saving money http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/165/all en-US 5 Ways Good Manners Make You Wealthier http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-good-manners-make-you-wealthier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-good-manners-make-you-wealthier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000045065236_Largew.jpg" alt="her good manners make her wealthier" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Manners maketh the man. They're one of those things in life that cost you nothing, but can bring you great benefits &mdash; like respect. Or a smile from a stranger. And, in some cases, money. Here's how manners can lead you to a wealthier life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-lessons-in-manners-from-around-the-world?ref=seealso">12 Lessons in Manners From Around the World</a>)</p> <h2>1. They Can Get You Hired</h2> <p>Good manners can help you score a great job. Politeness is a sign of professionalism, which is something every employer wants from their workers. Of course, manners won't compensate for a lack of job qualifications or a negative personal reference. But they can give you that boost you may need to clinch the gig. Likewise, a lack of manners can oust you from the running.</p> <p>According to Tom Keene, editor-at-large at Bloomberg Television and Radio, <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130319181847-205519992-lady-mary-would-you-please-pass-the-salt-and-pepper?goback=%2Empd2_*1_*1_*1_%2F20130319181847*5205519992*5lady*5mary*5would*5you*5please*5pass*5the*5salt*5and*5pepper&amp;trk=prof-post">illiteracy in the table manners</a> department can quickly make a job interview go south. &quot;Memo to all seeking gainful employment: Nothing kills the wine-and-dine interview like not knowing where the knife goes after you cut into the expense account New York strip steak,&quot; writes Keene, who has interviewed his fair share of job candidates. &quot;I have personally seen too many qualified and unfortunate people that will never get ahead because, for whatever reason, they never learned the basics of fork, fork, knife, spoon, spoon.&quot;</p> <h2>2. They Can Help You Move Up the Ladder</h2> <p>If you're after a raise or promotion, don't discount manners as a means of getting you there. All told, 85% of respondents in a recent survey from the staffing firm Accountemps said being <a href="https://www.roberthalf.com/accountemps/blog/top-5-workplace-etiquette-breaches-in-an-open-office-space-infographic">courteous to co-workers</a> has an impact on a person's career prospects. On the flipside, just 14% of participants said that having poor manners at work has no influence on an employee's career success. The study is based on surveys completed by more than 450 employees ages 18 years and older who worked in office culture in the U.S.</p> <p>&quot;Time constraints and external pressures aren't excuses for bad behavior,&quot; says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. &quot;While it takes more than just good manners to rise through the ranks, displaying professional courtesy will only help your career.&quot; Among the biggest work etiquette offenses: Using a speakerphone or talking loudly on the phone, loitering or talking around a colleague's desk, eating foods that have strong odors, keeping a messy or cluttered workspace, and leaving the phone ringer on loud.</p> <h2>3. They Can Help You Succeed at Networking</h2> <p>When you receive a person's business card at an industry mixer, do you take the time to send them a polite email the next day noting that it was great to meet them? Do you take the time to learn the names of the people at the mixer so that you can properly greet them should you encounter them again in the future?</p> <p>These sorts of manners are a step beyond &quot;please&quot; and &quot;thank you.&quot; They take time, consideration, a good memory, and a little forward thinking. But folks who practice these next-level manners, otherwise known as polished social skills, will get ahead in their careers more times than not. That's because they know how to bridge frivolous meet-and-greets into meaningful connections. After all, you never know who might be in a position to help your career in the future.</p> <h2>4. They Can Increase Your Sales</h2> <p>If you work in sales, you likely already know that being kind, polite, and understanding with your customers increases the chances that you will earn their future business &mdash; regardless of what it is that you're selling. If you own a business or work on commission, practicing politeness with customers quite literally translates to more money in your pocket. At the very least, good manners will keep you from being labeled by your customers and co-workers as boorish.</p> <h2>5. They Can Solidify Friendships That Bring You Success</h2> <p>Friends are scientifically proven to make you more successful. Specifically, developing and maintaining friendships with positive, like-minded people. It's these folks who share your drive and goals who can best help you narrow in on your dreams. Now, here's where manners come in: Research shows that saying &quot;thank you&quot; helps people to build and sustain friendships. Truly, minding your manners can make a big difference in the quality of the friends you keep, and your overall success.</p> <p><em>What other manners make you wealthier? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-good-manners-make-you-wealthier">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/8-old-school-manners-we-want-back">8 Old School Manners We Want Back</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-basic-manners-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Basic Manners You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-driving-your-coworkers-insane">12 Ways You&#039;re Driving Your Coworkers Insane</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/3-supposed-etiquette-faux-pas-that-actually-make-you-look-good">3 Supposed Etiquette Faux Pas That Actually Make You Look Good</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-things-people-with-good-social-skills-never-do">18 Things People With Good Social Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Personal Development etiquette get rich manners politeness saving money wealth Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1649809 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-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_000059693802_Large.jpg" alt="her smartphone is saving her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Smartphones are great, but why do they cost so much? Is it the bells and whistles of fancy security features, GPS tracking chips, and headsets? Or is it simply because consumers are willing to pay for all these sparkly extras? Here is a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/iphone-cost-what-apple-is-paying/">comprehensive breakdown of costs</a>, so you can see exactly where your money is going. Are you starting to think it's time your pricey smartphone paid you back? Here are eight ways your smartphone can save you money.</p> <h2>1. Product Review Sites</h2> <p>Why waste time and money on customer service and products you won't absolutely love? Well, thanks to a consumer-driven economy, we no longer have to. Doing a quick business search on a review site will help you steer clear of bad businesses, and avoid the headache and hassle of dealing with lousy store owners for a refund.</p> <h2>2. No More Landline</h2> <p>Say goodbye to the expense of landlines. Some people prefer the convenience of landlines for the long distance, but with the advent of free calling apps like What'sApp, Skype, and Google Talk, landlines are becoming a thing of the past. So, don't let providers rope you into a bundle &quot;deal&quot; just to keep these prehistoric products in circulation.</p> <h2>3. Mobile Banking</h2> <p>Though minor fees won't keep you up at night, they do save you money over time. With mobile banking, you have access to regular account features at your fingertips. This means fewer trips to the bank. That alone will save time that is better spent making money. And you also save on gas and regular wear and tear to your vehicle.</p> <p>To add to the savings, mobile banking replaces wire transfer fees with free ACH transfers, and saves you a trip to the post office to buy stamps and mail bills. It can all be handled from your smartphone.</p> <h2>4. Accept Credit Card Payments at Small Businesses</h2> <p>If you're a business owner, you can run your business more efficiently by using smart device(s) to take orders and accept all forms of payments, rather than having customers wait in long lines. And service providers can ditch the brick-and-mortar storefronts and go mobile. You'll save a ton on rents and utilities. This concept is not unique to food trucks, pet groomers, or massage therapists, either. Even professionals like, CPAs and attorneys, can ditch the office space. The top credit card reader providers are PayPal and Square.</p> <h2>5. Shopping</h2> <p>By doing your shopping online, you are probably getting the best deals. Try typing any product into Google search and the Google product carousel displays merchants with price information. It's an algorithm used by eBay, along with Amazon, Shopify, Bluefly, and a host of other online retailers that aggregate merchant inventory and prices based on search queries. Mobile apps are another great way to save on shopping. Most major retailers even have their own apps that offer exclusive customer deals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-best-mobile-shopping-apps-for-your-phone?ref=seealso">16 Best Mobile Shopping Apps for Your Phone</a>)</p> <h2>6. Subscriptions</h2> <p>Digital news and magazine subscriptions cost far less than print. And digital music subscriptions are also great because your entire music library follows you wherever you go.</p> <p>Keep in mind that subscriptions are tax-deductible as long as they can be tied to your profession. So, if you're a real estate agent who reads the New York Times or a personal trainer who listens to Spotify, your subscriptions are tax deductions!</p> <h2>7. Ebooks</h2> <p>Following in the footsteps of music lovers, bookworms can hand over hard copies and replace them with ebooks for a fraction of the cost. And you'll never have to worry about them disappearing from your collection again. Some apps will let you read as many books as you want for around $5-$10 per month. For instance, Blinklist has a collection of over 1,300 books and they summarize the most important parts for quick digestible reads for $4.99 per month.</p> <h2>8. Insurance</h2> <p>Eliminating book and music collections will not only declutter your home, but it also allows you to drop your home or renter's insurance coverage by $5,000 to $10,000, which saves you money on premiums. Besides, unless you have rare books or albums, these items don't hold resale value and are not worth the money that is spent over time for packaging, additional moving costs for extra weight, and storage fees.</p> <p><em>How else does your smartphone save you money? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-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/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule 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/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying 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/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</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/11-silent-budget-killers-you-dont-notice">11 Silent Budget Killers You Don&#039;t Notice</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-regular-budget-meetings-might-save-your-marriage">6 Ways Regular Budget Meetings Might Save Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology mobile banking money saving money smartphone tech gadgets Thu, 04 Feb 2016 18:00:04 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1649808 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 80 Small and Big Ways to Save Money http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-80-small-and-big-ways-to-save-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-80-small-and-big-ways-to-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_000076051203.jpg" alt="Woman learning small and big ways to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found big and small ways to save money, ways to spend less on this year's Super Bowl party, and how to date on budget.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Tips-26608150">80 Small and Big Ways to Save Money This Year</a> &mdash; Book your trips early for savings on travel and accommodations. