experiences http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/21190/all en-US 8 Money Lessons I Learned From Three Weeks in Europe http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_tourists_smiling_at_the_camera_near_eiffel_tower.jpg" alt="Kids tourists smiling at the camera near Eiffel Tower" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In early June, my husband and I took a bucket list trip to Europe with our kids. While we've visited countless countries worldwide as a couple, this was our first &quot;big trip&quot; with our daughters, ages six and eight. In addition to the four of us, we took a family caregiver to help with the kids and give Mom and Dad a break. Over the course of 19 days, we spent time in Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. The entire ordeal was exhausting, but it was an absolute blast!</p> <p>Fortunately, we planned far enough ahead that we didn't spend too much out of pocket while we were there. By leveraging <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> and setting a daily spending budget, we were able to get the entire trip, which would normally cost $20,000 retail, for around $3,500. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation with Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>In addition to the virtues of planning ahead as a savings strategy, we learned numerous financial lessons during our travels. While we were aware of most of these lessons already, seeing the world through our children's eyes served as the perfect reminder of the reasons behind some of our most important financial decisions.</p> <p>Here are a few lessons we relearned thanks to our trip abroad.</p> <h2>1. Failing to plan means planning to fail</h2> <p>One of the most expensive components of our trip was dining, mostly because there were five people in our group. No matter how cheaply you try to eat, feeding five people three meals a day means your food budget adds up quickly.</p> <p>While we tried to minimize our food costs by eating breakfast in our condo and searching for budget options, there were times where we didn't plan ahead and paid a steep price for our lack of preparation.</p> <p>One meal in particular stands out. We traveled by train to Rome in the morning and arrived in early afternoon without researching restaurants or stores in the immediate area. In a tired and hungry daze, we entered the first restaurant we walked past near Piazza Navona.</p> <p>Unfortunately, we paid big time for this oversight. Not only was the food overly touristy (pictures on the menu &mdash; blech), but our lunch set us back nearly $90. If we had searched ahead of time, we would have known we could have found much cheaper (and probably tastier) options had we walked a block in the other direction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-eating-great-food-for-cheap-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Secrets to Eating Great Food for Cheap While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>2. Expensive does not equal better</h2> <p>That meal also served as a reminder that expensive isn't always better. We paid $90 for a lunch that was mediocre at best on that particular day, but at other times we enjoyed meals that were absolutely delicious and downright cheap.</p> <p>One that comes to mind was a meal we had in nearby Florence, Italy. In order to keep our food budget under control, we started researching local restaurants once we arrived. Eventually, we stumbled upon a sandwich shop &mdash; Panini Toscani &mdash; that was uber-cheap but was also the third highest rated restaurant in Florence.</p> <p>We wound up eating there twice. The food was delicious and convenient, and our total meal for five people was less than $20 both times.</p> <h2>3. Even budget trips can be fun</h2> <p>By the time we got to Switzerland (our last stop), I was pretty tired of spending money in general. So, when we had our final &quot;free day&quot; in the country, I spent some time looking for something fun and affordable to do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-countries-where-you-can-travel-on-30-a-day-or-less?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Countries Where You Can Travel on $30 a Day or Less</a>)</p> <p>Eventually, I remembered a town we drove by that had the most beautiful, clear-green lake I had ever seen. After looking up the details, I found that the tiny village of Lungern had a public beach and a few waterslides with a daily admission cost of about $5.25 per adult.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/man_jumping_in_a_lake.jpg" width="605" height="454" alt="" /></p> <p>This relatively cheap day was probably the most fun we had. All of us swam and rode waterslides the entire day, stopping only to have a low-cost lunch.</p> <p>It just goes to show that budget travel can absolutely be fun, and that you don't have to spend a ton of money to enjoy yourself.</p> <h2>4. There's more than one &quot;right way&quot; to do things</h2> <p>One of the most rewarding components of travel is watching my kids react to the many ways other countries handle things differently. My kids were obsessed with euros, for example. They couldn't understand why anyone would choose to offer two euros in the form of a coin.</p> <p>I also had to explain why we didn't tip as much as we normally do. Since workers in Europe are paid higher wages, you don't have to tip 15&ndash;20 percent like you do in the states.</p> <p>While we could argue all day over which way is better, I told my kids there is more than one &quot;right way&quot; to do things sometimes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-countries-where-you-dont-have-to-tip-at-restaurants?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Countries Where You Don't Have to Tip at Restaurants</a>)</p> <h2>5. We actually need very little</h2> <p>While I wasn't sure we could pull it off, we made it through the entire trip with just carry-on luggage and two school-sized backpacks of stuff. It helped that one of our condos had a washing machine, but I was still amazed we enjoyed ourselves without many comforts from home.</p> <p>This just goes to show that most of us don't need a lot to be happy. We need clothes, food, and shelter, but everything else is optional. We can be happy and content without having a bunch of stuff to bog us down.</p> <h2>6. Most people are honest, but not everyone</h2> <p>Most of the people we dealt with abroad were both kind and honest &mdash; except for a couple of small incidences. First, we encountered a taxi driver who tried to charge us $28 (instead of running his meter) to take us four blocks in Rome. Not only was this outrageous since we'd paid $7 for the same ride earlier that day, but it was illegal for him to do this since the city of Rome regulates official taxis.</p> <p>Second, when we got home from the trip, we received a fraud alert from Chase. Apparently, someone had swiped our card information and tried to make a purchase in Peru.</p> <p>This kind of stuff happens no matter where you are, so it's important to always stay vigilant. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>7. Exchange rates matter</h2> <p>Whenever I travel abroad, I almost always struggle to keep track of the currency exchange rate and how it affects everything we buy. But, since a single U.S. dollar is currently worth just .87 euros, this is an important detail to keep in mind. If something costs 10 euros, for example, you're actually paying $11.55.</p> <p>While I used a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card with no foreign transaction fees</a> to pay most of our expenses, I tried hard to impart this lesson on our kids. No matter where you are in the world, chances are good the money isn't worth the same as at home. And, if you don't pay attention, you could wind up spending a lot more than you think!</p> <h2>8. Some experiences are worth the money, even if they're expensive</h2> <p>While we definitely saved a bundle on this trip due to the way we leveraged credit card rewards, we still spent $3,500 of our hard-earned dollars. On top of that, I probably spent 30&ndash;50 hours planning not only our credit card rewards strategy, but our hotels, flights, and trains.</p> <p>The thing is, I don't regret a single cent &mdash; or a single second. Over my lifetime, I've learned that some experiences are worth the money and the time, even if it seems like a lot.