.</p> <p>With most purchases, the reward outweighs the risk. However, when online shopping, just because you can buy an item without leaving your home, doesn't mean you should. Here are a few things that aren't worth buying online.</p> <h2>1. Cars</h2> <p>There's no way to tell if a car, or any vehicle, actually works unless you drive it. Since you can't test drive a vehicle online, purchasing that way is risky. Also, most used car-buying advice tells you to have a mechanic look at the car before you buy it. There's no way you can do that without having access to the car in-person.</p> <p>Besides, what's more fun than a test drive? How else will you know that you enjoy driving the car, that it is comfortable, and has the features you want? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-can-score-a-great-deal-on-a-new-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times You Can Score a Great Deal on a New Car</a>)</p> <h2>2. Pets</h2> <p>With all of the places out there that treat animals terribly &mdash; think puppy mills and unlicensed breeders &mdash; buying online is a huge gamble. After all, if you don't see where the animals were raised and get a clue as to how they were cared for, your sweet ball of fluff could arrive with a terrible and costly disease.</p> <p>Plus, meeting a pet in-person helps you determine if their personality is a good fit for you and your family. The only way to find out about that is to see the animal before you buy or adopt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-pets-for-frugal-animal-lovers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 8 Best Pets for Frugal Animal Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Real estate</h2> <p>Buying any sort of property should be done in-person, even if you have to travel to see it. Unless you view the property, you'll have no real idea of its condition. If you've seen any real estate photographs lately, you know that they can make a home or a piece of property look drastically better than it actually is.</p> <p>Looking at property in-person also gives you a much better idea of its size, shape, and suitability for your life than you'll get if you just look at it online.</p> <h2>4. Prescription medication</h2> <p>There are many reputable pharmacies that sell prescriptions at discounted rates, but there are also many that aren&rsquo;t. While these may make some effort to get you the right drug at the right time, you won't really know what you're getting. And you won't know if the place is inspected and regulated, either.</p> <p>The only exception to this would be purchasing from an online pharmacy that you have access to through your doctor or insurance company. These are much more likely to be reputable, because they have to prove themselves to get that sort of professional affiliation.</p> <h2>5. Name brand knockoffs</h2> <p>It's tempting to buy designer knockoffs online, but the truth is that it's not worth it. Many of the sites that sell these items are not secure, or are located in countries where online security, overall, is lax. You can never know what might happen to your credit card information once it's out there.</p> <h2>6. Large appliances</h2> <p>There are great deals on large appliances online, but what happens if it doesn't work out? They can be impossible to repackage, and then you have to arrange (and sometimes pay for!) the item to be picked up again. Besides, who can tell if the color is actually going to match and be perfect for your home unless you see the item in-person first. Save yourself a massive potential headache and buy these in the store. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-buying-refurbished-appliances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Refurbished Appliances</a>)</p> <h2>7. Furniture</h2> <p>This is similar to the discussion of large appliances, above. While it's possible to get a great deal on an item when you purchase online, the potential return process makes the whole thing less desirable.</p> <p>In addition, you need to make sure that your furniture is comfortable and that you like the materials. Unless you can sit on that couch or open and close the drawers on the dresser, you won't know that until the item is delivered.</p> <h2>8. Mattresses</h2> <p>There are some mattress companies that only sell online. While some people swear by these products, it seems dubious to me. After all, we spend about ⅓ of our lives asleep! You need to know that you'll be comfortable, and the best way to do that is to try out a mattress in a store, and then to check that it comes with a warranty. Most companies will take your mattress back for a certain number of days, so you can try it out first. If you do purchase a mattress online, confirm that it comes with a reasonable trial period.</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/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">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-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</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-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree">How to Prevent a Drunken Online Shopping Spree</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-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase</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/cheat-sheet-retail-markup-on-common-items">Cheat Sheet: Retail Markup on Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial">5 Things You Should Never Buy on Groupon or LivingSocial</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping internet scam never buy online online shopping shopping tips Shopping Tricks Spending Money Mon, 19 Jun 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1966172 at http://www.wisebread.com How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels? http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/aerial_view_of_house_with_solar_panels.jpg" alt="Aerial view of house with solar panels" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Solar power has advanced leaps and bounds over the past couple decades, and those grid panels that harness the power of the sun and turn it into energy are everywhere. It's not uncommon to find at least one house in your neighborhood that has panels covering every square inch of its roof.</p> <p>You may have also been approached by a solar company rep about outfitting your home with panels. (These guys and gals are almost as ubiquitous as the product they're selling.) And maybe you don't understand the mechanics of solar home power &mdash; or its benefit to your wallet &mdash; which may make you hesitant to explore the option.</p> <p>Well, you're not alone. Those of us who haven't adopted solar energy yet still have a lot of questions &mdash; namely, what's this going to cost? And when will I break even?</p> <h2>The cost of solar panels</h2> <p>First, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of just how much solar panels will set you back. It's not cheap to save the planet, even though the sun has been free of charge for billions of years.</p> <p>The easiest way to calculate the average cost of solar panels, according to New England-based solar marketing company EnergySage, is to look at its price in dollars per watt, and those numbers are fairly consistent across the country.