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0131/Super-Bowl-50-Nine-ways-to-save-on-this-year-s-party">Super Bowl 50: Nine ways to save on this year's party</a> &mdash; Make it a potluck! Ask your guests to bring a dish or two to offset some of the food costs. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.experian.com/blogs/news/about/dating-budget/">Dating on a Budget</a> &mdash; Join Experian's #CreditChat on Wednesday, February 3 at 3 pm ET for a discussion on ways to build a romantic relationship while saving money. [Experian]</p> <p><a href="http://savvyscot.com/expensive-habits-you-should-drop/">Expensive Habits You Should Drop</a> &mdash; The first estimate isn't always the best one. Shop around, get a few estimates, and hire the best person for the amount you're willing to spend. [The Savvy Scot]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.readyforzero.com/take-career-next-level/">4 Simple Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level</a> &mdash; Start by figuring out what you want your career to look like. Be specific about what you want to accomplish and be realistic about the timeline. [ReadyForZero]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://patverettosfrugalliving.blogspot.com/2016/02/9-ways-to-use-cardboard-tubes.html">9 Ways to Use Cardboard Tubes</a> &mdash; Wrapping paper tubes can be used to organize cables and cords. [Pat Veretto's Frugal Living Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/359582/7-foods-habits-avoid-you-have-anxiety">7 Foods Habits You Don&rsquo;t Know Are Increasing Anxiety</a> &mdash; Diets with a lot of fried and highly processed foods have been found to increase depression and anxiety. [Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2016/01/27/bad-habits-of-unhappy-people/">10 Bad Habits of Unhappy People</a> &mdash; Unhappy people try to please other people too much and often forget to please themselves. [Life Optimizer]</p> <p><a href="https://timemanagementninja.com/2016/01/21-ways-to-stop-rushing-through-your-day/">21 Ways to Stop Rushing through Your Day</a> &mdash; Group similar tasks together and process them at the same time. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-signs-youre-overdue-for-a-moms-night-out">7 Signs You're Overdue For a Mom's Night Out</a> &mdash; If grocery shopping alone feels like a vacation, then you're long overdue for some adult time. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-80-small-and-big-ways-to-save-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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/barter-explained-why-its-wise-to-barter">Barter Explained: Why It&#039;s Wise to Barter</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-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</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/local-currencies">Local Currencies</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/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living best money tips saving money Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:00:05 +0000 Amy Lu 1649196 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_000040930446.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways 50% rule can save her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The 50% rule is a simple guideline that can help you determine whether it's time to replace an appliance, adjust your budget, and lots more. Here's how it can help you save real money.</p> <h2>1. Appliances</h2> <p>When a household appliance has an issue, it may be difficult to determine whether you should schedule a repair or replace the machine altogether.</p> <p>To easily determine if it's worth keeping, use the 50% rule. If the appliance has used up more than 50% of its useful life and the cost of the repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new appliance, then you should replace it.</p> <p>If you have a warranty on your appliance, find out if any of the repairs are still covered. Most appliance warranties cover labor and parts for one to two years. Some small repairs can also be completed as DIY projects.</p> <p>On the other hand, Consumer Reports recommends that if an item has already <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/repair-or-replace/index.htm">broken down once before</a>, it might make sense just to replace it. Keep in mind that if you decide to keep your original appliance, there will be extra costs like additional maintenance and possibly a &quot;trip charge&quot; from the service contractors you hire.</p> <h3>What You'll Need</h3> <p>You can easily compare the costs of repair versus replacement to determine what's a better value. In order to get the most accurate estimate possible, there are several pieces of information you will need:</p> <ul> <li>The appliance's expected useful life: Knowing how long your appliance is expected to last will help you determine if it's worth keeping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last?ref=seealso">This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The original purchase price of the appliance.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The average cost to repair your type of appliance: If your service contractor will offer a free estimate, this will help you make a more informed decision.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The cost of a new appliance.</li> </ul> <h3>Benefits of Replacing</h3> <p>You may also want to consider the benefits of replacing the appliance to a newer, more updated version. These benefits could include:</p> <ul> <li>Improved energy efficiency, which may mean lower electricity bills, lower insurance, or tax deductions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>More features that will improve your life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Less chance of repairs in the near future.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Real Estate</h2> <p>In real estate, the 50% rule states that operating expenses and vacancy account for about 50% of the rent. This means that if a property rents for $1,000 per month, about $500 will be spent on expenses and vacancies. The remaining 50% would be devoted towards mortgage principal and interest, with the leftovers serving as cash flow.</p> <p>This can serve as a general guideline to help you determine if a particular real estate investment will be worth it in the long run. If you are considering a long term buy and hold, then the 50% rule can help save you money by preventing any purchases that won't pay off.</p> <h2>3. Insurance Claims and Disaster Recovery</h2> <p>After a natural disaster, if the damages do not exceed 50% of the cost of replacing the building, then it will be deemed repairable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency <a href="https://www.fema.gov/pdf/floodplain/nfip_sg_unit_8.pdf">uses a 50% rule</a> to determine if something is considered to have heavy damage or needs substantial improvement. The rule states that if the repair costs are 50% or more of the building's value, then the building must be elevated and brought into compliance.</p> <p>Another application of the 50% rule states that when a building is to be renovated, if the total costs of improvement are 50% or more of the building's value, it will have to be brought into compliance. This is a hidden cost that most don't know about. Being aware of what's to come can help save you time, money, and frustration.</p> <h2>4. Budget</h2> <p>If you've heard of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat">50/20/30 budget</a>, it relies on the 50% rule. It specifies that 50% of your budget should be dedicated to essential expenses (like housing, food, and transportation), 20% to financial obligations (like debt repayment, retirement, and emergency savings), and 30% to personal expenses (like entertainment, dining out, and phone, cable, and Internet expenses). By following this guideline, you can create a workable budget that alerts you when you are spending too much, saving you money over time.</p> <p>Keep in mind that the 50% rule is a <em>guideline</em> and won't always work perfectly. It's best to make adjustments to the numbers so that you can get a better estimate and make a more informed decision.</p> <p><em>Have you ever applied the 50% rule to your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-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-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/insights-from-the-worlds-9-most-frugal-cultures">Insights From the World&#039;s 9 Most Frugal Cultures</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting 50% rule appliances guidelines insurance real estate saving money Fri, 29 Jan 2016 12:00:04 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1646405 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_out_000079795535.jpg" alt="Woman learning to not let peer pressure ruin her finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter your confidence level, you probably don't want to be known as the poor one in your group of friends. When they're going out to dinner and planning vacations together, it can be hard to turn down invitations or resist pressure to join in on the fun.</p> <p>Financial peer pressure is a real problem that can affect people of all ages. According to a study conducted by the American Institute of CPAs, about &quot;78% of young adults look at the <a href="http://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2013/pages/millennials-rely-on-friends-financial-habits-to-determine-their-own.aspx">financial habits of their friends</a> to determine their own habits.&quot; Another 66% admitted that they strived to keep up with their peers in terms of living conditions, and two-thirds of consumers feel some level of financial peer pressure.</p> <p>If you don't think friends influence your spending habits, consider this: Have you ever charged something you couldn't afford to a credit card to keep up appearances? Have you ever spent outside your budget so you wouldn't feel left out? Most of us have been in these types of situations. Luckily, we also grow and learn how to make better choices with our money, and one of the best decisions you can make is learning how not to give in to financial peer pressure.</p> <h2>1. Shop Alone</h2> <p>To resist financial peer pressure, you have to know what you can handle. You can't control what your friends do or buy, but you can control who you shop with. If hitting the mall with friends results in you burning through more cash than you have, you need to shop alone.</p> <p>Your friends may not have ill intentions, but if they see you drooling over an item, they could unknowingly put pressure on you to purchase something you can't afford. You have to remember one important fact: You're the one who has to deal with the repercussions of a purchase. Your friends aren't getting the credit card statement in the mail; you are. Likewise, they're not the ones who'll worry about making ends meet if you spend outside your budget. Learn how to become your own shopping buddy.</p> <p>Personally, I only shop alone, and I love it. I'm not tryin' to wait for you to try on six different outfits just to pick the first one you had on. No, thank you. I'll meet you back in the food court in an hour.</p> <h2>2. Don't Be Ashamed of Your Limitations</h2> <p>The fact that you have some financial limitations doesn't make you a loser or mean you're inferior to anyone. Maybe you have more expenses or responsibilities than your friends. Some of your friends might be single with no kids, have roommates, or live with their folks, whereas you're the breadwinner of your household. Everyone has unique circumstances. So if you have to pass on a costly night out or a fancy excursion, it's okay.</p> <h2>3. Don't Be Fooled by Social Media</h2> <p>Even if your friends seem to have it together financially, it could very well all be an act. With that said, stop coveting the lifestyles you see on Facebook or Tumblr. Remember, most people don't use social media to broadcast their problems. What they will do, however, is showcase the good in their lives, such as vacations, new cars, new homes, and other achievements. There isn't anything wrong with people sharing good or exciting news &mdash; just realize that what you see online isn't always the truth, and it definitely shouldn't be the standard you live by. Some of the people you envy are up to their eyeballs in debt &mdash; all because they're trying to portray a certain lifestyle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=seealso">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a>)</p> <h2>4. Don't Forget Your Goals</h2> <p>Adopting a frugal mindset is one of the best ways to reach your goals, such as saving up to buy a house or finally taking a European vacation. This involves pinching your pennies and making sacrifices for the betterment of your personal money. But you won't reach these goals if you're giving into financial peer pressure. The next time a friend ups the pressure or tries to make you feel bad for not spending money, think about your goals and decide whether saving face is worth derailing your plans.