Organization http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1605/all en-US How to Clear Out Financial Clutter http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_85246829_LARGE.jpg" alt="clearing out financial clutter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Clearing clutter out of your home can make you instantly more organized and can simplify your life. Clearing away any unnecessary items can also help you find happiness. The same concept goes for your finances. By clearing out financial clutter, you can decrease financial stress in your life, save time during tax season, and get a better grip on your personal finances.</p> <h2>What to Keep</h2> <p>The first step in clearing away paper clutter is deciding what to keep and what to toss.</p> <h3>Tax Records</h3> <p>It is crucial that you keep any tax records for seven years, as the IRS can audit you up to seven years later. This is especially important if you are self-employed. If you are ever hit with an IRS audit, you may need to produce physical documents, so it's a good idea to keep the records together in a large envelope or folder for each tax year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-shred-or-not-to-shred-how-long-to-keep-your-tax-records?ref=seealso">To Shred or Not to Shred: How Long to Keep Your Tax Records</a>)</p> <p>According to LearnVest, you'll want to <a href="https://www.learnvest.com/2014/08/how-to-organize-your-finances/2/">keep the following for tax purposes</a>:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>Previous income tax returns</li> <li>Pay stubs</li> <li>Financial statements for investment accounts</li> <li>Bank statements</li> <li>Credit card statements that have a record of tax-deductible items you purchased</li> </ul> </ul> <p>If any of the above items can be pulled up online and printed, then you won't need to keep a paper copy.</p> <h3>Important Personal Documents</h3> <p>Certain items should never be thrown away, such as a marriage license, birth certificate, will, life insurance policies, and record of paid mortgage. You want to keep these in a secure place, like a filing cabinet or safety deposit box. It's also a good idea to keep medical bills and canceled insurance policies for at least three years.</p> <p>Anything related to your home, such as repair bills and the bill of sale, should be kept for as long as you own the home. The same rule applies to your vehicles.</p> <p>You will also want to keep contracts, insurance documents, and retirement plan records for as long as they are still valid. You may also want to keep receipts for major purchases, like expensive furniture, in case you need to file an insurance claim in the future.</p> <h3>Warranties</h3> <p>It is important that you keep any warranties or guarantees for as long as they are valid. If the warranty requires you to send the original UPC code, simply staple the warranty, scan code, and receipt together. Write the warranty expiration date on the front so that you can go through your warranties and toss any expired ones at the end of the year.</p> <h3>The One-Year Rule</h3> <p>In most cases, you can dispose of the following items after one year, once they've been reconciled with your W-2 and annual statement:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>Paycheck stubs</li> <li>Bank records</li> <li>Cancelled checks</li> <li>Quarterly investment statements</li> </ul> </ul> <p>If you need any of these items for tax purposes, then it's best to keep them for at least three years.</p> <h2>What to Toss</h2> <p>According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, <a href="http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/contact-us/community/TIPS-FROM-THE-NATIONAL-ASSOCIATION-OF-PROFESSIONAL-ORGANIZERS-278382951.html">80% of what we file</a> never gets looked at again, so it's time to start tossing unnecessary files and paperwork.</p> <h3>Monthly Statements</h3> <p>In most cases, any utility, phone, credit card, and loan statements can be pulled up online, so there's no reason to keep a paper copy for your records. Some financial institutions will even offer a discount to customers if you choose to receive your statements online or via email. You can also call and request statements later, if needed. If you like keeping financial statements around, consider just keeping the year-end statement for your records. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Finally Make Your Finances Paperless</a>)</p> <h3>Receipts and ATM Slips</h3> <p>Unless you will need the receipt for tax purposes, in most cases, it's a good idea to throw the receipt away. If you think you may need to return the item at some point, then keep the receipt until the return period has expired. Once you balance your checkbook, you can also dispose of any ATM deposit slips.</p> <h3>Mutual Fund Prospectuses</h3> <p>Mutual fund prospectuses can pile up rather quickly. Instead of keeping the financial clutter around your home, simply look through the prospectus for important changes or information and then chuck it. You can always pull up the prospectus online if you need it.</p> <h3>Close Accounts You Don't Need</h3> <p>Once you've gotten a handle on your bills and which accounts you have, you may find that you have accounts open that you don't need. For instance, if you have more than one bank account, it may be a good idea to close the ones with the highest service fees. Having fewer accounts makes tracking, monitoring, and balancing your budget easier.</p> <p>If you have various investment accounts or retirement accounts from former employers, you may want to roll over your old accounts to your new employer's plan so that you won't have to worry about managing investments all over the place. This can also save you money on investment account fees. If you're planning on selling stocks or investments, then you'll want to keep the records for at least three years as documentation for capital gains taxes.</p> <h2>What You'll Need to Buy</h2> <p>For especially important documents, such as stock certificates and government savings bonds, you may want to consider investing in a safety deposit box. This will ensure that you know where the documents are at all times and that they are safe from harm. A quality <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-paper-shredders">paper shredder</a> can also help you securely shred and dispose of documents, so you won't have to worry as much about identity theft.</p> <p>To make organizing more fun, you may also want to invest in colorful folders or organizational tools that you like. This will also help keep you organized in the future, so you'll never have an unpaid bill hiding under a mess of paperwork again.</p> <h2>Make It Fun</h2> <p>Organizing your financial life doesn't need to be something you dread. Play some good music or have a glass of wine while you organize. You may also want to treat yourself at the end of a large decluttering session with a good meal or movie.</p> <h2>What to Do Next</h2> <p>Once you've cleared out the clutter, consider organizing your accounts in a spreadsheet or updated budget. The more your budget and finances are organized, the less paperwork you'll need going forward.</p> <p>Cleaning out your financial clutter can lead to less risk of identity theft, more organized records, and better financial planning. So the sooner you get started, the sooner you can enjoy these valuable benefits. It can also help you get a better idea of what your financial assets and debts are, so you can create a better budget for your life.</p> <h2>It's Not a Sprint &mdash; It's a Marathon</h2> <p>Organizing your financial clutter is means for celebration. However, this doesn't mean that the work is done. It's important to continue organizing your financial documents consistently so that they don't become overwhelming again. Try organizing all of your financial documents and spend 15-30 minutes per week going through your bills, financial statements, and other important documents that require your attention. This will ensure that you are not dealing with another mess of papers again in the near future.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for clearing out financial clutter? Please share your thoughts 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/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</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-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out 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/10-things-in-your-basement-you-should-throw-out-today">10 Things in Your Basement You Should 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/12-things-in-your-office-you-can-throw-out-today">12 Things in Your Office You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Organization clutter declutter finances financial clutter managing money money Tue, 09 Aug 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1768493 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easiest Items to "Flip" for Cash http://www.wisebread.com/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_10756392_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="these items are best to flip for extra cash" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a devoted thrift store shopper, auction-goer, and yard sale junkie, I always joke that my hobby is also my part-time job. Since roughly 95% of everything I buy is intended for resale, I'm constantly looking for items I can flip without a huge time investment. If you know what to look for, there's money to be made around every corner &mdash; maybe even in the stacks of stuff collecting dust in your basement or garage. Here are 10 of the easiest items you can flip for fast cash.</p> <h2>1. Solid Wood Furniture</h2> <p>One of the five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-deals-in-every-thrift-store">best deals in every thrift store</a>, quality furniture is an easy flip. Usually, a light sanding and application of a one-step stain/sealer is all you need to bring a worn piece back to life.</p> <p>Stick to small, versatile pieces that will appeal to apartment-dwellers and look for forms that can be creatively upcycled (an old roll-top desk becomes a bar or an antique steamer trunk gets a second life as a coffee table). Reduce prep time by avoiding items with heavy ornamentation. Also, when buying dining room or office chairs, steer clear of oddly-shaped seats &mdash; they're twice as hard to reupholster.</p> <h2>2. Brand-Name Clothing</h2> <p>With the retail price of clothing hovering near the stratosphere, gently-used, seasonally-appropriate brand-name clothing is an easy sell. Look for well-made items with no missing buttons, damaged zippers, extreme alterations, stains, or weird smells. Just last week, I bought a pair of nearly-new Sperry Top Sider leather shoes for $3.99 and flipped them online for $32. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-qualities-to-look-for-in-well-made-clothing?ref=seealso">9 Qualities to Look for in Well-Made Clothing</a>).