Spending Money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13068/all en-US Deferred Interest Credit Cards: Don't Fall For This Trick Over The Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/deferred-interest-credit-cards-dont-fall-for-this-trick-over-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deferred-interest-credit-cards-dont-fall-for-this-trick-over-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping_with_card.jpg" alt="Shopping With Card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>&quot;Would you like to apply for a store credit card today? You can get [insert number here] months free financing.&quot;</em></p> <p>We've all heard it before when checking out at a retail store. Chances are, you'll be hearing it a lot more over the holidays as you ramp up your holiday shopping.</p> <p>It can be tempting &mdash; you can make a large purchase today, and pay it off over time interest-free. Some companies will even throw in a gift card or a discount if you apply for their credit card. But before you say &quot;yes&quot; to the cashier, there's one hidden trick that these companies often use. If you're not aware of it, your &quot;free financing&quot; might end up backfiring in a big way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sign-up-for-that-store-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Sign Up for That Store Credit Card?</a>)</p> <h2>What is a &quot;deferred interest&quot; credit card?</h2> <p>There are two types of credit cards that offer free financing: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% Intro APR cards</a>, and deferred interest cards.</p> <p>You see ads for 0% APR cards all the time &mdash; you get 0% APR for a limited time. After that, the standard interest rate goes into effect. When stores offer a &quot;deferred interest credit card&quot; you might reasonably assume they work the same way. But they are very different.</p> <p>With a deferred interest card, you must pay off the charge <em>in full </em>before the promotional free financing period is over. If you don't, you'll have to pay the <em>full amount of interest charges</em>, as if that interest rate was in effect the whole time. All that &quot;deferred&quot; interest comes rolling back the moment the promotional period is over, not just on the balance you have left, but on the entire purchase amount.</p> <p>And it'll be a heck of a bill too: the interest rates on these types of credit cards are often sky-high, running upward of 25% APR. As a comparison, the current average interest rate for all credit cards combined is 13.08% APR, according to the Federal Reserve.</p> <p>Let's look at an example of how much a deferred interest credit card might cost you. A store credit card offers 12 months deferred interest financing, with a standard 27.99% APR. If you make a $1,500 purchase and only make the minimum payments during those 12 months (about $45), you'll owe a walloping $321.63 in interest at the end of it &mdash; and still owe over $950 on your purchase.</p> <h2>How do you spot a deferred interest credit card?</h2> <p>Your first clue is <em>who</em> is offering the card. Most deferred interest credit cards are offered by retail stores. If a store employee is trying to get you to sign up for the card, ask them: &quot;what happens if I don't have the purchase paid off by the end of the financing period?&quot;</p> <p>But the <em>best</em> way to find out if the card you're interested in really is a deferred interest card or not is to simply look at the Terms and Conditions disclosure. Here's a snippet from a store credit card's disclosure to give you an idea of what the language will look like:</p> <p><em>&quot;If the balance is not paid in full by the end of the promotional period, interest charges will be imposed from the purchase date at the purchase rate on your account which is 26.24%.&quot;</em></p> <p>See how the charges are imposed &quot;from the purchase date?&quot; Other words to look for are &quot;deferred&quot; or &quot;financing&quot; or &quot;no interest if paid off in X months&quot; which is different from just 0% APR during the promotional time. A credit card that offers 0% APR for 12 months mean that there are no interest charges on your balance for 12 months, then at the end of the 12 months, the standard APR will start, and will only be applied to the <em>current</em> <em>balance</em>, not the entire purchase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/same-as-cash-store-offers-vs-0-intro-apr-credit-cards-which-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Same-As-Cash Store Offers vs. 0% Intro APR Credit Cards &mdash; Which Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>Come up with a game plan to tackle your debt</h2> <p>Despite all of this, deferred interest cards aren't necessarily something you always need to avoid. In fact, they can really help you out &mdash; <em>as long as you have a game plan to deal with them</em>.</p> <p>Setting up a plan is simple. All you have to do is take the amount of your purchase and divide it by however many months you have to pay off the charge. If you want to play it on the safe side, you can even subtract a month or two to give yourself some space if something comes up. That way, you'll have it paid off with plenty of time to spare.</p> <p>Here's an example. Say your child's old computer died, and you want to buy them a new $1,100 computer for Christmas. Luckily, your local electronic store chain offers a 12-month deferred interest credit card, which you use to purchase your new computer.</p> <p>If you want to have it paid off early, divide the purchase price ($1,100) by 11 months, to give you a monthly payment of $100. You can further boost your chances of having it paid off by setting up that payment on autopay, so then you don't even have to worry at all about making payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Store Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>When you should choose a store credit card over a 0% APR card</h2> <p>A 0% APR credit card will give you the safety net in case you don't actually pay off the entire balance within the promotional time frame. Even if you leave a $10 balance on a store credit card, you'll get charged <em>all the interest from the purchase date</em>. It's pretty brutal.</p> <p>It can also be of use to you even after the promotional period. Perhaps it's a very good <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit card</a> that can fund your next vacation.</p> <p>But there are times you might end up choosing the store credit card instead.</p> <h3>You have bad credit</h3> <p>I won't remind you that if you're in this position, you should be considering ways to build back your credit which doesn't include adding more debt. But assuming you've already thought this through, getting approved for a 0% APR card might not be in your cards. So if you really need this buffer to pay off the purchase, and you are committed to the payoff goal, then go ahead and sign up for the card. Store cards generally have a lower threshold for approving customers, because their regular APR is so high, and their credit limits usually low.</p> <h3>You will benefit from the rewards</h3> <p>Stores can be generous to their credit card holders, offering big rewards and discounts that will save you loads of money. If you're a frequent shopper there, and the store card can offer you much better deals and rewards than you'd get from a typical <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back card</a>, for example, then it can be worth it to be a loyal card holder. Just don't ever leave a balance because the APR will always destroy any savings or rewards the card would have offered.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lindsay-vansomeren">Lindsay VanSomeren</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deferred-interest-credit-cards-dont-fall-for-this-trick-over-the-holidays">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/make-these-6-credit-card-moves-now-to-prepare-for-holiday-shopping">Make These 6 Credit Card Moves Now to Prepare for Holiday Shopping</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-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards</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-ways-your-credit-card-can-help-you-manage-your-finances">5 Ways Your Credit Card Can Help You Manage Your Finances</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/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season">Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back 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/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top 7 Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit card tips credit cards deferred interest credit cards holiday shopping Holidays Spending Money Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Lindsay VanSomeren 2058216 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift_of_money_against a_defocused_background_and_christmas_lights.jpg" alt="Gift of Money against a Defocused Background and Christmas Lights" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays are here today, gone tomorrow &mdash; and it's easy to get caught up in a tinseled tornado of financial distress if you're not careful. Avoid that fate this season with these self-imposed goals on how to better manage your holiday budget. It'll help you start the New Year financially fresh and fancy-free.</p> <h2>1. Stop spending money on gifts people don't need</h2> <p>When planning out your holiday gift list, think long and hard about what those people on your list may want or need. Don't be afraid to ask them, either. I always ask friends and family if they have something specific in mind &mdash; and I staunchly believe in getting what they'll love and use, so long as it fits into my budget.</p> <p>Sometimes they provide solid ideas, and other times I get the ol' &quot;I don't need anything&quot; routine, even though they know good and well I'm going to buy them something anyway. (Way to help, Dad.) If you're unsure about a gift, or you feel like you're buying something just to buy it, think again. There's no reason to spend your money on something that will go unused, or even worse, be regifted.</p> <p>When in doubt, a gift card to a favorite store generally works well &mdash; and you should take advantage of the ubiquitous &quot;Spend $X in gift cards and get a $X gift card for free&quot; promotions that many retailers and restaurants offer during the holidays. Stretch that cash every way you can. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a>)</p> <h2>2. Stop spending money on people who don't need gifts</h2> <p>Does <em>everyone</em> you know need a gift? Will you even see the recipients this holiday season? Are you disproportionately spending money on the people you do buy for? If money is tight and you're stuck in a pattern of buying gifts because you feel obligated, stand up for yourself and put a stop to it.</p> <p>Several years ago, my brother, cousin, and a few of my best friends started churning out children left and right. I had to make the tough decision to cut the adults off my list. I couldn't afford to buy for everyone, so I chose the kids instead. I've never looked back on that decision with any regrets. I get to be the cool uncle who always gives the best presents &mdash; all while being able to save money despite that distinction.</p> <h2>3. Select, make, and &quot;buy&quot; gifts from stuff you already have</h2> <p>There's only one rule to regifting, in my opinion: Make sure the regift doesn't end up anywhere near the person who gave it to you in the first place. Bad form. Otherwise, please, regift items that were given to you that you haven't used (so long as they're still unopened and/or haven't expired). The same goes for unused items that you bought for yourself throughout the year (like clothing with the tags still on). Gift them to someone you think will appreciate them to help keep more money in your pocket.