organization http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1600/all en-US Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps http://www.wisebread.com/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-540566958.jpg" alt="Woman organizing her life with smart apps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no doubt the phone in your pocket is a great time killer while in a crowded waiting room, but the truth is that smartphones are actually amazing little tools that can really improve your productivity &mdash; both personally and professionally. Here are eight tasks you can do on your phone, with the help of 17 apps, that will help you organize your life and even boost your savings account with almost no effort on your part. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Great Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a>)</p> <h2>Track Your To-Do List</h2> <p>Skip the Post Its, notepads, and notes scribbled on napkins. Take your pick of task management apps, depending on how simple or robust you'd like it. Some will integrate with your calendar while others can be shared with friends and family. Find the one that will keep you on task and ditch the pen and paper for good.</p> <h3>1. Wunderlist</h3> <p><a href="https://www.wunderlist.com/" target="_blank">Wunderlist</a> allows you to create to-do lists, set due dates and reminders, and even assign to-dos for others.</p> <h3>2. Todoist</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/todoist-todo-list-for-organizing-work-and-errands/id572688855?mt=8" target="_blank">Todoist</a> manages all of your projects &mdash; both personal and professional. You can also seamlessly manage all your tasks and events from any device.</p> <h3>3. Any.do</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/any-do-to-do-list-calendar-reminders-tasks/id497328576?mt=8" target="_blank">Any.do</a> lets you link your calendar and to-do lists, so you always know what's coming up. You can set reminders for both so you never lose track of deadlines again.</p> <h2>Log Your Time</h2> <p>Have you ever wondered how much time you waste every day on things like social media or TV? The first step to managing your time effectively is understanding how your time is currently being spent, and where it's being wasted. Use a time tracker app to determine where your time is going. Some apps will work in the background, automatically gathering data on where you spend your time, whereas others allow you to manually select activities.</p> <h3>4. Awesome Time Logger</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/awesome-time-logger-free/id663656917" target="_blank">Awesome Time Logger Free</a> features an intuitive interface that allows you to quickly track and log your time throughout the day and get custom reports that you can use to improve productivity.</p> <h3>5. My Hours</h3> <p><a href="https://myhours.com/#features" target="_blank">My Hours</a> works as a stop watch, tracking time you spend on each task. The app also allows you to assign billing to hours if you are a freelancer or contractor.</p> <h3>6. Toggl</h3> <p>While <a href="https://toggl.com/features" target="_blank">Toggl</a> is an ideal time tracker for teams, it's also great for individuals seeking an easy way to track time spent on tasks and bill accordingly.</p> <h2>Take Notes</h2> <p>There are few things more frustrating than needing to jot something down, and not having a pen and paper to do so. But luckily, this is 2017, and you no longer need traditional writing tools to record your thoughts. Note taking apps have moved way beyond just allowing you to type a few words on a file. Some allow you to create useful filing systems, set reminders, collaborate and share with others, and include everything from links to photos to screenshots.</p> <h3>7. Evernote</h3> <p><a href="https://evernote.com/" target="_blank">Evernote</a> lets you create full project to-do lists that can be shared across multiple platforms.</p> <h3>8. Google Keep</h3> <p><a href="https://keep.google.com/u/0/" target="_blank">Google Keep</a> allows you to take quick notes, add lists, photos, and voice memos to track your every thought. Seamless integration with Google Docs makes it easy to turn those quick notes into longer documents.</p> <h2>Organize Your Projects</h2> <p>You're busy. I'm busy. We're all endlessly busy. Sometimes we don't even know where to start, when to stop, and how much to do. Use time management apps that will allow you to schedule your tasks throughout your day.</p> <h3>9. Trello</h3> <p><a href="https://trello.com/platforms" target="_blank">The Trello</a>&nbsp;app helps you create &quot;boards&quot; for all the projects you're currently working on and lets you easily add notes, to-do lists, photos, videos, and even customized workflows for your projects.</p> <h3>10. Asana</h3> <p><a href="https://asana.com/" target="_blank">Asana</a> lets you track projects from start to finish, and easily chat with project collaborators as you go along.</p> <h2>Protect Your Passwords</h2> <p>In an era of cyber security breaches and identity thieves running amok with personal information, protecting passwords has become serious business. You want to make sure your passwords don't all match, are not easy to guess, and are updated frequently enough to protect yourself from data hacks. But you also need a way to remember or access all those secure passwords! There's an app for that.</p> <h3>11. Keeper</h3> <p><a href="https://keepersecurity.com/" target="_blank">Keeper</a>&nbsp;creates, organizes, and auto-fills strong passwords on your behalf for all your accounts.</p> <h3>12. LastPass</h3> <p><a href="https://www.lastpass.com/" target="_blank">LastPass</a> keeps all of your precious passwords in one safe space, and alerts you to any duplicate passwords that may put you at risk for being hacked.</p> <h2>Control Your Documents</h2> <p>Even after signing up for paperless delivery for all our accounts, we still can't escape the daily receipts, business cards, and other documents that we end up collecting on a daily basis. Use an app to quickly scan and file these away.</p> <h3>13. Shoeboxed</h3> <p><a href="https://www.shoeboxed.com/" target="_blank">Shoeboxed</a>&nbsp;lets you scan receipts and business cards, track mileage, and even send expense reports with receipt images attached.</p> <h2>Save Effortlessly</h2> <p>If you've made it a financial priority to build up your savings accounts in 2017, you know it can take time and due diligence to make it happen. Personal finance apps help you manage your money, pay your bills on time, and also effortlessly save money.</p> <h3>14. Acorns</h3> <p><a href="https://www.acorns.com/" target="_blank">Acorns</a> automatically funds your savings for you by rounding up your purchases and adding the change to your Acorns savings account. They'll even invest the &quot;change&quot; for you so you can potentially make much more than what your savings account is currently paying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What I Learned About Money After Using Acorns</a>)</p> <h3>15. Digit</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/digit-save-money-automatically-without-a-budget/id1011935076?mt=8" target="_blank">Digit</a> is the perfect savings sidekick. Once you link the app to your checking account, Digit analyzes your spending and sets aside small amounts of cash to save. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can a Robot Called Digit Really Help You Save More?</a>)</p> <h2>Schedule Appointments</h2> <p>Tired of having to open up your calendar each time a meeting request comes in via email or text? Integrate your emails and even your text messages with your favorite calendar app to see everything in one place.</p> <h3>16. Gyst</h3> <p>Quickly determine potential meeting dates with <a href="http://gystapp.com/" target="_blank">Gyst</a>, both with friends and business colleagues by linking your text messages and emails with your calendar.</p> <h3>17. Handle</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/handle-to-do-list-inbox-and-calendar-management/id766063605?mt=8" target="_blank">Handle</a> does just what it says and handles your life by linking your emails, to-do lists, and calendar, so you always know what's expected of you and where you need to be.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps">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/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</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-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</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/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</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-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Technology apps apps you need organization productivity smartphone apps tech news time management Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Kyle James 1901984 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Times in Life When Less Is More http://www.wisebread.com/18-times-in-life-when-less-is-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-times-in-life-when-less-is-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508377300.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For people immersed in our consumer culture, it may be hard to imagine, but more of something isn't always better. Surprisingly, even making more money may not be better. Studies show that the salary level for <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/nobel-prize-winners-figured-out-the-perfect-salary-for-happiness-2015-10" target="_blank">peak happiness is $75K</a>; people who make more than this are less happy. So having more money &mdash; and more of the stuff that money can buy &mdash; may not necessarily bring the joy you might expect.</p> <p>Which stuff are you better off having less of? Here are 18 times when living with less is the way to go.</p> <h2>1. Smaller House</h2> <p>A smaller home means smaller expenses. The initial purchase price of a smaller house is generally less than a larger one, property taxes are less, and your utility bills will be lower as well. Some people are even thriving in tiny houses with just 400 square feet or less of living space. How much space do you really need? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">McMansion to McCottage &mdash; Why Smaller Houses are Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>2. Smaller Car</h2> <p>Some people buy a car to haul cargo or transport a lot of passengers. But it seems like most vehicles carry only the driver most of the time. Smaller cars are cheaper to buy, especially compared with a big SUV or pickup truck. Plus, you'll save money on gas every day.</p> <h2>3. Smaller Portions</h2> <p>In the United States alone, <a href="http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts" target="_blank">30%&ndash;40% of our overall food supply</a> ends up getting tossed. Not only is this a huge waste of resources, but it's a huge waste of money, too. Reduce your contribution to these statistics with smaller, smarter food portions. Make a meal plan and grocery list before you do your shopping, and stick to the essentials. While you're at it, limit your portion sizes to save even more money and stick to a healthier diet.</p> <h2>4. Fewer Channels</h2> <p>In 2016, the average cost of a cable TV package reached a staggering <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/09/23/average-cable-tv-bill/" target="_blank">$103.10 per month</a>. You pay for all those TV channels, but do you really get that much viewing pleasure out of it? With fewer TV channels, your bill will be lower every month. Maybe you could cut the cord altogether, and instead find more time to do other things that are more enjoyable than watching TV.</p> <h2>5. Less Random Stuff</h2> <p>Everything you buy has to go somewhere, whether that means a spot on the shelf, or place in the garage or basement. Instead of spending your money accumulating clutter, why not see if you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter?ref=internal" target="_blank">get rid of some stuff</a> instead? Sell it online, have a garage sale, or donate to a good cause.</p> <h2>6. Fewer Books</h2> <p>Books are great, but ebooks are even better since they generally cost less and take up no physical space. You'll spend less money, and reduce clutter, by going digital for your favorite reads.</p> <h2>7. Smaller Yard</h2> <p>Lawn care in America is a <a href="http://theweek.com/articles/483762/blades-glory-americas-love-affair-lawns" target="_blank">$40 billion per year industry</a>. Buying a home with a large yard is a popular goal, but why? Are you really planning on spending that much time in it? Not only will a smaller yard save you time on all the mowing and upkeep, you'll save money on lawn care products, too. Even if you already have a large yard, you can cut back on maintenance by landscaping to reduce the amount of grass you have. This will give you some of the benefits of a smaller yard without moving.</p> <h2>8. Less Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>Let's face it: Most exercise equipment costs a small fortune, gets used a few times (if at all!), and then just takes up space for years. Instead, find a physical activity that you enjoy that doesn't require any clunky, expensive equipment. Maybe you can take up running outside, or check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap?ref=internal" target="_blank">free workout videos</a> online.</p> <h2>9. Fewer Gadgets<strong> </strong></h2> <p>So many gadgets were rendered obsolete with the rise of the smartphone. If you're still hanging on to items like small digital cameras, GPS devices, alarm clocks, calculators, and MP3 players, then it's time to let go. That little device in your pocket can do it all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</a>)</p> <h2>10. Less Jewelry</h2> <p>Jewelry is a luxury, and the expense can really add up. How often do you actually wear it? You'll also need somewhere safe to keep it, and possibly insurance to protect it from loss or theft.