</p> <h2>3. Vintage Clothing</h2> <p>Its own unique category, vintage clothing can include a quirky shirt made 10 years ago or a classic hat made 80 years ago. Get a feel for what's in-demand by researching completed sales on eBay. Remember, as with all other clothing, condition is everything. Several weeks ago, I paid $2.99 for a '90s-era Levi's denim cap in mint condition. Three hours after I listed it online, it sold for a cool $105.</p> <h2>4. Retro Barware Sets</h2> <p>Cocktail shakers, tumblers, swizzle sticks, ice buckets, and related items appeal to the hip and well-heeled everywhere. Matching sets are the most coveted, but mismatched or <em>harlequin</em> sets sell well, too. Just make sure each piece is from the same general era. Recently, a 1960s set of six lowball glasses with matching decanter sold on eBay for $69.99.</p> <h2>5. Power Tools</h2> <p>When people are moving or otherwise motivated to declutter, buyers can often score power tools at bargain-basement prices. Test each item before you buy, give it a light cleaning, grease what needs greasing, and flip it for quick cash. A few summers ago, I bought a portable, gas-powered generator for $40 at a yard sale. I sold it the very next day for $125.</p> <h2>6. Old Canning Jars</h2> <p>Vintage canning jars manufactured by Mason, Ball, and Atlas have transcended their utilitarian origins to become decorative items. Unusually large jars and the green or blue glass variety sell for a premium &mdash; especially if they retain their original zinc or glass lids. If you have any of these packed away in the basement, clean with a mixture of white vinegar and water and sell them for $8-$15 each. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-mason-jar-gifts-you-can-make?ref=seealso">9 Easy Mason Jar Gifts You Can Make</a>).</p> <h2>7. Mid-Century Anything</h2> <p>Anything from the '50s and '60s is red hot right now. Look for authentic pieces that are in relatively good shape. Dinnerware, flatware, coffee tables, chairs, and lamps are all home runs in the resale market. Last month, I snagged an iconic &quot;starburst&quot; wall clock at poorly-attended auction for $1. After giving it a 10-minute cleaning, I sold it on eBay for $70.</p> <h2>8. Basic Lawn Tools</h2> <p>Old metal rakes, spades, hoes, and other basic lawn care tools are well-made and easy to rehabilitate. Clean them well, use a grinder with a brush attachment to remove rust quickly, and then flip 'em for $10-$20 apiece. The best part? Anyone with a yard is a potential buyer!</p> <h2>9. Bicycles</h2> <p>A good friend of mine in Austin, Texas has created a cottage industry buying, cleaning, repairing, and reselling bicycles to feed that city's thriving biking culture. Every weekend you can find him scouring local thrift stores, yard sales, and Craigslist ads for retro models from the '70s and '80s. Though some bikes do need significant repair (which requires a basic level of mechanical skill), most just need a little cosmetic TLC.</p> <h2>10. Vintage Lawn Furniture</h2> <p>They don't make lawn furniture they way they used to. Vintage aluminum, iron, and steel pieces are in demand for their durability and classic styling. Though complete sets are ideal, don't reject singles. Condo dwellers may only have room for one or two chairs, and other buyers prefer to mix and match. In July, a pair of untouched (read: slightly rusty) metal &quot;clam shell&quot; patio chairs sold on eBay for $85.</p> <p><em>What treasures have you found and flipped for minimal effort and maximum cash? Share your story!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">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/turn-old-clothes-into-money-with-these-4-tools-and-apps">Turn Old Clothes Into Money With These 4 Tools and Apps</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/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</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-smart-ways-to-make-it-rain-today">6 Smart Ways to Make It Rain 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/10-ways-to-get-rid-of-stuff-frugally">10 Ways to Get Rid of Stuff Frugally</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-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Organization cash craigslist declutter extra cash flip for cash furniture sell your stuff selling clothes Thu, 04 Aug 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Kentin Waits 1765511 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-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/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/the-only-5-words-you-need-to-declutter-your-life">The Only 5 Words You Need to Declutter Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-wont-ever-use-again-and-should-throw-out-today">12 Things You Won&#039;t Ever Use Again and Should Throw Out Today</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 Best Money Tips: Organize These Areas to Save Money http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-organize-these-areas-to-save-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-organize-these-areas-to-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shoe_closet_25804875.jpg" alt="Woman organizing areas to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on areas to organize if you want to save money, how to speed up a sluggish day, and state fairs with free attractions that the whole family can enjoy.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cultofmoney.com/2016/07/13/4-areas-must-organize-want-save-money/">4 Areas You Must Organize if You Want to Save Money</a> &mdash; The first place to organize is your food storage. You're more likely to eat what you have &mdash; before it goes bad &mdash; if you know where everything is. [Cult of Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Make-Workday-Go-Faster-38066287">Here's How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a> &mdash; Whip out your headphones and listen to music between tasks. Focus on how the song makes you feel while you're taking this mental break. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cheapism.com/blog/state-fairs-2016-14099/">18 Standout State Fairs With Free Attractions</a> &mdash; The price of admission to these state fairs also include fun freebies and special entertainment options. [Cheapism]</p> <p><a href="http://fitzvillafuerte.com/deal-rich-friends-big-spenders.html">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Retirement Savings</a> &mdash; You can't count on extra money left over after your monthly expenses. Make sure you contribute regularly and add retirement savings to your budget. [Yes, I Am Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/personal-finance/how-to-save-money/frugal-people-never-make-these-mistakes/69766">Frugal People Never Make These Mistakes</a> &mdash; Frugal people eat leftovers all the time. They never waste anything that can be reused or repurposed. [SheBudgets]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="https://due.com/blog/3-tips-strong-linkedin-profile/">3 Tips to Having a Strong LinkedIn Profile</a> &mdash; When you list your work accomplishments and experience, provide facts and metrics to show what exactly you can do and by how much. [Due]</p> <p><a href="http://fitzvillafuerte.com/deal-rich-friends-big-spenders.html">How To Deal with Rich Friends Who are Big Spenders</a> &mdash; Communication is key! Be honest about your financial limitations. If they're real friends, they won't try to pressure you into spending money when you're out with them. [Ready To Be Rich]</p> <p><a href="https://blog.allstate.com/basement-maintenance-101/">Basement Maintenance 101: 5 Tips for Maintaining Your Basement</a> &mdash; Perform these checks regularly to catch potential issues in your basement. [The Allstate Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://savvyscot.com/how-to-find-a-good-income-property/">How to Find a Good Income Property</a> &mdash; Unless it's a new construction, odds are you'll be visiting the property fairly frequently to address any issues. Make sure it's a drive that you can handle. [The Savyy Scot]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-this-dad-learned-to-love-minecraft">How This Dad Learned to Love Minecraft</a> &mdash; Unlike many video games, Minecraft offers kids the opportunity to develop important skills. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-organize-these-areas-to-save-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter">How to Clear Out Financial 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/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit">7 Ways to Reuse Clothes That No Longer Fit</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/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">10 Easiest Items to &quot;Flip&quot; for Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-ways-to-count-and-cash-in-your-change">Best Ways to Count (and Cash in) Your Change</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization best money tips save money Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:30:32 +0000 Amy Lu 1752223 at http://www.wisebread.com These Checklists Will Make Your Life Better http://www.wisebread.com/these-checklists-will-make-your-life-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-checklists-will-make-your-life-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_17027432_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="lists can make life better" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>List-making is highly utilitarian. But did you know that this primitive practice can also improve your health, jumpstart your motivational juices, and boost your memory? It can achieve a great many feats beyond the simple task of ensuring that you remember to buy all the right groceries during your trip to the market. Here are six tremendously beneficial lists you ought to be incorporating into your life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-10-minutes-a-week?ref=seealso">How to Organize Your Paperwork in Just 10 Minutes a Week</a>)</p> <h2>Every Single Amazing Thing You've Ever Seen or Done</h2> <p>Studies show that penning your positive experiences can actually <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20205032">improve your health</a>. So why not put this simple science to good use? Your first kiss, your college graduation day, that time you went skydiving over the Pacific Ocean. Not only will jotting down these triumphs and epic adventures help you to feel better physically, you'll also get a jolt of excitement just thinking about them.</p> <h2>One Enormous To-Do List</h2> <p>It may seem daunting. All those unfinished tasks staring you back in the face might even stir up a wave of anxiety. But studies have found that the simple act of crossing off an item on a checklist is enough to trigger a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction &mdash; no matter how big or small the task at hand. So don't be afraid to load up your to-do list! Tackle it knowing that you'll feel more and more fulfilled as you work your way down.