budget http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1413/all en-US 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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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/sittin-on-dubs-the-andrew-jackson-proposal">Sittin&#039; on Dubs: The Andrew Jackson Proposal</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-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/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/6-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank">6 Summer Party Ideas That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-year-s-hot-toy-is-next-year-s-trash">This Year’s Hot Toy is Next Year’s Trash</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-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/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend">20 Cheap Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-education-curriculum-on-the-cheap-10-ways-to-learn-for-less">Home Education Curriculum on the Cheap: 10 Ways to Learn for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-year-s-hot-toy-is-next-year-s-trash">This Year’s Hot Toy is Next Year’s Trash</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-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/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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</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/six-ways-to-stay-warm-and-reduce-the-heating-bill">Six Ways to Stay Warm and Reduce the Heating Bill</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-challenge-you-to-beat-my-price">I Challenge You To Beat My Price.</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-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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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/raise-your-standard-of-living-by-focusing-your-spending">Raise your standard of living by focusing your spending</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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</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 Best Money Tips: Ways to Reduce Your Clothing Budget http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-your-clothing-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-your-clothing-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-shopping-clothes-76811343-small.jpg" alt="woman shopping" title="woman shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on ways to reduce your clothing budget, reasons to get renter's insurance, and budgeting on a variable income.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.enemyofdebt.com/five-ways-to-reduce-your-clothing-budget/">Five Ways to Reduce Your Clothing Budget</a> &mdash; If you want to reduce your clothing budget, visit consignment shops and thrift stores. [Enemy of Debt]</p> <p><a href="http://andthenwesaved.com/renters-insurance/">10 Very Good Reasons to Get Renter's Insurance</a> &mdash; Renter's insurance is affordable and will protect you from theft, so get it! [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2014/10/01/how-i-budget-with-a-variable-income-2/">How I Budget on a Variable Income</a> &mdash; When budgeting on a variable income, make sure you have a checking account cushion. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2014/09/29/student-loan-reality-check/">Student Loan Reality Check</a> &mdash; Before you take out a student loan, think about if you are getting the right degree for your chosen field. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://sustainablepersonalfinance.com/simple-step-to-save-money/">One Simple Step to Save Money on Nearly Everything</a> &mdash; Before you hire a professional to do a simple task, consider Googling how to do it then doing it yourself! [Sustainable Personal Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/food/Easy-Work-Lunch-Recipes-13491705">17 Good-Looking Lunches to Bring to Work</a> &mdash; Consider taking a turkey club sandwich or a kale caesar salad to work for lunch. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.frugalconfessions.com/uncategorized-2/college-students-can-make-money-writing.php">How College Students Can Make Money Writing</a> &mdash; College students can make money writing by checking out job boards or becoming freelancers. [Frugal Confessions]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/freelancing-is-more-secure-full-time-job/">3 Reasons Freelancing Is More Secure Than a Full-Time Job</a> &mdash; Freelancing can help you cultivate new skills that will help you be successful in the real world. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://sweatingthebigstuff.com/much-average-household-spends-food/">How Much the Average Household Pays for Food</a> &mdash; Did you know some people spend an average of almost $775 per month on food? [Sweating The Big Stuff]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/fevers-when-to-worry-and-how-to-treat">Fevers: When to Worry and How to Treat</a> &mdash; If your baby has a temperature over 100.4 degrees, you should call the doctor. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-your-clothing-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-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/wardrobe-staples-every-man-should-own">Wardrobe Staples Every Man Should Own</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/i-challenge-you-to-beat-my-price">I Challenge You To Beat My Price.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-ive-learned-from-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget">10 Things I&#039;ve Learned From Grocery Shopping on a 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/this-year-s-hot-toy-is-next-year-s-trash">This Year’s Hot Toy is Next Year’s Trash</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/50-ways-to-save-money-on-clothing">50 Ways to Update Your Wardrobe for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping best money tips budget clothing Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:00:06 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1226298 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Clean Your Home on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-clean-your-home-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-clean-your-home-on-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-cleaning-kitchen-474447483-small.jpg" alt="woman cleaning kitchen" title="woman cleaning kitchen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on ways to clean your home on a budget, getting started early with holiday savings, and signs your resume is holding you back.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.listenmoneymatters.com/clean-budget/">17 Ways to Clean Your Home on a Budget</a> &mdash; To clean your home on a budget, dust using dryer sheets and use baking soda as a carpet deodorizer. [Listen Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/holiday-savings/">Geting Started Early With Holiday Savings</a> &mdash; Save up now to avoid the debt you might encounter due to holiday shopping. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2014/09/29/5-signs-your-resume-is-holding-you-back?int=a3ec09">5 Signs Your Resume Is Holding You Back</a> &mdash; If your resume is three or more pages, it's probably holding you back. [US News &amp; World Report]</p> <p><a href="http://money.msn.com/personal-finance/9-things-you-should-buy-generic">9 Things You Should Buy Generic</a> &mdash; You should probably buy pantry supplies and over the counter medication generic. [MSN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.investopedia.com/partner/gobankingrates/articles/personal-finance/092614/10-mistakes-avoid-when-trying-save-money.asp">10 Mistakes to Avoid When Trying to Save Money</a> &mdash; When trying to save money, don't make the mistake of not budgeting or not setting specific goals. [Investopedia]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/24/pf/unlimited-vacation-days-branson/index.html?iid=SF_PF_River">Very Few Companies Offer Unlimited Vacation Days, But These Do</a> &mdash; Did you know Groupon and Evernote offer unlimited vacation days? [CNN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/four-steps-to-a-debt-free-college-degree-123556819.html">Four Steps to a Debt-Free College Degree</a> &mdash; Choosing a college you can afford can help you get a debt-free college education. [Yahoo Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Career-Lessons-From-Cats-26940317">6 Purrfect Career Lessons From Cats</a> &mdash; Cats can teach you the career lesson of teaching yourself and taking the initiative. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://ptmoney.com/how-to-earn-a-living-as-an-actor/">On Stage or Screen: Here&rsquo;s How to Earn a Living as an Actor</a> &mdash; If you want to get by as an actor, you'll need to keep your expenses low and have diverse sources of income. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/11-ways-to-promote-healthy-eating-in-your-home">11 Ways to Promote Healthy Eating in Your Home</a> &mdash; Eating meals at home and making food interesting can help promote healthy eating in your home. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-clean-your-home-on-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-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/the-5-most-dangerous-things-hiding-in-your-home-right-now">The 5 Most Dangerous Things Hiding in Your Home Right Now</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/give-household-products-new-use-clever-cleaning-tips-from-the-motherland">Give Household Products New Use: Clever Cleaning Tips From the Motherland</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/14-simple-ways-to-make-an-apartment-a-home">14 Simple Ways to Make an Apartment a 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/germs-dirt-bacteria-infection-immune-system-antibiotics-disease">Are we too clean for our own good?</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/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home best money tips budget clean home Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:00:08 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1224395 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Things That Always, Always Go Over-Budget http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-that-always-always-go-over-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-things-that-always-always-go-over-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/moving-laptop-463484317-small.jpg" alt="moving boxes" title="moving boxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are always costs that we don't anticipate. While we can't think of everything, we can plan for the known unknowns, and create a budget buffer for the incidentals we can't predict when undertaking these three things that always, always go over budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-always-think-things-will-cost-less-than-they-do?ref=seealso">This Is Why You Think Things Cost Less Than They Always Do</a>)</p> <h2>Moving</h2> <p>Why is moving a budget buster? First, you must buy boxes and pack. You might run late, and have to add packing service to your hired movers' package. Some of the furniture won't break down as easily, so you must get help to disassemble and reassemble the furniture. The movers need to take one more trip than expected. You have to buy or rent cleaning products or hire a maid service to scrub up the old place. You offered to buy pizzas for your friends who helped you move. You might need help unpacking the new place. This is not including the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-moving-scams">rent and deposit</a> or money down and mortgage on the new home!</p> <h3>Staying on Budget</h3> <p>First, start <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">preparing for your move</a> at least 30 days from the moving date so you don't run out of time. This prevents having to cough up fees for last minute add-ons.</p> <p>Make an inventory of what you're moving, by room. This will force you to go through your stuff and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/declutter-your-home-in-10-minutes">throw away</a> what you don't need to move in the first place, which will immediately decrease the number of boxes you must buy and how long the movers are working &mdash; especially good if you are the mover!</p> <p>Boxes. Get them at your local grocery, dollar, or general store. They will happily <em>give</em> you any extra boxes from the stockroom. You will still need to buy special boxes for electronics and other fragile items, but fewer of them.</p> <p>Instead of hiring a full-service moving company, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-know-when-renting-a-moving-truck">rent your own truck</a> and hire several local college students. Pay the college kids a flat rate plus one meal instead of an hourly rate. This will ensure that they will finish as fast as they can!</p> <h2>Weddings</h2> <p>One of the many things people neglect to tell you is how expensive a wedding is. Young couples are increasingly paying themselves, but have no idea how to start getting quotes. The venue needs insurance, then it requires a specific caterer and a valet. The flowers end up costing way more than expected because you had your heart set on roses at a winter wedding. The place cards cost more to print than anticipated. Because there are so many details the Wedding Industrial Complex forces on you, the are so many tiny ways the budget can get away from you.</p> <h3>Staying on Budget</h3> <p>First, both bride and groom should agree upon a budget and create a budget spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is the decision maker on all wedding expenses. There should be a &quot;target ceiling&quot; and a &quot;hard ceiling.&quot; Shoot for the lower target ceiling, but if something becomes more expensive than planned, you'll have a small buffer. Nothing goes past the hard ceiling.</p> <p>Start with the three items most meaningful to you both. For example, if the food, music, and photography mean the most to you, allocate the most funds to those items. That way, when the florist tells you her services will cost $3,000, you can look at the budget and decide its worth more effectively.</p> <p>Learn to say no to family, friends, Pinterest, and especially yourself. Think back to the last wedding you attended. Do you remember exactly what the centerpieces looked like? Remember your three priorities. Even if your centerpieces are simple, that amazing photographer you splurged on will make everything look magical.</p> <p>Also, find ways to cut corners on the less crucial things.</p> <ul> <li>Do your RSVPs on a website like <a href="http://www.appycouple.com/">Appy Couple</a> or <a href="http://glosite.com/">Glo</a> to save on postage and printing RSVP cards.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't want to hire a separate bartending company? <a href="http://offbeatbride.com/2012/04/what-to-ask-your-venue-caterer">Ask your venue</a> if you can BYOB, so you can buy exactly what you need and premix drinks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Care about having a great time but don't care about the time of day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Many venues are cheaper on Sunday mornings or Friday evenings; ask for those times and you may get up to 20% off on venue rental.