budget http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1413/all en-US Ask the Readers: Do You Keep a Budget? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-keep-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-keep-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_paperwork_computer_000021881617.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to keep a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-keep-a-budget#comment-792276">Kat</a>, Kristin, and Davalyn for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>It's widely agreed that one of the best ways to take control of your finances is to set up a budget. Experts recommend that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-thing-you-can-do-to-start-budgeting-today">start simple for your first budget</a> and get into the nitty-gritty stuff as you become more comfortable with the process, but many people burn out on a budget that doesn't work for them or the task seems too big to even begin. Alternatively, some people have discovered that budgets in general aren't effective for their situation, and they find other ways to keep their finances in order.</p> <p><strong>Do you keep a budget? </strong>What has been the easiest &mdash; and hardest &mdash; part of budgeting? If you don't budget, why not? What other method do you use to manage your money?</p> <p>Tell us whether you keep a budget and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rcwidget_37jqrv9q" data-template="" data-theme="classic" data-raflid="79857dfa246" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa246/" class="rcptr">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, May 30th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after May 30th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us whether you keep a budget and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-keep-a-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-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/ask-the-readers-whats-the-biggest-item-in-your-budget">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s the Biggest Item in Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-that-dieting-and-budgeting-are-exactly-the-same">6 Ways that Dieting and Budgeting are Exactly the Same</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/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Giveaways Ask the Readers budget Tue, 24 May 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1713709 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: The 107 Best Breakfast Hacks to Start Your Day Off Right http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-the-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_breakfast_000077809533.jpg" alt="Woman using breakfast hacks to start her day off right" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then it should also be your best, most delicious meal of the day. Why not start the day off right, right? But with a hectic schedule ahead of you, it's easy to toss breakfast off the top of your priority list, and just grab something quick, something probably not-so-healthy, and ultimately, something that will tamper with your energy before you've even started work.</p> <p>It doesn't have to be that way, though. You absolutely can have a balanced breakfast without sacrificing much of your limited morning time. Here are the 100+ best breakfast hacks we've ever shared.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/healthy_breakfast_000042961122.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-calorie-burning-breakfasts?ref=fbf">The 7 Most Calorie-Burning Breakfasts</a> &mdash; Oh, you wanna torch massive calories throughout the day, eh? Well, you gotta start early in the morning. And these healthy, calorie-burning breakfasts will give you a stellar head-start.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-delicious-breakfast-dishes-for-your-grill?ref=fbf">11 Delicious Breakfast Dishes for Your Grill</a> &mdash; Warmer days, they are a comin', so why not enjoy the morning sun while you grill up some breakfast pizzas and hash browns? Sounds pretty wonderful, doesn't it?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-and-delicious-granola-recipes?ref=fbf">20 Easy and Delicious Granola Recipes</a> &mdash; Granola is no one-trick pony. There are so many yummy ways to use it! So step up your granola game and mix it in with these amazing toppings.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/man_eating_oatmeal_000038523720.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-nutritious-breakfasts-for-people-with-busy-mornings?ref=fbf">15 Nutritious Breakfasts for People With Busy Mornings</a> &mdash; You're busy. I'm busy. We're all busy! That's still no excuse to consume a pile of garbage first thing in the morning. These delicious day starters will keep your energy up, your belly full, and your tastebuds doing a happy dance.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-superfood-smoothies-for-a-better-morning?ref=fbf">8 Easy Superfood Smoothies for a Better Morning</a> &mdash; Food just tastes so much better when you mix in fruit, natural sweeteners, and liquify it together, doesn't it? Smoothies make fantastic grab and go meals because it takes just a few minutes to dump everything into the blender, blend it up, and then you can take it to go. Win-win!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-grab-and-go-post-workout-breakfasts?ref=fbf">15 Grab-and-Go Post-Workout Breakfasts</a> &mdash; If you're an a.m. exerciser, you need to stay hydrated and replace those calories you just burned off. If you skip breakfast after a workout, your energy will plummet and your body will be seriously pissed at you. So just whip up any of these breakfasts and head on out the door.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/homemade-cinnamon-roll-459082175-small_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-slow-cooker-breakfast-ideas-for-lazy-cooks?ref=fbf">12 Delicious Slow Cooker Breakfast Ideas for Lazy Cooks</a> &mdash; Lazy cooks are actually brilliant cooks. They know how to make their meals taste delicious without spending too much time on it. And with a slow cooker, you can toss the ingredients in the night before, and wake up to a wonderful smelling breakfast, just waiting to be eaten.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-delicious-and-frugal-power-bowls-you-want-right-now?ref=fbf">10 Delicious and Frugal Power Bowls You Want Right Now</a> &mdash; Power bowls are so in right now. These healthy bowls can be eaten at any time of day, but just add eggs and you've made it into a breakfast bowl. They're a bit pricey to buy, but make 'em yourself and you've got a gorgeous, healthy meal to Instagram and then eat &mdash; in that order, of course.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes?ref=fbf">9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Hot Breakfast Recipes</a> &mdash; No time at all in the morning to prepare a nice hot meal? No problem! These breakfasts can be prepared ahead of time and frozen until you're ready to chow down.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite breakfast hacks? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-41-coffee-hacks-that-will-instantly-improve-your-morning">Flashback Friday: 41 Coffee Hacks That Will Instantly Improve Your Morning</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-the-60-best-ways-to-use-food-other-than-eating-it">Flashback Friday: The 60 Best Ways to Use Food Other Than Eating It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-45-life-lessons-youd-give-to-your-younger-self">Flashback Friday: 45 Life Lessons You&#039;d Give to Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-106-delicious-lunches-that-will-make-you-excited-to-brown-bag-it">Flashback Friday: 106 Delicious Lunches That Will Make You Excited to Brown-Bag It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-104-sweet-ways-to-celebrate-valentines-day">Flashback Friday: 104 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks Food and Drink breakfast breakfast hacks budget easy breakfasts fbf flashback friday Food frugal food Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1699081 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: The 95 Best Ways to Get Fit for Free http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-95-best-ways-to-get-fit-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-the-95-best-ways-to-get-fit-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_exercise_plank_000083103031.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to get fit for free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting in shape can seem like an uphill battle, especially if it costs big bucks to do so. You shouldn't need to spend all of your hard-earned money to become your healthiest self. There are so many ways to exercise on the cheap, or even for free. You don't need a pricey gym membership and a closet full of designer yoga pants. Really, all you need are some comfy clothes, space to move, and determination to keep pushing even when you get tired.</p> <p>Here are our 95 best fitness hacks for getting in great shape without spending any money.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/family-460428563.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-benefits-of-a-10-minute-walk?ref=fbf">10 Surprising Benefits Of: A 10 Minute Walk</a> &mdash; Don't underestimate the power of a short walk. Choosing to get outside and move &mdash; no matter how fast or slow &mdash; is an excellent way to promote overall health. So get outdoors and start walking!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-quick-workouts-you-can-do-during-commercial-breaks?ref=FBF">9 Quick Workouts You Can Do During Commercial Breaks</a> &mdash; Not only can you get your sweat on for free, but you can also do it while you watch your favorite shows. It doesn't get much easier than that, right?</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman-exercise-living-room-Dollarphotoclub_63851547.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/36-workouts-you-can-do-in-your-living-room-while-its-cold-out?ref=fbf">36 Workouts You Can Do in Your Living Room While It's Cold Out</a> &mdash; The only time winter isn't coming is when it's already winter, so you should have an indoor workout routine already established by the time the snow starts to fall. These are all fun and effective!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-home-workout-hacks-for-people-with-no-equipment-and-no-room?ref=fbf">12 Cheap Home Workout Hacks for People With No Equipment and No Room</a> &mdash; It turns out you don't even need much space or exercise equipment to get in shape. Just use the contents of your pantry, furniture, and your own body weight to add resistance to your sweat sesh.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-work-out-when-its-hot-outside?ref=fbf">5 Ways to Work Out When It's Hot Outside</a> &mdash; Sweating when you're already covered in sweat from the heat isn't fun for anyone. But rather than heading outside for your workout, stay indoors and get fit during the warmer months.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/exercise-479677521.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free?ref=fbf">These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free</a> &mdash; You don't need to be a gym rat to look like one. Here are several sweat-inducing moves you can make at home, all while spending zero dollars.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly?ref=fbf">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don't Make You Look Silly</a> &mdash; Kill two birds with one stone and work out while you're at work. That way, when your work day is over, your workout work is also done.</p> <p><em>How do you get fit for free? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-95-best-ways-to-get-fit-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-60-best-ways-to-use-food-other-than-eating-it">Flashback Friday: The 60 Best Ways to Use Food Other Than Eating It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-119-best-fitness-hacks-for-busy-people">Flashback Friday: The 119 Best Fitness Hacks for Busy People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-99-best-fitness-hacks-of-all-time">Flashback Friday: The 99 Best Fitness Hacks of All Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-81-best-tips-for-saving-big-at-the-grocery-store">Flashback Friday: The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting Health and Beauty budget fbf fitness hacks flashback friday free fitness frugal fitness Health saving money Fri, 22 Apr 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1695510 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: The 60 Best Ways to Use Food Other Than Eating It http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-60-best-ways-to-use-food-other-than-eating-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-the-60-best-ways-to-use-food-other-than-eating-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cucumber_eyes_000000765447.jpg" alt="Woman using foods in ways other than eating them" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Eating food might be the best time of anyone's day. And while food is meant to be consumed with thorough chewing wrapped in &quot;ooh&quot;s and &quot;ahh&quot;s, it can also be used for beauty, decor, and home repair. Though you'd probably use a jar of honey as a sweetener over a face mask ingredient any day, it's comforting to know that the contents of your kitchen have the potential to take care of all of your everyday needs.</p> <p>Here are the 60 best food hacks that have nothing to do with eating.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/bowl_of_lemons_000019714803_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-use-your-food-that-dont-involve-eating?ref=fbf">4 Ways to Use Your Food That Don't Involve Eating</a> &mdash; Aside from keeping your skin and hair all kinds of gorgeous, you can use food as home decor, pesticides, and cleaning products! A little DIY magic can make your fridge's contents go a long way.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unexpected-home-uses-for-mayonnaise?ref=fbf">10 Unexpected Home Uses for Mayonnaise</a> &mdash; It turns out, mayo is seriously <em>amayozing</em>. Sorry, had to do it. But for real, this beloved condiment kills head lice, fixes cracks in wooden furniture, strengthens fingernails, and beyond. It's all kinds of handy.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/women_wearing_facemasks_000050640308_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-beauty-masks-made-from-food?ref=fbf">9 DIY Beauty Masks Made From Food</a> &mdash; Just open the fridge and you'll find a vast array of beauty products! So instead of wasting extra cash on a face mask, just make your own using edible ingredients from your kitchen.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-uses-for-peanut-butter?ref=fbf">15 Unexpected Uses for Peanut Butter</a> &mdash; You might be shocked to learn that PB performs better without the J, especially when it's not used for eating. Peanut butter can be used as a leather cleaner, a squeak squasher, and a delicious way to lure pests to their death. Mind = blown.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-do-with-your-coffee-beans?ref=fbf">5 Things to Do With Your Coffee Beans</a> &mdash; Of course, your morning cup of joe is sacred. But if you've got any extra coffee beans lying around, put them to good use with these brilliant tricks!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/honey_000050003532.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-uses-for-honey?ref=fbf">7 Unexpected Uses for Honey</a> &mdash; Did you know honey can heal burns? I didn't either! Honey is a wonder product that can do so much more than simply sweeten your tea.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-and-useful-things-to-do-with-ketchup?ref=fbf">10 Surprising and Useful Things to Do With Ketchup</a> &mdash; Oh, you thought ketchup was just a cheap way to dress up a burger? Think again. This talented condiment can shine copper, fight skunk odor, prevent cancer, and so much more!</p> <p><em>What are your best non-food food hacks? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-60-best-ways-to-use-food-other-than-eating-it">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-81-best-tips-for-saving-big-at-the-grocery-store">Flashback Friday: The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right">Flashback Friday: The 107 Best Breakfast Hacks to Start Your Day Off Right</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-106-delicious-lunches-that-will-make-you-excited-to-brown-bag-it">Flashback Friday: 106 Delicious Lunches That Will Make You Excited to Brown-Bag It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting Food and Drink budget fbf flashback friday food hacks frugal food Health saving money Fri, 15 Apr 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1690723 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: The 76 Best Life Lessons You Should Learn by 30 http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-76-best-life-lessons-you-should-learn-by-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-the-76-best-life-lessons-you-should-learn-by-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_smiling_coffee_000083191027.jpg" alt="Woman learning best life lessons by age 30" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting older is scary. You're losing your supple, wrinkle-free glow one day at a time, you're edging closer to retirement and you may or may not have a sufficient amount of money saved, and ultimately, you're running out of time to accomplish your goals. But the flip side of that is with age comes wisdom, and by age 30, you should have a ton of it. Mainly because everyone's 20s are a hot mess of transitions, frightening unknowns, and emotional ups and downs. So once your 20s are behind you, you're ready to live your life like a <em>boss</em>.</p> <p>Here are our 76 best bits of wisdom to become your best self by age 30.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/young_woman_money_000062037450.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-personal-finance-milestones-every-20-and-30-year-old-should-hit?ref=fbf">7 Personal Finance Milestones Every 20 and 30 Year Old Should Hit</a> &mdash; Successfully managing your money is a struggle at every age. But if you can come up with the right strategy by 30, and stick to it, then you'll be living a very sweet life.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30?ref=fbf">5 Financial Mistakes You Need to Stop Making by 30</a> &mdash; Just as important as learning what to do, is learning what not to do. You probably made all of these mistakes in the rough and tumble times in your 20s, but it's time to break these reckless habits by your third decade on Earth.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=fbf">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a> &mdash; We live in a digital age, in which the way you conduct yourself online is almost as important as the way you conduct yourself in person. So seriously, stop taking drunk, revealing selfies and plastering them all over the web.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_cooking_000057441244.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-hacks-you-should-master-by-age-30?ref=fbf">10 Life Hacks You Should Master by Age 30</a> &mdash; From changing a tire to properly wrapping a present, these are the skills you should master by the time you hit the big 3-0. Some are easy, and some are hard, but all will make you a self-sufficient human. And that is priceless.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-life-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30?ref=fbf">5 Life Mistakes You Need to Stop Making by 30</a> &mdash; Adulting is not always easy. In fact, most of the time, it's incredibly difficult. But by 30, it's truly time to grow up and stop making irresponsible life choices.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-foods-everybody-should-be-able-to-cook-by-30?ref=fbf">12 Foods Everybody Should Be Able to Cook by 30</a> &mdash; Even if you're not much of a cook, you should be able to throw together a basic and hearty meal for yourself in a pinch. From pasta to pancakes, these are the foods you should really know how to cook by now.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/30-somethings_financial_goals.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have?ref=fbf">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a> &mdash; Now that your 20s are officially behind you, it's time to get serious about your financial goals. You've always dreamed of retiring on a beach with cocktails always in hand, yes? Well, now is the time to make that dream come true.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-career-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-30?ref=fbf">8 Career Mistakes to Stop Making by 30</a> &mdash; Decade numero tres is usually around the time people get laser-focused on their career goals. So if you're looking to switch industries, start your own business, or get a promotion, make sure you're always being your best self at work, and stop letting these mistakes slow you down.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-successful-30-somethings-do?ref=fbf">9 Things Successful 30-Somethings Do</a> &mdash; Oh you, wanna be a baller? Learn from the best, and adopt these smart habits of successful 30-somethings and you'll be well on your way.</p> <p><em>What are your tips for mastering the game of life by age 30? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-76-best-life-lessons-you-should-learn-by-30">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/flashback-friday-the-60-best-ways-to-use-food-other-than-eating-it">Flashback Friday: The 60 Best Ways to Use Food Other Than Eating It</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-the-95-best-ways-to-get-fit-for-free">Flashback Friday: The 95 Best Ways to Get Fit for Free</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-81-best-tips-for-saving-big-at-the-grocery-store">Flashback Friday: The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right">Flashback Friday: The 107 Best Breakfast Hacks to Start Your Day Off Right</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-119-best-fitness-hacks-for-busy-people">Flashback Friday: The 119 Best Fitness Hacks for Busy People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting Lifestyle budget fbf flashback friday frugal food Health saving money Fri, 08 Apr 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1686913 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000075723379_Large.jpg" alt="Woman enjoying life by paying less rent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Paying rent is one of life's necessary evils. And you have to toil away to cover the cost of your too-small dwelling that seems to <em>always</em> need the Super to fix <em>something</em>. But let's think happy thoughts. What would you do, in a perfect world, if you paid less rent? Here are eight smart and fun things to do with all that extra cash in your pocket at the end of the month.</p> <h2>1. Take Classes to Learn a New Skill</h2> <p>A few years ago, my husband spent an incredible amount of money on helicopter lessons, because learning how to fly an aircraft has been a pursuit of his since his Navy days. Okay, I get it, people have dreams and all, but I also think that if you're not rich, like we aren't, those lessons should somehow pay for themselves or earn income down the road. But they didn't, and still haven't.</p> <p>Thus, let my disdain be a lesson in and of itself: If you want to use your leftover rent money to take a class, I highly recommend it, but you should have a purpose, an endgame. For instance, if you'd like to take a pottery class, that's all well and good, but are you doing it so you can make everybody ashtrays and vases for Christmas, or are you visualizing the potential of becoming proficient enough to sell the items or market yourself as a potter? The choice certainly is yours, but you'd be doing yourself a solid by trying to <em>monetize </em>your new skill, whatever it may be.