</p> <p>This year, &quot;most homeowners are <a href="http://news.energysage.com/how-much-does-the-average-solar-panel-installation-cost-in-the-u-s/" target="_blank">paying between $2.87 and $3.85 per watt</a> to install solar, and the average gross cost of solar panels before tax credits is $16,800,&quot; says EnergySage's data. Figure in tax credits and the price comes down to $10,000 to $13,500, based on the average 5kW (5,000 watts) system that's typically installed in the United States. EnergySage also says these numbers are about 9 percent lower than last year, but recommends comparing prices quoted to other homeowners in your area.</p> <p>Now that we know how much the system will set us back, the next reasonable question is how long will it take to break even. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a>)</p> <h2>When you'll break even</h2> <p>Sarah Hancock is a digital marketing strategist who manages the solar coverage at BestCompany.com, an online review site that ranks companies in different industries. She says the amount of time it takes to break even depends on three main factors.</p> <h3>1. Current utility price</h3> <p>The higher the current electricity price is in your area, the more money you will save by going solar, which results in a faster break even time, Hancock says.</p> <p>&quot;For example, an individual who lives in California, where the price of electricity currently sits at about 17 cents per kilowatt-hour, will break even quicker than an individual who lives in Washington, where the electricity price is only 9 cents per kilowatt-hour, because the Californian will be saving more on his electricity bill each month,&quot; Hancock says.</p> <h3>2. Available incentives</h3> <p>These vary from state to state. There are a number of different incentives to take into consideration, including tax credits, rebates, performance payments, and tax exemptions. The more incentives available to you, the quicker your break-even time will be.</p> <p>&quot;One of those incentives is the 30 percent federal tax credit,&quot; says Andy Schell, marketing manager at Paradise Energy Solutions. &quot;This credit allows solar owners to recoup 30 percent of the project's cost. If you aren't able to recoup all 30 percent in year one, the remaining amount can be carried forward for 20 years until the full credit is expended. In addition, USDA grants and accelerated depreciation schedules are available for qualifying businesses and farms.&quot;</p> <p>This is a good resource to find <a href="https://bestcompany.com/solar/state/" target="_blank">solar-energy incentives available</a> in your state.</p> <h3>3. Method of payment</h3> <p>According to Hancock, you can purchase the panels outright, or get them on loan, lease, or PPA (power purchase agreement &mdash; which is a financial agreement that allows a developer to arrange the design, permits, financing, and installation of a solar energy system, and lasts anywhere from 10 to 25 years).</p> <p>However, there are fewer studies supporting the increased home value when you upgrade your home through a PPA or a lease. The reason is simple: With an upfront purchase or loan, the new buyer will not have to pay for any of the electricity produced by the panels because you would have already paid for it. With a PPA, the new buyer will still pay for electricity, simply at a lower rate than what other neighbors will pay to the utility company. Those agreements are easily transferable and can also be bought out by either seller or buyer if necessary.</p> <p>The payment method that will result in the quickest break-even time varies from state to state depending on the two other factors mentioned above &mdash; utility price and available incentives. If you live in a state with high electricity prices and several incentives, you will probably break even quicker with a loan because your energy savings will be higher than your loan payment. However, if you live in a state with low electricity prices and few incentives, you'll most likely break even faster with an outright purchase.</p> <p>&quot;To provide a general range,&quot; Hancock says, &quot;most individuals who go solar will break even in 15 to 25 years.&quot;</p> <h2>Leasing versus buying a solar system outright</h2> <p>&quot;We guide homeowners with what we've seen is the question that is most likely to help them decide what route to take: How much is your tax liability?&quot; says Julio Daniel Hernandez, a representative of renewable energy company EnLight.Energy.</p> <p>If your tax liability is big enough right now to able to take full advantage of the Federal and possible state tax incentives, he says, then you should take advantage of the available loans and tax credits. If you don't have the tax liability, then a PPA/Lease makes more sense. You'll get access to all of the energy your solar system can provide at a cheaper rate than your utility company (usually around 20% savings) and will not ever have to pay a dime out of pocket.</p> <p>As far as break-even calculations cost go, Hernandez's estimate is much more liberal than Hancock's.</p> <p>&quot;Break-even with a PPA/lease is zero because you don't pay anything; you just start saving right away similar to a third party electric company in a deregulated market,&quot; he says. &quot;If you buy a system, depending on the incentives available to you, break-even point should be around eight years or less.&quot;</p> <h2>How incentives and pricing have evolved</h2> <p>As an early adopter of solar power a decade ago, you would have made out like a bandit with incentives, but that's not the case now that so many people are switching over to the energy solution. But as with all technology, the longer it's been around, the cheaper it becomes on the front end.</p> <p>&quot;Unfortunately, there are fewer incentives available now than there were 10 years ago due to the increased popularity of solar power,&quot; explains Hancock. &quot;However, the good news is that the price of solar panels has dropped by more than 60 percent over the past 10 years. So, while fewer federal and state solar incentives are up for grabs, solar power is still more affordable than ever for consumers.&quot;</p> <h2>Is it a good investment?</h2> <p>In most states, solar power is a solid investment that will result in a significant return over the next 20 to 30 years.</p> <p>&quot;For example, an individual in California who purchases a solar system outright can probably expect to see a return between $30,000 and $40,000 over the next 25 years, while an individual in Washington could expect a return of about $10,000 for the same scenario,&quot; Hancock says.</p> <p>Although the dollar-for-dollar return isn't as high for the Washingtonian as it is for the Californian, both individuals are still saving money with solar power.</p> <p>Says Hernandez, &quot;Your home value is estimated to go up $15,000-plus by upgrading to solar energy. Some of this depends on the size of the system, but studies are showing that the bulk of the increase comes from simply putting panels on and then there's only a slight additional shift upward based on how big the system is.