saving money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/165/all en-US What's Better: Less Debt or More Savings? http://www.wisebread.com/whats-better-less-debt-or-more-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/whats-better-less-debt-or-more-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit_card_money_138077193.jpg" alt="Wondering if less debt or more savings is better" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money advice can be confusing. Financial planners say that you should pay off high-interest debt &mdash; especially credit card debt &mdash; as quickly as possible. They also say that you should build an emergency fund you can use for repairs to a busted transmission or a leaking water heater. But what if you have just enough money in your emergency fund to pay off all your credit cards? Doesn't your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">high-interest credit card debt</a> qualify as an emergency?</p> <p>You might be surprised to hear that no, you should not spend your whole emergency fund on credit card debt. The better approach is to use <em>some</em> of your savings to pay off a chunk of your debt, while still keeping a reserve stashed away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>An emergency fund can help you avoid debt</h2> <p>Emptying all of your savings to pay off your credit card debt might feel good. But having an emergency fund is key to avoiding more high-interest debt in the future.</p> <p>Financial pros recommend that you build an emergency fund large enough to cover three to six months' worth of daily living expenses, but that's just the bare minimum. An emergency fund that can cover a year of daily living expenses is better.</p> <p>You might not realize just how badly you need this cash reserve until an expensive emergency pops up. Say your roof suddenly needs replacing, or your water heater calls it quits. Without any savings, you'll probably turn to credit cards to pay your contractors. Now, you'll have to pay interest on the repair.</p> <p>Or, what if you unexpectedly lose your job? Most people don't find new employment overnight. A job hunt can take months, and your emergency fund can help pay for your daily living expenses in the meantime. Without an emergency fund, a job loss could have you trying to use credit cards to pay for everything from groceries to filling your car's gas tank. And that could lead to a mountain of future debt.</p> <h2>The better approach to paying down high-interest debt</h2> <p>You <em>can </em>use your savings to help pay down credit card debt. The key is to use only some of the money, never depleting or critically draining the fund.</p> <p>Say you have $15,000 saved in an emergency fund, and $12,000 of credit card debt. Maybe you could withdraw $6,000 from your savings to cut your credit card debt in half. That will still leave you with $9,000 in savings that you can use to handle any financial emergencies that come your way.</p> <p>After you tackle that large chunk, you can work aggressively to pay off the remainder of your credit card debt on your own. There are several approaches to paying down this debt, two of the most common being the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you" target="_blank">debt avalanche and debt snowball</a> methods.</p> <p>In the avalanche method, you first pay as much as you can each month on your credit card with the highest interest rate, making the minimum payments on your other cards. Once you pay off the card with the highest rate, you begin making larger payments on the card with the next highest rate, and so on until you've paid off all your cards.</p> <p>You can also try the debt snowball method, where you instead focus on first paying off your credit card with the smallest balance, making minimum payments each month on your other cards. Once you pay off your smallest debt, you move on to the card with the next smallest balance and so on, again until you've again paid off all your cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball" target="_blank">6 Secrets to Mastering the Debt Snowball</a>)</p> <p>The avalanche method is the cheapest because you tackle highest-interest debt first. The snowball method, though, comes with a psychological boost: There's a good feeling involved with paying off a debt in full, even if it is a small one. For some people that provides critical motivation for sticking with a debt repayment plan.</p> <p>If you find yourself struggling to handle a large debt repayment effort, you can also try the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-out-of-debt-faster-with-the-debt-snowflake" target="_blank">debt snowflake method</a>. In this approach, you find any minuscule way to shave money off your everyday expenses. You then use those savings to make frequent payments on your credit card debt. It may seem like you aren't doing much, but every payment, no matter how small, makes a difference. You can use this method in conjunction with the snowball or avalanche, too.</p> <p>Choose the approach that works best for you. And remember, as tempting as it might be, don't completely drain your savings. You never know when life will throw a financial emergency at you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-better-less-debt-or-more-savings">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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-a-debt-spiral">5 Ways to Prevent a Debt Spiral</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can 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/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management avalanche method cash reserves credit card debt emergency funds high interest debt saving money snowball method snowflake method Mon, 22 May 2017 08:00:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1950127 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503170570.jpg" alt="Woman ignoring outdated money advice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all received unsolicited financial advice, often from well-meaning relatives and friends. In many cases, this advice is useful. But a lot of &quot;classic&quot; personal finance advice simply hasn't aged well, and is now viewed as flawed. It's just not applicable anymore in today's world.</p> <p>Before you blindly accept any money advice you receive, be sure to do some additional research to find out if the advice is outdated. Here are nine examples of financial tips that may no longer apply.</p> <h2>&quot;Find a good employer and stay forever&quot;</h2> <p>Many of us know an older relative that began working at a company as a teenager and then retired from that same firm four decades later. Often, they walked away with a sizable pension and even health benefits for life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a>)</p> <p>This doesn't happen much anymore. Job security is not what it once was. A decline in labor unions means that guaranteed annual pay increases are a thing of the past. And a pension? Forget it.</p> <p>There's a lot of evidence now that switching jobs periodically will result in higher pay increases. And with the introduction of 401(k) plans, retirement savings are portable when your employer changes.</p> <h2>&quot;Pay off all of your debt as soon as you can&quot;</h2> <p>This is not so much &quot;bad&quot; advice, it's just less than ideal. Yes, it's a fine goal to remain as close to debt-free as possible, but in the current environment, carrying <em>some </em>kinds of low-interest debt may be more beneficial for you in the long run.</p> <p>Let's say you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and were fortunate enough to lock in a low 3.5 percent interest rate. Let's also say stock market returns are averaging 7 percent per year. Over time, you're going to be better off using any extra money you have to invest in stocks rather than pay off your loan early. Generally speaking, if your investment returns outpace current interest rates, there's not much incentive to pay off debt early.</p> <h2>&quot;Technology is a fad&quot;</h2> <p>There was a time when some of the most savvy investors dismissed many tech stocks because they didn't understand them. The bubble collapse of advertising-dependent dot-com companies in the late 1990s didn't help the image of this sector. But there's no denying the fact that investing in technology companies with solid business models has been a clear path to wealth in recent years.</p> <p>All you need to do is look at the incredible returns for companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and others. A full 15 percent of companies in the S&amp;P 500 are technology companies, and they comprise most of the companies traded on the NASDAQ.</p> <p>Tech stocks are still notoriously volatile, but if you ignore the sector completely, you're ignoring some big potential returns.</p> <h2>&quot;Max out your 401(k)&quot;</h2> <p>While there's still little question that you should take advantage of your employer's 401(k) plan, people aren't quite as eager anymore to recommend that you contribute the maximum amount allowed. That's because over time, we've learned that the investment options and fees in many plans are rather lousy.</p> <p>Now, the best advice is to contribute to your 401(k) up to the amount that is matched by your employer. After that, begin contributing as much as you can into a Roth IRA, which offers tax-free growth and a wide array of investment choices.</p> <h2>&quot;Education debt is good debt&quot;</h2> <p>Attending college isn't a bad thing, but don't be cavalier about the impact that student loan debt will have on your financial wellbeing. College costs are increasing, along with stories of students and new grads being weighed down by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p>Carrying this debt can create a ripple effect that impacts your ability to save, purchase a home, or invest. And student loan debt can't be discharged in bankruptcy. Nowadays, any thought of borrowing for school should not be taken lightly.</p> <h2>&quot;Diversify your portfolio with a mix of stocks and bonds&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers have always emphasized diversification, but over time there's evidence that younger investors don't need to devote as much of their portfolio to fixed-income investments. Investing in bonds is useful for people who are nearing retirement age. But if you've got a long way to go before you stop working, you'll be best off with mostly stocks, which will offer much better returns and greater potential to meet your retirement goals.</p> <p>There is more risk and volatility associated with buying stocks, but a long time horizon will give you plenty of time to recoup any losses and then some (especially since people are living longer than ever). If you're not sure what stocks to invest in, pick a simple, low-cost index fund that mirrors the performance of the overall stock market.</p> <h2>&quot;Try to become a millionaire&quot;</h2> <p>There is an enormous amount of mystique surrounding the $1 million mark, and there's no question that saving that amount is something to be proud of. But a million dollars won't carry you as far as it once did. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Being a Millionaire Is Overrated</a>)</p> <p>If you plan to retire at age 60, keep in mind that you need your nest egg to last for 30 years or more. Will $1 million allow you to maintain your lifestyle and pay for things like long-term care? It's certainly possible to retire with $1 million, but you may still have to live conservatively to make the money last.</p> <h2>&quot;Always buy instead of rent&quot;</h2> <p>Homeownership is a powerful thing. It allows you to build equity and get some possible tax breaks while also offering you a place to live. But we've learned in recent years that it's not for everyone.</p> <p>Home prices are sky high in many areas of the country, and having a mortgage payment that's too expensive can make it hard to save for the future or even live comfortably. Remember that just because you qualify for a loan of a certain size doesn't mean that's a sensible loan size for you.</p> <p>The best advice now is to purchase a home if you believe you can make a large down payment and then comfortably make monthly payments while still saving for other future needs. If you're not quite there yet, don't fret. Renting is OK as long as you're still saving, investing, and building your net worth in other ways.</p> <h2>&quot;Buy Coca-Cola stock&quot;</h2> <p>For decades, you'd often hear investors gloat about the consistent, predictably great returns from Coke. Heck, the great <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett" target="_blank">Warren Buffett</a> owns a ton of shares and drinks several Cokes a day.</p> <p>It's still a good company, but anyone who bought Coca-Cola shares in recent years will have seen below-average market returns. Shares have risen just 18 percent in the last five years compared to nearly 70 percent for the S&amp;P 500. Quite simply, the company has had to work very hard to maintain profits in an age when people are increasingly concerned about the health impact of sugary drinks and snacks.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-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/millennial-millionaires-how-the-brokest-generation-can-also-become-the-richest">Millennial Millionaires: How the Brokest Generation Can Also Become the Richest</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-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 401(k) bad advice debt education investing pensions retirement saving money stocks student loans Fri, 19 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1948480 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!) http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-537368113.