</p> <h2>2. Upgrade Your Vehicle to Something You Want</h2> <p>There are upsides and downsides to buying a car brand new or used, which should be considered when deciding on a vehicle. But many times we get so lost in the details that we don't end up with the vehicle we actually <em>want</em>. If you're in this situation &mdash; driving a car or truck that gets you from A to B without much joie de vivre &mdash; maybe it's time to upgrade. It'd be a real possibility if you paid less rent.</p> <h2>3. Enhance Your Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>No matter where you work, somebody is judging you on your professional attire. And whether or not you want to believe it, the way you look plays a part in your income potential. It's not fair, no, because dressing &quot;well&quot; is a relative concept, but it behooves you to be on the trendier, more fitted side of the spectrum. If you're not feeling as confident as you'd like when you walk into the office, use your rent surplus to upgrade and enhance your wardrobe. Just a few key pieces &mdash; a fitted suit and shinier shoes &mdash; can do the trick.</p> <h2>4. Pursue a Healthier Lifestyle</h2> <p>It's true that nobody really needs to pay for exercise. You can do that on your own, without a trainer or even a gym. However, having the ability to work out by your own motivation and <em>wanting</em> to do it are two different things. I'm a self-motivator in all other aspects of my life, but when it comes to exercise, I need help. Which is why I don't feel bad paying for my gym membership or my personal trainer because I'm using these services to their full potential and seeing results (which is necessary for these expenditures to make sense).</p> <p>If you're like me, there's no harm in using what you would have paid in rent to better your health and your body by getting help along the way.</p> <h2>5. Save for That Always-Out-of-Reach Vacation</h2> <p>If you find yourself with the good fortune of paying less rent, you probably won't be able to pack your bags and jet off on your dream vacation right away. With about a half a year of saving &mdash; depending on how much you were able to shave off your rent &mdash; that always out-of-reach vacation will be much easier to grasp.</p> <h2>6. Establish a New Side Gig or Small Business</h2> <p>With the sharing economy in full effect &mdash; thanks to services like Airbnb, DogVacay, and Uber &mdash; you can start earning income with little to no investment. But not all side gigs or small businesses are that easy. If you have an idea in mind that requires start-up capital, use your rent surplus to fund this endeavor.</p> <p>In fact, I would say that this opportunity trumps everything else on this list so far. Adding another source of income can help you get to those other things faster, but establishing a new revenue generator should always be a priority. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-must-know-about-money-before-you-take-a-side-job?ref=seealso">10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before You Take a Side Job</a>)</p> <h2>7. Funnel Cash Into Your Home-Buying Fund</h2> <p>Nobody will ever convince me that <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303948104579534230618539424">renting is better than owning</a> your own home &mdash; not even the <em>Wall Street Journal</em>. Because why pay someone else to live in their house when you can pay yourself to live in your own house? Get out of that rental prison quicker by establishing a down-payment savings account and sending your rental savings there every month. Stick to it, and you'll have enough for a down payment before you know it.</p> <h2>8. Invest in Yourself</h2> <p>Go back to school, pursue a higher paying job, learn a new language &mdash; do something that will make you a better person <em>and</em> a more attractive employee. The best investment you can make is in yourself. Unless, of course, you have a hot tip on stocks; then I'll stand corrected.</p> <p><em>What are some of the smart and fun things you would do if you paid less rent? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Real Estate and Housing budget frugal fun activities rent rent money Spending Money Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1643601 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Resist a Splurge http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000075600861_Large.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to resist a splurge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you went into debt buying gifts for the holidays, the time has come to pay that money back. What's more insidious than that, is the fact that most of us get used to spending over the holidays. We buy special gifts, special meals, special tickets, and more. But come January, most of us need to stop these splurges. We can't live that way all the time, or we will run out of money to pay the bills and buy what we need.</p> <p>It's hard, though, to see what we want and not buy it, especially when we've become lax with our self-control in that area. Here are some ideas to help you turn your spending around, and ultimately resist the urge to splurge.</p> <h2>1. Understand Your Feelings</h2> <p>Many of us overspend when something negative is going on in our lives. We want the instant gratification that comes with having something new because something else isn't working. Rather than making the purchase, we can stop and focus on what is making us feel bad, work that out, and then we won't need to buy anything in order to feel better.</p> <p>If you can't make yourself stop and think about your feelings <em>after </em>you've felt the urge to splurge, try sitting down and identifying the types of feelings that make you want to spend. Think over past splurges and see if something else was causing you the stress that buying something alleviated. Put some serious energy into this exercise, and you'll be better prepared to resist temptation the next time it rears its head.</p> <h2>2. Consider the Context</h2> <p>Before you make a spontaneous purchase, force yourself to consider the entire financial context in which you're making the purchase. If you buy this thing that you want, will you be able to pay your bills this month? Will it cause you to go into debt? Will it keep you from reaching your overall financial goals?</p> <p>Often, considering the cumulative effects that a purchase can have will help you stave off the spending spree. When you see the ways that spending now could impact you negatively later, it's a lot easier to walk away without putting your money down.</p> <h2>3. Think About Anything Else</h2> <p>Sometimes, we splurge because we can't stop thinking about something we saw, wanted, and almost bought. After you make yourself walk away initially, think about something else. Go back to work, call a friend, make plans for the weekend &mdash; whatever! Just get your mind off of whatever it was you considered spending your money on.</p> <p>If this is hard for you, make a deal with a friend that you'll help each other. When one of you wants to buy something, you can call or text the other and know that there's someone to help you redirect your thoughts. That way, you won't be alone in your quest to avoid the splurge.</p> <h2>4. Calm Yourself Down</h2> <p>Buying something often makes us feel better because it stimulates us. We get excited. Unfortunately, we don't always make the best decisions when we are following our excitement.</p> <p>If you're in the middle of the store or out with friends, try taking a few deep breaths. If you can escape to a bathroom &mdash; even better. Close your eyes and breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, and leave your lungs empty for a count of four. Do this several times and you will find your mind clearer. You'll probably make a better decision about what to buy, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money?ref=seealso">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a>)</p> <h2>5. Wait Before You Buy</h2> <p>Make an agreement with yourself, before you buy another thing, that you have to wait a certain amount of time before you spend money impulsively. This might be 24 hours, two days, or even a week. The point is that you give yourself time to consider your purchase, decide how it fits into your budget, and deal with your feelings before any money leaves your wallet.</p> <p>Some people only do this with purchases over a certain amount of money. For instance, you may decide that it is the purchases over $50 that are really hurting you. In that case, you can decide that you have to wait a week before you spend anything over that amount. It helps to have someone to keep you accountable here, so you don't override the decision on a whim.</p> <h2>6. List the Things You Want (Rather Than Buying Them)</h2> <p>When you want to buy something, add it to a list of wants, rather than making the purchase now. Sometimes, this satisfies the urge entirely. And even if it doesn't, it often settles the feeling that you have to buy it now or you will never find/see/encounter it again. If you're buying online, save a picture of the item and a link somewhere. If you're in a store, snap a photo of the item and another of the price and store those.</p> <p>This can sound crazy, but it definitely works. I have a friend who &quot;fake buys&quot; things all the time, and another who keeps a Pinterest board of all the stuff she'd like to get. Capturing an item in this way can satisfy the urge to possess something, without spending all of your money on actually getting it.</p> <p><em>How do you stave off a splurge? Would you recommend your methods to others?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-great-things-to-do-with-50">50 Great Things to Do With $50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress">The Real Reason We Still Spend to Impress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent</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/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping broke budget shopaholic shopping spree Spending Money Splurge Mon, 25 Jan 2016 10:00:03 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1642989 at http://www.wisebread.com Surprising Ways to Save Even More on Black Friday http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holiday_shopping_000052190246.jpg" alt="Woman learning surprising ways to save even more on Black Friday" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are one of the thousands of shoppers who have accepted and triumphed over the challenge of Black Friday's frenzied crowds, early hours, and long lines, you're likely familiar with the slew of benefits associated with shopping on this day of huge discounts and bargains. However, you might be missing out on even more savings and perks if you aren't using your credit cards when you shop. While shoppers might be hesitant to break out the plastic for holiday shopping, Black Friday is one of the best shopping days of the year to use a credit card. Here's why you should only use your credit card on Black Friday. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso">13 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <h2>Extended Warranty</h2> <p>Many credit cards include an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer">extended warranty feature</a> that we often overlook. In most cases, the card will extend the warranty for at least an additional year. This can become a valuable feature especially when many Black Friday sales and discounts include electronics, gaming systems, and appliances. Usually, if you want to extend the manufacturer's warranty on a purchase, you have to pay extra but using a credit card that comes with extended warranty doesn't cost you anything. Check your card agreement to check if there are any limits to the purchases it covers.