&quot;</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/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</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/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)</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/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</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/where-to-take-your-batteries-cfl-bulbs-and-other-hard-to-recycle-stuff">Where to Take Your Batteries, CFL Bulbs, and Other Hard-to-Recycle Stuff</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/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home energy bills energy costs green lifestyle living green saving money solar energy solar panels Spending Money Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1965204 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Terrible Money Moves to Avoid on the First Date http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-money-moves-to-avoid-on-the-first-date <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-terrible-money-moves-to-avoid-on-the-first-date" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_rejecting_a_geek_boy_in_a_blind_date.jpg" alt="Woman rejecting a geek boy in a blind date" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dating is tough, and first dates can be particularly awkward if you don't know anything about the other person. What you say and do can determine whether there's a second date, so it's important to present your best self. You shouldn't expect perfection, so don't stress too much about stumbling over your words or moments of silence. Chances are, these won't make or break the night. But you might shoot yourself in the foot if you make a few terrible money moves.</p> <p>Want to improve the odds of seeing this person again? Here are six money moves to avoid on the first date. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-a-first-date-without-looking-cheap?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Save on a First Date Without Looking Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>1. Announcing that you're splitting the check</h2> <p>If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: There's nothing wrong with going Dutch on a first date &mdash; just don't be a jerk about it. If you initiated the date, pick up the tab. Conversely, if the other person initiated the date, you can expect that they'll pick up the tab, but don't assume that's the case. Offer to pay half, and make your decision on whether you want to have a second date based on their willingness to accept your offer, or if they cover all of it.</p> <p>If the date was a mutual decision, make a good impression by offering to pay. If your date insists on paying half, there's nothing wrong with that, and nobody should get their feelings hurt about it. But don't force the issue or make your date feel uncomfortable. In fact, don't mention splitting the bill at all until they offer. It's just bad form. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-should-pay-for-the-first-date?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who Should Pay for the First Date?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Taking advantage of your date's generosity</h2> <p>If your date picks up the tab for the night, go easy on his or her pocket. There might be wiggle room in the budget for dinner, drinks, and maybe dessert, but this doesn't give you the green light to order the most expensive item on the menu or suggest costly activities that leave your date broke. Not to say you should only order a cheap salad and water, but be reasonable.</p> <h2>3. Overspending to impress your date</h2> <p>In an effort to impress your date, it's easy to go a little overboard to create a memorable night. You should have fun, but not at the expense of your bank account. Check your finances and determine how much you're able to spend for the night, and then recommend a restaurant or activities within your budget.</p> <p>You don't have to break the bank to impress the other person. If that&rsquo;s what it takes to guarantee a second date, this isn't the person for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Asking personal financial questions</h2> <p>If you have a firm grip on your personal finances, you will likely seek a partner with a similar financial mindset. It's important to have financial discussions with a significant other to avoid surprises down the road. But the first date isn't the time or the place to get into all that nitty-gritty. If anything, your date might consider personal financial questions intrusive, which sets a negative tone for the night.</p> <p>Likewise, if you pry or inquire about your date's income, this person might assume you have an ulterior motive. And if you ask about their debt or credit score, they might feel you're getting too close to soon, which can scare them away.</p> <p>Give it some time. Wait until you have mutual feelings for each other. Only then should you sit down and have an honest discussion about your financial lives so you can make the best decisions for yourselves moving forward.</p> <h2>5. Bragging about your salary</h2> <p>Not only should you avoid asking your date personal questions about their financial life, avoid sharing too much information about your financial life too soon. Maybe you're proud of your job, your accomplishments, and your strong financial background. Or maybe you feel dropping salary information will amaze the other person and keep them around. But bragging can be a turn off.</p> <p>If you spend the majority of the night patting yourself on the back and revealing how much you earn and/or spend, your date could conclude that your ego is too big and run for the hills, or only stick around because of what you bring financially to the table.</p> <p>It is common and acceptable to ask about occupations on a first date, but don't get into detail about salaries.</p> <h2>6. Airing your dirty laundry</h2> <p>Bringing up negative aspects of your financial life on a first date can be just as disastrous as bragging. Remember, the idea is to make a great impression, not come off as a liability. If you mention your poor credit history, excessive credit card debt, or poor financial outlook, yet your date has a tight handle on their finances, this person could make assumptions before getting to know you and presume you're irresponsible.</p> <p>You shouldn't hide these issues, but you should get to know each other before airing your dirty laundry.</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/6-terrible-money-moves-to-avoid-on-the-first-date">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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</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/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage">4 Ways Millennials Are Changing Marriage</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</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-it-pays-to-stay-single">6 Ways It Pays to Stay Single</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Dating etiquette first date money conversations money moves relationships Spending Money Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1964080 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Resist the Expensive "Once in a Lifetime" Mentality http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_having_fun_shopping.jpg" alt="Happy woman having fun shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I spent part of my junior year of college abroad. While I was there, I got a lot of emails from home asking me if I'd done this or that yet, and many of them ended with the reminder, &quot;You'll only get to do this once!&quot;</p> <p>While I did do some things that were out of the ordinary, I tried to keep myself in check. I knew I had a limited budget and that there'd be hell to pay if it ran out before I got home.</p> <p>As it turns out, this &quot;once in a lifetime&quot; mentality gets a lot of people in trouble. They spend too much, take on debt, end up with stuff they don't even want or need, and more. When we think that something only happens once in a lifetime (or, at least, very rarely), we feel like that alone justifies spending more money than we usually would.