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Want to look gorgeous but don't need to own the look? Rent your <a href="https://www.renttherunway.com/rtr_home">wedding dress</a> or <a href="https://theblacktux.com/">tux</a>!</li> </ul> <h2>Family Vacations</h2> <p>Incidentals like daily meals and entertainment always rack up the charges. Other charges such as booking fees, docking fees, hotel taxes, the cost of renewing your passport (and in my case, the rush order fees for the passport), and pet fees, childcare, and more all add up. Plus, you have to build in a safety budget for emergencies like natural disasters, airline losing your luggage, and injuries incurred while you're hiking the Andes.</p> <h3>Staying on Budget</h3> <p>The first step is choosing a location that is off the beaten path. You should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-popular-vacation-spots-that-arent-worth-the-money-and-where-to-go-instead">avoid the obvious</a> and popular locations that are not worth the extra expense. Then, make a <a href="http://www.budgetworksheets.org/worksheet/vacation-travel">vacation budget spreadsheet</a> that will keep you on track in anticipating all your costs.</p> <p>Find ways to plan your vacation a la carte to save money on all-inclusive resort prices. Find a good <a href="http://www.cheapflightsfinder.com/best-times-to-fly.htm">off-season time to fly</a>. Use <a href="http://airbnb.com">Airbnb</a> or <a href="http://www.vrbo.com/">VRBO</a> to book a condo in the vacation city to save on hotel rates and applicable taxes. If you rent a condo, you can also buy meals from a local grocery store to make breakfast and bagged lunches at the rental, then splurge on a nice dinner out.</p> <p>Can't get the family to decide on a place you can afford? Try sending your children to a fun summer camp, then the parents can have a classy staycation or go on a more affordable series of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">weekend trips</a>. It will add up to less than one long two-week vacation for an entire family.</p> <p>Don't really have the budget for a vacation at all? Try these really <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-cheap-summer-vacations">low cost vacations</a> that are still awesome.</p> <p><em>What purchases or events always bust your budget? 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/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-that-always-always-go-over-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-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/5-romantic-wedding-locations-that-wont-cost-a-fortune">5 Romantic Wedding Locations That Won&#039;t Cost a Fortune</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/beware-of-these-5-signs-youre-becoming-less-frugal">Beware of These 5 Signs You&#039;re Becoming Less Frugal</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/use-only-what-you-need">Use only what you need</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/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank">6 Summer Party Ideas That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budget moving planning spending vacations weddings Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1207210 at http://www.wisebread.com If You're Doing These 5 Things, Your Saving Efforts Are for Nothing http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-youre-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-reading-bills-79084057-small.jpg" alt="woman reading bills" title="woman reading bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not easy to save. We average earners live on razor-thin margins and have trouble even imagining saving. Once we start saving, something &quot;comes up&quot; and the savings begin to diminish. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-things-everyone-should-be-saving-for?ref=seealso">The 10 Things Everyone Should Be Saving Saving For</a>)</p> <p>And all of that can feel okay if the savings are slowly accumulating over time. But the most soul-crushing setbacks take us back to zero, and negate all the hard work we're putting in. These are the ones that to be avoided at all costs. So take a close look at this list, because if you're doing these five things, your saving efforts are for nothing.</p> <h2>1. Saving Without an Investment Account</h2> <p>Yes, it's hard to start investing. There are so many options and so many types of accounts. What are small caps, even? But here's the thing: A savings account is only a piggy bank. An investment account has a snowball effect. Over time, if you choose the right plan for your goals, your money can grow far beyond the rate your checking and savings institution provides. If you can have pulled from your paycheck pre-tax, you will come out ahead on income taxes. Another plus? You can't sneak money out without incurring penalties, so it's there for good. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-investing-sucks-and-why-you-should-do-it-anyway">Learn more about investments</a> like mutual funds, bonds, and more and get your money working for you in the long term.</p> <h2>2. Buying Big Ticket Items on Credit Cards</h2> <p>An important tip to avoid losing your savings is to only buy what you can afford in liquid cash. This means big ticket items such as furniture, appliances, and cars should not be financed or purchased on a credit card. The interest you will end up paying in the long run will eventually outstrip how much you're putting away in savings. Unless you're expecting a windfall, this could potentially lead to having to prison break your funds and starting from scratch. Learn how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-your-credit-card-to-pay-for-these-10-things">avoid credit card debt</a> on large purchases.</p> <h2>3. Tapping Into Your Retirement Fund</h2> <p>Let's say you do have an investment account. It's easy to get tempted by the large juicy number in your IRA or 401(k) when in a pinch. Retirement accounts do allow for loans or withdrawals on account of &quot;hardship&quot; &mdash; a financial emergency that cannot be predicted. However, consider what a hardship really is. If the reason is not an unexpected death, natural disaster, or even a mortgage crisis, then you should not pull funds from your investments. In the end, you are only short-changing yourself. The average person expects to continue <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2014/05/12/the-ideal-retirement-age-and-why-you-wont-retire-then">working until age 66</a>. Will you be able to support yourself during retirement if you tap into your fund?</p> <h2>4. Not Using a Budgeting Program</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to maintain a regular savings schedule is to use a budgeting program like <a href="https://pearbudget.com/">Pear Budget</a> or <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> to ensure you are not overspending. Set a goal amount, then work backwards to figure out how much you should save each week or month. Then stick to it! A great plus is that you can also use the same tools to plan vacations, weddings, arrival of a baby, and more. As life changes, your budget tracker will tell you the story of your spending habits. You can revise the budget when you see differences in your spending.</p> <h2>5. Not Creating a Buffer for Emergencies</h2> <p>Emergencies happen. Unfortunately, one can easily conflate a savings goal with the idea of saving for a rainy day. Remember what you are saving toward &mdash; whether it be a home, retirement, or a new dirtbike. Consider what would happen to that awesome goal if you had a car accident, or if the TV breaks. Don't want to lose ground after working so hard? A separate account that is only for emergencies should contain at least $1000 but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">three months' salary is ideal</a>. Once you've made the account, forget about it until danger strikes.