</p> <h2>11. Fewer Vehicles</h2> <p>If you can get rid of an &quot;extra&quot; vehicle in your household, you can save space, maintenance expenses, and insurance costs. Vehicles almost always depreciate in value, so there is no advantage in owning more than you really need. Carpooling and ride-sharing are a great way to get around without driving yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Points to Consider When Becoming a One-Car Family</a>)</p> <h2>12. Less Facebook</h2> <p>On your Facebook feed, you can read all about the expensive new stuff your friends are buying, or check out photos from your relative's latest lavish vacation. Social media has brought keeping up with the Joneses to the digital realm, and it can feel inescapable. It's no wonder studies have shown that more time on Facebook leaves people feeling <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2013/08/19/213568763/researchers-facebook-makes-us-sadder-and-less-satisfied" target="_blank">sad and unfulfilled</a>. There's a simple cure for too much Facebook &mdash; less Facebook.</p> <h2>13. Less Driving</h2> <p>No one enjoys a long commute. Not only do you have to pay for all those extra miles you're driving, but people are <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/02/18/171926131/how-to-thrive-short-commutes-more-happy-hours" target="_blank">often less happy</a> when they have those long drives to dread. If moving closer to work to reduce your commute is not practical, try to reduce your driving in other ways. Some employers allow workers to work longer days and take an extra day off, or even work from home a few days per week. If you're going out on errands, combine multiple stops on the same trip.</p> <h2>14. Fewer Clothes</h2> <p>With fewer clothes packed into your dresser and closet, it is much easier to find something to wear. Why not sell or donate what you no longer need? If you're having trouble deciding what clothing to get rid of, start with items that require expensive dry cleaning, clothes you haven't worn in over six months, and items that no longer fit. You might be surprised by how much this alone can get rid of. From there, build an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=internal" target="_blank">affordable capsule wardrobe</a> with timeless pieces that will last you for years.</p> <h2>15. Fewer Cleaning Products</h2> <p>Somehow, I ended up with many bottles of different cleaning products under my kitchen sink and in my closet. I even have a box filled with various floor cleaning chemicals that I am trying to figure out where to store. I think I spend more time sorting, storing, and searching through my excessive supply of cleaning products than I do using them! If you have a surplus of soaps, sprays, and other cleaning supplies, stop buying them! Seek out simple, multiuse cleaners that do the same job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-household-products-vinegar-can-replace?ref=seealso" target="_blank">30 Household Products Vinegar Can Replace</a>)</p> <h2>16. Fewer Toys</h2> <p>When my kids were younger, we would often pick up cheap plastic toys in fast food meals or as small gifts for them from a shopping trip. These toys would get played with once or twice, never get touched again, and then create clutter to the point where it was hard to find anything in the toy room. Yes, we actually ended up with an entire room filled with toys! My advice: Less is more when it comes to toys.</p> <h2>17. Less Stuff in Your Coffee</h2> <p>Do you take your coffee with cream and sugar? If you're loading your morning cup of joe up with sweeteners, maybe you can try cutting back. It is so much cheaper to just drink black coffee. Plus, black coffee has no added calories or fat. And you can actually taste the coffee!</p> <h2>18. Less Stuff on Your Desk</h2> <p>There are all kinds of office supplies and organizers you can buy and put on your desk. They may give the illusion of productivity, but in reality, they're just getting in your way. I have found that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-maximize-desk-space?ref=internal" target="_blank">the less stuff I have on my desk</a>, the more productive I am.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-times-in-life-when-less-is-more">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/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor">8 Ways Clutter Keeps You Poor</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in a Year</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living clutter cutting back downsizing less is more minimalism organization saving money Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:00:19 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1894901 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Smart Ways to Maximize Desk Space http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-maximize-desk-space <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-smart-ways-to-maximize-desk-space" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shared_desk_space_491380930.jpg" alt="Team learning how to maximize desk space" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years ago, I had a large office with a big desk at work and my home office was a 500 square foot unfinished basement with six tables set up to make a very large desk area. Fast forward to today, and my workspace has been reduced to a small cubicle at work and no desk space at home. Yet I am more productive than ever. How did I increase my productivity after losing almost all of my desk space?</p> <p>For one thing, I wasn't getting much value from my copious amount of desk space. I used my work surfaces mostly to store stacks of papers and research materials I was saving and various office equipment and supplies. It was sometimes handy to have most of my stuff out where I could see it, but the chaos of this arrangement outweighed any real productivity benefits. With all of the stuff piled around on my desk space, I effectively had a small desk anyway!</p> <p>Having precious little desk space has forced me to stay highly organized. Instead of setting things aside to sort or file later, I take control of potential clutter before it takes control of my desk. When I am ready to work on something, I can quickly find the needed items and get only these things out to work on. It is easier to focus on the task at hand without so much unfinished business staring me in the face from all corners of my desk.</p> <p>Here are some smart ways to maximize your minimal desk space.</p> <h2>1. Go Full Digital</h2> <p>One of the big improvements I made to help me stay productive with little desk space is moving from analog to digital. In the old days, I had literally hundreds of pounds of paper documents in file cabinets and piled on my desk. I also had lots of notebooks with handwritten notes. The problem with analog stuff is that it takes a lot of effort to keep files organized and find the right material when you need it. I realized that my paper records were basically useless since I couldn't find anything and it wasn't worth the huge effort to organize the old papers.</p> <p>Now I keep all of my documents, research articles, and photos in digital form on my computer. I use paper documents only occasionally when I want to take notes while I am working on something. Then I scan in or type up my notes and then recycle the papers. I can search my digital files by keyword and date, and the digital files take up no room at all. If you store your data on the cloud, you can have access to all of your digital files from anywhere &mdash; home, work, or on the road.</p> <h2>2. Get Rid of Stuff</h2> <p>Are you really going to look at that stack of old magazines or papers again? Do you think you will ever use your zip drive again? At some point, it's time to just get rid of stuff you don't need and get your desk space back.</p> <h2>3. Add a Clean Desk Policy</h2> <p>I clear my desk at the end of every single day. When I had a large chaotic desk, this would have been unimaginable. In those days, I liked the idea of having papers, articles, and notes stacked around on my desk. I thought it gave the impression that I was busy and working on important things.</p> <p>Then one day, I had a meeting with a very successful colleague in his office. His desk was totally clear except for a couple of framed photos and the paper that we were meeting to discuss. He didn't feel the need to leave stacks of papers and things around to impress people. I could tell that he impressed people by focusing and getting things done. His highly organized desk impressed me, and I decided to make a change.</p> <p>Now I only get things out as I need them and put everything away at the end of the day. I keep my papers and other materials organized so I can easily find what I need when it is time to get materials out again to work on them. A small desk space seems a lot bigger when you keep it cleared.</p> <h2>4. Look Out Below</h2> <p>Even though my desk space is not very large, there is an equal amount of floor space under the desk. Most people underutilize this valuable storage space. It's actually a handy place to keep things close, yet out of the way. Use the forgotten under-the-desk space to get things off your desk so you can use all of your desk space productively as a work surface.</p> <h2>5. Send Stuff to Storage</h2> <p>During my recent office move, I sent a lot of equipment and materials out of my office to be stored somewhere else. I made a spreadsheet of all of the items that I moved out and noted where I stored them. Take a few minutes to label what's inside your storage boxes and label items with your name to make them easier to get back if you need them again. Store stuff that you rarely use away from your office to give yourself more desk space and boost your productivity.</p> <h2>6. Shrink Down</h2> <p>Use smaller equipment such as a laptop or tablet that you can easily move or put away to maximize availability of your desk space as a work surface. Get rid of equipment you don't need, such as a personal printer if there is an alternative you can use on the network.</p> <h2>7. Incorporate an Ergonomic Arrangement</h2> <p>Arrange the items on your desk based on how much time you spend using them. For most people, the highest priority should be to arrange your chair and computer in the best possible location at your desk since this is where most of your time is spent. Next, find a convenient space for the phone and reserve some clear desk space to read papers and take notes while you are working. I set up a desk light over the space where I read papers, which makes reading easier and makes my office seem larger.</p> <h2>8. Create Some Cord Control</h2> <p>Don't let out-of-control cables, power cords, and power supply bricks eat up your valuable desk space. Route cables behind equipment and under the desk to keep them off your desk space, and use cable ties to keep cables where you want them. You might even benefit by getting rid of some cords altogether &mdash; get an inexpensive cordless keyboard and mouse to get rid of a couple cords and gain some flexibility in how you can work at your desk.</p> <h2>9. File It Down</h2> <p>If you need to keep paper documents, thin them down to keep only the ones you really need. Then organize these important papers so you can easily find them later. Divide up your papers into piles by category, write the category names on file folders, and put them into a file cabinet instead of on your desk. Those papers that are cluttering up your desk should easily fit into only a few inches of file cabinet space in hanging files.</p> <h2>10. Reuse, Recycle</h2> <p>Use recycled items for handy organizers and storage:</p> <ul> <li>Plastic food containers can store office supplies and miscellaneous hardware.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shoeboxes make great storage containers for larger office supplies and project materials. If you don't like using cardboard shoe boxes, you can get inexpensive clear plastic boxes so you can see what is inside.</li> </ul> <p>Group related materials together in storage containers to make kits that you can store in a drawer or under your desk and get out when you are working on a certain type of project on your desk surface.</p> <h2>11. Set up a Remote Desktop</h2> <p>Set yourself up to take your computer and files with you and work productively away from your desk &mdash; at a coffee shop or in a conference room, for example. There are advantages to not being tied down to working at your desk. By being mobile, you can give yourself a bigger desk whenever you have a task that requires a lot of desk space, or if you just want to work at a big desk.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-maximize-desk-space">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-radical-implosion-can-help-you-get-ahead-at-work-and-everywhere-else">How &quot;Radical Implosion&quot; Can Help You Get Ahead at Work — and Everywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-ease-into-a-day-job-after-freelancing">5 Ways to Ease Into a Day Job After Freelancing</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/find-work-worth-doing">Find work worth doing</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/a-denim-expert-reveals-why-you-only-need-3-pairs-of-jeans">A Denim Expert Reveals Why You Only Need 3 Pairs of Jeans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Organization career cleaning hacks desk desk space life hacks Office Space organization work habits Tue, 10 Jan 2017 10:30:39 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1871079 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017 http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_clothes_closet_585786834.jpg" alt="Woman organizing her whole life in 2017" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are tons of resolutions you could focus on in the new year. You can get healthier, get in better shape, and focus on your career goals. But none of those goals are truly attainable if your living space is cluttered with stuff you don't want or need. The first step to accomplishing any goal is getting organized. So why not start there? Here are 51 ways to organize your life in 2017.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_68476985_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-ways-to-organize-old-photos?ref=fbf" target="_blank">12 Smart Ways to Organize Old Photos</a> &mdash; We all have stacks of old photos somewhere. And until you sit down and decide what to do with them, that increasingly dusty stack will remain on your to-do list. Do it now! These tips are super helpful.