</p> <p>It's hard to put a price tag on a fun family trip that exposed us to cultures in a completely different part of the world. I believe it was priceless. Some memories are worth saving up to splurge on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Money%2520Lessons%2520I%2520Learned%2520From%2520Three%2520Weeks%2520in%2520Europe.jpg&amp;description=8%20Money%20Lessons%20I%20Learned%20From%20Three%20Weeks%20in%20Europe"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Money%20Lessons%20I%20Learned%20From%20Three%20Weeks%20in%20Europe.jpg" alt="8 Money Lessons I Learned From Three Weeks in Europe" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</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-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</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-families-can-earn-and-use-travel-rewards">How Families Can Earn and Use Travel Rewards</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/amazing-destinations-you-can-go-to-with-rewards-points-and-miles">Amazing Destinations You Can Go to With Rewards Points and Miles</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-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Travel Europe exchange rates experiences family food costs money lessons rewards vacation Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Holly Johnson 2007686 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times Splurging on Experiences Is a Bad Idea http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_having_a_duh_moment.jpg" alt="Man having a duh moment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a regular reader of Wise Bread, you know that we encourage you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things?ref=internal" target="_blank">spend your money on experiences</a> rather than material things. You will be happier if you make great memories, rather than stockpiling great electronics, clothes, shoes, watches, and jewelry. But there are two sides to every story. And sometimes, these experiences are just not worth the splurge.</p> <h2>1. Exotic destination weddings</h2> <p>We've all received those wedding invitations that, at first, seem like a dream come true. We picture ourselves tanning on a beach in Hawaii or Jamaica with a cocktail and a smile. But that's usually not the case. Destination weddings don't give you a lot of time to yourself. You are there for the bride and groom. It's their big day, they've spent a lot of money on it. You'll be expected to go to rehearsals, receptions, and other parties. You may well have to hang out with a bunch of people you don't know or even like all that much. And to top it all off, you're paying through the nose to go on this trip. It will likely cost thousands. You might make some good memories from it, but this isn't the same as a vacation on your own terms. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a>)</p> <h2>2. Tickets to the Super Bowl</h2> <p>Blasphemy, right?! Well, not really. When it comes down to it, a trip to the Super Bowl is a great experience if you can get it for the right price. But if you're buying the tickets through the secondary market, or even worse, getting an &quot;On Location Experience,&quot; you are going to be spending a small fortune. SeatGeek.com states that the <a href="https://seatgeek.com/events/super-bowl" target="_blank">average price of a Super Bowl 52 ticket</a> will be between $2,500 and $3,000. For those On Location Experiences, you're looking at between $6,000 to $12,000. Up to $12,000 to see a football game. Now, think about the experience you're going to have for that money. You're there, in the stadium, but most of the time you're actually watching the action on the big screen projection. You're paying an arm and a leg for food and drinks. You also had to pay to get to the Super Bowl and stay in a hotel, unless you're lucky enough to live in that city. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-man-used-credit-card-rewards-to-go-to-the-last-11-super-bowls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Man Used Credit Card Rewards to Go to the Last 11 Super Bowls</a>)</p> <p>What else could you do with that money? How about two weeks in Europe? Or Japan? Or paying down debt? Wouldn't that be a better use of your money? Forget the Super Bowl experience, and watch it on a big screen at home with your friends and family.</p> <h2>3. Extremely high-priced restaurants</h2> <p>There are some restaurant experiences that balance good food with a reasonable check at the end of the meal. And there are others that just blow the budget completely out of the water. You may be thinking that once, just once, you want to spend a whole lot of money on an amazing meal &hellip; just to experience it. Well, honestly, you will not be getting your money's worth. For example, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurants" target="_blank">Sublimotion in Spain</a> charges over $2,000 per person for a series of 15-20 small courses. It gets exceptional reviews of course, but $2,000 for a meal is just an absurd waste of your cash, and you will find stunning food in your area for way, way less money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-most-affordable-michelin-starred-restaurants?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The World's Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants</a>)</p> <h2>4. A trip on the Orient Express</h2> <p>I mean, it's a train. It may be the most famous train the world, but is it worth the cost to ride? If you were to book a <a href="https://www.luxury-trains.co.uk/orient-express/venice-simplon-orient-express-train-fares.htm" target="_blank">cabin suite from Paris to Istanbul</a>, the cost is almost $16,000! If you instead opt for a double or single room, it's still up there at around $8,000! And what do you get for that? Honestly, not all that much. Some nice food, some fancy service, and nice views.</p> <p>However, if you purchase a First Class InterRail ticket for the same journey, with the same views, you will only be out of pocket around $400 per person. Don't bother with the Orient Express. It's overpriced and underwhelming, and includes a lot of wood paneling and polished brass.</p> <h2>5. The big fight</h2> <p>Despite the phenomenal rise in popularity of UFC, world-class boxing matches still command massive audiences. And it seems massively inflated ticket prices, too. In 2015, Forbes reported that the Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao fight had ticket prices so incredible they broke records. As hard as it is to believe, some tickets went on sale for upward of $350,000! That's right, over a quarter of a million dollars, for a fight that many thought did not come close to living up to the title of &quot;Fight of the Century.&quot; If you're thinking, <em>Well, yeah, but most tickets didn't cost anywhere near that price,</em> then you're right. The worst seats in the house were being sold for over $3,500 per ticket. And that would have gotten you on the upper level with a view that left a lot to be desired. People were spending upward of $150 to attend the weigh-in for that fight! And these fights will continue to garner a lot of attention, and ask for grossly-inflated sums of money. Watch it on Pay-Per-View if you really want to see it, and split the cost with your friends.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Times%2520Splurging%2520on%2520Experiences%2520Is%2520a%2520Bad%2520Idea.jpg&amp;description=5%20Times%20Splurging%20on%20Experiences%20Is%20a%20Bad%20Idea"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Times%20Splurging%20on%20Experiences%20Is%20a%20Bad%20Idea.jpg" alt="5 Times Splurging on Experiences Is a Bad Idea" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-splurging-on-experiences-is-a-bad-idea">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-lessons-on-surviving-and-thriving-through-tough-times-from-author-donna-freedman">6 Lessons on Surviving and Thriving Through Tough Times From Author Donna Freedman</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys">Never Borrow Money for These 5 Buys</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment expensive things experiences material things saving money spending splurges travel vacation weddings Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1990724 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Live a Retired Life Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-a-retired-life-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-live-a-retired-life-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/falling_in_love_is_so_much_fun.jpg" alt="Falling in love is so much fun" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many of us dream about being able give up the day job and settle into a life of freedom, flexibility, and financial security in retirement. But unfortunately for many Americans, this dream is getting further and further out of reach. The reality is that the average age at which U.S. citizens are able to retire is on the increase.