shopping habits http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/21524/all en-US What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You? http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_reading_a_letter_at_office.jpg" alt="Businesswoman reading a letter at office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since it costs money to produce and mail marketing materials, most of the junk mail you receive does not end up in your mailbox by accident. Marketing companies target customers with junk mail based on information that leads them to believe you would be a good candidate for their offers. The companies that send junk mail use information such as credit history, credit card balances, mortgage information, and public records to find targets for their marketing materials. They also buy lists of potential customers that have recently purchased a certain type of item or signed up for a catalog in a product category.</p> <p>What does the type of junk mail you receive say about you?</p> <h2>You have high net worth</h2> <p>If the information available to marketers such as home value in your neighborhood or length of your credit history indicates that you have significant net worth or may be nearing retirement, you may get offers related to investment and retirement planning offers, invitations to free dinner events to learn about investment services, and offers to subscribe to investment newsletters.</p> <h2>You have good credit</h2> <p>People with good credit scores tend to get the best credit offers. If you have a high credit score, you might receive offers for rewards and travel credit cards, preapproved credit card offers with favorable terms, and balance transfer offers with low fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-accepting-a-credit-card-offer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Credit Card Offer</a>)</p> <h2>You have poor credit or high debt</h2> <p>Credit offers with the least favorable terms are targeted to those with lower credit scores, since these people are more likely to take an offer with worse terms. Those with poor credit will typically get applications for credit cards with low &quot;teaser&quot; interest rates that go up, debt consolidation offers, and applications for credit cards with high interest rates, and high annual fees, as well.</p> <h2>You shop a lot</h2> <p>Many types of mail order purchases, online purchases, and orders from TV infomercials will get your name on catalog mailing lists that will be used to try to sell you related things, or even unrelated things.</p> <h2>You live in a good neighborhood</h2> <p>Some types of junk mail are sent to all residences in particular neighborhoods that are seen to be a good fit for what they are selling. You'll see lawn care and pest control services, high-end security alarm installation, and house cleaning deals addressed to you.</p> <h2>You're fixing up your house</h2> <p>Once you request information about one home improvement item, you'll likely start to get other offers as well, such as big ticket home improvement installations for doors, windows, siding, roofing, remodeling, and coupons from home improvement stores.</p> <h2>You bought a new car</h2> <p>If you buy a car from a dealer, your name can end up on a variety of mailing lists. Based on the date you purchased your car, you can get junk mail anticipating your next car purchase three or four years later. You'll get extended warranty offers, invitations for test drives, and contests you can enter if you stop by the car dealership.</p> <h2>You're an athlete or sports fan</h2> <p>If you buy sporting equipment by mail order or at a sporting goods store with delivery, your name and address can start to circulate on marketing lists for sporting goods, or fishing, hunting, and camping products.</p> <p>Or if you order tickets to watch your favorite sports team in action or sign up for a fan club, marketing companies will try to sell you other items related to your team, such as fan merchandise or event ticket offers.</p> <h2>You're a globe-trotter</h2> <p>Frequent travelers are a classic target for marketing via junk mail. If you're often seeing the world, once you get home you'll find vacation package offers, hotel club invitations, and frequent flyer program info in your mailbox. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Travel Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h2>What are the best junk mail offers?</h2> <p>While most junk mail really is junk &mdash; either promotions for stuff you don't need, or offers that aren't a good deal anyway &mdash; sometimes the market research behind the junk mail works out, and you get an offer for a product you need at a price that makes sense, such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Credit card offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Balance transfer offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Loyalty programs</p> </li> <li> <p>Bank bonus offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Coupons for products that you buy regularly</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Can you sell your junk mail?</h2> <p>There is a lot of information that can be gleaned by studying junk mail, so much so that you can actually get paid to send in your junk mail for analysis. A company called Small Business Knowledge Center (<a href="http://www.sbkcenter.com/consumer.html" target="_blank">SBKC</a>) processes junk mail to identify marketing strategies and provide competitive intelligence to their corporate clients. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-earn-170-a-year-with-your-junk-mail?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How to Earn $170 a Year With Your Junk Mail</a>)</p> <h2>How to get less junk mail</h2> <p>Many people don't find value in getting junk mail and would prefer not to waste the paper used to print it, or the time dealing with it. There are some actions you can take to cut down the amount of junk mail you receive.</p> <h3>OptOutPrescreen</h3> <p><a href="https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t" target="_blank">OptOutPrescreen</a> allows you to opt out of preapproved credit card offers. You will be asked to provide your social security number, but after you opt out, your name will not be reported in lists provided by the credit reporting companies to credit card marketers.</p> <h3>DMAchoice</h3> <p><a href="https://dmachoice.thedma.org/index.php" target="_blank">DMAchoice</a> is a service run by the Data &amp; Marketing Association (DMA) that allows you to cut down on the amount of direct mailings and catalogs you get. You can use their online tools to select which types of marketing materials you would like to receive &mdash; and which you don't want.</p> <h3>Catalog Choice</h3> <p>If you are plagued by too many catalogs filling your mailbox, <a href="https://www.catalogchoice.org/" target="_blank">Catalog Choice</a> is another resource to opt out of unwanted mailings. They will send opt out requests to merchants on your behalf for specific catalogs that you no longer want to get.</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" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520Does%2520Your%2520Junk%2520Mail%2520Say%2520About%2520You-.jpg&amp;description=What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You%3F"></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/What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You-.jpg" alt="What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You?" 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/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for">5 After the Holidays Moves Your Credit Score Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-good-money-habits-that-will-keep-you-out-of-debt">11 Good Money Habits That Will Keep You Out of Debt</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/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Consumer Affairs bills credit score junk mail mail paperwork shopping habits spending habits Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2030769 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-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/she_has_too_much_work_recently.jpg" alt="She has too much work recently" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you were in jail and you had a parole hearing coming up, would you rather have it in the morning or the afternoon? It doesn't really matter as long as you present a good case, right? As it turns out, the timing of your hearing matters quite a bit.</p> <p>A study conducted by the Department of Management at Ben Gurion University showed that the number of decisions a judge has had to make in a row, and how long it's been since he's eaten, drastically affects the outcomes of these hearings. The <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/108/17/6889.full.pdf" target="_blank">more decisions that a judge makes consecutively</a>, the less of a chance a prisoner may have of going free. (So if you ever have to schedule your parole hearing, try for one of the first slots in the morning or right after lunch!)</p> <p>This phenomenon doesn't just apply to judges, though. We all tend to suffer from <em>decision fatigue</em>, and when we do, it can lead us to bad choices.</p> <h2>What is decision fatigue, exactly?</h2> <p>Decision fatigue is what happens to all of us when we have to make too many choices in a row. When we have too many individual choices, or a few choices with too many options, we get tired and we stop choosing based on our values, our logic, and our best selves. Instead, we begin to choose anything just to get the choice made.</p> <h2>How it affects your money</h2> <p>Decision fatigue can affect everything, including your money. I have a friend who always tells stories about making choices for her new home. She and her husband were building, so they went to the design center to select flooring, cabinets, add-ons, and other things. They had a limited budget, so they went in with a list of what they wanted, hoping it would keep them on track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a>)</p> <p>The way she tells it, everything went well until they got to the flooring, because with flooring, there were a million options. First they had to choose where they wanted carpet. Then they had to choose what kind of carpet they wanted. For the rest of the house, they had to choose between wood, laminate, and other materials. And then they had to look at samples. She talks about how inundated they were with samples and information, and how eventually they looked at each other and just chose something, anything, to make the situation better. They blew through their budget because they were tired and overwhelmed from all of the decisions.</p> <p>Even if your story isn't as drastic as that, you can probably think of a time when you bought something just so you didn't have to think about it anymore. So often, throwing money at a situation makes it go away, even if we regret it later. This isn't usually good for your budget, though. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>How to fight it</h2> <p>So what can we do? How can we mitigate the effects of decision fatigue?</p> <h3>Take choice out of the equation</h3> <p>Whenever possible, eliminate superfluous choices from your life. Maybe this means having a simple wardrobe, eating the same thing for breakfast every morning, or always renting the same model car when you go out of town for business.</p> <p>Because we live in a world with so many choices, taking the ones that don't matter out of the equation will leave us more energy for the ones that are more important to us, or that we can't remove.</p> <h3>Become aware</h3> <p>So often, it helps just to know what is happening and why. When you come to understand decision fatigue and see how it's affecting your life, you'll be in a better place to combat it. This can take some time, especially if you haven't thought about the phenomenon and how it intersects with your life before. But be patient, and pay attention.</p> <h3>Make important choices first</h3> <p>You can lower the impact that decision fatigue has on your life by making your important decisions first thing in the morning, before fatigue has time to set in. This means that you have to decide what is important and organize your life so that you face those decisions first.</p> <p>This might mean exercising early in the morning, or setting up your business meetings so they are as early as possible. Basically, it means looking at what is important to you and prioritizing that when it comes to your time and decision-making energy.</p> <h3>Flip a coin</h3> <p>Let chance make some of your decisions for you (obviously ones that aren't terribly important) and save your decision-making prowess for the things that really matter.</p> <h3>Make some things nonnegotiable</h3> <p>When something is nonnegotiable, you don't have to think about it because the decision is already made. The more things you can make like this in your life, the better you will be at living according to your values. So that 5 a.m. workout? Not even a choice.</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%2Fheres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520How%2520Too%2520Many%2520Decisions%2520Costs%2520You%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=Heres%20How%20Too%20Many%20Decisions%20Costs%20You%20Money"></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/Heres%20How%20Too%20Many%20Decisions%20Costs%20You%20Money.jpg" alt="Here's How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You 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/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping decision fatigue mental bias saving money shopping shopping habits Spending Money Thu, 13 Jul 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1983091 at http://www.wisebread.com 39 Mindless Ways You're Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_empty_wallet_653879988.jpg" alt="Woman learning mindless ways she&#039;s wasting money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even though you try to be careful with your money, you are probably wasting a lot of cash without even noticing. If you find yourself wondering where your money goes, see if any of these mindless money wasters are escaping your attention.</p> <h2>1. Superfluous presents</h2> <p>The easiest way to make sure you have a special occasion covered is to buy presents, cards, flowers, cakes, etc. Some special occasions merit this kind of spending, but it's easy to get in the habit of routinely buying small gifts that will quickly be forgotten and eventually get tossed. A quick note is a meaningful way to show you care &mdash; and it's free.</p> <h2>2. High-tech gadgets</h2> <p>Many people automatically get a new cellphone when their contract is up, or buy every new game console that comes out. But do you really need an upgrade? Instead, keep your working tech toy around until it starts to get glitchy.