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-organize-a-messy-closet?ref=fbf" target="_blank">14 Ways to Organize a Messy Closet</a> &mdash; I have deep respect for anyone who constantly maintains a clean closet, because&hellip; how? But that feeling of pulling out the stuff you no longer wear is such a wonderful form of freedom. Do not underestimate it.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/organized-woman-home-490848943-small.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organized-people-have-these-5-things-in-their-homes-do-you?ref=fbf" target="_blank">Organized People Have These 5 Things in Their Homes &mdash; Do You?</a> &mdash; In order to become successful at organization, you might as well learn from the pros, right? And these five items can be found in every pro-organizer's home. Are they in yours?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized?ref=fbf" target="_blank">8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized</a> &mdash; You can't accomplish any of your goals &mdash; organization-related or otherwise &mdash; if your entire day is packed with familial responsibilities. Get everyone else's schedules down on paper and then you'll have a much easier time organizing yours.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_writing_paperwork_000077386871.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-10-minutes-a-week?ref=fbf" target="_blank">How to Organize Your Paperwork in Just 10 Minutes a Week</a> &mdash; Even in the digital age, paperwork can easily pile up. And nobody wants to tackle that stack after a month of putting it off. If you do this each week, for only 10 minutes, your desk will always look clutter-free.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-a-mindfulness-journal-can-fix-your-life?ref=fbf" target="_blank">7 Ways a Mindfulness Journal Can Fix Your Life</a> &mdash; For some people, getting organized starts with the right mindset. When you start using a mindfulness journal, you become so much more aware of your moods, thoughts, and priorities. Then you have more room to live a happier life. Give it a go!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">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/flashback-friday-76-new-years-resolutions-thatll-make-2017-your-year">Flashback Friday: 76 New Year&#039;s Resolutions That&#039;ll Make 2017 Your 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/flashback-friday-87-frugal-ways-to-make-winter-less-miserable">Flashback Friday: 87 Frugal Ways to Make Winter Less Miserable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-45-life-lessons-youd-give-to-your-younger-self">Flashback Friday: 45 Life Lessons You&#039;d Give to Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks Organization fbf flashback friday frugal living frugal living goals goals money New Year's new year's resolutions organization Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:30:31 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1869315 at http://www.wisebread.com You're Missing Out on These 5 Easy Fixes for FOMO http://www.wisebread.com/youre-missing-out-on-these-5-easy-fixes-for-fomo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youre-missing-out-on-these-5-easy-fixes-for-fomo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-584791208.jpg" alt="beat fomo for good" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Before I wised up and turned off the notifications, the Facebook app on my phone used to ping every time someone liked or responded to one of my posts. I generally charge my smartphone on the other side of my office while I work, but the sudden and unexpected <em>ping</em> of a Facebook notification would prompt me to get up, walk across the room, and discover that my mother had liked a photo of my kids that I had posted. This was not exactly a model of efficiency in terms of getting work done.</p> <p>Trying to ignore those pings was even worse, though. After hearing one go off, I would sit at my desk, trying to focus on my work but agonizing over what I might be missing on Facebook. Yes, it might be a family member liking a picture of my kids. But&hellip; what if it were Stephen King commenting on my pithy (and oh-so-timely) post about <em>The Shining</em> and offering me a chance to collaborate on a novel together? How could I work while fearing that I might be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime?</p> <p>My experience is hardly unique. In fact, according to a study by JWT, out of 900 Millennials in China surveyed, 72% of them said they <a href="https://www.jwtintelligence.com/2012/05/data-point-our-unhappy-addiction-to-social-media/" target="_blank">experience some form of FOMO</a>. We're suffering from the nagging social anxiety that we might miss out on something more awesome that what we are already doing &mdash; and social media just fans the flames of our FOMO.</p> <p>The problem is that our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-letting-fomo-ruin-your-finances">fear of missing out</a> keeps us from being present in our own lives. We bring phones to the dinner table rather than talk to our significant others, we waste time at work rather than commit to our careers, and we abandon last month's hobbies and projects in favor of new fads that will in turn be abandoned next month.</p> <p>Ultimately, living with a heightened sense of FOMO is a good way to make yourself crazy, lonely, broke, and overwhelmed.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are steps you can take to cure your FOMO without cutting yourself off from the world. Here are five ways to overcome FOMO for good.</p> <h2>1. Set Hard Limits on Your Social Media Use</h2> <p>The problem with social media is that it's always available, which means you can indulge your FOMO by checking in 24/7. So it's up to you to set hard limits on your social media use. Specifically, download a blocker that keeps you from checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other site that you check over and over again due to FOMO. Blockers like <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stayfocusd/laankejkbhbdhmipfmgcngdelahlfoji?hl=en" target="_blank">StayFocused</a> give you a specific number of minutes per day that you may surf the verboten sites, at which point you will not be able to access those sites again until the next day.</p> <p>This kind of hard limit will not only help you to better focus when you are trying to work or study, but the shortened amount of time you can visit the sites puts a major wrench in any sense of envy you might feel while browsing your friends' postings. If you know you have 15 minutes of Facebook time all day, you're much less likely to spend 10 of them sighing over the pictures of your cousin's roommate's trip to New York City.</p> <h2>2. Include the Boring in Your Mental Images of Other People</h2> <p>We have a tendency to forget that other people's lives are just as full of boring, frustrating, and tedious details as our own. When we look at the beautiful images of the sun rising over Tuscany posted by a friend of a friend, we envy the Italian vacation, and forget about the long slog she had saving up for the trip, the hour she spent in line at the post office getting her passport updated, and the terrible air sickness she suffered on the plane trip there.</p> <p>The best way to deal with the disconnect between the boring parts of our lives and the exciting parts of other people's lives is to remember that everyone has boring moments. No matter how exciting a person's life is, they will have to spend a portion of it washing the dishes, filing taxes, and waiting in lines. Just as nervous public speakers are told to imagine their audience in their underwear, FOMO sufferers should imagine that the objects of their envy are stuck in line somewhere. It will remind you that no wondrous moment ever came about without a lot of boring moments beforehand.</p> <h2>3. Cultivate Mindfulness</h2> <p>Mindfulness is the practice of being present in our lives and providing ourselves with non-judgmental awareness of our experiences as we experience them. Cultivating mindfulness is a sure antidote to FOMO, because once you are fully aware of what and how you feel, you have a better sense of what makes you feel good, and you are much less tempted to chase after opportunities that don't promise happiness.</p> <p>Meditation is a common way to practice mindfulness, but you can choose any number of methods for being more present in your life. In particular, paying closer attention to your body during meals is an excellent way to learn mindfulness and practice healthy eating habits at the same time. Listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues, take the time to truly taste and savor your food, and take in all of the sensory input of your meal. Starting your mindfulness practice with food can help you learn to be more present in every part of your life.</p> <h2>4. Make <em>No</em> Your Default Answer</h2> <p>Self-help gurus may often tout the importance of saying <em>yes</em> to life, but there's a limit to the amount of things any one person can do. If you suffer from consistent FOMO and waffle on decisions, then it's a good idea to start getting in the habit of making <em>no</em> your default. This way, if you say no to an opportunity but keep thinking about it, you'll know that it's one you truly don't want to miss out on. Making no your default answer allows you to get in touch with what you really want to do, rather than continuing to chase every opportunity you see.</p> <h2>5. Take Time to Be Grateful</h2> <p>At its heart, FOMO is the sense that there is something better out there than what you already have. But what you already have is pretty darn wonderful, if you take the time to appreciate it.</p> <p>According to Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, regularly expressing gratitude for the things in your life can help you feel more optimistic and happier. The increase happiness you feel at recognizing the bounty in your life will make you less susceptible to FOMO, since you know no vacation, gadget, party, or relationship can greatly improve on a life that's already full. Emmons recommends keeping a gratitude journal, in which you regularly record the things for which you are grateful. This could not only help improve your mood, but such journals have also been shown to improve your physical and social well-being, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-a-mindfulness-journal-can-fix-your-life?ref=seealso">7 Ways Mindfulness Journal Can Fix Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>The End of FOMO</h2> <p>There will always be something out there that you are missing out on. But creating a satisfying life free from FOMO is possible. You just need to be willing to live mindfully and actively enjoy what you already have.</p> <p>It also doesn't hurt to turn off those Facebook notifications.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-missing-out-on-these-5-easy-fixes-for-fomo">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/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-letting-fomo-ruin-your-finances">Are You Letting FOMO Ruin Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</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-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Organization budgeting fear of missing out FOMO frugal living organization Spending Money Tue, 20 Dec 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1858108 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Frugal Gifts Your Future Self Will Love http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_57901564_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="frugal gifts you&#039;ll love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of things I wish my younger self would have done for the benefit of my present self. As I look forward to what my future self will want, here are some gifts that I can work to deliver starting today (and you can, too!).</p> <h2>1. Money in the Bank</h2> <p>Occasionally when I put on a coat or jacket that have not worn for a long time, I find some cash in the pocket &mdash; a gift from the past! My younger self even left some money in a savings account which my current self greatly appreciates.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Put $50 per week in a savings account and you'll save $26,000 per decade for your future self to enjoy.</p> <h2>2. Freedom</h2> <p>A great gift to your future self would be a chance at early retirement. Depending on how your investments perform and how much you plan to spend in retirement, if you increase the funding level for retirement investments from 10% of income to 20% during your career, your future self <a href="http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/">could retire more than 10 years earlier</a>!</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Sign up for automatic deposits to your retirement fund to save your current self from having to remember to transfer funds. Choose an investment fund with low fees and contribute as much as you can to set your future self free as early as possible.</p> <h2>3. Less Debt</h2> <p>My younger self often thought it was okay to spend a lot of money since my future self would earn more income and could easily pay the bills. This logic made sense to me at the time, but my current self is not very happy with this strategy.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift: </strong>Start paying down debts today. Pay off your highest interest rate debts first to eliminate debt as quickly as possible. Cut expenses and apply the savings toward paying down debts faster.</p> <h2>4. Higher Education</h2> <p>Make life as easy as possible for your future self by setting up a convenient source of income. This could be a cushy or interesting career, running a profitable business, or creating passive income opportunities. It takes time and effort to establish a good source of income, so start today!</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Complete school or training now to advance your career earning opportunities instead of waiting for your future self to do it. If growing a business is your game plan, don't wait to get started. Take on the hard work now so your future self can enjoy the benefits.</p> <h2>5. Active Lifestyle</h2> <p>Get into fitness activities that will keep you fit for life, and provide interesting recreational opportunities. I look forward to exploring new bike trails and recently went on some awesome half-day bike adventures. I like hiking and walking, too, and enjoy exploring both urban and rural areas.