</p> <p>Being financially prepared is rightly a large concern, particularly because people tend to make big plans for when they do finally retire. It also means that some people put off following their dreams with hopes that they will be better able to afford them later in life.</p> <p>But if you're sensible with your savings and clever with your planning, it's possible to find a balance between securing a comfortable retirement and still living life to its fullest.</p> <h2>Take more time off</h2> <p>Taking vacation is something that shoots fear into the hearts of millions of people. Reasons for this vary from being worried about the amount of work that we'll face when returning to the job, to fears of losing our job altogether as a result of taking too much time off. It's a sad fact that the majority of Americans don't take their full vacation allowance each year, with 55 percent reporting leaving days unused, according to Project: Time Off.</p> <p>If you're among the large number of Americans who don't use their vacation days, then the first step to getting more holidays is simply to take them. Booking your vacations far in advance will allow your employer to plan effectively for the time that you're not there. It also gives you time to help ensure that whoever is covering you knows what they are doing and is properly prepared.</p> <p>If you're already using your allotted time off, consider asking for more. Requesting extra vacation is understandably daunting for many people, but as the old saying goes, if you don't ask, you don't get. It helps if you can provide justification for your extra holiday time, like a dream trip to Europe, and it's even better if you can demonstrate it will have a positive effect on your productivity. In fact, a study by the Harvard Business Review directly linked having more vacation days to an ability to get work done quicker.</p> <p>Another option that many don't even consider is to take unpaid time off. Though this may seem counterproductive, it's basically like buying extra vacation days. If you value your time off then it can work out to be very cost effective.</p> <p>Ask your employer about &quot;banking time,&quot; which basically allows you to work overtime shifts for regular pay (instead of the regular time-and-a-half), and then use those banked days to extend your holidays or take a few extra days off throughout the year when you need a break from the grind.</p> <h2>Focus on discounted, cheap, and free experiences</h2> <p>A great way to enjoy the quality of life that you crave without breaking the bank is to take advantage of discounted and cheap experiences. You might have a list of things that you want to do, see, or accomplish in your lifetime that you're putting off because you think it's too expensive. Instead, try looking out for when it's possible to do these things on the cheap.</p> <p>Always wanted to visit a certain country? Research when high season is and make a plan that allows you to go in low season instead. This will save you money on flights, accommodations, and many activities to do while you're there.</p> <p>Create a bucket list with a twist. Rather than containing activities that cost money, focus on experiences which cost little but provide you with a high sense of personal achievement. Physical activities are good for this, like hiking a certain mountain route or running a marathon, as well as things that will tax your brain like writing a book or learning an instrument.</p> <h2>Move somewhere cheaper</h2> <p>Lots of people envision moving away to a rural area or a tropical place when they retire, but why put it off until then? Moving to a cheaper city, state, or even country could allow you to live out your dreams, save more, and work less all at the same time. If you're not tied to your home by your job, then it doesn't necessarily even have to be a permanent move. You could spend half your time in the cheaper place having fun while still saving money.</p> <p>Numbeo ranks the U.S. as one of the most expensive places to live in the world. This means there's a lot of choice if you are looking for somewhere cheaper to settle down abroad. With 8.7 million Americans living overseas, you won't be alone. There are many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in" target="_blank">attractive, cheap locations</a> that could be the perfect place to call your new home.</p> <p>If you don't know where to start, write a list of what's important to you in your everyday life and research which places can accommodate those aspects of your life. Lots of countries in South America, Asia, and Europe are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries" target="_blank">significantly less expensive</a> than the U.S. but still offer a great standard of living.</p> <p>Moving to a new country isn't a decision to be taken lightly, and definitely not one that should be made based purely on cost. You need to be sure that the move is right for you and is one that will have a positive impact on your life. But there's no need to hold off until you're 65 to move to an amazing location.</p> <h2>Work from home</h2> <p>If your career is getting in the way of living the life you want right now, then perhaps it's time to start thinking about changing to something that will allow you to do this. The office environment is rapidly transforming, and working from home is no longer a rare and prized entitlement for the lucky few. If you don't have to spend time commuting or dressing for an office environment, you can free up time to do more of what you want to do.</p> <p>Lots of employers are becoming more flexible when it comes to this idea and there is a wide range of opportunities that are well suited for remote work. Advancements in technology have made remote working progressively easier, with a Gallup survey showing that 43 percent of employed Americans spend some portion of time working from home.</p> <p>Some industries that have embraced remote working include finance, insurance, and information technology, so it's a bonus if you already have a background in one of these fields. But even if you don't, the trend of working from home is growing, and may hit your industry soon.</p> <p>Don't confuse working from home with doing less. It's not a way to ease into the retired life in that sense. What it does bring is flexibility around when you work, as well as potentially huge savings in the time wasted getting to and from the office. It's also common for it to lead to increased productivity thanks to having fewer distractions at home than in a typical office environment.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-a-retired-life-before-retirement">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-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-retirement-hotspots-that-are-cheaper-now-than-ever-before">9 Retirement Hotspots That Are Cheaper Now Than Ever Before</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-money-moves-to-make-before-taking-a-mini-retirement">5 Money Moves to Make Before Taking a Mini Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-vacation-shame-your-coworkers">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t &quot;Vacation Shame&quot; Your Coworkers</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/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement">5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Retirement discounts experiences moving relocating remote retired life telecommuting time off travel vacation time work from home working Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Nick Wharton 1958436 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Turn Credit Card Rewards Into Real Wealth http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-turn-credit-card-rewards-into-real-wealth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-turn-credit-card-rewards-into-real-wealth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-623196850.jpg" alt="Man turning credit card rewards into real wealth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Using a rewards credit card is an easy way to pocket a few hundred dollars a year in cash back rewards, or earn free travel. And if you're willing to put in the effort, you'll find there are plenty of ways to parlay your points into something more meaningful and long-lasting.</p> <h2>1. Invest your cash back for the long haul</h2> <p>The simplest way to make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back rewards</a> even more rewarding is to put the money into a retirement account and let compound interest work its magic. For example, we've worked out how to save <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=internal" target="_blank">over a thousand dollars a year</a> using credit cards.</p> <p>Let's say you banked your $1,000 in rewards and savings and invested them in a Roth IRA each year for 20 years. If you earned an average return of 6 percent, you'd have almost $40,000 after 20 years, before fees.