Personal Development http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/216/all en-US Best Money Tips: Things to Say Yes to for a Happy Life http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-things-to-say-yes-to-for-a-happy-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-things-to-say-yes-to-for-a-happy-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/two-women-talking-park-Dollarphotoclub_42232750.jpg" alt="two women conversation" title="two women conversation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on things to say yes to for a happy life, foods you should make instead of buy, and money mistakes to avoid if you want to be rich.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2015/01/15/yes-happy-life/">10 Things to Start Saying Yes to This Year for a Happy Life</a> &mdash; Say yes to making someone else happy. You can offer practical help, or just listen when they need an ear. [The Positivity Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Foods-Cheaper-Make-Rather-Than-Buy-25387569#photo-25387569">10 Food Items You Should Stop Buying (and Make Instead!)</a> &mdash; Why buy pure vanilla extract at $3 per ounce when you can make your own just by steeping vanilla beans in vodka? [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2015/01/top-money-mistakes-avoid-want-to-be-rich/">Top Money Mistakes to Avoid If You Want to Be Rich</a> &mdash; Saving money is important, but if you want to be rich, focus your energy on finding ways to earn more. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="http://www.everybodylovesyourmoney.com/2015/01/19/10-extreme-frugality-tips.html">10 Extreme Frugality Tips</a> &mdash; Only buy things secondhand. If you can find it for free on the curb or on Craigslist, even better! [Everybody Loves Your Money]</p> <p><strong>In case you missed it:</strong> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-social-media-saved-someones-life">5 Ways Social Media Saved Someone's Life</a> &mdash; When Michele Freeman posted a picture of her toddler on Facebook, one friend noticed that there was something odd about little Grace's eyes. [Wise Bread]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.financiallypoor.com/home-ownership/7-ways-to-improve-the-resale-value-of-a-home/">7 Ways to Improve the Resale Value of a Home</a> &mdash; Highlight the best parts of your home by placing different kinds of lighting at strategic locations. [Financially Poor]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.readyforzero.com/free-spreadsheets-paying-debt/">Top 5 Best (Free) Spreadsheets for Paying Off Debt</a> &mdash; If you need help mapping out what you owe, try using a free debt spreadsheet from Vertex, Squawkfox, or others! [ReadyForZero]</p> <p><a href="http://www.doughroller.net/productivity/7-ways-harness-power-habit/">7 Ways to Harness the Power of Habit</a> &mdash; There are three parts to a habit loop: the cue, routine, and reward. If you want to change a habit, focus on the routine. [Dough Roller]</p> <p><a href="http://momsneedtoknow.com/uses-egg-cartons">9 Uses for Egg Cartons</a> &mdash; Use egg cartons to organize all the loose nuts, bolts, and screws in your toolbox. [Moms Need to Know]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-first-aid-skills-every-parent-should-learn">10 First Aid Skills Every Parent Should Learn</a> &mdash; Insect bites and stings can be treated with a cold compress. Don't use first aid creams or ointments if the skin is broken &mdash; just rinse with soap and water. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-things-to-say-yes-to-for-a-happy-life" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Things to Say Yes to for a Happy Life" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-things-to-say-yes-to-for-a-happy-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/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</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/100-small-things-that-can-bring-you-joy">100 Small Things That Can Bring You Joy</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-things-scientists-say-will-boost-your-happiness-today">11 Things Scientists Say Will Boost Your Happiness Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-things-to-be-happy-about">Big List of Things to be Happy About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-be-a-better-person-today">25 Ways to Be a Better Person Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development best money tips happiness Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:00:09 +0000 Amy Lu 1282662 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Become a Better Listener http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-become-a-better-listener <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-become-a-better-listener" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-talking-rooftop-Dollarphotoclub_64188738_0.jpg" alt="couple talking rooftop" title="couple talking rooftop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on tips to become a better listener, ways to eat less sugar, and goals for a more organized life.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/01/5-tips-for-becoming-a-better-listener/">5 Tips for Becoming a Better Listener</a> &mdash; Ask open-ended questions and make &quot;listening noises&quot; to encourage the other person to elaborate. [Gretchen Rubin]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/new-years-resolution-eat-less-sugar-and-9-ways-to-get-it-done">New Year's Resolution &mdash; Eat Less Sugar and 9 Ways to Get It Done</a> &mdash; You can have better control of your sugar intake by buying unsweetened foods and adding natural sweeteners and flavors to taste. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/New-Year-Resolutions-Organization-36367042">17 Goals For a More Organized Life in 2015</a> &mdash; Want to be more organized? Section off your drawers with plastic dividers &mdash; or simply cut up cardboard boxes and pop them in! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/diy-projects/10-steps-creating-easiest-outdoor-herb-garden/52784">10 Steps for Creating the Easiest Outdoor Herb Garden</a> &mdash; There's no need to start from scratch. Buy already-grown plants so you can see what you're cultivating and know if it's a project you want to keep up with. [She Budgets]</p> <p><strong>In case you missed it:</strong> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you">10 Supposedly Healthy Things That Are Actually Hurting You</a> &mdash; Be careful of the vitamin levels in your system; overdosing on vitamin supplements can wreak havoc on your body. [Wise Bread]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://acultivatednest.com/2015/01/5-apps-to-organize-receipts-free/">5 Great Free Apps For Organizing Your Receipts</a> &mdash; Take a picture of your receipt with your smartphone, send it to your email account, and an app like OneReceipt or Itemize will automatically extract the data and itemize it for you. [A Cultivated Nest]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysoldiers.com/2015/01/15/top-5-resume-mistakes-avoid-interviewing-job">Top 5 Resume Mistakes to Avoid when Interviewing for a Job</a> &mdash; If you say that you know a foreign language, be sure to also include your level of fluency. [Money Soldiers]</p> <p><a href="http://moneypantry.com/make-money-with-pinterest/">How to Make Money with Pinterest</a> &mdash; Services like ShopSense will pay you for driving traffic to certain retailers. [Money Pantry]</p> <p><a href="http://www.onesmartdollar.com/4-ways-to-use-the-cloud-to-save-money/">4 Ways to Use the Cloud to Save Money</a> &mdash; Make your important documents easily accessible, wherever you are, by storing them onto a secure cloud service. [One Smart Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.listenmoneymatters.com/goals-versus-dreams/">Goals Versus Dreams</a> &mdash; Goals and dreams are not the same thing, but you can set goals (which include a certain level of practicability) to achieve your dreams. [Listen Money Matters]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-become-a-better-listener" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: How to Become a Better Listener" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-become-a-better-listener">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/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change 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/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-office-politics-goofs-that-can-set-your-career-back-years">9 Office Politics Goofs That Can Set Your Career Back Years</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/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development best money tips listener Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:00:10 +0000 Amy Lu 1282591 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Office Politics Goofs That Can Set Your Career Back Years http://www.wisebread.com/9-office-politics-goofs-that-can-set-your-career-back-years <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-office-politics-goofs-that-can-set-your-career-back-years" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/office-workers-gossip-Dollarphotoclub_33169667.jpg" alt="office workers gossip" title="office workers gossip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Shows like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Office-Complete-Collection-Special/dp/B0002W4P98">The Office</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/30-Rock-Complete-Series-Seasons/dp/B00HDX0JRG">30 Rock</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Parks-and-Recreation-Season-6/dp/B00EY89MWG">Parks and Recreation</a> cast a very humorous light on office politics. But the reality is that office politics are a very real threat to your job. If you engage in them, you are playing a game (and I use that word with its darkest interpretation) that has winners and losers. And sadly, the losers are usually the ones who are naïve, honest, or easily manipulated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-new-ways-to-hack-your-boss-without-a-machete?