</p> <p><em>Are you making any of these spending and budgeting mistakes? Are they harming your savings?</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/if-youre-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing">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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-financial-kryptonite-and-how-to-conquer-it">What Is Your Financial Kryptonite (and How to Conquer 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/book-review-spend-til-the-end">Book review: Spend &#039;til The End</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budget credit investing saving spending Mon, 08 Sep 2014 13:00:03 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1205242 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Strategies for Fixing Common Budget Problems http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-strategies-for-fixing-common-budget-problems <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-strategies-for-fixing-common-budget-problems" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/calculating-budget-504905483-small.jpg" alt="calculating budget" title="calculating budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on strategies for fixing budget problems, simple DIY frugal tips, and smart money moves for college students.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/nine-strategies-for-fixing-common-budget-problems/">Nine Strategies for Fixing Common Budget Problems</a> &mdash; If your budget categories estimates are off, start your budget from scratch. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/10-easy-diy-frugal-tips.html">7 Dead Simple DIY Frugal Tips</a> &mdash; Cooking your own meals and growing a garden can help you save money. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2014/08/21/5-smart-money-moves-first-time-college-students-should-make/">5 Smart Money Moves First-Time College Students Should Make</a> &mdash; College students should be sure to start building a cushion and establish credit. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="https://www.dailyworth.com/posts/2146-how-to-strategically-manage-your-debt/2">How to Strategically Manage Your Debt</a> &mdash; Take control of your debt by educating yourself and making a payoff plan. [DailyWorth]</p> <p><a href="http://www.threethriftyguys.com/2014/08/how-to-get-rid-of-junk-mail-for-good/">How to Get Rid of Junk Mail (for Good)</a> &mdash; Are you sick of getting junk mail? Consider checking out PaperKarma. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2014/08/why-people-have-money-problems.html">Why People Have Money Problems</a> &mdash; People who spend too much on housing tend to have money problems. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/spending/T050-S001-worst-things-to-buy-on-amazon/index.html?si=1">Worst Things to Buy on Amazon</a> &mdash; It's probably not a good idea to buy athletic shoes from Amazon. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Random-Acts-Kindness-Ideas-34351861">109 Random Acts of Kindness You Can Start Doing Today</a> &mdash; Paying the toll for the car behind you and smiling at people are just a couple random acts of kindness you can start doing today. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/affordable-care-act-save-free-wellness-checkup/">Save on Healthcare Costs With Free Wellness Checkup &amp; Preventative Care</a> &mdash; Have you ever taken advantage of free wellness clinics? [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/4-reasons-to-vaccinate-your-children">4 Reasons to Vaccinate Your Children</a> &mdash; Vaccinating your kids protects your family and your community. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-strategies-for-fixing-common-budget-problems">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/12-money-adjustments-you-should-make-mid-year">12 Money Adjustments You Should Make Mid-Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-problems-you-cant-solve-with-money">9 Problems You Can&#039;t Solve With Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-challenge-you-to-beat-my-price">I Challenge You To Beat My Price.</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-of-personal-finance-41-financial-calculators-for-major-life-decisions">Best Money Tip: 41 Financial Calculators for Major Life Decisions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance best money tips budget problems strategies Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:00:03 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1192508 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Plan a July 4th Blowout on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-plan-a-july-4th-blowout-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-plan-a-july-4th-blowout-on-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/july-fourth-party-95517187-small.jpg" alt="july 4th party" title="july 4th party" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="154" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some wonderful articles on ways to plan a July 4th blowout on a budget, how bridesmaids can avoid going broke, and small business ideas for kids.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.smartasset.com/blog/money-saving-tip/6-ways-to-plan-a-july-4th-blowout-on-a-budget/">6 Ways to Plan a July 4th Blowout on a Budget</a> &mdash; Having a potluck and opting for BYOB can make your July 4th celebration a frugal one. [SmartAsset Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Bridesmaids-Can-Save-Money-28761369">8 Ways Bridesmaids Can Avoid Going Broke</a> &mdash; To avoid going broke as a bridesmaid, be smart about gift giving and do your own makeup and hair. [POPSUGAR Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/10-small-business-ideas-for-kids/">10 Small Business Ideas for Kids</a> &mdash; If your child wants to start a business, consider having them try walking dogs or mowing lawns. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/ways-to-give-cash/?hvid=43mAc">26 Ways to Give Cash You've Never Thought Of</a> &mdash; Do you like to give people cash as a gift? Make it a little more special by giving it in a money bouquet. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/things-soccer-can-teach-you-about-money">Funny Money: 5 Things Soccer Can Teach You About Money</a> &mdash; When it comes to money, soccer can teach you that your head is your best weapon. [Money Under 30]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/budgeting/while-youre-planning-for-tomorrow-dont-forget-to-live-for-today/">While You're Planning for Tomorrow, Don't Forget to Live for Today</a> &mdash; Sometimes it's ok to splurge if your splurge is intentional. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/avoid-vacation-rental-scams/">How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams</a> &mdash; When it comes to vacation rentals, keep in mind that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/imrpove-small-business-results/">Improve Your Small Business Results with Mindfulness</a> &mdash; Taking breaks and delegating can improve your small business results. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/5-reasons-you-should-be-composting">5 Reasons You Should Be Composting</a> &mdash; Did you know composting makes your fruits and veggies taste better? [CouponPal Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-not-so-sweet-summer-treats-for-kids">5 Not-So-Sweet Summer Treats for Kids</a> &mdash; If you need a refreshing treat for your kids this summer, give them frozen banana pops. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-plan-a-july-4th-blowout-on-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-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/6-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank">6 Summer Party Ideas That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</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/14-things-good-hosts-never-do">14 Things Good Hosts Never Do</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/you-can-throw-a-fun-and-affordable-holiday-party-heres-how">You Can Throw a Fun and Affordable Holiday Party — Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-spend-your-summer">15 Free Ways to Spend Your Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment best money tips blowout budget July 4th party Tue, 24 Jun 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1147198 at http://www.wisebread.com 20+ Freebies for College Students http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-freebies-for-college-students" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pizza-imsis591-052-small.jpg" alt="college food" title="college food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="174" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;This is the worst possible year to graduate from college in history.&quot;</p> <p>I heard this exact same phrase back in 2002, then again in 2007, and yet again in 2009 as I completed my university studies in those years. Yet, I found that there was no need to be so gloomy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-to-dos-for-college-freshmen?ref=seealso">8 Financial To-Dos for College Freshmen</a>)</p> <p>Yes, college costs are still on the rise. But college life is full of exciting opportunities and, more importantly, full of savings. You just have to look in the right places. Here are 25 ways to take advantage of those savings.</p> <h2>Entertainment</h2> <p style="font-size: 13px;">All work and no play makes Jack a dull student. Start off with these fun freebies.</p> <h3>1. Lunch and Dinner</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Getting a cheap meal doesn't mean limiting yourself to tuna sandwiches and ramen noodles for your entire school life. By joining on-campus clubs and organizations, you may be able to score free lunches and dinners several times a week. Even if you just attend one club meeting a week, you could save as much as $50 a month in food. Another way to get free meals is to volunteer for alumni association events and attend student club evening mixers.</p> <h3>2. Free Soda</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Several fast food chains, such as Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A, offer free sodas to customers that show a valid student ID. Don't hesitate to ask before making your purchase.</p> <h3>3. Washington Post</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">If you enjoy reading the Washington Post with your morning coffee, then get&nbsp;<a href="https://account.washingtonpost.com/actmgmt/registration/get-nonpaid-access">free digital access</a>&nbsp;with your .edu email.</p> <h3>4. Movies</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Student campuses across America host free movie nights during nights at quads or campus centers. Check the campus events calendar for movie listings and enjoy a night out with your friends. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-never-need-to-pay-to-watch-movies-heres-why?ref=seealso">You Never Need to Pay to Watch Movies</a>)</p> <h3>5. Museum Admission</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Several museums offer free admission to exhibit halls to holders of a valid university ID on certain days. Some examples are the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mfa.org/membership/universities">Boston Museum of Fine Art</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.philamuseum.org/education/273-233.html">Philadelphia Museum of Art</a>. Make sure to check the website of your local museums for specific days and times.</p> <h3>6. Sporting Event Tickets</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Several universities, such as my&nbsp;<em>alma mater</em>, the&nbsp;<a href="http://hawaiiathletics.com/sports/2010/12/7/GEN_1207100846.aspx?tab=studenttickets">University of Hawaii</a>, offer free sports tickets to current students with valid student IDs. My school even offers free bus rides to the football stadium and back to the campus.&nbsp;Make sure to check if you qualify for free tickets and get them early because they go fast.</p> <h2>School Supplies and Tools</h2> <p>You spend enough money as it is on books and supplies &mdash; here is how to stretch those dollars.</p> <h3>7. Amazon Student</h3> <p>Free for the first six months, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SAM2O7RD2U33ON3D">Amazon Student</a> provides free two-day shipping on millions items. Also, Amazon rewards you with a $10 credit for every friend that you refer to this program. There is no cap on the amount of credits you can get, so become the big man on campus by spreading the word to your buddies about Amazon Student. After the six-month free trial, you get the chance to sign up for Amazon Prime at 50% off.</p> <h3>8. Printing</h3> <p>There are two ways to spend the least possible on printing. The first one is to check with your instructor if you can submit your files digitally. The second one is to take advantage of the technology fee that you are most likely already paying. Check with your student union to find out which computer labs allow you to print for free and what the daily limits on free printing are</p> <h3>9. Autodesk Software</h3> <p>Engineering, architecture, animation, and design students rejoice. There is no need to get illegal copies anymore &mdash; you can get free Autodesk software with your valid .edu email. The <a href="http://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/students-university/all-products">list of free 57 Autodesk programs</a> includes the very popular 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Inventor Professional, Maya, Revit, and Fusion 360.</p> <h3>10. Microsoft Software</h3> <p>Microsoft is giving away its Windows operating system and other <a href="https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Software-Catalog.aspx">premium software</a>, such as <a href="https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Default.aspx">Visual Studio Professional suite</a>, at no cost to university students with a valid .edu email. If you are in the field of computer programming, you can use some of that free software to submit your entry to <a href="https://www.imaginecup.com">Microsoft's ImagineCup</a>, a global student technology competition. The prizes start at $1,000 and, if your team makes to the finals, include a trip to Seattle and a chance for a private meeting with Bill Gates.</p> <h3>11. Welcome Back Events</h3> <p>College bookstores often host these events during the first week of the fall semester to welcome returning students and freshmen. These events are great for scoring goodies ranging from notebooks to highlighters to pens. Stock up on free school supplies that you can use throughout the semester.</p> <h2>Money Matters</h2> <p>From insurance to banking to tax preparation, here are some freebies that college students can get.</p> <h3>12. Checking Accounts</h3> <p>On your first week on campus, you have to find out whether your university has a credit union. University credit unions often offer free checking and savings accounts without any monthly fees to students. Some even provide free debit cards and online bill pay. By setting up your checking account at your local credit union, you can be in your way to building a strong financial foundation and be eligible for a line of credit in the near future.