</p> <h2>Handwritten Lists to Acquire New Knowledge</h2> <p>The study tips and tricks you picked up in the classroom can benefit you in the real world, too. In fact, there are many occasions other than the night before a big exam that you will want or need to memorize new information. Remember the set of statistics you had to spout out at that recent board meeting? Or the oceanic science you needed to learn to earn your scuba diver certification? As it turns out, one of the best ways to absorb a new information set such as these is to physically <a href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/ink-on-paper-some-notes-on-note-taking.html">jot it down</a> using paper and pen.</p> <p>Scientists have discovered that our ability to recall facts and ideas at a later date is heightened when we write them down the old-fashioned way. Add to this another bit of science. By organizing the information you want to learn in list form, prioritizing that list, and then sticking to it, you define what it will mean to be, &quot;finished studying,&quot; thereby improving your odds of achieving knowledge retention success. All too often we approach the task of learning something new without taking the time to delineate exactly what or how much or how long we ought study in order to consider the task complete. By working your way through a list of study material, you'll stay organized and keep yourself feeling motivated as your check your way down the list.</p> <h2>Multi-Step Tasks That Are Complicated or Foreign</h2> <p>A study of Michigan hospitals found that using a checklist can <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916092657.htm">virtually eliminate common infections</a> in intensive care units. As it turns out, the principle behind these findings stand true outside the operating room, too. Checklists can be used to reduce errors and improve safety in any situation where you're attempting to execute a multi-step procedure correctly. Whether you're setting out to bake a cake or change a flat car tire, a checklist can help ensure that you cover every step. After all, that brand new tire won't do you much good if you forget to tighten up the lug nuts.</p> <h2>List Your Stressors</h2> <p>Everyone feels stressed out from time to time. Next time the feeling strikes you, make a list of everything that is occupying your mind or distracting you. After you <a href="https://drdemartini.com/writings_and_insights/the_benefits_of_making_lists_to_health">quantify your stressors</a>, take a moment to identify which items can be delegated to others and which items must actually be completed by you, and then assign each item a due date. You'll likely find that many of the tasks weighing you down don't need to be done immediately, and some of them can even be delegated to others. This realization can help ease your stress and make you feel more optimistic about conquering all of your to-do's. Be sure to create a new list for those items that must be completed in the future, planning to make sure that each one will be wrapped up in time.</p> <h2>Everything You Want to See, Do, and Accomplish</h2> <p>Popular to the point of cliche, the bucket list &mdash; a list of things one wants to do before he or she kicks the bucket &mdash; is often overlooked. Alas, it is a powerful thing. The trick, of course, is to prevent your list from becoming a thing of fantasy by actually committing to crossing off a great many of the items on the list. Exciting memories, relationship-bonding activities, and self-improvement activities are the stuff of most bucket lists, and all of these things can make life feel more fulfilling. Ultimately, a bucket list &mdash; a thoughtful one that you actually set out to complete &mdash; can make for a life well-lived.</p> <p><em>Any other checklists that would make life better? 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/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-checklists-will-make-your-life-better">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/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</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/4-easy-ways-to-automate-your-everyday-life">4 Easy Ways to Automate Your Everyday Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists">Why I Love Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</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-reasons-not-to-delete-your-emails">5 Reasons Not to Delete Your Emails</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Productivity checklists lists make a list tips to-do list Tue, 05 Jul 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1743314 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Your Closet Ready for Summer With These 5 Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-closet-ready-for-summer-with-these-5-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-your-closet-ready-for-summer-with-these-5-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000060441368_Large.jpg" alt="getting her closet ready for summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is on the horizon. But before you escape to the lake, you'll need to swap out your wooly hats and fleece vests for light knits and breathable cotton. The wardrobe shuffle from winter to summer clothing can be a nuisance, but it also presents an opportunity to start out the new season in unwrinkled fashion &mdash; literally. Here's are the most efficient ways to get your closet fit and summer-ready.</p> <h2>1. Cleanse Your Closet of Undesirables</h2> <p>Time to get rid of what you don't wear. If you didn't wear it this season, there's no need to carry it over into next year. Sure, there's a <em>chance </em>that three years from now you'll find an occasion that's absolutely made for that ribbed turtleneck sweater. But get rid of it anyway. (It's been three years!)</p> <p>Now that you've sorted out your wardrobe rejects, consider how to make best use of them. Here are some ideas: Gift them to friends who appreciate your style, sell them through an online consignment shop, such as <a href="https://www.thredup.com/p/cleanout">thredUP</a>, or donate them to a charitable organization near you, such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Don't forget that you can claim any charitable giving on your taxes, so be sure to keep records of any donations.</p> <h2>2. Store Unseasonable Apparel</h2> <p>Now that you've purged the unwanteds, gather and neatly fold all your out-of-season clothing &mdash; corduroy, sweaters, boots, wool scarves, long johns, etc. &mdash; and place them in whatever storage space you have available. That space might be in the attic or a trunk at the foot of your bed. Or maybe your closet is equipped with ample shelving for storage. If you're coming up short on space, consider lofting your bed or raising it on risers and then using this created <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UHYTZ2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003UHYTZ2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6WAEXHZVOOP4VFRW">under-the-bed space</a> to store clothing in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BA5F52/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002BA5F52&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OOICHMW4P337HU4Z">sealed containers</a>.</p> <h2>3. Create Extra Hanging Space</h2> <p>Affix hooks and hanging rods on the inside of your closet door as well as your closet's back and side walls. In addition to clothing, these extra hanging spaces will make nice homes for your giant straw hats and beach bags. Hang your most-used items on those hooks and rods that are most easily accessible. Save the once-in-a-blue-moon wears for the hidden hangers in hard-to-reach places.</p> <h2>4. Double Your Real Estate</h2> <p>If the few extra hooks and rods you've added just aren't cutting it, consider investing in an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZVN75U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004ZVN75U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ESGMWZ7C5OIWRMRR">adjustable extender rod</a>. Not only will it double your hanging space, but it will also give you an easy way to separate tops and bottoms &mdash; helping to keep your threads organized.</p> <h2>5. Invest in Shelf Dividers</h2> <p>Tis the season of t-shirts and tank tops &mdash; items that are notorious for gobbling up hanging space. But the thing is, these easy, breezy summer wears don't need to be hung. You can keep most tanks and tees wrinkle-free by storing them in neatly folded stacks. To keep these stacks organized, you're going to need a set of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0189MNK3Y/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0189MNK3Y&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=M2UUZXDFGS7B4M3W">shelf dividers</a>. Store your least-used tops at the bottom of each pile. Place your go-to gear on top.</p> <p><em>What are some other ways to get your closet in tip-top shape? 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/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-closet-ready-for-summer-with-these-5-hacks">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/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/7-ways-to-prepare-for-spring-cleaning">7 Ways to Prepare for Spring Cleaning</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-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit">7 Ways to Reuse Clothes That No Longer Fit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</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/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization clean closet cleaning hacks closet clutter organization hacks spring cleaning Fri, 20 May 2016 09:00:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1713535 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart DIY Spice Storage Ideas http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000056296686_Large.jpg" alt="smart DIY ways to store your spices" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spices can make or break a dish. And they aren't necessarily cheap, especially if you stock the good stuff in your pantry. Protect your tasty investments by storing them wisely. Here are 10 affordable DIY solutions that will get you organized and excited to cook your next meal. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-spices-fake?ref=seealso">Are Your Spices Fake?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Magnetic Marvel</h2> <p>Short on space? Use your refrigerator's real estate to house your spices. Making your rack is as easy as buying magnetic containers, filling them, and slapping them onto your fridge door. We use our refrigerator as our daughter's art gallery, so I like this idea to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gardenbetty.com/2013/03/make-your-own-magnetic-spice-rack/">cut a steel sheet</a> to size and attach it to a cabinet door &mdash; or someplace else in your kitchen &mdash; as a makeshift magnetic surface.