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Make Your Boss Love You</a>)</p> <p>You don't have to be on the losing side though. Avoid the following nine office politics faux pas, and gain some more control over your working destiny.</p> <h2>1. Engaging in Gossip</h2> <p>This crosses every level, from the new employee in the lowest department to the bigwings in the executive suite. It's something both men and women do equally. And if you fall into the gossip trap, you may find yourself on the receiving end of some nasty blowback. Gossip is never good. Whether it's about the company, the people, or situations, it can only lead to trouble. No one knows for sure that what they are saying about someone else is 100% accurate. And any sentence that starts with &quot;you know what I heard&hellip;&quot; is speculation at best. If you get sucked into a conversation about someone, or something very gossipy, make your excuses and walk away. You do not want to be associated with this, and it can destroy reputations and office morale.</p> <h2>2. Doing Only What Is in Your Job Description</h2> <p>If you become a person obsessed with the fine print of your contract, and the rules of the office, you will not show yourself in the best light. Okay, so maybe you were not hired to help with certain tasks. But if someone is asking for your help because they think you can be useful, and you have the time, then go ahead and help out. Going above and beyond will often lead to a promotion and a raise. Playing everything by the book will make you seem like a troublemaker, and you could find yourself of the losing end of the game you're playing.</p> <h2>3. Using Sex to Get Promoted</h2> <p>If at all possible, you want to avoid office romances. Of course, that's easier said than done, especially as you spend over 40 hours a week in the company of your coworkers. Some people, however, will use sex and sexual advances as a way to propel their careers. This is a huge faux pas. Male or female, if you are using sex as a way to get ahead in the company, it will only end in tears. Your career should be based on achievements and recognition, not the shortcuts that come from office trysts. Don't fall into this trap.</p> <h2>4. Making Inappropriate Comments on Social Media</h2> <p>In the past you could share your workplace frustrations with trusted friends and family. These days, you have to be really careful. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are places where your coworkers, and upper management, all hang out, too. If you air your grievances on Facebook, or show yourself getting drunk and rambunctious at a party, it could come back to haunt you. If you decide to engage in a popularity contest on Twitter, this could also hurt you. Consider using Facebook settings that show who can see your posts (only close friends and family for instance), but even then, they could easily share a post and get you into hot water. If in doubt, don't send it out.</p> <h2>5. Burning a Bridge</h2> <p>You just cannot afford to throw caution to the wind and burn a bridge. This comes from personal experience, and from the stories of many friends and coworkers. Sure, you are working with someone who is a complete pain. They seem to go out of their way to make your life miserable. They impede your career at every turn. But do not react. Never let the anger bottle up inside you until it explodes and puts you in a bad light. Simply smile, walk away, and find a way to vent your frustrations outside of the office. A good workout can do wonders.</p> <h2>6. Being a Quiet Loner</h2> <p>It may seem like a straightforward way to avoid the office politics, but this is actually a way to become part of the very political silliness you hate. By being the quiet loner, and avoiding contact with people as much as possible, you become a target for office gossip. You can also be seen as unlikeable, unfriendly, and aloof. When the time comes to make layoffs (and it always happens &mdash; no job is for life any more) it's easy to target someone who keeps to themselves. By all means stay out of the gossipy conversations and the BS, but be friendly, engage in a little harmless chit-chat in the break room, and be known as someone likeable.</p> <h2>7. Acting Like the Boss</h2> <p>Showing leadership skills is great; taking complete control and undermining the boss is a recipe for disaster. If you are looking for a promotion, you cannot just jump into the role you want. By all means ask for additional responsibilities. If colleagues need help, dive in. But if you act like you're the boss, you will antagonize both your fellow employees, and the person who should be doing what you have decided to do. This will always end badly for you.</p> <h2>8. Deliberately Sabotaging Projects</h2> <p>It seems like an easy way to get one over on a colleague who is making your life hell. Or even worse, to get credit for something whilst dropping someone else in it. This will always backfire. At the end of the day, you are all working toward the same goal. By sabotaging a project, you are being disloyal to the company that pays your salary and benefits. Just do the very best you can, every time, and let the chips fall where they may.</p> <h2>9. Constantly Complaining to Management</h2> <p>Legitimate gripes are one thing; a constant stream of complaints and bad reports about people (or one particular person) is not going to do you any favors at all. You need to learn which battles are worth fighting and which should be left well alone. If one person decides to focus on you in a negative way, you cannot fight back with complaint after complaint. They will be gaming the system, probably well enough to keep the upper echelons happy, and you will definitely look like the squeaky wheel. Only use official complaints for serious allegations, and let the system handle the rest. If this person really is being mean to you, they will eventually be mean to the wrong person.</p> <p><em>Have you ever committed an embarrassing faux pas at work? How did you recover?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-office-politics-goofs-that-can-set-your-career-back-years" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Office Politics Goofs That Can Set Your Career Back Years" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/9-office-politics-goofs-that-can-set-your-career-back-years">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/12-ways-youre-driving-your-coworkers-insane">12 Ways You&#039;re Driving Your Coworkers Insane</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-a-financial-5-year-plan">How to Create a Financial 5 Year Plan</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/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do 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/the-psychology-of-salaries-do-you-want-to-know-how-much-your-coworkers-make">The Psychology of Salaries: Do You Want to Know How Much Your Coworkers Make?</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-6-best-reasons-to-quit-your-job">The 6 Best Reasons to Quit Your Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Career and Income Personal Development coworkers etiquette office politics work life Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:00:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1280352 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girls-friends-shopping-Dollarphotoclub_68908168.jpg" alt="girls friends shopping" title="girls friends shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our friends are some of the most important people in our lives. But have you ever considered the impact they have on your finances?</p> <p>Some friends can suck money from your wallet, even if they don't intend to. And because they're your friends, you may not even notice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-neighbors-that-are-costing-you-money?ref=seealso">10 Types of Neighbors Who Are Costing You Money</a>)</p> <p>Consider whether yours fall into any of these categories of friends that cost you money.