</p> <p>I'm also a big fan of making gifts by hand. For instance, I'm hosting a small dinner party in December, and I'm making my guests a little take-home gift consisting of a festive homemade body scrub, a hand-poured holiday candle, and a bottle of wine I've recently made from a kit.</p> <p>Simple, inexpensive, thoughtful &mdash; that's the name of the game. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>4. Concentrate on eliminating existing debt before racking up more</h2> <p>One of your top money goals this time of year should be focusing on debt you already have instead of racking up more buying gifts. That's not always easy to do during the holidays, but the due diligence will pay off.</p> <p>If you have existing credit card debt, try your best not to make only the minimum monthly payments. Instead, begin paying a bit extra toward the principal starting with the card with the highest interest rate. This repayment strategy (otherwise known as the debt avalanche) will save you the most money overall on interest payments. High interest rates are what's keeping you in debt, and the faster you reduce or pay these cards off, the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Make a list of gift recipients and assign a budget per person</h2> <p>I like to plan out my gift buying to the tee, because I know how bad I can be with impulse purchases around the holidays. You know what it's like: You plan to get your mom a nice perfume set, but then you see this great piece of jewelry on sale &mdash; and your entire budget unravels before your eyes.</p> <p>To combat this habit, I make an itemized list of what I'd like to buy for each person and assign a top-line budget based on the advertised retail price. And then I get to work. Before I make the final purchases, I scour my apps for cash-back deals, search the internet for promo codes, cash in my retailer rewards, and try to plan my in-store shopping around major sales. It helps that I get just about every circular and marketing email known to man &mdash; so I'm always abreast of what deals are going down &mdash; but you'll find equal savings with your own resourcefulness and research.</p> <p>The point of all this extra legwork is to drastically come in below the gifts' retail prices so you cannot only stay under budget but, in fact, walk away from the holidays a solid winner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a>)</p> <h2>6. Pay for gifts strictly from your holiday-spending envelope</h2> <p>Once you've made your itemized list of gifts and determined the overall budget, take out the cash from the bank, stick it in an envelope, and use only that money to buy gifts. There is no other alternative; this is all the money you have to spend, and you need to stick to this plan. If what you want to buy is online, consult your budget to make sure you're on track, then use your debit card. Then, immediately replace the deduction by making a deposit into your checking account so everything balances out. Yeah, it's old school &mdash; but it works.</p> <h2>7. Put any cash gifts you receive into savings or toward bills</h2> <p>Plan to put any holiday cash you receive from family members straight into your savings account or toward bills. This savings tactic isn't any fun &mdash; I understand &mdash; but you'll likely receive plenty of gift cards that you can spend instead that will help quell your urge to blow everything before the holidays even come to a close.</p> <h2>8. Shop with a buddy to keep each other away from impulse buys</h2> <p>I like shopping alone for several reasons. For starters, I don't have to wait on my companions and they don't have to wait on me, which, when shopping together, can really zap the relaxation out of my leisurely pace. Furthermore, I don't like people's opinions of my purchases or their comments about whether I really need this or that. It's my money, and I'll buy what I want.</p> <p>Except around holiday time.</p> <p>This is the time of year I like to employ the buddy system when shopping for the sole purpose of keeping each other focused on our lists and away from impulse buys. Because if my bestie can't smack my hand in public and tell me no, who can? That's what friends are for.</p> <h2>9. Lay the groundwork for 2018 and the future of your finances</h2> <p>There are a million things happening during the holidays, but that doesn't mean you can't look ahead and prepare yourself financially for the New Year. In fact, you owe it to yourself.</p> <p>Kevin Driscoll, VP of Advisory Services for Navy Federal Financial Group, agrees.</p> <p>&quot;If you're not already doing so, begin contributing to your 401(k),&quot; he says. &quot;Make 2018 the year of financial freedom in retirement by saving now. Check out the retirement plan your employer offers, and if they offer a match, be sure to take advantage of this.&quot;</p> <p>Also worth considering is investing in an online investment platform.</p> <p>&quot;You'll find that there are many sites that allow you to make minimal contributions to buy a portion of a stock,&quot; Driscoll continues. &quot;This is a great way to get your feet wet with investing and hopefully make some extra money, too. Additionally, these platforms are generally low maintenance, and don't require any prior knowledge of the market or investing.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Find ways to spend and save even smarter</h2> <p>Every year, one of your top resolutions should be to stay on top of your finances and to improve your own money management. How do you do that? That's really up to you, but it will require due diligence on your part. It could be as easy as subscribing to personal finance blogs so you'll receive the latest financial self-help articles in your inbox, or maybe you can enroll in a local course that will help you better understand your money and your relationship with it. Both of these tactics combined would be great, too.</p> <p>The point is, you should continue to educate yourself about how to spend and save smarter so you can achieve your goals and live a life free from the burden of debt. Easier said than accomplished, but people just like you do it on a regular basis. Invest in yourself and it will pay off eventually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year's</a>)</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Money%2520Goals%2520You%2520Should%2520Set%2520for%2520the%2520Holidays.jpg&amp;description=10%20Money%20Goals%20You%20Should%20Set%20for%20the%20Holidays"></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/u5180/10%20Money%20Goals%20You%20Should%20Set%20for%20the%20Holidays.jpg" alt="10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays" 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">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-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</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-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending">5 Excuses We Need to Stop Making About Overspending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</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/3-easy-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-during-the-holidays">3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Credit Score During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgets cash Christmas deals debt gifts Holidays sales saving money shopping Spending Money Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 2053944 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laughing_girl_with_falling_confetti_at_party.jpg" alt="Laughing girl with falling confetti at party" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember when the holidays were all about simple pleasures like spending time with family and exchanging modest gifts? Neither do I. Holidays have taken on a life of their own, turning otherwise reasonable folks into consumer zombies and blowing up the budgets of too many Americans. This year, let's celebrate simplicity and financial solvency. Here are the secrets to a debt-free holiday season.</p> <h2>1. Push back against &quot;holiday sprawl&quot;</h2> <p>Ever feel like the holidays come earlier, last longer, and require more gifts, more elaborate decorations, more money, and more travel? Let's call this endless expansion what it is &mdash; <em>holiday sprawl</em>. Fight back by embracing the idea of <em>enough</em>. Suggest (and stick to) reasonable spending limits and keep ballooning expectations in check. Your budget will thank you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-right-now-for-a-frugal-holiday-season?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things You Can Do Right Now for a Frugal Holiday Season</a>)</p> <h2>2. Shop early and shop around</h2> <p>Bright lights, big crowds, sales of the century &mdash; it's enough to make even the most levelheaded shopper lose control. Skip all the holiday madness by shopping early (I start in September and try to finish by Thanksgiving). You'll have more time to compare prices, shop for sales, and space out purchases so you won't have to rely on credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-january-is-the-right-time-to-start-planning-for-christmas?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Reasons January Is the Right Time to Start Planning for Christmas</a>)</p> <h2>3. Slow down</h2> <p>Holidays can be frantic. In the rush of activity, we often make bad decisions about what to buy and how much to spend. Slow. Things. Down. Break up your shopping excursions into several smaller trips and avoid shopping on days when you have a thousand other things to do. When shopping online, load your virtual cart, but don't commit to buy until you've thought about your choices overnight.</p> <h2>4. Avoid gimmicks</h2> <p>The holiday season can make or break retailers. To help us stretch our spending muscles, almost every store features blowout sales or deals that require the purchase of multiples (10 for $10). My advice? Be skeptical. That &quot;biggest sale of the year&quot; probably isn't. And what are you going to do with 10 bacon-scented candles, anyway?</p> <h2>5. Pay cash</h2> <p>Do you tend to spend more when you use credit? You're not alone. Paying by credit card &mdash; or worse yet, smartphone &mdash; blunts the conscious connection between spending more money and having less money. Make this holiday a cash-only affair. It'll keep your accounts in the black and make your first credit card bill of the new year a lot less frightening.</p> <h2>6. Make your gifts</h2> <p>Exchanging handmade gifts can be wonderful, even among adults. Buck the retail trend altogether and focus on your talents. Are you an expert baker? A gifted artist? An inspired brewmaster? Explore Pinterest for inexpensive homemade holiday gift ideas, then tap into your creative spirit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-almost-nothing-on-gifts-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</a>)</p> <h2>7. Skip the greeting cards</h2> <p>I didn't get the memo: When did everyone decide that $14.99 is an acceptable price for a box of holiday cards? This year, save a few bucks by ditching the costly cards and postage. Instead, send a group email or catch up with a leisurely phone call.</p> <h2>8. Share experiences</h2> <p>If money's tight, swap traditional gifts for the gift of time together. Organize a holiday potluck, host a movie night with friends, or coordinate a charity event where everyone contributes a few hours of their time as a group. After all, what could be better than good food, good friends, and goodwill?