</p> <p><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" alt="The Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express" title="The Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express"><img width="154" border="0" height="97" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/amex-everyday-credit-card-111115.png" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express</a> includes extended warranty on purchases as well as double points for purchases at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases) plus a 20% boost in points if you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period. Terms and conditions apply. There is no annual fee. <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Price Protection</h2> <p>Some cards include price protection services for ensuring that you&rsquo;re getting the lowest price possible. Finding the flat screen you waited hours in line for available a week later for an additional $100 off can be maddening. Citi's Price Rewind feature takes care of price matching for you. When you make a purchase with a Citi card, Price Rewind searches online merchants for a lower price on that purchase for 60 days. If the product is available cheaper, you receive a refund of the price difference, up to $300 back per item and a total of up to $1,200 per year.</p> <p><a title="Citi&reg; Double Cash Card" alt="Citi&reg; Double Cash Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiDoubleCash.jpg" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xname">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer</a> from our partner Citi includes their exclusive Price Rewind feature <em>and</em> offers 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make. Then when you pay back your purchase (in full or over time), you'll get an additional 1% cash back. There are no caps or category restrictions, and no annual fee. Perfect for Black Friday shopping! <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Citi&reg; Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Theft and Damage Protection</h2> <p>Let's face it, a good deal can stir up any shopper, and things can get hectic on Black Friday. The last thing you want to worry about is stolen or damaged purchases. Many credit cards provide protection against theft or damage &mdash; and often loss, as well &mdash; and will reimburse you the cost of the purchase.</p> <p><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292" title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" src="http://usweb.dotomi.com/cj/feeds/4019917/images/bcpcardart_300x200.jpg" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" /></a>American Express cards, for example, include purchase protection which covers your purchases for up to 90 days against theft or damage. This coverage is limited to $1,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per calendar year. Plus, with the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292" target="_blank">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</a>, you'll earn $150 cash back in the form of statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms and conditions apply.&nbsp;<a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Return Protection</h2> <p>Because of the very nature of Black Friday, store return policies are often limited. While you might be able to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime deal on cashmere sweaters, it does you no good if you find out your mother-in-law is allergic to cashmere and you can't return them. Another reason to use your credit card for Black Friday shopping is because many include return protection. If the store won't accept your return, you can turn to your card's return protection feature and get a refund that way.</p> <p><a title="Discover it&reg; - Cashback Match(TM) with No annual fee" alt="Discover it&reg; - New! Double Cash Back your first year" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/discover-it-garnet-052615.png" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292">Discover it&reg; Cashback Match&trade;</a> card offers return protection up to $500 on eligible items within 90 days of purchase. This is more than enough time to find out whether anyone in your family wants those sweaters, and if not, prevent you from being stuck with them. You also get 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1500 every quarter you activate), and Discover <strong>matches</strong> all your cash back your first year as a new cardmember. There is no annual fee. <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Discover it&reg; Cashback Match&trade; today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Valuable Rewards Programs</h2> <p>You can't really mention the benefits of using credit cards without pointing out the valuable rewards that many offer. If you have a cash back card with rotating rewards, the bonus categories often include popular stores for holiday shopping. What's better than getting an amazing deal on Black Friday, and then getting <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5% cash back</a> on top of that? When you map out your Black Friday plan, you can figure out which cards to use to earn the most cash back.</p> <p><a title="Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card" alt="Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/capital-one-quicksilver-cash-rewards-credit-card-040815.png" /></a>Cash back cards also award gas and restaurants, which could come in handy when you're driving from store to store, or need to take a break for a bite to eat. If you would rather just get your shopping done without worrying about the types of purchases you're making, the <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xname">Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</a> awards a flat rate of unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which can add up depending on how many deals you come across on Black Friday. Plus, when you pay for Uber with this card through March 31, 2017, every 10th ride is free (up to $15). <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Cash Sign-Up Bonuses</h2> <p>While it's common for credit cards to offer cash sign-up bonuses, there aren't many shopping days better than Black Friday for taking advantage of those bonuses. Black Friday shoppers aim to complete a large part, if not all, of their holiday shopping, which means it's easier to meet the spending requirements that come with sign-up bonuses. Plus, the sign-up bonus you receive in return, can be counted as an additional discount on your purchases, further maximizing the discounts you already scored shopping on Black Friday.</p> <p><a title="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card" alt="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/BoA_Cash_Rewards-154.jpg" /></a>The <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xname">BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card</a> offers $100 cash back if you spend $500 with the card within your first 90 days of account opening. It also awards 2% cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases and 3% on gas (up to $2500 in combined grocery, wholesale club, and gas purchases each quarter). Get a 10% bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account. <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card today!</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</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/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays">Best Credit Cards for 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/why-people-go-crazy-on-black-friday">Why People Go Crazy on Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping">25+ Easy Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping black friday budget holiday shopping saving money Wed, 18 Nov 2015 10:15:52 +0000 Christina Majaski 1613660 at http://www.wisebread.com Start Saving More With This One, Simple Tool http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_writing_journal_000039888922.jpg" alt="Woman saving more with one simple budgeting tool" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you need to create a monthly budget for your household. But before you can do that, you need to create a spending book, which is a book that tracks how much you spend each week on everything from groceries to gas to bus fare.</p> <p>If you don't know how much you already spend on these items, you'll struggle to craft an accurate budget for your household. And with an inaccurate budget, the odds are high that you'll bust it before the end of every month.</p> <p>Fortunately, creating a spending book is simple. You can do it in less than two hours, and you'll need just a pen and a notebook.</p> <h2>The Problem With Budgets</h2> <p>You might set aside $600 a month for groceries. By the time the month ends, though, you've spent $900 at the supermarket. What happened? You set an unrealistic budget goal.</p> <p>This isn't unusual. In a study released earlier this year, Bankrate reported that 82% of U.S. adults say they keep a budget. But the same survey found that fewer than 40% of respondents had enough savings on hand to cover a $500 or $1,000 emergency bill.</p> <p>A survey by HarrisPoll for SunTrust Banks released earlier this year found that <a href="http://investors.suntrust.com/news/news-details/2015/SunTrust-Many-higher-income-households-living-paycheck-to-paycheck/default.aspx">44% of people who earned more than $75,000</a> a year said that their extra spending on lifestyle purchases &mdash; purchases that were not essential &mdash; prevented them from saving as much money as they wanted to. The survey found, too, that almost one-third of respondents were living paycheck to paycheck, not saving any money each month.</p> <p>These are the kind of financial problems people run into when they break their monthly household budgets.</p> <h2>How a Spending Book Can Help</h2> <p>It's easy to know how much you'll spend on your mortgage, student-loan, or car payment. Those expenses don't change each month. It's easy, too, to guesstimate how much you'll spend each month on your electric and gas bills. They vary each month, but not wildly.</p> <p>How much you spend on groceries, dining out, movies or public transportation, however, can change from week to week. When you break your budget by overspending on these discretionary purchases, you're likely to dip into the money that you've budgeted for savings. And that's how you get to the point where an emergency bill sends your credit card debt soaring.</p> <p>This is why it's important to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-year-end-financial-moves-you-must-make-now">create a spending book</a> to track all of your purchases. Once you do this, you'll have a better ballpark figure on how much to budget for entertainment, restaurant meals and groceries each month. And you'll be less likely to break your budget.</p> <h2>Creating Your Spending Book</h2> <p>The best way to create a spending book is to go tech-free. Buy a small notebook that you can carry with you. When you make a purchase, no matter what it is, write it down. If you don't want to carry your notebook with you, get a receipt for your buys. When you get home, write down what you bought during the day.</p> <p>Make sure to write down, too, when you pay your mortgage, car payment, credit-card payment or utility bills. You want to chart all of your purchases in your spending book every day. It's the only way to get an accurate representation of how much you really spend.</p> <h3>Apps for That</h3> <p>If you'd rather go a bit more high-tech, you can download several apps that help you track your spending. You'll just enter your purchases into your smartphone after you make them. There are plenty of tracking apps out there, but some highly rated ones are <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trackmyspend/id542589077?mt=8">TrackMySPEND</a>, <a href="https://goodbudget.com/">GoodBudget</a>, <a href="http://www.getpennies.com/">Pennies</a>, and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocket-expense-personal-finance/id424575621?mt=8">Pocket Expense</a>.</p> <h3>Sort It and Add It Up</h3> <p>At the end of every week, enter the purchases from your spending book into a spreadsheet devoted to your household spending. A simple spreadsheet will work fine for this. You can also search online for spreadsheets created just for this purpose. You'll need to organize your spending into broad categories. Choose what works for you, but you might consider breaking your purchases down into categories such as household expenses &mdash; which would include money spent on maintenance and repairs, utilities, and your mortgage payment &mdash; entertainment, groceries, clothing, medical expenses, dining out, transportation, and monthly subscriptions.