learning a new skill http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14848/all en-US Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3941629457_1c428b9fbf_z.jpg" alt="trying to cook lobster" title="trying to cook lobster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="204" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I enjoy cooking &mdash; and I&rsquo;m not bad at it &mdash; but those skills didn&rsquo;t necessarily come naturally.</p> <p>There was a lot of trial and error (I nearly burnt down my house by putting a frozen chicken breast in a searing-hot pan of oil once), a lot of wasted ingredients (you can&rsquo;t eat chicken that&rsquo;s burnt on the outside but frozen solid in the middle), and a lot of hours spent watching cooking shows to pick up invaluable tips and tricks.</p> <p>Over the years, this self-imposed practice has turned me into a competent, capable cook. I understand, however, that you may not have the time or interest to cook like I do. That&rsquo;s OK. It&rsquo;s not for everyone. But you should know how to make yourself at least a few meals that don&rsquo;t come out of the microwave or magically appear on your doorstep. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook">Teach Yourself to Cook</a>)</p> <h3>1. Pot Roast With Root Vegetables</h3> <p>There are many ways you can <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/maries-easy-slow-cooker-pot-roast/">make a hearty, delicious, rib-sticking pot roast</a>, but one of the easiest is to put a 4 lb. chuck roast in a slow cooker (also called a Crock Pot) and let it cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.</p> <p>Before you set it and forget it, however, you&rsquo;ll need to season the roast with salt and pepper and sear (just a fancy word for make brown) each side of the roast in a skillet over high heat. Once the roast is seared, put it in the slow cooker with chopped carrots, potatoes, celery, and onion, a cup of water, and a packet of dry onion soup mix; for the soup mix, Lipton&rsquo;s is probably the easiest to find.</p> <p>You can put all of these ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, and your meal will be ready by dinnertime. Easy as that. You can make a nice gravy to go along with your pot roast, too &mdash; either homemade using the drippings (you&rsquo;ll need cornstarch or flour) or using a packet (which will only require water).</p> <h3>2. Spaghetti and Garlic Bread</h3> <p>Spaghetti is a quick and simple dish for kitchen newbies to throw together, but cooking the pasta perfectly requires a little TLC.</p> <p>To start this dish, bring a large pot of water, with a tablespoon of salt added, to a boil. Add in your spaghetti noodles based on how many people you&rsquo;re feeding. A standard 1 lb. box feeds eight people, so divide the noodles accordingly. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box; you want the noodles to be &ldquo;al dente&rdquo; &mdash; tender but with a little bite.</p> <p>As the noodles cook, heat up a prepared pasta sauce on the stove. From the jar will never be as good as homemade, but perhaps you&rsquo;ll be comfortable enough to accept that challenge in time.</p> <p>To make the garlic bread, mix a couple dashes of garlic powder, dried Italian herbs, and half a stick of room-temperature butter together and spread it on both sides a loaf of fresh French or Italian bread that&rsquo;s been cut in half. Put the two halves back together, wrap in foil, and toss it into a 350-degree oven for 12 minutes.</p> <p>When the pasta has cooked to al dente, drain it, return it to the pot, and add in the sauce and toss. Plate the pasta and serve with piping hot pieces of the crusty garlic bread.</p> <h3>3. Chicken Noodle Soup</h3> <p>Like a soul-soothing pot roast, there are a million and one recipes for chicken noodle soup, most of which are just variations on a very simple starter method.</p> <p>This <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quick-and-easy-chicken-noodle-soup/">recipe for chicken noodle soup</a> is ready in 30 minutes, so you can whip it up in no time on a brisk fall night. The ingredients you&rsquo;ll need are all ordinary items you have in your fridge or pantry or that can pick up during a quick trip to the supermarket after work.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a rapid rundown of what to do:</p> <ul> <li>Melt butter in a large pot and cook onion and celery in it for about five minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Add chicken and vegetable broths, cooked chicken breast, noodles, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Eat.</li> </ul> <h3>4. Pita Pizzas With Side Salad</h3> <p>I started making pita pizzas a few years ago because I got tired of ordering pizzas that were too large for me to eat by myself. My solution was to make personal-sized pies that, believe it or not, are every bit as good as my favorite delivery joint but much healthier.</p> <p>I use whole-wheat pitas topped with pizza sauce (Ragu has decent small jars, or you can save the pizza sauce dippers that come with your delivery pizza and use that; spaghetti sauce will work too in a pinch), cheese, a sprinkle of garlic powder, pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Place the pizza directly on the middle rack of a 400-degree oven with a baking sheet on a lower rack to catch any drippings. Bake for about five or six minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.</p> <p>Serve the pizzas with a simple side salad. The bagged kind is just fine; don&rsquo;t forget the dressing.</p> <h3>5. Pulled Pork Sandwiches With Coleslaw</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re put off by the thought of making pulled pork because it requires a lot of work, you shouldn&rsquo;t be &mdash; it hardly requires any work at all.</p> <p>There are less than five ingredients in this slow-cooker pulled-pork recipe &mdash; pork tenderloin, root beer (do I have your attention now?), barbecue sauce, and hamburger buns. Place the pork loin in the slow cooker follow by the root beer. Cover and cook on low for six to seven hours. When the time is up, drain the slow cooker to get rid of all the liquid fat. The pork will fall apart and shred with ease, at which time you can stir in the barbecue sauce. Serve on hamburger buns alongside coleslaw you picked up at the store or that you can make with a prepackaged shredded cabbage mix, a few other ingredients, and this <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/homemade-coleslaw/">recipe for homemade coleslaw</a>.