</p> <h2>5. Don't Let Braggarts Get in Your Head</h2> <p>Some people will brag about anything, and you might feel tempted to outshine them &mdash; but you shouldn't do this at the expense of your finances. The braggart is the one with the problem, not you. This person wants to stir competition and outdo his friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. You have a choice. You can either ignore this person (at which point he'll take his annoying self elsewhere), or you can fall for the bait and get trapped in a game of one-up. Just know that in this game, there are no winners. You might come out on top, but it'll cost you.</p> <p><em>Have you let financial peer pressure get the best of you? How have you dealt with it? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">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-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</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/a-step-by-step-guide-for-when-friends-ask-for-help-being-frugal">A Step-by-Step Guide for When Friends Ask for Help Being Frugal</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-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food</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-hidden-costs-that-hurt-your-wallet">10 Hidden Costs That Hurt Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle friends jealousy keeping up with the joneses peer pressure saving money shopping Thu, 28 Jan 2016 16:01:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1645271 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Surprising Ways a Houseplant Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-a-houseplant-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprising-ways-a-houseplant-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_watering_plant_000015068788.jpg" alt="Woman learning surprising ways a houseplant saves her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have considered adding a houseplant to your home or office decor, you may be surprised to find just how much they can improve your life and even save you money.</p> <p>Experts recommend investing in at least three houseplants &mdash; and up to four plants per person &mdash; to drastically improve your indoor air quality. Bayer recommends <a href="http://www.bayeradvanced.com/articles/5-benefits-of-houseplants">adding one large plant</a> to roughly every 100 square feet of space for maximum benefits.</p> <h2>1. Save Money on Your Electricity</h2> <p>Plants release oxygen and water vapor, which can help boost humidity in the air. This means you won't need to waste money buying a humidifier to improve your indoor air quality. You also won't need to waste electricity running the humidifier when houseplants do the same thing for free.</p> <p>The increase in moisture can also have a cooling effect, too. Adding houseplants during the summer can help you reduce your dependency on air conditioning, which will help further lower your electricity bill.</p> <h2>2. Save Money on Medical Treatment</h2> <p>Houseplants have a plethora of physical, mental, and psychological health benefits. In an 1989 report, NASA studied &quot;<a href="http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf">sick building syndrome</a>&quot; in relation to indoor air pollution, and found that certain plants are actually good for your health. Plants can help with ailments such as headaches, stress, respiratory problems, and even the common cold and cough. In fact, studies have shown that sickness rates throughout an office will fall dramatically once plants are added.</p> <p>They can also help produce more oxygen and clean the air you're breathing, which can further reduce airborne allergens and infections. Some indoor plants, such as the aloe vera plant, can even be applied directly to injuries in order to speed up healing.</p> <p>Researchers have found that adding brightly colored plants to hospital rooms dramatically lifts patients' spirits, which in turn helps to reduce the necessary treatment and recovery time. Patients in hospital rooms with plants have been shown to <a href="http://www.rodalewellness.com/health/plants-and-healing">require less pain medication</a>, experience less fatigue, and have lower blood pressure. One study also found that patients who are tasked with taking care of plants experience a shorter recovery time after medical or surgical procedures. This is called horticulture therapy and can be very effective.</p> <h2>3. Save Money on Allergy Medications</h2> <p>The American Society of Horticultural Science found that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors, so indoor air quality is becoming an increasing health concern &mdash; especially when you consider that indoor air can be up to <a href="http://www2.ashs.org/pressrelease/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=1062:common-plants-can-eliminate-indoor-air-pollutants&amp;catid=1:hortscience&amp;Itemid=3">12 times more polluted</a> than outdoor air.</p> <p>Fortunately, indoor plants are scientifically proven to help improve air quality. In fact, according to the NASA study, some plants can help remove indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene.</p> <p>If you don't take steps to clean the air you're breathing, you may develop allergies. If you already have allergies, an indoor plant can reduce allergens and lessen your dependency on allergy medications. Air filtration systems can be expensive and ineffective. Instead, a houseplant provides an affordable alternative solution that can also complement your home decor. In fact, some suggest exposing your children to plants early in life so that they can begin building a tolerance for common allergens.</p> <h2>4. Save Money on Mood and Energy Enhancers</h2> <p>Houseplants just make you happy. They can increase self-esteem, reduce depression, make you feel more relaxed, and even increase your sense of stability. They have also been shown to improve mood, <a href="http://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/#.VNzuCeddVfA">memory, mental capacity, concentration</a>, creativity, and productivity. Plants can also help lower background noise, which can improve your work environment and make any area more enjoyable to inhabit. Why waste money on mood and energy supplements when you can get similar benefits just by adding a plant to your space?</p> <h2>5. Save Money on Sleeping Aids</h2> <p>If you have trouble sleeping, try adding a plant to your room. Plants give off oxygen at night, which can help you breathe better. Houseplants also instill a feeling of calm and relaxation, and will help to keep your stresses and anxiety at bay.</p> <h2>6. Save Money on Indoor Decor</h2> <p>Home and office decor can be pricey. Houseplants, on the other hand, are an affordable, beautiful accent that look great, smell great, and can last for years. They can also mask any unpleasant odors and even hide the smell of smoke. Why bother with an air freshener that contains harmful chemicals when you can clean the air with an indoor plant?</p> <p>Indoor plants can also help improve your business image and instantly put your guests or clients at ease. Studies have also shown that people prefer to be in rooms that have plants in them because they tend to be perceived as cleaner and more expensive.</p> <h2>Choosing Beneficial and Affordable Plants</h2> <p>NASA found that there are certain air-filtering plants that clean the air along with releasing oxygen. Fortunately, most of these beneficial indoor plants are very affordable. Ferns, lilies, orchids, and chrysanthemums will look great in any room, won't cost much, and will continue to improve your indoor air quality all day and night. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality?Ref=seealso">The Best Cheap Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality</a>)</p> <h2>Maintaining Your Plants</h2> <p>In order to get the best usage out of your houseplants, it's important to take care of them properly with routine maintenance. Along with regularly watering them, it is important to keep the leaves clean and dusted.</p> <p>Rubbing the leaves of your plants with castor oil or the inside of a banana peel can revive the shine. Banana peels also work as a natural fertilizer and pesticide. Keep plants away from drafty areas, choose the right container for your plant, and provide them with the right amount of light every day so they can continue to thrive for years to come.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other benefits associated with indoor plants? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-a-houseplant-can-save-you-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-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</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-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</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/30-awesome-decorating-hacks-anyone-can-do">30 Awesome Decorating Hacks Anyone Can Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-office-look-awesome">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Office Look Awesome</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-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Allergies decor Health plants pollution saving money sleep aids Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:00:08 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1642419 at http://www.wisebread.com Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_challenging_savings.jpg" alt="woman challenging herself to save big this year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you have a major goal to spend less or save more in 2016? I'm sure many of us do. But if you're anything like me, you need a challenge to get the motivation going. Frank L. Smoll, Ph.D., writing in <em>Psychology Today</em> explains that <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/coaching-and-parenting-young-athletes/201311/keys-effective-goal-setting">effective goal-setting in sports </a>is all about the ABCs:</p> <p>A: The goal should be Achievable.</p> <p>B: It should also be Believable.</p> <p>C: And you've got to be Committed to working on it.</p> <p>The same principles apply to any sort of goal you set out to reach. Looking for a place to start? Here are six money-saving challenges to get your own creative juices flowing.</p> <h2>1. No New Clothing</h2> <p>Clothing is a huge expense for a lot of us (pointing the finger at myself here). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm">spends over $1,700 on apparel</a> each year. That's a whole lot of sweaters and slacks. Why not try giving up this line item with a No New Clothing Challenge?</p> <p>Try digging in the back of your closet to assess all your options &mdash; then live with what you have. Still need to buy? You can always find steals on second-hand clothing (especially for kids!) at thrift shops or garage sales. You may also want to host a clothing swap or make a more minimalist wardrobe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>2. Buy Nothing New Challenge</h2> <p>Beyond your fixed bills and a few necessities, do you think you could buy nothing new for a month? Maybe longer? Assya Barrette at <em>Alternet</em> went on a <a href="http://www.alternet.org/culture/i-bought-nothing-new-200-days-and-why-you-should-too">Buy Nothing New Challenge</a> for a whopping 200 days. (Wise Bread writer Max Wong <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-compact-mindfullness-and-frugality-through-buying-used">bought nothing new</a> for more than a year!) Outside of basic food, toiletries, and medicines, Barrette did acquire a few things borrowed or gently used.</p> <p>But the lesson was about way more than saving money. Throughout the process, she discovered that a lot of our material possessions just aren't necessary to live a full, happy life. Breaking the habit of mindless shopping is another benefit of this challenge. Start small and try this idea for a week, month, or &mdash; if you dare &mdash; even longer.</p> <h2>3. 52-Week Money Challenge</h2> <p>The concept is simple and likely familiar: You start by saving $1 in your first week, $2 in the second, and so on. By the end of the <a href="http://media1.onsugar.com/files/docs/52weekmoneychallenge.pdf">52-Week Money Challenge</a>, you enjoy a total savings of $1,378. Some of my friends have even done the challenge in reverse, starting with the $52 and counting down to zero.