</p> <p>Once you have your information in a spreadsheet, you can total your purchases in each category to see what you've actually spent on going to the movies or on medical visits.</p> <h3>Do It for a Month &mdash; That's It!</h3> <p>You should keep your spending book for at least a month before creating a household budget. That way, you'll have enough spending data to account for the weeks in which you spend less or more on such variable purchases as groceries or dining out. Once you have a month's worth of numbers, you can average out how much you typically spend on these purchases.</p> <p>Armed with this information, you can create a household budget that's <em>actually accurate</em>. You should keep that spending book going, too, even after your budget is set. It's a great way to determine if you're on track to meet your budget goals as the month moves along.</p> <p><em>How do you track your monthly budget? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-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-2 views-row-even"> <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> <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-60-best-ways-to-use-food-other-than-eating-it">Flashback Friday: The 60 Best Ways to Use Food Other Than Eating It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ponder-it-to-budget-or-not-to-budget">Ponder it: to budget or not to budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations">6 Budget-Friendly Beach Destinations</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting budget saving money savings tools spending book Thu, 12 Nov 2015 17:15:23 +0000 Dan Rafter 1610789 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Steps to Budget Mastery in 20 Minutes a Month http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-budget-mastery-in-20-minutes-a-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-steps-to-budget-mastery-in-20-minutes-a-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_calculator_000011141410.jpg" alt="Woman learning steps to master her budget in 20 minutes a month" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The word &quot;budget&quot; strikes fear and panic in many. No one likes to think about them, let alone talk about them. The truth of the matter is that most budgets fail, and they fail badly, because most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">budgets lie</a>. Yes, that's right &mdash; they lie. A budget can represent whatever numbers you put in it. If you forget to add a bunch of expenses in each month, then it makes sense that you would be over budget month after month after month</p> <p>In order to break this silly cycle of money mayhem, here is an easy eight-step system you can use to master your budget in only 20 minutes a month. Open up a spreadsheet and let's get started!</p> <h2>1. Create a Second Column</h2> <p>Not to be redundant, but we've got to first start with the budget. Why most budgets fail is because they only have one column, the budgeted column. We've already gone over why this doesn't work. Instead, upgrade your budget to a two-column layout for success. Your first column is the &quot;What I Think I Will Spend&quot; column, and the second column is the &quot;What I Actually Spent&quot; column. Basically, you create two mirror columns to accurately display what is going on in your budget for a given month.</p> <h2>2. Fill in &quot;What I Think&quot;</h2> <p>The &quot;What I Think&quot; column should be the easiest column to complete and shouldn't take you more than a couple of minutes at most. This column represents all of your budgeted items. It's an approximation of what you think you will spend during the month. Most of the numbers should be easy to access from your normal monthly expenses. Don't labor over this column too much, but make sure that you attempt to accurately itemize each income and expense item.</p> <h2>3. End of Month</h2> <p>The end of the month is where things start to get a bit more analytical (but don't let that scare you). At the end of each month, print off your most recent bank or credit card statements in which you've incurred your expenses for the month. This is the easiest step in the eight-step process, but it's critical to analyzing what went on during the month.</p> <h2>4. Add It Up</h2> <p>Once you're armed and ready with your statements (and receipts, for cash spending), get out a handy calculator and some highlighters. Color-code your statements for budget expense items like groceries, eating out, gas, clothing, utilities, phone, and so on. Then go through the list and highlight each item in each category. This makes it easy to add it all up when you are finished. There's nothing yet to analyze in this step, you are simply categorizing for step six. This will take you the longest out of all the steps, so allow 10 minutes to conquer your statements. Once you do this process for a month or two, it should be very easy to go through your statements in five minutes or less. Practice makes perfect.</p> <h2>5. &quot;What I Spent&quot;</h2> <p>Now it's time to fill in the second column, &quot;What I Spent.&quot; Simply take the numbers from your statements and input them into the budget template. If you notice that you've left off a category on your budget, add it and put it in bold so it can jog your memory next month. Each month has its own twists and turns, so it's common that you might leave out a category by accident.</p> <h2>6. Compare the Columns</h2> <p>You've done the heavy lifting now, and are almost through your 20 minutes this month. Take a look at your budget and compare the two columns. Are there any areas that surprise you? Did you come in under or over budget, and why? What about those missing categories, are they essential to include going forward? You see the power is in comparing these two columns. It gives you a chance to evaluate your budget from estimation in the beginning of the month, to an absolute at the end of the month.</p> <h2>7. The Envelope Trick</h2> <p>If you have a category that is always your Achilles' heel, and month after month you are overspending, then it might be time to kick it old school. For instance, let's say eating out is always an area you overspend in. If you've budgeted $200 for the month in your first column, then at the beginning of the month you can withdrawal that $200 in cash, and stick it in an envelope. For the entire month, every time you eat out, you must dip into this envelope. Once the money is gone, your eating-out budget is gone. While this might seem harsh, it's an old school way to force you to stay within budget. At the end of the day though, none of these steps will work unless you put effort in and are committed to mastering your budget.</p> <h2>8. Reward Yourself</h2> <p>We all love a good reward, and you should pat yourself on the back if you've completed these steps for the month. No matter the outcome, you've taken small moves that will lead to big changes in your cash flow. Pick a dollar amount that you are comfortable with at the beginning of the month, and set a goal for yourself. Maybe you want to treat yourself to an extra cupcake at the end of the month, or go to that concert that you are dying to see. Whatever it is, give yourself a pat on the back, but not for too long &mdash; next month is coming quickly and it will be time to restart the 20-minute system.</p> <p><em>What's your budgeting system?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-budget-mastery-in-20-minutes-a-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/too-broke-to-be-frugal">Too broke to be frugal?</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/if-youre-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing">If You&#039;re Doing These 5 Things, Your Saving Efforts Are for Nothing</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-7-most-important-financial-moments-of-your-life">The 7 Most Important Financial Moments of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-people-in-your-life-who-are-keeping-you-poor">The 9 People in Your Life Who Are Keeping You Poor</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-smart-things-to-do-with-your-settlement-money">8 Smart Things to Do With Your Settlement Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budget financial planning monthly budgets spending Wed, 21 Oct 2015 13:16:44 +0000 Shannah Game 1593640 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Money Adjustments You Should Make Mid-Year http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-adjustments-you-should-make-mid-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-money-adjustments-you-should-make-mid-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_saving_money_000024969502.jpg" alt="Woman making smart mid-year money moves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're already more than halfway through another year &mdash; and already in the latter half of the decade (can you believe it!?) &mdash; which means fall and winter are right around the corner. As those seasons approach, you'll find yourself back to the grind, taking the kids to school and practices, buying school supplies, preparing for the holidays, and inevitably <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much">shelling out bill after bill</a> while you're doing it. To help you best prepare for what's coming, let's take a look at your mid-year finances and find positive ways to improve before 2016.</p> <h2>1. Review Your Budget and Adjust as Necessary</h2> <p>There's no better place to start than at the beginning &mdash; and that's with your budget. Take a look at the budget you created at the beginning of the year (assuming you have one, of course; if you don't, create one today) and see where you're at financially. Are you bringing in the same amount of money as you were at the beginning of the year? More? Less? Have any of your expenses increased or decreased since that time? Are there expenses you can eliminate? Are there expenses that no longer exist? Ask yourself all these questions as you review your budget and adjust it accordingly so that it stays up-to-date and an accurate reflection of your financial situation.</p> <h2>2. Check Your Savings Plan to Keep it on Track</h2> <p>One of my regular New Year's resolutions is to set a reasonable and achievable savings goal to meet by December 31. I based the number I'd like to have in the bank by year's end on my income and budget, and I choose a goal that's challenging but not out of reach. (Setting the bar too high almost always ends in failure, so keep it manageable, even if it's meager.)</p> <p>If your savings plan isn't on course, figure out why and change direction. That doesn't necessarily mean that you have to make up for six months' worth of non-contribution to your savings account, but rather re-tooling the goal more realistically the second half of the year. Something is better than nothing, and hopefully you'll start off on the right foot next year after six months of habitual contribution.</p> <h2>3. Reevaluate Your Expenses and Make Cuts</h2> <p>This goes hand-in-hand with reviewing your budget, but sometimes we try to kid ourselves into thinking that small expenses &mdash; like smartphone apps, subscriptions, On Demand rentals, and more &mdash; are insignificant. They are if they are rare (like three to four times a year), but if you're spending money on these items on a regular basis, you need to check yourself.</p> <p>Also take a look at monthly charges, like gym and other memberships, and decide if they're <em>really</em> worth it. If you're not using these memberships regularly, cancel them &mdash; and if they're not cancellable (because you signed a contract, for instance), use them. You're paying for it, so you need to get your money's worth.</p> <h2>4. Start Holiday Shopping Early to Save More</h2> <p>We can go back and forth all day on when is the best time to shop for holiday gifts, but I will always maintain that it's midsummer. Like right now.