</p> <h3>6. Steamed Shrimp and Corn on the Cob</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/70-cheap-succulent-shrimp-recipes">Shrimp is a great ingredient</a> for new cooks because it cooks up very fast, no matter the method.</p> <p>You&rsquo;ll need to start with the corn on the cob since it takes a while to cook. You can either wrap it in foil and toss it in the 400-degree oven for 30 minutes or let the ears boil on the stove for 30 minutes.</p> <p>To make steamed shrimp the way I do (the best way!), pour a can of beer in the bottom of a steam pot, bring it to a boil.</p> <p>Put the shrimp in a freezer bag with a tablespoon or two of Old Bay seasoning and shake to coat all the shrimp. Add the shrimp to the steamer tray, place it on the pot with the beer, and cover. Stir the shrimp every minute or so until they&rsquo;re pink on both sides.</p> <p>Butter the corn and squirt the shrimp with lemon before digging in.</p> <h3>7. Chicken Soft Tacos</h3> <p>Save some money and skip your favorite Mexican eatery in favor of making your own chicken soft tacos at home.</p> <p>I like to grill my chicken in a broiler for this recipe by seasoning the breasts with salt, pepper, and lime, and cooking on each side for about five minutes. When the chicken is cooked through, I let it sit for at least five minutes while I prepare the other ingredients.</p> <p>Chop a couple of tomatoes, some lettuce, and cilantro; grate your favorite cheese; and grab the salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. &nbsp;</p> <p>Next, wrap your flour tortillas in a paper towel that you&rsquo;ve soaked and rung out, and place them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Be careful removing them; they&rsquo;ll be hot.</p> <p>Build your chicken soft tacos by adding the chicken first, followed by the vegetables then adding the wet toppings like salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.</p> <h3>8. Autumn Chopped Salad</h3> <p>A salad is very easy to make, especially when you buy it in a bag &mdash; but you don&rsquo;t have to limit yourself to only what&rsquo;s in that bag. You can spruce up the salad by adding additional ingredients that you enjoy like dried fruits, fresh veggies, and nuts.</p> <p>This <a href="http://iowagirleats.com/2012/09/24/autumn-chopped-salad/">autumn chopped salad recipe</a> is great any time of the year, but especially in fall because of the seasonal apples and pears. On a bed of romaine lettuce (bought in a bag) add chopped apples, pears, roasted peanuts, dried cranberries, and bacon. Chop the salad with a knife to incorporate all the ingredients evenly, and toss with sweet(ish) dressing like poppy-seed or raspberry-walnut.</p> <p>Crumble a tangy cheese, like Gorgonzola or feta, on top to finish.</p> <h3>9. Steak and Baked Potatoes</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re a meat-and-potatoes person, there&rsquo;s nothing purer or simpler than a juicy steak.</p> <p>You have to start with the baked potato first, because it requires a generous amount of cooking time if you&rsquo;d like to have the <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/best-baked-potato-71933">best baked potato</a> you&rsquo;ve ever eaten.</p> <p>First, poke holes all around the potato &mdash; about eight pokes &mdash; with a fork. Rub a small amount of olive oil on the potato then sprinkle salt (kosher salt works best) and pepper all around the spud. Place it directly on the rack in a 350-degree oven (with a baking sheet underneath to catch the drippings) for about an hour.</p> <p>As for the steak, I start with a good cut of beef (a rib eye most of the time) that I season with a brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper on both sides. I plop it onto my broiler pan and let it cook for a few minutes on each side, depending on the size of the steak and my desired doneness. I like my steak medium so about four minutes on each side for a 1-inch-thick steak should do.</p> <p>When the steak is cooked to your liking, it&rsquo;s important that you let it sit for a few minutes so the juices can redistribute throughout the steak to keep it tender and juicy.</p> <p>After five minutes, plate the steak, push open the baked potato with your fingers, and top it with your favorite toppings, like butter and sour cream.</p> <h3>10. Breakfast for Dinner</h3> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t know much about cooking, at the very least you should know how to make breakfast. This one is simple: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">eggs</a>, bacon, toast, and fruit.</p> <p>In a skillet on medium heat, add a few strips of bacon. Let the bacon cook for five minutes, then turn it over to cook for another three minutes. If the bacon is too loose for your taste, cook it a bit longer to make it crispier. When the bacon is cooked, transfer it to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up the grease.</p> <p>You can either dump the bacon grease down the sink with the hot water running (if you&rsquo;re watching your weight) or cook the eggs in the bacon grease (like my grandmother used to do). The latter tastes better, but I usually choose to rinse out the skillet and add butter instead of the bacon grease to cook my eggs. On medium heat again, crack two eggs into the skillet, being careful not to break the yolks. When the whites have barely set, gently flip the eggs over to the other side until the whites are just cooked. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper and slide onto a plate.</p> <p>Meanwhile, make a couple slices of toast to sop up the yolky goodness and garnish the dish with a side of fruit for good measure.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-tasty-and-cost-effective-breakfast-for-dinner-ideas">breakfast of champions at dinnertime</a> is always a winner.