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to save a ton by eating soup every day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In January I found a sale on Progresso Soup for 99 cents per can, down from it's normal $3.29 price at my local grocery store. It was a huge savings on something we usually buy as a last-minute lunch backup. And since I love soup, this sale was extra exciting to me. It's a veritable soup coup!</p> <p>So, naturally I had to call my husband, Mr. Spendypants, about my glorious, souper duper find.</p> <p>Yes, this is what passes as exciting in our marriage. Don't judge us.</p> <h2>Taking full advantage of our soup savings</h2> <p>We fell into this yummy life hack by accident. My husband and I are currently working opposite schedules, so it's hard to make a more complicated meal that is hot and on the table when both of us are home and hungry. January was so overbooked with work that we agreed to simplify suppertime. Instead of our typical, fancy multicourse dinner, we'd just split a can of soup and eat some homemade bread. To round out the meal, the person who got home first would make a vegetable side from whatever we already had in the fridge.</p> <p>At the end of the week, we were shocked to find that we'd only spent $20 on food for two people.</p> <p>We decided to make our bread and soup dinner a nightly habit for the rest of 2017 as a part of our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year" target="_blank">ongoing budget challenge</a>. You don't have to go to that extreme to realize advantages from a scaled-back version of our plan. And you can improve the nutritional profile by sticking with low-salt, vegetable-laden, and no-cream varieties of canned soup, or making homemade soup. Beyond the price, there are a lot of benefits to our limited menu.</p> <h2>1. It's flexible</h2> <p>My husband and I are committed to bread and soup dinners for a year, but I know our meal plan sounds a little hard-core and weird to anyone who isn't a big soup aficionado already. However, canned soup has a long shelf life, so it's great to have on hand for those particularly busy weeks when every minute counts. Consider stocking your pantry with two weeks' worth of these timesaving dinners to get you through rough patches in your schedule.</p> <p>Also, if automating seven meals a week is going to cause whining at the dinner table, you could always start by automating just one meal a week, to give the family cook a break.</p> <h2>2. It's not boring</h2> <p>One of the reasons why this meal hack works so well for us is that it doesn't get boring. There are approximately a bazillion canned soup varieties to choose from, and even more recipes for homemade soup, so we don't get tired of eating the same thing.</p> <p>To keep dinner costs at a minimum, we have also been careful only to buy produce that is both on sale and in season. This shopping limit has had a secondary effect of keeping our side veggie plate interesting because we can't rely on eating the same fruits and vegetables year-round.</p> <h2>3. It's simple to make</h2> <p>Because we are using canned soup, this is such an easy meal that a 10-year-old could make this with very little supervision. It requires no special tools or cooking skills. Dinner can be ready and on the table within 10 minutes.</p> <p>Want to try homemade? Even if you are a novice cook, it's hard to ruin soup. Ease yourself into cooking from scratch by practicing with some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-and-easy-soup-recipes" target="_blank">basic soup recipes</a>.</p> <h2>4. The numbers are easy to track</h2> <p>The automation aspect of this meal plan makes it easy to budget around. The soup costs about $7 a week. The bread ingredients cost less than 50 cents per loaf, or less than $2 per week. Since we have access to cheap or free produce in our area, we've managed to keep our side salad budget to around $5 per week. Our grocery spending is much more predictable now.</p> <p>Pro Tip: My mother eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an apple every single day for lunch. She knows not only the cost of her lunch, but also the nutritional value and the calorie count. If you want to be super calibrated with your calorie counting and grocery budgeting, you can automate one meal each day to this basic level. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-automate-your-everyday-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Automate Your Everyday Life</a>)</p> <h2>5. It works with almost any budget</h2> <p>We've managed to keep our dinner budget to about $2 per day for two people, but you can make the meal even less expensive if you are in a budget pinch by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-soups-you-can-make-from-leftovers">making your own soup</a>. I saved even more money on our grocery budget this week when a friend gave me a turkey carcass to turn into turkey broth. Also, this month we've been using the weeds out of our backyard as salad ingredients.</p> <h2>6. Homemade soup can be made in bulk in advance</h2> <p>We are currently dining on a lot of canned soup in part because our tiny freezer is packed with food. As we eat through our freezer stash, we are making room for homemade soups. Obviously it takes longer to make soup from scratch than it does to open a can, but it's still very easy to make a huge amount of soup in advance and then freeze it in individual portions. And, because we own a slow cooker, soup is one of those dishes that we can actually make while we sleep!</p> <h2>7. It's easy to scale</h2> <p>Do you have company coming over? Thaw more soup.&nbsp;Are you eating alone? Open a can and put half in the fridge for later.</p> <h2>8. It works with most diets</h2> <p>Because this meal is basically soup and salad, you can tailor it to your own dietary needs or available pantry supplies.&nbsp;If you don't like bread, substitute potatoes, rice, or another inexpensive grain dish for the bread.</p> <h2>9. It increases vegetable intake</h2> <p>Since my husband and I are borderline vegetarians, our new canned soup habit has actually increased our meat consumption. That said, the average American does not eat enough vegetables, and soup is an easy way to up your vegetable servings. Obviously, vegetarian soups like gazpacho or Turkish lentil soup will increase your vegetable intake the most, but even canned chicken noodle soups provide between 10 percent and 50 percent of the daily value for vitamin A.</p> <h2>10. It reduces stress</h2> <p>There's no decision fatigue with this meal. The only thing we have to think about is finding another sale on soup before we run out. Luckily, soup goes on sale pretty regularly, so we've already re-upped our supply twice.</p> <p>Also, because our menu planning is simple and clear, shopping requires no forethought. Our shopping list consists of: milk, coffee, soup, tea, bread-making ingredients, and the least expensive vegetables in the store that week.</p> <h2>11. It saves on food waste</h2> <p>One side effect of our extremely tight dinner budget is that we are not tempted to buy more food than we can eat in a week.</p> <p>Also, soup is the perfect vehicle to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-night-soup-delicious-soup-from-leftovers" target="_blank">transform leftovers</a> into a delicious second meal. Even unattractive food like wilted lettuce, broccoli stems, and stale bread can all be converted to soup or added to pre-made canned soup to stretch it further.</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/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">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/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</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-122-no-fuss-dinner-ideas-thatll-save-you-money">Flashback Friday: 122 No-Fuss Dinner Ideas That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping budgeting dinner ideas Food groceries grocery shopping tricks meal planning saving money soup Fri, 19 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Max Wong 1950125 at http://www.wisebread.com Does Your Net Worth Even Matter? http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-net-worth-even-matter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-your-net-worth-even-matter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-672689634.jpg" alt="Woman wondering if her net worth even matters" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you know your net worth? That's how much is left after subtracting your liabilities from the total value of your cash and assets.</p> <p>At first glance, figuring out how much you're worth may seem pointless. You're probably not going to bump Warren Buffett or Bill Gates from their spots on any &quot;World's Wealthiest People&quot; list anytime soon. But no matter how much you earn, knowing your net worth is important.</p> <p>Here are three reasons why monitoring your net worth can help you manage money better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your net worth doesn't lie</h2> <p>In our culture, it's easy to convince ourselves that we're doing better with money than we actually are. We can finance nice cars, pay for the latest fashions with plastic, and even &quot;buy&quot; a more expensive home than we can realistically afford. But our net worth tells it like it is, and that can be a very helpful financial wake-up call.</p> <p>In the personal finance classic, <a href="http://amzn.to/2qjAM5i" target="_blank">The Millionaire Next Door</a>, authors Thomas Stanley and William Danko draw an important distinction between people who look wealthy but aren't (they call them &quot;Big Hat, No Cattle&quot;), and those who don't look wealthy but are (where the title of their book came from). If you're going to build wealth, it's far better to be in the latter group.</p> <p>The concept of being unassumingly wealthy is also known as &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-stealth-wealth-is-the-best-wealth" target="_blank">stealth wealth</a>,&quot; and it's a lifestyle worth striving for. People with &quot;stealth wealth&quot; maintain a high net worth by avoiding dumping their cash into shallow, depreciative purchases. Their modest approach to money management allows them to achieve such dreams as early retirement, entrepreneurship, traveling the world, and more.</p> <p>After calculating your net worth, ask yourself: Do I look wealthier than I am, or am I wealthier than I look?</p> <h2>2. Your net worth shows whether you're making progress</h2> <p>To be sure, there are other ways to define your life and determine whether you're moving forward or backward. Tallying your net worth each year, however, and monitoring the trend that develops can be very helpful. If you're going to build a nest egg large enough to support your family in your later years, you need that trend to be moving in an upward direction.</p> <p>Earning more each year and increasing your standard of living may make you feel like you're getting ahead, but an increase in your net worth will show if you actually are.</p> <p>Of course, there will be occasional down years. The recession of 2007 to 2009 erased a lot of wealth, but those who didn't panic eventually recovered &mdash; and then some.</p> <h2>3. Your net worth helps you pinpoint financial issues</h2> <p>Each time you calculate your net worth (a natural time to do so is at the end of each year), don't just retain the bottom line number. Keep the components.</p> <p>On the asset side, track the value of your home (Zillow will give you an estimate), your retirement savings, other savings, the value of your car(s), and other assets. Then look at changes within each asset.</p> <p>With our household's retirement accounts, I don't just record the balance. I also record how much we contributed each year and how much our investments earned. How much we contribute is much more under our control than the returns we earn. I want to at least make sure we're doing our part. The earnings side is important as well. If you see year after year of meager returns, it's probably time to re-evaluate your investing process.</p> <p>On the liabilities side, track how much you owe on your house and other debts, such as vehicle and student loans. This annual exercise will provide a helpful reminder to perhaps put more focus on getting out of debt or make sure you're on track to be mortgage-free at least by the time you retire.</p> <h2>The big picture</h2> <p>To a great degree, net worth is an &quot;internal&quot; metric. It's mostly about how you're doing now compared to how you were doing last year and the year before.</p> <p>If you'd like more context, <em>The Millionaire Next Door</em> has an interesting way of defining &quot;wealthy.&quot; Whereas many people think of someone who has a net worth of $1 million or more as wealthy, Stanley and Danko's definition created more of a level playing field for people across the spectra of age and income: multiply your age times your annual pretax household income, divide by 10, and then subtract any inherited wealth. That, they said, is what your net worth should be.</p> <p>If you have significantly more than that, you have a low-consumption, high-wealth-building lifestyle and you're considered wealthy for someone of your age and income. If your net worth is significantly less than that, you're probably consuming too much of your income and investing too little. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-net-worth-even-matter">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-high-is-your-score-on-the-most-important-measure-of-wealth">How High Is Your Score on the Most Important Measure of Wealth?</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/these-13-numbers-are-the-keys-to-understanding-your-finances">These 13 Numbers Are the Keys to Understanding Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-assets-costing-you-too-much">Are Your Assets Costing You Too Much?