</p> <h2>1. The Leech</h2> <p>He's more than just cheap. He's a moocher. He's always asking to borrow money. He raids your fridge, and if you go out to eat, he always insists on paying just half the check &mdash; even if he ordered more. He wants you to spot him his share of the monthly rent and promises to pay you back &mdash; but you know he won't. He'll even &quot;borrow&quot; books and DVDs that you'll never see again. You need to draw a hard line on what you'll do for this friend. Otherwise, you'll both end up suffering financially.</p> <h2>2. The Big Spender</h2> <p>If you go to a baseball game together, they insist on getting tickets behind home plate instead of in the bleachers. When you suggest a weekend of camping, they push for a week of skiing in Aspen. Perhaps this friend is wealthy and has a good chunk of disposable income. Or, perhaps they just love to spend and hate to save. Either way, keeping up with their lifestyle is making you go broke. You like this friend because you enjoy his or her company, but you must politely find a way to spend time with them on more frugal terms.</p> <h2>3. The Bad Association</h2> <p>He's always getting in trouble, and you're often dragged in his wake. He's the guy who shows up with weed at parties, or gets into fights at clubs. You can try your best to be on the straight and narrow, but just being around him can put you at risk for legal trouble. And even if your criminal record stays clean, your social media profile might not. Think you're due for a raise at work? You better hope the boss doesn't see the drunken Instagram pic your friend tagged you in.</p> <h2>4. The Awful Entrepreneur</h2> <p>She always has a new idea for something that will change the world, and all she needs is some money to get it off the ground. Maybe it's a new mobile app to help you brush your teeth, or a new restaurant specializing in gourmet scrambled eggs. You admire her entrepreneurial spirit, but the truth is that she has neither the business sense nor the dedication to get rich from any of these schemes. It may be tempting to lend money to friends for their business ventures, but don't let your friendship skew your assessment of whether the investment makes good financial sense.</p> <h2>5. The Philanthropist</h2> <p>This month, he's running in a marathon to raise money for cancer research. Next month, he's seeking donations for a local homeless shelter. He's a generous soul &mdash; and that's great! But it's important that you don't feel pressured to donate every time he comes around. You must find a way to gently tell your friend that you can't pony up cash every time he's supporting something. Keep in mind that it's possible to support his cause without giving money. For instance, consider volunteering your time to the charity in question, instead.</p> <h2>6. The Celebrator</h2> <p>I had an old friend from college who would plan parties and outings for the most innocuous of reasons. While most of us grew older and let our birthdays pass with little fanfare, he was still planning annual trips to Las Vegas well into his 30s. His over-celebrating was often excessive, but the truth is that this is something many of us fall prey to. We celebrate the new job, the promotion, the graduation from pre-school. We reward ourselves with a dinner out just because &quot;we've had a tough week.&quot; Resist the urge to celebrate every single life event, and politely beg out of those outings to which you've been invited.</p> <h2>7. The Extravagant Gift Giver</h2> <p>It's Christmas Day and you bought gifts for all of the people on your list. But then a friend arrives with expensive items for you and your entire family. Now you're on the hook to reciprocate, even if you feel like you're not close enough with this person to be exchanging gifts every year. This is a tricky situation, as it hardly seems civil to complain about a friend's generosity. But there are polite ways to nudge the person away from giving gifts. If they still insist on giving, reciprocate by inviting them to dinner or finding a tasteful but inexpensive item.</p> <h2>8. The Spending Enabler</h2> <p>So you're on the fence about whether to buy the 45-inch flat screen TV or the 70-inch monster. On one shoulder is the little Frugal Angel, telling you to buy the smaller one, or even pass on buying altogether. One the other is your friend, telling you how much you deserve the behemoth. She may mean well, but she's always pushing you to spend more. &quot;Go for it,&quot; she'll say. &quot;You work hard. Don't be afraid to spoil yourself.&quot; Never listen to the Enabling Devil.</p> <h2>9. The Early Adopter</h2> <p>This is the guy who stands in line at the Apple Store every time a new phone is released. He's the first to get every new gadget or technology out there. Hanging out with this friend can make you feel pressured to keep up. But keep in mind that Early Adopters rarely get the best deals. Don't let your friend's love of the shiny new thing influence your own buying decisions.</p> <h2>10. The Gambler</h2> <p>With this friend, a casual game of poker always seems to turn into a scene from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/6305268789/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=6305268789&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WAXMZ27ZVOTHQLAT">Rounders</a>. His &quot;friendly&quot; fantasy football league just offers another chance for big chunks of money to change hands. He's always betting on something, and all too often you find yourself opening up your wallet to join the fun. Resist the urge to bet big bucks on things every time you hang out with this friend. You'll be better off financially (and your blood pressure may improve as well.)</p> <p><em>Do you have any &quot;friends&quot; like these? How do you deal with friends that are costing you money?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-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-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-whole-sorry-mess-in-one-picture">The whole sorry mess in one picture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-nice-ways-to-tell-your-spendy-friends-youre-staying-on-budget">7 Nice Ways to Tell Your Spendy Friends You&#039;re Staying on Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance Lifestyle Personal Development borrowing friends gambling saving spending Wed, 14 Jan 2015 18:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1278625 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid http://www.wisebread.com/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/two-women-conversation-Dollarphotoclub_60196098_0.jpg" alt="two women conversation" title="two women conversation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We use so many words to get us through basic conversation, and we often think very little about how they make us look (like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-stupidest-things-smart-people-say">these 10 words</a> corrupting the smartest of us). Let's make correcting our speech an easy New Year's resolution! Let's start with five everyday words that are making you look stupid.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Seriously&quot;</h2> <p>Let's cut to the chase here. If you're really serious about something, just use earnest language. Starting a thought with &quot;seriously&quot; will totally undercut your meaning. In other words, using &quot;seriously&quot; now signals the opposite &mdash; that you are not serious about yourself or what you say.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Unique&quot; or &quot;Creative&quot;</h2> <p>Your parents are most likely to fall into this trap, so don't do this to yourself! People tend to say something is &quot;really unique&quot; or &quot;very creative&quot; when they don't understand what they're looking at but want to sound nice. These are phrases that somehow manage to make you look both ignorant and condescending, without providing any useful feedback. The worst part is that all of this is wholly obvious to the recipient.</p> <h2>3. &quot;Actually&quot;</h2> <p><a href="http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mansplainer">Mansplainers</a>, please find a new word. &quot;Actually&quot; is a great way to tell someone that you think what you are saying is a fact, when it's usually an opinion, speculation, or interpretation of someone else's findings. If you want to correct someone, try talking to them like a person, not like an armchair professor without the credentials. &quot;Actually&quot; is not only a crutch, but a signal to others to stop listening.</p> <h2>4. &quot;Awesome&quot;</h2> <p>It's time to cut all those excessive superlatives from our vocabularies. Describing things, people, and places as &quot;awesome&quot; or &quot;totally rad&quot; or &quot;way cool&quot; all the time betrays a lack of adjectives in your arsenal. With too much use, you could also appear immature and lacking in perspective. If everything is awesome or it sucks, are you capable of observing nuance in the world? Your friends certainly won't think so.