</p> <p>First, some stores still have fall and winter accessories hanging on the racks (mostly in the clearance section), so you're already getting a great deal there. But then come the holiday sales, including Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, which only add to the savings. In fact, from my experience, even non-holiday weeks during the summer have produced amazing sales. I just received a marketing email from J. Crew Factory, for instance, touting up to 75% off the entire store, plus an additional 50% off clearance. I also just bought a ton of fun, colorful calf-length socks from Abercrombie &amp; Fitch, which were abundant and <em>deeply</em> discounted (from around $16 a pair to $2.50 a pair) in the store's clearance bins.</p> <p>That's not to say that there won't be great deals later in the year &mdash; there will be &mdash; but just a heads-up to keep your eyes open for gift items that are on super sale this time of year so you can save your time and money later on when you need it most.</p> <h2>5. Bank Your Savings</h2> <p>Ah, now here comes the fun part of all that money you're saving.</p> <p>Calculating your retail savings from all those early gifts you're buying and putting 50% of the difference in your savings account is a great way to build up your slush fund without overthinking it. The general premise of this savings tactic is to keep track of your savings from each shopping trip, whether it be from in-store discounts, savings apps, your own coupons &mdash; whatever &mdash; and putting half of that number in your savings account. You're still walking away a bandit, but now you have savings to show for it, too. You can tell me how amazing that feels later.</p> <h2>6. Renegotiate Your Financial Contracts Where Possible</h2> <p>All of us have financial contracts in our lives, and now is the time to renegotiate them to perhaps score a better rate, especially on technology.</p> <p>&quot;Many consumers forget that they can renegotiate their phone, Internet, and cable service contracts mid-year to secure a better monthly rate or receive free upgrades,&quot; says Clair Jones, tech expert at <a href="http://www.localinternetservice.com/">LocalInternetService.com</a>. &quot;During this time of year providers often experience a seasonal lull in sales, and many run specials to attract new customers and retain existing accounts. All you have to do is call and ask if there are any new promotions that could help you lower your bill.&quot;</p> <p>Pick up the phone.</p> <h2>7. Order Your Free Annual Credit Report</h2> <p>Every consumer is entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus &mdash; Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You should take advantage of these free reports (which you can get any time of year, and stagger them throughout the year, by the way) to stay on top of your credit rating and to review and follow up on any errors that you may find. It's important to note that these reports don't include your <em>credit score</em> &mdash; just your consumer activity.</p> <p>&quot;Your credit report is one of the most important steps in managing your money and finances,&quot; says Katie Ross, education and development manager for American Consumer Credit Counseling. &quot;You should check your credit report at least three times per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies and you can do this through <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. Your credit report is all part of building wealth and positive financial intentions along the way. Without a healthy credit report this too can impact your financial goals.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Start Preparing Your Taxes for Next Year</h2> <p>I know, I know &mdash; it seems like you just put your taxes in the mail. True, it wasn't that long ago, which is why it's probably fresh in your memory. This year, stay ahead of the curve by planning your taxes ahead of time. Keep your receipts organized, start an Excel sheet to track your expenses, and mind all those tax-deductible items that will save you big bucks on April 15.</p> <p>Sarah Nieschalk, enrolled agent for Tax Defense Network, a tax resolution company, offers a few quick tax tips that can save you money and headache in 2016:</p> <ul> <li>Give to a charity. Gifts to charities are tax deductible and you get the satisfaction of helping your fellow man. Don't donate just during the holidays. You can donate time, goods, and funds, and all are deductible.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Keep records of state, local, and personal property taxes. Believe it or not, paying those annoying taxes and fees are deductible at the end of every year. You might be leaving money on the table by not itemizing your deductions.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Take advantage of tax credits. Child care, adoption, education, energy-efficient home improvements, and more. Did you know that simply buying a hybrid vehicle could be a tax credit? You needed a new car anyways &mdash; why not get a credit for being awesome?</li> </ul> <h2>9. Revisit Your Auto Payments and Adjust Your Priorities</h2> <p>I love technology, but for some reason I never latched on to auto payments. Just something about it I don't like. Maybe it's the psychological factor of someone &mdash; or something, rather &mdash; taking my money opposed to me giving it to them. I'll let you know when I'm ready to pay, thankyouverymuch. Nonetheless, mid-year is an ideal time to revisit your auto-pay bills to make sure everything is on the up-and-up and to make any adjustment necessary.</p> <p>&quot;July is a great time to recheck those automatic payments that we have coming out of our checks and adjust savings and investment to match new priorities,&quot; says Jeremy Hallett, CEO of online life insurance agent Quotacy. Specifically, it's perhaps during the first half of the year something major changed in life &mdash; maybe a marriage, a new job, new house, or the addition of children. All of these are opportunities to update financial goals and plans, while also making sure you have adequate protections in place to care for loved ones.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Review Insurance Policies to Accommodate Changes</h2> <p>While you're revisiting your auto-pay bills, Hallett also suggests reviewing your insurance policies. His beat is life insurance, but it's not a bad idea to make sure your other policies don't require any updates either.</p> <p>&quot;As major life events happen, it's imperative that individuals review their life insurance to ensure that their families are adequately protected,&quot; Hallett says. &quot;As a general rule of thumb, we recommend that life insurance cover 10x income plus any major debts, like a mortgage or upcoming kid's college. And it doesn't cost much. For less than $300 a year, a 35-year-old can get a $500,000, 20-year term policy.&quot;</p> <h2>11. Scour the House for Ways to Cut the Clutter and Make Fast Cash</h2> <p>Call me a weirdo, but one of my favorite activities is going through the house and finding things to sell. I loathe any kind of clutter, but I love to make money, so it totally makes sense. If you want to fluff up your savings account or just add a few more bucks to your budget, sift through your junk and unwanted items and decide what you can part with. These days there are dozens of ways to easily sell items, like on eBay, Amazon, and Facebook. There are even specific services online that will pay you for your technology, clothing, and more. It honestly couldn't be easier to turn trash into treasure these days.</p> <h2>12. Examine Why You Haven't Reached Any Financial Goals</h2> <p>And finally, take this mid-year opportunity to assess why, perhaps, you didn't reach some of the financial goals you set at the beginning of the year. What got in the way? Why did they fall by the wayside? How can you prevent this from happening again? And how can you get back on track? These are all important questions to ask yourself if you had good financial intentions six months ago but now find yourself stalled.</p> <p>&quot;Without some examination of the first six months and possible change in behavior and goals for the second six months, there is a strong chance the rest of year will be unsuccessful too,&quot; says Mike Brady, president of Generosity Wealth Management. &quot;I'm a big believer in having goals that are attainable, and the personal satisfaction that comes from it. Since half the year is over, pick one thing to accomplish in the next six months that you can absolutely achieve. Perhaps it's paying off a credit card, or six months of continuous savings. Instead of trying to do five or six things at once and being unsuccessful at all of them, just pick one or two things and fully commit to completing them, and then start 2016 with two or three other things. Build gently so they become real habits, instead of over ambitious New Year's resolutions that don't stick.&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you have other mid-year money moves we should make right now? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-adjustments-you-should-make-mid-year">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/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Turn for Help When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-on-a-lot-less-money-3-ways-its-easier-than-you-think">Getting by on a lot less money: 3 ways it&#039;s easier than you think</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/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-state-sales-tax-holiday-is-coming">The State Sales Tax Holiday is coming...</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/plan-for-your-wants">Plan for your wants</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budget credit reports mid-year review savings shopping taxes Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1490982 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Romantic Wedding Locations That Won't Cost a Fortune http://www.wisebread.com/5-romantic-wedding-locations-that-wont-cost-a-fortune <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-romantic-wedding-locations-that-wont-cost-a-fortune" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wedding_day_000030391424.jpg" alt="Couple getting married in romantic wedding location" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The venue: It's usually the first and biggest hurdle in wedding planning, and it's very common to experience <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-great-wedding-if-you-havent-saved-enough?ref=seealso">mega sticker shock</a> at quotes from the first few beautiful venues you contact. Check out these five romantic wedding locations that won't cost a fortune.</p> <h2>1. County and State Parks</h2> <p>I'm not talking about the same neighborhood park where you had your fifth birthday. Many counties have a few gorgeous parks (and visitor centers) that are well manicured and intended for events. If you're in California, you're in luck &mdash; there are tons of them. The larger ones even include furniture, or have a recommended rental service. If you're looking for a more rustic experience, you'll be surprised how affordable an entire campground can be. For a smaller, more intimate wedding, a state park will provide a secluded nature backdrop.</p> <p>Look up your local county's Parks and Recreation website to search for venues and parks you had no idea were available to rent.</p> <h3>Examples</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.lamountains.com/planning_river.html">LA River Center and Gardens</a> (Los Angeles, CA)</li> <li><a href="http://www.laparks.org/dos/camps/seely.htm">Camp Seely</a> (Crestline, CA)</li> <li><a href="http://nysparks.com/parks/135/details.aspx">Robert H. Treman State Park</a> (Ithaca, NY)</li> <li><a href="http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Ridgway/Pages/default.aspx">Ridgway State Park Pavilion</a> (Ridgway, CO)</li> </ul> <h2>2. Women's Clubs</h2> <p>Women's clubs, or Thursday clubs, were founded across the U.S. in the early 20th century for the enhancement of women's lives, including suffrage and enrolling young women in universities. While many of these clubs still operate with those goals, they also rent their beautiful, historical spaces for weddings on the weekends. These venues tend to come with a kitchen, a large ballroom, a stage, and many times, free parking. I had my wedding in one, and people still rave about the venue.