</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-quiet-millionaire-parts-4-5-building-your-net-worth">The Quiet Millionaire: Parts 4 &amp; 5 - Building Your Net Worth</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-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance assets cash debts income investments liabilities metric net worth saving money wealth Wed, 17 May 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1947498 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains http://www.wisebread.com/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-613338282.jpg" alt="Woman finding great bargains at unusual stores" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes it pays to go off the beaten path in search of bargains. Shopping in a specialized market with fewer buyers puts the law of supply and demand to work in your favor. When I talk about the nice mountain bike that I bought for $7.50, people want to know where I found a deal like that. Here's a hint &mdash; it wasn't at a bike shop where most people buy bikes!</p> <p>Here are some unusual stores where you may be able to find some of the greatest bargains.</p> <h2>1. Military surplus store</h2> <p>Military surplus stores sell new and used military items, often at much lower prices than sporting goods stores or home improvement stores. Check the smell of fabric items, as some items may be musty from storage.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Rope, camouflage netting and material for outdoor projects, footlockers, unique storage containers, and affordable gear for camping/hiking/outdoor adventuring.</p> <h2>2. Amish market</h2> <p>An Amish market is a store or open air market run by members of the Amish religion who are known for their simple lifestyle and high quality workmanship. These markets feature high quality products at very reasonable prices. Bring cash, as some Amish markets do not take credit cards. You may need to check out the market in person since some do not have websites.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Cheese, meat, produce, hand crafted items, soup mixes in Mason jars, honey, and homemade candy.</p> <h2>3. Pawnshop</h2> <p>A pawnshop takes valuable items as collateral for loans, and sometimes the shop ends up selling these items when loans are not paid back. Check out items carefully before buying since returns may not be accepted. A photo ID may be required to make purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-objects-to-pawn?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 7 Best Objects to Pawn</a>)</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Leather jackets, bicycles, tools, jewelry, musical instruments, and binoculars.</p> <h2>4. Auctions</h2> <p>Buyers bid on items for sale at an auction, and the highest bidder gets to buy the item. Auction houses are businesses that hold auctions on a regular basis &mdash; typically every week. Auctions are also held at estate sales and going-out-of-business sales to liquidate items quickly since everything gets sold during the auction. Use <a href="http://www.auctionzip.com/" target="_blank">AuctionZip.com</a> to find auctions in your area to attend.</p> <p>Set a maximum price in your head before the bidding starts &mdash; it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of bidding and spend more than you planned. I bought the $7.50 mountain bike I mentioned at an auction in January.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Almost any used items: furniture, collectibles, antiques, tools, appliances, and vehicles.</p> <h2>5. Unclaimed Baggage Center</h2> <p>Airlines sell unclaimed baggage to the <a href="https://www.unclaimedbaggage.com" target="_blank">Unclaimed Baggage Center</a> where items are sold at a retail store in Scottsboro, Alabama. Don't miss a chance to check this out unique store if you are passing through the area.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Luggage, books, clothing, jewelry, sporting goods, electronics, and cameras.</p> <h2>6. Sales for property seized by governments and the TSA</h2> <p>Surplus office equipment, weapons seized at airports, jewelry and vehicles confiscated by police departments, and many other treasures are up for auction in almost every state. You can find lists of auction sites on a handful of websites, including <a href="http://www.eyeflare.com/article/where-buy-goods-confiscated-tsa/" target="_blank">eyeflare.com</a> and <a href="https://www.govsales.gov/govsales/govsales/" target="_blank">govsales.gov</a>. While many sales let you to go and view the items in person, plenty hold online auctions, too, allowing you to bid for items without ever leaving home.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Vehicles, office equipment and furniture, knives, electronics, and clothing</p> <h2>7. Consignment shop</h2> <p>Consignment shops sell items previously owned by customers, and share the sale price with the original owner. Learn the codes on price tags for markdown dates. Many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-deals-to-look-for-at-pawn-shops-thrift-shops-and-other-weird-stores" target="_blank">consignment stores drop prices</a> significantly after an item has been on the shelf for a certain period, such as 30 days. Consignment stores are also great places to sell your unwanted items to pick up some cash.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Almost any used item: housewares, clothing, furniture, sporting goods, books, and CDs.</p> <h2>8. Habitat Restore</h2> <p>People and businesses donate building materials and home improvement items to Habitat Restore, which are sold at very reasonable prices to fund Habitat for Humanity charitable projects. The selection varies, so multiple trips may be needed to find what you need.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Doors, mirrors, lighting fixtures, paint, building materials, and plumbing supplies.</p> <h2>9. Landfill salvage and recycling areas</h2> <p>Some landfills and junkyards set aside items that people may want and give them away (or sell them for a nominal fee). Check websites of local landfills and junkyards to see if they have salvaged materials.</p> <h3>What to buy</h3> <p>Bikes, building materials, mulch, and compost.</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/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">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/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">6 Things It&#039;s Better to Buy at the Last Minute</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-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</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-classic-impulse-buys-we-need-to-stop-falling-for">10 Classic Impulse Buys We Need to Stop Falling For</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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping auction farmers market pawnshop saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks surplus store thrift store unusual stores Tue, 16 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1945351 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things It's Better to Buy at the Last Minute http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-543665766.jpg" alt="Woman learning things it&#039;s better to buy at the last minute" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you an anxious planner when it comes to deals? Me too! But sometimes, acting <em>strategically spontaneous</em> can be rewarding. The early bird doesn't always get the worm. Here are six things it's better to buy at the absolute last minute.</p> <h2>1. Hotel rooms</h2> <p>Sometimes planning a vacation is the best part of the process. But if you want to get a deal, it may pay to be a little late to pull the trigger. With apps like Hotels Tonight, or discount-minded broker sites like Booking.com, it's easier than ever to book a last-minute stay. This is especially true at the nicer three-stars-and-above hotels, which are more expensive. They tend to have lots of vacancy on Sundays and weeknights, so if you can handle the uncertainty of waiting until the last minute, you could score really posh lodgings. </p> <p>The downside is that you may end up with your second or third choice of hotel if your favorite option sells out before you can snag a deal, but it's still likely that you'll end up with more value for your buck when you scoop up unbooked inventory at the eleventh hour.</p> <h2>2. Show tickets</h2> <p>From sporting events to plays, there are ways to sneak in under the wire and get a last-minute deal. An empty seat is lost money, so venues would rather sell a last-minute ticket at a discount than lose that revenue altogether. Take advantage by buying your sports tickets one to three days before the game using sites like SeatGeek. For music and theater shows, wait until the day of. The best deals await you at the box office &mdash; visit once they open to inquire about discount remainder tickets.</p> <h2>3. Farmers market fare</h2> <p>After a long morning of selling fruit, veggies, cheese, and other perishables, farmers market stalls are eager to sell everything. That means when 2 p.m. rolls around, deals can be made. This is especially true for produce, meat, and dairy &mdash; items that will likely be a hassle to repack and transport, or may perish en route &mdash; so they'll want to unload them fast. Swoop in to make your offer, and they will likely accept. You'll finally be able to afford items that are sometimes not worth the extra expense otherwise. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-this-not-that-at-the-farmers-market?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Buy This &mdash; Not That &mdash; at the Farmers Market</a>)</p> <h2>4. Cruises</h2> <p>Cruises remain a very popular and cost-effective way to enjoy an all-inclusive vacation. Nevertheless, many ships don't fill up to 100 percent capacity, so it's a great opportunity to get an even better deal on a cruise. Especially good times for deals are right before or after a major peak holiday, and during hurricane season, but sometimes you can even get lucky on a cruise during peak time.</p> <p>You may have to settle for a cruise that ends in a different port than you departed from, or you might need to take more time off for a longer cruise, if that's what's available during your last-minute buying window. Still, you might get lucky!</p> <h2>5. Flights</h2> <p>Despite the unpredictable nature of plane tickets, there are so many flights daily that it is still possible to get lucky with a last-minute fare. If you live near a hub, you can be especially lucky. Use Google Flights regularly to check in on your options. They do a good job of sorting through the best costs and departure times. Southwest has sales all the time, so if the time is right, pounce! Tuesdays are ideal to shop if you're buying flights for the coming weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>6. Holiday gifts</h2> <p>Are you someone who buys all your presents early and gets mad at your partner for waiting until Christmas Eve to shop? Well, maybe they're onto something. Sure, there are lots of deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but at many big box and department stores, the better deals on the stuff you want happen the week of Christmas. Coats, pajamas, boots, appliances, holiday-themed merchandise, undersold video game consoles, and more get deep discounts. At drugstores, you may see stocking stuffers like candy, toys, and bath gift baskets move to the clearance aisle, too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-its-better-to-buy-at-the-last-minute">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/9-unusual-stores-where-you-can-find-great-bargains">9 Unusual Stores Where You Can Find Great Bargains</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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole 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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</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/people-are-still-spending-too-much-on-their-weddings">People Are Still Spending Too Much on Their Weddings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping booking flights last-minute shopping saving money shopping tips Shopping Tricks Spending Money travel tips Fri, 05 May 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1940413 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed http://www.wisebread.com/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-626693162.jpg" alt="Man learning budget overhaul tricks for the recently unemployed" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Losing your job is an overwhelming experience. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional and psychological fallout of being let go, but you also have to quickly figure out how to survive financially until you land a new job.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are some budgeting tricks that even the most budget-averse can use to stretch their dollars after a job loss. Here are five tips that can help you make the most of your finances while you are unemployed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-debt-while-unemployed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Manage Debt While Unemployed</a>)</p> <h2>Cut spending from easiest to hardest</h2> <p>The trick to an effective budget overhaul is to start your cuts with the expenses you care the least about. Freeing up money that is going to budget items you don't care about is much easier than having to restructure your life by moving to a cheaper place or selling your car. So it is always smart to start with the easy cuts, and move up the chain to the ones that are harder to cut.