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> For me, a quality bicycle was a good gift to my future self. It will last for years and provide many hours of entertainment, exercise, and free transportation. If it will keep you active, a health club membership, sporting equipment, or a workout program can be a good gift that will benefit you for the rest of your life.</p> <h2>6. Creative Outlets</h2> <p>Your future self will want to look back and see what you've done with your life. Create a body of work that you can look back on by creating things that will last. I am sending my future self some completed home improvement projects to look back on with pride. I have also published a few books and hundreds of personal finance articles and blog posts that will be around for a long time. Other lasting creations include publishing some scientific journal articles and obtaining patents.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Find opportunities to create things that last for your future self to be proud of.</p> <h2>7. Hobbies</h2> <p>Put in the hard work now to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">acquire skills</a> that your future self will find useful and entertaining. Here are some possibilities:</p> <ul> <li>Sewing</li> <li>Woodworking</li> <li>Electrical wiring</li> <li>Plumbing</li> <li>Computer programming</li> <li>Foreign language</li> <li>Winemaking</li> <li>Automotive maintenance/repair</li> <li>Gardening</li> </ul> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Choose a skill that would be useful to acquire and put in the time and effort now to gain the skill so your future self can easily use it.</p> <h2>8. A Stronger Brain</h2> <p>Keep your brain sharp for your future self. Because if you don't use it, you'll lose it!. Exercise your short term memory, learning, and analytical thinking skills as much as possible.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Keep reading, learning, and finding new interests every day. Use brain games such as <a href="https://www.lumosity.com/">Lumosity</a> to exercise your brain and stay sharp.</p> <h2>9. Organized Tools and Paperwork</h2> <p>The other day, I needed a cold work chisel that I had not used in 20 years, but I knew exactly where to find it. Years ago, my wife helped me set up an organizational scheme for my tools, and they have stayed organized ever since. Organize your tools, financial documents, bills, budget, and closet to make life easy for your future self.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Choose something and get it totally organized today. Once an organizational scheme and habit are established, it takes little effort to keep things organized for your future self to enjoy.</p> <h2>10. A Shorter Commute</h2> <p>Move closer to work, school, shopping, etc. to reduce your commute &mdash; and expenses. I moved about 10 minutes closer to work and it makes a noticeable difference to the amount of free time that I have. I spend less on gas as well.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> Moving to a different home is hard, but can be worth the trouble if you can reduce your expenses and/or reduce your commute every day for your future self.</p> <h2>11. Memories Captured</h2> <p>Take lots of pictures! No one wishes they had fewer photos from the good old days. Photos with loved ones are best, but photos of scenes from everyday life are interesting, too. It is amazing how many memories even a single photo from a normal day can bring back. What seems mundane to your current self may be fascinating for your future self to remember.</p> <p><strong>Give the gift:</strong> A nice digital camera can be a good gift to your future self. Use a memory stick or cloud storage to keep a backup copy of all of your digital photos somewhere safe.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-frugal-gifts-your-future-self-will-love">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/can-you-spare-a-square-5-quick-tips-on-toilet-paper-usage">&quot;Can you spare a square?&quot; 5 quick tips on toilet paper usage.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</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/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift 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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping active lifestyle emergency fund frugal gifts future self health and fitness organization Mon, 10 Oct 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1808274 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Everyday Money Tasks You've Been Doing Wrong http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_blindfold_cash_89353583.jpg" alt="Man learning money tasks he&#039;s been doing wrong" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You handle a lot of routine money tasks, and like most people, you probably haven't thought much about that routine. But these &quot;routine&quot; tasks are repeated over and over and can result in a lot of wasted money if not done efficiently. Here are some everyday money tasks that might be tripping you up:</p> <h2>1. You Pay Your Bills Before You Pay You</h2> <p>What's wrong with paying your bills first? If you pay your bills first, you only get to keep whatever is left for yourself &mdash; which may be little or nothing. If <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-yourself-first-what-it-means-and-how-to-do-it">you pay yourself first</a>, you can ensure that you save and invest enough meet your goals, and then pay everyone else. What's the difference? First of all, putting money in savings first means it's a priority, and that's a powerful reminder that you are in control of your financial destiny. Second, leaving the money that doesn't go toward bills in easily accessible accounts let's you feel as if you have &quot;extra&quot; funds in your budget to spend on small purchases. When you save it first, you don't see it, so you won't spend it. Out of sight, out of mind works for saving instead of spending, too.</p> <h2>2. You Are a Rebel Without a List</h2> <p>If you go shopping without a list, you are likely to forget to buy things you need, and you're also likely to buy things you <em>don't</em> need based on what is on sale or what looks good at the time. A shopping list is especially helpful for groceries so you can buy all of the ingredients for meals you plan to make during the week. Using a list saves extra trips to the store, or dining out when you find you don't have anything to eat at home.</p> <h2>3. You Check Your Balance to See if You Can &quot;Afford&quot; Something</h2> <p>Checking to see how much money you have in your checking account &mdash; or even worse, your available credit card balance &mdash; to see if you can afford to buy something is a recipe for disaster. You are almost certain to spend more than you can really afford. Using a budget to plan expenses is the right way to see if you can afford something. If you can't afford something right now, you can set up a budget to allow you to save up.</p> <h2>4. You Do the Minimum</h2> <p>Making minimum payments on credit cards and other loans is expensive. You will end up paying a lot of interest that provides no benefit to you. For example, making minimum payments on a $3,000 credit card debt could take you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">16 years to pay off</a> and cost over $3,600 in interest alone! Paying more than the minimum will allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">wipe out credit card debt</a> much faster and save you lots of money on interest that you can use to get ahead.</p> <h2>5. You Self Medicate With Retail Therapy</h2> <p>Some people go shopping as a fun activity or to help deal with depression or stress. &quot;Retail therapy&quot; is a very expensive way to achieve a short-term impact. Plus buying things you don't really need wastes the resources it took to manufacture and distribute the items, and the items take up space in your house. There are lots of constructive activities that are less expensive and avoid the problems that come with recreational shopping.</p> <h2>6. You Are Stuck With Checks</h2> <p>Writing checks is an inefficient way to pay for things. It takes time to write out a check, and you can make mistakes such as making it out to the wrong payee, misdating the check, or writing illegibly and having it rejected. Plus, you have to manually balance your checking account to keep track of checks you have written but have not yet cleared. Instead, use autoplay, electronic payments, and credit cards to make payments whenever possible.</p> <p>When I receive a check as payment, I use an electronic banking app on my phone to take a photograph of the check and deposit it instantly. This eliminates the possibility of losing the check and I avoid making a special trip to the bank.</p> <h2>7. You Don't Use Coupons Right</h2> <p>Some people think coupons are too much work and don't bother to use them at all. I take a low-impact approach to get the most benefit from coupons with the least time and effort. I hang on to coupons that will work on things I buy anyway. Coupons only work if you have them with you when you go shopping, so I put the good coupons in my wallet or in a small organizer that I keep in my car. You can get more impact from coupons by stacking them &mdash; use both a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon on the same item to save even more.</p> <h2>8. You Are Overpaying</h2> <p>Lots of people overpay for things they buy every day. Buying snacks and drinks at a convenience store or vending machine is likely to be about twice as expensive as buying the same items at a grocery store. Buying coffee at a coffee shop instead of brewing it yourself costs about three times as much. With a little planning and effort, you can have the same items for much less money.</p> <h2>9. You Don't Match</h2> <p>I get this comment about my clothes a lot, but in this case I am talking about 401K matching funds. Many employers offer matching retirement investment funds. This means that for every dollar you put in, your employer will put in a dollar for free. If you are not getting the maximum company match, you are leaving free money on the table every payday.</p> <h2>10. You Aren't Bargaining Hard</h2> <p>There are a lot of situations where a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-negotiating-skills-everyone-should-master">little bit of bargaining</a> can go a long way. When purchasing vehicles or used items, there is often a lot of room to bring the price down if you are willing to risk having your offer rejected. Sometimes even prices at retail stores be negotiated&mdash; I have talked my way into using expired coupons or getting an additional discount if there is something that looks wrong with an item I am interested in. I have also taken items back to get a price adjustment after an item has gone on sale.</p> <h2>11. You Buy Stuff You Want</h2> <p>I guess buying stuff you want is better than buying stuff you don't want, but you should really focus on buying stuff you need. There are lots of things I have wanted to buy but avoided. For example, in recent years I really wanted to buy a recumbent bike, a new computer, and a stool for my wood shop. I decided to ride my old bike, keep using my old computer, and I found a free stool for my shop. These were all things I wanted but didn't need, and I saved a lot of money by not buying stuff I wanted.</p> <h2>12. You Are Buying Your Broker a Big Yacht</h2> <p>You may not realize that you are paying your stockbroker or investment company every day to manage your retirement funds and other investments. Over the years, the difference between a 1% annual fee for an actively managed fund vs. a 0.1% annual fee for an index fund adds up to a lot of money. Check the fees you are paying on your investment accounts and move to less expensive options that have significantly lower fees.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-everyday-money-tasks-youve-been-doing-wrong">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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</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-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-convince-a-store-clerk-to-give-you-a-deal">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</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/4-coupon-rules-that-stores-let-you-break">4 Coupon Rules That Stores Let You Break</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/double-coupons-they-could-cost-you">Double Coupons – They Could Cost You!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Shopping checks coupons fees minimum payments negotiating organization overspending paying bills saving money shopping list Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1796738 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Budgeting for People Who Hate Math http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_budgeting_math_98602015.jpg" alt="Woman doing easy budgeting for people who hate math" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, budgeting is challenging not because of its tediousness, but because of the math. Numbers make them cringe. If that's you, here's how to get past your dislike of digits and get in the budgeting game.</p> <h2>Make Peace With the Process</h2> <p>Budgets get a bad rap. People who don't use one tend to hate the very idea of a budget. It sounds so constraining. It feels like so much work.</p> <p>But people who use a budget say it's actually freeing. There's peace of mind that comes from knowing where their money's going. That knowledge gives them the power to make proactive decisions about how to best use their money.</p> <p>That perspective can be really powerful. While this article will minimize the math involved in using a budget, some will be required. What'll take the edge off is accepting, at least on faith, that using a budget will be beneficial to you.</p> <h2>Get the Math Part Over With as Quickly as Possible</h2> <p>Planning is the first of three essential steps involved in using a budget. That means deciding how much you're going to divvy up your dough &mdash; how much to save, invest, and spend on everything from gifts to groceries.