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Random&quot;</h2> <p>Our everyday lives are mostly a sequence of cause and effect, right? Calling something or someone &quot;random&quot; on its face is a meaningless comment. Is what you witnessed absurd, surreal, or otherwise strange? Attempt to describe it without calling it &quot;random,&quot; which makes you sound like a teenager. There's nothing worse than discussing a topic with someone who displays zero points of reference or bases for comparison.</p> <p><em>Any other words to add to this list? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</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/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet">25 Bite-Sized Money Resolutions to Make 2015 Your Biggest Year Yet</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/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right">31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development appearance communication resolutions social skills vocabulary Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:00:07 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1278205 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 More Things People Who Make a Lot of Money Do http://www.wisebread.com/12-more-things-people-who-make-a-lot-of-money-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-more-things-people-who-make-a-lot-of-money-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rich-man-car-Dollarphotoclub_67298319.jpg" alt="rich man car" title="rich man car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The rich have been studied extensively &mdash; how they spend their money, how they spend their time. The findings have been published in books like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Millionaire-Next-Door-Thomas-Stanley/dp/0671015206">The Millionaire Next Door</a> by Thomas Stanley, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1934938939/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1934938939&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=IAYRMBFMFHNZ5NEI">Rich Habits</a> by Tom Corley. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/people-who-make-a-lot-of-money-do-these-11-things-do-you?ref=seealso">People Who Make a Lot of Money Do These 11 Things &mdash; Do You?</a>)</p> <p>And now, by Wise Bread! So read on, because you want to make a lot of money, and people who make a lot of money do these 12 things.</p> <h2>1. Skip TV (Especially Reality TV)</h2> <p>Corley found that 67% of wealthy people watch one hour or less of TV every day versus 23% of poor, who watch more. Further, only 6% of the wealthy watch reality TV.</p> <h2>2. Meditate</h2> <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/05/business-meditation-executives-meditate_n_3528731.htm">A Huffington Post article</a> highlighted 10 wealthy people (including Oprah, Larry Brilliant, and Bill Ford) who all meditate daily to help them focus.</p> <h2>3. Exercise Regularly</h2> <p>Many studies tout the benefits of exercise to improve not only physical health, but also mental health. This is probably why 76% of the wealthy Corley studied exercise aerobically four days a week.</p> <h2>4. Invest Their Money</h2> <p>The Millionaire Next Door found that millionaires, on average, invest nearly 20% of their household income each year; with the majority investing at least 15%. And 79% of millionaires have at least one account with a brokerage company.</p> <h2>5. Keep Their Mouths Shut</h2> <p>People who make a lot of money don't gossip or say whatever pops into their head at that moment. Corley found that only 6% of wealthy say what's on their mind.</p> <h2>6. Wake Up Early</h2> <p>Are you best friends with your snooze button? If you want to act like a rich person, better start waking up early. Laura Vanderkam, author of <a href="http://lauravanderkam.com/books/successful-people-do/">What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast</a> wrote in an article for Success.com that of 20 premier executives, 18 regularly woke up before 6 a.m.</p> <h2>7. Eat Healthy</h2> <p>People who make a lot of money don't just eat &quot;well&quot; in terms of high end restaurants, they also eat healthy food. Rich people, on average, eat less than 300 junk food calories per day, according to Corley.</p> <h2>8. Read (for Work or Pleasure)</h2> <p>Whether it's for work or pleasure, people who make a lot of money read, read, read.</p> <p>Rich Habits highlights that 88% of wealthy read for 30 minutes or more each day for education/career and most of them (86%) state that they love to read.</p> <h2>9. Have a Nightly Ritual</h2> <p>Having a nightly ritual helps people who make a lot of money collect their thoughts, wind down, and prepare for the next day.&nbsp;</p> <h2>10. Start Their Own Businesses</h2> <p>The Millionaire Next Door found that most millionaires are entrepreneurs who start their own businesses. It doesn't have to be a start-up technology company. Even owners of waste-removal services do quite well financially.</p> <h2>11. Keep a Running List of Tasks</h2> <p>If you make a lot of money you need to keep track of what you have to do. In fact, Corley found that 81% of the wealthy maintain a to-do list and actually manage to accomplish about 70% of their tasks each day.</p> <h2>12. Network</h2> <p>You don't make money in isolation, it takes getting out there and meeting other people. And 79% of wealthy network five hours or more each month according to Rich Habits.</p> <p>If people who make a lot of money do these things, do they do them because they make a lot of money? Or do they make a lot of money because they do them? It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. But, many of the above require diligence, self-control, persistence, and hard work. So, chances are, if you have or develop these traits and do the same things people who make a lot of money do, you too will earn more.</p> <p><em>How many of these habits do you follow?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-more-things-people-who-make-a-lot-of-money-do" class="sharethis-link" title="12 More Things People Who Make a Lot of Money Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-more-things-people-who-make-a-lot-of-money-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet">25 Bite-Sized Money Resolutions to Make 2015 Your Biggest Year Yet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-little-things-you-need-to-stop-saying-today">9 Dumb Little Things You Need to Stop Saying Today</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/smart-investors-have-these-6-traits-do-you">Smart Investors Have These 6 Traits — Do 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/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</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-good-habits-that-may-actually-be-hurting-you">6 &quot;Good&quot; Habits That May Actually Be Hurting You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development habits high earners money habits Fri, 02 Jan 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1274865 at http://www.wisebread.com 31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right http://www.wisebread.com/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-morning-coffee-Dollarphotoclub_73432160.jpg" alt="woman coffee morning" title="woman coffee morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've got two ways you can play January. One is to sit around on your butt and lament the winter weather; the other is to suck it up, stay active, and get yourself in gear for the rest of the year. You don't need much to accomplish the former, but here are 31 ideas to help you get started on the latter. Your fresh start won't know what hit it. (See also: 2<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fight-the-post-holiday-blues-20-cheap-ways-to-make-january-special?ref=seealso">0 Cheap Ways to Make January Special</a>)</p> <h2>1. Enjoy the Day Off</h2> <p>It's the first day of the year, and you probably need some downtime after last night's celebration. Feel free to take it. Relax, watch TV, order a pizza. Savor this lazy (but productive in the sense that it's helping you recuperate) day, because you've got 30 days of productivity ahead of you.</p> <h2>2. Hit the Tail-End of the After-Holiday Sales</h2> <p>One of my favorite post-holiday activities is to hit up the after-celebration sales to stock up on decorations and other useful items (think scissors, tape, wrapping papers, bags, and more) that by this date will probably be anywhere from 75% to 90% off the regular price. Pickings will be slim, but you're saving 25% to 40% more than you would have if you went the first few days after Christmas. When you're shopping, remember to think outside the holidays, too. Some of the discounted items are useful year round. Keep that in mind when you're in retail renegade mode.</p> <h2>3. Write Thank-You Notes for Holiday Gifts</h2> <p>Personally, I think a verbal thank-you suffices when you exchange gifts in person, but if you've received a gift in the mail this season, take a few minutes to write a quick note of thanks via postcard or email. The former is a more thoughtful gesture, of course, but I'm never offended by an email thanks. Something is better than nothing, and I'd rather the sender save paper and his or her stamp.