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FCooking%20for%20Beginners-%2010%20Recipes%20for%20Kitchen%20Newbies.jpg&amp;description=Cooking%20for%20Beginners%3A%2010%20Recipes%20for%20Kitchen%20Newbies" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Cooking%20for%20Beginners-%2010%20Recipes%20for%20Kitchen%20Newbies.jpg" alt="Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">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/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">25 Great, Cheap, and Easy Crock Pot Recipes</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-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent">5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It (and 5 That Aren&#039;t)</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/25-alternative-uses-for-lemons">25 Alternative Uses for Lemons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</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-decorative-plants-you-can-eat-too">6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Lifestyle Cooking crock pot crock pot recipes dinner ideas easy recipes learning a new skill simple dinner ideas slow cooker recipes Wed, 17 Oct 2012 10:36:42 +0000 Mikey Rox 955016 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Things You Should Spend More Time On http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-spend-more-time-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-things-you-should-spend-more-time-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/955561067_9111745994_z.jpg" alt="brushing teeth" title="brushing teeth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In our rush-rush, hurry-hurry world of multitasking and automation, we&rsquo;ve managed to cram more into an average day than ever before.</p> <p>But there are some things that shouldn&rsquo;t be left to an app, condensed to an audio book, or squeezed in between yoga class and clearing out your DVR. Yes, you heard me&hellip;there are still some things that require your full and undivided personal attention.</p> <p>Now, things such as your health and your money go without saying, and I doubt that you need any convincing on those points. For that reason, the obvious priorities have been left off this list &mdash; instead, you&rsquo;ll find aspects that are easier to overlook. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy&nbsp;Changes You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your Teeth</h2> <p>We&rsquo;re all aware of the importance of having a bright and shining smile, but the cosmetic benefits are only the tip of the iceberg. And according to a <a href="http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/50-dentist-secrets-ddms-share-hygiene-advice-on-teeth-gums-and-more/">2009 survey of dentists</a>, we&rsquo;re not taking the care we should when it comes to our teeth.</p> <p>A healthy mouth prevents bad breath and tooth decay, but it also helps prevent gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss and a contributing factor in heart attacks and strokes. To get the benefits of a healthy mouth, however, you need to spend at least 10 minutes a day practicing good oral hygiene and make regular visits to your dentist for a deeper cleaning.</p> <h2>2. Your Home</h2> <p>They say that your home is a reflection of what&rsquo;s going on in your life, so if things seem chaotic or &ldquo;out-of-sorts,&rdquo; that sensation is then mirrored in the design and decorating in your house.</p> <p>But sometimes, the opposite is true. Your home also influences your mood, so if your study is cluttered and messy, for example, you&rsquo;ll likely feel frustrated and agitated whenever you enter the room. Likewise, an unorganized kitchen can make cooking a pain, encouraging you to eat something fast but less-healthy to avoid spending time in the room.</p> <p>And now, new studies show that clutter isn&rsquo;t the only factor to consider. Dubbed <a href="http://www.oprah.com/home/Mood-Boosting-Home-Decor/">neuroarchitecture</a>, research shows that lighting, color, space, and general décor have the ability to actually enhance our mood and even improve our performance.</p> <p>So, the next time you&rsquo;re feeling stressed or blue, take a look around at your environment&hellip;it may be time to redecorate.</p> <h2>3. Family and Friends</h2> <p>While there&rsquo;s much to be said for alone time (see #5 below), we are still very much social creatures at heart and our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-friends-and-be-happy-why-cultivating-relationships-is-good-for-you">relationships are an important component of our self-esteem</a>.</p> <p>Unfortunately, our busy schedules can make quality time with family and friends difficult to achieve, meaning that you have to work at it if you want to see some positive results.</p> <p>And if an improvement in mood and outlook aren&rsquo;t enough to motivate you to connect with others, check this out &mdash; a <a href="http://champagnelab.psych.columbia.edu/docs/tara6.pdf">2003 Study at Ohio State University</a> (PDF) suggests that illness and injuries actually heal faster when we&rsquo;re surrounded and supported by those we love.</p> <h2>4. Learning</h2> <p>A while back, I wrote about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">ways to improve your memory</a> and possibly stave off dementia and other degenerative diseases of the mind. Since that time, I&rsquo;ve added daily lessons of Spanish and French in my household (as well as my mother&rsquo;s), and I&rsquo;m also relearning algebra as well.</p> <p>The results are noticeable. Nevermind that I feel a little smarter; I&rsquo;m also finding it easier to recall information and talk intelligently without struggling for words along the way. And what I realized was this &mdash; we spend our school years cramming and memorizing and studying a wide variety of subjects, but once we enter the &ldquo;real world,&rdquo; we tend to specialize in our profession and that constant challenge of learning new things seems to stop.</p> <p>Is it any wonder, then, that our minds begin to deteriorate?