</p> <h2>2. Baby Food Rebirth</h2> <p>You can make your own spice containers using&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oneluckypickle.com/2012/06/magnetic-spice-jars.html">recycled baby food jars</a>. Just clean the jars on the inside and out and let dry. Create labels out of cardstock or stickers. If you want to stick 'em up, simply hot glue magnets onto the glass end and let set before filling and using.</p> <h2>3. Mason Jar Method</h2> <p>You may already have a good stock of mason jars hanging around your kitchen. We use large ones to hold our bulk foods, but they come in all sizes. These&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1Xg8qiX">4-oz jelly jars</a> cost under $10 for 12. They would be great for purchasing bulk spices (some stores let you fill your own containers) and storing them in a drawer. There's zero waste in the process. Make the jars fancy by painting the lids with chalkboard paint for quick, custom labeling.</p> <h2>4. Under-the-Cabinet Solution</h2> <p>My friend uses the space underneath one of her upper kitchen cabinets to store spices. She bought a set of&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1qq6g60">metal-topped spice containers</a> and then mounted them &mdash; metal cap first &mdash; using industrial-strength glue. For a less sticky setup, you could&nbsp;<a href="http://twomenandalittlefarm.blogspot.com/2011/11/under-cabinet-jar-mounting.html">install a metal strip</a> under your cabinet and use magnets on your containers instead.</p> <h2>5. Test Tube Rack</h2> <p>Even the most frugal among us lusts over the expensive stuff from time to time. This&nbsp;<a href="http://www.deandeluca.com/21-tubes">tube rack</a> from Dean &amp; Deluca will set you back over $100 and stores just 20 modest kinds of spices. Try buying your own&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1qq6g60">test tubes</a> online and then storing them&nbsp;<a href="http://knockoffdecor.com/test-tube-spice-rack/">in a rustic box</a> for a much more budget-friendly option.</p> <h2>6. Mop Holder Hideaway</h2> <p>Here's an ingenious idea to use something common in a new way. Pick up a few of those basic&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Amazing-Easy-DIY-Home-Decor-Ideas-mop-holder-spice-rack.jpg">broom handle holders</a>. Mount them on the inside of a cabinet door. Then all you need to do is stock up on the spices that come in round containers. Click them into place, and you're done!</p> <h2>7. Proper DIY Cabinet</h2> <p>I'm amazed this polished&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hometalk.com/3342573/diy-spice-cabinet">DIY rack</a> looks so good, yet was fashioned for around $5. Cut two 30-inch and seven 8.5-inch pieces from 1x2 boards. Secure together using L brackets. Paint or stain the wood however you like. Use chicken wire, decorative metal, or even fabric to make a pretty door cover. Then attach the door and base with hinges and hang wherever makes sense in your kitchen.</p> <h2>8. Drawer Corral</h2> <p>If you can dedicate an entire drawer to your spices, grab&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dejongdreamhouse.com/2013/01/spice-drawer.html">some tension rods</a> and get to work. All you need to do is arrange the rods horizontally or vertically to place your spice containers into neat and tidy rows. The best part is that you can modify your setup as your needs change. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods?ref=seealso">20 Unexpected Uses for Tension Rods</a>)</p> <h2>9. Slim Bins</h2> <p>When all else fails, you can always get some&nbsp;<a href="http://timelessandtreasured.blogspot.com/2011/09/reorganizing.html">slim plastic bins</a> for your existing spice explosion. Place your spices into the bins one by one. Then stack the bins atop one another to take advantage of the vertical space in your cupboards. A&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1SOKFwY">three-pack of slim bins</a> costs just $6 and provides room for plenty of flavors.</p> <h2>10. Travel Rack</h2> <p>For those of you who often cook on the go, try this great mobile option. You can spoon out a portion of your favorite spices into an&nbsp;<a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2011/02/make-a-portable-gourmet-salt-kit/">inexpensive pill box</a>. In fact, I know you can get one of those guys at the dollar store! The labeling is up to you. Take your spices to the beach, camping, or over to a friend's house to make a fun dinner in.</p> <p><em>How do you store your spices? 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/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-diy-spice-storage-ideas">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/are-your-spices-fake">Are Your Spices Fake?</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/cutting-the-grocery-bill-reducing-the-cost-of-a-good-spice-rack">Cutting the Grocery Bill: Reducing the Cost of a Good Spice Rack</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/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-way-to-freeze-produce-and-meat">The Best Way to Freeze Produce and Meat</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/30-delicious-ways-to-enjoy-garam-masala">30 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Garam Masala</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Organization Cooking fresh spices kitchen items kitchen spices kitchen storage spice rack spices storage Fri, 08 Apr 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1686651 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on Budget http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_writing_journal_000055707370.jpg" alt="Woman using old school tools to stay on budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Because I am a visual thinker, low-fi tools like datebooks and check registers help me keep my finances better organized than when I use digital tools like Quicken and Excel. Surprisingly, these <em>olde time-y </em>office supplies also keep me from overspending.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. A Receipt Spindle</h2> <p>I actually hate bookkeeping. As a result, my desktop used to be a mess of receipts at the end of every month &mdash; until I started using a <a href="http://amzn.to/1Uxxanl">cheap spindle</a> to organize my paper receipts. Every night I pull the receipts out of my tiny wallet and stick them onto the prong. At the end of the month, I pull the receipts off as one stack, flip the stack, and voila &mdash; receipts in chronological order ready to be reconciled with Mint.com. After double checking the receipts against my bank records, I then put the receipts into an <a href="http://amzn.to/253dSej">accordion file</a> in the odd event I need hard, tangible evidence at tax time. While my system might sound fiddly, it actually takes less than 20 minutes a month to manage my receipts this way.</p> <h2>2. Paper Checks</h2> <p>No pain, no gain. There have been, conservatively, 55,321 studies in the last two decades that show that people are willing to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-we-spend-more-when-we-pay-with-credit-cards">spend up to twice as much</a> for the same item when they pay with a credit card instead of cash.</p> <p><em>Coupling</em> is the psychological term for that negative feeling you get when you shell out cold hard cash for purchases. I double down on the discomfort by paying with checks. When I use a check, I am forced to write out the cost of a purchase, twice. The evidence of my consumption is right there in my own handwriting. While the moment it takes for me to pull out my checkbook and write a check might be annoying to anyone standing behind me in the checkout line, that moment gives me one last chance to think to myself, &quot;Do I really need to spend money on this?&quot; More often than not, that answer is no.</p> <p>There are several other reasons why I refuse to kick my check writing habit:</p> <h3>When Digital Banking Technology Fails You, Paper Won't</h3> <p>My neighbor's debit card was just spoofed. Although her bank caught the theft within hours, she has to wait 10 days before her new ATM card arrives. She's currently living off the $200 the bank allowed her to draw down without her card. If she had checks, she wouldn't have to live off $20 a day.</p> <p>Also, ATM machines and credit card machines require phone lines and electricity. During disasters like Hurricane Sandy, when the utilities go down, a paper check might be the only way to pay for emergency supplies.</p> <h3>Some Businesses Charge Extra Fees for Credit Cards</h3> <p>Many restaurants and small businesses charge an extra fee for credit card payments, or have a minimum amount for credit card purchases.</p> <h3>Utility Companies and Government Agencies Might Not Take Plastic</h3> <p>I thought I was going to just rack up the frequent flyer points by paying for all my utilities with my credit card. Alas, many of my utilities don't accept credit payments.</p> <h3>Use Checks to Create a Paper Trail</h3> <p>Not only do I use checks, I use duplicate checks. They make it easy to keep track of expenditures because they act like additional receipts.</p> <h2>3. A Spending Book</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool">spending book</a> is a diet journal for your bank account. If you want to create a budget and save more money, you first have to know how you are spending all your filthy lucre. Most people don't blow through cash at the craps table in Las Vegas. Instead, they fritter away huge sums of money every year on super boring purchases and experiences. This is the reason why financial writers are constantly harping about why you shouldn't buy bottled water or to-go coffee. Those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today">little impulse purchases</a> are death by a thousand cuts to a budget.</p> <p>A spending book helps save money in two ways. First, it gives you a detailed, down to the penny, view of your spending habits. Secondly, like writing a check, it makes parting with your earnings that much more painful.</p> <h2>4. A Record of Financial Triumphs</h2> <p>In addition to tracking my spending in the week-at-at-glance section of my <a href="http://amzn.to/1UxAAX6">Moleskine </a>datebook, I use the month-at-a-glance section of my datebook to track my income. And by income, I mean the dime I picked up off the street, my garage sale earnings, and the money I made by selling old textbooks. All those teeny weenie income streams can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash">add up to serious money</a> over the course of one year. My husband didn't think we would be able to afford to fly East to visit friends and family over Christmas, but we handily paid for our 10-day vacation to NYC and Washington, D.C. with the money we'd earned from these little transactions.