</p> <h3>Examples</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://lacanadathursdayclub.com/">La Canada Thursday Club</a> (Los Angeles, CA)</li> <li><a href="http://www.freelandhall.org/">Freeland Hall</a> (Freeland, WA)</li> <li><a href="http://themansion.info/about.php">The Mansion</a> (Austin, TX)</li> </ul> <h2>3. Local Restaurants</h2> <p>What is a traditional wedding other than a ceremony with a pop-up restaurant? Consider all the major expenses of a wedding &mdash; the venue, catering, servers, rentals, decor, etc. &mdash; which can all add up to thousands on their own. A great restaurant has all those rolled into one space, which results in a better value and less time spent vetting a dozen different catering and rental vendors. Look for the more mid-range (or $$ on Yelp) restaurants in your area as opposed to the fanciest spots in town.</p> <h3>Examples</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://riversrestaurant.com/">Rivers</a> (Chicago, IL)</li> <li><a href="http://fortworth.timestencellars.com/">Times Ten Cellars</a> (Fort Worth, TX)</li> <li><a href="http://scottadito.com/">Scottadito Osteria Toscana</a> (NYC)</li> </ul> <h2>4. Community and Cultural Centers</h2> <p>Cultural centers are similar to women's clubs in that they are usually big, attractive, and have lots of built-in amenities like kitchens, stages, and parking. They also tend to be non-profit organizations, which means no &quot;wedding-mill&quot; markups. If you are a member of that culture's community, even better, because they might cut you a deal.</p> <p>If your area lacks a cultural center, local community centers are also great. These include armories, senior centers, and city-run gymnasiums. These tend to be more bare bones in terms of looks, but with lots of decoration can be fun places to host a micro-budget wedding.</p> <h3>Examples</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/ukrainian-culture-center-los-angeles">Ukrainian Culture Center</a> (Los Angeles, CA)</li> <li><a href="http://www.samac.org/">Swedish American Museum</a> (Chicago, IL)</li> <li><a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/23rd-street-armory-philadelphia">23rd Street Armory</a> (Philadelphia, PA)</li> <li><a href="http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/parks/Weddings/svalley_wedding.html">Spring Valley Community Center</a> (Spring Valley, CA)</li> </ul> <h2>5. Loved One's Home (or Vacation Rental)</h2> <p>The home wedding is definitely back in style. For this generation of young couples, a house can have everything they need: It's cheap, it's intimate, and it's got built-in spaces for cooking, decorating, and with a big enough yard, dancing. You also don't need to comply to someone else's alcohol policies or &quot;shut-down&quot; times.</p> <p>Don't know someone with a big enough home for your wedding? Airbnb and VRBO are great places to find event-friendly vacation rentals. Another perk: you and key family members visiting for the wedding can stay in the vacation home, saving on hotel costs. Or, instead: after guests leave the wedding, you and your new spouse could enjoy the rental for few extra days as a mini-moon!</p> <h3>Examples</h3> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1574916?s=PEwz">This Retreat House</a> (Columbus, OH)</li> <li><a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/707749?s=bkLV">This Desert Villa</a> (Joshua Tree, CA)</li> <li><a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/6390935?s=_jDw">This Luxury Estate</a> (Richmond, VA)</li> <li><a href="https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5372935?s=Wn1o">This 10-Acre Ranch Home</a> (McKinney, TX)</li> </ul> <p><em>Where did you get hitched?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-romantic-wedding-locations-that-wont-cost-a-fortune">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-that-always-always-go-over-budget">3 Things That Always, Always Go Over-Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</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-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right">Flashback Friday: The 107 Best Breakfast Hacks to Start Your Day Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-things-to-do-with-a-1-bill">101 things to do with a $1 bill.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living bridal budget reception venues weddings Fri, 10 Jul 2015 11:00:13 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1478433 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Summer Party Ideas That Won't Break the Bank http://www.wisebread.com/6-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_summer_party_000045595674.jpg" alt="Friends at a summer party that won&#039;t break the bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is the ideal time for get-togethers. On top of holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day, we also enjoy regular weekend grill-outs, birthdays, and pool parties. It's a whole lot of fun, and throwing your own shindig can be very rewarding. The only problem is the cost &mdash; feeding, watering, and entertaining a group of people can be expensive. If you're thinking about having a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-must-do-to-throw-a-frugal-fun-backyard-party">summer party</a> (or three), check out our ideas for wallet-friendly summer festivities. They're fun for the whole family, and you can enjoy yourself without worrying about the budget.</p> <h2>1. Hot Dog Buffet</h2> <p>It's hard to beat a grill-out in the summertime, but grilling lots of meat can get pricey. Thankfully, one of the cheapest options is hot dogs, a food young and old alike love. If you don't own the necessary equipment, head to a public park with free-to-use grills and bring along cleaning tools, charcoal, and a bag to throw out your waste. Grill up a pile of hot dogs (including some veggie dogs if you have vegetarian guests) and set-up a fun buffet of toppings. Provide the usual ketchup, mustard, and relish, and set out other options like sauerkraut, crushed potato chips, chili, cheese, guacamole, onions, and salsa. Have everyone bring a side, drink, or topping to share, and you'll be able to provide an impressive and fun spread without breaking the bank.</p> <h2>2. Ice Cream Social</h2> <p>Nothing tastes better than an ice cream cone on a summer afternoon. Gather your friends and family for an ice cream social, and you're sure to have a sweet time. If any of your friends own an ice cream maker, encourage them to make their own flavor and bring a pint. Everyone can sample all of the ice creams, and no one is stuck with too much of one flavor. For those of us that don't own a maker, host a potluck-style sundae party. Ask everyone to bring a tub of ice cream and you can provide all of the toppings, or reverse it &mdash; provide all of the ice cream, while the guests bring toppings. Include fun details like sugar cones, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, whipped cream, and caramel. Kids will love making their own sundaes with all the fixings.</p> <h2>3. Afternoon of Games</h2> <p>Enjoy the warm summer weather by inviting your friends over for an afternoon of games. Having an afternoon party alleviates the need to provide a whole meal, saving a lot of cash. Set-up gaming areas in your backyard, or invite everyone to a public park. Bring blankets and folding chairs for hanging out, and have your guests supply their favorite outdoor games. Many games require little more than a ball or frisbee, but are loads of fun with big or small groups. Provide light snacks and lemonade, and enjoy playing horseshoes, bocce, foursquare, and more.</p> <h2>4. Movie Night</h2> <p>Summer blockbusters can be really fun, but going to the movie with a group adds up. Instead of making a trip to the theater, invite friends over to watch a movie for a fun nighttime party. If you or a friend owns a projector, hang a white sheet outside and have a special outdoor screening. Guests can bring their own blanket and get comfortable on the lawn. If you're showing your movie inside, make it special with lots of pillows to sit on and snuggle with, dim lighting, and popcorn and drinks. Play some movie trivia to keep the party social, or have themed nights based on the movie you're playing.</p> <h2>5. Pool Party</h2> <p>If you own a pool, then let's just stop right here. Just invite everyone over to your pool and poof! You have a party. If you live in an apartment complex with a pool, invite a small group to join you one afternoon for lounging and splashing around. Provide plastic cups and a cold drink, and maybe a pool game or two. Just be sure to abide by any pool rules for your apartment building. If you don't have access to a pool at all, then find a great public pool nearby and set a time to meet there. Have fun hanging out in the water and poolside, and go for ice cream or happy hour afterwards. Some fancy hotels offer <a href="http://laist.com/2013/09/06/where_to_get_wet_pools_water_parks.php">access to their pools</a> for free or with a purchase, and can be a fun treat for a hot day.</p> <h2>6. BYOM Cookout</h2> <p>If you'd still like to go the cookout route but want to serve more than hot dogs, have a BYOM party. Ask your guests to bring their own meat to throw on the grill, and you'll shrink your cost while making sure everyone gets the main dish they really want. Have sides and fixings ready, like coleslaw, potato salad, chips, fruit, condiments, and cold drinks. People can share their offerings and mix and match to their heart's desire, and there's sure to be some extra meat left for the host.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite frugal summer party idea?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surefire-ways-to-save-on-grilling">7 Surefire Ways to Save on Grilling</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-healthy-ways-to-have-ice-cream-for-breakfast">10 Healthy Ways to Have Ice Cream for Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-frugal-new-twists-on-classic-lemonade">12 Frugal New Twists on Classic Lemonade</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-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost 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/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living barbecue budget cheap friends party summer Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:00:17 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1470989 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Financial Skills Everyone Needs During Hard Times http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-skills-everyone-needs-during-hard-times <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-financial-skills-everyone-needs-during-hard-times" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/upset-businesswoman-newspaper-park-Dollarphotoclub_38034943.jpg" alt="upset businesswoman newspaper park" title="upset businesswoman newspaper park" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Could you live on $1,300 a month? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that's the poverty threshold for a person under age 65. (If you're a family of four, that increases to a whopping $1,968 per month.)</p> <p>Unless you've been there, it's hard to know what it's like to make the most out of a limited budget. But while lower-income workers use different money-management methods than the One Percenters do, they're equally valuable skills &mdash; and people of all income levels could use those methods to keep their finances on solid ground.</p> <p>At the peak of his fame, Pablo Picasso said, &quot;I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money.&quot; That's a wise motto to live by, no matter your income. Here are nine ways you can do so.</p> <h2>1. Make a Budget &mdash; And Stick to It</h2> <p>It's tough to barely cover bills month after month, but if you make a budget and look for little ways to save some money, a little advance planning pays off big time &mdash; it can mean the difference between living comfortably and looking for change between the cushions to buy your next meal.</p> <p>The first step to managing your money is to know how it's coming in, and where it's going. Use an accounting tool, whether it's paper and pencil or an online program like Mint, to keep tab of your income and expenses. Total all your expenses for the month and compare that to how much you earn every month. If current expenses exceed income, then you need to figure out where to cut.