</p> <h3>1. Cancel unused subscriptions</h3> <p>Subscription-based companies are a huge part of our economy right now, and many companies make their money through subscription services their customers no longer use. You are probably aware of your subscriptions to services such as Audible or Stitch Fix if you use them often, but if you're like many consumers, you're still paying for older subscriptions you've forgotten you signed up for.</p> <p>Taking a couple of hours to comb through your statements to find unused subscription charges and cancel them can free up a surprising amount of money without you having to give up anything you need or use. Even if you are unwilling to do the work of canceling these subscriptions yourself, apps like Trim and Truebill will do the work for you for free.</p> <h3>2. Reduce necessary expenses</h3> <p>Once you've taken care of the expenses that you didn't know you had, you can start working on reducing your necessary expenses &mdash; without eliminating them entirely. In particular:</p> <ul> <li>Cut your cellphone bill by reducing your data plan. Not only will you probably be using less data while you are job hunting from home, but you may already be paying for more data than you need. Android and iPhone users can download the free My Data Manager app to track their data usage.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Call your internet or cable company to downgrade your package. Canceling cable is the standard advice for saving money, and for a good reason &mdash; it's an easy place to trim budget fat. However, even if you don't have cable, you can often negotiate a lower price with your internet service provider simply by asking. When you call, know the lowest going rate your provider is offering to new subscribers, as well as the rates of the competition. Mention that you are a loyal customer for however many years, and ask for some price consideration. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 TV Must-Haves Once You Cut the Cable Cord</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Reduce your energy bills by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shrink-your-utility-bill-by-plugging-these-surprising-home-energy-leaks" target="_blank">plugging energy leaks</a>, lowering (or raising) your thermostat, and using your appliances more efficiently.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lower your food bill by reducing or eliminating dining out, and by following the rules of frugal grocery shopping: eat beforehand, make a list and stick to it, and shop your pantry before you go to the store.</li> </ul> <h3>3. Call your creditors</h3> <p>If you have a student loan, it's a good idea to call your lender let them know of your job loss. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway" target="_blank">Federal student loans offer options</a> for hitting the pause button on your payments if you are struggling financially. While there are no such options for private loans, calling your lender and explaining the situation can still potentially get you a reduction in your monthly payment. Creditors would prefer to have you be proactive about a financial hiccup than have to get in touch with you after you miss a payment.</p> <p>You can make a similar call to your credit card issuer if you are unable to afford the minimum payment. Many banks will work with you if you explain the situation and propose some sort of repayment plan. They may even waive fees and reduce your interest rate. You may also want to request that they report your payments as on time to the credit bureaus. They can always say no, but it's worth asking.</p> <p>Just be aware that many of these actions will mean you are spending more for your loan overall, because they will increase your repayment timeline. If this will give you the breathing room you need until you find another job, it will certainly be worth it, but be mindful of the long-term consequences. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks to Consolidating Your Debt and Saving Money</a>)</p> <h3>4. Negotiate your rent payment</h3> <p>Even though your rent payment may seem like it's a take-it-or-it leave amount, there is often some wiggle room, especially if you are a reliable tenant and have plans to stay where you are for a while. The best way to accomplish this is by asking your landlord for a longer-term lease in exchange for a discount on your rent. That can be a win-win for both of you.</p> <h3>5. Slash your car payment</h3> <p>Having a car payment is a tough Catch-22 when you are unemployed. Unless you live in a place like New York City, you generally need the car to be able to effectively search for a job and show up to interviews. But without a job, the payments can be overwhelming.</p> <p>If you have good credit, your lender may be willing to let you adjust your loan by extending the term to lower the monthly payment. This helps you keep your car and lower your monthly expenses, although it will increase the amount you pay overall for the life of the loan.</p> <p>If eliminating the expense of the car payment will make a big difference to your unemployment budget, then it might be a good idea to sell the car. This option is best if it will enable you to secure other transportation. In some cases, car owners with enough equity in their cars can sell it off and buy an inexpensive used car for cash.</p> <h2>Know what luxuries you need to keep going</h2> <p>After a major financial setback, many people are tempted to cut every expense to the bone in an attempt to stretch their money as far as it'll go. While you certainly do need to cut back and be mindful of how you spend your money, an austerity budget can be a mistake because it can be next-to-impossible to adhere to. The minute you cheat a little bit on your budget, it triggers the <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/changepower/201111/beware-the-what-the-hell-effect-especially-holidays" target="_blank">&quot;what-the-hell&quot; effect</a>, wherein you think that you've already screwed up your budget a little, so why not screw it up a lot?</p> <p>In addition, being unemployed and looking for a job is emotionally taxing. If you cut out every little luxury, then you'll have less emotional bandwidth to keep up the difficult slog of applying for jobs.</p> <p>So it's a good idea to maintain a small line item in your budget for a luxury that will help sustain you through the unemployment. For example, you might maintain your gym membership, so you can keep working out and enjoying the mood-enhancing effects of endorphins. Or you could keep the occasional happy hour with friends, so you can stay connected with your favorite people or former colleagues (who may even provide knowledge that could help you find your next job).</p> <p>The important thing to remember about these types of luxuries is that they do need to be small line items. There is a difference between sustaining yourself and indulging yourself, and you need to keep that difference in mind until you find a new job.</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/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of 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/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole 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/when-self-care-actually-harms-your-budget">When Self-Care Actually Harms Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Job Hunting budget budget tips budget tricks out of work saving money Spending Money unemployment Wed, 03 May 2017 07:49:36 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1938922 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only Money Advice You'll Actually Listen To http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-money-advice-youll-actually-listen-to <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-money-advice-youll-actually-listen-to" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538595650.jpg" alt="Woman hearing the only money advice she&#039;ll listen to" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial advice is not a one-size-fits all thing. Certain money tips &mdash; even those you read on this site &mdash; just won't apply to you. Don't get disheartened if this is the case. The trick is finding advice that you can directly implement in your own unique life circumstances. That's the advice you'll listen to, use, and benefit from the most.</p> <p>How do you go about finding this best advice?</p> <h2>Advice that suits your lifestyle</h2> <p>Whatever financial advice you take has to align with your priorities, interests, and how you want to live. Otherwise, it probably won't work.</p> <p>If you're a die-hard foodie, for example, trying to follow money advice that says you should cut out all food indulgences probably feels like torture. Or, how often do you hear money pros advise you to eliminate your morning latte? If you're a coffee lover, that often-touted tip is probably a total turnoff.</p> <p>That's not an excuse to completely disregard anything you don't want to hear &mdash; you may be able to sacrifice more of those splurges than you realize at first. But you'll need to tailor the advice to fit in at least some of those things most important to you, or you won't follow it at all.</p> <p>The same thing applies to your general lifestyle, too. For instance, there are a number of financial gurus out there who advocate a cash budget system. My husband and I have read all of this. We understand why cash works, how you're likely to spend less if you have to hand over paper, and how the system has saved people's financial lives.</p> <p>But the advice just doesn't work for us. We don't have easy access to a fee-free ATM or a bank branch. We don't like carrying cash or having it around the house. We choose our credit cards consciously, based on benefits.</p> <p>So, we don't take that advice. We know it won't work for us, so we don't waste our time trying to force it. On the other hand, we always use our credit cards responsibly and pay them off each month, because that does work for the life we live. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>Advice from a person you can respect</h2> <p>It doesn't matter how sound the advice is. If you can't respect the person giving it, you won't follow it.</p> <p>When you're looking for someone to listen to about money, don't just look at what they say &mdash; look at who they are. At the very least, make sure the person seems to have integrity, that they practice what they preach, and that they are well respected within their community.</p> <p>Your best friend may be a great person, but if she's always in debt, she's probably not the best person to give you savings suggestions. Relatives may have their own agendas and biases that make their advice unsound for you.</p> <p>Although professionals aren't infallible, they are disinterested parties that can usually give you objective advice. If it's a professional whose advice you read or hear about in the media, make sure they've got adequate credentials &mdash; either they've had personal experience in the subject they're talking about, or better yet, they have certifications that show they've studied the subject intensively.</p> <p>If it's a professional you pay, those certifications are even more important. And be sure to understand how they're being compensated (are they fee-only, or commission-based?) so you know whether they are being financially swayed by anything other than your best interest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who to Hire: Financial Planner or Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <h2>Advice in the right media format</h2> <p>Financial advice is available in almost every medium, so choose the one that's easiest for you to digest. After all, you have to understand and implement the advice in order for it to be valuable.</p> <p>Some people like their financial advice in bite-sized snippets. If this is you, read a blog or website that features easy-to-read articles about money. If you prefer reading longer arguments and counterarguments, find a personal finance book.</p> <p>Maybe you don't like to read at all, but would instead rather watch or listen. No problem: Check out a podcast or browse YouTube. Trust me, what you need is out there, you just have to search for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-classic-personal-finance-books-you-must-read?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 8 Classic Personal Finance Books You Must Read</a>)</p> <h2>Advice that's memorable</h2> <p>Financial advice doesn't just need to be a good fit for you &mdash; it also has to be something you can easily remember and use on the fly. If it doesn't stick in your brain, it's not going to help you with your finances. You'll forget you ever read or heard it, and go right back to your old money ways.</p> <p>What makes advice memorable depends on &mdash; you guessed it &mdash; you. Do you like humor? Find some advice that's doled out with wit. Prefer deep thought? Find a financial philosopher. Like facts and figures? There are analysts and advisers who will run those numbers for you.</p> <p>Trust me: There is solid financial advice out there for you that fits your preferences and lifestyle. You just have to find it.