</p> <p>This is usually the most math-heavy part of the process. But there are plenty of guides available, including the free downloadable <a href="http://www.mattaboutmoney.com/resources/">Recommended Cash Flow Guidelines</a> I created, which shows how much you could allocate to the most common categories based on household size and income.</p> <p>Download the Excel version of the Cash Flow Plan as well and enter the recommended amounts from the Cash Flow Guidelines as a starting point. Then customize your cash flow plan based on your priorities. You may value vacations more highly than buying new clothing, so adjust accordingly, making sure that in the bottom right corner, outgo equals income.</p> <p>At very least, the guidelines will help you avoid having to start from scratch, crunching lots of numbers to figure out how much to allocate to this or that.</p> <h2>Choose the Tracking Tool That Works for You</h2> <p>The second of the three essential steps involved in using a budget is tracking where your money is actually going. This can be tedious, and is often where first-time budgeters bail. Keep in mind, this is not a one-size-fits-all process. There are a variety of tools you could use. The best is the one you <em>actually will use</em>.</p> <p>Among the many options available, two are especially well-suited to those who don't like math. First, there's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">the envelope system</a>. With this approach, you'll write checks or use electronic bill-pay for expenses such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, and insurance. For discretionary expenses, where spending can vary and you have to be more intentional about managing your spending, you'll use envelopes &mdash; one for each category such as groceries, entertainment, and clothing.</p> <p>If you get paid once a month and your monthly clothing budget is $100, you'll put $100 cash in an envelope marked &quot;clothing.&quot; You'll take the envelope with you when you go clothes shopping, make your purchase with money from the envelope, and put any change back in the envelope. If you're paid twice a month, you'll put $50 in the &quot;clothing&quot; envelope each time you're paid.</p> <p>The envelope system requires very little math. At a glance, you can see how much money you have left to spend until the next payday.</p> <p>Second, there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-or-almost-tools-and-resources-for-creating-a-new-2015-budget?ref=internal">online budgeting tools</a>. The beauty of online tools, such as Mint.com, is that they do much of the math for you. Your job is to enter your budgeted amounts for each category and then link your checking and credit card accounts. Your online tool of choice will then automatically capture your spending (you only need to manually enter cash transactions) and show you how your spending in each category compares with your budgeted amounts. With just a few quick clicks, you can see how you're doing this month, this year, or other time frames, and the information is available to you anywhere you can get online.</p> <h2>Review, Revise, and Repeat</h2> <p>The third of the three essential steps involved in using a budget is reviewing how you're doing. If your groceries envelope became empty two-thirds of the way through the month, or if the groceries category in your online budget tool showed the same, you either need to allocate more for groceries or get more proactive about how well you're stretching your grocery budget.</p> <p>Getting the allocations right may take a few months, but it doesn't require much math. You just need to shift dollars from categories where you have money left over each month to those where you need more.</p> <p>Don't let your dislike of math hold you back from using one of the most powerful tools available for wise money management &mdash; a budget. The envelope system is a simple way to proactively plan and manage your spending with no number crunching required. Online tools bring a lot of sophistication to the process, while doing most of the math-related heavy lifting for you.</p> <p><em>How do you budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math">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/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others</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/money-management-in-5-minutes-a-day">Money Management in 5 Minutes a Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have">5 Good Money Management Habits You Already Have</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bad at math crunching numbers Envelope system mint money management numbers organization tracking Tue, 06 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Matt Bell 1785279 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Reuse Clothes That No Longer Fit http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_30762826_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="repurposing clothes that no longer fit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recent Marie Kondo-inspired purge of my closet revealed the awful truth that I hadn't wanted to admit to myself: I own a lot of clothes that do not fit me.</p> <p>These ill-fitting clothes found their way into my closet and dresser through a variety of paths. There are the wishful thinking clothes that I'm sure I'll be able to fit back into once I get down to my pre-pregnancy weight (even though the &quot;babies&quot; are currently five and two years old). There are the gifts I received that never quite fit, but I felt guilty disposing of. And then there are the &quot;insurance&quot; clothes that are too big but I hold onto just in case.</p> <p>It's time to get rid of these clothes that are doing nothing more than making my closet look like it's about to pop. Rather than trash or donate my old duds, though, I'm going to reuse them. Here are seven clever ways you can reuse old clothes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-clothes?ref=seealso">The High Cost of Cheap Clothes</a>)</p> <h2>1. The T-Shirt Quilt</h2> <p>If you have a vast collection of concert, vacation, or superhero T-shirts, making a T-shirt quilt can be a great way to keep the shirts you no longer wear but can't bear to part with.</p> <p>Creating the quilt top is simple. Determine the size you want each T-shirt square to be, and cut out a cardboard template in the correct size. Once you have a pile of T-shirt squares, lay them out to figure out what order you want them in, and start sewing them together. If you have access to a sewing machine and can sew a straight line, you will have no trouble putting together the quilt top. You can finish the edges as is (turn under the edges of the quilt and sew them to prevent fraying), or you can add batting and backing to make it a true &quot;quilt.&quot;</p> <p>If all of this sounds like too much DIY sewing to you, there are several inexpensive <a href="http://www.projectrepat.com">T-shirt quilt companies</a> that will take your ill-fitting shirts and make you a beautiful quilt for a reasonable price.</p> <h2>2. No-Sew Braided Rag Rug</h2> <p>Braided rugs used to be an old-fashioned way of adding decoration to a home without spending any money. They are still a fun way to repurpose old clothes into something new and beautiful.</p> <p>For this craft, you will need a variety of jersey cotton shirts or tanks and scissors. You'll cut the clothes into 1.5 inch-long strips along the width of the shirt, making sure to cut one end so you have a pile of strips rather than loops of fabric.</p> <p>Start with three strips, tie a knot, and begin braiding the strips together. Once you have braided about four inches, start coiling the braid into a circle, and loop the closest strand through the already-braided section. This is what will keep your braided rug together.</p> <p>You continue braiding (adding new strands using the no-sew method outlined <a href="http://www.thewonderforest.com/2015/01/how-to-make-no-sew-round-braided-rug.html?m=1">here</a>) until the rug is as big as you'd like it. You can finish your rug with iron-on fusible interfacing, polycrylic spray, or spray-on starch.</p> <h2>3. Make a T-Shirt Pillowcase or Pillow</h2> <p>Using a T-shirt as a pillowcase is an old trick I learned back when I was in college with a long-distance boyfriend, but it's still a great way to reuse an old T-shirt. You could do what I did as a lovesick young freshman and just throw your pillow in the tee as is &mdash; or you could actually cut off the sleeves and sew them and the collar closed in order to make a more traditional looking pillow case.</p> <p>You can also take the T-shirt pillow idea one step further and make a pillow from the old shirt. Cut off the sleeves, fill the tee with pillow stuffing and sew up the bottom, collar, and sleeves for an instant pillow.</p> <h2>4. Turn a Tank Top Into a Shopping Bag</h2> <p>Tank tops are already shopping-bag shaped &mdash; they just need to have the bottom sewn shut. It's a reusable shopping tote that looks far more stylish than any shopping bag you can buy.</p> <h2>5. Use Old Jeans to Patch Up Your Favorite Pairs</h2> <p>It is a truth universally acknowledged that your favorite pair of jeans will eventually wear out and holes will form. That's when you whip out the jeans that don't fit and cannibalize some denim as a patch for your favorite pair.</p> <p>Patching denim might be beyond the skill set of the average DIY crafter &mdash; as denim is thick and tough to work with. However, hiring a tailor to patch your favorites should not be expensive, and it will keep your jeans looking great.</p> <h2>6. Make Mittens Out of an Old Sweater</h2> <p>Old wool sweaters are the perfect material for creating a new pair of mittens. The simple method for making repurposed mittens is to widely trace your hands on the bottom of the sweater so that your wrists hang off the bottom edge of the original shirt. When you cut out the traced shapes, you will have four mitten shaped pieces which you'll sew together to make a pair.</p> <p>If you'd like your repurposed mittens to be a little heartier (with a little more range of thumb movement), <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5714457/turn-your-ugly-christmas-sweaters-into-warm-winter-mittens">this tutorial</a> will show you how to make fleece-lined, cuffed, and perfectly shaped mittens out of some old sweaters.</p> <h2>7. Cover a Corkboard With an Old Blouse</h2> <p>Fabric-covered corkboards are all the rage, but you don't need to buy one pre-made. With some cork squares, an old item of clothing with a fun pattern, and a hot-glue gun, you can <a href="http://sewmuchsunshine.blogspot.com/2011/10/ikea-hack-fabric-covered-cork-board.html">create one of your own</a> on the cheap.</p> <p>All you need to do is trace the cork square on your fabric, leaving about an inch of room all the way around. Once you've cut your fabric, you'll spread a strip of hot glue all along the edge of the cork and start pulling up the fabric and pushing it into the glue until it sets. Attach your beautiful new corkboard to your wall, and enjoy the envy of all your office mates.</p> <p><em>How do you salvage clothes that no longer fit? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit">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/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out 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/a-denim-expert-reveals-why-you-only-need-3-pairs-of-jeans">A Denim Expert Reveals Why You Only Need 3 Pairs of Jeans</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/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-128-creative-ways-to-upcycle-your-trash">Flashback Friday: 128 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-organize-a-messy-closet">14 Ways to Organize a Messy Closet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Style closet clothes clothes that don't fit clutter de-clutter DIY organization recycling reuse reuse clothes upcycle Fri, 29 Jul 2016 10:00:17 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1761378 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/97559139.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgeting. In some of our lives, it's known as &quot;the b-word.&quot;</p> <p>If you've never budgeted before, it can seem like a gargantuan task that only produces something that will make you miserable. And if you consider yourself bad with money or find that you have a difficult time living within your means, budgeting can feel like one more way to fail financially.</p> <p>But budgeting doesn't have to be any of these things. It doesn't have to take a lot of time and energy, and it can free you so that you can save for the things that you really want. It can also help you understand why you spend the way you do, and help you get a handle on it.</p> <p>The key to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank">making your budget</a> into a friend and not a foe is having the right set of skills to make it happen. Here are a few of those.</p> <h2>1. See Money as a Tool</h2> <p>We tend to think of money in a lot of different ways. Money can be freedom, it can be despair, it can mean power or significance, or any one of a number of things. The point is, to be good at budgeting, develop the mindset that money is a tool. It helps you do the things that you want and need to do. No matter how much or how little you have, your money can help you achieve your goals.</p> <h2>2. Record Your Transactions</h2> <p>On a practical level, you will need a record of your transactions to start a budget, and you will need to keep recording them to continue budgeting. You can do this by hand, via an app, or once a week on a spreadsheet. Do it however works for you, but learn to record your transactions and you will be well on your way to budgeting.</p> <h2>3. Assess Your Spending</h2> <p>Recording your transactions won't help if you never think about them. Learn to categorize your transactions in whatever way is meaningful for you, so you can see how much you're spending in different areas. This can help you decide where to spend more, where to spend less, and what cutting back might look like in your everyday life.</p> <h2>4. Make a Budget</h2> <p>This might be the most obvious skill in this list, but it's also one of the most important. There are spreadsheets you can download, programs like <a href="http://www.youneedabudget.com">YNAB</a> and <a href="http://www.mint.com">Mint</a> that help you see your spending in different ways, and more. Some things to think about before you choose a method involve deciding whether you want to go old school or online, and whether you want to store it on your personal computer or in the cloud.