</p> <h2>2. Invest in experiences</h2> <p>Ask any dying person what they value most, and it won't be money they speak of. Most people look back on their lives and cherish the memories they've made &mdash; the sight of beautiful places, the laughter of their children, and the life-changing moments they've spent with the people they love.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Travel rewards cards</a> may not help anyone grow rich, but they can help them afford a wide range of experiences that may otherwise be out of reach. An Alaskan cruise may fit into even a modest budget with the smart use of credit card rewards. Meanwhile, a $1000+ economy flight to Europe can be had for as little as 45,000 American Airlines frequent flyer miles, which you can earn with an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">American Airlines credit card</a>.</p> <p>Used wisely, travel rewards can help families make memories they'll cherish for a lifetime. At the very least, they make it possible to travel farther, participate in more activities, and stay longer once you're there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Earn a Free Vacation in 9 Months With Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>3. Donate rewards to a worthy cause</h2> <p>Even if you aren't remotely interested in spending rewards, you can make a difference. Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-give-back-to-charity?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards give rewards directly to charities</a>. Other credit card programs let you donate your points to charity, letting you turn your regular spending into a boon for someone else.</p> <p>While each credit card rewards program works differently, most make it possible to donate your rewards to causes you believe in. And if you don't want to donate through your issuer's official program, you can always simply give the cash back you earn to your favorite charity.</p> <h2>4. Use rewards to pay down debt and save money on interest</h2> <p>If you have credit card debt, you shouldn't be chasing credit card rewards. But if you have other debt that you'd like to pay off sooner, like a car loan, you can rack up cash rewards and make an extra payment each year. This will help you reduce interest on that debt as well as pay it off sooner.</p> <h2>5. Avoid a high-interest loan</h2> <p>If you have a huge expense coming up and need to take out a loan, you can avoid interest payments and earn rewards in one fell swoop. With a credit card that offers <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR on new purchases</a> you essentially get an interest-free loan for a limited time.</p> <p>For example, let's say you plan to finance a roomful of furniture to the tune of $5,000. You want to pay it off over a year or so, and hope to avoid huge interest payments. You can get a card that offers 0% APR for the first 15 months, allowing you to pay off that $5,000 interest free. Remember though that you have to stay committed to your plan to pay off that amount during that period. Rewards cards typically charge higher interest rates. If you don't think you'll be able to pay off your balance, you'll want instead to look into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">low interest credit cards</a> to keep a handle on your debt. Before you pursue rewards, make sure you're prepared to use credit responsibly.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-turn-credit-card-rewards-into-real-wealth">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-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cash-back-is-better-than-travel-rewards">6 Reasons Cash Back Is Better Than Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-with-your-travel-rewards-credit-cards">7 Things You Should Never Do With Your Travel Rewards Credit Cards</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-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire">How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire</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-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards cash back charity experiences interest loans miles rewards travel wealth building Mon, 22 May 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Holly Johnson 1946267 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Being a Millionaire Is Overrated http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-515230158.jpg" alt="Woman learning why being a millionaire is overrated" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All told, 10.4 million households in the U.S. have $1 million or more in investable assets, according to a 2017 study by investor research firm Spectrem Group. Sounds pretty nice, doesn't it?</p> <p>You may want to reconsider those feelings of envy. Does the money really make life any more enjoyable? As Bill Gates once said, &quot;A hamburger is still a hamburger, millions in your pocket or not.&quot; Read on for our roundup of reasons why you should feel perfectly content to live on Main Street.</p> <h2>1. Happiness can be bought &mdash; but most rich people aren't doing it right</h2> <p>Do you have enough money to eat, pay for health care, and make the rent? If so, you're off to a good start. Research shows that as long as <a href="https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/danielgilbert/files/if-money-doesnt-make-you-happy.nov-12-20101.pdf" target="_blank">your basic needs are met</a>, you've got as much of a shot at living a joyful life as anybody else.</p> <p>In fact, the relationship between money and happiness is surprisingly weak. A positive experience, such as working hard to attain a goal or falling in love, will make you happier than a new Porsche. Over time, the Porsche will rust, dent, and age. The car simply won't be as thrilling to drive as it was when you first bought it. But the memory of a first love or receiving a reward for your hard work won't as quickly deteriorate.</p> <p>Indeed, money can be used to have more of the positive experiences that make us happy. But research shows that people who are well-to-do don't often spend their money this way.</p> <h2>2. Small delights bring more joy than big, expensive ones</h2> <p>A series of small, frequent treats &mdash; a pedicure, a day at the beach, a box of chocolate-covered strawberries &mdash; is more fulfilling than a big, blowout, annual gift to yourself. In this way, even millionaires are limited by their funds. If a millionaire wants their fortune to last, they can't spend it all at once. And if the goal is happiness, money should be spent in a way that brings constant delight, even if those delights come in smaller packages.</p> <p>Remember: Eating an entire, 12-slice cake in one sitting is not 12 times more pleasurable than eating one slice at a time. Similarly, most <a href="http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/richard.thaler/research/pdf/Gambling%20with%20the%20House%20Money%20and%20Trying%20to%20Break%20Even%20The%20Effects%20of%20Prior%20Outcomes%20in%20Risky%20Choice.pdf" target="_blank">people who play the lottery</a> would prefer to win a $50 ticket and then another $75 ticket at a later date, rather than win a one-time lump sum of $125. So, even if you can afford to treat yourself to one big present, you'd be wiser &mdash; and happier &mdash; to gift yourself a series of small ones instead.</p> <h2>3. Anticipation promotes happiness</h2> <p>If you're rich enough to buy yourself every new gadget the moment it hits the market, you're robbing yourself of anticipation &mdash; that feeling of yearning and desire which delivers a more intense feeling of happiness when we finally attain the thing from which we've been deprived.</p> <p>The pleasure that arises from immediate consumption simply doesn't match the staying power of the happiness we feel when we get something we've been yearning for. Here's an example from researchers who study happiness: People often derive the most joy from talking about and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/travel/what-a-great-trip-and-im-not-even-there-yet.html?_r=0" target="_blank">looking forward to a vacation</a> than the actual experience of the vacation itself.</p> <h2>4. A fancy vacation might sound like bliss, but it can often bring problems</h2> <p>The Notorious B.I.G. said it best: Mo' money, mo' problems. Here's another way to think about it: People buy big ticket items expecting one thing, but often they get something else. Let's take a yacht, for example. Warm sun, deep ocean swims, navigating through foreign seas &mdash; what could be bad about owning a 200-foot yacht?