</p> <h2>5. The Envelope System</h2> <p>My grandmother taught me how to budget using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a> when I was a child and too young to open a savings account of my own. Yes, this budget hack is so simple, that even a nine-year-old can use it.</p> <p>In brief, the envelope system uses cash to help visualize a budget and control spending. For example, three main spending categories for my household are groceries, records, and gas. Say my average monthly grocery budget is $200, my record budget is $100, and my gas budget is $200. To cover these three categories, I will withdraw $500 in cash from my paycheck and put the cash amount for each bill/budget category into their respectively named envelopes. This method prevents me from spending money out of pocket or my checking account because money has already been earmarked for every bill.</p> <p>This type of budgeting is also called <em>zero based budgeting</em> because 100% of the spending money for each month is allocated to envelopes and zeroed out at the end of each month.</p> <p>Personally, I like to have money left over in my envelopes each month. This little visual incentive is another reason why the envelope system helps me save money. I have tangible evidence of my good behavior!</p> <h2>6. A Portable Filing Cabinet</h2> <p>I think the main reason why old-fashioned bookkeeping tools have fallen out of favor is that many people have a hard time keeping track of paperwork. After years of trial and error, I finally found a solution that keeps my house free of loose papers.</p> <p>I use eight plastic <a href="http://amzn.to/253fS6j">accordion files</a> to keep track of my tax documents. One for this year's bills and paperwork, and one for each of the seven previous tax years. Although I have gone the &quot;paperless&quot; route with many of my bills, I still use this type of file to manage the hard copies of everything (real estate paperwork, recipes, knitting patterns) in my life.</p> <p>I also like envelope closure accordion files because I am a klutz who is constantly dropping her paperwork. These files keep my records neatly separated by category, even if I accidentally put them into my bag upside down. These files are also great for people like me who live in small houses with no storage space.</p> <p><em>What low-tech tricks do you use to manage your money? Share your skills with your fellow Wise Bread readers so we can all stay on budget when our Robot Overlords take control of the Matrix. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts">6 Simple Ways to Save Money by Tracking Your Receipts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization checks Envelope system filing gadgets low-tech personal finance receipts record keeping tools Mon, 28 Mar 2016 10:01:03 +0000 Max Wong 1677889 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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-easy-ways-to-live-a-happier-life">Flashback Friday: 51 Easy Ways to Live a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean">The Military&#039;s Four-Step Plan to Keeping Your Place Clean</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-wise-breads-88-best-food-hacks-ever">Flashback Friday: Wise Bread&#039;s 88 Best Food Hacks Ever</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 7 Ways to Prepare for Spring Cleaning http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-prepare-for-spring-cleaning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-prepare-for-spring-cleaning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000022840623_Large.jpg" alt="preparing for spring cleaning" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spring is so close! Some days, it feels like it's just around the corner.</p> <p>If you're at all like me, that means you're starting to get that spring cleaning itch. I find it's especially bad when I look at my floors after my kids walk through the house.</p> <p>The thing is, though, that I know it's too early. The minute I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-for-spring-cleaning-on-a-budget">start spring cleaning</a>, a new storm is likely to sweep through, making it impossible to air out the house and actually get rid of all the dust I know I'll accumulate.</p> <p>Instead of actually cleaning, I am satisfying myself by getting ready to clean, which is its own process. (Yeah, I'm basically Monica Geller from <em>Friends</em>, so what? A clean house is a happy house.) Here's what I'm doing to get ready for spring cleaning, and what you can do, too.</p> <h2>1. Make an Appointment With Yourself</h2> <p>I know how busy spring can get, with practices, unexpected events, holidays, and more. So I am already penciling in time to get my house cleaned. I've done this enough times now that I know about how long it will take me, and that I like to work in larger chunks of time. I also know about when it will actually be warm enough to get to work, and I'm going through my schedule to find chunks of time that are at least two hours in length once that season hits.</p> <p>Knowing that I have time set aside for cleaning helps me wait, because I know that I will have the time to get it done later. It also helps me feel like I'm doing something about it right now.</p> <h2>2. Get Your List Ready</h2> <p>I am making a list of everything that I want to be sure to get done this spring. While there are some tasks that I know by heart because I do them every year, there are a few that I don't always do, and this is why I make a list.</p> <p>I add every single task I can think of to the list, but I make especially sure that the things specific to this year get on it. That way, I won't forget them. Making this list also helps me ensure that everything I want to do gets done. Also, I don't always think of my spring cleaning tasks when I'm in front of the list, but having the list means I can add them later, when I see something that I want to be sure to do.</p> <h2>3. Make a Playlist</h2> <p>I love having a clean house, but I don't always like the actual cleaning, so it's a good thing that music makes everything better! Right now, when I can't actually clean, I'm making a playlist of my favorite upbeat songs so that I have it when I'm ready to get started. That way, I'll feel happier about cleaning and I won't have to delay while I make the playlist.</p> <h2>4. Get Your Favorite Supplies</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I know exactly which cleaning supplies I want to use, where I want to use them, and how I prefer to apply them (even which brushes, sponges, towels, etc., that I want to use). Right now, I'm making sure that I have an ample supply of everything so that, when it's time to start cleaning, I don't have to run to the store first. Because additional errands just slow everything down.</p> <p>Buying these ahead of time also gives me the chance to make sure I'm getting the best deals possible on everything. I can scour the Internet to buy things at a discount, and even get the cheapest shipping available, because I don't have to have them right away.</p> <h2>5. Begin Decluttering</h2> <p>I've found that decluttering is something that I can start at any time. In fact, it can be such a frustrating and time-consuming chore that I've found it better, for me, to separate it from spring cleaning entirely. Now, I try to declutter year round. I keep a stock of a certain type of trash bag and, when I get the itch to clean, I pick a room and start in on the clutter.</p> <h2>6. Buy New Light Bulbs</h2> <p>Light bulbs are something that I always forget to have on hand when it's time to change them during spring cleaning! That's doubly bad in my house (and maybe yours, too?) because we have at least seven different types that we need, scattered throughout our various indoor and outdoor light fixtures.</p> <p>In order to combat my impressive ability to forget to buy these, I make a comprehensive list once a year and go get them all at once. Buying ahead of time not only lets me take advantage of bulk deals, but it also gives me a chance to choose the type of bulb I want in each place. LEDs are great in some areas, but the wrong kind of light in others, traditional bulbs are my last choice except where other types of light just don't work, etc. I like having time to make an informed choice.</p> <h2>7. Get Your Expectations in Check!</h2> <p>This is one of my key preparations when it comes to spring cleaning. When I think about it, I envision a sparkling house &mdash; one without fingerprints, shoe prints, dings in the walls, and more. However, that's also a house without small children &mdash; and maybe without people &mdash; which isn't my reality at all.</p> <p>Thus, an important part of preparations for cleaning involves bringing yourself back to what is realistic. After all, cleaning will only be stressful if your aim is perfection. But if your aim is the health, sanity, and safety of your family, you'll enjoy the efforts so much more!</p> <p><em>How do you prepare for spring cleaning? 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/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-prepare-for-spring-cleaning">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/get-your-closet-ready-for-summer-with-these-5-hacks">Get Your Closet Ready for Summer With These 5 Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tasks-you-shouldnt-skip-during-spring-cleaning">8 Tasks You Shouldn&#039;t Skip During Spring Cleaning</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/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter">How to Clear Out Financial Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-reuse-clothes-that-no-longer-fit">7 Ways to Reuse Clothes That No Longer Fit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization cleaning hacks get organized organization hacks spring cleaning Fri, 04 Mar 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1666104 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-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="/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-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_working_computer_000075714973.jpg" alt="Woman managing her money in under 10 minutes a week" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Innovative personal finance tools are revolutionizing the way we manage and keep track of our money. Not only can they help teach us how to make smarter decisions, but they put us in charge of our money, making the arduous tasks of budgeting, saving, debt management, and investing a thing of the past. Best of all, most of us can manage our money in under 10 minutes a week using these tools.