</p> <h2>4. Edit Your Social Media Profiles</h2> <p>I recently did a purge of all the photos on my Facebook page that I didn't like, untagged myself from photos I didn't like on other people's pages, and I whittled down my friends list a bit by removing a few folks that I've never heard of before in my life.</p> <h2>5. Take Down Your Holiday Decorations</h2> <p>Did you know that January 5 is widely considered to be the day when holiday decorations should come down? It's all based on the 12 days of Christmas (it's not just a song, y'all), which is<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Days_of_Christmas"> steeped in a long history of religious tradition</a>.</p> <h2>6. Organize the Basement/Attic/Garage</h2> <p>While you're moving your holiday boxes back into their respective storage places until next year, take the time to organize the rest of the space. Pace yourself though. If you have all three of these areas &mdash; basement, attic, garage &mdash; there's no harm in spreading the work out over a few days to a week.</p> <h2>7. Clean Out Your Closet</h2> <p>You probably received more than a few new pieces of clothing over the holidays (either as gifts from someone you love, or as presents to yourself; I'm very guilty of the latter), so to ensure that your closet doesn't start spilling out from the seams, take stock of what you like and wear, and then collect all the unwanted items to sell. I unload a lot of my old clothing at my twice-yearly yard sales, but donating the clothes to the needy is another option.</p> <h2>8. Raid Your Pantry for Expired Food</h2> <p>Non-perishables perish, believe it or not, and I'm willing to bet that there are items in your pantry that are no longer safe (or delicious enough) to eat. Take an hour or so to empty it, examine the labels, and toss out whatever has expired. Also take a good look at what's close to its expiration date so you can make a conscious effort to use it to avoid wasting any more money.</p> <h2>9. Defrost and Clean Freezer and Fridge</h2> <p>This is one of my least favorite chores, but there's something about a clean fridge and freezer that satisfies me inside. This also is a great opportunity to toss out any expired foods and/or anything you know you're probably not going to eat.</p> <h2>10. Tidy Up Your Medicine Cabinet</h2> <p>Just like food, medications have expiration dates. Go through your medicine cabinet and remove all expired items, toss out anything that only exists to take up space, re-organize what's left so it's easily accessed.</p> <h2>11. Give the House a Deep Clean</h2> <p>Now that you've tackled some of the more time-consuming small areas of your home that require specialized attention, it's time to do the dreaded deep clean. This often means getting down on your hands and knees to scrubs toilets, and floors and baseboards, and on ladders to clean ceiling fans and blinds &mdash; but you can do it. Besides, it's freezing outside; would you rather be cleaning the gutters?</p> <h2>12. Rearrange Your Furniture</h2> <p>Besides giving your living space a fresh feel, there are<a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-creativity-cure/201404/rearranging-the-furniture-makes-me-feel-better-2"> bonafide psychological benefits to rearranging your furniture</a>. Move a chair here; put a lamp there. You might be surprised at how much this simple fix can improve your mood &mdash; which might be a much-needed pick-me-up this time of year.</p> <h2>13. Check In With Your Boss/Work Team</h2> <p>With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you may not have had an ideal opportunity to get down to actual business with your boss and co-workers. The beginning of the year is perfect for reconvening after a period of relaxation to talk about where everybody's at work-wise and plan ahead.</p> <h2>14. Update Your Pets' Health info</h2> <p>Check in on your pet's health status by revisiting your files to make sure all vaccines and tags are up-to-date. If your pet hasn't been to the vet in a while, schedule a routine check-up.</p> <h2>15. Schedule a Physical</h2> <p>After your furbabies receive a clean bill of health, it's time to get yours. Make an appointment with your doctor to make sure everything is in working order. Use this time to discuss with him or her any issues you've been having and any prescriptions you need refilled.</p> <h2>16. Tune-up Your Vehicle</h2> <p>Hopefully your car is already winterized &mdash; you don't want to cause damage to your vehicle by facilitating avoidable issues that can arise from neglecting it &mdash; but you still need to get an oil change from time to time (check your owner's manual!). It's probably that time again.</p> <h2>17. Update Your DVR</h2> <p>At the beginning of the fall TV season, I create season passes for all the new shows I want to watch. By now, however, I've either lost interest in a few of them or they've been canceled. I know I'm not alone. Take 10 minutes to delete unwanted shows from your queue and cancel the season passes in which you're no longer interested.</p> <h2>18. Plan a Date With Your Partner</h2> <p>You don't want to get so wrapped up in being productive this month that you forget about your significant other. Plan a date for you two to spend several quality hours together enjoying each other's company and catching up with one another's lives.</p> <h2>19. Create a List of Goals for the Year</h2> <p>Having the intentions to work toward positive goals and actually planning for them are two completely different things. Exchange more talk for more doing this year by creating a list of goals that you'd like to achieve along with an outline of your plan to achieve them.</p> <h2>20. Learn Something New</h2> <p>You can learn the darndest things with the flick of a finger these days. Skip the cute cat videos on YouTube and search for something useful that'll leave you with a new skill after watching it.</p> <h2>21. Make a Two-Week Meal Calendar With Recipes</h2> <p>I've talked about this tip in several posts, and I keep bringing it up because it's truly changed the way I eat. Instead of blindly going grocery shopping, buying food, and then deciding what I'll make with it after I get home, I've reversed the process. Now I plan ahead of time what I'll make for dinner by adding two weeks' worth of recipes to a calendar and create a shopping list of ingredients based on those recipes (and nothing more!), so I can eat healthy meals on a regular basis. Having this structure in place has cut down on the amount of food waste in my house as well as the number of pizzas ordered because I can't decide what to make for dinner. I've also dropped 15 pounds (exercise helped, too), which I hope will give you more incentive to give this a try.</p> <h2>22. Clip Coupons for Your Next Shopping Trip</h2> <p>Before you head to the supermarket with your very healthy shopping list, clip those coupons. I round up coupons from circulars, past shopping trips, online resources, and apps to ensure that I'm maximizing my food savings as much as I can.</p> <h2>23. List for Sale Your Unwanted Items of Value</h2> <p>If you're feeling the pinch in January (because who isn't?), a great way to make some extra cash is to go through your home (while you're cleaning if you want to kill two birds with one stone) and round up all those odds and ends that you no longer need or want. If any of these items have value (electronics, accessories, appliances, etc.), decide how you'll sell them. Craigslist is a great place for larger items, while Amazon and eBay are ideal for smaller, lightweight pieces.</p> <h2>24. Deliver Remaining Unwanted Items to Donation Center</h2> <p>After you've determined what you can sell, send all the other unwanted clutter to the donation center so that it can live a second life as someone else's.</p> <h2>25. Scan Old Photos into the Computer</h2> <p>Unless you were born after 2007, you likely have albums and boxes and drawers full of actual paper pictures &mdash; and you're probably wondering what the heck you're going to do with them. One option is to scan the photos onto the computer so you can keep them in a file or in the cloud for forever safekeeping. You can do this daunting task manually (it's the cheapest way), or you can send your photos away to a company (of which there are plenty) that will do this for you.</p> <h2>26. Consolidate and Clean Up Computer Files</h2> <p>Adding so many large photo files to your computer is going to eat up a lot of space, so you've got to make up for that somehow. Take this opportunity to delete unwanted files, consolidate stragglers, and otherwise organize your computer in a more concise, easy-to-access manner.</p> <h2>27. De-Clutter Your Office/Desk</h2> <p>Clean your desk the same way you cleaned your computer &mdash; decide, discard, dust. Seriously, you don't need all that nonsense that you keep year in and year out.</p> <h2>28. Set Up a Dentist Appointment</h2> <p>You only get one set of teeth. Take care of them.</p> <h2>29. Establish a Fitness Plan</h2> <p>Six months ago I decided to get my health in check after years of a leading a sedentary lifestyle that severely damaged my self-confidence. I established a goal weight, created an exercise plan to help achieve it, and completely revamped my diet. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't very delicious &mdash; at first. Now that it's part of my normal routine, I've learned how to live healthy and love it. I feel and look better than I have in many years (since high school actually), and if I can do it, then so can you.</p> <h2>30. Reevaluate Your Debt and Establish a Plan of Action</h2> <p>Unless you're going into the New Year completely debt free, now is the time to take a good, long look at your finances and make a solid plan to improve your situation. One of my friends recently told me that she always makes this a part of her New Year's to-dos.</p> <p>&quot;We look at what we saved last year, areas we need to improve on, any debts we need to knock out this year, and big expenses we might need to plan for also,&quot; she says. &quot;By no means is this the only time we talk about finances, but it prepares us mentally for what we want to accomplish.&quot;</p> <h2>31. Prepare Your Tax Materials</h2> <p>Nobody wants to do this. Ever. But I've found that by getting this out of the way sooner rather than later, I stress a whole lot less in a shorter amount of time. In fact, if you wrap it all up by mid-February, you could have your refund (if you get one; my fingers are crossed for you) before the federal tax-filing deadline even arrives. Spring vacation, anyone?</p> <p><em>Do you have other ways to stay productive in the first month of the year so that they rest of it can run smoothly? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right" class="sharethis-link" title="31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right">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-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours?</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-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet">25 Bite-Sized Money Resolutions to Make 2015 Your Biggest Year Yet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development goals january New Year resolutions to-do Thu, 01 Jan 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1275494 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Bite-Sized Money Resolutions to Make 2015 Your Biggest Year Yet http://www.wisebread.com/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dollar-bills-2015-Dollarphotoclub_67129525.jpg" alt="dollar bills 2015" title="dollar bills 2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's <em>that</em> time of year &mdash; when everyone's telling you that your New Year's resolutions can help you lose 50 pounds by beach season, revolutionize your career, and save enough to buy a Mercedes with cash by December. But despite our best intentions, almost none of us is going to become a brand-new person the moment 2015 dawns.</p> <p>However, we will have a little fresh start momentum on our side, so why not pick a handful of bite-sized financial resolutions from this party mix? If you pull them off by the end of January, you can always come back for seconds.</p> <h2>1. Don't Pay Any Late Fees</h2> <p>If you are prone to paying bills late, set up auto payments on all accounts, for at least the minimum payment due.</p> <h2>2. Read Your Credit Card Bill Every Month</h2> <p>You may be surprised at how many things you find &mdash; recurring billing for services you no longer use, missed refunds, overcharges, or, if you're unlucky, outright credit card fraud. At the very least, it's an opportunity to think about your spending for the past month and adjust your plans for future spending.</p> <h2>3. Start an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you don't have an emergency fund, now is the time to start one. Set up a new savings account and auto transfer a regular amount from every paycheck. Even if it's only $10 a month, you'll be on your way to more peace of mind and a lower chance of running up credit card debt when emergencies happen.</p> <h2>4. Participate in Your Company's Retirement Plan</h2> <p>Especially if your company offers matching dollars, this is a one-time chore that will pay off for the rest of your life.</p> <h2>5. Negotiate With a Credit Card Company</h2> <p>When you see an annual fee hit your bill, or if you slip up and incur a late fee (or even if you just want a lower interest rate), pick up the phone and call your credit card customer service line. If you've held the card for a few years, and ask nicely, you may be surprised how easy it is to get your way.</p> <h2>6. Find a Credit Card With Better Perks</h2> <p>If you use credit responsibly, you might as well be getting something in exchange for all the fees you're earning for the company. Use a credit card comparison engine to find the best <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">cash-back</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">miles</a>, or other benefit offers for you.</p> <h2>7. Cut Back on One Spending Category</h2> <p>When you read that credit card bill, take notice of any categories where your spending is large, and ask yourself if you could cut back on it. Restaurant lunches are low-hanging fruit for many people.</p> <h2>8. Start Using Coupons</h2> <p>You don't have to go all extreme couponing to benefit. You can start by browsing the coupon <a href="http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums/coupon.php">database at Hot Coupon World</a> to find coupons for the items you regularly buy.</p> <h2>9. Sign Up for a Budgeting Website</h2> <p>My financial planner recommended <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint.com</a>, which pulls in info from your bank accounts and credit cards, so you only need look at the dashboard to see where your money went.</p> <h2>10. Find One Service Provider With Better Rates</h2> <p>Maybe you can switch cable or Internet providers, or try a different lawn care service, or start bringing your cat to a vet that doesn't have a fancy waiting room. Whatever it is, if it's a service you use more than once a year, the savings will add up once you switch.</p> <h2>11. Check Your Bank Account for Fees</h2> <p>You might notice a big one like an overdraft fee, but you might also miss smaller fees that banks sneak in. Some accounts start tacking on monthly fees if your balance falls below a certain threshold or if you have too many transactions per month. Take five minutes to review the last several months' statements online to make sure you're not getting nickel and dimed &mdash; and if you are, call your bank to see if there's a way to avoid future fees.</p> <h2>12. Stop Using Out-Of-Network ATMs</h2> <p>It may only be $2 or $3 here and there, but when you think about it, paying $2 to access $50 is forfeiting 4% of your money! Try to plan ahead for your cash needs, but if you find yourself without cash and far from your own bank, hit up a grocery store or drugstore and make a small purchase with your debit card, and then ask for cash back.</p> <h2>13. Stop Doing One Thing That's Not Worth the Time</h2> <p>Whether it's painting your own house or an extra evening job at a low pay rate, do a little cost/benefit analysis and figure out how much time you've been spending on that activity. Then ask yourself how much you enjoy or hate it. You may realize that you could be doing something else with that time that would save or earn more &mdash; or that it's better to set aside that time for a more rewarding non-financial activity.</p> <h2>14. Schedule Budget Meetings With Your Partner for the Rest of the Year</h2> <p>Pick up that stiff new 2015 calendar, and before it gets crowded with other appointments, ink in monthly, bimonthly, or semi-annual &quot;money dates,&quot; where you sit down without distractions to review your bank account balance, bills, financial goals, and spending habits. Having a time set aside to discuss money issues can prevent a lot of fights. If it sounds too boring, schedule a real date right after the money appointment so you have something to look forward to once you get your ducks in a row.</p> <h2>15. Audit Your Electricity Use</h2> <p>For less than $20, you can pick up an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009MDBU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00009MDBU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RU3V2OHCL3ZQPJTG">electricity monitor</a> to find out which of your appliances or devices is a power hog. Based on that info, you can change your habits or replace outdated appliances for extra savings.</p> <h2>16. Try Buying One Thing Second-Hand</h2> <p>If you have never considered Craigslist, garage sales, eBay, or thrift stores, give it a whirl this year. Great first second-hand purchases include: a Halloween costume, a pair of ice skates, a bread machine, or a bicycle. Why? All of these tend to be used once or infrequently before their owners don't want them any more.</p> <h2>17. Try a Price Comparison Engine</h2> <p>Next time you need to make a substantial purchase, research prices first on <a href="http://www.pricegrabber.com/">PriceGrabber</a>, <a href="http://www.pricewatch.com/">Pricewatch</a> or another resource before buying.