</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Secrets%2520to%2520a%2520Debt-Free%2520Holiday%2520Season.jpg&amp;description=8%20Secrets%20to%20a%20Debt-Free%20Holiday%20Season"></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/u5180/8%20Secrets%20to%20a%20Debt-Free%20Holiday%20Season.jpg" alt="8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season" 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/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</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/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</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-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge">How to Bounce Back From Your Holiday Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Lifestyle cash Christmas gifts holiday debt Holidays homemade gifts sales tactics shopping Spending Money Mon, 13 Nov 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 2050494 at http://www.wisebread.com Make These 6 Credit Card Moves Now to Prepare for Holiday Shopping http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-credit-card-moves-now-to-prepare-for-holiday-shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-these-6-credit-card-moves-now-to-prepare-for-holiday-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_makes_christmas_shopping_online_with_laptop.jpg" alt="Woman makes Christmas shopping online with laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traditionalists may debate the merits of putting up Christmas decorations well before Thanksgiving, as many retailers do these days. But the November displays are actually a good cue to start preparing your finances for holiday shopping. This includes considering your credit card options to earn the most possible rewards from your credit cards, and get the best benefits from your holiday purchases.</p> <p>Here are six things that you can do to get ready.</p> <h2>1. Sign up for a cash back card</h2> <p>Unless you're already heavily invested in a specific travel rewards program, you'll probably be better off using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back rewards card</a>. Some of the best cards for holiday shopping offer as much as 5 percent back at select department stores and retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, and Target. In addition to cash rewards on your purchases, many credit cards offer a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up?ref=internal" target="_blank">bonus offer to their new cardholders</a>, which can net you a few hundred dollars just for meeting their spending requirement, which is easiest to do this time of year.</p> <p>Another option is to choose a card that offers you as much as 2 percent cash back on all of your purchases. With these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-flat-rate-rewards-for-all-spending?ref=internal" target="_blank">flat-rate rewards cards</a> you avoid having to keep up with category bonuses. However, you should only use reward credit cards if you can avoid interest charges by paying your monthly statement balances in full. Otherwise, it's better to find a card with the lowest interest rate.</p> <h2>2. Be sure to activate your bonus purchase opportunities</h2> <p>If you do choose to go with a card that features rotating bonus categories, check the terms. You may need to log in and activate the bonus categories each quarter. Thankfully, even if you activate after the quarter begins, you should receive your bonus points for the qualifying purchases you've already made during the quarter. Keep in mind that these bonus categories often come with limits on how much you can earn. Keep track of your purchases and switch cards once you've reached the limit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-rotating-reward-categories?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards With Rotating Reward Categories</a>)</p> <h2>3. Learn about shopping portals</h2> <p>Many credit cards and loyalty programs offer online shopping portals that allow you to earn extra points, miles, or cash back from your purchases. They usually feature top national retailers, and can usually pad your purchase rewards by one or two points per dollar spent, but occasionally you'll find deals for as much as 30 points per dollar spent. Also, most airline and hotel loyalty programs have their own rewards portals. When you use these websites, you can also earn rewards with your credit card, in effect stacking your rewards earning potential. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>4. Examine your cardholder benefits</h2> <p>One of the best things about using your credit card for holiday shopping is the cardholder benefits that can apply to your purchases. For example, many credit cards include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-cards-protect-your-purchases-from-damage-or-theft?ref=internal" target="_blank">accidental damage and theft protection</a>, as well as an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">extended warranty policy</a>. Other shopping benefits may include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-price-match-through-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">price protection</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-return-items-through-your-credit-card-if-the-store-refuses?ref=internal" target="_blank">return protection</a>. Once you know which cards offer the best benefits, you may use that as a factor in determining which new card to apply for, or which card to pull from your wallet for a particular purchase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-use-your-credit-card-for-holiday-purchases?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons to Use Your Credit Card for Holiday Purchases</a>)</p> <h2>5. Decide if it's worth getting a store credit card</h2> <p>One thing is for sure, many of the stores you visit will offer you an application for their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded credit card</a>. But rather than trying to make a quick decision at the cash register, find out in advance if it's worth considering.</p> <p>Many retail credit cards have a high interest rate. Look at the terms and conditions for the cards from your favorite retailers, and the quality of the rewards program offered. Then you can decide if it's worth getting the store card, or if you should simply decline the offer and complete your purchase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sign-up-for-that-store-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Sign Up for That Store Credit Card?</a>)</p> <h2>6. Consider an interest-free promotional financing offer</h2> <p>If you are unsure whether you'll be able to pay off all of your credit card balances during the holidays, think about opening a card with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases" target="_blank">0 percent APR offer for new purchases</a>. These offers allow you to avoid interest charges on your purchases for at least six months, and often 15 months or longer.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Balance transfer cards</a> can also help you out after you've rung up more than you can immediately pay off, but it's better to use an interest-free financing offer on new purchases now. That's because nearly all 0 percent balance transfer offers have a 3&ndash;5 percent fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-to-wipe-out-holiday-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards to Wipe Out Holiday Debt</a>)</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fmake-these-6-credit-card-moves-now-to-prepare-for-holiday-shopping&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FMake%2520These%25206%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Moves%2520Now%2520to%2520Prepare%2520for%2520Holiday%2520Shopping.jpg&amp;description=Make%20These%206%20Credit%20Card%20Moves%20Now%20to%20Prepare%20for%20Holiday%20Shopping"></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/Make%20These%206%20Credit%20Card%20Moves%20Now%20to%20Prepare%20for%20Holiday%20Shopping.jpg" alt="Make These 6 Credit Card Moves Now to Prepare for Holiday Shopping" 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/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-credit-card-moves-now-to-prepare-for-holiday-shopping">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gift-giving-etiquette-to-get-you-through-the-holidays">Gift Giving Etiquette to Get You Through the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday">11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday</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/8-frugal-skills-you-need-to-survive-black-friday">8 Frugal Skills You Need to Survive Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping christmas shopping holiday shopping Holidays money moves shopping tips Spending Money Thu, 09 Nov 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Jason Steele 2050418 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/how_to_make_money_quickly.jpg" alt="How to make money quickly" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our culture loves the tortured rebel &mdash; that character who flies in the face of convention and refuses to grow up. It's the stuff of great filmmaking. But when it comes to money matters, putting your inner child in charge carries some serious consequences (after all, debt, poverty, and a steady diet of Hot Pockets doesn't look so great on a 30-year-old). If you're ready to reinvent your financial life, stop acting like a kid. Here are the money habits that make you look financially immature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Spending extravagantly</h2> <p>If you regularly blow your budget to keep up with Joneses, you probably view money as a game piece in a never-ending competition of conspicuous consumption. But while you're trying to amass more toys, your peers are gradually &mdash; and quite inconspicuously &mdash; building long-term financial security.</p> <h2>2. Buying on impulse</h2> <p>Impulse buys are forgivable if you're a kid surrounded by candy in the checkout lane. But for grown-ups, buying on impulse means you're easily manipulated by marketing tricks, have issues with self-control, or need to fill some sort of void. Whatever the reason, it's a habit that hints at deep financial immaturity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Never Succumb to Impulse Spending Again</a>)</p> <h2>3. Borrowing from friends and family</h2> <p>Constantly needing to borrow money from friends and family shows that you're unable to properly budget, manage your spending, or plan ahead. Oh, and it's probably the main reason people are less likely to take your calls at the end of every month.</p> <h2>4. Overdrawing accounts</h2> <p>Knowing exactly how much money you have to spend is the cornerstone of personal finance. Consistently overdrawing your bank account shows that you're operating on a bad guess and don't mind giving away $33.04 (the average overdraft free in the U.S. in 2016) for every infraction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-mistakes-youre-making-with-your-checking-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Common Mistakes You're Making With Your Checking Account</a>)</p> <h2>5. Maxing out credit cards</h2> <p>There will always be people who confuse their credit limit with their spending limit. It's a behavior that shows a profound level of financial naiveté. Besides getting hit with interest and late fees, these folks live in a constant state of stress. Caught in an endless cycle of debt servitude, they can't save and are unable to cope with even a minor hiccup in income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Oops &mdash; I Maxed Out My Credit Cards. Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>6. Receiving calls from creditors</h2> <p>Does your heart skip a beat every time the phone rings? Well, you're either deeply in love or deeply in debt. If it's the latter, you have my sympathy. Creditors are tireless in their attempts to collect on debt. The older and wiser among us avoid being pulled into their exhausting web at all costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-debt-collectors-dont-want-you-to-know?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things Debt Collectors Don't Want You to Know</a>)</p> <h2>7. Paying late fees</h2> <p>A late fee is a tax you pay for not understanding how calendars work. Getting hit with late charges on credit cards, rent, and even library books shows that you and money have a youthful and complicated relationship. Even worse, all those fees can nickel and dime a budget to death. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a>)</p> <h2>8. Having services shut off</h2> <p>Dining by candlelight can be romantic &mdash; when it's a choice. But it's hard to put a sexy spin on the electricity, water, or heat being shut off for nonpayment. If your utilities are constantly in question, it's time for some serious adulting.</p> <h2>9. Letting your parents pay your bills</h2> <p>Do your parents pick up the tab for your cellphone or car insurance? Could you make ends meet without their help? If you answered <em>yes</em> to the first question and <em>no</em> to the second, you're still a babe in the woods financially. Make a plan to pay your own way.</p> <h2>10. Dodging the landlord</h2> <p>Do you check the peephole before leaving your apartment? Keep the TV volume on low? Wear a wig to the laundry room? Well, Mrs. Doubtfire, it sounds like you're dodging the landlord. Not being able to come up with the rent month after month is a sure sign of money immaturity &mdash; and a big clue that it's time to get a roommate, move to cheaper digs, or find a way to boost your income.</p> <h2>11. Not saving</h2> <p>If you're not squirreling money away in a savings account or emergency fund, you're either a doe-eyed optimist or woefully uninformed. In today's economy, a financial cushion is essential for dealing with layoffs, unexpected household expenses, and every other &quot;what-if&quot; life throws your way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Money%2520Habits%2520That%2520Make%2520You%2520Look%2520Financially%2520Immature.jpg&amp;description=11%20Money%20Habits%20That%20Make%20You%20Look%20Financially%20Immature"></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/u5180/11%20Money%20Habits%20That%20Make%20You%20Look%20Financially%20Immature.jpg" alt="11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature" 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/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature">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/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-types-of-overspenders-which-one-are-you">5 Types of Overspenders — Which One Are You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys">Never Borrow Money for These 5 Buys</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle borrowing money Creditors debt immature impulse buys keeping up with the joneses money moves parents Spending Money Tue, 24 Oct 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Kentin Waits 2038487 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel_planning_concept_on_table.jpg" alt="Travel planning concept on table" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By signing up for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit cards</a>, earning travel points through bonus offers and regular spending, and using your points in the smartest way possible, you can travel to far-flung corners of the world while minimizing out-of-pocket expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months with Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>While this probably sounds intriguing and fun, and it is, there are so many nuances to this strategy that it&rsquo;s easy to get it all wrong. To be a pro, you need to know which types of travel currency to pursue, how to maximize your miles, and how to avoid the many pitfalls that come with using credit cards in general. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a>)</p> <h2>1. Missing out on a sign-up bonus</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Credit card sign-up bonuses</a> offer one of the easiest ways to earn points or miles in a hurry. Often, you can earn up to 50,000 hotel points or airline miles after meeting a minimum spending requirement in the $1,000&ndash;$5,000 range within three months. Sounds easy, right?</p> <p>Unfortunately, far too many people jumble the details along the way. Either they fail to meet the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-meet-a-rewards-card-minimum-spending-requirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">minimum spending requirement</a> because they mix up the dates, or they misread the fine print and don&rsquo;t spend enough.</p> <p>Either way, you&rsquo;ll want to avoid this mistake if you want to maximize the points and miles you earn. It helps to read the offer details and understand it inside and out before you take the plunge.</p> <h2>2. Failing to optimize</h2> <p>Failing to optimize is another common mistake many new travel hackers make. When you don&rsquo;t understand the details of individual rewards programs, it&rsquo;s easy to assume they&rsquo;re all the same. The thing is, not all travel programs are created equal &mdash; not even close. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a good example of failing to optimize: Let&rsquo;s say someone has 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and needs to book a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. Because they don&rsquo;t know any better, they might go ahead and book their flight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for the current price, which happens to be 32,000 Chase points on that specific day.</p> <p>If they had dug a little deeper, however, they might find that you can often fly Southwest Airlines from Chicago Midway Airport into LAX for less than 13,000 points round trip. By transferring their points to Southwest instead of booking through the portal, they could have saved 19,000 points!</p> <p>The bottom line: Make sure you consider all your options before you use your points for travel. With some creative thinking and planning, you could find a much better deal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frequent-flyer-rules-to-go-farther-on-fewer-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Frequent Flyer Rules to Go Farther on Fewer Miles</a>)</p> <h2>3. Racking up credit card debt</h2> <p>Often, people who aren&rsquo;t financially sophisticated dive into the credit card rewards hobby without setting limits or expectations. Unfortunately, not having a plan for credit or never tracking your spending can easily lead down the winding road of credit card debt.</p> <p>To avoid debt and all the stress that comes with it, only use credit cards when you have a spending plan in place &mdash; and the discipline to pay your balance in full each month. If you wind up in debt, the rewards you earn will be wiped out by the credit card interest you&rsquo;ll pay each month.</p> <h2>4. Letting your points expire</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s crucial to make sure your hard-earned points don&rsquo;t expire before you&rsquo;ve had a chance to use them. While some programs like Delta SkyMiles and Chase Ultimate Rewards offer points that never expire, other travel currencies can expire if you don&rsquo;t &ldquo;earn or burn&rdquo; any points for 12&ndash;24 months.</p> <p>The best way to avoid expiring currencies is to know when your points will expire and enact a plan to &ldquo;restart the clock.&rdquo; Most of the time, it&rsquo;s fairly easy to save points by shopping through a loyalty shopping portal or spending even a handful of points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire</a>)</p> <h2>5. Earning points without a plan</h2> <p>I can&rsquo;t tell you how many times I&rsquo;ve seen people earn points and miles without any type of plan at all. Sometimes they are pursuing a currency that won&rsquo;t even work with their travel plans. For example, I know one person who built up a giant stash of Southwest Rapid Rewards points for a trip to Europe, without ever realizing that Southwest doesn&rsquo;t fly to Europe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with this Guide</a>)</p> <p>The best way to get ahead in the game is to get strategic about the points and miles you&rsquo;re earning and why. Figure out where you want to go, then decide which travel currency will get you there. Better yet, pursue flexible travel currency like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. That way, you can earn all the points you want and decide how to use them later on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Points</a>)</p> <h2>6. Waiting too long to book</h2> <p>While it&rsquo;s possible to book award travel right up to the last minute, anyone who has been in this hobby for a while will tell you it&rsquo;s better to book ahead.</p> <p>If you can book a flight six to nine months in advance, for example, you&rsquo;ll normally find more award availability than you will closer to departure. The same is true for hotels; since hotels have limited award availability, waiting too long to book can mean missing out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a>)</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Pitfalls%2520When%2520Chasing%2520Travel%2520Rewards.jpg&amp;description=6%20Pitfalls%20When%20Chasing%20Travel%20Rewards"></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%20Pitfalls%20When%20Chasing%20Travel%20Rewards.jpg" alt="6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards" 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/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</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-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">The Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</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/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit card rewards credit cards saving money spending habits Spending Money travel rewards travel tips Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Holly Johnson 2037241 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Budget When You're No Longer Broke http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rich_business_man.jpg" alt="Rich Business man" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first job out of college was working at Barnes &amp; Noble for $8.25 an hour, which meant I took home about $1,000 per month. It was a pretty precarious financial position considering that my rent cost $500 per month and I owed $200 per month to my student loans.</p> <p>After about eight months of working retail, I landed an office job that paid me $10,000 more per year. When I received my first paycheck from the new job, I was sorely tempted to cash the whole thing and make it rain for an entire weekend to make up for the frugality I'd been forced to live under while I was selling books. I made grand plans to decorate my apartment and buy new clothes &mdash; and I couldn't wait to stop double checking the cost of everything all the time.</p> <p>Going from barely making ends meet to suddenly flourishing can be a difficult transition to adjust to. It's tempting to just throw your budget out the window, since you no longer need such a restrictive attitude toward money. But going from broke to flush does not mean you can abandon budgeting altogether, or else you risk making bad financial decisions that will stick with you for years to come. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-got-a-raise-now-what?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You Got a Raise! Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>Beware lifestyle creep</h2> <p>We all have a tendency to spend right up to our income ceiling, no matter how much money we make. When you have a major income increase, it's very easy to go nuts with all the things you have been denying yourself on your more restrictive budget. But this kind of spending will keep you unprepared for a financial problem down the line, and you will also simply get accustomed to your new standard of living because of a cognitive bias known as <em>hedonic adaptation</em>.