</p> <h2>3. In-app purchases</h2> <p>Those free games and apps are usually trying to sell you something. They make it easy to click and buy a way to beat a hard level of a game or add a new feature to your free app without really thinking about it. Resist!</p> <h2>4. Unused subscriptions</h2> <p>When you were hyped up about getting in shape for the new year, you subscribed to a fitness video channel and watched it a few times. But you are still paying $9.99 per month just in case you decide to get in shape later. Cancel that membership and start saving money.</p> <h2>5. Your morning coffee</h2> <p>Lots of people seem to operate on autopilot during their morning routine. They hit the coffee shop or maybe grab fast food for breakfast. They are blowing money every day before they are awake enough to notice!</p> <h2>6. Recreational shopping</h2> <p>Stores are intentionally designed to trigger buying and extract as much money from shoppers as possible. Walking around a store or mall just for something to do is likely to result in unintended spending.</p> <h2>7. Buying books</h2> <p>You may be in the habit of buying the latest book in a series from your favorite author as soon as you see it at the store. But you can get new book releases at the library for free, or get ebooks instead of paper books, sometimes for lower prices &mdash; plus you won't need to store the book after you read it. Another alternative is to find used books for a fraction of the cost of new books.</p> <h2>8. Buying name-brand everything</h2> <p>People like buying name-brand items and seem to do so without even considering generic alternatives. Sometimes buying name brands makes sense if it offers more features or higher quality, but often the generic version costs a lot less and you won't even notice the difference.</p> <h2>9. Convenience items</h2> <p>Individual serving containers and prepared food items are quick and convenient, but cost much more than larger quantities. With a little planning, you can get the same items and avoid paying extra. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-much-more-youre-paying-for-these-6-convenience-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Much More You're Paying for These 6 Convenience Buys</a>)</p> <h2>10. Making minimum payments</h2> <p>Credit card bills show the minimum payment you are required to make each month based on your total balance. Many people simply pay just this amount, but it can take over a decade to pay off a credit card making minimum payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>11. Getting high interest credit cards</h2> <p>Credit cards often offer a low introductory interest rate and later bump it up significantly when the promotional period has ended. Check the interest rates on your accounts and do a balance transfer or debt consolidation loan to get rid of high interest balances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When to Do a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>12. Opening high fee investment accounts</h2> <p>The good news is that you are investing money for retirement, but the bad news is that high fees may be erasing a lot of your gains and could delay retirement by years. Take the extra step to check out the expense ratio on your investment options and choose ones with low fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why You Should Invest In Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>13. Accruing late fees</h2> <p>With free autopay, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-autopay" target="_blank">pay your bills</a> even if you don't bother to open them and avoid late fees.</p> <h2>14. Getting the extended warranty</h2> <p>When you buy a new gizmo, you will often be offered <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">extended warranty coverage</a>. At that moment, saying yes to protect your new toy can seem like the easy answer, but purchasing an extended warranty is often a bad deal for many items including appliances, electronics, and vehicles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-the-extended-warranty-makes-sense?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times Buying the Extended Warranty Makes Sense</a>)</p> <h2>15. Going along with the crowd</h2> <p>It is easy to get pulled into going to an expensive activity such as a concert or sporting event with friends, but make sure the cost is worth it to you before you commit to going. There are plenty of things you can do together that cost little or no money.</p> <h2>16. Keeping cable TV</h2> <p>Once you get signed up for cable TV or satellite TV, the bills just keep on coming every month unless you do something to make it stop. There are several cost-effective alternatives once you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans?ref=internal" target="_blank">cut the cable cord</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 TV Must-Haves Once You Cut the Cable Cord</a>)</p> <h2>17. Hobbies</h2> <p>Some hobbies require continuously buying new materials and equipment. Replace expensive, resource-intensive hobbies with activities that are less focused on trips to the store to buy supplies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</a>)</p> <h2>18. Collections</h2> <p>It can be easy to start a collection, but you end up buying things solely to own them and you need space to keep your collection.</p> <h2>19. Extra driving</h2> <p>One great thing about modern life is that you can travel effortlessly from one place to another by driving a car, rather than in a horse and buggy, but driving around is expensive. Save money at the gas pump by cutting down on unnecessary and inefficient trips.</p> <h2>20. Not changing your thermostat setting</h2> <p>If you use a &quot;set it and forget it&quot; approach to temperature control in your house, you are sending extra money to the utility company each month. Instead of leaving the A/C cranked up all summer long, turn the temperature up at night and when you are not home. Better yet, use a <a href="http://amzn.to/2okYqtt" target="_blank">programmable thermostat</a> to automatically adjust the temperature for your schedule.</p> <h2>21. Driving a big car</h2> <p>Sometimes having a big vehicle is handy, but most of the time when I see pickup trucks and SUVs on the road, they have no cargo and only the driver on board. Think about driving a small car instead of a large vehicle to cut your fuel bill and save on the vehicle purchase price as well. You can rent or borrow a large vehicle for occasions when you need extra capacity, or let someone else do the hauling.</p> <h2>22. Carrying extra stuff in your car</h2> <p>If you have extra junk in your trunk, you are paying to haul it around everywhere you go. Get rid of extra stuff you have accumulated in your car to get better gas mileage and improve your vehicle's ride.</p> <h2>23. Keeping your home lit up like Times Square</h2> <p>It is easy to remember to turn on the lights when you walk into a dark room, but it is much harder to remember to turn the lights off when you leave. Forgetting to turn off unused lights and electronics is running up your electric bill.</p> <h2>24. Dining out</h2> <p>It is easy to go through the fast food drive-thru on the way home or take your family out to a casual dining restaurant when you don't feel like cooking, but this costs a lot more than buying groceries and preparing food at home.</p> <h2>25. Up-sizing your orders</h2> <p>When you are offered an upgrade to a large drink and large fries for a dollar, it can seem like a no-brainer to say yes. You always want a good deal, right? But if you don't need a bigger drink and more fries, up-sizing is a waste of money.</p> <h2>26. Buying bottled water</h2> <p>Buying cold bottles of water is convenient, but you can easily bring water from home for almost free. Freeze your refillable bottles of water so they will be cold when you are ready to drink them.</p> <h2>27. Using vending machines</h2> <p>When you are hungry and there is a giant machine filled with snacks nearby, it can be hard to avoid putting money into it. With a little planning, however, you can buy snack items at the grocery store instead and save a lot of money.</p> <h2>28. Entertainment snacking</h2> <p>Many people are in the habit of eating snacks at the movie theater, at ballgames, after work, or when watching TV at home. Are you really that hungry, or are you just in the habit of eating something when some form of entertainment is in front of you? Because you can still enjoy whatever you're watching with or without the snack.</p> <h2>29. Always ordering a drink</h2> <p>When dining out or at meals at home, there is always an opportunity to get a drink. Most people opt for this choice. But are you actually thirsty? And if you are, what's wrong with drinking free water instead of soda?</p> <h2>30. Blindly following expiration dates</h2> <p>Most expiration dates on food are a suggestion rather than a hard rule. Use common sense rather than throwing out food based only on the &quot;use by&quot; or &quot;best before&quot; dates printed on food packaging. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-eat-this-a-quick-guide-to-expiration-dates-and-food-safety?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Quick Guide to Expiration Dates and Food Safety</a>)</p> <h2>31. Creating premature container waste</h2> <p>Is that empty food container really empty? Use a rubber spatula to get all of the peanut butter out of the jar before recycling it. You can probably get enough for one more PB&amp;J sandwich.</p> <h2>32. Eating too much in one sitting</h2> <p>It's hard to leave only two cookies in the package or to leave a small amount of leftovers in a tupperware container for the next day. Most people will finish off a container of food, even if it is more than they want or need. But that small amount of food may be just right for a snack or to round out the next meal. Save it for later, and save money in the process.</p> <h2>33. Buying new furniture</h2> <p>Instead of automatically going to look at new furniture, check out much cheaper used furniture first at consignment shops and on Craigslist.</p> <h2>34. Buying disposable products</h2> <p>Would you buy something and then immediately throw it away after one use? That's exactly what you are doing when you buy disposable products. I try to minimize wasting money on disposable products by using cloth napkins and reusable rags instead of paper products, for example.</p> <h2>35. Using a storage unit</h2> <p>You have too much stuff to fit in your house, basement, attic, and garage &hellip; but not to worry &mdash; you can rent a storage unit. You're paying for extra room in order to keep things you aren't using. It can be a lot of work to get rid of extra stuff, but you will save money every month by avoiding that storage unit fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-why-self-storage-is-a-really-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons Why Self-Storage Is a Really Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>36. Paying for DIY services</h2> <p>You might find yourself signed up for home services such as lawn care and pest control that you could take care of yourself, or perhaps no longer need.</p> <h2>37. Carwash</h2> <p>When your car is dirty, driving through a car wash may seem like a good solution, but you can wash your car at home for a fraction of the cost.</p> <h2>38. Taking the kids to toy land</h2> <p>Will your kids really play with a new toy for more than a few minutes? Instead of mindlessly buying another toy, spend time playing with them and the toys they already have.</p> <h2>39. Pampering your pets too much</h2> <p>Last time I moved, I was embarrassed to find a box labeled &quot;Dog Clothes.&quot; In addition to clothes, my dogs have lots of toys and accessories, too. I could have saved a lot of money if I had thought about what my dogs would actually use rather than impulsively buying things that looked fun.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs 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/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save 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-shop-with-purpose-and-save-more-money">How to Shop With Purpose — And Save More 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/people-are-still-spending-too-much-on-their-weddings">People Are Still Spending Too Much on Their Weddings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping how to save money money habits saving money shopping habits Spending Money wasting money Wed, 19 Apr 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1930448 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Your Lazy Habits Are Costing You http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-your-lazy-habits-are-costing-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-your-lazy-habits-are-costing-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-626262674.jpg" alt="Woman learning how her lazy habits are costing her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone gets lazy sometimes. We all make excuses as to why we can't or won't do certain things. But is your laziness holding you back from achieving financial freedom?</p> <p>If you're struggling to get ahead or want to supercharge your money situation, it's time to shed your slothful ways. Do any of these lazy habits sound like you? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-sloth-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Sloth Is Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Pay People to Do Things You Can Do Yourself</h2> <p>You eat out a lot because you don't want to cook. You're paying for a maid service because you can't be bothered to clean your house yourself. Meanwhile you're spending hours a day watching Netflix or playing video games.</p> <p>If you really don't have time because you're spending it all in a productive way, paying someone else in order to maximize your earning potential is fine. Otherwise, buck up and start doing your own chores. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-be-paying-someone-else-to-do-these-7-common-chores?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When Should You Pay Someone Else to Do Chores</a>)</p> <h2>2. You Are Disorganized With Finances</h2> <p>A friend once told me that he lost his homeowners insurance because he was lazy about sorting mail and missed the renewal notice. To get his insurance back, he ended up spending more than he otherwise would have.</p> <p>Being organized with your money takes time and discipline. You need to keep track of where your money is going and where it's held, monitor the performance of your investments, and pay close attention to bills and other obligations.</p> <p>Things like missing bills, late payments, and lost tax forms won't just lead to inconvenience. They can actually <em>cost you money</em>, in the form of fees and perhaps even a ding to your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>3. You Won't Go After a Promotion Because You Fear More Work</h2> <p>It's sometimes easy to talk yourself out of moving up to a position of seniority in your company. After all, who wants to deal with additional demands, direct reports, more pressure, and longer hours? But it's also silly to stay in an entry level position simply because you're afraid of taking on more responsibility.