</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/the-only-money-advice-youll-actually-listen-to">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-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</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-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</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-8-classic-personal-finance-books-you-must-read">The 8 Classic Personal Finance Books You Must Read</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-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle advice advisers blogs books effectiveness saving money tips Tue, 02 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1938307 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Kinds of Critics Every Frugal Person Meets http://www.wisebread.com/6-kinds-of-critics-every-frugal-person-meets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-kinds-of-critics-every-frugal-person-meets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-667652764.jpg" alt="Learning about the kinds of critics every frugal person meets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As someone who enjoys living a frugal lifestyle, you will meet a myriad of people on your quest to save a buck. Some are great. Others, well, not so much. But they can all be identified by their common traits. Here are six types of frugal critics you are guaranteed to come across on your money-saving adventures.</p> <h2>1. The cheapskate</h2> <p>There is a big difference between someone who is frugal, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap" target="_blank">someone who is cheap</a>. Frugal people are generous. They spend money. They just like to get a lot of bang for their buck, and they don't like to pay full price if they can avoid it. Cheapskates, on the other hand, are real scrooges. They don't spend money. They don't like to share. They nickel-and-dime you on everything. And they think you're both the same.</p> <h2>2. The favor hound</h2> <p>You're frugal. You're good at it. And the favor hound knows it. That's why they're always bugging you to help them get deals. Morning, noon, and night, they have no qualms about texting you to find an online coupon for a new pair of sunglasses. They want you there when they're buying a car. They insist on speaking to you before buying, well, anything. At first, it can be flattering. But after a while, it wears you down, until you stop answering their calls and duck behind the cheese display when you see them in the grocery store.</p> <h2>3. The bill splitter</h2> <p>They have money, they like to spend it, and they really don't care what you think. This is all well and good when they're spending their own money, but when you're doing anything together, it becomes a nightmare. Go on vacation with them, and they want the best hotel room, in the fanciest part of town, with all the bells and whistles. Eating out, they'll order the steak and lobster when you order soup and a salad, and yet they want to split the bill right down the middle. They ask you to go halves on a birthday gift for a coworker, and then buy an iWatch that costs $300. You have to set strict limits with a bill splitter, or they'll go crazy with your cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-habits-you-should-never-apologize-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Money-Saving Habits You Should Never Apologize For</a>)</p> <h2>4. The one-upper</h2> <p>You may be good at saving money, but the one-upper will beat you every time &mdash; and they'll make sure you know about it.</p> <p>&quot;Oh, you got that watch for 70 percent off, huh? Well guess what, I got two of those last week for a buck. In fact, the store paid me to take the watches off their hands.&quot;</p> <p>If you save money, they save more. If you get something for nothing, they get twice as much for even less. For some reason, the one-upper seems to think that you actually care about all of this. But you don't. You're saving money, and you're doing just fine. If they really are saving more (and it often feels like a bunch of exaggerations) then good for them.</p> <h2>5. The shamer</h2> <p>Maybe it's a little envy, or maybe you make this person feel uncomfortable, or even guilty. But whatever the reason, &quot;the Shamer&quot; is quite vocal about your frugal ways, especially around friends and gatherings.</p> <p>&quot;Oh, don't ask this one to get the drinks, they'll probably come from the dumpster out back!&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Word of warning, Scrooge over here won't want to split the check.&quot;</p> <p>This is, of course, not accurate. Frugal people are careful with their money, but not misers. It won't stop the shamer from making you feel like you'd sell your grandma for a buck, though.</p> <h2>6. The tempter</h2> <p>If you're on a diet, there will always be someone egging you on to slip and have a bite of chocolate cake. If you're quitting alcohol for the month, someone will encourage you to have &quot;just one.&quot; The same applies to the frugal shopper. You will have that friend who wants you to splash out, because it makes them feel better about their own purchases.</p> <p>&quot;Come on, let's go out to eat at lunchtime, leave your packed lunch in the fridge.&quot;</p> <p>It can be very easy to accept their offers, but it's a slippery slope. Stay strong, and stick to your frugal guns.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-kinds-of-critics-every-frugal-person-meets">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/10-money-saving-habits-you-should-never-apologize-for">10 Money-Saving Habits You Should Never Apologize For</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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole 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/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</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/13-ways-to-save-money-that-go-too-far">13 Ways to Save Money That Go Too Far</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living cheapskate frugal lifestyle frugal people haters people you'll meet saving money shopping Spending Money Tue, 02 May 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Paul Michael 1938293 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-537954141.jpg" alt="Woman shopping for food once a month and saving big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've changed my grocery shopping habits quite dramatically, and it's really paid off. First, I've saved several hundred dollars on food in a single month. And beyond that, I've saved a ton of time. What exactly did I do? Well, I started shopping for the majority of my groceries on just one day each month. It may sound overwhelming, but it's definitely doable, and has worked well for my family.</p> <p>Here's how you can try this method, too.</p> <h2>Take stock</h2> <p>Before I even began meal planning or thinking about shopping, I took a look around my pantry and refrigerator shelves. We actually did a &quot;use-it-up&quot; meal week before the big shop. We ate the remaining pasta, cooked all the beans, and snacked on that rogue pudding cup in the back of the fridge. You know, just so we'd be down to basically nothing.</p> <p>You don't have to clear out all your food to get planning. Still, it's a good idea to take stock of what you have before you start making grocery lists. That way you'll avoid buying duplicates. Heck, you may also realize that you mindlessly pick up a can of salsa or jar of jam every week even though you don't need them.</p> <h2>Begin meal planning</h2> <p>After you've assessed your situation, you can get to meal planning. This part of the process is the most important. It may even be the most time consuming. Taking time to plan your meals, though, is the key to success. You don't want to buy a mega load of groceries and then not know what to do with them.</p> <p>What I do is sort of old school. I have a regular notebook and I write down the number of weekdays and weekends for that month. From there, I'll start planning the dinners. I write out how many we'll cook at home and how many nights we might eat out (or be out of town, in meetings, etc.).</p> <p>Last month, I ended up with a total of 23 dinners at home.</p> <p>Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are a bit different. We tend to fall into habits with those. I'll eat oatmeal every day, my daughter likes cereal, and my husband noshes on eggs and toast for breakfast. On weekends, we may do something like pancakes.</p> <p>Lunches are pretty much the same: PBJ, pretzels, and applesauce for my daughter. My husband packs salads and big Greek yogurt creations. I usually eat leftovers. The baby eats bits of what we eat since she only just started eating solid foods.</p> <h2>How to plan your meals</h2> <p>So, how exactly can you plan meals efficiently? We have a running list of the dinners that have been hits in our house. I'd say there are 15-20 meals on this list. When I'm meal planning, I choose maybe six of these meals to incorporate into our month.</p> <p>For example, we may do something like this for our 23 dinners:</p> <ul> <li>Breakfast for dinner x 4 nights</li> <li>Slow cooker chili x 4 nights</li> <li>Homemade pizza x 4 nights</li> <li>Sloppy lentil sandwiches x 4 nights</li> <li>Tofu stir-fry x 4 nights</li> <li>Slow cooker chickpea curry x 3 nights</li> </ul> <p>From there, I go through the recipes (they may be in my head or on a website, but it's helpful to actually look at them) and write down the ingredients I'll need for each. It can be helpful to pick recipes that use similar ingredients, so you can take advantage of bulk pricing, if available. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fruits-and-veggies-that-stay-fresh-a-month-or-longer?ref=seealso" target="_blank"> 10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Good a Month or Longer</a>)</p> <h2>Pick a day and a store</h2> <p>Choose a day for your big shop when you have plenty of time and energy. For some, this may be the weekend. I am able to do my big shop during the week, so I avoid the crowds. I also try to leave my kids at home if I can.</p> <p>You may not want to go to just one grocery store for this shop, either. I hit up Aldi and Wegmans and sometimes a bulk place like Sam's or BJ's. Where I go has a lot to do with what's on our meal plan and my knowledge of prices. Aldi wins out on most items. I've seen their eggs as low as 70 cents for a dozen. Their Greek yogurt prices can't be beat and I buy six tubs of it at a time. They also carry avocados for a fraction of the price I can find them anywhere else. I can't say enough wonderful things about Aldi.</p> <p>But there are some things, like our favorite huge jars of organic peanut butter, that I like to buy at Wegmans. Tofu isn't an item I've seen at Aldi, so I buy a three-pack of that at Wegmans, as well. They also have certain bulk items, like lentils, beans, etc.</p> <p>Find the best prices in your area and choose where you'll go from there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a>)</p> <h2>Set aside funds</h2> <p>For our monthly shop, we set aside $350 for our family of two adults, one kid, and one baby. We also set aside $150 each month for grocery trips throughout the month, when needed. That's to buy things that spoil more easily, like milk or certain produce (berries come to mind). Because we do the big monthly shop, these trips to the grocery store are extremely quick and easy, since we only buy a few items from the fresh sections of the store.</p> <p>That means that we are spending $500 total on food for the month &mdash; a little over $100 a week. But as I got used to shopping this way, we've started spending less than the allocation. We were spending $800 a month on food before. This process has cut our monthly food spend by almost half.</p> <h2>Cook, cook, and cook some more</h2> <p>The other critical piece that makes this way of shopping work is to cook. Cook all the meals you have planned. You may feel like you're on food-overload when you first come home and put everything away. But if you stick to your list, you'll be using everything by the month's end. Stick with your plan and you'll be fine.</p> <p>If you have the space and the time, I have found it incredibly helpful to batch cook and use our freezer space to make things ahead. For example, I make my daughter homemade Uncrustable sandwiches for each school day and store them in the freezer. I have even started experimenting with freezer dump meals where you do all the prep, put everything in pre-portioned freezer bags, and then cook in the slow cooker the day of your planned meal.</p> <p>I also buy more frozen foods that won't spoil and can carry over into the next month if we don't use everything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save Time and Money With a Monthly Assembly Cooking Weekend</a>)</p> <h2>What about meat?</h2> <p>You may have gathered that I'm a vegetarian. Meat eaters can totally follow this type of shopping, too, though. Freeze your meat and thaw the night before in your refrigerator. If you don't have the freezer space, simply figure in how much meat will cost and add it to your small weekly shop.</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/how-to-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-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-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/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Having Your Groceries Delivered Can Save You Money</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-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-checkout-line-tricks-to-finish-shopping-faster">5 Checkout Line Tricks to Finish Shopping 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/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping clipping coupons food shopping grocery shopping grocery store saving money Shopping Tricks Mon, 01 May 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1936650 at http://www.wisebread.com How Single Parents Can Juggle Retirement Savings, Too http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-541585308.jpg" alt="Single parent learning how to juggle retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being a single parent is hard work. It's also expensive, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reporting that the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610. That comes out to nearly $14,000 a year.