</p> <p>Hedonic adaptation describes the phenomenon wherein we get used to the things we have. This cognitive bias helps explain why it is so easy for you to become just as financially stressed after a major pay raise or other financial increase as you were at the lower level. When the things that were rare treats when you were earning less become a standard part of your life, you enjoy them less &mdash; but you are also less willing to give them up. (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> <p>It's very difficult to avoid lifestyle creep when you are excited to upgrade from ramen dinners and cement-and-plywood furniture. There are a couple of things you can do to keep your larger paychecks from being frittered away with lifestyle creep.</p> <h3>1. Give yourself a (small) raise</h3> <p>You should get to enjoy the fruits of your labors, and no one can keep living on a restrictive budget forever. So start by increasing your monthly fun money budget by a portion of your increased income. For instance, if you're going to be seeing $1,000 more per month, let $50&ndash;$100 of it become money in your pocket. Enjoying a portion of your extra money in an intentional way will make it much easier for you to avoid unintentional lifestyle creep.</p> <h3>2. Reassess your budget</h3> <p>Whether you had a strict budget that you followed religiously while you were broke, or you simply tried to keep from spending any money at all, a major change in your income level is an excellent time to look back over your budget. Specifically, it's a good time to figure out what budget categories were underfunded while you were making less money &mdash; and if there were any categories where you can trim some fat.</p> <p>It's tempting to simply beef up all of your budget categories with your extra income, but it pays to determine where your money can do the most good. For instance, you might be itching to increase your dining out budget category so you can start keeping up with the friends who go out every weekend. But if you have high-interest debts, it makes more sense to wipe those out before you start living it up with your high-roller friends. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>3. Make gradual changes to your lifestyle</h3> <p>After making do with a leaking bean bag chair instead of a real sofa, it's natural to want to go out and replace everything from your broke days as soon as the money starts coming in. But even though you now have more money, your funds are not unlimited, and you'll be able to make better and more intentional replacements if you make changes gradually rather than all at once.</p> <p>So take the time to figure out what you would most like to replace or change first so that you can make such gradual changes. For instance, rather than buying all new furniture, you might instead just upgrade your mattress, since having an old and worn out mattress could be affecting your sleep. As you build up your savings, you can slowly replace other pieces of furniture as needed.</p> <h3>4. Set up automatic transfers</h3> <p>Set up automatic transfers to start as soon as your new paychecks do, so that the extra money is working for you as of day one instead of burning a hole in your checking account. These can be especially helpful for combating lifestyle creep when you get a raise or higher-paying job.</p> <p>If you don't have an emergency fund already, start by setting up an automatic transfer into savings for one. From there, sign up for automatic transfers into your retirement account &mdash; and if you don't already have one, now is an excellent time to enroll! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Choosing a Retirement Account: What's Available, and What's Best for You?</a>)</p> <h2>Going from broke to bank</h2> <p>A higher income can slip through your fingers if you are not paying attention to your spending, which is why it is so important to adjust your budget after you get a major pay raise or higher-paying job. Take the time to responsibly enjoy your new wealth, but also be sure to make rational and deliberate decisions about where your money can do the most good in your life.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Budget%2520When%2520You%2527re%2520No%2520Longer%2520Broke.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You're%20No%20Longer%20Broke"></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%20to%20Budget%20When%20You%27re%20No%20Longer%20Broke.jpg" alt="How to Budget When You're No Longer Broke" 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/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</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> Personal Finance Budgeting automatic transfers income increase lifestyle changes lifestyle creep mental biases more money promotion raise Spending Money Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2035881 at http://www.wisebread.com How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_need_a_break_0.jpg" alt="I need a break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Complacency is not taking action even when you know you should. It tends to be an issue when you're not sure why a decision matters, or when you're overwhelmed by the details and options involved in making a decision. Complacency may seem like no big deal, but it can have a very negative effect on your finances. Here's how it can hurt you.</p> <h2>You're getting a poor return on your investments</h2> <p>When you're complacent about how you manage your long-term savings, you can miss out on a lot of returns. If you put off moving your money into an investment or fund, and leave your accumulated savings in a low-interest savings account instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer" target="_blank">you're losing money every month</a>. You could be adding to your savings effortlessly with passive income, and by not doing so, you're drastically diminishing your future earnings potential.</p> <p>Take an hour or two to learn the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" target="_blank">basics of investing</a>. Then set up an account and get started earning a better return. You can always make adjustments later. In the meantime, your returns will be compounding.</p> <h2>Your lack of emergency savings means more financial emergencies</h2> <p>Complacency might make you feel like you don't need to have an emergency fund. Maybe you haven't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" target="_blank">rebuilt your fund after a crisis</a>, or maybe you haven't been able to accumulate one at all. When things are going well and your day-to-day life is predictable, an emergency fund might seem unimportant.</p> <p>However, having an emergency fund keeps a small crisis from becoming a big deal. You can't always predict a big expense or income loss; without a plan and some savings, you may end up using a high-interest loan or credit card to handle a financial crisis. That kicks off a fix-it-quick debt cycle, which can leave you backed into an unpleasant financial corner.</p> <p>It can seem difficult to build up an emergency fund, especially if you're already on a tight budget. But even a very small, regular contribution to your savings will add up quickly. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all.</p> <h2>You're not adding as much as you could to your retirement savings</h2> <p>Maybe you're not taking full advantage of your 401(k) or haven't yet set up the IRA you've been thinking about. There can be some details to work through, but in the meantime, you're missing out on savings and, possibly, matching funds from your employer. If you're failing to contribute regularly, or putting off setting up a 401(k) and IRA altogether, you're jeopardizing your retirement. You're also missing out on tax breaks that come with these retirement accounts.</p> <p>Not sure where to start? Our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments" target="_blank">step-by-step guide to choosing 401(k) investments can help</a>. If your employer doesn't offer a 401(k), here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">five Roth IRA accounts</a> you can set up on your own that don't require a lot of money to open.</p> <h2>Your big, unnecessary expenses are increasing your debt</h2> <p>At some point, you made a decision to buy the house or the car or whatever it is. Now, you realize it's not really worth it. The expense is more than you can comfortably handle, and you could live without it. But getting away from this payment &mdash; whether it's a lease, a mortgage, or a car loan &mdash; seems impossible, so you just &hellip; don't.</p> <p>Meanwhile, you're paying interest every month and, if your budget is stretched to the limit, you're not saving like you could be. You may be stuck making minimum payments on debt, or failing to proactively maintain your big purchases because you can't afford to do more. The resulting depreciation can diminish the value of your house or car in a hurry, leaving you with less and less value to recover as time goes on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-purchases-with-financing-options-that-depreciate-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Purchases With Financing Options That Depreciate Fast</a>)</p> <p>Take the first step by finding out how to get out from under this big expense. There may be an option to end the lease early. Maybe you can sell the car and pay off the loan. Or it might be time to get that house on the market and find something more affordable. The sooner you take action, the sooner you stop losing money.</p> <h2>Your ho-hum career is costing you opportunities</h2> <p>Career capital isn't only about what you make in terms of salary; it's also about the skills and experiences you build, which can add to your marketability. If you're bored, disinterested, or otherwise feeling stuck in your job, but you're staying put, you're limiting your future in terms of finances and fulfillment.</p> <p>The more disengaged and unhappy you are in your job, the poorer your performance will be. You're more likely to do subpar work, miss out on opportunities, and be passed over for promotions. Even if you don't love your job, do your best to gain skills and be engaged while you're there; doing so will open up more opportunities for advancement or a complete career change.</p> <p>Meanwhile, start looking for your next move. It might be time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-a-side-hustle-can-advance-your-career" target="_blank">start a side hustle</a>, network for a new job option, or get serious about starting a business. Don't let time go by and kill your enthusiasm (and your bank account). The sooner you take action, the sooner you can increase your salary and your enjoyment in the work you do.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Complacency%2520Keeps%2520You%2520From%2520Financial%2520Security.jpg&amp;description=How%20Complacency%20Keeps%20You%20From%20Financial%20Security"></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%20Complacency%20Keeps%20You%20From%20Financial%20Security.jpg" alt="How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security" 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-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">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/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</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/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature">11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature</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/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</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/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career Building complacency debt emergency funds expenses inaction investments job laziness Spending Money stalling Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2029863 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Avoid Vacation Debt http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-vacation-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-avoid-vacation-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel_cost.jpg" alt="Travel cost" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Vacation is meant to be fun and relaxing. With no office to go into and no stove to slave over, you can enjoy some peace and quiet and forget about life for a while. Unfortunately, many Americans return home to a rude awakening in the form of a big, fat vacation bill. Nearly three-quarters of Americans have gone into debt to pay for a vacation, racking up an average balance of $1,108, according to LearnVest's 2017 Money Habits and Confessions Survey.