</p> <h2>5. Write It Out</h2> <p>Throughout the budgeting and recording process, it will help if you actually write things out. This can be on a computer, though there is something about the act of writing something and then seeing it there in your own handwriting that helps you remember. Whatever you do, don't keep your budget in your head. It's easy for numbers to become fuzzy and for you to forget about your budget entirely. Instead, put your budget where you can see it often, so that it feels real and you remember your goals.</p> <h2>6. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>When you make your budget, don't just think about what you need right now, or even your monthly expenses. Think, too, about expenses that only come around every so often. Car insurance, life insurance, and property taxes are a few line items that can fall into these categories. Then, save a little bit of money every month toward these items, so you can pay them without worry when that bill shows up.</p> <h2>7. Include Spending Money</h2> <p>If you don't have spending money, you will feel like your budget is a cage you need to break out of, rather than a structure supporting you and your goals. Even if all you can afford is $5, give yourself something. This can go against the grain, especially if you have a lot of debt or very little income. However, you are important. And you will be happier keeping your budget if you know you have a little money you can spend however you want.</p> <h2>8. Make a System That Works for You</h2> <p>It's easy to get sucked into a system that doesn't work for you. For instance, you may not be able to track your spending every day. If that's you, then don't buy into a budgeting system that requires this. There are plenty of systems where you can record once a week, or so. If the system doesn't work for you, you won't do it, and there won't be any value to budgeting. Keep trying things until you find something you like.</p> <h2>9. Live With Discipline</h2> <p>This is a huge skill and one that won't happen overnight. Living a disciplined life, though, will go far toward helping you make and keep your budget. Pay attention to your budget. Update it. And when you don't have any money left for something, stop spending! It can help to breathe through your desires, to remind yourself of your bigger goals, and to give yourself a waiting period before you buy things.</p> <h2>10. Know When to Splurge</h2> <p>This is a tricky skill, especially in light of the one above. However, there are times in every life when it's right to splurge. This doesn't have to be a huge spending binge &mdash; it can be something as small as a coffee with a friend. A lot of times, this comes into play when you choose to buy something of a higher quality even though it costs more. It's up to you to decide when to splurge, but make sure there's some room for it in your financial life.</p> <h2>11. Ask Yourself Hard Questions</h2> <p>When you're budgeting alone or you are the one in charge of the budget, it can be easy to let things slide. Get into the habit of asking yourself hard questions, like, &quot;Why do I always spend too much on entertainment?&quot; and &quot;Am I realistically able to take that vacation this year?&quot; You may not like the answers you find, but being honest with yourself will ultimately help you become more aware of who you are and how things work inside of you &mdash; which will help you meet your goals, financial and otherwise.</p> <p><em>Are there any other budgeting skills that are important to you? Which ones are they?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Budgeting%2520Skills%2520Everyone%2520Should%2520Master.jpg&amp;description=11%20Budgeting%20Skills%20Everyone%20Should%20Master"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Budgeting%20Skills%20Everyone%20Should%20Master.jpg" alt="11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">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/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">21 Times Spending More Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting expenses organization planning record keeping saving money skills spending Splurging Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1759923 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_spring_cleaning_000082590811.jpg" alt="Couple learning best spring cleaning hacks we&#039;ve ever shared" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's face it, chores as an adult are kind of awful &mdash; especially since you don't an extra $10 at the end of it, only extreme exhaustion and dirty hands. Since spring cleaning season has arrived, people everywhere are scanning their homes for stuff they can get rid of, and surfaces that could use a good scrubbin'. And tackling any major task can go from miserable to mildly pleasant as long as you have a plan &mdash; and lots of brilliant hacks to cut down on time and effort, of course!</p> <p>Here are the 82 best spring cleaning hacks we've ever shared.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_000022840623_Large.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-prepare-for-spring-cleaning">7 Ways to Prepare for Spring Cleaning</a> &mdash; The early bird gets the worm, right? It's true. Before you start spring cleaning, get prepared by making lists, playlists, and assembling your dust-destroying tool kit.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning">8 Tasks You Shouldn't Skip During Spring Cleaning</a> &mdash; Once you start cleaning, you might be tempted to cut corners in order to get this madness over with ASAP. Just make sure you don't skip these areas of your home, as they often get neglected and are in dire need of some TLC.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-have-a-clean-place-without-cleaning">11 Ways to Have a Clean Place Without Cleaning</a> &mdash; Wait... cleaning without actually cleaning? Yes, please! These little life adjustments can make your house cleaner, which reduces the time you need to spend cleaning. You're welcome.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/3clean-465958469.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners">How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a> &mdash; So many cleaning products have harsh, toxic ingredients that might keep your belongings shiny, but are also destroying your skin and the environment. Go au naturel with your cleaners and you're basically saving the world.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-need-to-clean">9 Things You Don't Need to Clean</a> &mdash; If nothing else, this list of things you don't need to clean will cheer you up when you've only completed less than half of the tidy tasks on your to-do list.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Cleaning Rules You Should Be Breaking</a> &mdash; Believe it or not, some germs are good germs. Here are the cleaning myths that we've proudly busted. Be a rebel this year, and break these common cleaning rules.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_000011792733Small.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">6 Tips for Spring Cleaning on a Budget</a> &mdash; Buying all of those new sponges and anti-bacterial wipes can add up quickly. So here's how to keep your spring cleaning spending under control.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean">9 Things in Your House You're Forgetting to Clean</a> &mdash; Monsters who live under the bed like things clean, too! Don't skip these commonly forgotten areas when isolating dirty parts of the house.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-essential-tricks-for-quick-and-easy-cleaning">25 Essential Tricks for Quick and Easy Cleaning</a> &mdash; We're all extremely busy humans, so taking time out of our schedules to deep-clean the house seems bonkers and completely unreasonable. These tricks will help you get all of your cleaning done with time to spare!</p> <p><em>Do you have any stellar spring cleaning hacks? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">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/12-garage-sale-items-that-sell-like-hotcakes">12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-48-ways-to-master-the-art-of-decluttering-in-time-for-spring">Flashback Friday: 48 Ways to Master the Art of Decluttering in Time for Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017</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/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</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-smart-ways-to-keep-your-entire-life-clutter-free">10 Smart Ways to Keep Your Entire Life Clutter-Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home Organization cleaning declutter fbf flashback friday life hacks organization spring cleaning Fri, 18 Mar 2016 11:00:08 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1675255 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Good Money Management Habits You Already Have http://www.wisebread.com/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_call_000081177679.jpg" alt="Woman with good money management habits she already has" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're struggling to save or pay down debt, you might think it's because you're no good with money. But the truth is, plenty of the good habits you practice in other areas of your daily life can also help you build an emergency fund, pay down your credit card debt, and stick to a monthly budget. You just need to apply the good habits that you already have to money management.</p> <p>Here is a look at the five good money management habits that you might be surprised to learn you already have.</p> <h2>1. The Household Schedule</h2> <p>You know that you should build an emergency fund of savings, stashing away enough dollars to cover at least six months of daily living expenses. That way, if you lose your job or if your furnace suddenly goes on the fritz, you won't have to turn to your credit cards to survive. But you just can't seem to find enough money at the end of every month to build that emergency fund.</p> <p>Here's the trick, though: If you already manage to schedule all of your household activities &mdash; everything from getting your children to their sporting events on time to mapping out exactly which of your teens needs access to a car at which hour of the day &mdash; you should also be able to create a household budget. You already have a knack for scheduling. Instead of scheduling the activities of your family members, schedule where the money you spend each month is going.</p> <p>Creating a budget might even be easier than juggling your family's activities. Write down how much money comes into your household each month. Then write down fixed expenses such as mortgage and car loan payments. Add monthly payments that fluctuate, such as utilities, groceries, and entertainment. Once you have this charted, you'll know exactly how much money you should have leftover each month. Then you'll know how many dollars you can earmark for building your emergency fund.</p> <h2>2. The Willpower</h2> <p>Creating a budget is a good first step. Sticking to it is key. You might not think you have the willpower to do so, but if you can force yourself to go to the gym or take a run five times a week, why can't you force yourself to only spend the $400 you've allotted to eating out and entertainment in your monthly household budget?</p> <p>The discipline it takes to stick to an exercise program or healthy diet is the same discipline you need to only spend what you plan to each month. If you can do one, you can do the other. You just need to apply the same focus to staying financially healthy as you do to remaining physically healthy.</p> <h2>3. Tracking</h2> <p>Do you track the calories you consume each day, whether with an old-fashioned pen and notebook or with the help of an app on your smartphone? Then you should be able to do the same with your dollars.</p> <p>One secret to creating and sticking to a realistic household budget is to create a spending book. In this book &mdash; which can be as simple as a notebook or as high-tech as an app &mdash; you write down every dollar you spend, at least for a month. This will give you an idea of where you are spending your money, which helps you create a household budget that is realistic. This will provide you with the motivation you need to tweak your spending patterns.</p> <h2>4. Skipping the Doughnuts</h2> <p>Your coworkers love their sweets. Every morning, one of them brings in a box of doughnuts or a tray of chocolate chip cookies. But you're good &ndash; usually. You pass right by those doughnuts and pop open that container of low-fat yogurt.</p> <p>Now, apply that same discipline to your finances. Sure, putting that super-deluxe flat screen TV on your credit card would provide a jolt of immediate gratification. But you'll regret it later when you open your credit card statement. Instead, pass on the easy pleasure and buy that TV only when you've saved enough to pay for it in cash.</p> <h2>5. Dumping the Clutter</h2> <p>You have the neatest house on the block. You spend every weekend toting a trunk full of unused toys, clothes, and tools to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. You hate clutter and love the airy basements, living rooms, and kitchens that you get when you don't have a home filled with too much stuff.</p> <p>Your finances can have clutter, too. It's called credit card debt. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money">Credit card debt</a> is one of the worst forms of debt you can have because it comes with such high interest rates. If you don't pay it off each month, it will steadily grow &mdash; just like all those ignored children's toys that seem to multiply in your home's playroom. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">Stop Paying Interest on Credit Card Debt With a Balance Transfer</a>)</p> <p>It's time to declutter your finances. Pay a little bit more each month to pay down the principal balances on your credit cards. Consider it to be the financial equivalent of donating those unread books cluttering your bookshelves.</p> <p><em>What good money habits do you already follow?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have">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/how-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck">How often do you get your paycheck?