</p> <h2>18. Sign Up for a Rebate Site</h2> <p><a href="http://www.ebates.com/">Ebates</a> or <a href="http://www.mrrebates.com/">Mr. Rebates</a> will not only get you cash back on online purchases, but they often provide coupon codes as well.</p> <h2>19. Cooperate With Friends Instead of Paying for Something</h2> <p>Whether it's trading child or pet care instead of paying a sitter, exchanging airport drop-offs to save cab fare, or borrowing and lending items that only get used occasionally, you can save a lot with a little help from your friends. You may have to offer first to get the ball rolling, but make it clear when you babysit or drive that you wouldn't mind getting the same favor in return.</p> <h2>20. Always Check the Daily Deal Sites Before You Go Out</h2> <p>Going to a museum, restaurant, or to the roller derby? Just a quick search of <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10788528">Groupon</a> and <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11429060">LivingSocial</a> might save you 50% of the cost.</p> <h2>21. Drive Less</h2> <p>Even with lower gas prices, you still have to pay for parking, tolls, and wear and tear on your vehicle every time you opt to drive somewhere. With ride-sharing services, public transit, and bike sharing programs, it pays to ask whether there is a cheaper way to get to your destination &mdash; and it will probably be friendlier to the planet as well.</p> <h2>22. Consider a Low-Cost Cell Phone Plan</h2> <p>If you want a high-end phone, a two-year contract at a high monthly rate is probably in the cards. But if you can live with a midrange smartphone &mdash; which by the way will use many of the same apps and texts and calls people just like an iPhone &mdash; consider paying cash up front and signing up for a low-cost provider such as Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, or Boost.</p> <h2>23. Set Up Quarterly Tax Payments</h2> <p>If you owed last year, your future self will thank you if you set that up right now.</p> <h2>24. Give Mindfully</h2> <p>Don't just throw your charity money into the pot of whoever happens to be in front of the grocery store. Use <a href="http://www.guidestar.org/">GuideStar</a> or <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/">Charity Navigator</a> to evaluate potential charities.</p> <h2>25. Make an Appointment With a Financial Advisor</h2> <p>No matter how old you are, a check-up with an advisor can help you make decisions that could have a big impact on your entire life. Fee-only planners charge by the hour and do not receive commissions for any investments they recommend.</p> <p><em>Have you succeeded in implementing any small financial resolutions? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Bite-Sized Money Resolutions to Make 2015 Your Biggest Year Yet" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</a></span> </div> </li> <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/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours?</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/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</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/do-you-spend-more-with-cash-or-credit">Do You Spend More with Cash or Credit?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Budgeting Credit Cards Personal Development Shopping money habits new years resolutions small changes Tue, 30 Dec 2014 12:00:11 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1274765 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money-Saving New Year's Goals That You Can Actually Keep http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-thinking-piggy-bank-Dollarphotoclub_41216910.jpg" alt="woman thinking piggy bank" title="woman thinking piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can you believe it's almost 2015? I certainly can't, but I'm already mulling over my resolutions list for the coming year. After the parties end, the champagne is served, and the ball drops, some of us have some major catching up to do financially. So, here are 10 money-saving goals to ring in the new year.</p> <h2>1. Start Cooking</h2> <p>Getting a hot meal on the dinner table is difficult during the week, and often we used to resort to ordering pizza or eating out, spending way over our food budget each month. Taking a few extra minutes to pack lunch at night can save $10 or more per day. Set a goal this year to cook more with the food you have on hand. Meal planning is the key here, so get out your favorite recipes and cookbooks and write a plan for the week. You can shave dollars off your grocery bill by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list">learning which ingredients</a> give you more bang for your buck, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans?ref=seealso">How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week</a>)</p> <h2>2. DIY Your Pantry</h2> <p>And if you're interested in learning to cook, consider extending the fun to your pantry. Making your own ingredients at home is both fun and frugal (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy">here's how</a>). You can take your cooking and baking skills to another level and also eat healthier foods when you control their ingredients. And without all the packaging and store markups, you'll be taking more than a few pennies off the cost.</p> <h2>3. Take a &quot;No New Clothing&quot; Challenge</h2> <p>I challenged myself to stop buying new clothes for an entire year back in 2010. It was hard, but in the end I got used to working with what I already own. It helps to have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe">minimalist wardrobe</a> to begin with, and the rest is self control and avoiding fashion trends. You will definitely save some major bucks if you can curb your regular spending &mdash; and you don't have to eschew purchases altogether. Consider reducing your yearly clothing expense by ⅓ to start.</p> <h2>4. Track Your (Actual) Spending</h2> <p>Most of us have a budget, at least in theory &mdash; but few of us know precisely where the money goes. Start the year off right by recalculating your monthly totals and tracking your spending. Not only does this exercise help you be more mindful with your money, but it also allows you to see where you can cut and save. While you're at it, make sure there aren't any stray bills hitting your account (old subscriptions, unused gym memberships, etc.), and you might see savings right away. Use tools like Mint to track your progress. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money?ref=seealso">10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money</a>)</p> <h2>5. Organize Yourself</h2> <p>Getting my house (and my life) better organized is one of my personal goals for this year. And there are lots of areas of focus here. For example, by keeping better track of your mail, you'll have fewer unpaid bills and late fees. By cleaning your pantry and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space">organizing your refrigerator</a>, you'll have less food spoilage and waste. Neatly folding and hanging clothes will allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-washing-your-clothes-too-often-what-to-do-instead">wash them less often </a>and save money on both resources (electricity, water, etc.) and new clothing purchases. The list goes on.</p> <h2>6. Get Fit</h2> <p>Many gyms see a traffic surge of <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/01/this-is-why-you-dont-go-to-the-gym/251332/">up to 50%</a> in January, only to find a steep decline after those origination payments are made. Skip the pricey gym and workout at home. Jogging and walking are virtually free, so sign up for a 5K or join a neighborhood runner's club. And there are many other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free">types of body weight routines</a> you can do &mdash; for free &mdash; right in the comfort of your living room. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap?ref=seealso">7 Online Workout Videos for Free or Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>7. Lean Out TV</h2> <p>Along with getting more active and exercising regularly, you can also cancel your cable subscription. In fact, the average cable bill could hit a staggering <a href="http://time.com/money/2987833/comcast-cancel-ryan-block-time-warner-att-directv-cable-bill-save/">$123 per month</a> this year. Without hundreds of channels at your disposal, you might feel more inclined to get off the couch and get moving. You'll have more time for other areas of your life, like cooking and organizing. If you just have to watch, consider alternatives like Hulu and Netflix, which allow you to be more intentional with your time and conservative with your dollars.</p> <h2>8. Clip Coupons</h2> <p>I'm sure you've heard stories of people walking into the store and leaving with several carts full of stuff for $0. While stories like these sound extreme, learning to clip coupons can mean <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/couponing-hobby-or-lifestyle">an entire lifestyle</a> of savings. And if you play your cards right, you can indeed see some impressive rewards. Try paying it forward by sharing your loot &mdash; here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-places-to-donate-extra-goods-from-couponing">13 places to donate extra goods from couponing</a>.