</p> <p>If you're not so disciplined with stashing savings, this challenge can be a great way to start an emergency fund or to put away cash for another purpose in your life. If structure scares you, you can also try dumping all your leftover change or dollar bills into a jar each night. At least it's a step in the right direction!</p> <h2>4. Debt-Free Challenge</h2> <p>Don't you get so jealous when you hear someone has paid off all of his or her debts? I know I do. Shift that energy into starting your own debt-free challenge. Many of my friends swear by Dave Ramsey's Debt Snowball Plan where you focus on one debt at a time (usually with the smallest balance first) and knock them out until they're all gone. Where exactly can you find extra cash to pay down the debt? Try selling your unused stuff on Craigslist, lowering your variable expenses and extras, and just plain saving. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-down-debt-and-get-cash-back-with-these-6-services?ref=seealso">Pay Down Debt and Get Cash Back With These 6 Services</a>)</p> <p>On the flip side, you could also work on not creating any <em>new </em>debt this year. Live within your means, skip tempting store card incentives, leave the credit cards at home, or save up for what you want and enjoy delaying gratification. It'll all be worth it when you look back at 2016 and bask in your smart spending.</p> <h2>5. Grocery Savings Challenge</h2> <p>Food is the big budget-suck in our home. Between regular grocery runs, takeout, and other edible incidentals, we spend a wad on what we eat. Check out this <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/can-a-pantry-challenge-really-save-you-money-223065">Pantry Challenge</a> at The Kitchn. You'll dig deep into the cupboards and freezer drawers to use up what's hiding back there. Try this challenge for a week or a month, and repeat as often as you like. You can surely save hundreds this way over time and get better satisfaction that you're not letting anything spoil.</p> <p>Getting into the habit of regular meal planning helps lower your grocery bill as well. First, you'll know exactly what to buy at the store &mdash; nothing more. Second, you'll waste less food because everything has a plan. Start by finding some easy recipes you love, write out all the ingredients on your list (and try to get some to overlap from meal to meal), then stick to the plan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans?ref=seealso">Eat Well on Just $20 a Week</a>)</p> <h2>6. Create Your Own Challenge</h2> <p>Maybe you don't see your own spending vice on this list. That's okay. You can make your own challenge. Try setting and adhering to a budget if you haven't already. Get rid of cable and challenge yourself to free entertainment this year. Stop going out to eat or quit the gym and workout at home for free. There are so many ways you can save, so take some time to brainstorm a list, make a plan, and then get going.</p> <p><em>What are your money-saving goals for 2016?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-on-12-000-a-year">How to live on $12,000 a year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-allocate-your-cash-when-you-are-broke">How to Allocate Your Cash When You Are Broke</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/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them">4 Psychological Traps Preventing You From Saving — And How to Fix Them</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-tricks-to-beating-budget-burnout">5 Tricks to Beating Budget Burnout</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/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management money goals new year's resolutions saving money savings goals Mon, 18 Jan 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1637556 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Financial Decisions You'll Never Regret http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_000058476892.jpg" alt="Woman making financial decisions she&#039;ll never regret" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A new year is here. And even if you've already broken the resolutions you made at the end of the holiday season, it's never too late to make new ones, especially when it comes to your finances.</p> <p>Here are eight financial decisions you can make now that you'll never regret. Make the moves on this list soon, and you'll dramatically increase your odds of a happy financial future.</p> <h2>1. Save More for Retirement</h2> <p>How much money will you need each year to enjoy a happy and healthy retirement? That depends on what you want to do after you leave the working world. You'll need more money if you plan to travel the world, and less if you envision days spent reading, binge-watching TV, and playing with your grandchildren.</p> <p>A survey released last April by the Employee Benefits Research Institute suggests that more workers understand they'll need large amounts of money to enjoy their retirement years. The survey found that more than one in 10 workers think they'll need to save at least $1.5 million for their retirements. That's a lot of money. One way to reach such a lofty goal? Put away as much as you can each year now, even if your retirement days seem far away.</p> <p>You'll never regret your decision to maximize your contributions to your 401K plan or your annual deposits to an IRA. Start boosting those savings today.</p> <h2>2. Building an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>What happens if your furnace conks out today? What if your car's transmission needs to be replaced? If you're like too many people, you'll put the cost of replacing these items on your credit card, building your debt.</p> <p>The better option is to draw from an emergency fund of cash that you have already saved, usually in a savings account. Financial experts recommend that you build an emergency fund that can cover at least six months of your daily living expenses. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-emergency-fund-myths-you-should-stop-believing">6 Emergency Fund Myths You Should Stop Believing</a>)</p> <p>This might seem daunting. But if you deposit what you can each month &mdash; even if it is as small as $100 &mdash; that emergency fund will steadily grow.</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your Credit Cards</h2> <p>Carrying a balance on your credit cards each month is a terrible financial decision. That's because cards come with such high interest rates &mdash; sometimes 18% or more. This makes your monthly debt grow by too much, even if you don't add any new purchases to your cards.</p> <p>Don't just make the minimum monthly payment on your cards. If you do this, it will take far too long to pay off your credit card debt. Say you have a credit card with a balance of $5,000 and an interest rate of 18.9%. If your minimum monthly payment is 4% of your outstanding balance, it will take you more than 11 years to eliminate this debt, even if you don't make any new purchases with this card.</p> <p>The better move is to always pay more than the monthly minimum. And don't buy items with your cards that you can't afford to pay off at the end of every month.</p> <h2>4. Pay Your Bills on Time Every Month</h2> <p>A single missed payment &mdash; on credit cards, mortgage loans, auto loans, and other debts &mdash; can drop your three-digit FICO credit score by 100 points. That missed payment will also stay on your credit report for seven years.</p> <p>Decide today to never make a late payment again. Having a low credit score makes it difficult to qualify for loans or credit. When you do qualify for these loans, you'll be faced with high interest rates.</p> <h2>5. Buy a Home That You Can Actually Afford</h2> <p>It's tempting when home shopping to stretch your budget to get into a bigger, more expensive home. But buying a home that's out of your budget, even by a bit, can be a big financial mistake. Those monthly mortgage payments can quickly become a burden.</p> <p>Instead, buy a home that you can comfortably afford, even if it's not your dream residence. Mortgage experts recommend that your total monthly housing expenses, including your estimated new mortgage payment, be no more than 30% of your gross monthly income. Follow this guideline if you don't want to feel the strain each time your monthly mortgage payment comes due.</p> <h2>6. Track Your Spending</h2> <p>You might be surprised by how much you spend each month on take-out lunches or morning coffee runs. But if you create a spending book and track those expenses, it might help you make lifestyle changes that can add up to big savings each year.</p> <p>A spending book is just a notebook in which you record all your daily purchases for a set period of time, usually anywhere from two weeks to two months. Once you're done tracking your expenses, add them up. This gives you an idea where you are overspending. (You can also use automated tracking at free sites like Mint.com.) If you're spending too much on those morning coffees, for instance, you might decide to limit your time at Starbucks to twice a week instead of five times.</p> <h2>7. Create a Household Budget</h2> <p>You might shudder at the thought of drafting a budget for your household. But you can't get control of your finances if you first don't know exactly how much money is coming in and going out of your home each month. Fortunately, creating a budget isn't difficult.</p> <p>First, write down the income you receive each month. Then write down those monthly expenses that never change, everything from your mortgage payment to your auto payment to your student loans. Then, write down those payments you make each month that fluctuate a bit. This would include your utility bills, credit card bills, and transportation costs to and from work. Estimate these. Finally, include estimated amounts for monthly groceries, entertainment, and eating out.</p> <p>Once you have these figures, you can determine how much money you should have left at the end of the month. Armed with this information, you can figure how much money you can save, invest for retirement, or put away for a child's college education.</p> <h2>8. Save First, Then Buy It</h2> <p>You want that new computer or that high-end flat-screen TV. It's tempting to simply use your credit cards, but the better move is to save up for that big-ticket non-necessity, and only buy it when you can pay for it with cash.</p> <p>This takes patience, of course. It might take you several months to save up for that new TV. But you'll enjoy your new electronic treat more if you don't have to dread next month's credit card bill.</p> <p><em>What financial decisions have you never regretted?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">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/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</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/saving-money-is-easy-if-you-set-the-right-goals">Saving Money Is Easy If You Set the Right Goals</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-long-can-you-really-live-on-unemployment">How Long Can You Really Live on Unemployment?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring">5 Ways to Restart Your Resolutions This Spring</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance emergency funds goals Paying Off Debt resolutions retirement saving money Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1634855 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_payment_jenga_000057875522.jpg" alt="Learning ways to save for a down payment on a home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've found the perfect home. You qualify for the mortgage, and you can afford the monthly payment. The only problem? You don't know how you're going to scrape together enough cash for a down payment.</p> <p>This is not a rare problem. Say you're buying a home for $200,000. A down payment of 10% is $20,000. A 20% down payment is a whopping $40,000. Even a modest down payment of 5% will run you $10,000. That's a lot of money. It's especially daunting if you're a first-time buyer who can't rely on the profits from the sale of a home to help cover that down payment.</p> <p>&quot;Whether you are buying a home for $200,000 or $2 million, the same problem with the down payment exists for everyone,&quot; said Peter Grabel, managing director of Luxury Mortgage Corp. in Stamford, Connecticut. &quot;People think that buyers who can spend a lot of money on a home don't have challenges getting a down payment. They do, too. Like everyone else, they can afford the monthly payments, but they have trouble getting the down payment together.&quot;</p> <p>There is good news, though. There are several ways to gather the funds for a down payment. One might work for you, lessening the blow of gathering up all this cash.