</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/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you">7 Ways Auto-Payments Can Screw You</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/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts">7 Money Lessons I Learned From Martial Arts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</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-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting good habits money management organization scheduling willpower Thu, 18 Feb 2016 11:00:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 1656435 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_debt_management_000022976723.jpg" alt="Woman managing her debt in 10 minutes a week" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Juggling multiple debts can feel like playing whack-a-mole. As soon as you pay one bill, another pops up, and you spend each month scrambling to stay afloat.</p> <p>You know that you need to get organized if you ever want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money">get ahead of your debt</a>, but you are <em>not</em> the kind of person who enjoys organizing your bills.</p> <p>Thankfully, the work necessary to manage your debt &mdash; and get it paid off once and for all &mdash; is not nearly as overwhelming as you might assume. In fact, with just a little initial effort, you can organize and manage your debt in as little as 10 minutes per week. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. List Your Debts</h2> <p>The first step is to track down the specific information about each and every one of your debts. Look up who you owe, the remaining balance, the rate of interest on each debt, and each debt's minimum payment. For instance, your list might look like this:</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Creditor</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Balance</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>APR</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Minimum Payment</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Store Credit Card</p> </td> <td> <p>$2,600</p> </td> <td> <p>23.99%</p> </td> <td> <p>$104</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>MasterCard</p> </td> <td> <p>$1,200</p> </td> <td> <p>18.99%</p> </td> <td> <p>$48</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Visa Card</p> </td> <td> <p>$5,750</p> </td> <td> <p>15.99%</p> </td> <td> <p>$232</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Federal Student Loan</p> </td> <td> <p>$25,800</p> </td> <td> <p>6.80%</p> </td> <td> <p>$295</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Private Student Loan</p> </td> <td> <p>$6,700</p> </td> <td> <p>5.50%</p> </td> <td> <p>$73</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Total:</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$42,500</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>$752</strong></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Depending on your tech comfort level, you might choose to use a simple paper-and-pencil list, create your own Excel spreadsheet, or use a pre-made program, such as <a href="http://www.mdmproofing.com/iym/products/debt-tracker.php">DebtTracker</a> from It's Your Money. The important thing about creating your debt management list is that you should use a format that you are likely to stick with.</p> <p>Once you know exactly what you owe, it's time to look for some extra money in your budget to send to your debts. Whether you give up your daily Starbucks habit, or officially quit the gym you haven't actually been to since New Year's, you are sure to find fat you can cut from your budget to send to your debts. (And of course, make sure you are not adding any new debts.)</p> <h2>2. Debt Avalanche vs. Debt Snowball</h2> <p>Once you have your list, decide what order you plan to pay off your loans. There are two schools of thought on this: debt avalanche and debt snowball. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=seealso">Snowballs or Avalanches: Which Debt Reduction Strategy Is Best for You?</a>)</p> <h3>The Debt Avalanche</h3> <p>According to this method, you start your debt payoff with whatever has the highest interest rate. You send extra money to that debt until it is paid off, and then begin sending the same amount to the debt with the next highest interest rate.</p> <p>For instance, if our example budgeter had a total of $1,000 to send toward her debts each month, that would give her an additional $248 per month to pay toward her Store credit card, which has the highest APR, making her monthly payment $352. At that rate, she will have her Store card paid off in nine months.</p> <p>From there, she will begin to send $400 per month to her MasterCard (the $48 minimum plus the $352 she had been sending to her Store credit card), paying that off within three months. At that point, she can begin to send $632 to her Visa.</p> <h3>The Debt Snowball</h3> <p>This method recommends you begin with your lowest balance because you can pay it off quickly and feel motivated by your results.</p> <p>In our example budgeter's case, she would begin by sending $296 to her Visa card (her $48 minimum payment plus the additional $248 she can spend on her debts), paying it off in five months. She would then work on her Store card balance, sending $400 per month to it.</p> <p>Generally, you will spend less money over time if you employ the debt avalanche method. However, depending on how you are wired and motivated, the debt snowball may be easier for you to maintain.</p> <h2>3. Automate</h2> <p>Automation is the center of the 10 minutes per week debt management plan. Setting up automatic payments for each of your debts will eliminate the &quot;Oh, crud, I forgot to pay my Visa bill!&quot; realization that is the worst part of being disorganized.</p> <p>The key to having automation work is ensuring that you have enough money in your account to cover your debts on your due dates. There are two ways to do this without keeping track of every penny:</p> <h3>Schedule Payments With Your Paycheck</h3> <p>Many credit cards and lenders are willing to let you change your due date to one of your choosing, or will allow you to make payments anytime. Schedule your payments to come out automatically on the same day you receive a paycheck.</p> <h3>Open a Debt Payment Checking Account</h3> <p>You'll automatically transfer the full amount you need to pay all of your debts each month into this account. For instance, our example budgeter might transfer $500 from each of her bi-weekly paychecks into her debt payment checking account. On her bills' due dates, her payments will be automatically transferred. The benefit of a dedicated account like this is the fact that the money will be out of sight, making it less tempting to spend on anything other than debt payoff.</p> <h2>4. Spend 10 Minutes Per Week on Maintenance</h2> <p>Once you have developed your debt payoff plan and set up your automation, all you have to do is spend 10 minutes each week (or less) maintaining the plan. There are three items on your maintenance list:</p> <h3>Don't Overdraw</h3> <p>Check how much money is in the account you use to pay your debts. With automation, this should be a quick process with no surprises &mdash; but it's always a good idea to check in weekly to make sure you are on track. Otherwise, it's very easy to accidentally overdraw your account.</p> <h3>Revise Your Balances</h3> <p>Do this at least once a month. As you are working to pay off your debts, revising your balances for each debt can help to keep your motivation high.</p> <h3>Adjust Your Payments as Necessary</h3> <p>Change your payment amount with each debt that is paid off. You can also use this time to add any one-time payments you might make from windfalls or other unexpected money.</p> <h2>&quot;When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.&quot;</h2> <p>As with consuming a pachyderm, the trick to debt payoff is working slowly and steadily. While each small chunk of debt does not seem significant, it all adds up to a monumental accomplishment.</p> <p><em>How are you maintaining your debt repayment program?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week">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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-a-debt-spiral">5 Ways to Prevent a Debt Spiral</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-which-credit-card-to-pay-off-first">The Simple Way to Decide Which Credit Card to Pay Off First</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn&#039;t Diminishing</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-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball">6 Secrets to Mastering the Debt Snowball</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management avalanche method bill pay checking accounts organization snowball method Thu, 18 Feb 2016 10:30:22 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1658696 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Fixes You Can Make When You're Stuck Inside Because of the Weather http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-fixes-you-can-make-when-youre-stuck-inside-because-of-the-weather <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-fixes-you-can-make-when-youre-stuck-inside-because-of-the-weather" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_window_000068400755.jpg" alt="Woman making money fixes while stuck inside " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Crazy winter weather have you stuck indoors? Take advantage of your lazy snow days around the house by digging deep into your finances to make a few (and perhaps much-needed) tweaks.</p> <h2>1. Call Your Service Providers About Reducing Rates</h2> <p>Recently I had a couple bills lying on my desk &mdash; one from the IRS and another from my doctor &mdash; that I had been putting off because I wanted to call their respective offices to ask about the charges and, ideally, reduce them. The bills sat there for weeks because I didn't have time to spend 30 minutes or more on the phone during my regular work hours (the IRS call took an hour and 45 minutes!). I made good use of my time inside during the recent blizzard to follow up.</p> <p>The calls saved me about $200. Outside of questionable charges and bills you may want to investigate, now is a good time to check in with your service providers to see what kind of new deals for which you may qualify, too.</p> <p>&quot;Whether it's your cable bill, car insurance, or even trash service, calling these providers regularly to ask about rate reductions is a great way to save money every month,&quot; says Kendal Perez, savings expert at Coupon Sherpa. &quot;Often times the threat of departure is enough to get someone to reduce your rates, but be sure to do your research to find out if there's a lesser-cost alternative out there. If your current provider won't budge and there's a viable alternative, take the snow day to get accounts switched over.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Download Some Money-Saving (and Making) Apps</h2> <p>You've probably heard about how smartphone apps can make and save you money, but maybe you haven't had the time or patience to download the apps and learn what they're all about. Now's your chance, and there are several ways you can boost your bottom line in just a few taps of your fingers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money?ref=seealso">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</a>)</p> <p>Apps like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.varagesale.com/">VarageSale</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://us.wallapop.com">Wallapop</a> let you sell unwanted items (like Craigslist, but way easier to use), while grocery-specific apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 help you earn cash back on your purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016?ref=seealso">The 8 Shopping Apps That'll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a>)</p> <p>If you're really ambitious (and also looking for a sort of side gig), check out&nbsp;<a href="https://dogvacay.com/">DogVacay</a>, where you can watch people's pets and get paid for it, or Airbnb, if you have extra space in your home that you'd like to rent out to earn more income. All of these apps also have similar alternatives, providing plenty of platforms from which to choose.</p> <h2>3. Review Your Recurring Payments and Make Adjustments</h2> <p>As a personal rule, I don't have any automatic payments set up because I don't like the idea of an institution pilfering money out of my account when I'm not actively monitoring the fees. Errors happen all the time, and all the time they go unnoticed. That's not to say that you should avoid automatic bill-pay altogether &mdash; there's something to be said for its convenience &mdash; but you should, every once in awhile, check in to make sure everything is on the up-and-up.</p> <p>&quot;Automatic bill-pay is a great way to ensure you're never late on a payment, but these set-it-and-forget-it systems can be detrimental to your finances if you don't pay close attention to the charges,&quot; Perez says. &quot;Review recurring payments to determine a) if the charges are what you expect, and b) if it's still something you want to pay for. You may decide a gym membership or streaming membership are no longer worth your dollars.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Organize Your Finances on an Easy-to-Access Spreadsheet</h2> <p>One of the biggest problems that people with financial issues have is that they lack organization &mdash; and chaos begets chaos, as the old adage goes. Nip that problem in the bud once and for all by creating a spreadsheet that comprehensively compiles your finances across the board for easy access and upkeep.</p> <p>Harrine Freeman, financial expert and CEO of H.E. Freeman Enterprises, details a few category options to help you get started.</p> <p>&quot;Create a list of company names, account numbers, passwords/PINs, security questions/answers, account balances, minimum monthly payments, interest rates, how often you receive statements, due dates, customer service phone numbers, hours, customer service email addresses, and any other information you feel you may need,&quot; she suggests.