</p> <p>Well, what about the huge, hidden price tags &mdash; such as the cost of storage and maintenance? What about mosquito bites, and stormy seas, and engine glitches, and that fear of sharks you never knew you had until you bought the darn thing?</p> <p>Consider how it might feel to have a yacht on which to sail around the world, but you can't find a willing companion to join you for the tour. Because, you know, some people have to work. But not you! You're rich and you've got a yacht &mdash; and now you have a whole new set of troubles to worry about. Happiness is in the details, but it's easy to get caught up in the illusion.</p> <h2>5. Rich people tend to spend more time working</h2> <p>Our happiness is largely determined by how we spend our time. As a person's income rises, they typically begin to devote more time to working, running errands, and shopping. These activities are known to drive stress and anxiety &mdash; not happiness.</p> <p>More than anything else, it's leisure time that breeds happiness. But, of course, it's a balance. If we're not working enough, we often find ourselves right back in the throes of stress and anxiety. &quot;Am I spending my time in a way that's worthwhile? What's the meaning of all this stuff?&quot; Striking a balance between work and play is important whether you're a millionaire or not.</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-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated">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-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</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-ways-money-does-buy-happiness">9 Ways Money Does Buy Happiness</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/3-smart-ways-young-millionaires-manage-their-money">3 Smart Ways Young Millionaires Manage Their Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle enjoyment experiences happiness material things millionaires overrated rich shopping Spending Money stress wealthy Fri, 12 May 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1943632 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Give Your Finances a Year-End Review http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-your-finances-a-year-end-review <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-give-your-finances-a-year-end-review" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_paying_bills_168362659_0.jpg" alt="Couple giving their finances a year-end review" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As one year ends and another begins, it's a natural time for reflection &mdash; financial and otherwise. Here are some suggestions for evaluating your financial progress in 2016, with the hopes of planning an even better 2017.</p> <h2>Net Worth</h2> <p>This is your financial big picture and it makes for a great starting point. In essence, the net worth calculation asks, &quot;How much are you worth?&quot; And the more important question for our purposes: Has your net worth increased or decreased over the past year?</p> <p>Assets minus liabilities (debts) equals your net worth. Calculate the value of all your assets (home, vehicles, retirement accounts, savings, investments, belongings, etc.) minus any liabilities or debt (mortgage balance owed, car note balance, student loans, credit card debt, medical bills, etc.). The difference between your assets and liabilities is your net worth.</p> <p>If you did this exercise last year, how has your net worth changed over the last 12 months? And what contributed to the changes?</p> <h2>Cash Flow</h2> <p>When it comes to using a budget, there are various tools &mdash; from a paper and pencil budget to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a>, and from software to online tools. When trying to motivate people to use a budget for the first time, I often say that the best budget tool is the one you'll actually use. However, for the purpose of a year-end analysis, there's nothing like an electronic tool, whether that means budget software or an online service such as <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint.</a></p> <p>For your cash flow analysis, start with the big picture &mdash; total income versus total expenses. Did you live within your means this year?</p> <p>Then do a category-by-category analysis. If you overspent in a certain category, was your budgeted amount unrealistic, or do you simply need to do a better job of managing your spending in that category?</p> <p>Use what you learn from this analysis in crafting your 2017 budget.</p> <h2>Experiential Net Worth</h2> <p>Traditional net worth statements have one big shortcoming, though &mdash; failing to account for investments you've made in positive experiences. <em>Experiential </em>net worth includes things like charitable donations, investments in your or your child's education, or even a memorable family vacation.</p> <p>Sure, these are expenses. However, research shows that spending money on positive experiences tends to make us happier than material things, so it's appropriate to recognize the experiences we <em>invest</em> in each year.</p> <p>To analyze your experiential net worth, focus on some of the ways you've spent money in the past year that led to some of your most positive experiences. This doesn't need to be a highly detailed account. If you gave to charity, for example, you might just list the organization(s) that you donated to as your experience, and maybe include a few details about the organization or how much money you contributed.</p> <p>Keeping tabs on your experiential investments can help you be strategic in planning future spending.</p> <h2>Emotional Net Worth</h2> <p>Emotional net worth is an assessment of how you <em>feel</em> about your current financial situation. While highly subjective, it can still help you analyze your overall financial wellbeing. Are you stressed about debt &mdash; and if so, how much? Do you feel you're making positive progress toward financial goals?</p> <p>Give your emotional net worth an overall rating. Next, jot down some ideas that could help you improve in this area, such as debt reduction, better communication about money with your spouse, or building an emergency fund.</p> <p>Now, take a good look at your year-end financial review. Are you content with what you see? Imagine it's this time next year. What changes will you need to make in 2017 to end up where you want to be?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-your-finances-a-year-end-review">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-net-worth-even-matter">Does Your Net Worth Even Matter?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-13-numbers-are-the-keys-to-understanding-your-finances">These 13 Numbers Are the Keys to Understanding Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year">8 Smart Money Moves to Make in the New Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-10-pm-do-you-know-where-your-net-worth-is">It&#039;s 10 pm: Do You Know Where Your Net Worth Is?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance analyzing budgeting cash flow experiences financial review investments net worth year end review Tue, 03 Jan 2017 10:00:12 +0000 Matt Bell 1865739 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Fun Ways the Sharing Economy Helps You Save on Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-ways-the-sharing-economy-helps-you-save-on-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-fun-ways-the-sharing-economy-helps-you-save-on-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_beach_bike_000075343215.jpg" alt="Couple using sharing economy to help save on vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unless you've been under a rock for the past couple years, you already know that the sharing economy means you can drop your vacation budget, thanks to innovative sites like Airbnb or Uber.</p> <p>But it doesn't stop there. Try these options to shave a few dollars while making the most of your precious vacation time.</p> <h2>1. Rent Someone's Car &mdash; or Their Bicycle</h2> <p>If you need wheels for your vacation plans, then the sharing economy can help. To hire a car direct from a local owner, from only $5/hour, try <a href="https://www.getaround.com">Getaround</a>. Registering is simple, with checks on your driver's license and credit card taking just minutes. There are no fees, and rentals include roadside assistance and insurance. This can be a great option if you need a car for some of your trip, but don't want to hire one for the whole time. You'll also help tackle the genuine environmental issue of car overpopulation.</p> <p>If cycling is more your style, then try <a href="https://www.spinlister.com/about">Spinlister</a>, an app connecting active people with the gear they need to get moving on vacation. Hire a bike &mdash; or even a surf or snowboard &mdash; direct from the owner. Because you're hiring direct, you can ask any the owner any questions you like, who will be able to give you all the detail you need to make your ride a happy one.