</p> <p>As my time in Europe shows, though, it's possible to curb this impulse and still have a memorable, meaningful time. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. You do you</h2> <p>Sure, you may only get to do something once in a lifetime, but that doesn't mean you have to say &quot;yes&quot; to every option. If you're planning a wedding and flowers are important to you, go all out. But if they aren't important to you, there are a million cheaper ways to decorate, and some of them may even reflect your personality better.</p> <p>Know yourself, and choose how to spend your money based on what you know and like. Put your money into things that will create the memories you want to have, and leave the rest behind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>2. Know your bottom line</h2> <p>Decide, preferably before you're in the middle of your once-in-a-lifetime event, exactly how much you are willing to spend. If you're going on a cruise, decide before you leave exactly how much you're willing to spend on excursions and souvenirs. Make sure you do your research before you decide how much you can spend in certain categories. This will help you keep your spending in check, because you'll know what is possible and what is way too far out of your budget.</p> <h2>3. Track your spending</h2> <p>I know, you're supposed to be having fun. But the truth is that you will have a better time knowing you're staying within your budget than you will if you're carrying around a nagging worry about money all the time.</p> <p>You can keep detailed records if you want to, but working with round numbers is OK, too. The idea is that looking at your receipts at the end of the day and adding them up will help you know where you stand with your budget. Sometimes, coming face-to-face with a big expenditure early in your trip or your event will help you to spend less later.</p> <h2>4. Remember why you're here</h2> <p>Keep in mind why you are participating in your once in a lifetime event, and why it's worth spending money on at all. If you're planning a wedding, remember how much you love your future spouse. If you're traveling, remember why travel is important to you and why you chose this trip in particular. Keeping your <em>why </em>in the forefront of your mind will help you make better choices with your money. You will be more likely to choose to spend on things that are important to you, and forget the rest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a>)</p> <h2>5. Put it in the budget</h2> <p>If you like spending a lot of money on once in a lifetime events and you don't want to stop, put that in your budget and set aside some money each month for it. That way, when something special does come along, you can follow the impulse to splurge without putting yourself deep in debt later.</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/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You 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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</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/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $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/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping mental biases once in a lifetime saving money Shopping Tricks Spending Money treat yourself Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1964079 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Prevent a Drunken Online Shopping Spree http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guy_at_home.jpg" alt="Guy at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It used to be that drinking and shopping took some effort on your part, since you had to get yourself to a brick-and-mortar store in order to actually make purchases. It wasn't really a situation many of us would find ourselves in. But online shopping has made it possible to shop while buzzed.</p> <p>Browsing Amazon or eBay after a night of drinking may not seem like a terrible habit to indulge in. You're safe at home, after all, and you can crash in bed after your wine and shopping binge &mdash; and there's always that hilarious moment several days later when your purchase finally arrives and you get to open the mystery box. But drunken shopping sprees aren't cheap. According to a Finder.com survey, the <a href="https://www.finder.com/how-much-do-americans-spend-after-having-a-few-drinks" target="_blank">average amount of money that drunk shoppers spend</a> in a single evening of tipsy debauchery is $206.</p> <p>While having a funny souvenir of a memorable night may be a justifiable use of your money the first time it happens, making a habit of drunk shopping can throw a major wrench in your financial plans. Here are six ways you can keep your wallet safe from your worst shopping impulses when you are tempted to drink and shop.</p> <h2>1. Carry cash</h2> <p>While most drunken shopping sprees are now happening online, in-person tipsy shopping is still a problem. This tends to be more of an issue when your drinking venue is close to a shopping destination &mdash; like when you are on vacation and can drift from the bar to the cute boutiques without having to set foot in a vehicle. There are also plenty of opportunities for you to spend your money in person after a few drinks have loosened your purse strings, including &quot;Sip and Shop&quot; events set up specifically to encourage that behavior.</p> <p>The easiest way to thwart yourself from making unnecessary purchases is by carrying cash for the evening. That helps you to reduce the potential damage you can do to your finances by limiting the amount of money you can spend in one evening. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Post sticky notes everywhere</h2> <p>Believe it or not, sticky notes can be a form of time travel. Your past self can use the sticky note to remind your future drunk self why you don't want to waste your money on more iTunes purchases or cute shoes. If you know you're likely to shop under the influence, write out notes to yourself about why drunk shopping is a bad idea. Go ahead and list the reasons why you are going to regret your purchase in the morning.</p> <p>While a single sticky note can get this across, putting additional notes so that your computer screen is covered with them will really force your future self to remember that your past self is serious about this issue.</p> <h2>3. Turn off one-click ordering</h2> <p>One-click ordering means you can go from being unaware an item exists, to coveting it, to buying it, all within seconds. Add some beer to that equation, and it's even more likely that you'll be scratching your head over a delivery in a few days while lamenting your lighter wallet.</p> <p>Removing your credit card information from your favorite retail sites can help to curb your drunken shopping habits, since you will have to get up to get your wallet and enter in your credit card information in order to complete your sale. The work necessary to enter in your information will either sober you up enough to make you question your need for cardboard cutouts of the Golden Girls, or will be more typing than you can handle in your inebriated state.