</p> <h2>1. Mint</h2> <p><img width="605" height="270" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-01-26%20at%209.32.27%20PM.png" /></p> <p><a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> was one of the first online financial management tools, laying the foundation for some of the other players we see today. The free tool offers a terrific snapshot of your overall finances. From a single dashboard, account holders can link their bank, loan, and brokerage accounts and monitor balances and track purchases in real time. With its financial planning tools, you can establish a monthly budget and monitor your spending patterns. It will alert you as you near your budget threshold, to make you cognizant of overspending.</p> <p>Mint lets you benchmark financial goals, gives an overview of open accounts and lines of credit, and now there's <a href="https://credit.mint.com/">Mint Credit Monitoring</a> to help you manage your credit score. It constantly tallies your outstanding debts versus assets to display your real net worth, which is something most people tend to forget about. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cool-mint-tools-for-manaing-your-money?ref=seealso">8 Cool Mint Tools for Managing Your Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Investments and Retirement Planning Tools</h2> <p>By now, you've probably heard of robo-advisor sites such as <a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.978749&amp;fot=1073&amp;foc=1&amp;foc2=941565" target="_blank">FutureAdvisor</a>, <a href="http://wealthfront.evyy.net/c/27771/172939/3104?ref=qchavaia-1646115">WealthFront</a>, and <a href="https://www.learnvest.com/">LearnVest</a>. They're computerized wealth management systems that cater to everyday investors for a fraction of the cost of human advisors. The companies generally target Millennials, a market segment still on the pathway to wealth with fewer assets than required at large private wealth management companies. But investors of any age or net worth can benefit from their free or low-cost portfolio management options, and the hands-off approach means you can keep track of your investments in just minutes.</p> <h2>3. Personal Capital</h2> <p><img width="605" height="282" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-01-26%20at%209.31.27%20PM.png" /></p> <p>Founded in 2009, by former Intuit CEO Bill Harris, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.216060&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;foc2=582907">Personal Capital</a> lays claim to being the first digital wealth management platform. Like most robo-investing platforms, Personal Capital takes assessment of your financial situation and goals starting with a free consultation scheduled with a licensed advisor who recommends a customized investment plan. Those investors with at least $25,000 under management receive ongoing access to a team of financial advisors.</p> <h2>4. Betterment</h2> <p><img width="605" height="285" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-01-26%20at%209.31.15%20PM.png" /></p> <p>In 2010, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.1538720&amp;fot=1073&amp;foc=1">Betterment</a> entered the game as another major robo-advisor option. Betterment's financial framework offers similar tools to help you reach your financial goals, plan for retirement, invest, and track your savings and investing goals. Once your account is funded ($100 minimum deposit and a fraction of a percent fee based on your balance), investment moves are made on your behalf. The platform keeps track of your progress and makes recommendations along the way. Their current investment management fees range from .35% for a portfolio of $0&ndash;$10,000, .25% for $10,000&ndash;$100,000, and .15% for portfolios of $100,000 or more.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. QuickBooks Online</h2> <p><img width="605" height="368" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-01-26%20at%209.31.01%20PM.png" /></p> <p>QuickBooks has taken its accounting software solutions online. With all of the same features and more as the computer installed version, <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10700722-1443052367000?sid=qchavaia-1646115" target="_top">QuickBooks Online</a> is an affordable solution for business owners and the self-employed. With QuickBooks Online you can manage your money on the go and access your account from multiple devices.</p> <p>Some of the features include the ability to grant access to multiple users, including creating an account for your accountant or CPA. It automatically tracks expenses, generates on-click reports, writes checks that you can print from anywhere, creates invoices, and most of all, it automatically downloads and aggregates data from bank and credit card accounts. It then categorizes that information and reconciles, which you should do once a month and have to do at tax time. For me, this has always been an excruciating week-long process &mdash; but that's a thing of the past now, thanks to QuickBooks Online.</p> <p><em>What online tools do you use to make money management easier?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-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-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/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute">10 Financial Moves You Can Make During Your Commute</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-economic-crisis-challenges-our-financial-beliefs">How The Economic Crisis Challenges Our Financial Beliefs</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/book-review-cash-rich-retirement">Book review: Cash-Rich Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Organization investing money management retirement planning robo-advisors websites Fri, 29 Jan 2016 14:00:08 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1646115 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: Wise Bread's 88 Best Food Hacks Ever http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-wise-breads-88-best-food-hacks-ever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-wise-breads-88-best-food-hacks-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food_hacks_000044992940.jpg" alt="Revisiting Wise Bread&#039;s 88 best food hacks ever" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Food is something all humans need to survive. And since we've evolved into a stressed out, overworked race of eaters, we need our food prep to be as easy and painless as possible. That's why we're all so obsessed with food hacks. <em>Wait, I've been eating apples all wrong my entire life? Cupcakes can be made even better by turning them into cupcake sandwiches?</em> Mind = blown. This is what we live for, folks.</p> <p>So to honor the Internet's ongoing fascination with food hacks, let's go back in time to revisit some of Wise Bread's very best. Here they are.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/cooking-126457388.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-cooking-hacks-that-save-time">7 Surprising Cooking Hacks That Save Time</a> &mdash; Instead of spending hours in the kitchen preparing a hearty meal &mdash; because nobody likes a hangry cook &mdash; use these brilliant cooking hacks to cut down on prep time.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big</a> &mdash; Being able to stock up on food staples like a frugal boss requires the use of crafty storage tricks. Here's how to turn your pantry into an easily accessible food paradise.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/bowl_of_lemons_000019714803.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-use-your-food-that-dont-involve-eating">4 Ways to Use Your Food That Don't Involve Eating</a> &mdash; You don't need to consume food in order to fully enjoy it. Here are four genius food hacks to beautify your bod and keep your home squeaky clean using the items found in your fridge.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-awesome-cooking-tricks-for-single-people">5 Awesome Cooking Tricks for Single People</a> &mdash; Significant others are not required in order to eat like a king (or queen). These cooking tricks will help you make the right sized meals that you will thoroughly enjoy.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/000038978966_1.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-fridge-tricks-that-will-save-you-big">14 Fridge Tricks That Will Save You Big</a> &mdash; With just a little rearranging, your fridge will transform from a battle ground of expired food into a brightly colored haven of all things still edible. What are you waiting for?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a> &mdash; So simple, yet so brilliant. If you can master these grocery shopping hacks, your life is sure to improve.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/happy-grocery-shopping-159289223-small.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-foods-that-cost-under-a-buck-a-pound-with-recipes">21 Foods That Cost Under a Buck a Pound &mdash; With Recipes!</a> &mdash; Your Depression era grandparents will applaud your impressive frugalness when you whip up any of these budget-friendly recipes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food</a> &mdash; Throwing money away on overpriced snacks is sooo 2015, you guys. Use these creative money saving hacks to fill your fridge with all the foods you know you'll eat.</p> <p><em>What are some of your favorite food hacks? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-wise-breads-88-best-food-hacks-ever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-41-coffee-hacks-that-will-instantly-improve-your-morning">Flashback Friday: 41 Coffee Hacks That Will Instantly Improve Your Morning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-106-delicious-lunches-that-will-make-you-excited-to-brown-bag-it">Flashback Friday: 106 Delicious Lunches That Will Make You Excited to Brown-Bag It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-107-best-breakfast-hacks-to-start-your-day-off-right">Flashback Friday: The 107 Best Breakfast Hacks to Start Your Day Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-104-sweet-ways-to-celebrate-valentines-day">Flashback Friday: 104 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine&#039;s Day</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-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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Food and Drink Organization fbf flashback friday Food food hacks food shopping food storage Fri, 15 Jan 2016 18:53:38 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1638733 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_purse_000078780735.jpg" alt="Woman learning things every frugal person should have in their wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I use my wallet not only for spending money, but for <em>saving </em>money as well. Having the right resources in your wallet makes it much more likely that you'll take advantage of money-saving opportunities that come along every day.</p> <p>What should you have in your wallet to help you be a savvy saver?</p> <h2>1. Cash</h2> <p>Carrying cash has several advantages. If you keep a supply of cash on hand, you'll never pay ATM fees. Also, cash is psychologically more painful to spend than using credit cards, so you're likely to be more frugal when having to part with paper.