</p> <h2>1. The Old-Fashioned Way</h2> <p>The most common way to save for a down payment is to start stashing money in a savings account <em>long </em>before you actually want to buy a home. This method will take time, but it's also effective. Say you put away $500 a month for a down payment. After one year, you'll have $6,000. After four? You'll have $24,000 stashed away.</p> <p>This method does require patience. You can't decide that you want to buy a house and then start shopping next month. But if you're a long-range planner, this might be the soundest way to save for that down payment.</p> <h2>2. Get a Gift From Family Members</h2> <p>It's not unusual for home buyers &mdash; especially first-timers &mdash; to receive part of their down payment in the form of a gift from their parents or other relatives. You might owe a down payment of $15,000, but your parents give you $10,000 to help soften the blow.</p> <p>Most lenders accept gifts. But there are rules that you need to follow. First, you'll need to provide the lender a written letter from the gift-givers stating that the money is actually a gift and not a loan that you will have to pay back. Secondly, you'll have to be able to show documentation proving that you deposited the gift into one of your bank accounts.</p> <p>&quot;Gifts are great, and most lenders accept them,&quot; Grabel said. &quot;But don't expect most lenders to let you use gift funds to cover all of your down payment. Lenders want to make sure that you do have enough financial stability to provide at least part of your own money for the down payment.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Borrowing From Your 401K Plan</h2> <p>You know that you should never withdraw money from your 401K plan before you hit the age of 59-and-a-half. If you do, you'll be taxed on your withdrawal, and you'll be hit with a penalty of 10%.</p> <p>There is an exception, though: You can withdraw up to 50% of the funds in your 401K plan &mdash; up to a maximum of $50,000 &mdash; to help finance the purchase of a home. You won't pay taxes on these dollars, nor will you face any penalty &mdash; even if you're younger than 59-and-a-half.</p> <p>This is a loan, though. You will have to pay it back, typically within five years. Usually, you'll set up a monthly payment, which is in addition to your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-things-you-must-know-about-the-new-mortgage-rules">new mortgage payment</a>.</p> <p>If you fail to pay back your loan, the money you withdrew will be treated as an early withdrawal. This means you'll be taxed on it,<em> and</em> you'll be hit with that 10% penalty. If you take out $20,000 for a down payment, that's a hefty $2,000. Still, taking out a loan responsibly can make sense.</p> <p>&quot;Borrowing from your 401K program for a down payment is not a bad thing to do,&quot; Grabel said. &quot;The tax laws make that quite a viable option.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Taking Out an FHA Loan</h2> <p>Typically, lenders originating traditional mortgage loans will require a down payment of at least 5%, though there are exceptions. But if you take out a loan insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Federal Housing Administration, better known as an FHA loan, you'll only have to come up with a down payment of 3.5% of your home's purchase price, if your FICO credit score is high enough.</p> <p>To qualify for that lower down payment, you'll need a FICO score of at least 580, a score that isn't overly difficult to earn. If you do qualify for the lower down payment, it won't be quite as hard to scrape together the funds you need: On a home costing $220,000, a down payment of 3.5% comes out to $7,700 &mdash; far more affordable than, say, the $22,000 you'd need for a down payment of 10%.</p> <p>Be aware, though, that FHA loans do come with the downside of required mortgage-insurance fees that can make them more expensive.</p> <p><em>How did you come up with the down payment on your house? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home">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/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you">Is an FHA Home Loan Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-own-amortization-schedule-0">How to Build Your Own Amortization Schedule</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour">How One Family Lives Well (And Even Owns a Home) on Just $11 an Hour</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/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice">Here&#039;s Why a 30-Year Mortgage Is a Smart Financial Choice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing down payments fha loans interest new homebuyers saving money Tue, 08 Dec 2015 14:00:27 +0000 Dan Rafter 1618966 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Times Choosing an Unpopular Color Will Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-choosing-an-unpopular-color-will-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-times-choosing-an-unpopular-color-will-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000047555004.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Color has a major impact on how, where, and what we spend our money on. A study revealed that 84.7% of shoppers think that <a href="http://www.colorcom.com/research/why-color-matters">color is the most important factor</a> for choosing products. In a related study, the Institute for Color Research found that people make subconscious judgments about a person, an environment, or a product within 90 seconds of initial viewing, and between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.</p> <p>Retailers and manufacturers use the psychology of color in a variety of ways to manipulate consumers. While there are many ways that choosing the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-the-wrong-color-can-cost-you-big-on-these-purchases">wrong color can cost you</a> big, once you understand the marketing psychology at play, you can use that information to save a lot of cash.</p> <h2>1. Hurdle and Save</h2> <p>A &quot;hurdle&quot; is a type of price discrimination that, in exchange for jumping over a figurative hurdle, rewards customers with a discount. Hurdles are a way that sellers maximize profits by ensuring that only the customers that are motivated by price, over all other factors, are rewarded with a discount.</p> <p>Hurdles are different from sales, where all the customers receive the same discount. The problem with unilateral discounts (for sellers) is that the seller is often offering a discount to customers who are prepared to pay full price.</p> <p>A common hurdle is a mail-in-rebate. Companies love rebate programs because it incentives buyers to purchase products on the assumption that they will get a lower price with a rebate. But just like with coupons and gift cards, manufacturers depend on &quot;breakage,&quot; which is the fancy financial term for people not using their rebate and paying full price. Only those consumers who are organized and patient enough get the discount.</p> <h3>Get Over the Color Hurdle</h3> <p>Color is another very common hurdle. For example, here is the same <a href="http://www.target.com/p/graco-pack-n-play-playard-with-reversible-napper-and-changer/-/A-15078293#prodSlot=_1_1">baby Graco playpen</a> from the same retailer, at different prices. The only difference between the $84.99 playpens and the $99.99 playpens are the colors. Design-oriented consumers, who pay as much as $15 more for their playpens, have a better opportunity to match the playpen with their nursery palette, while customers who are price-focused feel like they are getting a deal. The seller wins out big in this situation as it can now sell to a more price conscious buyer without alienating the buyer who will pay top dollar (and vice versa).</p> <p>To save using color hurdles, shoppers should look closely at the description. Using the Target playpen description as an example, savvy shoppers will notice two things. First, the discounted price changes between page visits, so the black playpen that cost $74 yesterday might now cost $99.99. Two hours from now it might cost $84.99. Design conscious buyers might be able to score a deal by jumping over a hurdle that requires them to repeatedly return to the catalog to get a discount on their preferred color. Secondly, several of the colors are marked &quot;Only at Target&quot; which gives those colors an air of exclusivity. (Target-loyal customers can feel pleased that they got a special edition color by shopping at their preferred store and paying full price.)</p> <p>However, what this description unintentionally hints at is that there might also be &quot;only at Babies R Us&quot; colors, &quot;Internet only discounts&quot; or &quot;Walmart Exclusives,&quot; so shoppers who want a specific color might want to narrow their online Google search to something like &quot;Black Graco Playpen&quot; to suss out deals that match their budgets and their decors over an array of dealers.</p> <h2>2. Dress the Kid in Neutrals</h2> <p>By the early part of the 20th century retailers had figured out that if they market one color for boys and one color for girls, they could double their profits because parents would have to buy a whole new set of clothes and accessories if they had a boy and a girl, rather than just reusing gender neutral hand-me-downs. Interestingly, Major retailers like Marshall Field and Filene's initially recommended pink for boys and pastel blue for girls. (Red was considered a manly color and pink is a derivative of red. Light blue was considered prettier and more girlish, and in Christian circles, evoked images of the Virgin Mary).</p> <p>At some point in the 1940's pink and blue switched genders as a result of market trends, but historian <a href="http://www.pinkisforboys.org/about.html">Jo B. Paoletti</a>, who has extensively studied gendered baby clothing, says it could have gone either way.</p> <p>The advent of better prenatal testing solidified the gendered marketing of children's toys and clothes. Now that parents can discover the sex of their progeny early on in their pregnancies, they have more time to shop for the future boy or girl. The more that sellers segment the baby market by gender, the more they can sell.</p> <p>The pastel colors schemes for kids are nothing more than a way for sellers to maximize profits.</p> <p>Parents can save a lot of money on toys and clothes by ignoring these arbitrary conventions and buying more gender neutral clothing and toys that can be shared between siblings of either gender.</p> <h2>3. Wed in Color</h2> <p>As with pink and blue baby clothes, the white wedding dress is a new tradition. Up until about 175 years ago, the average woman would get married in her best dress, and wealthy women would have a dress made in the fashionable color of the day, that they could wear after the wedding to other events. While she was not the first royal to be married in white, Queen Victoria popularized the white wedding gown when she wore all white to marry Prince Albert in 1840.</p> <p>To her credit, Victoria didn't just wear white to show status, but to promote English arts and industry. She was frugal as well as politically smart. Victoria's dress was not only &quot;locally sourced,&quot; but Victoria reused the Honiton lace flounce from her wedding dress Miss Haversham-style on other dresses until her Diamond Jubilee in 1896.</p> <p>Channel Queen Victoria and choose a wedding gown that can be repurposed for multiple events. A colored gown is less likely to scream &quot;wedding dress&quot; even if it is incredibly ornate. If your heart is set on wearing white to your wedding, then steer clear of the wedding industrial complex by purchasing a white dress from a non-bridal store.</p> <h2>4. Wear White After Labor Day</h2> <p>Who says you can't wear white after Labor Day? Oh, I don't know. Henry James characters?</p> <p>The Donald Trumps of the Gilded Age flaunted their wealth by wearing white during their summer vacations. White clothes were a status symbol because they signified that not only were you rich enough to have servants to wash your clothes, but you were also rich enough to bring servants with you on vacation to wash your play clothes. Summer vacation traditionally ended for the upper classes on Labor Day, and so did their summer casual wear. For turn-of-the-last-century society types, wearing white after Labor Day was akin to wearing a Hawaiian shirt to the office instead of a suit.</p> <p>Flash forward 100 years later. With the advent of washing machines and modern detergents, it is now possible for everyone to wash their white clothes without the help of a valet. But, for retailers, this rule still stands, which is a windfall for consumers.