</p> <p>If you're a single parent with one income, paying for your children's clothing, food, education, and activities might not only be consuming most of your money, but most of your time, too. At the end of another long day, you might think that it's simply too difficult to plan or save for your own retirement.</p> <p>Fortunately, this isn't true. Yes, saving for retirement will be more challenging for single parents. But it can be done, and the steps to start saving and investing for retirement aren't overly difficult.</p> <p>Here are five moves single parents should make today to prepare for their future retirement.</p> <h2>1. Make a budget</h2> <p>Nothing is more important than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps" target="_blank">creating a household budget</a>, and making one is simpler than you think. Once you have a budget, you'll be able to figure out how much money you can allocate to retirement savings each month.</p> <p>First, write down how much money you bring into your household every month. Next, list how much you spend. Start with your fixed expenses, which includes everything from your monthly mortgage payment to your insurance costs. Then, calculate an average cost for expenses that fluctuate. These can include utility bills, transportation, clothing, groceries, and entertainment. Don't forget to include intermittent expenses, such as haircuts and car maintenance bills, which you might think of in annual terms &mdash; find the average so you can estimate a monthly amount. Once you have these figures, you'll know how much wiggle room is left each month to put toward your retirement.</p> <p>Compiling a budget can also help you make positive changes to your overall spending habits. Maybe you'll find that you're spending more money than you're bringing in. You might then make a few small adjustments &mdash; such as eating out less, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord" target="_blank">cutting the cable cord</a>, or dropping a gym membership &mdash; that will free up money each month.</p> <h2>2. Start small and build an emergency fund</h2> <p>After making a budget, set aside at least some of your leftover money in the month to build an emergency fund. You'll use this fund to pay for any unexpected financial emergencies (such as a broken water heater) with cash instead of charging repairs to a credit card. The key to saving for retirement as a single parent is to avoid building debt, and nothing can derail your savings goals faster than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">high interest credit card debt</a>. By having that emergency fund, you'll be far less likely to add big bills to your credit cards.</p> <p>You might not have much money to devote to an emergency fund. That's OK. Even if you can only save $50 a month, do it. By the end of a year, you'll have $600. That may not be a huge amount, but it's a start. Your ultimate goal should be to build an emergency fund that can cover daily living expenses for three to six months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>3. Save in tax-advantaged investment vehicles</h2> <p>As a single parent, it's important to keep as many of your dollars in your household as possible. Tax-advantaged savings vehicles can help you do this.</p> <p>If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it. Contributions to your 401(k) are made with pretax dollars from each paycheck. This means that when you file your taxes for the year, the IRS will treat your income as smaller than it actually was. This will help lower your tax burden each year while simultaneously growing your retirement.</p> <p>You can also invest in a traditional IRA if you don't have access to a 401(k). Contributions to a traditional IRA are also made with pretax dollars, which again, will lower your taxable income.</p> <h2>4. Prioritize retirement over college savings</h2> <p>Like most parents, you probably want to give your child as much financial help as you can to get them into a good college. But too many parents save for their children's education while skimping on building their own retirement fund. This is a mistake.</p> <p>Remember, your kids have options when it comes to their education. They can attend a community college or less-expensive university, seek financial aid, or work their way through school. They might not be able to attend their dream school, but that doesn't mean they can't get a solid college education.</p> <p>You won't have as many options when it's time to leave the working world. You certainly don't want a retirement in which you're struggling to pay your bills, so you need to avoid the impulse to prioritize your child's college fund over your own retirement savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>5. Resist the temptation to overspend</h2> <p>As a single parent, it can be tempting to overspend on gifts and expensive vacations in an effort to make up for whatever challenges you and your children face. The problem is, this kind of emotional overspending can wreck your monthly budget. And when money gets tight, it's your retirement savings that often suffers.</p> <p>It's OK to treat your children, of course. But make sure these little rewards don't come at the expense of building a retirement fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</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-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-prepare-for-a-job-leave">Taking a Work Leave? Here&#039;s How to Prepare</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Retirement budgeting children college costs emergency funds investments overspending saving money single parents tax advantaged Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:43:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1935491 at http://www.wisebread.com Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-172427755 (1).jpg" alt="Couple learning they&#039;re wrong about their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some financial mistakes are easier to recover from than others. Failing to properly plan for retirement falls into the not-so-easy camp. And yet, the latest in a long series of retirement preparedness studies indicates that many working age households in the U.S. are making this very mistake.</p> <p>This new study, prepared by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College, analyzed two key findings. First, it compared people's objectively measured, actual retirement preparedness with their perceived preparedness. And second, instead of just highlighting how many people are less prepared than they think (a common finding among retirement studies), it also found that some people are actually more prepared than they realize, causing needless worry.</p> <p>Let's break it down.</p> <h2>Over half are not well prepared</h2> <p>According to the CRR study, over half (52 percent) of working age households are at risk of not being able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. That's even if these households work until age 65, annuitize all of their financial assets, and turn their home equity into an income stream via a reverse mortgage.</p> <p>In 1989, just 30 percent of households were deemed to be at risk. The study's authors attribute the growth in this number to three main factors:</p> <ul> <li>The increased time people are spending in retirement &mdash; the result of a fairly static average retirement age (around 63) combined with lengthening life spans.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Increases in Medicare premiums.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The sweeping change from defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans. In managing their own retirement accounts, the authors said, &quot;individuals make mistakes at every step along the way,&quot; which has resulted in a woefully inadequate median retirement account balance of just $111,000 for households nearing retirement.</li> </ul> <h2>Over half of the unprepared don't realize it</h2> <p>Of the 52 percent of households that are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, the CRR study found that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) don't know they're in trouble at all &mdash; the worst possible situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Signs You Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement</a>)</p> <p>The study's authors identified two main reasons.</p> <p>First, there is a &quot;wealth illusion&quot; that comes from having a 401(k). In other words, a person may have what seems like a lot of money in their plan, but not realize how little income it could actually produce in retirement.</p> <p>For example, a standard assumption is that 4 percent of your retirement savings can be withdrawn each year in retirement without too much danger of running out of money. A $100,000 balance would then translate into just $4,000 per year.</p> <p>The second reason is a false sense of security that comes from having a relatively high income. A high-income earner may not understand that Social Security benefits will replace a smaller percentage of his or her income than someone with a lower income. In other words, for high-income people, it takes more personal savings to maintain their standard of living in retirement than they may realize.</p> <h2>Of those who are prepared, half don't realize it</h2> <p>If 52 percent of all working age households are not adequately preparing for retirement, that means 48 percent are doing a good job. However, of those prepared 48 percent, the CRR study found that half worry that they're not on track. Of course, that's a much better problem to have than not realizing you're unprepared, but unnecessary worry is still a problem.</p> <p>The study's authors cited three main factors:</p> <ul> <li>For homeowners, not understanding how much income could be generated through a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-mortgages-the-best-way-to-eat-your-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">reverse mortgage</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For those still covered by a defined-benefit pension plan, not fully appreciating just how valuable that benefit is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If married, not understanding how much money they may be entitled to via spousal Social Security benefits.</li> </ul> <h2>Solutions</h2> <p>What should you do if you realize you may be under or over-preparing for retirement? Run some numbers using a retirement planning calculator &mdash; preferably a couple of calculators since different tools use different assumptions &mdash; and rerun the numbers periodically. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <p>Knowledge is your best bet when it comes to staying on track with your retirement savings. Don't just guess. Figure out how much you need to be investing each month so that you can afford to live comfortably in your retirement years, and then, make the necessary changes in your budget to set that money aside. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">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/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">One Smart Thing You Can Do for Your Retirement 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/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</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/intimidated-by-retirement-investing-get-professional-help">Intimidated by Retirement Investing? Get Professional Help!</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/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?</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/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) investing IRA nest egg preparedness saving money Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1935019 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_grocery_store_505801836_0.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to try hot new food trends the frugal way" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems there&rsquo;s always a new health food trend going on, and companies are quick to capitalize by conveniently packaging and offering them on store shelves for us to try. Unfortunately, trying what's new and different isn't always affordable. You're in luck, though. Here are the trends, and how you can enjoy them on the cheap.</p> <h2>1. Wellness beverages</h2> <p>The chilled beverage sections at your grocery store are probably teeming with new tonics and juices. Many of them include ingredients like turmeric, vinegar, and maca. There are even beverages that contain medicinal mushrooms! While this is all very interesting and even quite tasty, these drinks come at a premium &mdash; costing anywhere from $5&ndash;$14 per bottle.</p> <p>I make my own vinegar-infused beverage at home. It actually tastes a lot like kombucha, just at a fraction of the cost. First, I crack open a can of my favorite sparkling water from Aldi, usually lemon or lime. Then I pour it over a tablespoon of Aldi's organic apple cider vinegar. Mix and enjoy.</p> <h2>2. Oily byproducts</h2> <p>A company called Eco Olea has made a variety of house cleaners using the water that's left over after making olive oil. Another company is using the liquid from cooking chickpeas to make vegan mayonnaise. Incorporating byproducts into new products is definitely on the rise, and it's great to see that less is going to waste.</p> <p>How can you try this trend at home? Stop before you toss the liquid you drained from that can of chickpeas. That gooey stuff is called <em>aquafaba</em>, and there are many good things you can make with it. Try this vegan&nbsp;<a href="http://vanillacrunnch.com/aquafaba-chocolate-mousse-3-ingredients-vegan-and-glutenfree/" target="_blank">chocolate pudding</a> made from aquafaba. Sounds strange, but when you combine it with dark chocolate, maple syrup, and vanilla extract? Delicious.