</p> <p>I get even more benefit from carrying cash by using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">money envelope system</a> to control spending. In my household, we pay for all food expenses using cash from our envelope, so if I have cash in my wallet, I know I can buy food and still be within budget.</p> <h2>2. Coupons</h2> <p>You can save a lot of money with coupons, but you need to have them with you when you are buying something. I put the best coupons for my favorite stores in my wallet. That way, I am always prepared to take advantage of savings.</p> <h2>3. Store Loyalty Cards</h2> <p>Some grocery stores offer cash discounts and points toward free items if you swipe your loyalty card at checkout. On a recent shopping trip, I was able to get a couple bags of food items for free by cashing in my points. The people in line behind me were amazed!</p> <h2>4. Credit Cards With Rewards and Discounts</h2> <p>If you pay off your credit card balance every month, you might as well take advantage of the rewards. I get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-store-credit-card-target-redcard">5% off every purchase</a> at some of my favorite stores. I use the rewards points I get from other purchases to score free items on Amazon. The credit card companies are betting that you will carry a balance and end up generating profit for them. Pay off your balance every month, and you'll get the rewards for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Another reason to carry at least one credit card is to handle emergency situations. If your vehicle breaks down, you may need to pay for towing and repairs at the shop. If you have a medical emergency, you may need to pay at the time of treatment.</p> <h2>5. Health Savings Account Card</h2> <p>I signed up for a program that allows me to contribute on a pre-tax basis to a health savings account (HSA). With the health savings credit card I carry in my wallet, I can use pre-tax dollars to pay for prescription medicine and cover the co-pay for medical services. I save about 35% every time I use my HSA card since I am using money that was not subject to taxes.</p> <p>Your employer may offer an HSA program, but if not, you can start your own account at your bank or credit union and take advantage of big savings on healthcare expenses.</p> <h2>6. Consignment Store Account Numbers</h2> <p>I carry my consignment store account numbers in my wallet to make it as easy as possible to drop things off. You'll also need your account number to pick up your money after your items sell.</p> <h2>7. Insurance Cards</h2> <p>I carry cards in my wallet for medical insurance, prescription medicine insurance, and auto insurance. Make it as easy as possible to quickly access your coverage information.</p> <p><em>What do you carry in your wallet to help you save money?</em></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/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on 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/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">10 Easiest Items to &quot;Flip&quot; for Cash</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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization carrying a wallet cash coupons Envelope system HSA insurance Mon, 11 Jan 2016 10:00:03 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1634857 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Organize Your Paperwork in Just 10 Minutes a Week http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-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-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-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_writing_paperwork_000077386871.jpg" alt="Woman organizing her financial paperwork in 10 minutes a week" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am an organization nerd. Not only does the thought of going to an office supply store make me giddy, but I have been known to spend a torrid Saturday night wantonly using my label maker on everything in the house.</p> <p>Despite these tidy living bona fides, for years my organizational downfall was financial paperwork.</p> <p>If you find yourself in a similar state of paperwork chaos, not to worry. You can tame the beast without having to sacrifice an entire week to the project. In fact, organizing your paperwork is a job you can handle in 10 minutes a week. Here&rsquo;s how:</p> <h2>1. Know What You Need</h2> <p>The first <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-stress-is-killing-your-finances">problem with financial paperwork</a> is the fact that it can be difficult to remember how much of it you need to keep. The specter of an IRS audit is enough to turn anyone into a paperwork hoarder, but keeping everything isn&rsquo;t helpful if you don&rsquo;t know how to find what you need.</p> <p>Before you get started, you need to know what to keep and what to toss.</p> <h3>The One-Year Rule</h3> <p>Most of your day-to-day financial paperwork, such as paycheck stubs, paid bills, bank records, and quarterly investment statements only need to hang around for a year at most. Once you&rsquo;ve received your W2 and annual statement, you can shred paycheck stubs and quarterly investment statements after making sure everything is accurate. Unless your bills and bank records are needed for tax purposes, they can also be shredded after one year.</p> <h3>The Three-Year Rule</h3> <p>You have probably heard that you need to keep all tax-related paperwork for seven years, but that is actually a longer period of time than what the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&amp;-Self-Employed/How-long-should-I-keep-records">IRS expects</a> of the average taxpayer. While you are stuck holding onto your annual tax returns indefinitely, the IRS doesn&rsquo;t expect you keep supporting documentation (like mutual fund reports or charitable gift receipts) for more than three years. What&rsquo;s special about the three-year mark? That&rsquo;s the number of years Uncle Sam has to initiate an audit for regular tax returns.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve passed three years, you can shred the records, with a couple of exceptions: First, keep documentation showing the initial purchase price of any stocks or mutual funds you own, because you will need to determine your gains or losses when it comes time to sell. And second, hold onto house records for as long as you live there (or own the place).</p> <h3>The Seven-Year Rule</h3> <p>The IRS can initiate an audit within seven years for any taxpayers who filed a claim for a loss from worthless securities or a bad debt deduction. Taxpayers who don&rsquo;t include up to 25% of their reportable gross income (think servers or other employees who rely on cash tips) should hold onto their records for six years in case of an audit.</p> <h2>2. Start Sorting With Three Folders</h2> <p>Once you understand what can be kept and what can be chucked, it&rsquo;s time to start organizing. The key to 10-minute organizing is the <a href="http://thepeacefulmom.com/2015/03/10/organize-paperwork-fast-a-giveaway/">Quick Sort Method</a>, created by Kimberlee Stokes of The Peaceful Mom. You will need three empty manila folders, labeled NOW, 10 MINUTES A WEEK, and FILE. In addition, you want to warm up your shredder for all the items that don&rsquo;t go in any of these folders.</p> <p>Once you have the system in place, you can leave your three folders in a standing rack right by the trashcan or shredder and sort items the moment they come in the mail.</p> <h3>The NOW Folder</h3> <p>This is where you will put any items that need immediate attention, such as bills to pay, insurance paperwork, license renewals, and the like. When you finish sorting all of your paperwork during this first sort-and-purge stint, you will go through the NOW folder and take care of everything. This will likely take you longer than 10 minutes the first time, but it will set you up to make organizing your paperwork and paying your bills much simpler down the road.</p> <p>As you complete each item in the NOW folder, you can move that paper either to the FILE folder for future filing, or to the shredder. Once you have your system in place, you can put items directly in the NOW folder as you receive them, and take a minute or two each day to empty the folder.</p> <h3>The 10 MINUTES A WEEK Folder</h3> <p>This folder will house all of the items that require some sort of action on your part but don&rsquo;t need immediate attention. For instance, you might put subscription renewals, paperwork that requires input from other family members, items that have no specific deadline, and the like.</p> <p>Once you have taken care of the NOW items, the items in this folder will be the work that you do each week to stay on top of your paperwork and maintain your organized files.</p> <h3>The FILE Folder</h3> <p>Items that you need to file for the future will go into this folder. When you start using this system, the FILE folder will get pretty full, but eventually, you&rsquo;ll find that there is nothing left in the first two folders You will spend your 10 minutes each week filing from this folder.</p> <p>As for the filing, generally you will only need two systems: one for tax documents and one for general financial documents. These two systems do not need to be complex to be useful. Here is how to organize them both:</p> <h2>3. Organizing Tax Documents With Three Folders</h2> <p>Most taxpayers can easily organize their tax documents with three folders. You&rsquo;ll need one each for income, expenses and deductions, and investments.</p> <h3>Folder for Income</h3> <p>If you work a single traditional job and receive electronic paystubs, you may not even need an income folder. But this is essential for those with irregular income, freelancers, contractors, people holding multiple jobs, and anyone who receives income from investments. Having this folder in place will help you keep track of every single penny you earn.</p> <p>Not only should you deposit all paycheck stubs into this folder, but Dayana Yochim of The Motley Fool also recommends <a href="http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/taxes/get-organized-for-the-irs.aspx">recording your earned income</a> on a cover sheet in the folder, as well. This will give you method for checking the accuracy of official documents as they arrive.</p> <h3>Folder for Expenses and Deductions</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re like most people, you probably throw your receipts, statements, and paid bills into a shoebox to sort through come tax time. It&rsquo;s much easier on your sanity to create an Expenses and Deductions folder with separate sections so you can be more organized throughout the year.</p> <p>For instance, this folder might include sections for business, charitable donations, childcare, and medical expenses. Separating out all of your receipts for expenses and deductions will save you from those horrible moments when you cannot recall why you held onto a particular receipt.