</p> <p>Now, the good news is that you don&rsquo;t have to restrict yourself to language and math. You can memorize the presidents, study geology or history, rekindle that love of science, or dive into the crazy world of politics. The point is to keep learning&hellip;and the more you learn, the more new pathways your brain will create.</p> <h2>5. Solitude</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with craving the company of others, and if you read #3 above, then you know that I&rsquo;ve already established the importance of reinforcing and nurturing those human connections.</p> <p>But solitude is important too&hellip;so much so that several <a href="http://www.marksdailyapple.com/solitude-health/#axzz224cAyf4v">recent studies</a> suggest that there&rsquo;s definitely some benefits to going solo on a regular basis. That alone time allows you to clear your head, balance emotions, process and memorize information, and even tap into your own &ldquo;meaning of life.&rdquo;</p> <h2>6. Your Beliefs</h2> <p>One of the things I enjoyed about my college debate class was that my professor often asked us to argue the opposite point of view.</p> <p>This forced us to set aside our own personal belief systems and &mdash; to the best of our abilities &mdash; find a way to justify an opposing opinion. Granted, some topics were easier than others, but the result was always the same &mdash; we found that we understood more about the other side than we might have previously been willing to admit.</p> <p>Now, imagine what kind of progress we could make if we employed that tactic all the time?</p> <h2>7. Your Wardrobe</h2> <p>In the corporate world, it&rsquo;s widely known that what you wear can have a direct effect on your confidence level. People tend to take you more seriously when you&rsquo;re dressed for success, and the mere knowledge that you look good is enough to make you feel empowered.</p> <p>So why should that practice begin and end with the boardroom?</p> <p>Like our homes, how we dress is a direct reflection of how we feel, meaning that t-shirts and sweats are OK, but if they make up the majority of your wardrobe, you&rsquo;re doing your self-confidence an injustice.</p> <p>No, power suits aren&rsquo;t required for everyday attire, but some bright colors can do wonders for your mood and more importantly, your self-esteem, both of which can improve your negotiating skills, productivity, and outlook on life.</p> <h2>8. Your Memories</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m a genealogy junkie. What started as a curious search for my great-grandmother&rsquo;s birthplace has turned into a full-blown obsession to discover everything there is to know about my ancestors and their lives.</p> <p>This obsession, however, has also made me realize the importance of preserving the memories I&rsquo;m creating along the way&hellip;not just photographs, but stories and thoughts that will tell my grandchildren (and their grandchildren) exactly who I was and what mattered to me the most.</p> <p>Creating a scrapbook of your life also allows you the opportunity to take those walks down memory lane and discover some life lessons you might have missed along the way. It&rsquo;s therapeutic, it&rsquo;s comforting, and it has the potential to be eye-opening.</p> <h2>9. Creative Expression</h2> <p>We spend quite a bit of time doing what has to be done, whether it&rsquo;s paying bills or washing dishes or going to work.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">Making time for creative expression</a> gives you the chance to use a different part of your brain and focus on something that comes from deep within your own psyche rather than our usual day-to-day grind. Studies show that regularly dabbling in something artistic improves problem-solving skills, relieves stress, and lifts your mood &mdash; three good reasons to make art class high on your list of priorities.</p> <h2>10. Your Manners</h2> <p>We&rsquo;re all quick to talk about morals and values, but whatever happened to manners?</p> <p>Somehow, it&rsquo;s become acceptable to be indifferent (or worse, downright rude) if it serves our cause or ensures our success. I see kids acting in ways that I would never have behaved growing up, and I see adults acting with the same belligerence and discourteous mannerisms that we used to chalk up to the younger generations who didn&rsquo;t know any better.</p> <p>Now, don&rsquo;t get me wrong&hellip;I&rsquo;m all for a good debate, and I&rsquo;m the first in line when it comes to standing up for a good cause. But I think we lose something very vital to our society when getting our way means that we forget our manners.</p> <p>Call me old, call me out of touch&hellip;just be sure to say please and thank you when you do.</p> <h2>11. Your Dreams</h2> <p>When you were young, what did you want to be? A firefighter? A doctor? An astronaut? A princess? It&rsquo;s easy to have big dreams when we&rsquo;re little because there was nothing to force us to think otherwise.</p> <p>Of course, as we grow older, reality sets in and we learn to settle for something that will pay the bills rather than seek out that thing that makes our heart sing.</p> <p>But your dreams are your dreams for a reason &mdash; they represent your passion, that thing that makes you tick, and if you don&rsquo;t give them some attention now and then, dreams tend to wither away and die.</p> <p>The good news is that you don&rsquo;t have to quit your steady accounting job in order to explore your notions of becoming a cowboy. Small steps and small changes are often all it takes to revive those dreams and set you on a new and potentially more satisfying path.</p> <h2>12. Your Fears</h2> <p>I recently wrote an article about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">getting things done</a> and noted that &ldquo;fear&rdquo; was actually our biggest motivator and also our biggest obstacle. Fear makes us behave in ways that are unbecoming to such an intelligent species, and it also keeps us from pushing the envelope and discovering what we&rsquo;re really capable of achieving.</p> <p>The bottom line &mdash; if your life isn&rsquo;t exactly what you want it to be, look at what you&rsquo;re afraid of. Chances are, fear is holding you back from your true potential.