</p> <p>It's true that chasing a job just for the money is a bad idea, and not all promotions are worth pursuing. But rarely does an employee receive a big pay raise by staying put. And a promotion can allow you to play a more integral role in an organization's path, rather than just being a cog in a wheel.</p> <p>Moreover, even if you find that a new position is not a good fit for you, you'll be gaining skills and experience that you can use to find the job of your dreams.</p> <h2>4. You Have No Interest in Professional Self-Improvement</h2> <p>Does your employer encourage you to learn new skills? Do they even pay for education and training? If so, then take advantage! In a competitive job market, there's no reason to avoid gaining skills that will make you more essential to your employer. Perhaps you'd benefit from learning to code, or getting training in Microsoft Excel. Maybe <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career?ref=internal" target="_blank">learning a second language</a> will give you an edge. Maybe you need to go back to school and finish your degree. Don't be afraid to put in the work. Your next performance review &mdash; and pay raise &mdash; will be the proof that it was worth it.</p> <h2>5. You Ignore Your Personal Appearance</h2> <p>We'd like to believe that appearances don't matter, but tell that to the guy who shows up for a job interview with ketchup on his tie. You don't need to wear a Brooks Brothers suit to work everyday, but a lack of care in how you appear can cost you in things like landing a job, getting a promotion or, securing a meeting with an important client.</p> <p>Taking care of your appearance includes dressing well, but also staying in shape. Workers who exercise regularly earn 9% more on average than other workers, according to a study from Cleveland State University.</p> <h2>6. You Have No Interest in Creating a Side Hustle?</h2> <p>You have plenty of free time, but can't stand the idea of using it to do more work. After all, you already have a full-time job, right? But these days, it's not uncommon to take on side jobs in order to achieve financial freedom. Maybe it's earning a little extra doing freelance graphic design work. Perhaps you could drive for Uber, sell handmade pottery, or start a YouTube channel. Having a side hustle cannot only bring you extra income, but perhaps give you the experience you need to find the full-time job you truly want. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside of Your Day Job</a>)</p> <h2>7. You Take the Deal That's in Front of You Rather Than Shop Around</h2> <p>Finding bargains can be hard work. You may have to travel from store to store. You may have to spend time on the Internet researching prices. You may have to be willing to take time to negotiate. It's easy to buy an item at whatever price you first see, but this approach can cost you money over time. You must embrace the challenge of finding the best deal, even if it takes a little more time and energy.</p> <h2>8. You Don't Invest</h2> <p>Your employer offers a 401K but you haven't even looked at the benefit materials. You've heard of terms like &quot;stock market&quot; and &quot;IRA&quot; but haven't taken the time to learn what they mean. You are content to just place any extra money in a bank account with low interest.</p> <p>It may be okay to ignore investing when you have no money to invest. But once you have some money to put aside, your approach to retirement savings shouldn't be lazy, or it will cost you big time.</p> <p>Investing can be intimidating, but it's important to overcome those fears and at least educate yourself. Unless you're already independently wealthy, investing is one of the few ways to achieve financial freedom. So get on it!</p> <h2>9. You Do Invest, But Don't Pay Close Attention</h2> <p>So you signed up for your 401K and are putting aside a certain amount of money for your retirement. That's great! But when was the last time you checked your balances? Have you rebalanced your portfolio recently? Are you paying more in fees than you need to?</p> <p>Investing doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, someone who invests a good amount into a basic index fund and leaves it alone will probably make out quite well. But that's no excuse to be completely lazy. To get the most out of your investments, you need to do at least some amount of baby-sitting to make sure you're on the right track toward your savings goals.</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-your-lazy-habits-are-costing-you">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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs 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-shop-with-purpose-and-save-more-money">How to Shop With Purpose — And Save More 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/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save 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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping bad habits income investing lazy lazy habits saving money shopping habits side hustle sloth Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1901227 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That'll Help You Save Money http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-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_serious_thinking_536686446.jpg" alt="Woman learning mental tricks to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It turns out that the whole &quot;mind over matter&quot; thing also applies to money. Your ability to save money can be instantly destroyed without the right mental tricks to keep you on track. Everywhere we turn, we are encouraged to spend, so in order to combat those urges, you need to trick your own brain into withstanding that pull. Here's how to do it.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/cash-76661814.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-savings-tricks-you-havent-tried-yet?ref=fbf">5 Savings Tricks You Haven't Tried Yet</a> &mdash; Hiding money from yourself and taping a goal to your credit card are just a couple brilliant ways to trick yourself into spending less money on things you don't need.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-trick-yourself-into-better-credit-card-behavior?ref=fbf">How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior</a> &mdash; Reckless credit card behavior is responsible for so many people's struggles with saving money. Once you can reasonably manage that, you'll be well on your way to saving more moola.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/kid_money_maker_532666075.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer?ref=fbf">5 Mental Habits That Make the Rich Richer</a> &mdash; If a goal of yours is to become filthy rich, you might as well learn from how the rich are currently managing their money. These mental tricks keep them financially cozy, and could lead you there as well.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=fbf">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a> &mdash; Before you can fix a problem, you need to recognize that you have a problem to begin with. Once you learn what's holding you back (like these mental biases) you can learn to think differently.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock-525488514.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-thing-that-will-help-you-actually-save-money?ref=fbf">The One Thing That Will Help You Actually Save Money</a> &mdash; It's all about positive encouragement. But it's so much more than leaving yourself notes with smiley faces on them when you skip your morning latte. Using this tool, you'll love yourself and your bank account so much more.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-master-your-debt-think-like-a-maze-runner?ref=fbf">Want to Master Your Debt? Think Like a Maze Runner</a> &mdash; In order to wrangle that debt and get better at saving money, sometimes you need to think like a character in a post-apocalyptic novel. There's always a way out, even when it comes to spending less and saving more.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs 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/flashback-friday-122-no-fuss-dinner-ideas-thatll-save-you-money">Flashback Friday: 122 No-Fuss Dinner Ideas That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-128-creative-ways-to-upcycle-your-trash">Flashback Friday: 128 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping fbf flashback friday mental tricks saving money shopping habits Spending Money Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:30:30 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1898301 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs You're Not Frugal — You're Cheap! http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-639054796.jpg" alt="Woman learning she&#039;s not frugal – she&#039;s cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We here at Wise Bread are big fans of the frugal life. When it comes to cooking our own food, getting the best mobile plan, or waiting for a sale to buy a big-ticket item, we're your people.</p> <p>But frugality can go too far. How far is that, exactly? Here are some ideas that you can use to measure whether your frugality has been taken to an extreme and you've turned into a total cheapskate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-save-money-that-go-too-far?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Ways to Save Money That Go Too Far</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Are Miserable</h2> <p>Being frugal is about being wise, and it almost always comes with specific goals. Maybe you want to be frugal to save money, or to help the environment, or to live in a countercultural way. Whatever your reasons, they should be powerful enough for you that they make the effort you put into frugal living worthwhile. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Products You Think You Need But Really Don't</a>)</p> <p>But frugal living is not about feeling deprived and miserable. If you're feeling down about what you can and cannot spend money on, try to figure out what, exactly, is making you feel that way. If the item is something you can afford and it will truly add to your happiness, figure out how to add it into your budget.</p> <h2>2. Not Spending Is Making You Lonely</h2> <p>It can be healthy to give up social activities that cost a lot of money. Going out to happy hour several times a week, going on shopping sprees with your friends, or taking expensive vacations are all things that frugal people often cut out of their lives and their budgets when they want to stop spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a>)</p> <p>The thing is, you have to replace those activities with something else social, or your frugality can cause you to end up feeling lonely and isolated. Sure, there are often less expensive ways to spend time with your friends but, very often, spending time with people means spending at least a little bit of money.</p> <p>If you're finding yourself lonely and you think frugality might be the culprit, try setting up an inexpensive coffee date with a friend, or suggest an afternoon at a local park instead of an afternoon at the mall. And if all else fails, just spend some money. It is better to be less frugal but also less lonely than it is to save all your money but only spend time with yourself.</p> <h2>3. You Are Unhealthy</h2> <p>You know you're taking your frugal habits too far when you engage in unhealthy practices just to save money. This can include everything from regularly eating food that is past its expiration date to skipping doctors appointments and checkups because you don't want to spend. When you're putting your health and your future at risk in the name of saving a buck, you need to loosen those purse strings.</p> <h2>4. Saving a Little Takes a Lot of Your Time</h2> <p>Sure, you might be able to save a bit more if you get a quote from another insurance agent or clip all those coupons, but all of that also takes time. Since you probably have more that you want to do than just live frugally, you have to take your time into consideration when you're deciding whether a frugal choice is right for you or if it just turns you into a cheapskate.</p> <p>Things like couponing can save you quite a bit of money, but organizing them and determining when to use them and how to combine them can also take a huge chunk of time. Unless you really like that work or you have some pressing need to save, your energy might be better spent elsewhere.</p> <p>If you're not sure, calculate the value of your time. For instance, if you spend eight hours clipping coupons and you save only $40, your time was worth $5 an hour. If that's not enough for you, spend your time doing something else, instead.</p> <h2>5. Your Home Is Filled With Clutter</h2> <p>Sometimes, frugality can lead to feeling a lot of guilt about getting rid of anything, even things that don't work or should just be tossed. It can also lead to buying a lot of items that are on sale. Sometimes, these things are reasonable. But if you find that you never throw things away or your old things are taking over your space, it's probably time to dial back those behaviors before you become a pack rat.</p> <h2>6. You Never Spend Your Fun Money</h2> <p>Most of us have what my husband and I call &quot;fun money.&quot; That's the money that we allocate each month toward our own personal spending. We do this so that we can buy the things that keep those feelings of deprivation far away. But if you're never spending your fun money, you might have taken frugality too far.</p> <p>We all need some fun in our lives and, in our culture, that often requires spending money. If you're not spending your fun money, examine how happy you are and how much fun you're having. Have you cut that out of your life simply because you don't want to spend? Remind yourself that being frugal doesn't mean you don't take care of yourself, and let yourself spend some of the money you've set aside for that purpose.</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/6-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap">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/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</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-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet">6 Reasons I Still Don&#039;t Have a Cell Phone Plan (yet)</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-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The line between frugal and crazy</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-to-get-your-toiletries-for-cheap-or-even-free">6 Ways to Get your Toiletries for Cheap or Even Free!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting habits cheap cheapskate frugal frugal habits frugality shopping habits Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1897583 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-523154492.