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid vacation debt and the havoc it creates. If you're gearing up for a trip but don't want to return home to a nasty bill, here are some steps you can take in advance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fool-proof-ways-to-stay-within-your-travel-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Fool-Proof Ways to Stay Within Your Travel Budget</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start a travel savings account</h2> <p>One possible reason Americans wind up with vacation debt could be the fact that more than half of us don't have a travel budget. The LearnVest survey shows that 55 percent of Americans don't factor vacations into their annual spending plans.</p> <p>One of the best ways to ensure you have vacation funds saved in advance of your holiday is to create a targeted savings account just for travel. A travel account allows you to see exactly how much you have to spend on vacation without digging into your regular budget, or worse, going into debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a>)</p> <h2>2. Carve out some travel savings in your monthly budget</h2> <p>Once you have a travel account, you need to save regularly if you want your funds to grow. Make it easy on yourself by budgeting for travel expenses monthly &mdash; as in, set aside a few hundred dollars (or whatever you can afford) each month as if you were paying a regular bill. By stashing this money in your travel savings account, you help make sure it doesn't get spent elsewhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-budget-for-summer-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Budget for Summer Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>3. Find ways to save on travel</h2> <p>Part of our problem with vacation debt could stem from the fact that we're spending too much on travel compared to our incomes. LearnVest's survey showed that the average American spends around 10 percent of their income on vacations &mdash; meaning an individual who earns $50,000 is spending $5,000 a year on holiday travel. Worse, 39 percent of millennials spend 15 percent or more of their annual income on vacations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months or Less With Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>While there's no one-size-fits all way to save on travel, we could all stand to dig a little deeper to find savings. Consider searching for package deals that include both airfare and hotels, for example. Or, vacation closer to home so you can avoid flying altogether. Also check out the many useful <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel deals websites</a> that can help you save money on nearly any trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources?ref=seealso" target="_blank">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a>)</p> <h2>4. Leverage credit card rewards (but only if you're debt-free)</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Travel credit cards</a> can serve as a valuable money-saving tool, as long as you don't run a balance on them. If you plan ahead to earn airline miles or hotel points, and pay your bill in full before your due date every month, you can use rewards to supplement your travel budget and save money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-miles-and-points-for-a-big-award-trip?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Miles and Points for a Big Award Trip</a>)</p> <p>For example, if you cash in frequent flyer miles to pay for your airfare, you can focus on saving for your hotels and food separately. Or, consider driving to a hotel you paid for with points. In that case, you would only be on the hook for travel expenses, activities, and food.</p> <p>Of course, travel rewards are not a good option for people struggling with debt. The key to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=internal" target="_blank">using credit card rewards for travel</a> is to never carry a balance. Instead, consider your cards as a thoughtful extension of a planned out monthly budget.</p> <h2>5. Cut your expenses, or try a &quot;spending freeze&quot;</h2> <p>The LearnVest survey found that the most common ways Americans save money for travel are avoiding restaurants, shopping less often, and spending less on entertainment. This is all good news, as &quot;extra&quot; spending categories like dining out and entertainment are often the easiest to cut. But, that doesn't mean you can't look for more ways to save money over time.</p> <p>As you save up for a vacation, you can even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-one-month-spending-freeze?ref=internal" target="_blank">try a spending &quot;freeze&quot;</a> &mdash; an exercise in which you only spend money on absolute essentials for several weeks or months. If you can avoid extra spending for short bursts of time, you can reach your vacation budget goal much quicker.</p> <h2>6. Pick up a side gig</h2> <p>Not everyone has enough wiggle room in their budget to cut out enough to pay for a vacation. Maybe you live in a high-cost area, or perhaps your monthly expenses are unusually high due to debt, child support, or other factors. Either way, it's hard to save for vacation when you're barely making ends meet.</p> <p>If you're struggling to come up with the cash to travel, consider picking up a side hustle or part-time job that leads to additional income. Since the extra cash you earn is in addition to the money you earn at your job, you should theoretically be able to save it for anything you want. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs for Fast Cash</a>)</p> <p>Your side hustle can be anything, although you'll probably earn more if you align it with your career or some skill you already have. If not, you can always try something like baby-sitting, dog-sitting, or housesitting. Mow lawns, drive for Uber, or tutor kids online. Start hustling, and by the time your next vacation rolls around, you'll be ready.</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-ways-to-avoid-vacation-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Avoid%2520Vacation%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Avoid%20Vacation%20Debt"></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%20Ways%20to%20Avoid%20Vacation%20Debt.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Avoid Vacation Debt" 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/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-vacation-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</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/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</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/7-strategies-for-paying-off-debt-when-living-on-a-variable-income">7 Strategies for Paying Off Debt When Living on a Variable Income</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Travel budgeting expenses saving money side gigs Spending Money vacation debt Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Holly Johnson 2027163 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep Food Waste From Spoiling Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-459410387.jpg" alt="save money by tracking food waste" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How much food do wealthy nations waste? More than <a href="http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/" target="_blank">all of Sub-Saharan Africa produces</a>, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In the United States alone, from the farm to your kitchen, half of all produce ends up in the trash, according to a report by The Guardian.</p> <p>What does that waste mean for your household budget? If you're like the average family of four, you're literally <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/resources/wasted-how-america-losing-40-percent-its-food-farm-fork-landfill" target="_blank">throwing away $1,800 a year</a>, the National Resources Defense Council estimates.</p> <p>So a melon is a terrible thing to waste. We've heard it before. But what can we really do about it? Here are six ideas for taking action by quantifying food waste. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You're Wasting 1/3 of the Food You Buy &mdash; Here's How to Stop</a>)</p> <h2>Weigh your waste</h2> <p>The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that households spend two weeks separating &quot;preventable food waste&quot; garbage from inedible scraps as part of its <a href="https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-02/documents/get_smart_ftgtw_2_1_2016_pubnumberadded_508.pdf" target="_blank">Food: Too Good to Waste Challenge</a>.</p> <p>At the end of each week, weigh and record the food you could have eaten but tossed instead. Then, spend three weeks using the EPA's tips to improve your planning, shopping, and storage practices. Finally, measure what you waste during the sixth week, and share the impressive progress you've (ideally) made on social media. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/waste-not-want-not-stop-throwing-away-your-food?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Waste Not, Want Not: Stop Throwing Away Your Food!</a>)</p> <h2>Get the app</h2> <p>So often in busy households food goes to waste because you forget it's there. The iOS app <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nowaste-food-inventory-list/id926211004?mt=8" target="_blank">No Waste</a> allows you to scan the barcodes of stuff in your fridge, enter expiration dates, and track everything you've got. If you don't mark a food item as &quot;eaten&quot; before its expiration date, the app marks that food as wasted. It keeps track of the percent of your food that you waste, and shows you a cute little tree that loses its green if your waste increases. It also allows you to compare your waste percentage with other app users, and gives you an estimate of how much money you're saving by eating the food you paid for.</p> <h2>Create a food diary</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.squawkfox.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Food-Waste-Diary.pdf" target="_blank">printable food waste diary</a> prompts you to record not just the amount of food wasted at each meal, but also the reason and estimated value. This should be helpful to put a weekly dollar figure on your waste and motivate you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad" target="_blank">consume foods that are about to go bad</a>.</p> <h2>Impose consequences</h2> <p>Whether you used a printable from, a smartphone app, or simply scrawled the amounts and values of your waste on a scrap of paper stuck to the fridge, what do you do with this data? Why not use it to (gently) punish yourself? Take the total value of this week's waste, and deduct it from next week's grocery budget. Chances are, the pain of passing up buying the steak you wanted might help you remember to use up that meatloaf next week.</p> <h2>Track it publicly</h2> <p>Recording your food waste alone in your kitchen is OK, but wouldn't it be more fun to inspire others by planning a <a href="https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/food-waste/research/assignments/mission-no-waste-meal1" target="_blank">Watch Your Waste Meal</a>? In the days leading up to your event, you're supposed to track your waste and share photos of your discards, which a celebrity chef might use as inspiration for a new dish.