</p> <h2>13. Your Strengths</h2> <p>Self-improvement experts have always taught us that we need to work on our weaknesses if we want to improve them.</p> <p>But instead of spending so much time focusing on the things we despise and don&rsquo;t do well, why not spend more time focusing on areas in which we excel?</p> <p>Using this mindset, we&rsquo;d spend more time doing things we love, things that come naturally to us and that we have a talent for mastering. Imagine what a wonderful world we&rsquo;d live in if everyone spent their days doing the things they love the most?</p> <h2>14. Your Unchartered Territory</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve already mentioned fears, dreams, and beliefs, but I want to take things one step further before we call this article &ldquo;done.&rdquo;</p> <p>Taking risks and venturing out into the unknown is something we don&rsquo;t like to do&hellip;and we don&rsquo;t like it because it requires us to change. But if there&rsquo;s one thing constant in the universe, it&rsquo;s the fact that everything is changing and will continue to do so, regardless of whether we&rsquo;re changing with it or not.</p> <p>So if there&rsquo;s one thing you take away from this article, let it be this &mdash; you don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s out there until you look. You don&rsquo;t know if you like something until you try it, and you don&rsquo;t know if you&rsquo;ll succeed unless you&rsquo;re willing to take a chance with the possibility that you&rsquo;ll fail.</p> <p>Life is what you make of it. Choosing to live it inside a safe but predictable bubble won&rsquo;t get you to where you really want to go, and you&rsquo;ll never know what kind of amazing surprises were waiting for you in that unchartered territory.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F14-things-you-should-spend-more-time-on&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F14%2520Things%2520You%2520Should%2520Spend%2520More%2520Time%2520On.jpg&amp;description=14%20Things%20You%20Should%20Spend%20More%20Time%20On"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/14%20Things%20You%20Should%20Spend%20More%20Time%20On.jpg" alt="14 Things You Should Spend More Time On" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-spend-more-time-on">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/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</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/25-ways-to-boost-creativity">25 Ways to Boost Creativity</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/15-tested-tips-for-creative-efficiency">15 Tested Tips for Creative Efficiency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-power-of-lists-getting-more-creative-and-efficient">The Power of Lists: Getting More Creative and Efficient</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-places-to-go-for-inspiration">10 Places to Go for Inspiration</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development creativity healthy living learning a new skill relationship building wardrobe Mon, 06 Aug 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Kate Luther 947044 at http://www.wisebread.com Got a Problem? Why You Should Figure It Out Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/got-a-problem-why-you-should-figure-it-out-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/got-a-problem-why-you-should-figure-it-out-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2708660678_a0729aed20_z.jpg" alt="man reading on bench" title="man reading on bench" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="159" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An aunt of mine recently asked me what the Internet was <em>for</em>. Of course, she has email and knows how to use a computer, but she just couldn&rsquo;t understand why I found having access to all that information so exciting.</p> <p>&ldquo;Well, I can look up <em>anything</em>!&rdquo; I told her &mdash; and I often do. Whether I&rsquo;m searching for statistics for a story I&rsquo;m writing or I&rsquo;m just trying to remember what that great restaurant we went to a few years back was called, I can call the information up any time I want.</p> <p>My aunt, though, is from a different generation &mdash; one that I have a hard time even imagining. If you wanted to know something, you could find it in a book, you could ask around, or you just figure it out for yourself. While I won&rsquo;t be giving up my Internet connection, like, <em>ever,</em> I&rsquo;m wondering why I don&rsquo;t take the time to figure things out myself more often, rather than running straight to Google. Come to think of it, there are some good reasons for taking the extra time. Here are a few. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-buy-your-way-out-of-the-rat-race">Can You&nbsp;Buy&nbsp;Your Way Out of the Rat Race?</a>)</p> <h3>Because You Can</h3> <p>I think sometimes when we don&rsquo;t know something, our egos automatically kick in. Either we don&rsquo;t want to admit we don&rsquo;t know it, or we want to skip over the part where we&rsquo;re left feeling stupid and find the answer right away. At the same time, there really isn&rsquo;t anything wrong with not knowing the answer to a question or not knowing how to complete a task. Learning those things is what life&rsquo;s all about. Most people who want to understand a complex scientific theory or know the 100,000<sup>th</sup> digit of pi will probably have to visit Google, but there are many things we can solve all on our own &mdash; especially when we have to. Have you ever been stranded somewhere with few resources and been forced to find a solution to a problem? Getting that tent set up without the forgotten poles is something you could easily solve with a trip to the camping store, but doing it yourself will leave you feeling exultant &mdash; and you&rsquo;ll have a great story to tell your friends. Try the same strategy when you aren&rsquo;t quite as stuck.