</p> <p>This is also a good reason to remove your account information on any shopping sites, so that you are forced to type in your mailing address every time you shop. That can be enough of a barrier to keep you from recklessly drinking and buying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">39 Mindless Ways You're Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>4. Block retail sites when you know you will be drinking</h2> <p>There are many apps and browser extensions out there to help force you to be productive when you are feeling the siren's song of your Twitter or Facebook feed. But these tools can also help you to manage your drunk purchasing behavior. Simply set your app or browser extension to block you out of shopping sites anytime you are likely to be drinking &mdash; such as on Friday evenings or after your weekly happy hour with friends.</p> <h2>5. Remove shopping apps from your phone</h2> <p>It's entirely possible to spend your rent money without leaving your house or even booting up your laptop, which means you will need to cut off this additional source of temptation: shopping apps on your phone. Not only do these apps make it far too easy to shop after you've had a few, they don't do you any favors while you are sober, either. These apps allow you to spend money without feeling any pain of payment, which makes them especially dangerous when you are drunk.</p> <p>Remove those apps from your phone, and consider replacing them with apps that will also be fun to surf without spurring you to spend money. For instance, the Pinterest app can give you the feeling of virtual window shopping.</p> <h2>6. Be prepared to make returns</h2> <p>While opening up the mystery box you receive after a night of drunk shopping can be exciting, it's a much better policy to simply return your purchases without opening them. Go ahead and send it back rather than clutter up your home with a purchase that only seemed like a good idea when you were at the bottom of a glass of wine.</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/how-to-prevent-a-drunken-online-shopping-spree">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/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</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-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster">5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $20</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping drinking drinking habits drunk shopping online shopping shopping spree Shopping Tricks shopping while drunk Spending Money Mon, 12 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1963764 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Problems You Can Solve With $20 http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/jar_overflowing_with_american_money.jpg" alt="Jar overflowing with American money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They say a dollar doesn't buy you all that much these days. But how about $20? Other than grabbing a bite to eat, what else can you do with it that solves a problem? Fill up your tank with gas (most of the way)? Buy some new underwear? Sure, but you can actually solve a lot more problems that are costing you time and money with just 20 bucks. Here are eight you probably haven&rsquo;t thought of.</p> <h2>1. Get rid of garden pests using ladybugs</h2> <p>There are a lot of unusual items for sale on Amazon these days. But did you know for around $15, including shipping, you can have over <a href="http://amzn.to/2rEvuBQ" target="_blank">1500 live ladybugs</a> delivered to your home? And not only that, you'll also get some nectar to feed them. Ladybugs are a great friend to the gardener, and when released at sundown, they will eat aphids, mealybugs, scale, leaf hoppers, and other pests.</p> <h2>2. Look smart anywhere you go with a travel steamer</h2> <p>If you travel frequently, you know the disheveled state in which your clothes often arrive. No matter how carefully you pack, even if you roll your shirts, you're going to have items that look wrinkly. If you're staying at a hotel, you can break out the iron and ironing board, but that's a long and arduous task for a suitcase full of laundry. Instead, spend $15 on a <a href="http://amzn.to/2rm4BCZ" target="_blank">mini travel steamer</a>. It fits nicely in any suitcase, is lightweight, and takes the wrinkles out of clothes in a third of the time that an iron can do the job.</p> <h2>3. Cut energy bills using foam weatherstrips</h2> <p>Drafts. They have this nasty habit of finding you wherever you happen to be in the house. You get comfortable on the sofa, and then you feel one. More than just being annoying or uncomfortable, drafts also cost you a lot of money. Proper sealing and insulating can save you hundreds per year on energy bills. So, do yourself a favor and pick up some <a href="http://amzn.to/2rVwiPW" target="_blank">weatherstripping</a>. Amazon sells 60-foot packs of the stuff for under $4. You could buy enough to seal every window and door draft in the house, and still have a little left over. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shrink-your-utility-bill-by-plugging-these-surprising-home-energy-leaks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Shrink Your Utility Bill by Plugging These Surprising Home Energy Leaks</a>)</p> <h2>4. Stop wasting money on batteries and buy a charger</h2> <p>Perhaps one of the most irritating drains on the family budget is the number of batteries we buy and throw away throughout the year. Batteries aren't cheap, and they never seem to last as long as we think they will. But that's a problem you can remedy with rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. They range in price depending on how many batteries you need to charge at once, and the brand you choose. For under $20, you can pick up a <a href="http://amzn.to/2rEeZpp" target="_blank">charger with four AA batteries</a> included. Each battery can be recharged up to 1,500 times. Yes, that will add a little more onto your home energy bill, but it's a fraction of the price of a pack of batteries. You won't even notice it.</p> <h2>5. Get organized with a label maker</h2> <p>Junk drawers. Metal tins. Jars. Shelves. You name it, every house has a bunch of stuff that is disorganized in some way. And while we have every intention of sorting it out, we never seem to find the time. Well, a good <a href="http://amzn.to/2rVx3sg" target="_blank">label maker</a> can really help, and they're under $20. Use one to label those boxes and cans that you're always rifling through. Add labels to drawers in the kitchen and garage. Add expiration dates to food you bag up and put in the freezer, or store in the fridge. Once you have a label maker, you find so many useful ways to utilize it.</p> <h2>6. Drink safe water anywhere with a LifeStraw</h2> <p>Whether you're a hard-core survivalist, enjoy camping and off-roading, or are planning a backpacking excursion, you will always need access to clean, safe drinking water. In the past, you have had to rely on kits that allow you to safely turn found water into drinking water. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2qh9SeU" target="_blank">LifeStraw</a> is different. You can literally drink straight from the nearest puddle, stream, or lake, with no fear of contamination. This is essential for any traveler, camper, or first aid kit.