</p> <h3>13. Health Insurance</h3> <p>Even if you are attending school and financially independent from your parents, as long as you are <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/can-i-keep-my-child-on-my-insurance-until-age-26/">younger than 26 years old</a>, you can be kept on your parent's health insurance policy.</p> <h3>14. Bitcoin</h3> <p>Students with a valid .edu email may be eligible for a <a href="http://blog.coinbase.com/post/85758038492/10-of-free-bitcoin-for-college-students">free $10 in bitcoin</a>. The offer is from Coinbase, one of the most popular bitcoin wallets in the U.S. By signing up for a new Coinbase account with your .edu email, you get $10 worth in bitcoin and $1 for each person referred. Some of the students that have taken advantage of this offer include those from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Texas at Austin, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. With the current market value of a single bitcoin in the upper $600's, you could see a nice return on those free coins. Just keep an eye on the <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140516185817-22868355-5-takeaways-from-irs-notice-2014-21-for-bitcoin-users">tax rules when using a cryptocurrency</a>.</p> <h3>15. International Travel Insurance</h3> <p>If you already own an <a href="http://www.myisic.com">International Student Identity Card</a> issued in the U.S., then you already have <a href="http://www.myisic.com/Travel/Insurance.html">basic travel insurance</a> that covers you while abroad. This is very helpful to meet the travel insurance requirement from some universities and consulates. Some of the benefits include trip and baggage delay, repatriation of remains, and accident and sickness medical expense coverage.</p> <h3>16. Taxes</h3> <p>If you are a U.S. nonresident and you are receiving scholarship or fellowship grants, you may be able to adjust your taxable gross income. When all or most of your grant monies are spent on tuition, books, and university fees, then you can include an Attachment to Form 1042-S to make those grant monies exempt from taxes. Additionally, some countries, such as China and India, have <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/International-Businesses/United-States-Income-Tax-Treaties---A-to-Z">tax treaties with the U.S.</a> that allow students from those countries additional tax breaks.</p> <h3>17. Tax Preparation</h3> <p>During tax season, many universities offer free tax preparation services for students. Don't forget to check the requirements for eligibility, such as a maximum gross income.</p> <h3>18. Tuition</h3> <p>Yes, you are reading that right. While on-campus student jobs may not offer much per hour, several offer tuition waivers. Contact your local student union or student center and ask how you can look for on-campus jobs that offer tuition waivers. Some of them may be available online, but other ones may be only available through that office. Ask around!</p> <h2>Miscellaneous Items</h2> <p>These items don't fall into a specific category, but that doesn't mean that they are less free!</p> <h3>19. Condoms</h3> <p>Drop by your school's health center and stock up on many as you want. Just make sure to check the expiration date on the packaging, if available. Stay safe on the cheap.</p> <h3>20. Counseling and Stress Management Services</h3> <p>If this is your first time away from home, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Combat those student blues with help from on-site professionals at no cost. Some schools are even offering <a href="http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2009/sep/biofeedback">biofeedback centers</a> to their students to help them measure and handle all levels of stress. The cost of counseling and stress management services is quite expensive outside of school, so if you need it, take advantage of these free on-campus services.</p> <h3>21. Social Media Freebies</h3> <p>Turn your social media influence into freebies. New York-based startup Sumpto has a reward system for students with a valid .edu email and Facebook account. The higher your <a href="http://www.sumpto.com">Sumpto score</a>, the better your rewards. If you are very active on Twitter and Facebook, you'll start getting free stuff in no time. Some of the companies that have provided freebies include Party City, Kraft, Chobani, Red Bull, and Office Depot.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite freebies for college students? 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/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students">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/how-to-find-the-cheapest-college-textbooks">How to find the cheapest college textbooks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-college-degrees-with-the-highest-roi">5 College Degrees With the Highest ROI</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/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</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-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank">6 Summer Party Ideas That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</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/why-you-dont-need-a-college-degree-to-succeed">Why You Don&#039;t Need a College Degree to Succeed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Education & Training budget college freebies school student Wed, 11 Jun 2014 13:00:52 +0000 Damian Davila 1142125 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-celebrate-cinco-de-mayo-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-celebrate-cinco-de-mayo-on-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/picjumbo.com_IMG_2565_800.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some amazing articles on celebrating Cinco de Mayo on a budget, keeping your kids entertained this summer, and tips for success on LinkedIn.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Cinco-de-Mayo-Budget-34693374">5 Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on a Budget</a> &mdash; To celebrate Cinco de Mayo on a budget, host your own fiesta. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2014/05/01/10-low-cost-ways-to-keep-your-kids-entertained-this-summer/">10 Low-Cost Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained This Summer</a> &mdash; Making homemade play-doh or or drawing a life-sized portrait are just a couple ways to keep your kids entertained this summer. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thousandaire.com/5-tips-for-success-on-linkedin/">5 Tips for Success on LinkedIn</a> &mdash; Being selective with your connection requests can help you be successful on LinkedIn. [Thousandaire]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/turn-tantalizing-foreign-cuisine-budget-meals.html">Turn Tantalizing Foreign Cuisine Into Budget Meals</a> &mdash; Did you know many international dishes are simple to make and easy on your pocketbook? [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyqanda.com/compete-in-job-market/">How to Compete in the Current Job Market</a> &mdash; If you are trying to compete in the current job market, create a personal website and promote yourself. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.totalmortgage.com/blog/general/how-to-sell-your-home-without-an-open-house/26035">How to Sell Your Home Without an Open House</a> &mdash; Offering video tours of your home that can be viewed online can help you sell it without hosting an open house. [Underwritings Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/tips-for-maximizing-your-retirement-savings/">4 Quick Tips for Maximizing Your Retirement Savings</a> &mdash; Minimizing your account fees can help you maximize your retirement savings. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/article/spending/T065-C000-S002-3-simple-steps-to-switch-cable-companies.html?si=1">3 Simple Steps to Switch Cable Companies</a> &mdash; If you want to switch cable companies, start by calling your current provider to see if you can get a better price. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-create-an-at-home-spa-day-for-mothers-and-daughters">How to Create an At-Home Spa Day for Mothers and Daughters</a> &mdash; To create an at-home spa day, serve nourishing snacks and experiment with DIY spa treatments. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://howsmarriedlife.net/social-media-rules-married-couples/">Social Media Rules for Married Couples</a> &mdash; When dealing with social media as a couple, be sure to separate business from your personal life. [How's Married Life]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-celebrate-cinco-de-mayo-on-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-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/save-money-and-eat-better-with-a-7-step-food-budget">Save Money and Eat Better With a 7-Step Food 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/chill-out-with-these-6-simple-diy-freezer-treats">Chill Out With These 6 Simple DIY Freezer Treats</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-classic-foods-we-miss">16 Classic Foods We Miss</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/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips budget Cinco de Mayo Mon, 05 May 2014 08:48:22 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1137787 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Spend Less on Everything in 2014 http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-less-on-everything-in-2014 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-spend-less-on-everything-in-2014" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-452253103.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you make a resolution to spend less money and save more in 2014? You&#39;re not alone. According to research conducted at the University of Scranton and published in Journal of Clinical Psychology, this is the third most common New Year&#39;s resolution made by Americans. (The number one resolution is to lose weight followed by the resolution to get organized.)</p> <p>We live in a &quot;buy, buy, buy&quot; culture. Retailers and society pressure us into spending with &quot;deals that can&#39;t be missed,&quot; enticing loyalty programs, coupons galore, and plenty of glossy ads everywhere we turn, online and off. So how can we keep our resolution to save more and spend less when temptation is all around us? Here are five strategies that will help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-moves-you-must-make-in-2014?ref=seealso">Financial Moves You Should Make This Year</a>)</p> <h2>1. Become a DIY Ninja With Pinterest</h2> <p>As much pressure as there is to spend money, DIY has become a trendy way to live life. Pinterest is a perfect vehicle for ideas, inspiration, and instructions for DIY home decor, clothing, crafts, gifts, and everything in between. Plus, it also gives you the platform to brag about your own DIY skills, show off what you make, and share what you learn with others.</p> <h2>2. Make a List of What You Need &mdash; and Use It</h2> <p>In 2013, LivePerson ran an online survey of consumers in five major Western markets. Seventy-seven percent said that they indulged in impulse buying while in-store, and 50% said they impulse shop online. Attractive displays; in-store signage that screams price savings; and appealing lighting, music, and staff can cause you to indulge on items you never intended to buy before you set foot in a store. It&#39;s a battle to stay focused, and the best weapon is a list. Write it out before you get to the store, stick to it, and don&#39;t browse. Get what you need and get out.</p> <h2>3. Dine and Entertain at Home</h2> <p>Dining out is a fun way to socialize with friends and colleagues. It&#39;s also an expensive one. Because menu prices have to cover the cost of running the restaurant and preparing the food, <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-restaurants-mark-up-food-2013-10">restaurants mark-up dishes as much as 300%</a>. Plus, you have to add tax and tip. One of the best ways to spend less and save more is to cook your main meals at home and then meet up with friends for a drink, dessert, coffee, a walk, a movie, etc. Better yet, have them over to your place and prepare the meal together. These items still carry a mark-up as well (except for the walk!) although the mark-up is a much smaller dollar amount than what you would spend on a full meal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-to-love-cooking-and-save-with-these-11-kitchen-tricks?ref=seealso">11 Kitchen Tricks to Make Cooking Fun</a>)</p> <h2>4. Keep Your Wardrobe Classic and Accessorize</h2> <p>Clothing is another item that carries a huge mark-up between what the item actually costs to manufacture and the retail price. And a sale isn&#39;t always a real sale. Many retailers inflate items to a ridiculous price and then offer huge sales to make it look like you&#39;re getting a bargain.</p> <p>The only way to fight this is to buy high quality items that last a long time, comparison shop, and keep your style classic. This way you can easily mix and match items to create new outfits, and you&#39;ll be able to wear these items longer than one season. An easy way to keep your look fresh is to have most of your clothing and shoes in neutral shades dressed up by colorful and punchy accessories. There&#39;s a hefty mark-up on accessories, too, although the actual dollar amount you spend on them is much less than most clothing items. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-greatest-frugal-fashion-makeover-ever-refresh-your-wardrobe-for-25-or-less?ref=seealso">Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less</a>)</p> <h2>5. Set and Review Weekly and Monthly Savings Goals</h2> <p>What gets measured gets done.</p> <p>If you want to spend less and save more, you need to measure and review what you spend and what you save. Set a goal every week and every month. The moment you get paid, put that money aside and record it. Then record everything you spend. Regularly reviewing your spending and saving will keep you motivated and on-track. Once you see your bills going down and your savings grow, you&#39;ll want to keep that happy glow that comes from setting a goal and meeting it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget?ref=seealso">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Stick to Your Budget</a>)</p> <p>Spending less and saving more are wonderful goals. It&#39;s totally achievable, although it&#39;s going to take some willpower, and you may need to change some heavily ingrained habits. You&#39;ll feel peer pressure and pressure from retailers who would love nothing more than to see you give up this New Year&#39;s Resolution. Don&#39;t let that stop you and keep your eye on the real prize &mdash; a savings account that helps you feel safe, secure, and confident no matter what life throws your way.