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our brains are not naturally wired to make the kinds of decisions that lead to long-term financial stability and wealth. That's because most of us fall victim to systematic errors in logical thinking known as cognitive biases. Our brains have trouble recognizing when we are about to make a logical error, and it's only in hindsight that we realize we have screwed up.</p> <p>Fortunately, once you are aware of your cognitive biases, it is easier to combat their influence. Here are five cognitive biases that are working to keep you poor, and ways you can bypass their effect on your behavior.</p> <h2>1. Anchoring</h2> <p>Determining an appropriate price for a purchase could be exhausting, if you were to do research on how much every single vendor is charging for the same item. To save ourselves from such effort, our brains take a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending?ref=internal" target="_blank">shortcut known as anchoring</a>. The anchor is a price point that gives you an idea of how much something should cost.</p> <p>For instance, let's say you are interested in hiring a personal trainer. The first trainer you call charges $60 for 30-minute sessions. The second trainer you call charges $70 for 30-minute sessions. Clearly the first trainer is the better financial choice, right?</p> <p>Actually, based on the information you have, you have to ask yourself if that is really the case. With further research, you might find that both of the trainers you called are overcharging since the majority of trainers in your area charge $30 per 30-minute session. Since you do not have an anchor point in your mind when you start researching personal trainers, you assume that $60 is a reasonable price &mdash; making $70 too high a price to pay &mdash; even if neither of those amounts have anything to do with what most customers are paying.</p> <p>Anchor points are very difficult to ignore, because it can be tough for you to remember that the anchor price you are thinking of does not necessarily reflect how much something should cost.</p> <h3>How to Combat Anchoring</h3> <p>One way to circumvent the problem of anchoring is to create your own anchor to redefine the amount of money you would otherwise spend. Take the time to start looking at financial transactions in terms of the hours you spend to get them, rather than the dollars.</p> <p>This suggestion comes from the book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143115766/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0143115766&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Your Money or Your Life</a>. In this book, Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez point out that time is literally money, since you trade your time away in order to earn money. And while money is fungible (that is, replaceable), your time is finite, precious, and gone once it's spent.</p> <p>We may feel like we deserve the latest gadget &mdash; but remembering just how much of our lives we would have to give up for it can help us remember to only spend on the things that truly reflect our goals.</p> <h2>2. The Availability Heuristic</h2> <p>The availability heuristic is a kind of memory shortcut that helps you determine how likely something is. Your brain assumes that things you can easily recall are more probable than things that are hazier.</p> <p>For instance, you are probably much more nervous when you board an airplane than you are when you get in the car, despite the fact that there are 100-plus car fatalities <em>daily</em> in America, while air travel is one of the safest modes of transportation. But since every plane crash makes both national and international news, and there is generally nothing more than local coverage of car crashes, it seems to our brains that plane crashes are more likely.</p> <p>When it comes to our finances, the availability heuristic leads us to believe that winning the lottery, winning big in Vegas, or making a killing on the stock market are all more likely than they are. Since we can remember the names and stories of individuals who have gotten rich in these ways &mdash; and we don't remember the stories of people quietly amassing a small fortune through savings and frugal living &mdash; we think our own chances are better in risky financial situations.</p> <h3>How to Combat the Availability Heuristic</h3> <p>To combat this cognitive bias, you need to recognize when there is an emotional component to your decision. Does your choice reflect any kind of statistical probability, or does it simply feel as if the outcome you are hoping for (or alternatively, trying to avoid) is the likeliest one?</p> <p>It is also helpful to spend time educating yourself on financial statistics to help you understand when your reaction is irrational.</p> <h2>3. Hedonic Adaptation</h2> <p>Hedonic adaptation describes the phenomenon wherein we get used to the things we have. Think of the pleasure and pride you felt upon first purchasing your car. I'm guessing your delight in your new vehicle faded before the new car smell had completely dissipated. This happens because our brains are wired to get used to things fairly quickly.</p> <p>This means that no purchase will permanently satisfy us, and if we're not careful, we're likely to keep reaching for another thing to buy that will offer momentary pleasure or satisfaction. But it is only a matter of time before the new purchase also becomes old news, spurring another purchase to keep the pleasure going.</p> <p>This cognitive bias also helps explain why it is so easy for you to become just as financially stressed after a major pay raise or other financial increase as you were at the lower level. When the things that were rare treats when you were earning less become a standard part of your life, you enjoy them less, but you are also less willing to give them up.</p> <h3>How to Combat Hedonic Adaptation</h3> <p><a href="http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_gratitude_is_good" target="_blank">Regularly expressing gratitude</a> for the things in your life can help you feel both more optimistic and happier, according to Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. That increased happiness can help end the constant search for pleasure through purchasing.</p> <p>According to Emmons, a gratitude journal, wherein you regularly record things for which you are grateful, can help you improve your mood, as well as your physical and social well-being, and help you recognize the abundance that is already in your life.</p> <h2>4. Hyperbolic Discounting</h2> <p>Let's say I offered you $100 right now, or $110 in 10 days. Which would you prefer? If you're like most people, you'll take the Benjamin today, even though a relatively short wait would earn you 10% more. It is human nature to prefer something to happen immediately, rather than wait patiently for a larger reward later.</p> <p>This preference for instant gratification is a cognitive bias known as hyperbolic discounting. Our brains &quot;discount&quot; something that will happen in the future as less important than something that is happening in the here-and-now. It's the reason why you can decide on January 1 that you want to pay off your credit card debt in the new year, and find yourself charging $200 worth of new video games less than a month later. The debt payoff is so far away, and the video games are tempting you right now.</p> <p>Hyperbolic discounting causes us to push today's consequences into the future. We decide that avoiding the consequence today means that the consequence is not our problem, even though it will be when the time comes. This is actually the very basis of credit card business practices.</p> <h3>How to Combat Hyperbolic Discounting</h3> <p>The effect of hyperbolic discounting diminishes as you place decisions in the future. For instance, if I were to ask you if you wanted $100 on February 4, 2018 or $110 on Valentine's Day of that year, you'd probably be happy to wait. Since you are waiting until the following year anyway, it's easier to decide to wait the additional 10 days for the extra 10%.</p> <p>To combat the effects of hyperbolic discounting, imagine your current dilemma as if it will happen in the future. Doing this can help you to see the issue more rationally and help you come to the decision that your future self will be glad you made.</p> <h2>5. The Restraint Bias</h2> <p>Most people tend to overestimate their own impulse control. This is why your decision to stop getting takeout instead of cooking at home is derailed when you drive past your favorite burger joint. You have overestimated your ability to be virtuous in the face of temptation. The restraint bias is often the culprit when you can't maintain your New Year's resolutions.</p> <p>When you were making the resolution, you were certain that you could restrain yourself around temptations. You forgot that you will be just as flawed and human in the future as you have been in the past.</p> <h3>How to Combat the Restraint Bias</h3> <p>This may sound overly simplistic, but the easiest way to combat restraint bias is to avoid tempting situations. Instead of believing that you <em>should</em> be able to drive past In-N-Out without stopping for a Double Double Animal Style burger, you can simply take a different route home that won't lead you past the temptation. This takes the issue of restraint out of your hands when you are most tempted.</p> <h2>Don't Let Your Brain Destroy Your Finances</h2> <p>Cognitive biases are a fact of life, but they don't have to destroy your financial security. Understanding the ways that your brain leads you astray is the first step in avoiding your most money-wasting errors in logic.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor">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-signs-youre-not-frugal-youre-cheap">6 Signs You&#039;re Not Frugal — You&#039;re Cheap!</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-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke">How to Budget When You&#039;re No Longer 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-portfolio-blind-spots-that-are-ruining-your-investments">4 Portfolio &quot;Blind Spots&quot; That Are Ruining Your Investments</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/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you">What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You?</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-to-feel-better-about-your-financial-situation">6 Ways to Feel Better About Your Financial Situation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting budgeting habits cognitive biases keeping you poor mental biases mental quirks poor shopping habits Wed, 08 Feb 2017 10:30:25 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1888336 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World http://www.wisebread.com/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_online_36991010.jpg" alt="Woman learning strange ways online shopping changed the world" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you prefer online shopping to in-store purchases, you're not alone. According to Business Insider, about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-surprising-demographics-of-who-shops-online-and-on-mobile-2014-6">78% of the U.S. population age 15 and older</a> fancies themselves a few clicks and a quick checkout when buying something new. While that's all well and good &mdash; and incredibly convenient &mdash; this new American pastime does have its downsides. Check out a few of these strange ways online shopping has changed the world &mdash; not necessarily for the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You</a>)</p> <h2>1. Consumer Reviews Can Make or Break a Product</h2> <p>Before online shopping became commonplace, consumers had few ways to learn about the pros and cons of a product. They could rely on word-of-mouth if someone they knew had purchased the same item, or they could listen to what the media said about it, perhaps on consumer-related nightly news piece or in magazines, like <em>Good Housekeeping</em>. Because information on how well &mdash; or not well &mdash; a product worked was sparse, consumer unhappiness was limited. Retailers were relatively safe from gaining a poor reputation unless its products were outright duds that caught attention en masse. But that all changed with online shopping, which gave consumers the voice they had been looking for. Today, reviews of a product are trusted more than personal recommendations, according to research. In fact, a whopping&nbsp;<a href="https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/">92% of consumers trust online reviews</a> as much as they would a friend or family member, or perhaps even more.</p> <h2>2. There Are No True Holidays Anymore</h2> <p>Remember when we were kids and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas meant that virtually no retail stores would be open? We'd drive through town on the way to our relatives' house for supper and there was nary a car in any of the stores' parking lots. That's all changed thanks to online shopping, much to many people's dismay. Each year, it seems, Black Friday hours are pushed earlier and earlier, creeping into Thanksgiving, with some stores opening on Thanksgiving Day even. Last year, Kmart said to hell with the entire holiday and opened at 6 a.m. the fourth Thursday of November, the earliest among major retailers. It was beat out by one other chain, however, though not a competitor: Victoria's Secret opened its doors from 12 a.m. to 12 a.m. Thanksgiving Day (a full 24 hours!), because, ya know, who isn't in the mood for sexy lingerie after stuffing themselves silly with turkey and mashed potatoes?</p> <h2>3. Shopping Malls Are Becoming Ruins</h2> <p>Shopping malls were huge in the 1980s and '90s, so much so that they defined an entire generation. But by the 2000s, attendance at malls around the country started to dwindle. Many factors have contributed to the decline (not the least of which was that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/10/26/why_so_much_violence_happens_at_the_mall_partner/">they had become locales of violence</a>), including the rise of online shopping. Bustling hubs of commerce and social activity that once stood proud are now in ruin, relics of the past that serve as a stark reminder that American life isn't what it used to be.</p> <p>&quot;Dozens of malls have shuttered since 2010, with hundreds more on the brink,&quot; says Benjamin Glaser, features editor with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dealnews.com">DealNews</a>. The few shopping centers that have been built in the last decade usually aren't traditional, enclosed malls, but larger complexes with a wider dining and entertainment options, and often open-air areas. To compete with online shopping, brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to create experiences.