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s also a good idea to file a list of common tax deductions in this folder so you can easily remember what you may claim what documents you need to save.</p> <h3>Folder for Investments</h3> <p>Your Investments folder is where you will store the following paperwork:</p> <ul> <li>Records proving your tax-deductible contributions to retirement accounts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Notices of dividends, and capital gains and losses.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Distribution records you receive when you take money from investment accounts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Annual statements.</li> </ul> <p>Generally, the IRS will not need all of this paperwork for next year&rsquo;s taxes, but you need this information on hand for future tax returns. For instance, if you sell an investment, you will need to be able to provide paperwork about that investment, and having it filed by year for future reference will make your life much easier.</p> <h3>Organize Tax Information by Year</h3> <p>Once you have filed your taxes each year, it&rsquo;s a good idea to then create a file folder labeled with the year, where you place everything from your three tax folders. Each year, you can also go through your four-year-old (or eight-year-old) tax file folder and purge the documents that you no longer need. Remember, you should keep the actual return for each year &mdash; it&rsquo;s only the supporting documents that can be shredded after the end of either three or seven years.</p> <h2>4. Organize General Financial Documents Alphabetically</h2> <p>For all of your general financial documents, the easiest filing system is the one recommended by David Allen in <a href="http://amzn.to/1QFBfpg">Getting Things Done</a> &mdash; file your paperwork alphabetically in hanging folders. It is much easier to find the specific paperwork you need if you know to look for a cable bill under C for Comcast, rather than trying to root through a huge folder labeled Utilities.</p> <h2>5. Maintaining Your Paperwork Organization</h2> <p>Organization is a process, not an event. Creating these folders will not actually help you end the paperwork pile-up if you can&rsquo;t maintain it. Here are two ways to make sure you keep up with your 10 minutes per week:</p> <h3>1. Put Documents Where You Naturally Store Them</h3> <p>We all have a tendency to let our paperwork pile up in a particular spot in our home, such as the kitchen counter or the coffee table. One of the problems with attempting to get organized is that we often try to rehome our paperwork in a &ldquo;better&rdquo; place than where things naturally gather, and so we spend an afternoon creating a paperwork station in the spare bedroom.</p> <p>But you&rsquo;re not going to schlep the mail upstairs every day after work, so don&rsquo;t expect a filing system to be sustainable up there. Create a system in the place where you naturally gravitate, because it is easier to maintain a habit that is based on the way you already use your space.</p> <h3>2. Schedule 10 Minutes of Organization Per Week</h3> <p>Organizing financial paperwork is an important but not urgent task, so you can easily fall into the &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll just do it later&rdquo; trap. The trick to keeping up with your organization is to schedule it the same way you would a meeting or conference call.</p> <p>Unless you schedule a specific time and protect it from other commitments, you&rsquo;re likely to lose momentum. Figure out when your 10 minutes will be spent, write it on your calendar, and keep the appointment with yourself. You&rsquo;ll be glad you did.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your important documents organized?</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-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-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-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/to-shred-or-not-to-shred-how-long-to-keep-your-tax-records">To Shred or Not to Shred: How Long to Keep Your Tax Records</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts">6 Simple Ways to Save Money by Tracking Your Receipts</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/organizing-your-financial-paperwork">Organizing Your Financial Paperwork</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean">9 Things in Your House You&#039;re Forgetting to Clean</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization audit bills cleaning documents filing paperwork taxes Wed, 30 Dec 2015 14:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1626821 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_groceries_000043134348.jpg" alt="Woman learning pantry tricks that will save her big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all want to save wherever we can, and the pantry is a place where small steps can make a considerable difference. Learn how to cut back and cash in with these nine pantry tricks that will save you big.</p> <h2>1. Start Stacking</h2> <p>Raised or stacked storage (like bleachers in a gymnasium) will let you see more of your canned and jarred items simultaneously, so you instantly know what you have at your disposal. Often, these storage devices are expandable &mdash; like this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001E2864K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001E2864K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AI57KKQFTODP23T4">three-tier spice organizer</a> &mdash; to accommodate spaces of varying widths.</p> <h2>2. Buy in Bulk and Portion at Home</h2> <p>If you have a lot of mouths to feed, or you consume large quantities of a particular food item, you'll save money by buying in bulk. When you get home, you can divvy up the portions into your own containers without paying the extra &quot;convenience&quot; costs that are passed on to you for pre-packaged items. This practice also helps you reduce runs to the store to refill, which, in turn, saves you time and gas money.</p> <h2>3. Store Food in Clear Containers</h2> <p>By putting goods like cereal and pasta in airtight, see-through containers, you're helping yourself out two-fold. One, you'll be able to see right away what you need more of, and what you don't (therefore reducing your grocery bill). Two, the food will stay fresher longer than if left to sit in rolled-up bags in the original boxes.</p> <h2>4. Use the FIFO Method</h2> <p>Don't know what the FIFO method of storing is? Simple &mdash; first in, first out. In other words, you should be removing/consuming pantry items in the order you put them in, instead of eating newer items first. That way, you don't waste food by letting items expire.</p> <h2>5. Emphasize Healthy Staples</h2> <p>Instead of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-hardest-working-foods-in-your-pantry">filling your pantry</a> with a hodge-podge of things you'll &quot;probably&quot; eat, focus on things you know you'll eat &mdash; like healthy, all-meal ingredients that are part of your everyday diet.</p> <p>&quot;Keep healthy staples, such as oatmeal, brown rice/whole grains, and dry beans &mdash; stored in airtight BPA- free containers to ensure they last longer &mdash; as well as canned tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and low sodium bouillon or broth as recipe starters,&quot; advises registered dietitian Kristie LeBeau. &quot;You can cook large batches of beans, soups, grains, and oatmeal for a quick, low-cost, healthy meal.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Stock Up on Seasonally Packaged Items After the Holiday</h2> <p>If you're a snacker, you'll save a bundle if you scour the aisles after a big snacking holiday like Halloween, Christmas, or Easter. Most popular snack brands release goods in holiday packaging, which is drastically reduced &mdash; sometimes to the tune of 75% &mdash; just days after the holiday. These items have just as long a shelf life as the regular packaged items but at a fraction of the cost. Don't go overboard, of course, but a few bags of discounted chips, cookies, and crackers is never a bad idea.</p> <h2>7. Keep an Eye on What You're Eating &mdash; And What You're Not</h2> <p>One of my worst habits when I was younger was going to the supermarket blind. By that I mean I would shop for pantry items that I wasn't sure I had or not, because I didn't check before I left the house. I was buying these items over and over, when, in reality, I still had plenty at home. You may be doing the same thing. I suggest taking inventory of what you have before making your shopping trips to cut back on duplicate items.</p> <p>This is also a good time to take a look at what you're eating more and less of. Take that feedback and adjust your shopping habits accordingly. Stop buying what you're not eating.</p> <h2>8. Shop for Non-Perishables Less Frequently</h2> <p>I changed my diet to include primarily fresh, healthy foods so much, that I've whittled down my pantry from a large closet in the hall to just three cabinets in the kitchen. You've heard time and again that all that processed junk isn't good for you &mdash; and it isn't &mdash; so maybe now's a good time to clean the pantry. Keep the essentials, donate the excess, and start eating a little cleaner.</p> <h2>9. Plan Meals at the Beginning of the Week</h2> <p>If your pantry seems to be fattening instead of slimming, you need to use more of what you already have. An easy way to do that is to plan your meals. On Sunday, decide what you'll make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week, and try to integrate some of your pantry items into that menu. Not only will you save time by having a plan of attack when you're hungry (which helps ward off last-minute take-out meals), but you'll reduce your stockpile of overflowing pantry items without spending any extra money.</p> <p><em>Do you have more pantry tricks that have saved you big? I'd love to hear your tips. Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">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-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</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-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash">How to Organize Your Pantry and Save Cash</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/avoid-dinner-stress-pay-someone-to-plan-your-meals">Avoid Dinner Stress: Pay Someone to Plan Your Meals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-and-healthy-filler-foods">9 Cheap and Healthy Filler Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-hardest-working-foods-in-your-pantry">The 10 Most Versatile Foods in Your Pantry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Organization cupboards food storage groceries meal planning pantry Wed, 09 Dec 2015 16:00:25 +0000 Mikey Rox 1618563 at http://www.wisebread.com