</p> <h2>2. Hire a Local Guide</h2> <p><a href="https://www.vayable.com/">Vayable</a> connects locals with tourists, allowing travelers to get a genuine insight into the city they're visiting through the eyes of someone who really knows. Local hosts post proposed tours, experiences, and ideas on the site with a description for travelers to book. A thorough review process (similar to most sharing economy platforms) ensures quality, and the choice is enviable in areas covered. It's a marketplace, so prices vary, but check out the details of individual packages offered, and you could find an awesome experience that won't blow the budget.</p> <p>In New York, for example, you could take a <a href="https://www.vayable.com/experiences/494-flushing-chinatown-food-tour">food tour of Chinatown</a> with a food blogger described by The New York Times as an &quot;invaluable food sleuth,&quot; before working it off with a <a href="https://www.vayable.com/experiences/718-new-york-running-tour">running tour</a> guided by a marathon runner who &quot;can run 26 miles in the time it takes some of us to get out of bed.&quot; Luckily he doesn't mind slowing up for us mere mortals!</p> <h2>3. Get a Seat at the Chef's Table</h2> <p>Food is often the highlight of a vacation &mdash; and what better place to try the regional delicacies than in the home of a local? <a href="https://www.eatwith.com/event/9720/">Eatwith</a> allows you to do just that, browsing the menus of home cooks and private chefs, before booking to eat with them in their home. Think of it as the secret supper club you don't need to be a local to know about. If you're visiting LA, for example, you could come away not only well fed, but also with your own pasta making skills, learned from an <a href="https://www.eatwith.com/host/9214/">Italian master and private chef</a>, or sign up for any one of a range of &quot;communal dining events&quot; hosted by local experts.</p> <h2>4. Tap Into Wi-Fi</h2> <p>The original idea behind <a href="https://fon.com/">Fon</a> is astonishingly simple. If users share their home Wi-Fi with others, then they get access to other's Wi-Fi when they are out and about, in return. Today, the company boasts over 19 million hotspots, which users can access either by signing up through their own telco provider to share their own Wi-Fi and access others' for free, or by buying passes for between one hour and one month. With roaming charges a frequent headache for travelers, this could be the solution, helping you keep connected without racking up ridiculous bills.</p> <h2>5. Send Your Puppers on Vacay, Too</h2> <p>Who said the sharing economy should be limited to us humans? If you need a home for your doggie best friend while you travel, the sharing economy can help with that, too. <a href="https://dogvacay.com/">Dogvacay</a> hooks up pet parents with sitters who can look after their dogs in the comfort of a cozy home, rather than a formal kennel setting. As sitters set their own rates, there is a healthy market making costs reasonable, and the range of services varies to meet individual needs. The team look after premium level pet insurance for your pooch, and offer a concierge service should you need anything specific to make your booking work.</p> <p>Vacations are never cheap, and it is definitely worth checking out all the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">vacation money-saving sites</a> and ideas you can. But the sharing economy is not only about cutting your expenses and getting more for your money. With apps like these, you can also grab experiences that are simply not available in the traditional tourist market, in the click of a button, to truly get the biggest bang for your buck.</p> <p><em>What do you think? What sharing economy apps are transforming your vacations, and your life?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-fun-ways-the-sharing-economy-helps-you-save-on-vacation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20Fun%20Ways%20the%20Sharing%20Economy%20Helps%20You%20Save%20on%20Vacation.jpg&amp;description=5%20Fun%20Ways%20the%20Sharing%20Economy%20Helps%20You%20Save%20on%20Vacation" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Fun%20Ways%20the%20Sharing%20Economy%20Helps%20You%20Save%20on%20Vacation.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-ways-the-sharing-economy-helps-you-save-on-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fool-proof-ways-to-stay-within-your-travel-budget">7 Fool-Proof Ways to Stay Within Your Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</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-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</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-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel crowdsourcing experiences locals saving money sharing economy tourism vacation Wed, 27 Apr 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Claire Millard 1694761 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons You Should Splurge on Experiences, Not Things http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000078212251_Large.jpg" alt="spending money on an experience" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The 1980s might feel like ancient history, but whether or not you lived through the days of big hair, denim, and constantly winding your cassette tapes back with a ballpoint pen, the 1980s staple of excess was pretty much universal. And has been ever since. Accumulating stuff has never been hotter. Think <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003F29D44/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B003F29D44&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EI2KTCZ32FOCDE3F">Wall Street</a>, and Gordon Gekko's motto, &quot;Greed is good.&quot;</p> <p>Excessive consumption seemed cool in the '80s, but so did mullet haircuts and shoulder pads. Like the mullet, this relentless consumerism should be consigned to history. Because we have evolved, and we now have a better understanding of what makes us happy, and why. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stop-your-mindless-spending?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Stop Your Mindless Spending</a>)</p> <p>Don't chase stuff, chase experience. It'll make you happier. Here are four reasons why.</p> <h2>Money Doesn't Make You Happy</h2> <p>Song writers have long known that money can't buy you love, and also, that the best things in life are free. And while it's true that there are some ways in which money can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-money-does-buy-happiness">positively influence our outlook</a> and prospects, this only works up to a certain point.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~easterl/papers/Happiness.pdf">Easterlin Paradox</a> is the classic research into the topic, named after a 1974 book chapter, penned by economist Richard Easterlin. Although the 40 years since then has provided plenty of time for other research to debate the merits of this theory, Easterlin surmised that money makes you happy only to a certain extent. Once basic needs are met, the impact of money on happiness diminishes, and ultimately, an excess of cash can cause stress, too.</p> <p>Views on this idea will vary based on personal experience, and some subsequent research has heartily <a href="http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/10/30/people-in-emerging-markets-catch-up-to-advanced-economies-in-life-satisfaction/">agreed with the original premise</a>, while other researchers have set out to disprove the hypothesis. A 2010 research paper found that <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/107/38/16489.abstract">$75k is the magic number</a>, after which, income does not directly correlate with happiness. Although we are schooled to equate material things with reaching success, these same items do not lead to emotional wellbeing. All the more reason to use any spare cash to buy experiences, not things.</p> <h2>Stuff Loses Its Appeal &mdash; Memories Do Not</h2> <p>In a 2014 journal article, wonderfully named, &quot;<a href="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/5394dfa6e4b0d7fc44700a04/t/547d571fe4b094d782c0e634/1417500738967/Gilovich+Kumar+%28in+press%29+Always+Have+Paris+Advances.pdf">We'll always have Paris</a>,&quot; psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Amit Kumar explore the longer term impact on happiness from experiences compared to material purchases. Their research found firmly in favor of spending money on experience rather than things.