</p> <p>This fate doesn't paint a pretty picture of what was left in the wake of the downturn or for current mall owners. Those that have already heard its final cash register cha-ching now&nbsp;<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/completely-surreal-pictures-of-americas-abandoned-malls?utm_term=.vmGR1doAG#.dq8X0xRoy">look like sets for <em>The Walking Dead</em></a>, and those that still exist are being&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-16/day-of-reckoning-comes-for-u-s-shopping-malls-laden-with-debt">murdered by debt</a>.</p> <h2>4. Dog Bites Have Increased</h2> <p>Family dogs and mail carriers have had a rocky relationship for decades, but recently our friendly canines have been acting out in droves &mdash; all because that pesky USPS employee is stopping by more often with your online packages.</p> <p>According to <em>AdAge</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://adage.com/article/digital/online-shopping-causing-a-rise-dog-attacks/305366/">dog bites were up 14% last year</a>, reaching a total of 6,549 incidents. The most attacks were in Houston, which had 77, while San Diego and Cleveland clocked in at 58 each.</p> <h2>5. Identity Theft Is Out of Control</h2> <p>Before online shopping became everybody's go-to method of buying everything from clothing to groceries, it was difficult for an identity thief to target a large amount of data. Sure, your credit card could be stolen by a single thief and charged up until the bank caught wind of suspicious activity, but the consequences pale in comparison to a million-accounts data breach that could throw your entire life out of whack.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/04/14/identity-theft-growing/2082179/"><em>USA Today</em> reports that credit-card data theft has increased 50%</a> from 2005 to 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Likewise, because your credit card numbers can be worth hundreds of dollar a piece to resellers &mdash; the number of malicious programs written to steal your information has grown from about 1 million in 2007 to an estimated 130 million today. So basically, no one is safe, and you should take even more precautions &mdash; like not storing your credit cards with retailers online &mdash; to avoid becoming a victim.</p> <h2>6. Some Online Orders Are Now Being Delivered by Drones</h2> <p>Future moving too fast for you? Then you won't be elated to hear the news that drones may start arriving at your home or office to deliver your online shopping orders. Yep, flying robots are entering the friendly skies all over the world, and they could be landing in your front yard soon if Amazon has its way. Its PrimeAir program is gearing up for its first consumer flights that promise to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/video/china-mail-drone-makes-first-delivery/A3EA877F-AF8E-4E43-AF27-BFE5EF8F15C5.html">China</a> and Australia have already implemented similar services, which has its benefits, especially to those in hard-to-reach rural areas, or for medical purposes, but we can all probably agree that&nbsp;<a href="https://www.pddnet.com/news/2016/09/chipotle-drone-delivery-pilot-program-runs-virginia-tech">nobody needs their piping-hot burrito dropped from the sky</a>.</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/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">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/filler-strategies-for-amazon-s-free-super-saver-shipping">Filler Strategies for Amazon’s Free Super Saver Shipping</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-little-known-amazon-shopping-hacks">5 Little Known Amazon Shopping Hacks</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-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered">12 Surprising Things You Can Have Delivered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</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/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping Amazon delivery online shopping shipping shoppers shopping shopping habits Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1800743 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_93804837_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="retailers use big data to learn your shopping secrets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wondered how some retailers seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to the things you need, or want? How did they know you were looking for a pair of heels, or a crib? Was it incredible guesswork that they sent coupons for luggage just as you started planning a vacation? The answer is no. It's not luck, or guesswork, or a coincidence. Retailers have many methods available to them to learn, track, and take advantage of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-thinking-skills-frugal-people-should-master">personal shopping habits</a>. Here are eight that you may never have considered.</p> <h2>1. Store Loyalty Cards</h2> <p>Have you ever wondered why certain discounts and promotions are available only to loyalty card holders, when the cards are completely free to get? Well, this is one of the prime ways retailers &mdash; grocery stores in particular &mdash; can track your spending habits. You'll notice the effect instantly when the receipt machine spews out a whole bunch of coupons for you after you pay for your groceries. These are coupons based on what you have just bought, and what you have purchased in the past. And as the coupons are printed on demand, they are different for every customer.</p> <p>But it's not just about food and household supplies. When you buy a more expensive item, say a big screen TV, a carpet shampooer, or a piece of furniture, the store stores that data, too. Soon, you'll get email offers and mailed coupons for discounts on TV mounts, cleaning supplies, and furniture polish. If you've tied your loyalty card to an email and phone number, you could get coupons in your inbox, or as a text. And the more you shop, the more they know about you, and the more they can target you with specific offers designed to get you spending.</p> <h2>2. Your Phone Number</h2> <p>When you reach the checkout in many stores, you will be asked for your phone number. Most people just give it out without even thinking. If you ask why, you will probably be told something like, &quot;we just like to know where in the state our customers are coming from.&quot; While that's not untrue, there is way more to it than that. It's also another reason loyalty programs like to tie your phone number and email address to the card.</p> <p>Once you give up that phone number, you are handing over all of your purchasing information to the retailer. And if that retailer is very savvy, such as Target, they can analyze it with some sophisticated software to discover just what your future may hold, and how they can be there for you. Take the example of a young woman who was buying things that Target associates with an upcoming pregnancy (for example, cocoa-butter lotion, magnesium supplements, a large purse, and a powder blue rug). Target sent this girl a circular featuring a lot of maternity clothing and baby furniture. Her parents were furious, until they found out later that she was actually pregnant. As reported by Forbes, Target knew about the baby before the girl's own parents did. And Target also assigns every single customer with a &quot;pregnancy prediction score.&quot; Scary? Many people think so.</p> <h2>3. Your Smartphone</h2> <p>This is not about the phone number, but the technology used in your smartphone. Through a technique known as <a href="https://www.plotprojects.com/geofencing/">geofencing</a>, which uses Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, retailers are automatically alerted to your presence as you approach, enter, and browse the store. And once again, Target is one of those retailers that is on the cutting edge of this technology.</p> <p>If you have an app like Cartwheel installed on your phone, you may notice that offers pop up as you enter the Target store (or, after a few minutes of browsing). This is not a weird coincidence. This is all part of Target's strategy to get you spending more in their stores. And of course, as they already know a lot about your shopping habits, they can serve up the coupons and offers that are most likely to get you opening your wallet. Make a purchase using the app, and bingo, you have just given even more information to their database. Now they know not only what you're buying, but how effective their instant offers are; and they can tailor them to be even more successful in the future.</p> <h2>4. Free Wi-Fi</h2> <p>They say nothing is really free, and in this case, it applies to Wi-Fi. We all love free Wi-Fi because it prevents us from eating into our own data plans, and it's usually a lot faster than 4G. But there is a price to pay for it, and that price is information. It may seem very Orwellian, but these days, stores can use their Wi-Fi service and your phone to track your shopping habits in real-time while in the store. They know which aisles you're visiting first, which offers keep you occupied the longest, and can even trace the path you take from the entrance to the checkout.</p> <p>While it's harder (but not impossible) to capture this data on a person-by-person case, it is usually used as a research tool to help stores improve the shopping experience. If certain aisles are more successful than others, they will know why. If there are areas of overcrowding, they can be fixed. The aim is to get people spending more, and that is most likely to happen when the customer is happier in the store, and ready to peruse for a longer period of time. So the next time you use Wi-Fi anywhere from a bookstore to a warehouse store, remember&hellip; your every move could be tracked.</p> <h2>5. Website Cookies</h2> <p>If you don't know already, a cookie is a small piece of data stored on your computer, tablet, or phone by a website's server. It is used to help keep track of your movements within the site, and is usually very helpful. For instance, it can store the last page you visited, autofill forms, or provide suggestions based on your last visit. But, it can also assist the retailer behind the website, supplying them with information about your previous visits and purchases, your searches, and your overall shopping habits. This is often a benefit to you, as you may receive offers to entice you to buy something that you left in your shopping cart.</p> <p>It can also be used against you. A prime example is vacation searches. The more you search, be it for a hotel or flight, the likelier it is that the prices will actually go up. The sites know you're looking for a vacation, and when something is in demand, the price rises. By browsing anonymously, or using a VPN (virtual private network), you can stop that. Websites can also sell this cookie information to a third party, and it is common these days for sites to refuse entry if you turn off cookies. They want to know everything about you. You can also routinely clear you cookies, which may cause a few pages to load more slowly.</p> <h2>6. Purchasing Data</h2> <p>Quite often, you will see language like, &quot;We do not sell or share your information with third parties&quot; on websites, forms, and other methods of collecting your personal information. That's because it has become common practice for many retailers to store, collate, and sell the information of millions of customers for a profit. In the age of online retailing and phone shopping, big data is huge. The more retailers can know about you, the more targeted their campaigns can be. If a company wants to specifically focus on white males, ages 31&ndash;40, who smoke, drink, and subscribe to a sports package, they can buy that list. It can be expensive, initially, for retailers to buy this data, but it can really pay off because their message is laser-focused on the audience they want to reach.</p> <p>All of these methods mentioned above &mdash; including phone numbers, loyalty information, and website patterns &mdash; can be collected and sold. When they are in control of it, they can build on the data, creating a picture of you as a consumer that is so detailed, you may be shocked by its accuracy, and invasion of privacy.</p> <h2>7. CCTV Equipment</h2> <p>Smile, you're on camera. We are in the age of eyes in the sky, and big brother on every street corner. Cameras are also a major part of every store's infrastructure, and if you think they are only there to monitor shoplifters, think again.</p> <p>As The Guardian reported earlier this year, facial recognition software can determine who is entering the store, and how they are reacting to certain displays and promotions. If you're a guy with a beard, and there is an endcap devoted to grooming products, the retailer wants to know if you're reacting to it. As this technology develops, it will not be unusual to see specific ads targeted to certain consumers as they walk through the store. Expect to see ads for maternity products being displayed on LCD screens as a pregnant lady walks past, which change to ads for toys as a family with small children pass by the same area. This is not decades away; this technology is already being perfected. If it sounds like something from <em>Minority Report</em>, it's not far off.</p> <h2>8. Social Media</h2> <p>You probably have at least a Facebook account, and possibly Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, and FourSquare. While these are all great ways to share information and keep in touch with friends, they are also a boon for retailers, who also have a massive presence on these platforms. Brands and retailers can push offers and information at you 24/7, and sophisticated software can help them interact with you. They know if you &quot;like&quot; certain products or advertisements. They provide links to let you instantly purchase products and services that have been sent to you. They give out rewards for sharing offers and coupons. And the more you do it, the more they learn about you and your habits.</p> <p>Some people have started multiple social media accounts &mdash; one for personal use, and one that does not share as much private information &mdash; for this very reason. You are being watched constantly on social media, and you are being targeted with specific offers based on data that has been collected.</p> <p>Be careful out there.</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/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">6 Brands With the Best Warranties</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-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</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-common-shopping-myths-debunked">6 Common Shopping Myths, Debunked</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-big-brands-making-the-world-a-better-place">5 Big Brands Making the World a Better Place</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-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping big data personal data retailers shopping habits shopping trends tracking Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Paul Michael 1798176 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Brands With the Best Warranties http://www.wisebread.com/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/38524086.