</p> <p>Shoppers take note: Labor Day &mdash; not Black Friday, not Boxing Day, not Cyber Monday &mdash; but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-the-best-deals-of-the-year-shop-labor-day-and-skip-black-friday">Labor Day offers the best discounts on clothes</a> for the year. Why? Because stores must restock their racks with seasonal fall apparel and make room for Christmas merchandise. In addition to steeply marking down summer clothing, retailers try and sell off all the merchandise that is still languishing in their storage dating back to January. This is true even for relatively season-free places like Los Angeles.</p> <p>So go ahead and buy those white summer clothes at a steep discount and wear them proudly after Labor Day. It's called &quot;<a href="http://www.vogue.com/13280400/street-style-winter-white/">Winter White</a>&quot; for a reason.</p> <h2>5. Dye It Black</h2> <p>My number one favorite thing to buy at thrift stores is cashmere. Vintage cashmere from Scotland is a much higher quality than designer-brand cashmere that has been sourced from China. I can usually find thicker, two-ply cashmere sweaters at the thrift store for under $8. Typically, thick cashmere sweaters arrive at the thrift store for two reasons: 1. They are a hideous color, and 2. They are hopelessly stained.</p> <p>Luckily a $7 jar of black dye is usually all that's needed to make even stained cashmere look new again. This is a great way to refresh faded silk shirts too.</p> <h2>6. Re-Tint Paint</h2> <p>My local paint store sells cans of paint for $5 per gallon. This is a $35 savings per can. What's the catch? The discounted paint has already been tinted and rejected by a previous customer. If you are flexible with your color scheme, this is a great way to save money on paint. If you want to change the paint color, say make a grass green a forest green or turn a beige into a maroon, paint stores will re-tint paint for a small price, or you can buy a tinting kit and do it yourself. Re-tinting is an excellent way to use up leftover paint from another project.</p> <h2>7. Forgo Red Roses</h2> <p>One of my 950,000 jobs I had in college was as a florist. Every day, approximately 20 young gentlemen would order a single, long-stemmed, red rose. (Always with a lot of babies' breath, as if this would make the solitary rose look bigger. Always). Approximately 19 times a day, I would attempt to talk the young gentleman out of this order for several reasons. First of all, red roses have been the symbol of romantic love in western culture for hundreds of years. In the <a href="http://thelanguageofflowers.com/">language of flowers</a> a single, red rose means, &quot;I love you,&quot; so that's kind of a forward message to send to someone after a casual first date, or to your mom, for that matter. Second, long-stemmed roses are extremely over-bred to the point that most varieties have lost their fragrance.</p> <p>Fragrance is a key part of the experience of flowers, so I always encouraged customers to use their nose and their eyes when choosing blooms. Finally, remember hurdles? Red long-stemmed roses never go on sale, unless they are old blooms that the florist is trying to dump. A single red rose at my floral shop cost $4.99, but an entire bouquet of freesias or tulips cost just three dollars more. By avoiding the traditional flower purchase, the flower buyer can assemble a unique and meaningful arrangement of blooms that reflects the taste and the personality of the recipient, and cost less money per stem.</p> <h2>8. Purchase Ugly Apples</h2> <p>Ever notice how dumpy organic produce at the farmers' market looks in comparison to the glamour veggies at the grocery store? Plant breeders are constantly tweaking our food to increase shelf life, pack more efficiently, or ripen at an earlier date. Each of these changes to plant genetics can result in <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/09/the-evil-reign-of-the-red-delicious/379892/">less flavorful</a> and <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/37396355/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/nutritional-value-fruits-veggies-dwindling/#.VkKA4q6rTYY">less nutritious food</a>. Red Delicious apples will always have the fairy tale visual appeal, but the homelier Fuji wins out in taste and texture.</p> <h2>9. Avoid This Season's Color</h2> <p>The fashion and design community spends a huge amount of time and money each year convincing buyers that color trends are important. What's the easiest way of getting a sale price on <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/12/08/marsala_pantone_announces_its_2015_color_of_the_year.html">this year's color</a>? Don't buy it. That's a 100% discount.</p> <p>It is pointless to buy unflattering clothes, regardless of how on-trend they might be. Also, since most stores sort clothes on the racks by color, it's easy for me to speed shop. I head for the colors that flatter my skin tone and ignore everything else.</p> <p>Coral pink is one of my favorite colors and I always get compliments when I wear it. Every 10 years, coral comes back into fashion and I stock up on t-shirts, scarves, cashmere sweaters, and other garments that have some longevity. This shopping binge ensures that I always have at least something to wear in that color between coral cycles. It also ensures that I have enough colored clothing to sit out years of pastel blue, taupe, and other colors that make me look like death. Since coral is one of those &quot;weird&quot; colors, I can usually wait until the end of the season to buy garments on sale, or wait six months until that color trend gets dumped at the thrift stores by fashionistas who are hungry for the latest &quot;it&quot; color.</p> <p><em>Have you saved money by buying the wrong color?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-choosing-an-unpopular-color-will-save-you-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-get-a-sale-price-match-at-16-popular-stores">Here&#039;s How to Get a Sale Price-Match at 16 Popular Stores</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-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More 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/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/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping item color saving money unpopular color Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:01:18 +0000 Max Wong 1615569 at http://www.wisebread.com Insights From the World's 9 Most Frugal Cultures http://www.wisebread.com/insights-from-the-worlds-9-most-frugal-cultures <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/insights-from-the-worlds-9-most-frugal-cultures" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paris_france_000018684307.jpg" alt="Finding the most frugal cities in the world " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans are great at many things, but we aren't good at saving money. Around the world, there are many other nations where household savings rates are higher than in the U.S., almost to the point where governments are <em>encouraging </em>their citizens to spend more.</p> <p>Here are nine countries where household savings rates are above average. Should Americans follow their lead?</p> <h2>1. China</h2> <p>Some say it's a leftover feeling of insecurity when the country moved to more free-market principles. Others argue that it's because the Chinese find it important to take care of their parents as they age. Some point to the nation's recent one-child policy, which made it easier to save. Whatever the reason, the Chinese save about 30% of their household income, even as policymakers try to move the country to a more <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-01/chinese-consumers-cling-to-saving-suppressing-spending">consumption-driven economy</a>.</p> <h2>2. Sweden</h2> <p>They spend less time working than Americans do, but save more of their cash. The Swedes have a household savings rate of more than 11%, among the highest in Europe. Sweden is one of the happiest nations in the world, according to many surveys, too. Could it be that their value their free time instead of buying things?</p> <h2>3. Switzerland</h2> <p>The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that Switzerland has an average net household savings rate of 13%, the highest in Europe. That's at least partially due to the high incomes of the country compared to other nations on the continent. But one possible explanation for this saving is a lack of mortgage debt. Only 44% of Swiss people own a home, giving the country one of the lowest homeownership rates in the developed world.</p> <h2>4. India</h2> <p>Wealth, according to many people in India, belongs to the family, not the individual. There is a desire to see money pass from one generation to the next. ZDnet reported that Indians are inclined to buy the <a href="http://www.zdnet.com/article/indians-thriftiness-an-obstacle-for-apples-monetization-strategy/">lowest-priced version</a> of an item, even if paying more would get them a better user experience. Pennywise and pound foolish? Or are Indians better at sorting wants from needs?</p> <h2>5. Germany</h2> <p>The German people are so frugal that the government has suggested they spend more to give the economy a boost. Banks are annoyed because they have <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303743604579351293040427268">more money in deposits</a> than they know what to do with. Many Germans don't even bother with credit cards, and the average household savings rate is about 10%.</p> <h2>6. Belgium</h2> <p>The good people of Belgium have an average household savings rate of more than 10%, and with interest rates near zero in the country, there's been a push to educate citizens about the value of investing and spending. In Belgium, there are some <a href="http://www.ing.com/About-us/Our-stories/Features/Feature/ING-in-Belgium-from-follower-to-leader-in-savings.htm">tax incentives to save</a>. Belgians also tend to save money when they see government debt increase, under the belief that taxes may eventually rise.</p> <h2>7. Chile</h2> <p>Generally speaking, people in South and Central America have relatively low levels of savings. But Chilean households save about 7% of their income, among the highest rates in this part of the world. A study by the Inter-American Development Bank noted that Chile has a lower rate of &quot;<a href="https://publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/11319/6946/Household_Saving_Labor_Informality_The_Case_of_Chile.pdf">informal employment</a>,&quot; and more salaried workers, allowing for more stable incomes and higher savings rates.</p> <h2>8. Ireland</h2> <p>Ireland's household savings rate has been creeping up in recent years and is expected to top 9% in 2016, according to OECD. Reports from Irish media suggest that they aren't necessarily &quot;saving&quot; the cash, but using it to pay down debt after learning some hard lessons from the financial crisis. The continued economic problems in Europe have also caused people to be conservative with their money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-stock-markets-in-the-world-in-2015">10 Best Stock Markets in the World in 2015</a>)</p> <h2>9. France</h2> <p>The French have held on to their money in recent years due to the shaky economy in Europe, though it's always been one of the thriftiest European countries. OECD reports the household savings rate in France at more than 15%. The BBC reported in 2008 that France weathered the credit crisis <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7650453.stm">better than the U.S.</a> or Britain because it did not get caught up in irrational borrowing.</p> <p><em>What's your savings rate?</em></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/insights-from-the-worlds-9-most-frugal-cultures">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</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/recession-journal-part-i-fast-money-in-the-09">Recession Journal Part I: &#039;Fast&#039; Money in the &#039;09</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/finding-money-11-ways-to-save-money-you-are-spending-without-sacrificing-anything">Finding Money: 11 Ways to Save Money you are Spending Without Sacrificing Anything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sneaky-ways-you-cheat-on-your-budget">6 Sneaky Ways You Cheat on Your 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/saving-for-opportunity">Saving for Opportunity</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting debt frugal countries saving money thriftiness world countries Fri, 20 Nov 2015 16:00:27 +0000 Tim Lemke 1614978 at http://www.wisebread.com Surprising Ways to Save Even More on Black Friday http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holiday_shopping_000052190246.jpg" alt="Woman learning surprising ways to save even more on Black Friday" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are one of the thousands of shoppers who have accepted and triumphed over the challenge of Black Friday's frenzied crowds, early hours, and long lines, you're likely familiar with the slew of benefits associated with shopping on this day of huge discounts and bargains. However, you might be missing out on even more savings and perks if you aren't using your credit cards when you shop. While shoppers might be hesitant to break out the plastic for holiday shopping, Black Friday is one of the best shopping days of the year to use a credit card. Here's why you should only use your credit card on Black Friday. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso">13 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <h2>Extended Warranty</h2> <p>Many credit cards include an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer">extended warranty feature</a> that we often overlook. In most cases, the card will extend the warranty for at least an additional year. This can become a valuable feature especially when many Black Friday sales and discounts include electronics, gaming systems, and appliances. Usually, if you want to extend the manufacturer's warranty on a purchase, you have to pay extra but using a credit card that comes with extended warranty doesn't cost you anything. Check your card agreement to check if there are any limits to the purchases it covers.</p> <p><a title="The Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express" alt="The Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292"><img border="0" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220217/601821.png" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292">Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express</a> includes extended warranty on purchases as well as double points for purchases at US supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases) plus a 20% boost in points if you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period. Terms and limitations apply. There is no annual fee. <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=2&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Amex EveryDay&reg; Credit Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Price Protection</h2> <p>Some cards include price protection services for ensuring that you&rsquo;re getting the lowest price possible. Finding the flat screen you waited hours in line for available a week later for an additional $100 off can be maddening. Citi's Price Rewind feature takes care of price matching for you. When you make a purchase with a Citi card, Price Rewind searches online merchants for a lower price on that purchase for 60 days. If the product is available cheaper, you receive a refund of the price difference, up to $300 back per item and a total of up to $1,200 per year.</p> <p><a title="Citi&reg; Double Cash Card" alt="Citi&reg; Double Cash Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiDoubleCash.jpg" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xname">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a> from our partner Citi includes their exclusive Price Rewind feature <em>and</em> offers 1% unlimited cash back on every purchase you make. Then when you pay back your purchase (in full or over time), you'll get an additional 1% cash back. There are no caps or category restrictions, and no annual fee. Perfect for Black Friday shopping! <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=47&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Citi&reg; Double Cash Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Theft and Damage Protection</h2> <p>Let's face it, a good deal can stir up any shopper, and things can get hectic on Black Friday. The last thing you want to worry about is stolen or damaged purchases. Many credit cards provide protection against theft or damage &mdash; and often loss, as well &mdash; and will reimburse you the cost of the purchase.</p> <p><a title="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" alt="Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/165588/603474.png" /></a>American Express cards, for example, include purchase protection which covers your purchases for up to 90 days against theft or damage. This coverage is limited to $1,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per calendar year. Plus, with the <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express</a>, you'll earn $150 cash back in the form of statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=6&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Return Protection</h2> <p>Because of the very nature of Black Friday, store return policies are often limited. While you might be able to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime deal on cashmere sweaters, it does you no good if you find out your mother-in-law is allergic to cashmere and you can't return them. Another reason to use your credit card for Black Friday shopping is because many include return protection. If the store won't accept your return, you can turn to your card's return protection feature and get a refund that way.</p> <p><a title="Discover it&reg; - New! Double Cash Back your first year" alt="Discover it&reg; - New! Double Cash Back your first year" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1292"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/211101/601525.png" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1292">Discover it&reg; - Double Cash Back your first year Card</a> offers return protection up to $500 on eligible items within 90 days of purchase. This is more than enough time to find out whether anyone in your family wants those sweaters, and if not, prevent you from being stuck with them. You also get 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter, and <strong>double</strong> all your cash back your first year as a new cardmember. <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=62&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1292"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Discover it&reg; - New! Double Cash Back your first year Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Valuable Rewards Programs</h2> <p>You can't really mention the benefits of using credit cards without pointing out the valuable rewards that many offer. If you have a cash back card with rotating rewards, the bonus categories often include popular stores for holiday shopping. What's better than getting an amazing deal on Black Friday, and then getting <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5% cash back</a> on top of that? When you map out your Black Friday plan, you can figure out which cards to use to earn the most cash back.</p> <p><a title="Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card" alt="Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/219963/598864.png" /></a>Cash back cards also award gas and restaurants, which could come in handy when you're driving from store to store, or need to take a break for a bite to eat. If you would rather just get your shopping done without worrying about the types of purchases you're making, the <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xname">Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</a> awards a flat rate of 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which can add up depending on how many deals you come across on Black Friday. <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=27&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; QuickSilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Cash Sign-Up Bonuses</h2> <p>While it's common for credit cards to offer cash sign-up bonuses, there aren't many shopping days better than Black Friday for taking advantage of those bonuses. Black Friday shoppers aim to complete a large part, if not all, of their holiday shopping, which means it's easier to meet the spending requirements that come with sign-up bonuses. Plus, the sign-up bonus you receive in return, can be counted as an additional discount on your purchases, further maximizing the discounts you already scored shopping on Black Friday.</p> <p><a title="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card" alt="BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xcard"><img width="154" border="0" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/BoA_Cash_Rewards-154.jpg" /></a>The <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xname">BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card</a> offers $100 cash back if you spend $500 with the card within your first 90 days of account opening. It also awards 2% cash back on grocery store purchases and 3% on gas (up to $1500 in combined grocery and gas purchases each quarter). Get a 10% bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account. <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=136&amp;pid=17&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Card today!</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christina-majaski">Christina Majaski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-ways-to-save-even-more-on-black-friday">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-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping">25+ Easy Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shopping</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/even-more-black-friday-savings-tips-from-shopping-experts">Even More Black Friday Savings Tips From Shopping Experts</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/december-deals-that-are-better-than-black-friday">December Deals That Are Better Than Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-people-go-crazy-on-black-friday">Why People Go Crazy on Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping black friday budget holiday shopping saving money Wed, 18 Nov 2015 10:15:52 +0000 Christina Majaski 1613660 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Zen Concepts That'll Improve Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/4-zen-concepts-thatll-improve-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-zen-concepts-thatll-improve-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_praying_zen_000043216640.jpg" alt="Woman using zen concepts to improve finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Zen and personal finance &mdash; sounds a little &quot;woo woo,&quot; right? Except that there are actually several Zen concepts that can help you gain a different perspective on your money and improve your finances. Give it a try! Here are four ways that going Zen can help you handle your money better.</p> <h2>1. Fight Craving With Self-Awareness</h2> <p>Central to Zen is the idea that craving things causes us to experience bitterness, pain, and unease, and that the remedy for this lies in self-awareness. Basically, we see things (or people, or vacations, etc.) that we want. If we don't have them, we are unhappy. To get rid of this unhappiness, we need to understand our cravings better, rather than give into them without analysis.</p> <p>This can be as simple as asking, &quot;Why do I want this right now?&quot; Make sure to always weigh a &quot;want&quot; versus a &quot;need.&quot; Sometimes, we crave something so badly that we feel like we need it &mdash; but in reality, we don't.</p> <h2>2. Understand That Fear Gets Us Into Trouble</h2> <p>Zen says that a lot of people find fear or uneasiness at the bottom of their wants. They crave things because they feel like having them will resolve some anxiety. For instance, one person might want a larger retirement fund, and find at the bottom of that craving is the fear of being poor and elderly.</p> <p>Finding this fear allows us to make conscious, intentional choices about how to address it. Maybe we do need to save more, not to provide ourselves with full security, but because it's a smart thing to do. In that case, we can slow down, make a plan, and stick to it, rather than blindly throwing money at our anxieties. Discovering our fears also allows us to address them in other ways, be that talking about them to a friend or finding a therapist</p> <h2>3. Stay Present in the Present</h2> <p>When it comes to money, the very best place to focus is on the present, which is central to Zen philosophy. If, for instance, the market drops suddenly, staying present might help you decide to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-investors-should-know-about-the-october-effect">hold an investment</a> and ride out the swings, rather than sell too low and frantically buy whatever seems like it might be doing well. If you lose your job, staying present can help you deal with the stressful feelings in a healthy, productive way, rather than drowning in depression, trying to fill the void by buying things, or making hasty decisions about future employment.