</p> <h2>2. When It Comes to Saving, Every Penny Counts</h2> <p>There's always going to be something to spend on, whether it's your faltering car engine or a costly toothache. Living on a small income can make it hard to save for a roof repair or a retirement fund, but it can be done.</p> <ul> <li>Ask your bank to automatically transfer funds each month &mdash; even as little as $10 &mdash; from your checking to your savings account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Put all your loose change into a piggy bank, then transfer it into your savings account. A nickel a day, plus $10 from your checking-account transfer, adds up to $140 a year &mdash; and over a lifetime can total many thousands of dollars.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Seek More Modest Housing</h2> <p>Too many of us have larger (or more expensive) homes than we actually need. Consider downsizing to the least costly home that will meet your family's needs. If you own a home, check with your lender whether you can refinance your mortgage at a lower rate. Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, so refinancing could save you years of payments and a good deal of money that you can stash away into savings. Or, consider renting out a room in your home or finding a roommate to reduce costs.</p> <h2>4. Reduce Your Car Use</h2> <p>When you're on a tight budget, you're attuned to minimizing your driving as much as possible in order to cut gas costs. The best way? Combine multiple shopping trips into one. Of course, you save even more on gas and auto maintenance if you can ditch the car and walk, bike, rollerblade, or even skateboard to the store or work.</p> <h2>5. Make Use of Available Benefits</h2> <p>Low and moderate-income workers can qualify every year for an Earned Income Credit on their tax returns, which can refund up to $496 for an individual and $5,450 for a family of four. You can find out if you're eligible by using the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit-(EITC)-%E2%80%93&mdash;Use-the-EITC-Assistant-to-Find-Out-if-You-Should-Claim-it.">IRS's EITC Assistant website</a>.</p> <p>And don't forget to make use of health care benefits &mdash; an unexpected medical emergency can be costly, so make use of Medicaid, or hospital financial assistance, if you qualify. Also, remember that the Affordable Care Act offers government subsidies that can offset all or part of the cost of private health insurance. <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/">HealthCare.gov</a> is a good place to start.</p> <p>There are plenty of other useful programs that provide help with a variety of things, such as utility bills or advancing your job skills. Start at the <a href="http://www.benefits.gov/">Benefits.gov</a> website to see what you could be eligible for.</p> <h2>6. Find a Side Gig</h2> <p>As many people with tight budgets know, one paycheck is rarely enough. Even if you already have a full-time job, a little extra income can come in handy to pay off debt, cover bills, and save for emergencies. And there are plenty of money-making ideas that won't detract from your 9-to-5 job, such as selling items on eBay or renting out your extra room on Airbnb. If you have desirable skills, freelance or consult on the side. Many side jobs have little to no start-up costs and can be done during your down time.</p> <h2>7. Be Savvy About Health Care Costs</h2> <p>People on tight budgets use these methods to lower medical costs:</p> <ul> <li>Find the lowest-cost place to purchase prescription drugs. Call and do a price check at ethnic supermarkets and discount centers, and look online at mail-order pharmacies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask your physician to consider prescribing generic drugs. Generics can cost several hundred dollars less to purchase annually than brand-name drugs &mdash; and they're thoroughly regulated by the FDA.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you've got a minor ailment (like the flu or an achy muscle) check out low-cost retail clinics in your area. CVS, Walgreen's, and Walmart often offer these.</li> </ul> <h2>8. Never Pay Full Price if You Don't Have To</h2> <p>People with limited incomes usually can't afford to pay full price. And you should get in the habit of never doing so, either. If you're shopping retail, wait until the end of a season to buy items once they're priced half off or more. And save your receipts: Most stores will refund the difference if your purchased item's price declines within 30 days of purchase.</p> <h2>9. Pool Resources</h2> <p>Carpooling, sharing baby-sitting duties, and cooking pot-luck dinners are examples of ways to reduce costs by pooling resources. Can other family members live in your home and pitch in for rent? Can older kids make a few extra bucks by mowing lawns on the weekend that can be used to pay for school lunches? Communal living not only brings us closer, but also reduces expenses and creates a sense of common purpose.</p> <p><em>What financial skills have lean times taught you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/vanessa-richardson">Vanessa Richardson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-skills-everyone-needs-during-hard-times">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-on-a-lot-less-money-3-ways-its-easier-than-you-think">Getting by on a lot less money: 3 ways it&#039;s easier than you think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living budget emergency fund hard times saving Tue, 06 Jan 2015 14:00:13 +0000 Vanessa Richardson 1275630 at http://www.wisebread.com Beware of These 5 Signs You're Becoming Less Frugal http://www.wisebread.com/beware-of-these-5-signs-youre-becoming-less-frugal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beware-of-these-5-signs-youre-becoming-less-frugal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-jean-shopping-177832511-small.jpg" alt="woman jean shopping" title="woman jean shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There comes a point in every careful spender's life when they've become so darn good at this whole frugality thing that they no longer need to track their finances so strictly. It's not that they've earned the right to splurge, but rather they've earned themselves a little leeway in those shoestring spending habits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money?ref=seealso">47 Simple Ways to Waste Money</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our round-up of the sure-fire signs that you've mastered the trade of frugal living &mdash; and won the right to let loose.</p> <h2>1. You Pass Up on Couponing</h2> <p>It used to be that you'd dine out only with coupons in hand. But lately you've been choosing restaurants by choice rather than special offer. Because where's the joy in a good deal if you're not getting what you want? You're still getting your bang for your buck by skipping the appetizers and ordering dishes that make for great leftovers, only now you're enjoying the added bonus of eating where and what you're in the mood for.</p> <p>Passing up on couponing isn't just a sign of becoming less frugal, it's also a sign of the times. No matter your financial situation, there's less reason to use coupons today more than ever. <a href="http://business.time.com/2013/02/28/why-americans-are-cutting-coupons-out-of-their-lives/">Coupons for restaurant meals and groceries have dropped off by 7%</a> in recent years, research shows. At the same time, there's been an increase in the number of coupons for items that consumers are less likely to need on a regular basis, like cough drops or wall paint. Not only that, but coupons are also becoming less generous, offering smaller discounts.</p> <h2>2. You've Revamped Your Budget</h2> <p>Your original penny-wise budget included the leanest figures ever. But after careful consideration, you've decided to up the ante and allow yourself a little breathing room. You know, for Sunday afternoon ice cream cones and such.</p> <p>&quot;<a href="http://yoprowealth.com/do-you-need-a-budget/">Living on a strict budget is not fun</a>,&quot; advises R. Joseph Ritter, Jr., president of Zacchaeus Financial Counseling. &quot;Trying to make it work for a long time is emotionally draining. Intentionally build a small expense in the budget for a weekend away, new gadget, or some other reward that doesn't kill the budget. Anticipating a trip or new purchase takes the drudgery out of budgeting.&quot;</p> <h2>3. You're Buying Berries Again</h2> <p>The $7 price tag used to faze you, but now you're recalculating the cost versus health benefits of a pint of blueberries.</p> <p>&quot;Unhealthy food is indeed often more accessible and cheaper than healthy alternatives,&quot; writes Nerd Fitness blogger Taylor. &quot;Unfortunately, it's these very foods that make us unhealthy and overweight, causing all sorts of incredibly expensive medical problems down the road.&quot;</p> <p>Instead of looking at the price per calorie (&quot;I got soo many french fries, what a great deal!&quot;), Taylor suggests we seek out foods with the best price per nutrient &mdash; <a href="http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/12/27/cheap-and-healthy-food/">the greatest amount of nutrients for the least amount of money</a>. And while blueberries are usually expensive, they're one of the world's greatest natural antioxidants with countless health and body benefits. When you start realizing that healthy eating is an important investment in your future, you know you're on the right track to building a wiser budget.</p> <h2>4. You're Spending More on Things You'll Get a Lot of Use From</h2> <p>You've learned that sometimes, it's best to pay up. A good mattress, a quality pair of jeans &mdash; these are things worth spending a little extra on because you want them to last.</p> <p>&quot;Consider usage time,&quot; writes reporter Regina Lewis in a story for USA TODAY. &quot;The average American sleeps roughly a third of their lifetime. That's eight-and-half hours a night, or more than 3,000 hours a year. From that perspective, a top-of-the line memory foam mattress for <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/07/13/money-quick-tips-when-to-spend-more/2513593/">$2,000 to $3,000, seems like money well spent</a>.</p> <p>&quot;A similar case can be made for not skimping on smartphones. The average American now checks their phone 150 times a day &mdash; about once every six minutes. On a cost-per-usage basis, they're a relative steal.&quot;</p> <h2>5. You're No Longer Averse to Splitting the Bill &mdash; Even If Your Order Cost Less</h2> <p>You've realized that the people in your life are worth more than the $7 you'll save if you get separate checks at dinner. Sometimes it's easier &mdash; and more socially appealing &mdash; to split the bill down the middle, even when it means shelling out the few extra bucks.</p> <p>&quot;Life isn't necessarily about even exchanges, so it's not always going to work out to the penny,&quot; said Seattle etiquette consultant Mary Mitchell. &quot;But I think what's important is the intent of it. People who are that stingy are probably <a href="http://seattletimes.com/html/foodwine/2003847096_billsplitting22.html">stingy with their spirit</a> as well.&quot;</p> <p><em>Are you losing your frugal edge? What are the signs?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-of-these-5-signs-youre-becoming-less-frugal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-that-always-always-go-over-budget">3 Things That Always, Always Go Over-Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</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/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home">It takes a frugal spouse to make a frugal home</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/use-only-what-you-need">Use only what you need</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">Emergency belt-tightening</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budget frugality spending spendthrift Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1257594 at http://www.wisebread.com