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a huge letdown that we've all faced: You've invested in a reputedly quality-made product and it breaks, malfunctions, or otherwise falls eons short of your humble expectations. (Cue the sad trombone.)</p> <p>Fortunately, if you're shopping the right brands, there's a way out of this situation. There are a handful of companies that not only make durable gear, but also back those claims of durability with warranty programs to facilitate repairs, returns, exchanges, or money-back guarantees and are fair and easy. Okay, some of these warranties aren't exactly fair. But rest assured that with these brands any unfairness is rigged in favor of the consumer, bar none. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service?ref=seealso">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sears Craftsman</h2> <p>In 2016, the Sears Craftsman brand of hand tools for lawn and garden maintenance was named <a href="http://www.theharrispoll.com/business/2016-Brands-of-the-Year.html">America's brand of the year</a> for power tools by The Harris Poll, a respected and academically vetted index of superior brand quality. And with a warranty program like the one offered by Craftsman, it's not hard to see why the company ranks so high.</p> <p>When Craftsman hand tools hit the market in 1927, the company instituted an unlimited lifetime warranty under which any Craftsman item can be returned, replaced, or repaired, free of charge, for any reason &mdash; no proof of purchase necessary. &quot;We stand behind the warranty &mdash; <a href="https://consumerist.com/2009/03/25/sears-clarifies-craftsman-tools-warranty/">complete satisfaction &mdash; period</a>,&quot; says David Figler, vice president of Craftsman tools. Of course, complete satisfaction is hard to define. In fact, it's really quite subjective. But Craftsman vows to leave it up to the consumer to gauge his or her own satisfaction. This generous guarantee is all about keeping the customer content.</p> <h2>2. LL Bean</h2> <p>Catalog retailer LL Bean will take anything back, for any reason, in any condition, and replace it. It's unbelievable what people will send back: a 40-year-old T-shirt that has worn a small hole, muddy and rain-soaked camping gear, or perfectly good bedding that's no longer needed because the consumer upgraded to a king-size bed. The list goes on and on and on. The folks who staff the LL Bean returns department are under strict orders to <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/591/get-your-moneys-worth">refrain from passing any judgement</a> on the people who bring back things with which they were clearly satisfied &mdash; so satisfied, in fact, that they wore the items out over a lifetime of heavy use. Alas, LL Bean vows not to play the moral police. If you say you're unsatisfied with an LL Bean product, no employee will question you. Rather, they will bestow upon you a new version of the thing you wore out, or full store credit.</p> <h2>3. Aldi</h2> <p>Discount grocer Aldi doesn't just guarantee its products &mdash; it double guarantees them. If you're not fully satisfied with an item, the store will both <a href="https://www.aldi.us/en/new-to-aldi/double-guarantee/">replace the item and refund your money</a>. This uber-generous warranty simply requires that consumers return the product packaging and any unused product to a local store manager. It's as easy as that!</p> <h2>4. Cutco</h2> <p>Probably the least exciting household item you'll ever have to replace is your cutlery. Here's how to avoid it: Invest in Cutco knives, which are backed by <a href="https://www.cutco.com/products/the-forever-guarantee.jsp">a forever guarantee</a>. Like heirloom jewelry, Cutco knives are intended to be passed down within families for generations. To that end, the company will sharpen or repair its products, a service that costs $9 in shipping and handling, and vows to return them to you in like-new condition &mdash; no receipt or registration required. If you're not satisfied with a product's performance, the company will correct the problem or replace the product. All you have to do is mail the product back to the company with an explanatory note. And should you damage your Cutco knives through misuse, the company will replace the item for half of its current retail price plus any applicable sales tax.</p> <h2>5. Dr. Martens</h2> <p>Ranging from the <a href="http://footwearnews.com/2016/focus/womens/dr-martens-x-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-collection-launches-boots-226787/">whimsical</a> to the <a href="http://www.drmartens.com/us/p/industrial-boots-industrial-grizzly-ironbridgeim">industrial</a>, there's a Dr. Martens boot style for just about everyone. In fact, that's one reason why the brand's combat boot, available in a huge range of colors and patterns, has been named one of celebrity stylist June Ambrose's top <a href="http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-moms/news/stylist-june-ambrose-shares-back-to-school-picks-w433724">must-haves for back-to-school</a>. And while Dr. Martens aren't exactly inexpensive, parents can rest assured that a Dr. Martens purchase is money well spent. That's because the brand's footwear is backed by a lifetime guarantee. The company promises to continually repair or replace any pair of shoes <a href="http://drmartensforlife.com/for-life-products/">for the rest of its wearer's life</a>.</p> <h2>6. Jansport</h2> <p>The popular backpack and luggage company asserts that its products are durable. Of course, tears and zipper malfunctions sometimes happen. If the company can't fix a flaw in one of its products, it vows to replace or refund it. It doesn't matter what adventurous trek you've tested it on or how long ago you bought it. This lifetime guarantee comes with <a href="http://www.jansport.com/customer-service/lifetime-warranty.html">no strings attached</a>.</p> <p><em>What other brands have great warranties? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-brands-with-the-best-warranties">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-brands-making-the-world-a-better-place">5 Big Brands Making the World a Better Place</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-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retailers-use-big-data-to-track-you">8 Ways Retailers Use Big Data to Track You</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/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</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-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping brands customer service retailers return policy shop smart shopping habits warranties Fri, 19 Aug 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1775147 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Shop With Purpose — And Save More Money http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-with-purpose-and-save-more-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-shop-with-purpose-and-save-more-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_71503559_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="be a mindful shopper and save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, researchers from the University of Michigan discovered that <a href="https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/100258/1208_Rick_Jan14.pdf">retail therapy actually works</a>! They found that shopping motivated by a desire to repair mood can be an effective way to temporarily minimize sadness and restore a sense of control.</p> <p>Please note that the results of this study are not a free pass to go hit the mall and throw cash around in your favorite store. For comparison, there's another thing that has been proven by science to temporarily restore a sense of control and minimize sadness: cocaine.</p> <p>Shoppers can safely regulate stress via consumer spending, provided they ditch their mindless spending for more intentional buying habits. And everything's better when done with intention &mdash; even shopping. So here are some questions I ask myself before I load up the shopping cart.</p> <h2>How Long Does the High Last?</h2> <p>Last night my husband asked me, &quot;Are you going to wear those shoes to bed?&quot;</p> <p>This was a serious question. Whenever I buy something new, I revert back to my eighth-grade self. I listen to new records on repeat until the neighbors complain. I will try 97 new recipes just so I have an excuse to play with my new digital kitchen thermometer, even though that thermometer is telling me that my house is currently 97&ordm; F before I preheat the oven for baking. I have worn my new sandals for seven days straight, going so far as to slip them on in the middle of the night, instead of my house slippers, on my way to feed the cat.</p> <p>I foster this juvenile behavior because I want to maximize the pleasure of acquisition. I know from years of trial and error, that the euphoria I get from shopping retail lasts only 10 days. I get the same high regardless of whether I buy one pair of shoes or an entire spring wardrobe. So, instead of going on a shopping bender, I purposely try to spread out my purchases. My expanded shopping schedule also gives me the pleasure of anticipation. I always have something to look for.</p> <h2>Will This Purchase Give Me Continual Happiness?</h2> <p>After my childhood dog, my second favorite gift ever was knitting lessons from my grandmother. I am a process knitter. This means I could really care less if I actually finish a project. And 99% of the pleasure that I get from knitting comes from the activity itself. It's meditative. It's cheaper than therapy. I don't feel like I'm wasting my life watching bad television if I am also knitting. I belong to a knitting group that is an important part of my social circle. Most importantly, knitting gives me a way to have a daily connection with my grandmother, who passed away 26 years ago.</p> <p>Buying yarn is a tactile, fun experience. But the process of knitting a sweater extends my 10-day new purchase high over weeks. Wearing or gifting the finished sweater can add months or years to my happiness schedule.</p> <h2>Will This Purchase Allow Me to Achieve a Life Goal?</h2> <p>This year I have challenged myself to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">find an additional $31,000</a>. I need this money, in part, to purchase new camera equipment that will allow me to switch careers and work professionally as an architectural photographer. Taking pictures of buildings already makes me ridiculously happy, so the fact that I can get paid for doing what I enjoy is icing on the cake.</p> <h2>Will I Be Grateful for This Purchase Every Day?</h2> <p>I am grateful for small things. Like the pair of shorts I wore for 200 days straight last year because my house lacks air conditioning and it's apocalyptically hot in Los Angeles. I don't love these shorts. In fact, I am sick of wearing them. But this doesn't negate the fact I am grateful that they have kept me cool and held up to near constant wear for three years.</p> <h2>Will This Purchase Give Me a Memorable Experience I Couldn't Get Otherwise?</h2> <p>My husband loves camping. After testing a variety of gear from REI's rental department, my husband decided to buy his own camping equipment. His high-tech tent, backpack, and sleeping quilt cost over $1,000! While these purchases will make financial sense in the long run versus continuing to rent gear, their true value is experiential. His camping kit is so lightweight that he can hike further and longer than he ever could with the heavier rented supplies. He is thrilled that he can now reach campsites that were previously beyond possibility for him.</p> <h2>Will I Have to Use Credit to Make This Purchase?</h2> <p>My great-grandfather had a good rule about money: If you can't pay cash, you can't afford it.</p> <p>I'm feeling a lot of pressure to buy the $4,000, state-of-the-art camera body I need for my photography work with credit. The argument for buying it now is that, the sooner I have the camera, the sooner I can get cracking on professional gigs. However, I am resisting the temptation to buy the camera now, because buying with a credit card really means I'm just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-valuable-thing-debt-takes-from-you-isnt-money-its-this">borrowing time from myself</a> in the future. I will have to work that much longer to pay off the additional interest.</p> <h2>Will This Purchase Continue to Cost Me Money?</h2> <p>I go out of my way to buy clothes that can be washed anywhere, with little fuss. I might love a dress at the store, but it's not coming home with me if it's &quot;Dry Clean Only.&quot; With so many hand-washable garments available for every occasion, the maintenance cost of dry cleaning just isn't worth it. Most shoppers don't realize that the greatest financial expense and worst environmental cost of their clothes comes not from production, but from cleaning.</p> <h2>Will This Purchase Add to My To-Do List?</h2> <p>Like many handy people, I have a house full of unfinished projects. While I'm proud of my collection of mid-century furniture that I trash-picked, and the designer clothes that I bought at a 90% discount because they needed a minor repair, I have a moratorium on bringing anything into my house that isn't in perfect condition. After all, if I really needed any of these items, I would have fixed them already.</p> <h2>How Will I Dispose of This Purchase?</h2> <p>Most consumers don't consider the full lifecycle of their purchases, which is why our landfills are packed with perfectly usable, recyclable, and occasionally valuable items. Because it's important to me to leave this planet in a better state than when I found it, I make sure that I have an &quot;end of life&quot; plan for each purchase. Do I have a responsible method of disposal for this thing that I want? Can I buy this tool without the additional packaging? Can I check out this book from the library instead buying it? Can this product be recycled or upcycled?</p> <p>According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American <a href="http://www.wisegeek.org/how-much-garbage-does-a-person-create-in-one-year.htm">produces 1,600 lbs of trash</a> each year. We can do better. Buying with intention is something everyone can do to improve the planet!</p> <p><em>Do you practice intentional living, but also love to shop? How do your balance your consumer habits with your value system? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shop-with-purpose-and-save-more-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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs 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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to 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/9-ways-your-lazy-habits-are-costing-you">9 Ways Your Lazy Habits Are Costing You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping frugal living mindless shopping saving money shopping habits shopping with intention Wed, 03 Aug 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Max Wong 1764816 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Save Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-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_credit_card_computer_36917590.jpg" alt="Woman using Google Alerts to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Google Alerts can do a lot more than tell you when your favorite hot topic or celebrity hits the news &mdash; it can also help you find savings! First, you need to know the ins and outs of <a href="https://support.google.com/alerts/answer/4815780?hl=en">creating an effective Google Alert</a>. And here's how to use those alerts as a powerful tool that can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-shopping-reminders-that-will-save-you-big">save you time and money</a>.</p> <h2>1. Find the Best Available Price for a Specific Item</h2> <p>It wasn't long ago that you had to physically visit competitor stores to find the best price on a particular item. Of course, online shopping has changed all that, and Google Alerts is making it even easier.</p> <p>Let's say you're on the hunt for a swimsuit &mdash; not just any swimsuit, but the swimsuit you spotted Selena Gomez wearing in her latest Instagram post. Google Alerts can help you score the celebrity-endorsed bather for the best price. Here's how: Create a new alert using the name of the swimsuit, the name of the brand, and any desired size or color specifications. Then just sit back, relax, and watch as the results come streaming in. To hone in on the best deal, sort the hits Google dispatches to your inbox by price &mdash; and don't forget to consider the cost of shipping when zeroing in on your final choice.</p> <h2>2. Suss Out Coupons and Specials</h2> <p>It can be hard to know when to pull the trigger on a purchase you've been lusting after. Rest assured, Google Alerts can help you navigate. Simply create an alert for your favorite store and add in keywords such as &quot;free shipping,&quot; &quot;sale,&quot; or &quot;discount code.&quot; This can help you determine when's the best time to punch in your order.</p> <h2>3. Set Up a Price Drop Alert</h2> <p>Let's say you're in the market for a <a href="http://amzn.to/2aNu3pE">Fisher-Price Power Wheels Dune Racer</a>, which retails at about $249, but you're not willing to pay more than $200. By creating a price drop notification, you'll instantly know when the dune racer your child wants for his or her birthday falls within your price range. Simply enter a search query for &quot;Fisher-Price Power Wheels Dune Racer $1..$200,&quot; making sure to put the entire entry in quotation marks. Also be sure to type just two periods between the minimum and maximum amounts that you're willing to pay, which specifies to the desired price range to Google. Under the drop-down menu for &quot;how often,&quot; select &quot;as it happens.&quot; Otherwise you run the risk of missing out on flash sale.</p> <h2>4. Scope Out Product Reviews</h2> <p>Let's say you're looking to purchase a new vacuum cleaner, and you've narrowed it down to three models that sell for just about the same price. How do you decide which one is best for you? One means of navigating this situation is to curate a feed of product reviews of the three vacuum contenders. To do this, punch in the name of the vacuum and &quot;product review.&quot; You can either create three separate alerts, one for each vacuum, or enter the names of each vacuum into the criteria box for one alert, separating each name by the word &quot;OR.&quot; Be sure that &quot;OR&quot; is in caps, but lose the quotation marks.</p> <h2>5. Crowdsource Free Events Near You</h2> <p>Punch in the name of your city, town, or region, as well as the tag, &quot;free event.&quot; And feel free to add in any other keywords describing the type of happenings you're interested in attending, such as &quot;music,&quot; or the name of your favorite restaurant. Voilà! Now you'll know about the free culture and entertainment offerings in your area.</p> <h2>6. Don't Be Afraid to Cancel or Tweak Your Alerts</h2> <p>If you find that your inbox is suddenly swarmed with alerts and you're having trouble sifting through the clutter, know that there are solutions. You can always cancel some of your alerts, reduce the frequency of them, or set up a Gmail filter that funnels them into a separate folder.</p> <p>Remember, Google Alerts are only as helpful as you make them to be. If you find that certain alerts you've created aren't delivering what you're after, take a moment to tweak the search criteria or just flat-out cancel that alert. Google Alerts are supposed to save you time, not burden you with extra inbox clutter.</p> <p><em>Have you used Google Alerts to shop? Share your experience with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-skills-you-must-have-to-survive-autumn">9 Frugal Skills You Must Have to Survive Autumn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-44-sneaky-shopping-traps-to-avoid">Flashback Friday: 44 Sneaky Shopping Traps to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-49-smartest-amazon-hacks-that-will-save-you-big">Flashback Friday: 49 Smartest Amazon Hacks That Will Save You Big</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-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You 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/save-money-in-5-seconds-or-less-with-these-27-easy-tricks">Save Money in 5 Seconds or Less With These 29 Easy Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping coupon codes coupons frugal living Google google alerts saving money shopping shopping habits Mon, 01 Aug 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1762300 at http://www.wisebread.com Does Your Money Management Reflect Who You Truly Are? http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-money-management-reflect-who-truly-you-are <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-your-money-management-reflect-who-truly-you-are" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_76449071_LARGE (1).jpg" alt="does your money management reflect who you are?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever thought about what is driving your spending decisions?</p> <p>While some of us might choose frugality out of necessity, for many people who choose to live beneath their means, the decision is not about money at all. Perhaps you're pretty wealthy, but choose to drive an old car. Or maybe you would rather learn to do your own plumbing than call someone out to fix that dripping pipe.</p> <p>While there are many different reasons for people to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dead-simple-reasons-why-people-are-frugal">adopt a frugal lifestyle</a>, for some people, the decision is all about their core purpose. And when that's the case, living by your own brand of frugality isn't a chore; it's just who you are.</p> <p>Do these driving factors resonate with you?</p> <h2>Faith</h2> <p>A sense of social justice can drive attitudes about finance and consumerism. Frugality is not a optional quirk people who have a strong sense of faith can take or leave &mdash; it's a core purpose that keeps them grounded.</p> <p>Actively working to help others and encourage a more equal distribution of resources results in a frugal lifestyle. Maybe by living beneath your means, you have more disposable income to donate to causes you care about, or maybe by working less you have more time to support others through your actions. Either way, learning to live well on less becomes second nature.</p> <h2>Environmental Concerns</h2> <p>Sustainability (or the lack thereof) is a driving factor to many people who choose a frugal lifestyle. Making decisions with some thought about the world we might leave our children with means that many of the worst excesses of consumerism are dropped.</p> <p>Shopping for clothes at a thrift store, for example, means consuming fewer resources, sending less to landfills, and reducing pollution. The same logic means avoiding new gadgets, flying less frequently, and trying to eat local and seasonal produce. The simpler life that results is not only better for the environment, it is also less costly.</p> <h2>Rejection of Consumerism</h2> <p>In everyday life, we are bombarded with ways to spend our hard earned cash. Advertising is everywhere &mdash; and for some of us, ignoring it and rejecting consumerism as a whole can be thoroughly liberating.</p> <p>Many people who reject consumerism in this wholehearted way were actually massive spenders themselves in the past. Because this can lead to debt and financial stress, it is not unusual for a moment to come along and leave the spendthrift reformed. The revelation hits that this lifestyle is not sustainable, and excessive spending in the present is sacrificing future happiness. And a new core purpose of frugality emerges.</p> <h2>Inspiring Self-Reliance</h2> <p>Being frugal requires a good degree of self-reliance and creativity &mdash; whether it's coming up with great homemade gifts, or learning to fix your own furnace. There's a certain sense of satisfaction from learning these skills, and being able to manage whatever life throws at you.</p> <p>If you're raising a family, being frugal takes on a whole new dimension. Not only are you teaching your kids to live within their means, and place value on the right things, you're also likely teaching them great life skills, too. If part of your core purpose is to inspire this self-reliance for your kids, then being frugal is not about saving money so much as learning &mdash; and sharing &mdash; skills.</p> <p>When you're driven by a core purpose, living well on a budget ceases to be a punishment and becomes a part of who you are. If you're struggling to stick to your financial goals, then try to figure out how saving cash aligns with your core purpose. Identifying this can make it a whole lot easier to keep moving towards a frugal lifestyle.</p> <p><em>What drives your attitudes towards spending? 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/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-money-management-reflect-who-truly-you-are">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/has-cash-become-more-trouble-than-its-worth">Has Cash Become More Trouble Than It&#039;s Worth?</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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <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-audacity-to-waste-money-for-better-finances">The Audacity to Waste Money for Better Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle money habits money management personality personality traits religion shopping shopping habits Fri, 08 Jul 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Claire Millard 1747537 at http://www.wisebread.com The High Cost of the "Treat Yourself" Mindset http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000053298210_Large.jpg" alt="when the &quot;treat yourself&quot; mentality goes too far" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you stressed? Tired? Depressed? Is daily life getting you down? Maybe you need a treat!</p> <p>Except that treating yourself can be expensive, and it doesn't actually make anything better. We are trained to believe that it will, though, and that the money we spend is justified in the name of self-care.</p> <p>Just recently, my family went through a very stressful time with my husband's job. Since he makes the majority of our income right now, that was hard on me, too. As we processed the situation and dealt with the stress, I found myself spending money. I'm a pretty frugal person, so it wasn't anything obscene, just a $20 workout top here and a lunch out with the kids there.</p> <p>Over the course of a month, though, it added up, and I realized what was happening. I was buying these things to make myself feel better or to try and make my life easier, but they weren't helping because they didn't actually address the stressful situation. I had fallen prey to the &quot;treat yo self&quot; mindset (made famous by Donna Meagle from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SG16TIC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00SG16TIC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MMUUVQNHZCRUZOPD">Parks and Recreation</a>), like up to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/retail-therapy-shopping_n_3324972.html">a third of all Americans</a>, especially women, do when they're stressed out.</p> <p>Fortunately, I caught myself before I did us any real financial damage, and I was able to stop. But that whole situation made me think about spending money on self-care and what it has come to mean for us.</p> <h2>Self-Care Can Be Pricey</h2> <p>Self-care can cost us quite a bit of money. Many people don't even realize that they are spending to soothe themselves until they get a credit card bill and, by then, the damage has already been done! Even folks who really don't have extra money to spend get sucked in by advertising messages and other spending pressures that permeate our culture, and make poor financial decisions in the name of alleviating stress and pressure, even just for a little bit.</p> <p>However, the costs of treating ourselves when distressed go beyond the financial. Too often, we end up confusing self-care with coping. Coping isn't always a bad thing, and we need coping strategies to get through really bad times, but they aren't something that should stay around. They aren't something that we normally think of as good.</p> <p>When we let ourselves continually care for ourselves with coping strategies &mdash; like spending a lot of money on ourselves &mdash; we never learn to actually address and overcome our problems. We risk not being aware of our own feelings, and numbing ourselves rather than telling ourselves the truth and dealing with that truth. And I don't think that's what we set out to do.</p> <p>Interested in addressing your stress without excessive spending? Here are some strategies I've found helpful.</p> <h2>Pursue True Self-Care</h2> <p>The idea that we need to take care of ourselves is actually true, but that doesn't need to involve spending lots of money. Instead, when in stressful situations, we need to focus on a few key things.</p> <p>First, look to your diet, exercise, and sleep. It's hard to be disciplined about these things when facing major stressors, but addressing them will help you stay strong and avoid adding personal illness to your list of difficulties.</p> <p>You don't have to do anything hugely out of the ordinary here. Make sure that you are eating vegetables and not filling up on sugar or other processed junk foods. Even if you have to eat out a lot, some choices are better than others. And take a walk every day. Even 20 or 30 minutes of exercise can change your whole mindset. Finally, do whatever you can to get at least seven hours of sleep. Even if you get by on less than that normally, being stressed usually means you need more sleep than usual.