</p> <h2>3. All things coconut</h2> <p>You've probably tried coconut water and coconut oil to see what all the fuss is about. This year, the coconut is expanding its horizons. You can buy coconut flour, coconut chips for baking, and a whole host of other products. While <a href="http://amzn.to/2os53cS" target="_blank">coconut flour</a> costs about $3 a pound, prepackaged foods made with this ingredient are even steeper.</p> <p>Here's an easy recipe for homemade&nbsp;<a href="https://www.wholesomeyum.com/recipes/coconut-tortillas/" target="_blank">coconut flour tortillas</a>. You need just three ingredients: coconut flour, eggs, and nondairy milk. It only requires a half cup of flour. Whisk the ingredients together. Then heat a skillet and cook it like a very thin pancake, flip, and fill with your favorite hummus or whatever else you like wrapped up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <h2>4. Purple foods</h2> <p>You may have heard that you should eat the rainbow &mdash; vibrant, fresh veggies that come in all colors. In 2017, the color everyone seems to be focusing on is purple. You can find purple cauliflower, purple potato chips, purple corn, purple asparagus, and much more at your local grocery store.</p> <p>If you want to try this one at home, try making this gorgeous&nbsp;<a href="http://prettypies.com/recipe/purple-sweet-potato-pie/" target="_blank">purple sweet potato pie</a>. If you don&rsquo;t want to deal with the almonds and dates for the crust, you can always stick with a traditional pie crust out of flour and butter. It will still look gorgeous.</p> <h2>5. Healthier pastas</h2> <p>You can find pasta made from chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa on shelves at the store. If you take a walk around the produce section, you may even see some varieties of spiralized vegetable &quot;pastas&quot; that are healthy alternatives to the traditional noodles we all know and love. I'm especially flabbergasted by the price of the spiralized noodles because produce can be quite cheap when it's in season.</p> <p>The up-charge is all about the noodle-making process. And that's an easy at-home thing you can do yourself. Invest in a&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2oP1PSm" target="_blank">spiralizer</a>, and you'll be set with beet and zucchini noodles for life.</p> <h2>6. Unique condiments</h2> <p>My husband and I are addicted to interesting condiments. But I can't say it's good for our wallets. These days, you can find anything from ghee with pink Himalayan sea salt to pomegranate molasses to chipotle adobo sauce. One way I like to save on these splurges is to check out what our local Home Goods (a discount store) has on the shelves. I can often find condiments a few dollars cheaper than they might be at the grocery store.</p> <p>Making your own cool condiments is another option. Buying ghee at the store can cost around $1.20 an ounce. You can make it at home for around 67 cents an ounce. Just get eight ounces of a good-quality organic butter and heat it over low heat in a medium saucepan. Continue cooking until the milk solids turn brown and fall to the bottom of your pan, around 10 minutes. Then pour through cheesecloth into a glass jar for safekeeping. This makes five ounces of ghee.</p> <h2>7. Meal kits</h2> <p>Eating out can be expensive. But making everything from scratch can be time-consuming and messy. Many people are turning to meal kits you can easily toss in the oven. You can find some awesome vegetable mixes in the freezer section that won't break the bank. Others include pasta and even meat for a no-fuss meal. Just check your prices carefully and take advantage of coupons and store sales when you can.</p> <p>You may also want to try make your own meal kits. Sure, the process takes some effort &mdash; but it will save you time and money in the long run. I actually tried this method out last month when I made a bunch of &quot;dump meals&quot; to stash in my freezer. I'm hooked. It's seriously as easy and opening cans, chopping stuff, and tossing it in a bag to freeze for later cooking in the Crock-Pot.</p> <h2>8. Japanese food</h2> <p>Japanese foods are becoming more popular, as well. But move over sushi, the trend this year is going beyond the roll. Check out ingredients like miso, seaweed, and mirin. Have you ever heard of Japanese-style pickles? I hadn't either, and now I'm utterly intrigued.</p> <p>My own family regularly eats udon noodles with our stir-fries. This ends up being cheaper than buying Japanese takeout because we get a huge bag of stir-fry veggies in the freezer section and buy tofu in bulk. We also like incorporating miso into our meals &mdash; a little goes a long way. Try a miso-tahini dressing on anything from roasted sweet potatoes to salads. Combine a quarter cup tahini with just one tablespoon miso. Then add in lemon juice, warm water, and cracked pepper. You'll enjoy the flavor every day!</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/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">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-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</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-affordable-alternatives-to-the-grocery-store">10 Affordable Alternatives to the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</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-shop-for-food-once-a-month-and-save-big">How to Shop for Food Once a Month and Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Having Your Groceries Delivered Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping Food food shopping food trends groceries grocery budget grocery shopping saving money Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1931161 at http://www.wisebread.com The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516262792.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to save up a big travel budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling is an undeniably amazing experience, but as with so many of the finer things in life, it does come with a price tag attached. Cost is unfortunately one of the biggest factors that prevents people from traveling.</p> <p>However, if getting to see the world is a serious goal of yours, this may be the perfect time to renew your focus on savings so that you can afford to pay for your wanderlust. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>Set a goal and deadline</h2> <p>To help you get motivated to save more, set a clear goal and a timeline. The more specific the goal, the better, since it will allow you to visualize your trip and get excited about it. For instance, if you've dreamed about taking a trip to Europe for years, decide on your top destinations and how long you want the trip to last. That will help set a ballpark budget figure to aim for.</p> <p>Next, attach a savings deadline &mdash; for example, decide that you will buy your plane tickets within the next six to 12 months. Don't give yourself much more time, or you'll lose the urgency to put money away <em>now</em>.</p> <p>Having this type of a clear savings goal will help you stay motivated and make your trip feel more like a reality and less like a distant dream. It will also give you a schedule for your savings, allowing you to calculate how much you need to set aside each month to be able to afford your upcoming trip.</p> <h2>Slash unnecessary spending</h2> <p>Your goal will help you find the motivation to make some of the sacrifices that come with putting more money toward savings. You will want to shift your mindset from the short-term gratification of an immediate purchase (whose charm almost always wears off quickly) to the long-term gratification that comes from an experience that will leave you with memories for a lifetime.</p> <p>You may be surprised to realize how much of your spending is discretionary. Think of anything you are spending money on that you could live without. For instance, you can save a lot of money by cooking for yourself, instead of going out to eat. Even less-than-fancy meals at restaurants like Panera or Chipotle can cost $7 and up. If you indulge in this convenience three times a week, you're spending $84 a month. Substitute each of those meals with frugal home cooked meals and save.</p> <p>A car can be a significant expense, so if you can do without it you are setting yourself up for big savings. According to AAA, it costs the average American car owner around $8,558 to own and maintain their vehicle each year (this includes $3,759 in depreciation but doesn't include car payments). Even if you factor out the depreciation, that still means Americans are averaging $4,799 a year just to run our cars.</p> <p>In contrast, Numbeo.com reports the average cost of a monthly transport pass in the United States is around $70, or $840 a year. If you live in an area with good public transportation, you could potentially pocket more than $3,900 a year by giving up your car.</p> <p>If you can't completely forego having a car, you could still reduce your transportation expenses by driving less often. Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation instead. You'll not only save on gas, but also parking.</p> <p>Need inspiration to cut costs? Consider this woman from the U.K. who essentially <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/buy-nothing-year-one-woman-saved-22000/" target="_blank">spent nothing for an entire year</a>. While that may sound drastic, her savings while living in notoriously expensive London added up to nearly $27,000. Even half that amount would make a significant travel budget.</p> <h2>Work more, spend less</h2> <p>During one six-month period of my life I saved $12,000, which then allowed me to travel comfortably for the next six months without any income. I was able to do this by ensuring that my costs were as low as possible</p> <p>I split a $500 studio apartment with a roommate, so my rent was only $250 a month. Living quarters were cramped, but I was hardly ever there. I worked three jobs so I could make more money (around $2,500 a month). My 50-60 hours-a-week work schedule also meant that I had less time to spend my earnings.</p> <p>I was able to keep grocery costs to $100 a month because I was working in the food industry at the time. My other main costs were gas ($50 a month), and the cheapest cellphone plan I could find ($30 a month).</p> <p>For fun, I mostly did free activities, taking advantage of the fact that I lived in the mountains in California. I could go hiking and biking for free and there were often free concerts in the evenings. When I needed new clothes for work, I would get them from the local thrift store for $10&ndash;$15.</p> <h2>Get rewarded for your purchases</h2> <p>There are many ways to use various types of credit cards so that you get rewarded for your necessary expenditures. Especially for major expenses such as gas, groceries, and plane tickets, selecting the appropriate credit card can help you save a significant amount of money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save an Extra $1,095 a Year</a>)</p> <h3>Grocery credit card</h3> <p>Groceries are a big expense for most people. Since you can't avoid spending at least something on groceries, you may as well get rewarded for your spending. Use a credit card that gives you extra rewards points for every dollar you spend at supermarkets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <p>You may even be able to stack rewards by using a loyalty card from the supermarket chain where you do most of your shopping. Often these loyalty programs offer you cash discounts that can help cut your overall grocery bill.</p> <h3>Gas credit card</h3> <p>If you just can't live without a car, you can still save on the cost of gas by opening the right credit card. Cards that are co-branded with a particular gas station give you discounts at the pump, usually a few cents per gallon. These cards tend to have high interest rates, though, so if you tend to carry a balance, you'll usually be better off with a rewards credit card that gives you bonus points for purchases made at gas stations. If fuel is one of your bigger expenses, it's worth opening a gas rewards card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>Travel credit card</h3> <p>Although you may not be traveling a lot while you save up for your big trip, it's worth getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit card</a> well in advance of your trip. By using your travel card for everyday purchases, you can rack up points toward free flights or hotel stays when it comes time to hit the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to a Free Vacation in 9 Months or Less</a>)</p> <p>What's more, most travel cards offer significant <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal">points bonuses</a> when you spend a certain amount within the first few months after opening the account. These bonuses can be worth hundreds of dollars in travel, but you'll need time to meet the required spending amount and wait for the bonus points to be posted to your account.</p> <p>Finally, airline cards often come with free checked baggage and other perks such as free rental car insurance, lost baggage coverage, and trip interruption insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Types of Travel Insurance That Credit Cards Include</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Easy%2520Way%2520to%2520Save%2520Up%2520a%2520Big%2520Travel%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=The%20Easy%20Way%20to%20Save%20Up%20a%20Big%20Travel%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Easy%20Way%20to%20Save%20Up%20a%20Big%20Travel%20Budget.jpg" alt="The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-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-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-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-a-ton-by-eating-soup-every-day-and-never-get-bored">How to Save a Ton by Eating Soup Every Day (and Never Get Bored!)