</p> <p>The scientific key to their research is &quot;hedonic adaptation,&quot; meaning that we get used to things we have, and therefore the pleasure we associate with them fades away. If you buy a new tech gadget, for example, you might experience some initial high, but this can be eaten away as the product degrades, as your friends parade their newer versions, and as warranties or repairs add onto the initial cost. After a relatively short time, you're used to having your new toy. The novelty has worn off, and you no longer derive pleasure from it. Hedonic adaptation has set in.</p> <p>On the other hand, that skydive, dream vacation, or meal out with friends lives forever in your memory &mdash; often getting better over time, rather than worse, aided by our natural inclination to remember things fondly with rose-tinted flashbacks.</p> <h2>Experience Is Social</h2> <p>A strong argument in favor of spending money on experiences rather than things is not about the experiences at all. It's about the people we share them with.</p> <p>Experiences are often naturally social events, and they strengthen the bonds with others who make us happy. Also, experiences are better shared than the act of buying stuff. The tales that you share over the dinner table with friends in years to come are much more likely to be about the time Uncle John got sunburnt on vacation, rather than the awesome SUV you drove there in.</p> <h2>Material Success Can Be Transient</h2> <p>Even the very oldest of Millennials joined the workforce only a few years before the Great Recession rocked the world, and for those graduating after, life has been even tougher. It's hardly surprising that Millennials are driving the sharing/gig economy more than any other generation. Research shows that they will value <a href="http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/">access to, not ownership</a> of material things, shifting the emphasis away from actual consumption.</p> <p>Growing environmental awareness has its part to play in this shift, but having experienced the struggle of recession firsthand, Millennials are also conscious of the fact that material goods are transient and could be taken from you in an instant. Memories, on the other hand, can not be taken away &mdash; making spending on experiences, rather than things, the natural choice for this generation.</p> <p><em>What do you think? Tell 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/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-great-things-to-do-with-50">50 Great Things to Do With $50</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-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <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/13-awesome-money-saving-sites">13 Awesome Money Saving Sites We Love at Wise Bread</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-cool-diy-christmas-gifts-for-the-under-6-crowd">5 Cool DIY Christmas Gifts for the “Under 6” Crowd</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping events experiences memories special occasions Splurge Thu, 21 Apr 2016 10:01:03 +0000 Claire Millard 1694626 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Money Does Buy Happiness http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-money-does-buy-happiness <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-money-does-buy-happiness" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_smiling_000057527868.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways money does buy happiness" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whenever someone tells me that money can't buy happiness, I am often tempted to insist they give me all of their money as a way to test this theory. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-money-really-can-buy-happiness?ref=seealso">6 Ways Money Really Can Buy Happiness</a>)</p> <p>Research abounds on the &quot;Can money buy happiness?&quot; question, and there is evidence on both sides. It seems that true happiness can come from deep personal connections and life experiences rather than material goods. But there's also information showing that people on the lowest end of the income scale are vulnerable to depression and other mental health problems.</p> <p>Here's a look at some of the research indicating that money does indeed play a role in making people happier.</p> <h2>1. You're Less Likely to Suffer From Depression</h2> <p>A 2012 report from Gallup revealed that people in poverty are more likely to suffer from health problems, with depression being the most common. About 30.9% of poor people said they have been <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/158417/poverty-comes-depression-illness.aspx">diagnosed with depression</a> at some point, compared to about 15.8% (half as many!) for those not in poverty.</p> <h2>2. Your Kids Brains Will Develop Better</h2> <p>PBS reported in June on the growing body of evidence supporting the idea that growing up in poverty can have a long-term impact on children's cognitive development. In the most extreme cases, children endure &quot;toxic stress&quot; that is shown to actually chemically alter their brains.</p> <h2>3. You Can Afford an Education</h2> <p>A 2012 study by Pew and the University of Virginia found a connection between happiness and obtaining a college degree. A broad education, researchers concluded, can lead to a richer and more fulfilling life, as well as greater earning opportunities.</p> <h2>4. You'll Avoid Student Loans</h2> <p>There's been a lot written about the impact of student loans on young people, and there's evidence that the crushing debt can actually be detrimental to happiness. An article published in the journal Social Science and Medicine concluded that student loan debt was related to &quot;poorer psychological functioning&quot; among young adults.</p> <h2>5. You Can Mentally Savor Life</h2> <p>When you have money, you don't need to focus as much attention on acquiring it in order to meet your basic needs. This frees up your mind to actually savor the experiences of life, according to a 2010 article in Scientific American. The article concluded that &quot;...a person's ability to savor experiences predicts their degree of happiness.&quot;</p> <h2>6. You're &quot;Buffered&quot; From Sadness</h2> <p>A recent paper in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science concluded that there may not be a direct connection between money and happiness, <em>per se</em>. But, the authors said there was strong evidence that money prevented sadness. The study concluded that people with money can more easily &quot;buffer&quot; themselves against stressful events.</p> <h2>7. You'll Be Free to Spend Money on Others</h2> <p>When you barely have enough to support yourself, you're likely not thinking about giving back to others. But being generous with your money is a path to happiness, according to a Harvard study titled &quot;Using Money to Benefit Others Pays Off.&quot; In the study, researchers gave money to students to spend on either themselves or others by the end of the day. &quot;People who had been assigned to spend the money on someone else reported feeling [a] happier mood over the course of the day than those assigned to spend the money on themselves,&quot; the authors wrote.</p> <h2>8. You Can Spend Money on Experiences</h2> <p>There's considerable evidence that buying &quot;stuff&quot; doesn't make anyone any happier. But paying for <em>experiences</em> offers a good bang for your buck when it comes to happiness, according to the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400077427/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1400077427&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=THZH4OREGTORUHA6">Stumbling on Happiness</a>. Whether it's swimming with sharks off the coast of South Africa or hang gliding over a volcano in Hawaii, experiences do cost money.</p> <h2>9. You're Less Likely to Be Lonely</h2> <p>A 2011 study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology concluded that people with meaningful social connections are generally happiest. And there is other evidence showing that people with less money are more likely to be lonely. The Guardian reported in 2014 that &quot;Poor social networks should be included as a contributor to and signal of poverty.&quot;</p> <p><em>Does money make you happier?