</p> <h3>Because If Can&rsquo;t, You Can Learn</h3> <p>Let&rsquo;s get back to ego again. It can make learning things very difficult. Actually, it can prevent us from even trying to learn things. You can&rsquo;t fail if you don&rsquo;t even start. Just to be clear, I&rsquo;m not speaking as someone who&rsquo;s mastered the art of self-education; when my ultra-complicated recipe fails or I can&rsquo;t figure out how to put the doohikey that fell off my car back on again, my tendency is to throw it aside in a huff and never go back to it. I feel stupid, and I just don&rsquo;t want to go there. Sometimes, though, I manage to peek past my own pride and look at what went wrong. Often, it&rsquo;s something really simple, and if I&rsquo;m patient enough, a solution will usually come to me. And boy do I feel smug when it does.</p> <h3>Because You&rsquo;re Always Available</h3> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with asking friends and family for help and advice, but there&rsquo;s something to be said for self-sufficiency. After all, help isn&rsquo;t always available (or helpful), but chances are you&rsquo;ll always be on the scene of your own personal problems and disasters. If you believe other people have the answers, why not put the same stock in yourself?</p> <h3>Because You Can Afford Your Own Labor</h3> <p>Figuring something out for yourself often involves <em>doing</em> something for yourself too. In many cases, this can be a great way to learn something new and save some money. Yes, your time has value, but if you aren&rsquo;t busy, why not try your hand at fixing a household appliance or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-cut-your-car-expenses">changing your own motor oil</a> rather than paying someone else to do it? Google might come in handy here, but even if you pull in a few references, there&rsquo;ll still be plenty of confusing bits left for you to sort out on your own. If you learn to do a few things like this, the savings will really add up.</p> <p>We have access to so many resources these days, it&rsquo;s possible to eliminate having to do much of anything at all (besides working to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-time-worth">pay someone else to do it</a>!). So here&rsquo;s a salute to the art of figuring things out ourselves. I think I&rsquo;ll try to do it a little more often. After all, if it doesn&rsquo;t work out, I can always Google it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fgot-a-problem-why-you-should-figure-it-out-yourself&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FGot%2520a%2520Problem-%2520Why%2520You%2520Should%2520Figure%2520It%2520Out%2520Yourself_0.jpg&amp;description=Got%20a%20Problem%3F%20Why%20You%20Should%20Figure%20It%20Out%20Yourself"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Got%20a%20Problem-%20Why%20You%20Should%20Figure%20It%20Out%20Yourself_0.jpg" alt="Got a Problem? Why You Should Figure It Out Yourself" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/got-a-problem-why-you-should-figure-it-out-yourself">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/14-things-you-should-spend-more-time-on">14 Things You Should Spend More Time On</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/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-small-things-that-can-bring-you-joy">100 Small Things That Can Bring You Joy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development learning a new skill problem solving self-sufficiency Thu, 17 May 2012 10:24:18 +0000 Tara Struyk 929146 at http://www.wisebread.com The Many Benefits of DIY http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-benefits-of-diy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-many-benefits-of-diy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sewing2.jpg" alt="Woman with a sewing machine" title="Woman with a sewing machine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I will be the first to admit that the I'm not a good handyman. I'm not proficient with anything that has to do with my hands other than, well, typing. But even for someone like me, DIY has its place. This is especially true when it comes to money-related matters. Here are five reasons why you need to learn how to do-it-yourself every once in a while. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes&nbsp;You&nbsp;Should Stop&nbsp;Paying Others For</a>)</p> <h3>DIY Costs Less Money (Most of the Time)</h3> <p>And it's not just because of the labor cost. When you know how to do things yourself, you understand the intricate details of what makes a high-priced product or service costly. Once you have this understanding, then you have the knowledge to&nbsp; choose what is important to you, saving money while getting something that will truly serve your needs. Take a home remodeling project, for example. A major expense is the appliances that you choose. The price difference between ultra-high-end and high-end products can be thousands of dollars. If you have the knowledge to know that the lower-priced option will work find for you, you can use the rest of the money to remodel the more of your house.</p> <h3>Learning Something New Is Fun and Fulfilling</h3> <p>Completing a DIY project gives you one of the most satisfying feelings anyone can have. And when you are happy, you can avoid the spending temptations that would fill an emotional void. Say good bye to your midlife crisis!</p> <h3>Your Pursuit for Improvement Gives You a Chance to Meet New People</h3> <p>As you dive deeper into DIY, you will find like-minded individuals, whether it's at classes you attend or local get togethers arranged through online forums dedicated to your craft. Over time, some of the wonderful people you meet will surely become friends.</p> <h3>You May Even Be Able to Charge for Your New Skill</h3> <p>Many people come up blank when they are trying to think of ways to earn more money. If this is you, then you might want to start developing a skill to improve your income.</p> <p>Having a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-everyone-needs-side-income">side hustle</a> is great not only because you can possibly earn side income, but you will also be less afraid of a layoff if you have more income diversity. Not being afraid of losing your job might help you speak out more and be more assertive, character traits that could help with getting a promotion.