</p> <h2>Take a picture, it'll last longer</h2> <p>Are you more of a visual learner? Then follow The Frugal Girl's example and photograph <a href="http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/category/food-waste/food-waste-photos/" target="_blank">every bit of food you waste</a>. If you really want to push yourself to improve, share it online like she does! But even a private gallery of moldy horrors should be enough to encourage yourself to save the kale.</p> <h2>Beyond your kitchen</h2> <p>Once you've got a handle on what you throw away at home, turn your attention to the millions of pounds of food that gets thrown away by businesses before you even get a crack at it.</p> <h3>Buy ugly</h3> <p>In California and Portland, <a href="https://www.imperfectproduce.com/" target="_blank">Imperfect Produce</a> delivers weekly boxes of vegetables and fruits that are not cosmetically perfect enough to be sold in stores but still fresh and wholesome.</p> <h3>Take-out the trash</h3> <p>Still in beta, the app <a href="https://foodforall.us/" target="_blank">Food for All</a> will allow you to purchase unsold food from restaurants at the end of the day, at discounts as steep as 80 percent. Lucky Bostonians get to try this super frugal service first.</p> <h3>Save a mint</h3> <p>If you work in or own a restaurant, try the app <a href="https://www.mintscraps.com/" target="_blank">MintScraps</a> to track and reduce food waste.</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-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Keep%2520Food%2520Waste%2520From%2520Spoiling%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Keep%20Food%20Waste%20From%20Spoiling%20Your%20Budget"></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%20to%20Keep%20Food%20Waste%20From%20Spoiling%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="How to Keep Food Waste From Spoiling Your Budget" 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/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-food-waste-from-spoiling-your-budget">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-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</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-smart-shoppers-will-save-at-amazons-whole-foods">How Smart Shoppers Will Save at Amazon&#039;s Whole Foods</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/shop-the-salad-bar-and-other-ways-to-save-big-on-groceries">Shop the Salad Bar and Other Ways to Save Big on Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-53-grocery-shopping-tricks-thatll-make-your-life-easier">Flashback Friday: 53 Grocery Shopping Tricks That&#039;ll Make Your Life Easier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-122-no-fuss-dinner-ideas-thatll-save-you-money">Flashback Friday: 122 No-Fuss Dinner Ideas That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink food shopping food waste green living groceries grocery bill grocery budget saving money shopping tips Spending Money Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2024819 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Split the Bill Without Losing Friends http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-split-the-bill-without-losing-friends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-split-the-bill-without-losing-friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pizza_break.jpg" alt="Pizza break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After a wonderful dinner with old friends, the check arrives and someone suggests splitting the bill equally. It's a simple solution, but not always a fair one. The price of a dinner salad with iced tea just doesn't compare to the cost of a cedar plank salmon with white wine. So how do you enjoy dinner out without jeopardizing the relationships you hold dear? Here are six ways to split the bill without losing friends. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paying-for-a-piece-of-the-pizza-techniques-for-splitting-the-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Paying for a Piece of the Pizza: Techniques for Splitting the Bill</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take control</h2> <p>In social situations, the person who speaks first speaks loudest. Rather than risk a conflict, people tend to agree with whatever payment strategy is initially proposed. With this truth in mind, anticipate those moments when the conversation will naturally turn to payment matters (usually when a group is ready to order or when the check arrives) and be prepared with your suggestion. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-painless-ways-to-split-the-check?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Painless Ways to Split the Check</a>)</p> <h2>2. Request separate checks</h2> <p>Though technically not <em>splitting</em> the bill, it's the cleanest method by far. Avoid sticky situations by simply requesting separate checks up front. Though it may be more work for your server, it's the most equitable approach. If necessary, justify your strategy with a little white lie like, &quot;I might have to leave a few minutes early.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Split it evenly &hellip; sometimes</h2> <p>On occasions when everyone has had a similar amount of items (drinks, appetizers, and dessert) or similarly priced items, splitting the bill evenly is the simplest way to go. To be sensitive to all diners, only suggest this option &mdash; don't declare it. Though you may not mind pitching in an extra two or three bucks to make this method work, it could be a big deal to someone else.</p> <h2>4. Use a bill splitting app</h2> <p>Yes, there's an app for that! Explore <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-modern-ways-to-split-the-bill?ref=internal" target="_blank">modern ways to split the bill</a> with apps like <a href="https://www.tabapp.co/" target="_blank">Tab</a>, and <a href="http://billr.me/" target="_blank">Billr</a>. These tools help calculate how much each person owes &mdash; including the divided cost of shared items, tax, and tip. Whether the gathering is large or small, it's the perfect way to divvy things up fairly and avoid those awkward moments.</p> <h2>5. Rotate payment</h2> <p>Again, while this approach isn't technically <em>splitting</em> the bill, it's designed to divide the burden of payment evenly. With close friends who get together often, consider taking turns paying the entire bill. It's a simple solution that makes the process clean and easy. Just remember, in order for this system to work, the restaurants you choose must be in the same general price range (no five-star establishment one week and a hot dog stand the next).</p> <h2>6. Keep things light</h2> <p>No matter what method you choose, use humor to diffuse tense bill-splitting moments. If you meet resistance when suggesting everyone pay for their own items, say something like, &quot;Hey guys, I'm on a budget. I'm not paying for Mark's filet mignon with black truffle butter and baby root vegetables.&quot; Though Mark may have only ordered a burger and a beer, your point is expertly made and folks will get a good chuckle.</p> <p>Wherever money is concerned, there's bound to be some awkwardness &mdash; even between friends. It's a side effect of a culture that's built on consumption, wealth, and keeping up with the Joneses. The truth is, most people are terrified of being perceived as cheap; we'll even risk logic and fairness to avoid it. The trick to splitting the check equitably is communicating your expectations clearly and not letting your voice be drowned out by the crowd. So the next time you're having drinks or dinner with friends, speak up when the bill arrives. Split the check, not your friendships.</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-ways-to-split-the-bill-without-losing-friends&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Split%2520the%2520Bill%2520Without%2520Losing%2520Friends.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Split%20the%20Bill%20Without%20Losing%20Friends"></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%20Ways%20to%20Split%20the%20Bill%20Without%20Losing%20Friends.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Split the Bill Without Losing Friends" 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/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-split-the-bill-without-losing-friends">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/9-ways-restaurant-menus-are-designed-to-make-you-spend-more">9 Ways Restaurant Menus Are Designed to Make You Spend More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out">A Cheapskate’s Guide to Eating Out</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/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in">Bridging The Gap From Dining Out To Eating In</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/crappy-service-great-food-what-to-do">Crappy service, great food...what to do?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink bill etiquette dining out losing friends restaurant Spending Money split the bill venmo Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Kentin Waits 2020341 at http://www.wisebread.com Now or Later: How to Decide the Right Time to Buy Almost Anything http://www.wisebread.com/now-or-later-how-to-decide-the-right-time-to-buy-almost-anything <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/now-or-later-how-to-decide-the-right-time-to-buy-almost-anything" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-167399345.jpg" alt="when to buy almost everything" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are some things that make sense to buy right away, because spending a little money now can save you a lot of expense and hassle later. Other purchases are best deferred as long as possible, since there is little or no advantage to buying the item before you really need it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Never Succumb to Impulse Spending Again</a>)</p> <p>Here's a handy guide to help you determine what you should buy now versus later.</p> <h2>Buy it now</h2> <p>You shouldn't wait to buy these items.</p> <h3>Tires</h3> <p>Check your tire tread depth by inserting a penny into the groove &mdash; if you can see all of Lincoln's head, your tires are considered bald. Replace worn out tires now instead of waiting for a flat, or even worse, an accident.</p> <h3>Car Battery</h3> <p>If your car shows signs of a weak battery, such as difficulty cranking the engine or dim lights, it is time to have the battery checked at the shop. Battery checks are often free, and allow you to replace your battery at a convenient time while you can still shop around for a good deal instead of when you are stranded somewhere with a car that won't start. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-save-money-with-an-easy-to-follow-car-maintenance-checklist?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Bookmark This: Save Money With an Easy to Follow Car Maintenance Checklist</a>)</p> <h3>Gas</h3> <p>It doesn't really save you money to run on fumes since you will end up buying the gas anyway. You might as well reduce your risk of running out of gas in traffic by filling up before the needle falls well below the &quot;E.&quot;</p> <h3>Oil change</h3> <p>You might feel like you should wait as long as possible between oil changes to save money, but the extra cost of changing the oil a little early is minimal. By staying ahead of schedule for oil changes, you avoid the risk that you will forget or get busy and push your motor oil beyond its life, ultimately damaging your engine.</p> <h3>Roof repair/replacement</h3> <p>Address roofing issues before leaks form by promptly repairing roof damage. Waiting until your roof starts leaking before taking action doesn't save money, since you'll have to repair or replace the roof anyway, plus the added expense to repair water damage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-household-repairs-every-frugal-person-should-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Simple Household Repairs Every Frugal Person Should Master</a>)</p> <h3>Investments</h3> <p>Since investments tend to appreciate in value, you are better off buying them now for two reasons:</p> <ul> <li>Buying the investment will cost more if you wait.