</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/9-ways-money-does-buy-happiness">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-money-really-can-buy-happiness">6 Ways Money Really Can Buy Happiness</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-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated">5 Reasons Being a Millionaire Is Overrated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-things-that-money-just-cant-buy">The things that money just can&#039;t buy</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/can-you-talk-to-your-friends-about-debt">Can you talk to your friends about debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan">These 17 Companies Will Help You Repay Your Student Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle education experiences happiness money poverty student loans Fri, 18 Dec 2015 10:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1621571 at http://www.wisebread.com 21 Experiences That Make Great Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/21-experiences-that-make-great-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/21-experiences-that-make-great-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_ice_skating_000021770346.jpg" alt="Couple finding experiences that make great gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know about you, but I have way too much stuff in my house. When I think about holiday gift giving, I get sort of frantic thinking about the new stuff that might come in. And when I'm planning gifts for others, I don't want to spread around that kind of burden. Consider giving experiences to your friends and family this year instead of tangible items. Here are some ideas to get you started. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-fun-ways-to-give-experiences-instead-of-stuff">12 Fun Ways to Give Experiences Instead of Stuff</a>)</p> <h2>1. Ice Skating</h2> <p>Bundle up and take the whole family ice skating. There's likely a rink right in your neighborhood with modest skate rental prices. Don't forget the camera either, as you won't want to miss your brother slipping and sliding around out there.</p> <h2>2. Art Classes</h2> <p>For those of you more into drawing, painting, photography, and other arts, check around your city for classes. Some meet just once for a few hours while others, through community colleges, for example, meet weekly.</p> <h2>3. Children's Museum Pass</h2> <p>Give those kids in your life a pass to the local children's museum or science center. Many passes are accepted at other area museums, zoos, etc. You'll make parents happy, too! While you're at it, consider gifting passes to other attractions in your area.</p> <h2>4. Concert Tickets</h2> <p>Is your friend just dying to see her favorite band? Find out if they're on tour in a city near you, and treat her to the night of her life. Rocking out for a whole night? This is one gift she won't soon forget. You can have just as much fun at the symphony.</p> <h2>5. Game Tickets</h2> <p>Round up the guys and surprise them with tickets to the big game. If the cost climbs too high, you could also throw an awesome party at your place and watch it together. Body paint is optional, but highly recommended.</p> <h2>6. Wine or Beer Tasting</h2> <p>For your beverage-loving friends, a wine or beer tasting afternoon is where it's at. You can stick with one of your favorites, or make it a tour of your area's finest. Be extra generous to everyone and appoint yourself the designated driver or arrange for other transportation.</p> <h2>7. Mini Trip</h2> <p>You don't need to be gone for a whole week to have an awesome vacation. Pick a destination that's only a couple hours from your hometown and plan out an amazing long weekend. Try ski lodges, family themed hotels (<a href="https://www.greatwolf.com">Great Wolf Lodge</a>, for example), or anywhere else that seems worth the trek.</p> <h2>8. Movie Tickets</h2> <p>Pile your family in the car and drive to your local movie theater to catch a new flick. Matinees are typically cheaper, especially for larger groups. And if you're short on cash, try dollar theaters or other discounted shows that feature slightly older movies on the big screen.</p> <h2>9. Park Passes</h2> <p>Is there an outdoorsy person in your family? Give the gift of total access to state or <a href="http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm">national parks</a>. That way, your special person can hike, fish, camp, or do all other sorts of cool nature things.</p> <h2>10. Restaurant Certificates</h2> <p>Wow your foodie friends with restaurants gift certificates. You can give them a night out at their favorite eatery or a unique experience someplace new. Check out sites like Restaurant.com for great deals in your area.</p> <h2>11. Dance Lessons</h2> <p>Whether it's a year of ballet for your four-year-old daughter or a couple's ballroom class, dance lessons are a fun gift to give. Bonus: You'll be giving your fitness goal-making friends an excuse to get moving and grooving in the new year.</p> <h2>12. Cooking Classes</h2> <p>Community centers, grocery stores, restaurants, farms, and cooking shops often offer cooking classes to the public. Comb their websites for a calendar of events or simply call and ask. I took a mozzarella cheese making class at a dairy farm once, and it's a skill I'm glad to have in my back pocket.</p> <h2>13. Tours</h2> <p>Take your mom on that Historic Homes tour she's been talking about all these years. Or round up your siblings and take a ghost tour. If you're more into city tours, check sites like <a href="https://www.toursbylocals.com/find_guide">ToursByLocals</a> to find area guides near you.</p> <h2>14. Something Crazy</h2> <p>Ask your dad what's on his bucket list. If the answer is something like skydiving, you have yet another great experience gift idea. The sky's the limit here, but it's the crazy things that people never tend to do on their own.</p> <h2>15. Music Lessons</h2> <p>Last year, I signed my husband up for an online course in guitar. He has now mastered bar chords and many of his favorite songs. Best of all? He plays his guitar every single day. Contact the music department at your town's high school or college to get information on local instructors.</p> <h2>16. Train Ride</h2> <p>Take your family on a train ride or a ferry cruise. Or maybe even a hot air balloon excursion. The fun is in the moments you spend together taking in the scenery. Of course, you can combine your travel with many of the other gift ideas on this list.</p> <h2>17. Spa Day</h2> <p>Let your mom relax with a long day at the spa. You can choose to join her or let her breathe in peace. Also, this is a great experience to gift yourself when all you want for Christmas is alone time.</p> <h2>18. Gym Membership</h2> <p>While we're on the topic of wellness, gift a gym membership to your favorite athlete (or wannabe). Definitely check with your recipient to find out about preferences for the gym's location and features. Otherwise, search around for promotional deals that can cut out a good chunk of registration fees and monthly charges.</p> <h2>19. Fitness Classes</h2> <p>Is a la carte fitness more your loved one's style? Give your aunt the gift of yoga or Pilates with a class pass. Maybe your brother wants to try a session at that new CrossFit gym. There are fitness classes for everyone on your list. Who knows? Maybe they'll want to sign up for more.</p> <h2>20. Babysitting</h2> <p>Let your sister and brother-in-law have a night on the town while you watch their kids. Offer your services for a few hours up to a night or two, depending on your comfort level. I guarantee (as someone who would love to receive this gift!) they'll be thanking you for years to come.</p> <h2>21. Giving Back</h2> <p>Volunteering is another wonderful way to celebrate the holidays. Gather your friends and family together and donate your time at a soup kitchen. Assemble bags of canned goods for a local food bank. Visit a nursing home and plan an activity for the bunch. Or read books to kids at your local library. Here are more holiday volunteer opportunities on <a href="https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?l=United+States&amp;k=holiday">VolunteerMatch.org</a>.</p> <p><em>What other experiences make great gifts? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-experiences-that-make-great-gifts">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/holiday-gifts-6-fun-games-that-teach-money-and-finance">Holiday Gifts: 6 Fun Games That Teach Money and Finance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-self-care-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">6 Self-Care Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</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/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe">8 Money Lessons I Learned From Three Weeks in Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-winter-activities-to-keep-kids-busy-during-holiday-break">9 Frugal Winter Activities to Keep Kids Busy During Holiday Break</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Christmas gifts experiences fun activities gift guide holiday shopping Wed, 16 Dec 2015 16:00:14 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1619707 at http://www.wisebread.com