</p> <h3>DIY Gives You More Options in Retirement</h3> <p>Having DIY skills is perfect for retirement. For starters, you might find a way to use your expertise to bring in additional income, helping you achieve your retirement goal faster and allowing you to retire earlier. Even if you don't plan to charge for your skill, you might find retirement more enjoyable as you spend a good portion of your day enjoying your DIY passion.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-benefits-of-diy">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/25-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</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/30-great-side-jobs">30 Great Side Jobs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-more-fun-money-making-ideas">5 More Fun Money-Making Ideas!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-might-do-on-your-first-day-of-retirement">6 Things You Might Do on Your First Day of Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY hobbies learning a new skill side jobs Tue, 24 Jan 2012 10:36:20 +0000 David Ning 872547 at http://www.wisebread.com Tips for Thriving in Long-Term Unemployment http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-thriving-in-long-term-unemployment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tips-for-thriving-in-long-term-unemployment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/on_couch.jpg" alt="Woman on couch" title="Woman on couch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="175" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The sagging economy forced many people from their jobs and left the young and old alike searching for income. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8.6% of the U.S. labor force is unemployed, as of November 2011, and the unemployment rate in the U.S. has remained in the 8-10% range since February 2009. Additionally, millions of the long-term unemployed have fallen off the official unemployment rolls, and these folks are labeled as &quot;discouraged workers.&quot; Here are some tips to making your long-term unemployment an opportunity for advancement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">Help! I Lost My&nbsp;Job!</a>)</p> <h3>Use All of Your Resources</h3> <p>There are many new and innovative job resources available to help you find a job and put some food on your table. Many community colleges and community centers host career fairs to allow members of the community to meet prospective employers, so be sure to check your local listings for career fairs in your area. If you went to college, you still may be eligible for career guidance from your school. Consider contacting a career counselor at your alma mater or checking your school&rsquo;s career advising websites for job postings in your field. Otherwise, social media has turned many websites into personal job boards. Check for job postings on sites like <a href="http://mashable.com/">Mashable</a>, <a href="http://www.linkedin.com">LinkedIn</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com">Facebook</a>. Some of these sites have separate areas for job postings, but your friends may also post an opportunity in your newsfeed.</p> <h3>Build Your Resume While Unemployed</h3> <p>It sounds horrible if you tell a prospective employer that you&rsquo;ve been doing nothing but searching for a job for the past three years because you were unemployed. Instead, find something to productively occupy your time. Volunteering is a great way to gain job experience to put on your resume and show potential employers that you&rsquo;re a productive go-getter. Most businesses, political campaigns, organizations, hospitals, and religious groups love having extra hands to assist with free labor. Look for opportunities in your field or in a field you&rsquo;re passionate about, and see if a business or organization in that field will let you help out for a few hours a week. You&rsquo;ll pick up some job skills and experience, and you can add the extra line to your resume to show that you were not sitting on your butt while the unemployment rate was high. With the 2012 elections coming up, there are many opportunities to volunteer for your favorite candidates.</p> <h3>Learn New Things</h3> <p>Look for training classes in your area that you are interested in. It is possible to start a completely different career than what you had before. I have heard of laid off police officers who became barbers and laid off engineers who went back to school and became dentists. It really depends on your interests and motivations. You could also just go to the library, borrow books, and learn skills. You could even read about how to improve your interview skills.</p> <h3>Supplement Your Income With Odd Jobs</h3> <p>Babysitting and mowing lawns may sound like jobs for teenagers, but young people do them because they provide quick, easy, and tax-free money. Do your kids&rsquo; friends always need rides to school or after-school activities? Consider forming a chauffeur service for kids in your neighborhood. Also, there are multiple, legitimate opportunities to make money online. From taking surveys to writing blog posts, there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-noticed-on-craigslist">virtual odd jobs</a> that can fit anyone&rsquo;s interest and skill level.</p> <h3>Work on Your Own Business</h3> <p>I have talked about having your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-everyone-needs-side-income">own side income</a> before, and if you are unemployed it is actually a great time to work on a side business. You have more time to try out different ideas that you had and perhaps bring your business to the next level. Sometimes being unemployed lights a fire under people's butts and successful businesses are born. The key is to use your energy and time in a productive manner.</p> <p>The job market may be dismal, but there are still so many opportunities for financial gain, no matter how big or small. Be creative, be enterprising, and find your opportunities. Remember that every dollar helps, and every work opportunity may open a new door for you. Use your unemployment as an opportunity for advancement and don't be a &quot;discouraged worker.