</p> <h2>7. Find smelly pet stains with a urine detector</h2> <p>If you have pets, or live in a home that used to have them, there is probably some urine that has seeped into floors and walls. It may also be on the furniture. Chances are, these are small stains, not easily seen by the naked eye, but they cause odors. Now, you can find them and eliminate them by using a <a href="http://amzn.to/2r2grRv" target="_blank">urine detector</a>. This gadget uses ultraviolet light to illuminate the dry urine, so you don't have to get on your hands and knees to find it. In fact, it's really hard to see if it's years old. These detectors are under $20, cheap enough that you may be able to also pick up a bottle of stain remover without going over your $20 budget.</p> <h2>8. Eat in the car with a steering wheel tray</h2> <p>Most of us have, at some point, had to eat a meal in the car. Sometimes it's a necessity, like when we have to stop off for a quick bite on a long journey. Other times, we're getting out of the office for a break, or just want a little alone time to eat and listen to a few tunes.</p> <p>Regardless, it can be a messy affair. How many times have you spilled food down your shirt, or tried to rest a plastic takeout plate on your knee with limited success? Well, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2qkUs53" target="_blank">steering wheel tray</a> solves that problem. It attaches to your wheel (you can't be driving while you're eating, of course) and gives you a great temporary table, complete with a drink holder. It can also be used to hold a laptop, tablet, or phone. And it's well under your $20 limit.</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-problems-you-can-solve-with-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-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/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</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-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</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-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</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-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase</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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping $20 money problems saving money Shopping Tricks solutions solve problems Spending Money Mon, 29 May 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1954619 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Question You Should Ask Before Every Major Purchase http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_looking_at_car.jpg" alt="Young woman looking at car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, my husband had to buy a new bathrobe. The old one, which had completely worn out after a decade of wear, was the exact same ridiculous pastel coffee mug robe that Brad Pitt sported ironically in the movie <em>Fight Club</em>. The coffee mug robe cost $188, and had been a gift from me because my husband simply could not bring himself to spend nearly $200 on something he was going to wear around the house on lazy mornings.</p> <p>He loved that intentionally ridiculous robe, but despite my urging him to replace it with the same one from the same boutique, he again balked at spending that kind of money on a bathrobe. No matter how often I pointed out that he'd be spending a little less than $19 a year on daily joy (assuming the replacement robe also lasted 10 years), I could not change his mind.This situation got me wondering, though. How do you decide whether it's worth it to spend $200 on a ridiculous bathrobe, $500 for a phone upgrade, or an additional $5,000 to get the trim package you really want on your new car?</p> <p>Here's the thought process you should go through to figure out if a major purchase is worth it.</p> <h2>The big question: Is this an investment or an indulgence?</h2> <p>The basic definition of an investment is something that will appreciate in value over time. Buying a house is a common example of an investment purchase. In addition, upgrading your flight to business class so that you can more easily get work done on the plane may be an investment (if you can truly commit to working in flight) since the cost of the upgrade will be more than covered by the money you make while working.</p> <p>But what about investments that appreciate in something other than monetary value? For instance, you might spend money on biweekly massages, which do not appreciate in financial value, but they do keep you pain- and stress-free, which might be worth far more to you than the cost of the massages. That is an investment in your physical and mental well-being, even if you never see a specific financial return.</p> <p>On the other hand, an indulgence is something that simply makes you feel good in the moment. You don't expect an indulgence &mdash; like buying your favorite gourmet coffee, driving a sporty car, or purchasing the latest trendy clothes &mdash; to appreciate in financial value. There is nothing wrong with spending money on indulgences, and in fact, they can be an important part of your budget. The problem is when you justify your indulgences by claiming they are investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a>)</p> <h2>How to tell the difference</h2> <p>The fundamental disagreement that my husband and I have over the bathrobe comes down whether or not spending nearly $200 on it would be an investment or an indulgence. I believe that it's an investment in his daily happiness. He believes it's an indulgence, and therefore not worth the money.</p> <p>There are a couple of things to consider to help you figure out if your major purchase falls into one category or the other:</p> <h3>Length of use</h3> <p>In general, the longer you can get good use out of a product or service, the more likely it is that you are looking at an investment. That means that clothing fads are more likely to be indulgences, whereas well-made classic pieces like a suit or little black dress are more likely to be investments.</p> <h3>Is there a possible substitute?</h3> <p>If there is no other way you'd get the same feeling from another purchase, then it's likely that you're looking at an investment. For instance, you may feel more professional, put-together, and relaxed when you get a weekly manicure. Painting your own nails does not feel the same, and in fact, you feel less professional with your DIY manicure. That means your weekly manicure date is likely an investment in your positive outlook, rather than an indulgence.</p> <h2>Just because it's an investment doesn't mean you should buy it</h2> <p>Even though the big ticket item you want to buy will be an investment in your well-being, that doesn't necessarily mean you should buy it. Major expenditures can derail your finances, even if your purchase will appreciate in value in some way. Before you make your investment purchase, ask yourself if you can afford to make the purchase. If you can't, commit to saving up for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>Know what you value</h2> <p>Ultimately, determining whether or not you should make a major purchase is all about knowing the things you value most. Spending money on things that will appreciate in value &mdash; whether financial or emotional &mdash; can be a good investment. Spending money on things that will offer more fleeting value is generally an indulgence.</p> <p>Knowing which is which can help you decide when to spend, when to save, and when to just go ahead and buy the silly robe.