</p> <h2>5. Purge Your Inbox of All Those Solicitation Emails</h2> <p>Cards on the table, I love my marketing emails &mdash; especially around my birthday (three cheers for free pancakes, cheeseburgers, ice cream, and candy!) &mdash; but they can become overwhelming, especially if you don't stay on top of your email regularly. I have friends who have thousands of emails in their inbox &mdash; <em>and I just can't!</em> For that reason, I love that Gmail now has a separate tab that auto-files promo messages, but it's also not a bad idea to go through and weed out what no longer interests you and unsubscribe.</p> <p>&quot;Snow days are a great opportunity to clean up your email, and when it comes to unnecessary spending, retail newsletters should be the first thing to go,&quot; Perez advises. &quot;While you may have received a nice coupon upon sign up, subsequent emails are only tempting you to spend more. The urgency associated with these messages coupled with the tempting images of stuff you desire most are tough to pass up, but can be immediately fixed with the click of a button.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Create the Budget That's Been on Your To-Do List</h2> <p>Don't have a budget established to keep your money on track and in the black from month to month? Tisk. I probably don't have to tell you that this is one of the touchstones of positive personal finance, and it's about time you caught up.</p> <p>Perez agrees.</p> <p>&quot;A snow day is a perfect opportunity to [create a budget],&quot; she says. &quot;Brew some coffee or tea and create a spreadsheet of all your recurring expenses. Record how much you've spent on groceries, gas, dining out, and any other activities over the last several months. This will give you a good idea of where your money goes and how you can economize to meet your financial goals, whether it's building an emergency fund, contributing more to retirement, or saving up for a vacation.&quot;</p> <p>This budget can and should be different and separate from the previous spreadsheet that you created, which serves as a broader and more comprehensive compilation of your whole financial picture. Your budget may fluctuate from one billing period to the next, while your overall financial spreadsheet may just serve as a reference guide.</p> <h2>7. Establish a Budget-Tracking Account</h2> <p>Prefer to manage your finances the new-school way? Skip the desktop-based system and go the cloud route by tracking your finances with an app.</p> <p>&quot;If a spreadsheet doesn't work for you, consider taking the time offered by a snow day to set up a budget-tracking account with a service like Mint,&quot; Perez suggest. &quot;You can list all your accounts including checking, savings, retirement, mortgage, etc., to get a full picture of your finances and budget. You can also set up alerts for when upcoming bills are due and when you're close to spending your limit in a budget category.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some ways you'd spend your snow day making money fixes at home? Let's discuss 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/7-money-fixes-you-can-make-when-youre-stuck-inside-because-of-the-weather">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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances">This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</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/suze-orman-tells-us-to-pay-only-the-minimum-on-credit-cards-wait-what">Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY The Minimum On Credit Cards. Wait, What?!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for">9 College Expenses You Aren&#039;t Saving For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bad weather bills expenses finances money moves organization snow days Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1653341 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Year-End Financial Moves You Must Make Now http://www.wisebread.com/10-year-end-financial-moves-you-must-make-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-year-end-financial-moves-you-must-make-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_piggy_bank_000037335864.jpg" alt="Man making year-end financial moves before the holidays" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like Yogi Berra famously said, &quot;It ain't over, 'til it's over!&quot; Although there are just a few weeks left in 2015, there's still time to set yourself up for success in 2016. From minimizing your tax bill to maximizing your retirement account contribution, there are a number of steps you can take now to strengthen your financial position for the coming year. The key is to do all of it before you get crazy busy with carving turkey, wrapping presents, or sipping eggnog.</p> <p>Let's close 2015 strong &mdash; and start 2016 with a bang &mdash; by making these 10 year-end financial moves before the holidays.</p> <h2>1. Adjust Your Tax Withholding</h2> <p>Nearly eight out 10 Americans get tax refunds, averaging close to $2,800. And middle-income individuals making between $25,000 to $50,000 per year have a mean refund of $2,618. That means that people in this income bracket have to get by without an estimated 5.24% to 10.47% of their income for a whole year!</p> <p>Use the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a> to figure out if you have already withheld any taxes for the year. If you have withheld enough for the rest of the year, then adjust your withholding allowance downward using IRS Form W-4. Remember that the IRS pays you no interest on your current refund &mdash; that's money that could've been earning you interest elsewhere.</p> <h2>2. Prepare for a Year-End Bonus</h2> <p>Financial success is 80% preparation and 20% implementation. A year-end bonus or commission check is a great opportunity to pay down high-interest debt or build (or beef up!) an emergency fund. Plan now how you'll use that bonus in order to avoid spending it frivolously. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-things-to-do-with-your-bonus?ref=seealso">6 Smart Things to Do With Your Bonus</a>)</p> <p>Like Warren Buffett suggests, &quot;If you buy things you don't need, soon you'll have to sell things you need.&quot; Have a plan for your year-end bonus.</p> <h2>3. Maximize Your Retirement Contributions</h2> <p>Here are the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/COLA-Increases-for-Dollar-Limitations-on-Benefits-and-Contributions">contribution limits in 2015</a> for some of the most common retirement accounts:</p> <ul> <li>Traditional and Roth IRAs: $5,500 ($6,500 if you're age 50 or older);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>SEP-IRA: lesser of 25% of compensation, or $53,000;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Traditional and safe harbor 401K plans: $18,000 ($24,000 if you're age 50 or older);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li> <p>SIMPLE 401K plans: $12,500 ($15,500 if you're age 50 or older);</p> </li> <li>Solo 401K plans: $53,000 (<a href="https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/One-Participant-401%28k%29-Plans">not counting catch-up contributions</a> for those age 50 or older).</li> </ul> <p>If you haven't hit those contribution limits, there's still time to adjust your retirement contributions. Your employer may also establish a new retirement account for you by April 15th of the next year.</p> <h2>4. Rebalance Your Investment or Retirement Account</h2> <p>The natural ups and downs of the market may have caused the investment mix of your portfolio to shift a bit (or a lot!). For example, a big drop in the price of your mutual funds can lower your target of 90% in stocks to 80%. Take the time to review your the current mix of your accounts and shift money around to rebalance your portfolio holdings.</p> <p>Before making any moves, watch out for any potential <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">sneaky investment fees</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees">sneaky 401K fees</a>.</p> <h2>5. Make Charitable Contributions</h2> <p>Take these steps to lower your tax bill with charitable contributions:</p> <ul> <li>Make a cash, check, or other monetary gift contribution to your favorite exempt organization (check the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Charities-&amp;-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check">eligibility of the organization</a>).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Clean out your closet, attic, garage, or storage by donating items that qualified organizations need. You can deduct the fair market value of any property you donate, but you need to keep a receipt from the exempt organization for contributions of $250 or more.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fill out Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, and attach it to your tax return when your noncash contribution is more than $500.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Complete Section A of Form 8283 for noncash contributions with a fair market value less than $5,000, and Section B for noncash contributions larger than $5,000 (a qualified appraisal of the noncash property is required).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consult Publication 561 to determine the fair market value of the property that you donate.</li> </ul> <h2>6. Take Your Required Minimum Distribution</h2> <p>If you're over 70&frac12; years of age or have set up a required minimum distribution (RMD) schedule, you have to take your RMD from your 401K or IRA before December 31st. However, if you just turned age 70&frac12; in 2015, you have until April 1st, 2016 to take your RMD.</p> <p>Even when you have an IRA custodian or retirement plan administrator, it's a good idea to double check if you've met the RMD threshold, because <em>you're</em> ultimately responsible for calculating the amount of the RMD. To find out more, consult the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-FAQs-regarding-Required-Minimum-Distributions">Retirement Plan and IRA Required Minimum Distributions FAQs</a> section of the IRS site.</p> <h2>7. Check for Open Enrollment Season From Your Employer</h2> <p>During the last quarter of the year, your employer announces open enrollment season for benefits. This is your chance to review all of your benefit options and make changes for 2016.</p> <p>For example, given the Supreme Court's decision earlier this year to recognize same-sex marriage across the U.S., some carriers are amending their plans to exclude same-sex domestic partners' children from coverage eligibility (they'll now only cover legally married couples and their children). Another example is that your employer may have additional requirements to verify eligibility of your dependents.</p> <p>Remember that after open enrollment ends, you can't make changes to your 2016 coverage without a qualified change, such as marriage or the birth of your child. Now is the time to act!</p> <h2>8. Update Your Passwords and PINs</h2> <p>There are two main reasons to update your passwords and PINs.</p> <p>First, given that President Obama set an October 2015 deadline for U.S. businesses to comply with implementation of chip technology, financial institutions are rushing to mail out new debit and credit cards. This is a good opportunity to update your card's PIN, especially if you haven't done so in several years, or are planning to travel abroad. Remember that current implementation of chip cards is &quot;dip-and-sign&quot; in the U.S., while it's &quot;dip-and-PIN&quot; everywhere else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-chip-credit-cards-make-life-easier?ref=seealso">4 Ways Chip Credit Cards Make Life Easier</a>)</p> <p>Second, updating your password is the single most important of the critical steps to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-critical-steps-to-protect-your-data-in-the-cloud">protect your data in the cloud</a> or anywhere else online. Weak passwords are among the top reasons why important data, online subscriptions, or bank funds are stolen by malicious hackers. The best practice is to build at least an eight-digit password that is a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols (e.g. #, $, and %).</p> <h2>9. Use Up Flexible Spending Accounts</h2> <p>Check for any leftover balances in your flexible spending account (FSA), as well as their usage deadlines. With the exception of the $500 carry-over option, most FSA plans require you to use up any funds before December 31st, 2015.</p> <p>If you need an extra pair of eyeglasses, a much-needed hearing test, or a chiropractic session, do it before you run out of time. Once the chance to do so is gone, it's gone! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds?ref=seealso">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a>)</p> <h2>10. Book Your Holiday Airline Ticket</h2> <p>With the December holidays coming up and potential travel plans early in 2016 (spring break, anyone?), it's a good idea to purchase your flight in advance.</p> <p>According to data from Expedia, the average ticket price of a domestic flight skyrockets when purchasing it fewer than 25 days away from departure date. The same report recommends booking your international flight between 150 to 225 days before the day of departure (the best time is 171 days).</p> <p>By booking your holiday flight ticket in advance, you'll be able to make the most out of your budget, and open the door to even more fun during your break!</p> <p><em>What are your year-end financial plans to complete before the holiday?</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/10-year-end-financial-moves-you-must-make-now">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/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</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/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for">7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-money-moves-that-can-get-you-into-legal-trouble">5 Common Money Moves That Can Get You Into Legal Trouble</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/aig-employees-why-you-should-donate-your-bonuses-instead-of-returning-it">AIG employees - Why you should donate your bonuses instead of returning it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bonuses holiday season money moves open enrollment organization taxes year end Wed, 11 Nov 2015 13:15:17 +0000 Damian Davila 1606581 at http://www.wisebread.com