</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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/caribbean-island-vacations-anyone-can-afford">Caribbean Island Vacations Anyone Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-hot-new-food-trends-the-frugal-way">8 Hot New Food Trends — The Frugal Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cash back cutting costs expenses Food groceries rewards saving money transportation trips vacations Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1927306 at http://www.wisebread.com 39 Mindless Ways You're Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_empty_wallet_653879988.jpg" alt="Woman learning mindless ways she&#039;s wasting money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even though you try to be careful with your money, you are probably wasting a lot of cash without even noticing. If you find yourself wondering where your money goes, see if any of these mindless money wasters are escaping your attention.</p> <h2>1. Superfluous presents</h2> <p>The easiest way to make sure you have a special occasion covered is to buy presents, cards, flowers, cakes, etc. Some special occasions merit this kind of spending, but it's easy to get in the habit of routinely buying small gifts that will quickly be forgotten and eventually get tossed. A quick note is a meaningful way to show you care &mdash; and it's free.</p> <h2>2. High-tech gadgets</h2> <p>Many people automatically get a new cellphone when their contract is up, or buy every new game console that comes out. But do you really need an upgrade? Instead, keep your working tech toy around until it starts to get glitchy.</p> <h2>3. In-app purchases</h2> <p>Those free games and apps are usually trying to sell you something. They make it easy to click and buy a way to beat a hard level of a game or add a new feature to your free app without really thinking about it. Resist!</p> <h2>4. Unused subscriptions</h2> <p>When you were hyped up about getting in shape for the new year, you subscribed to a fitness video channel and watched it a few times. But you are still paying $9.99 per month just in case you decide to get in shape later. Cancel that membership and start saving money.</p> <h2>5. Your morning coffee</h2> <p>Lots of people seem to operate on autopilot during their morning routine. They hit the coffee shop or maybe grab fast food for breakfast. They are blowing money every day before they are awake enough to notice!</p> <h2>6. Recreational shopping</h2> <p>Stores are intentionally designed to trigger buying and extract as much money from shoppers as possible. Walking around a store or mall just for something to do is likely to result in unintended spending.</p> <h2>7. Buying books</h2> <p>You may be in the habit of buying the latest book in a series from your favorite author as soon as you see it at the store. But you can get new book releases at the library for free, or get ebooks instead of paper books, sometimes for lower prices &mdash; plus you won't need to store the book after you read it. Another alternative is to find used books for a fraction of the cost of new books.</p> <h2>8. Buying name-brand everything</h2> <p>People like buying name-brand items and seem to do so without even considering generic alternatives. Sometimes buying name brands makes sense if it offers more features or higher quality, but often the generic version costs a lot less and you won't even notice the difference.</p> <h2>9. Convenience items</h2> <p>Individual serving containers and prepared food items are quick and convenient, but cost much more than larger quantities. With a little planning, you can get the same items and avoid paying extra. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-more-youre-paying-for-these-6-convenience-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Much More You're Paying for These 6 Convenience Buys</a>)</p> <h2>10. Making minimum payments</h2> <p>Credit card bills show the minimum payment you are required to make each month based on your total balance. Many people simply pay just this amount, but it can take over a decade to pay off a credit card making minimum payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>11. Getting high interest credit cards</h2> <p>Credit cards often offer a low introductory interest rate and later bump it up significantly when the promotional period has ended. Check the interest rates on your accounts and do a balance transfer or debt consolidation loan to get rid of high interest balances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When to Do a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>12. Opening high fee investment accounts</h2> <p>The good news is that you are investing money for retirement, but the bad news is that high fees may be erasing a lot of your gains and could delay retirement by years. Take the extra step to check out the expense ratio on your investment options and choose ones with low fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why You Should Invest In Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>13. Accruing late fees</h2> <p>With free autopay, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-autopay" target="_blank">pay your bills</a> even if you don't bother to open them and avoid late fees.</p> <h2>14. Getting the extended warranty</h2> <p>When you buy a new gizmo, you will often be offered <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">extended warranty coverage</a>. At that moment, saying yes to protect your new toy can seem like the easy answer, but purchasing an extended warranty is often a bad deal for many items including appliances, electronics, and vehicles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-the-extended-warranty-makes-sense?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times Buying the Extended Warranty Makes Sense</a>)</p> <h2>15. Going along with the crowd</h2> <p>It is easy to get pulled into going to an expensive activity such as a concert or sporting event with friends, but make sure the cost is worth it to you before you commit to going. There are plenty of things you can do together that cost little or no money.</p> <h2>16. Keeping cable TV</h2> <p>Once you get signed up for cable TV or satellite TV, the bills just keep on coming every month unless you do something to make it stop. There are several cost-effective alternatives once you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans?ref=internal" target="_blank">cut the cable cord</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 TV Must-Haves Once You Cut the Cable Cord</a>)</p> <h2>17. Hobbies</h2> <p>Some hobbies require continuously buying new materials and equipment. Replace expensive, resource-intensive hobbies with activities that are less focused on trips to the store to buy supplies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</a>)</p> <h2>18. Collections</h2> <p>It can be easy to start a collection, but you end up buying things solely to own them and you need space to keep your collection.</p> <h2>19. Extra driving</h2> <p>One great thing about modern life is that you can travel effortlessly from one place to another by driving a car, rather than in a horse and buggy, but driving around is expensive. Save money at the gas pump by cutting down on unnecessary and inefficient trips.</p> <h2>20. Not changing your thermostat setting</h2> <p>If you use a &quot;set it and forget it&quot; approach to temperature control in your house, you are sending extra money to the utility company each month. Instead of leaving the A/C cranked up all summer long, turn the temperature up at night and when you are not home. Better yet, use a <a href="http://amzn.to/2okYqtt" target="_blank">programmable thermostat</a> to automatically adjust the temperature for your schedule.</p> <h2>21. Driving a big car</h2> <p>Sometimes having a big vehicle is handy, but most of the time when I see pickup trucks and SUVs on the road, they have no cargo and only the driver on board. Think about driving a small car instead of a large vehicle to cut your fuel bill and save on the vehicle purchase price as well. You can rent or borrow a large vehicle for occasions when you need extra capacity, or let someone else do the hauling.</p> <h2>22. Carrying extra stuff in your car</h2> <p>If you have extra junk in your trunk, you are paying to haul it around everywhere you go. Get rid of extra stuff you have accumulated in your car to get better gas mileage and improve your vehicle's ride.</p> <h2>23. Keeping your home lit up like Times Square</h2> <p>It is easy to remember to turn on the lights when you walk into a dark room, but it is much harder to remember to turn the lights off when you leave. Forgetting to turn off unused lights and electronics is running up your electric bill.</p> <h2>24. Dining out</h2> <p>It is easy to go through the fast food drive-thru on the way home or take your family out to a casual dining restaurant when you don't feel like cooking, but this costs a lot more than buying groceries and preparing food at home.</p> <h2>25. Up-sizing your orders</h2> <p>When you are offered an upgrade to a large drink and large fries for a dollar, it can seem like a no-brainer to say yes. You always want a good deal, right? But if you don't need a bigger drink and more fries, up-sizing is a waste of money.</p> <h2>26. Buying bottled water</h2> <p>Buying cold bottles of water is convenient, but you can easily bring water from home for almost free. Freeze your refillable bottles of water so they will be cold when you are ready to drink them.</p> <h2>27. Using vending machines</h2> <p>When you are hungry and there is a giant machine filled with snacks nearby, it can be hard to avoid putting money into it. With a little planning, however, you can buy snack items at the grocery store instead and save a lot of money.</p> <h2>28. Entertainment snacking</h2> <p>Many people are in the habit of eating snacks at the movie theater, at ballgames, after work, or when watching TV at home. Are you really that hungry, or are you just in the habit of eating something when some form of entertainment is in front of you? Because you can still enjoy whatever you're watching with or without the snack.</p> <h2>29. Always ordering a drink</h2> <p>When dining out or at meals at home, there is always an opportunity to get a drink. Most people opt for this choice. But are you actually thirsty? And if you are, what's wrong with drinking free water instead of soda?</p> <h2>30. Blindly following expiration dates</h2> <p>Most expiration dates on food are a suggestion rather than a hard rule. Use common sense rather than throwing out food based only on the &quot;use by&quot; or &quot;best before&quot; dates printed on food packaging. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-eat-this-a-quick-guide-to-expiration-dates-and-food-safety?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Quick Guide to Expiration Dates and Food Safety</a>)</p> <h2>31. Creating premature container waste</h2> <p>Is that empty food container really empty? Use a rubber spatula to get all of the peanut butter out of the jar before recycling it. You can probably get enough for one more PB&amp;J sandwich.</p> <h2>32. Eating too much in one sitting</h2> <p>It's hard to leave only two cookies in the package or to leave a small amount of leftovers in a tupperware container for the next day. Most people will finish off a container of food, even if it is more than they want or need. But that small amount of food may be just right for a snack or to round out the next meal. Save it for later, and save money in the process.</p> <h2>33. Buying new furniture</h2> <p>Instead of automatically going to look at new furniture, check out much cheaper used furniture first at consignment shops and on Craigslist.</p> <h2>34. Buying disposable products</h2> <p>Would you buy something and then immediately throw it away after one use? That's exactly what you are doing when you buy disposable products. I try to minimize wasting money on disposable products by using cloth napkins and reusable rags instead of paper products, for example.</p> <h2>35. Using a storage unit</h2> <p>You have too much stuff to fit in your house, basement, attic, and garage &hellip; but not to worry &mdash; you can rent a storage unit. You're paying for extra room in order to keep things you aren't using. It can be a lot of work to get rid of extra stuff, but you will save money every month by avoiding that storage unit fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons Why Self-Storage Is a Really Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>36. Paying for DIY services</h2> <p>You might find yourself signed up for home services such as lawn care and pest control that you could take care of yourself, or perhaps no longer need.</p> <h2>37. Carwash</h2> <p>When your car is dirty, driving through a car wash may seem like a good solution, but you can wash your car at home for a fraction of the cost.</p> <h2>38. Taking the kids to toy land</h2> <p>Will your kids really play with a new toy for more than a few minutes? Instead of mindlessly buying another toy, spend time playing with them and the toys they already have.</p> <h2>39. Pampering your pets too much</h2> <p>Last time I moved, I was embarrassed to find a box labeled &quot;Dog Clothes.&quot; In addition to clothes, my dogs have lots of toys and accessories, too. I could have saved a lot of money if I had thought about what my dogs would actually use rather than impulsively buying things that looked fun.</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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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