</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/the-one-question-you-should-ask-before-every-major-purchase">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You 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/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-problems-you-can-solve-with-20">8 Problems You Can Solve With $20</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping major purchase mental bias mental tricks question saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks Spending Money Fri, 26 May 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1953939 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Things That Should Never Cost More Than $99 http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_trying_on_shoes.jpg" alt="Girl trying on shoes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life is expensive, y'all. Food, rent, home energy, gas &mdash; the basic necessities for modern living &mdash; cost a fortune these days. This is precisely why we need to avoid overpaying elsewhere in our budget. Save yourself some dough by rethinking some of these could-be pricey purchases that should never come in at more than $99.</p> <h2>1. Men's haircut</h2> <p>I don't have the beautiful ginger locks I once had &mdash; it's gettin' pretty sparse up there, friends &mdash; but even when I did have a generous coif to maintain, I never spent more than $20 on a haircut. I spend even less now &mdash; from $8 to $15 at Great Clips (they often have $9.99 specials in my area, and I receive $2 off regularly priced haircuts when I show my local gym membership). Unless you're getting a serious 'do done, you shouldn't pay more than $35. That's the highest I've ever forked over &mdash; in Manhattan &mdash; which included shampoo, cut, rinse, and hot towel service. Even then, I could have done without three of those things.</p> <h2>2. Jeans</h2> <p>If you read my posts frequently, you know I like to shop. Clothing is one of my few budget vices, and I'm generally not apologetic about the amount of money I spend to look good. I do draw the line at expensive jeans, however.</p> <p>In the past, I've spent more than $100 on a single pair of jeans &mdash; with purposefully designed holes in them, no less. But you know what happens to them? Eventually I get tired of them or they fade or I lose/gain too much weight to wear them, and they get sent to charity. And when I started putting that sitch in perspective, I decided I'd much rather send $20 jeans to charity than $150 jeans. Now I almost strictly buy denim at the J.Crew Factory Store (they retail for around $65) that I can score between 40 percent and 60 percent off, and many times I have an additional discount on top of that. I've also started selling my unwanted jeans on Swap.com to recoup some of that cost. I recommend the latter strategy if you have stylish, in-good-shape denim lying around. You may be surprised at how much you'll get for your old clothes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-make-800-on-month-on-ebay-selling-used-clothes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How I Make $800 on Month on eBay Selling Used Clothes</a>)</p> <h2>3. Halloween costume</h2> <p>Some of my friends are super into Halloween, spending hundreds of dollars on their elaborate costumes each year. I don't get it. A couple Benjis on a goofy get-up that you'll wear one time for, like, four hours? Get outta here. Raid your closet and the local thrift and craft stores to DIY your costume if you enjoy the holiday, but there's no reason to spend more than $99 to be an internet meme or a superhero.</p> <h2>4. A dress you'll only wear once</h2> <p>If you plan to be buried in that dress, spring for it. But if you know you'll only wear it once, what's the point of dipping into your savings to buy it? Instead, ask your friends if they have a dress you can borrow for whatever the occasion may be. It'll be new to you, and no one else has to know you borrowed it. Otherwise, try secondhand stores, online consignment shops, and re-accessorizing what you already have to find a dress you won't feel guilty about wearing when you're already short on rent. Or, if you are looking to splurge on a dress, make sure it's versatile enough to wear multiple times. You can never go wrong with an LBD, after all.</p> <h2>5. Multiple trips to Starbucks in one month</h2> <p>Listen, if you have a $99-plus monthly coffee habit, you have a <em>problem</em>. Coffee is so much cheaper when you make it at home. Brew a pot before work and take it to go. Then take that extra cash you save by making coffee at home and put it toward a vacation fund or retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Rich You'd Be if You Stopped Drinking Expensive Coffee</a>)</p> <h2>6. Gym membership</h2> <p>Even when I lived in Manhattan, I didn't pay more than $99 a month for a gym membership, and mine gave me access to all the locations on the island, including the steam rooms, saunas, showers, and towel service. It wasn't a luxury gym, <em>per se</em>, but it did have some luxuries. Plus, there are so many ways to get fit for free that a triple-digit monthly charge hardly seems worth it.</p> <p>If I ever pay more than $99, I want somebody to work out for me while I watch. Weight loss through osmosis. I like that idea.</p> <h2>7. Textbook</h2> <p>College courses like to stick it to you by constantly updating the editions of the required textbooks so you have to buy the latest, most expensive version. Sometimes you can't avoid it, but most of the time you can find used versions of the books you need in the campus bookstore or online. Bonus if they have notes from the previous owner in them. Added value!</p> <h2>8. Massage</h2> <p>There are very few professions out there that command nearly $100 per hour for services. Massage therapy is one of them, but usually you're not getting what you deserve for the money, i.e. the therapist has hands like a Tonka truck. Skip the high-end spas and try out your more affordable, local options instead. You can also score really great spa deals on daily deal sites that often cut the prices in half.</p> <h2>9. Sneakers</h2> <p>In New York City, I regularly see people standing in line for expensive limited-edition kicks, and I'm sure you've heard the story about NBA newbie Lonzo Ball, who recently <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-lonzo-ball-shoes-20170511-story.html" target="_blank">released his own $495 shoes</a>. I get it. Guys love their sneaks and they'll pay out the wazoo for them. But until they make shoes that render me able to fly, I'm perfectly happy staying in the $75 to $95 range for shoes that I plan to get dirty and sweat all over.</p> <h2>10. Warehouse club memberships</h2> <p>We've written about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-or-saving-money-with-a-warehouse-club-membership" target="_blank">pros and cons of warehouse memberships</a>, and they make sense if you're feeding a large family, but if you're only feeding one or two mouths, you're probably paying more for the membership than you'll save over its annual lifetime. Combine that with the amount of food you'll waste when you buy in bulk without the need to buy in bulk, and you're really doing your wallet a disservice. Clip your coupons and shop small at your local supermarket where there's no fee to enter.</p> <h2>11. Fresh flowers</h2> <p>If you think about it, flowers are the only living, non-consumable item that we buy at extraordinary prices just to watch die and throw in the trash five days later. Would you buy a fish for $100 if the pet store told you you're gonna have to lay it to rest by the end of the week? Absolutely not. Set a reasonable maximum amount for your fresh bouquets, never exceeding $99. Or skip the buds altogether and spring for alternative gifts that bring joy, like ice cream. Wouldn't you be happier with a pint of Ben &amp; Jerry's than a bouquet of wilted roses? So would everyone else.