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you invest now, you will start gaining appreciation sooner.</li> </ul> <h3>Out-of-season clothing or gear</h3> <p>Clothing or gear that is out of season will often end up on the clearance racks, and these sales can be a cheap way to pick up things you know you'll need next year. Winter coats, swimwear, and sporting goods are some of the best clearance sale bargains.</p> <h3>Energy efficiency upgrades</h3> <p>Adding insulation, replacing leaky windows, or upgrading an inefficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system will save you money on utility bills every month. The sooner you make energy efficiency upgrades, the more money you'll save.</p> <h2>Buy it later</h2> <p>If you're trying to save money, these items can wait.</p> <h3>Tech gadgets</h3> <p>The longer you wait to upgrade tech products, the more capability you'll get for less money. Wait as long as you can before buying a new TV, smartphone, tablet, or computer.</p> <h3>New car (or newer used car)</h3> <p>Driving a car for as long as possible is one of the best things you can do to save money. Keep your current car in good working order to help suppress your desire to get a different car before you really need one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-put-away-a-million-dollars-by-driving-a-used-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Could You Put Away a Million Dollars by Driving a Used Car?</a>)</p> <h3>In-season clothing</h3> <p>Styles can change, or your size could change. If your current clothes fit and don't have holes, there is no real advantage to buying brand new clothes until the situation changes.</p> <h3>A bigger house</h3> <p>Unless there's a disruptive ghost in your attic or a consistent flood in your basement, you should wait to upgrade to a bigger house. Delay ratcheting up your mortgage, property tax, utilities, and insurance payments to save money until you really need more space or to live in a different location.</p> <h3>Furniture</h3> <p>Try to get one more year of life from a piece of furniture before buying something new. You can repaint or reupholster it to give it a new look for much less than you'd spend on a brand new item. After the year of waiting is up, try to do the same thing again.</p> <h3>Aged or unsightly items</h3> <p>There are a lot of possessions that get &quot;uglied out&quot; before they get worn out to the point where they no longer function. For example, my garbage can is faded, has a cracked lid, and has some paint on it. But even though it is ugly, it still works perfectly well as a garbage can and there is no advantage to rushing to replace it. Things that tend to get ugly before they wear out include luggage, carpet, furniture, appliances, and tools. Keep those around until they break or you can afford to replace them.</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%2Fnow-or-later-how-to-decide-the-right-time-to-buy-almost-anything&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FNow%2520or%2520Later-%2520How%2520to%2520Decide%2520the%2520Right%2520Time%2520to%2520Buy%2520Almost%2520Anything.jpg&amp;description=Now%20or%20Later%3A%20How%20to%20Decide%20the%20Right%20Time%20to%20Buy%20Almost%20Anything"></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/Now%20or%20Later-%20How%20to%20Decide%20the%20Right%20Time%20to%20Buy%20Almost%20Anything.jpg" alt="Now or Later: How to Decide the Right Time to Buy Almost Anything" 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/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/now-or-later-how-to-decide-the-right-time-to-buy-almost-anything">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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-credit-card-moves-now-to-prepare-for-holiday-shopping">Make These 6 Credit Card Moves Now to Prepare for Holiday Shopping</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/8-college-perks-you-might-be-missing-out-on">8 College Perks You Might Be Missing Out On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buy it later Buy It Now saving money shopping guide shopping tips Spending Money when to shop Wed, 06 Sep 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2016056 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Self Care Can Actually Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-care-can-actually-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-self-care-can-actually-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_meditating_541865750.jpg" alt="Woman practicing self care and saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Self care&quot; has become a buzzword. It has become associated with spa days and luxurious vacations, and critics say that it's more of an exercise in self-indulgence. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-self-care-actually-harms-your-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When Self-Care Actually Harms Your Budget</a>)</p> <p>However, true self care doesn't actually have to have anything to do with spending lots of money. In fact, truly caring for yourself, giving yourself what you need, and making your own well-being a priority, will save you money in the long run. Here are a few ways that can work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/treat-yourself-with-these-7-free-self-care-routines?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Treat Yourself With These 7 Free Self-Care Routines</a>)</p> <h2>1. Exercise</h2> <p>Taking care of your body is important. In fact, it's one of the most important things you can do for your health. And as your body produces endorphins during exercise, it helps your mental health, as well. If you want to run a lower risk of shelling out money at the doctor's office, make daily exercise part of your routine.</p> <p>But wait! Don't gym memberships cost money? Luckily, you don't need a pricey gym membership to get physically fit. Just a quality pair of sneakers, comfy clothes, and an open trail on which to run or walk every day can help protect your ticker. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free</a>)</p> <h2>2. Rest</h2> <p>Another basic tenet of real self care is rest. This means getting enough sleep at night, but it also means taking days off when needed. Just taking a mental health day will give your body and mind a chance to relax and reset, rather than be on all the time. You will also be more productive when you return to work with a fresh mind after a day off. You'll have more energy to tackle additional tasks outside of work, and to work on your side gigs to bring in extra income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-body-every-day?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Body Every Day</a>)</p> <p>Sleep can save you money, too. You'll make better decisions (financial and otherwise) when you are well-rested. And according to a study by Harvard University, <a href="http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk" target="_blank">sleeping eight hours or more each night</a> lowers your risk of expensive chronic health problems that can push you straight into debt.</p> <h2>3. Healthy eating</h2> <p>What you eat and how you eat it can save you money, too. For many people, part of self care involves eating healthier by planning meals, grocery shopping for fresh ingredients, and then cooking and eating at home.</p> <p>Obviously, you will spend less on your food when you prepare it yourself. You will avoid pricey takeout meals that probably aren't as healthy, you'll improve your cooking skills, and you're taking care of your body, which, again, will help lower your risk of contracting any obesity-caused illnesses.</p> <h2>4. Setting goals</h2> <p>When we aren't caring for ourselves in the most basic sense, it can be harder to focus on our financial goals. Being focused and vigilant in one area of our lives can easily trickle into others. So when we're eating right, getting enough rest, and taking care of our bodies, we become more inclined to keep that positive momentum going. We plan ahead. We want to safeguard our future in every sense, including planning for retirement, paying off debt, and making smarter financial choices.</p> <h2>5. Creating boundaries</h2> <p>Maintaining personal boundaries is a huge part of self care, and it can also save us money. Because boundaries help us define what is and is not part of who we are, solid ones help us prevent poor spending decisions like competitive spending with friends, feeling pressured to lend others money, etc. If we value our financial health, then, boundaries will help us spend when we need to but not so much or so often that it negatively impacts our financial future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-acts-of-self-care-for-the-sandwich-generation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Simple Acts of Self-Care for the Sandwich Generation</a>)</p> <p>Investing in self care doesn't have to be frivolous or luxurious; it often means changing our daily habits so that we are prioritizing our best interests.</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%2F5-ways-self-care-can-actually-save-you-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Ways%2520Self%2520Care%2520Can%2520Actually%2520Save%2520You%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=5%20Ways%20Self%20Care%20Can%20Actually%20Save%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/u5180/5%20Ways%20Self%20Care%20Can%20Actually%20Save%20You%20Money.jpg" alt="5 Ways Self Care Can Actually Save 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/5-ways-self-care-can-actually-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-relieve-your-money-stress">10 Ways to Relieve Your Money Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</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-the-76-best-life-lessons-you-should-learn-by-30">Flashback Friday: The 76 Best Life Lessons You Should Learn by 30</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/7-ways-to-stay-calm-in-stressful-moments">7 Ways to Stay Calm in Stressful Moments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-95-best-ways-to-get-fit-for-free">Flashback Friday: The 95 Best Ways to Get Fit for Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Lifestyle budget Health mental health saving money self care Spending Money Fri, 01 Sep 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 2013366 at http://www.wisebread.com 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> <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%2F23-effortless-ways-to-go-green-and-save-money-too&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F23%2520Effortless%2520Ways%2520to%2520Go%2520Green%2520%2528and%2520Save%2520Money%252C%2520Too%2529.jpg&amp;description=23%20Effortless%20Ways%20to%20Go%20Green%20(and%20Save%20Money%2C%20Too)"></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/u5180/23%20Effortless%20Ways%20to%20Go%20Green%20%28and%20Save%20Money%2C%20Too%29.jpg" alt="23 Effortless Ways to Go Green (and Save Money, Too)" 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/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-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/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/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money">8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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> 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-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/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/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</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/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money</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