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p><em>What are your experiences? Have you been unemployed for more than a year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-thriving-in-long-term-unemployment">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/10-ways-to-save-money-when-you-are-unemployed">10 Ways to Save Money When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-must-do-after-the-interview-to-land-the-job">6 Things You Must Do After the Interview to Land the Job</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/earn-extra-income-with-these-15-creative-side-gigs">Earn Extra Income With These 15 Creative Side Gigs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-benefits-of-diy">The Many Benefits of DIY</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-great-retirement-jobs">6 Great Retirement Jobs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income learning a new skill side jobs unemployment volunteering Mon, 02 Jan 2012 10:48:08 +0000 Xin Lu 847396 at http://www.wisebread.com Learn New Skills for Free: The Power of Forums http://www.wisebread.com/learn-new-skills-for-free-the-power-of-forums <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/learn-new-skills-for-free-the-power-of-forums" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/elmo_computer.jpg" alt="Elmo using a computer" title="Elmo using a computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="144" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Learning a new skill is hard. Whether it&rsquo;s becoming a better cook &nbsp;or trying to build your own computer, your success rate will improve if you have some help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-paid-to-learn">6 Ways to Get Paid to Learn</a>)</p> <p>That can be expensive &mdash; taking classes or hiring someone to help will cost you. But there&rsquo;s an old-school kind of social media that can help. It isn't talked about very much since it isn&rsquo;t Twitter or Facebook or Foursquare (ugh).</p> <p>I&rsquo;m talking about the good-ol' fashioned forum.</p> <h3>What&rsquo;s a Forum?</h3> <p>A forum is simply a place where people gather to discuss a common topic. If you&rsquo;re trying to learn it, I guarantee there&rsquo;s a decent forum out there of like-minded people talking about everything from growing your own tomatoes to trimming your cat&rsquo;s whiskers. (Forums are better suited for DIY-ish things like setting up a home theater, growing your own herbs, and around-the-house repairs. For things like learning a new language and perfecting a sport, you're probably better off taking classes.)</p> <p>The reason forums are so helpful is because they&rsquo;re filled with people that are knowledgeable and passionate about the topic. Some are like you &mdash; they&rsquo;re there to learn new things. Others are more experienced and can share their tips on how they learned. Then you have the veterans. These people are subject-matter experts and pretty much know everything there is to know about the topic.</p> <p>Some are even professionals.</p> <p>You put a collection of experts and newbies together in one place and you end up with a few things:</p> <h4>Lots of Knowledge</h4> <p>Browsing forums is a great way to get learn the basics.</p> <h4>A Place to Ask Questions</h4> <p>Asking questions (and getting them answered in a timely manner) is probably the coolest part of participating in a forum. It&rsquo;s like Twitter, but everyone here is focused on this one, narrow topic.</p> <h4>Network</h4> <p>Sure, it&rsquo;s just online, but if you hang out long enough and participate, these people will eventually become part of your network, which is always valuable.</p> <h3>How to Use a Forum to Learn New Things</h3> <p>My experience with forums has been great, as long as you follow a few rules:</p> <h4>Do Your Research</h4> <p>Don&rsquo;t just join and start demanding questions because you want a quick fix. It will piss everyone off. Make sure you read any threads that are &ldquo;pinned&rdquo; to the top of a forum and search (you may have to register for this) thoroughly for your question, since it&rsquo;s probably been answered already.</p> <h4>Learn the Language</h4> <p>Know the words people use relative to the topic. If I went into a computer-building forum and asked how I can install the video thingy, people would dismiss me right away. Learn the vocab &mdash; it&rsquo;ll make the communication smoother. You should be able to pick all this up in the forum during the research phase &mdash; just make sure you get it before you start posting!</p> <h4>Say Please and Thank You</h4> <p>You should do this everywhere in life, but especially in forums. People are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-generous-on-a-budget">being generous</a> with their time and their knowledge, so thank them accordingly. It goes a long way.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve had great experiences with forums. <a href="http://forums.anandtech.com/">Anandtech</a> helped me figure out the hardware for my last desktop. <a href="http://forum.xda-developers.com/">XDA Developers</a> guided me through the process of rooting my phone. And the <a href="http://forum.byopvr.com/dvr/">Build Your Own PVR</a> forum has given me a wealth of information about how to build my own personal video recorder.</p> <p>Could I have figured all this out by researching the web? Sure, but there&rsquo;s nothing like several informed voices helping you out instead of just reading what one person thinks on a website. I highly recommend you try it out.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-new-skills-for-free-the-power-of-forums">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</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-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</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/quickly-removing-scratches-from-cds-and-dvds">Quickly Remove Scratches From CDs and DVDs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY General Tips forums how to learning a new skill Thu, 13 Oct 2011 09:48:13 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 738298 at http://www.wisebread.com