</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-things-that-should-never-cost-more-than-99">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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You 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/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed">5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-items-you-should-never-buy-online">8 Items You Should Never Buy Online</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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping $99 budget tips expensive buys frugal tips shopping tips Spending Money Thu, 25 May 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Mikey Rox 1953937 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons You're Still Stuck in a Financial Hole http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-still-stuck-in-a-financial-hole <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-youre-still-stuck-in-a-financial-hole" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/frustrated_intern_working_on_line_at_office.jpg" alt="Frustrated intern working on line at office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being broke sucks. There are a million reasons why you might end up in a financial hole, and it always feels awful. The good news is you can often pull yourself out of these bad situations, especially if you make wise decisions with your money.</p> <p>On the other hand, there are also some really poor money decisions that can set you back even further. Avoid these bad calls when you're broke, and you'll stop digging yourself even deeper into debt.</p> <h2>1. Thinking nothing has to change</h2> <p>The minute you realize you're broke, your mindset has to change. How did you get here? What led to being broke? Think long and hard about these things, and understand that something has to give. Telling yourself you can continue your everyday spending habits as if nothing is wrong is only going to dig yourself deeper into a financial hole. And ignoring the problem altogether certainly won't help, either; it'll just make things much, much worse. As unpleasant as it might be to face reality and change the way you spend, it will be much more unpleasant to stay broke. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Biggest Ways Procrastination Hurts Your Finances</a>)</p> <h2>2. Emptying the emergency fund</h2> <p>Realizing you're broke can lead to feelings of panic &mdash; being broke is an emergency, right?! Hold on. The last thing you should be doing is raiding your emergency fund to pay everyday expenses, or to continue funding the frivolous spending that landed you here. The truth is, when you're broke, you need a sound emergency fund more than ever. What happens if you lose your job, or your hot water heater dies? Without that money put away, you'll have nothing to help you get by. So, leave your emergency fund right where it is and make other changes in your budget.</p> <h2>4. Taking out a loan</h2> <p>You don't need the financial burden of new debt when you're already broke. Assuming you get approved for a loan, there's no guarantee that you'll even be able to pay it back. That puts your credit score at risk of a critical hit, and can ruin your chances of getting approved for financing in the future.</p> <p>In the same vein, never fall for a payday loan, either. Predatory lenders often target people in times of financial trouble, and are experts at marketing an attractive offer that sounds like the answer to your money troubles. In reality, the obscene interest charges and terms and conditions will leave you way worse off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending</a>)</p> <h2>5. Getting buried in overdraft fees</h2> <p>When there's less money in your checking account than you're used to, take extra caution to avoid overdrawing. Overdraft fees can quickly multiply, shooting up to hundreds of dollars and putting you in an even worse financial situation. Your bank may be willing to waive some of the fees if you ask, but it's not a guarantee and certainly not a regular courtesy. If you're not sure how much money you have in your account, check it daily. With technology, there is no excuse. You can either log on to your bank's website every morning, or download your bank's app. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-avoid-overdraft-charges?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways to Avoid Overdraft Charges</a>)</p> <h2>6. Lying about your financial state</h2> <p>Don't lie to yourself and don't lie to other people. It's hard to admit when you're in a bad money spot. But the truth is that you <em>are</em> broke, and lying will only cause more problems. Take a deep breath and be honest. Politely turn down your friends' invites to go shopping or out to dinner, and explain that you simply don't have the cash right now. They won't hold it against you. You will respect yourself more for being straightforward, and you might even pave the way for someone else to feel comfortable admitting their hardships, too.</p> <h2>7. Gambling</h2> <p>It's easy to think that one big win could solve all of your financial difficulties. But the fact of the matter is that hitting the jackpot in a casino or by playing the lotto is unlikely &mdash; very unlikely. More often than not, people lose tons of money gambling, sometimes in the blink of an eye. This certainly won't make your money troubles any easier. Think of it this way: gambling is for people who can afford to lose money. You can't, so stay away.</p> <h2>8. Refusing to give up luxuries</h2> <p>Maybe you have a maid service clean your house once per week, or you like to have your car professionally detailed. Maybe you love grabbing takeout for lunch, or eating at that great Italian place for dinner every Friday night. Maybe you love your premium cable package, and all your fun monthly subscription boxes.</p> <p>Guess what? All of these luxuries cost money you don't have, and you can go without. Clean your home and car yourself. Clip coupons and use cash back apps at the grocery store, and meal prep all your food at home. Get rid of monthly subscriptions and memberships you aren't using, and think long and hard about cable &mdash; do you really need it?</p> <p>None of these have to be permanent changes. By giving yourself a financial buffer for even a few months, you'll get back on your feet much faster.</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/8-reasons-youre-still-stuck-in-a-financial-hole">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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</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-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire">6 Good Financial Deeds that Can Backfire</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/23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too">23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)</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/what-to-do-when-youve-blown-your-budget-for-the-month">What to Do When You&#039;ve Blown Your Budget for the Month</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-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting being broke daily expenses habits loans overdraft fees procrastination saving money Spending Money Thu, 25 May 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1953936 at http://www.wisebread.com