</p> <h2>4. Tell the Truth About Your Money</h2> <p><em>Shizen</em> is a Japanese Zen concept of presenting yourself to the world as your true self, without pretense or lies. This means ignoring the desire to try and live wealthier than your means, and only buying things you can actually afford. It requires us to be honest with ourselves about how much money we really have. This is a truth we must face in order to live well.</p> <p>Making a budget can be the first step to finding the truth of your finances. Many of us don't even know how much money we have or where it's going. When you write down your income and outflow, you'll have a much better picture of your situation. This will allow you to make realistic, honest decisions about how you spend.</p> <p><em>Do you practice any Zen concepts that influence your finances? How does that work for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-zen-concepts-thatll-improve-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</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-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About 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/forget-saving25-place-to-look-for-spare-change">Forget Saving...25 Places to Look for Spare Change</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-money-secrets-of-the-amish">9 Money Secrets of the Amish</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-millennials-are-better-with-money-than-you-are">7 Ways Millennials Are Better With Money Than You Are</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance fear honesty inner peace meditation saving money zen Tue, 17 Nov 2015 18:15:36 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1613348 at http://www.wisebread.com Start Saving More With This One, Simple Tool http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_writing_journal_000039888922.jpg" alt="Woman saving more with one simple budgeting tool" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you need to create a monthly budget for your household. But before you can do that, you need to create a spending book, which is a book that tracks how much you spend each week on everything from groceries to gas to bus fare.</p> <p>If you don't know how much you already spend on these items, you'll struggle to craft an accurate budget for your household. And with an inaccurate budget, the odds are high that you'll bust it before the end of every month.</p> <p>Fortunately, creating a spending book is simple. You can do it in less than two hours, and you'll need just a pen and a notebook.</p> <h2>The Problem With Budgets</h2> <p>You might set aside $600 a month for groceries. By the time the month ends, though, you've spent $900 at the supermarket. What happened? You set an unrealistic budget goal.</p> <p>This isn't unusual. In a study released earlier this year, Bankrate reported that 82% of U.S. adults say they keep a budget. But the same survey found that fewer than 40% of respondents had enough savings on hand to cover a $500 or $1,000 emergency bill.</p> <p>A survey by HarrisPoll for SunTrust Banks released earlier this year found that <a href="http://investors.suntrust.com/news/news-details/2015/SunTrust-Many-higher-income-households-living-paycheck-to-paycheck/default.aspx">44% of people who earned more than $75,000</a> a year said that their extra spending on lifestyle purchases &mdash; purchases that were not essential &mdash; prevented them from saving as much money as they wanted to. The survey found, too, that almost one-third of respondents were living paycheck to paycheck, not saving any money each month.</p> <p>These are the kind of financial problems people run into when they break their monthly household budgets.</p> <h2>How a Spending Book Can Help</h2> <p>It's easy to know how much you'll spend on your mortgage, student-loan, or car payment. Those expenses don't change each month. It's easy, too, to guesstimate how much you'll spend each month on your electric and gas bills. They vary each month, but not wildly.</p> <p>How much you spend on groceries, dining out, movies or public transportation, however, can change from week to week. When you break your budget by overspending on these discretionary purchases, you're likely to dip into the money that you've budgeted for savings. And that's how you get to the point where an emergency bill sends your credit card debt soaring.</p> <p>This is why it's important to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-year-end-financial-moves-you-must-make-now">create a spending book</a> to track all of your purchases. Once you do this, you'll have a better ballpark figure on how much to budget for entertainment, restaurant meals and groceries each month. And you'll be less likely to break your budget.</p> <h2>Creating Your Spending Book</h2> <p>The best way to create a spending book is to go tech-free. Buy a small notebook that you can carry with you. When you make a purchase, no matter what it is, write it down. If you don't want to carry your notebook with you, get a receipt for your buys. When you get home, write down what you bought during the day.</p> <p>Make sure to write down, too, when you pay your mortgage, car payment, credit-card payment or utility bills. You want to chart all of your purchases in your spending book every day. It's the only way to get an accurate representation of how much you really spend.</p> <h3>Apps for That</h3> <p>If you'd rather go a bit more high-tech, you can download several apps that help you track your spending. You'll just enter your purchases into your smartphone after you make them. There are plenty of tracking apps out there, but some highly rated ones are <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trackmyspend/id542589077?mt=8">TrackMySPEND</a>, <a href="https://goodbudget.com/">GoodBudget</a>, <a href="http://www.getpennies.com/">Pennies</a>, and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocket-expense-personal-finance/id424575621?mt=8">Pocket Expense</a>.</p> <h3>Sort It and Add It Up</h3> <p>At the end of every week, enter the purchases from your spending book into a spreadsheet devoted to your household spending. A simple spreadsheet will work fine for this. You can also search online for spreadsheets created just for this purpose. You'll need to organize your spending into broad categories. Choose what works for you, but you might consider breaking your purchases down into categories such as household expenses &mdash; which would include money spent on maintenance and repairs, utilities, and your mortgage payment &mdash; entertainment, groceries, clothing, medical expenses, dining out, transportation, and monthly subscriptions.</p> <p>Once you have your information in a spreadsheet, you can total your purchases in each category to see what you've actually spent on going to the movies or on medical visits.</p> <h3>Do It for a Month &mdash; That's It!</h3> <p>You should keep your spending book for at least a month before creating a household budget. That way, you'll have enough spending data to account for the weeks in which you spend less or more on such variable purchases as groceries or dining out. Once you have a month's worth of numbers, you can average out how much you typically spend on these purchases.</p> <p>Armed with this information, you can create a household budget that's <em>actually accurate</em>. You should keep that spending book going, too, even after your budget is set. It's a great way to determine if you're on track to meet your budget goals as the month moves along.</p> <p><em>How do you track your monthly budget? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ponder-it-to-budget-or-not-to-budget">Ponder it: to budget or not to 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/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule Can 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/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</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-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting budget saving money savings tools spending book Thu, 12 Nov 2015 17:15:23 +0000 Dan Rafter 1610789 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Easy Ways to Save Money in October http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-easy-ways-to-save-money-in-october <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-easy-ways-to-save-money-in-october" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_autumn_000027614269.jpg" alt="Finding easy ways to save money in October" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on easy ways to save in October, frugal methods to fight the flu, and what to do about eating habits that make you less productive.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-easy-and-fun-ways-to-save-money-in-october">7 Easy (and Fun) Ways to Save Money in October</a> &mdash; Pay attention to grocery sales! October is National Pizza Month, so be on the lookout for deals on frozen pizzas. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/10-frugal-ways-fight-the-flu/">5 Frugal Ways to Fight the Flu</a> &mdash; Eat foods rich in protein, zinc, and vitamins A and C, plus certain types of tea to help your body fend off the flu. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2015/10/7-harmful-eating-habits-cripple-productivity.html">7 harmful eating habits that cripple your productivity (and what to do about it)</a> &mdash; Your energy levels will fluctuate more drastically if you only eat during meals, three times a day. Remember to snack on low glycemic foods like apples, nuts, and hummus with pita to prevent energy swings. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Uses-Honey-35901873">16 Unexpectedly Sweet Uses For Honey</a> &mdash; Hate the strong taste of store-bought mouthwash? Make your own from honey and mint! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1001/For-investing-and-kids-sports-make-sure-to-diversify">For investing and kids' sports, make sure to diversify</a> &mdash; When kids focus on one sport exclusively for months on end, they're at a higher risk of developing a permanent injury over time. By the same token, a portfolio that isn't very diverse will suffer more of those individual stocks don't do well. [The Monitor]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://momsneedtoknow.com/6-ways-to-make-your-morning-more-organized/">6 Ways to Make Your Morning More Organized</a> &mdash; Set up a morning center where your family will place everything needed for the day: work bags, keys, backpacks, and other gear. [Moms Need to Know]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.readyforzero.com/5-money-mistakes-can-hurt-marriage/">5 Money Mistakes that Can Hurt Your Marriage</a> &mdash; It's easy to paint one partner as the saver and the other as the spender, but it's important for a couple to reach a balance that works for both people. [ReadyForZero]</p> <p><a href="http://upgradereality.com/33-ways-to-be-remarkable/">33 Ways to Be Remarkable</a> &mdash; Don't avoid the things that scare you. Face your fears and conquer them! [Upgrade Reality]</p> <p><a href="https://shopping.yahoo.com/news/5-fall-vegetables-to-plant-right-now-191147699.html">5 fall vegetables to plant right now</a> &mdash; Radishes do well in the cool season, and they're really easy to grow! Give them soil that's constantly moist and pull them up right when they're ready. [Yahoo!]</p> <p><a href="https://www.listenmoneymatters.com/six-financial-fears-and-how-to-overcome-them/">Six Financial Fears and How to Overcome Them</a> &mdash; There are steps you can take if you're worried that a medical catastrophe will bankrupt you. Look into supplemental insurances to give you some buffer. And if you walk out of the hospital with a huge bill, ask for an itemized bill and check for mistakes. [Listen Money Matters]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-easy-ways-to-save-money-in-october">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-secrets-of-the-amish">9 Money Secrets of the Amish</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/forget-saving25-place-to-look-for-spare-change">Forget Saving...25 Places to Look for Spare Change</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-things-you-must-do-before-you-quit-your-job">5 Things You Must Do Before You Quit Your Job</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/insights-from-the-worlds-9-most-frugal-cultures">Insights From the World&#039;s 9 Most Frugal Cultures</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance best money tips saving money Mon, 05 Oct 2015 19:03:22 +0000 Amy Lu 1579612 at http://www.wisebread.com