</p> <p>When you're under stress, you probably won't be able to be consistent with all of these, all the time. Still, making them priorities will help you focus on them when you can and hit your goals more than you would otherwise.</p> <h2>Pick and Choose Your Treats</h2> <p>It's not always a bad idea to spend money on something when you're under stress, as long as that thing will truly make you feel better. If you can get intentional about your treats and know which of your needs they are meeting, you won't feel like you need so many.</p> <p>For instance, a bright pedicure might actually make you feel better in a dreary hospital room. Or a steak dinner might be just what you need after living a couple of weeks on convenience food in order to hit a big deadline. Paying someone else to clean your house might actually relieve some of your stress if you are injured and can't do it yourself.</p> <p>But pick one or two things to spend your money on, rather than choosing everything that comes to mind. And know, ahead of time, why you're spending your money in that particular way by listing, out loud or on paper, which need you're addressing. This can help you focus on buying essential things, or at least things that will actually help, rather than spending willy-nilly.</p> <h2>Focus on People</h2> <p>Many times, when we are in stressful situations, what we really want is for someone to hear us, to listen to us talk about the situation, and sit with us in it. That can be hard to find, especially if you are under stress away from home or your family and/or close friends are involved in the stress, too.</p> <p>If you can, call that person up. Ask them for a coffee date, or even just a few minutes on the phone, and be yourself. Pour your heart out if you need to. This will make you feel better than any purchase you could possibly make, and it will lighten the load you're bearing so you may no longer feel the need to purchase anything at all.</p> <p><em>How do you deal with stress? How effective are your strategies? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset">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/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</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-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You 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/9-ways-you-sabotage-your-financial-growth">9 Ways You Sabotage Your Financial Growth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping retail therapy shopaholic shopping habits Spending Money treat yo self treat yourself Thu, 05 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1703710 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Things You Don't Know About Generation "Z" http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-you-dont-know-about-generation-z <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-things-you-dont-know-about-generation-z" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hipster_friends_000063310711.jpg" alt="Learning the characteristics of generation Z" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Millennials this, millennials that. Millennials here, millennials there. Millennials are lazy. Millennials are open-minded. Millennials are substantial consumers. Millennials define passion.</p> <p>If there was one overused word in the past year or two, &quot;millennials&quot; is the incontestable winner.</p> <p>There's a chance, however, we'll soon be subject to a new cultural talking point &mdash; Generation Z. Haven't heard of it? I hadn't, either, until just recently. I was attending a company-wide meeting, and our CEO had the floor. Discussing societal trends and the rise of tech usage, he referenced the nation's group of fledglings. &quot;Generation Z, born in 1995 or later, came out with an IP address embedded in their heads,&quot; he joked into the mic, collecting a round of chuckles from the crowd.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Ways-Motivate-Yourself-33284380" target="_blank">52 Easy Yet Highly Effective Ways to Motivate Yourself</a></p> <p>It was sort of an <em>ah-ha!</em> moment for me. With a birth date near the end of 1994, I feel like I can't fully identify with millennials, especially in regards to <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/love/90s-Girls-22110636">&quot;the golden days.&quot;</a> Yeah, I remember when no one had cell phones &mdash; but only 'til sixth grade. Yeah, I thought <em>Titanic</em><strong>&nbsp;</strong>was amazing &mdash; in 2005, when I was first allowed to see it. And no, I can't recall a time in my life when there wasn't a computer in my house. In second grade, I learned to use Google.</p> <p>The true age bracket of <a href="http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/generation-gaps/generation-z.htm" target="_blank">Generation Z</a> is up for deliberation among experts. Some believe members were born between 1991 and 2001; Entrepreneur says <a href="http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236560">1994 and 2010</a> are the key birth years. Still others say anyone born after 1995 lands squarely within the category. To me, hard dates don't matter as much as life experiences and personality traits, which are key in discerning millennials from Gen Z. Below are 11 characteristics that distinguish us &mdash; if you're young, and you identify, welcome to the club.</p> <h2>1. We're Internet Experts</h2> <p>Because we're always online, we find answers to questions in warp speed. Z members multitask across a few different screens or monitors at once. We make lightning rounds through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Tinder, and Gmail. We know the lingo; we create memes; we make Vines and Periscopes and elaborate Snapchats. We have accounts on dozens, if not hundreds, of platforms. It's a challenge to put down our phones, even for 10 minutes to eat lunch. (In fact, I'm usually reading stories on my laptop while chowing down on meals.)</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Good-Morning-Habits-34931838" target="_blank">Up and at 'Em! 25 Good Morning Habits For a Great Day</a></p> <h2>2. We'd Rather Message Than Talk in Person</h2> <p>Along the same lines, Generation Z would rather have a digital conversation than a real-life discussion in many instances. Before rolling your eyes out of your head, think of the benefits. Awkward pauses? None of those. Stick your foot in your mouth? Difficult to accomplish when you're typing rather than talking. Nice flow of language? For sure. Better written skills? I'd argue so. I text paragraphs to my friends, because yes, we have intelligent discussions via SMS or Messenger &mdash; and I go back in and edit for grammar, spelling, and sentence structure before sending. Obviously, I'm not revising the way I would an article at work, but I make a solid effort. You may think it strange, but it's simply a way of life for Generation Z.</p> <h2>3. We Look Up to YouTubers</h2> <p>&quot;[Generation Z's] new idols are <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-generation-z-born-in-the-digital-age-2015-2">Internet stars</a>, like PewDiePie,&quot; says Business Insider&nbsp;&mdash; which is, well, spot on. Every single day, I check the YouTube channels I'm subscribed to (about 10) for new content. In fact, it's the first thing I do after getting home from the office. I'll spend up to an hour watching videos from my favorites, which include beauty vloggers and online comedians alike. On the other hand, I also use YouTube for documentaries and self-education... which makes me feel a <em>little</em> less guilty for all the time I &quot;waste&quot; on the site. (But I raise you this: is it REALLY considered a waste if it's harmless entertainment?)</p> <h2>4. 9/11 Was a Huge Part of Our Youth</h2> <p>I remember exactly where I was when the 9/11 attackers struck &mdash; and most other Generation Z's have the same frightening memory, which we'll never forget as long as we live. We grew up in an era where terrorism was a hotly debated topic, where the possibility (and subsequent action) of involvement in the Middle East evoked the strongest of feelings. Bush was always on TV; we sent soldiers care packages in grade school. We didn't understand most of it, but we knew things were troubled.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Why-Being-Introvert-Good-Thing-40242408" target="_blank">Why Being an Introvert Is Actually the Biggest Blessing</a></p> <h2>5. The Recession Affected Our Outlooks</h2> <p>Hushed voices behind closed doors; sudden downscaling in lifestyle choices; dying jobs and families packing up and moving far away. I was a mere preteen when the Great Recession reared its ugly head, and it hit my area (Detroit) especially hard. Being so young and born into a relatively well-off family, I was never given a good look at the aftermath, but the tension and sadness in the air was tangible. Between 9/11 and the Recession, Generation Z came of age in <a href="http://www.ideasindigital.com/idea/step-aside-millennials-gen-z-has-arrived/" target="_blank">a time of uncertainty</a>, and as a result, we've learned to become more resourceful.</p> <h2>6. We're Determined to Turn Our Hobbies Into Jobs</h2> <p>Since I was 10, I loved to write... and now I'm a journalist. According to Business Insider, this isn't (or won't be) uncommon, with 76% of Gen Z members aiming to create jobs out of their hobbies. And why shouldn't we? Though we're grounded in reality, we're better educated on planning, implementing, and executing our goals and aspirations. With Google at our fingertips all hours of the day, we learn how to make our dreams come true on our own.</p> <h2>7. We're One Step Ahead in Our Careers</h2> <p>That said, <a href="http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/252923" target="_blank">Gen Z is jumping on the (career) ball early on</a>. We're building our brands as adolescents, because we understand the impact social media has on not only our personal lives, but also our pending jobs. I started following and engaging with well-known writers on Twitter when I was 17. I began reporting for various publications at 18, I became an editor for a national platform at 19, and I freelanced for money at 20. At this age, I also graduated from college and landed a full-time gig at POPSUGAR. The early bird catches the worm, and we're well-aware.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-You-Should-Doing-25-40229069" target="_blank">25 Things You Should Absolutely Be Doing by 25</a></p> <h2>8. We're Self-Starters</h2> <p>We're invested in our careers, yes, but more than that, we seek to invent. <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/16/news/generation-z-work/" target="_blank">The entrepreneurial spirit has grown with each generation</a>, and Z's are beginning to trickle into the work force with <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Become-Self-Employed-37860836">lofty plans of impactful start-ups</a>. We think businesses can make a difference, and we're inspired by thriving companies such as Facebook or Uber, which have literally changed the scope of life. Expect us to take over tech &mdash; after all, we've pretty much never known a life without it.</p> <h2>9. We're Stressed Out, and Often</h2> <p>That's not to say we don't stress about our big ambitions. Generation Z certainly frets, principally over bigger-picture things like the economy and the environment, because ultimately that's how realists operate. On the bright side, we're more willing to <em>do</em> something about these weighty issues. <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/marketing-agencies-association-partner-zone/2015/jun/11/generation-z-teenage-audience-brands" target="_blank">Generation Z is highly involved in activist movements</a>, with a genuine intent to save the world.</p> <h2>10. We Prioritize Quality</h2> <p>Quality over quantity is the name of Generation Z's game. We're incredibly selective in the products we purchase, making it painstakingly tedious for advertising marketers to get through to us. I generally don't buy anything on Amazon that has less than a four-star rating. Before going out to dinner on Friday nights, you can bet I'm perusing Yelp for the best restaurants that still fall beneath my budget. With abundant cyber reviews from people who've already been there and done that, we'd be hard pressed to misuse our time on a transaction that's just not worth it.</p> <h2>11. We're More Accepting</h2> <p>Gen Z grew up in an era in which societal standards began to shift dramatically. Norms were flipped upside down &mdash; &quot;gay&quot; was no longer taboo; &quot;transgender&quot; wasn't just an urban legend. I distinctly remember bullying to be uncool when I was in high school. It was uncool to make fun of the boy who liked other boys. It was uncool to pick on the quiet African-Chinese twins. Band geeks were mainstream. The nerds were the popular ones. Our prom queen was a girl named Hannah who played on the boys' football team. High school, for the most part, was a safe and amicable culture. And playing both advocate and witness to the many ongoing developments of important social justice campaigns in this country, I have high hopes for an even more secure future with Generation Z commanding the forefront.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-things-you-dont-know-about-generation-z&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Things%2520You%2520Dont%2520Know%2520About%2520Generation%2520Z.jpg&amp;description=11%20Things%20You%20Dont%20Know%20About%20Generation%20Z"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Things%20You%20Dont%20Know%20About%20Generation%20Z.jpg" alt="11 Things You Don't Know About Generation &quot;Z&quot;" width="250" height="374" /></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Gen Z is slowly taking over the world. Here&#039;s what you need to know about them. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Ways-Motivate-Yourself-33284380">52 Easy Yet Highly Effective Ways to Motivate Yourself</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Good-Morning-Habits-34931838">Up and at 'Em! 25 Good Morning Habits For a Great Day</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Why-Being-Introvert-Good-Thing-40242408">Why Being an Introvert Is Actually the Biggest Blessing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-You-Should-Doing-25-40229069">25 Things You Should Absolutely Be Doing by 25</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-you-dont-know-about-generation-z">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-learn-about-saving-money-from-gen-x">5 Things Millennials Can Learn About Saving Money From Gen-X</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-12-winter-essentials">How to Save on 12 Winter Essentials</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-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping characteristics gen x gen y gen Z generation z millennials shopping habits Fri, 11 Mar 2016 11:00:07 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1663383 at http://www.wisebread.com