</p> <p><em>How are you planning to spend less and save more this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-less-on-everything-in-2014">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/10-dumb-little-budgeting-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">10 Dumb Little Budgeting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money">13 Creative Ways to Avoid Spending Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-every-penny-count-with-a-zero-based-budget">Making Every Penny Count With A Zero-Based 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/16-easy-ways-to-save-100-this-month">16 Easy Ways to Save $100 This Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting budget saving spending Tue, 28 Jan 2014 10:48:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1116898 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Resist Lifestyle Creep and Still Have Everything You Want http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-lifestyle-creep-and-still-have-everything-you-want <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-resist-lifestyle-creep-and-still-have-everything-you-want" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-2557565-small.jpg" alt="man " title="man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Levels of spending on some things seem to automatically go with levels of spending on other things. But there&#39;s no rule that says this has to be true. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity?ref=seealso">Choosing a Luxury Eccentricity</a>)</p> <h2>Overcoming the Lifestyle Problem</h2> <p>This is what I call &quot;The Lifestyle Problem.&quot; It&#39;s expensive enough to support yourself and your family, but supporting all those people <em>and </em>a lifestyle? That&#39;s a problem.</p> <p>Fortunately, the solution is easy: Don&#39;t do it. There is no rule that says certain expenses automatically imply other expenses. You are free to choose luxury in one area while choosing frugality in another. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way?ref=seealso">Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a>)</p> <p>For example, my wife and I have a set of linen sheets to put on our bed in the summertime. They&#39;re two or three times as expensive as cotton &mdash; but they&#39;re luxuriously more comfortable when it&#39;s hot, plus they&#39;re more durable. They might seem incongruous with our cheap apartment and our 23-year-old Honda Civic, but we&#39;re very pleased with the balance we&#39;ve struck.</p> <h3>Splurge Strategically</h3> <p>Probably everybody you know does this in a small way &mdash; think of all your friends with perfectly normal budgets, except this one won&#39;t pay more than $12 for a haircut, that one won&#39;t go to movies in the theater, another insists on doing his own yard work (even though he hates it), and so on.</p> <p>Not so many do this in a big way. In fact, the only place you&#39;re likely to see this idea expressed in full measure is in young bachelors. You can recognize the subtype easily because their apartment is furnished with a recliner chair, a king-sized bed, and no other furniture.</p> <p>Do you want a fancy sports car, but are perfectly happy living in a cheap apartment? That&#39;s fine. Similarly fine is the reverse: cheap car, but a luxury apartment. Also fine: a cheap car, a cheap apartment, and a glorious annual vacation. You can have a few nice things without having to have <em>all</em> nice things! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-allow-yourself-splurges?ref=seealso">Why You Should Allow Yourself to Splurge</a>)</p> <h2>Resisting Lifestyle Creep</h2> <p>Everybody knows this. And yet, it&rsquo;s deceptively <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lifestyle-upgrades-beware-the-diderot-effect">easy to upscale all your expense categories</a> in tandem, without even noticing that you&#39;re doing it.</p> <p>And that&#39;s without considering the social pressures to do this. Just as soon as you start being thoughtful about this &mdash; and not upgrading this or that expense&mdash;you&#39;ll find that everybody and his brother has something to say about it: Why do you have such an old car/such crappy clothes/such a small TV? Why don&#39;t you live in a bigger house/better neighborhood? Why don&#39;t you buy nicer furniture/better wine/a fitness center membership? <em>You can afford it!</em></p> <p>The unstated assumption of that last sentence is that everyone should spend all their money. There are a lot of people out there who seem pretty determined that nobody subvert that assumption. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-peer-pressure-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso">Is Peer Pressure Keeping You Poor?</a>)</p> <p>It is possible to resist that social pressure. You can do it just by determination &mdash; in fact, that&#39;s probably the best way &mdash; but here are two tricks that I&#39;ve found help me.</p> <h3>1. Have a Style</h3> <p>Just about any style will do. If you have a style, it&#39;s easy to turn down the upgrades that don&#39;t match because, &quot;They&#39;re just not my style.&quot;</p> <p>Even if you don&#39;t pick a nameable style (bohemian, yuppy, whatever) people will still quickly figure it out &mdash; and will quit suggesting things that don&#39;t match. People don&#39;t tell yuppies that they need to buy a Lincoln Towncar for their commute or bohemians that they need to get designer onesies for the twins, and they&#39;ll be a lot less likely to tell you that you need to spend money on something that doesn&#39;t &quot;go&quot; with the things you do spend money on.</p> <p>Just be careful not to let the causality go the other way. Just because you&#39;ve decided to go with &quot;preppy&quot; is no reason to upgrade your wardrobe by spending a fortune on Brooks Brothers. (Not that you can&#39;t spend money on Brooks Brothers if you want to, and can afford it.) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-greatest-frugal-fashion-makeover-ever-refresh-your-wardrobe-for-25-or-less?ref=seealso">Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less</a>)</p> <h3>2. Embrace the Eccentricity</h3> <p>Anybody whose spending is different from typical is, in fact, eccentric. Embrace that. Own it. But make it about something that matters to you:</p> <ul> <li>You are the person who won&#39;t hire a yard service to get rid of their dandelions because you don&#39;t want herbicides sprayed on your lawn (not because you&#39;re too cheap to spend the money).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You&#39;re the person who doesn&#39;t go to movies in the theater because they turn the sound up too darned loud (not because you&#39;re too cheap to buy tickets).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You&#39;re the person who doesn&#39;t eat out because you cook better food than you can get in a restaurant (not because you won&#39;t spring for the check).</li> </ul> <p>You can resist the tyranny of social rules to keep all your spending levels nicely lined up. Someone looking at my spending and trying to figure out what my &quot;lifestyle&quot; was would be utterly stymied &mdash; because the only rule my wife and I have is that we pay up for what we really want and spend as little as possible on the rest.</p> <p><em>How do you resist the temptation to overspend on lifestyle?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-lifestyle-creep-and-still-have-everything-you-want">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-you-are-causing-road-rage">16 Ways You Are Causing Road Rage</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/is-six-figures-really-that-much">Is Six Figures Really That Much?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-year-s-hot-toy-is-next-year-s-trash">This Year’s Hot Toy is Next Year’s Trash</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/designing-your-life">Designing your life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle budget lifestyle Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:49:34 +0000 Philip Brewer 1104836 at http://www.wisebread.com