</p> <h2>9. Simplify Your Routine</h2> <p>Women spend an estimated <a href="http://www.today.com/health/stop-obsessing-women-waste-2-weeks-year-their-appearance-today-2D12104866">55 minutes each day</a> on their looks (that calculates to around two weeks per year!). And not only that, but think of all the money spent on manicures, pedicures, haircuts, colors, and other spa treatments that pile up monthly. Men aren't immune either. You can greatly simplify your routine and use fewer chemical-laden soaps and creams by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-easy-diy-bath-and-body-products">making some of your own</a> bath and body products.</p> <h2>10. Go Debt Free</h2> <p>If you're able, try <a href="http://www.johnnymoneyseed.com/debt-free/guide-becoming-really-really-ridiculously-debt-free/">going debt free</a> this year &mdash; you may not erase all your debt in 12 months, but you'll make important progress and transform your money mindset. Start by listing all your debts, interest rates, and any other pertinent information. Set payoff goals that are measurable and attainable. Sink funds into those balances starting with the highest APRs and work your way down. Trade in or sell your high ticket items to help pay off debt in larger chunks. And stick with it because &mdash; seriously &mdash; being debt free is totally, completely awesome. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-false-assumptions-about-debt-free-living?ref=seealso">6 False Assumptions About Debt-Free Living</a>)</p> <p><em>What money-savings goals do you have for 2015?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">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-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing 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/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right">31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-love-saving-money">10 Smart Ways to Make Yourself Love Saving Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance Personal Development cost cutting goals resolutions saving spending Mon, 29 Dec 2014 14:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1272418 at http://www.wisebread.com Successful New Year's Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours? http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new-years-resolutions-notes-Dollarphotoclub_73113952.jpg" alt="new years resolutions notes" title="new years resolutions notes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/">45% of Americans make New Year's Resolutions</a>, little wishes with wings sent out into the universe on high hopes that they'll come true. Yet only 8% of all resolutions are successful before the year's end, and more than half of them are forfeited within six weeks.</p> <p>It's a grim forecast, but don't be dissuaded. Research shows that we're more apt to achieve our goals and aspirations if we set out to do so on the first of the year. Chalk it up to the &quot;fresh start effect&quot; &mdash; <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2204126">that little boost of willpower our psyche lends us</a> when we attempt something new or difficult on a clean slate. Timing isn't everything, but when it comes to achieving our goals, it's truly half the battle. So just by timing your resolution with the new year you're giving yourself an instant leg-up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-most-effective-times-for-setting-a-new-goal">The 4 Most Effective Times for Setting a New Goal</a>)</p> <p>But how do you ensure that your New Year's Resolution lands among the successful 8%?</p> <p>Here's the scientifically-backed secret.</p> <h2>The Secret Is Focus</h2> <p>What all successful resolutions have in common is that they are focused, singular goals (not a long laundry list) equipped with a step-by-step plan of execution. (Hope is not a plan, as the saying goes.)</p> <p>Here's why this formula works.</p> <p>Most resolutions (eat healthier, exercise more, make better financial decisions, call Mom once a week, etc.) require that a person <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/hea/29/4/374/">break one habit and replace it</a> with a healthier or more desirable one. In order to adopt a new habit, it's crucial to have a game plan outlining exactly how this new, desired behavior will be integrated into daily life. And <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201212/why-new-years-resolutions-fail">it must include small steps</a> that will eventually lead you to reach your end goal.</p> <p>So when you sit down to brainstorm your resolution, remember to settle on just one goal, and make is specific. Examples of specific, singular goals include quit smoking (versus adopt a healthier lifestyle), host a monthly family dinner (versus spend more time with family), join and become active in an online dating community (versus fall in love), and build a $5,000 financial safety net (versus spend less, save more).</p> <h2>Next Comes the Plan</h2> <p>Once you've hacked any semblance of vagueness out of your resolution, it's time to map out your plan of attack &mdash; complete with benchmarks, timetables, and rewards.</p> <p>If your resolution is to lose 40 pounds, decide exactly what exercises you'll do, where and when you'll do them, and what behaviors you'll nix in their stead. For example, you might decide that you'll go snowshoeing around the park for 45 minutes three times a week with a podcast in your ears rather than watch your usual morning television news show from the couch. And don't forget to reward yourself with a new purchase or fun weekend outing for each month of 100% success. Even the smallest of rewards goes a long way to motivate a difficult change in behavior.</p> <p><em>What are your resolutions this year? How will to stick with them? Please motivate us to complete ours in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours" class="sharethis-link" title="Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-bite-sized-money-resolutions-to-make-2015-your-biggest-year-yet">25 Bite-Sized Money Resolutions to Make 2015 Your Biggest Year Yet</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/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right">31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development goal setting goals new years resolutions Mon, 22 Dec 2014 12:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1270662 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buying-new-car-Dollarphotoclub_53578392_0.jpg" alt="couple buying new car" title="couple buying new car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With 2015 just around the corner, it's time to plan ahead to set yourself up for success in the New Year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-you-need-to-make-before-the-end-of-the-year?ref=seealso">10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before the End of the Year</a>)</p> <p>However, not all money resolutions are good ones. Some of them might become an obstacle towards your financial wellbeing and, even worse, undo any benefits that you accumulate throughout the year.</p> <p>Let's start the New Year with a bang by avoiding these four bad money resolutions.</p> <h2>1. Buying a Brand New Car</h2> <p>New year, new you. So, by extension &mdash; new year, new car, right? Not so fast.</p> <p>From a purely financial perspective, a new car is always a bad idea because a car loses over 10% of its value in the first year due to depreciation. A car is not an investment because it virtually always loses money due to maintenance, insurance, and registration costs. According to Edmunds.com, a $25,000 new automobile purchase generates an estimated total cost of $33,604.</p> <p>It's true that the average interest rate on a 60-month new car loan is now lower than in the last five years, but that's not the full picture. As more Americans are taking out car loans, the prices of cars are increasing. This means that the <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/031914/americans-are-borrowing-more-buy-cars-should-they-be.asp">average car loan principal is getting larger and larger.</a></p> <p>By purchasing a car that is over a year old, you avoid the 10% depreciation hit and the higher tax and insurance costs. It's a good idea to buy used cars from a dealership that you trust and that offers a comprehensive warranty. Remember that <a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0055-buying-used-car#warranties">not all automobile warranties are equal</a>.</p> <p>Also, consider buying a car only when you can pay cash for it. Assuming a loan balance of $20,000 and a car loan rate of 5%, you would pay $1,000 in interest in the first year. That money would be better used towards paying down other debts. However, If you are in dire need of a reliable vehicle and need to take out a car loan, then limit your monthly car payment to <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/how-to-buy-a-car.html">20% of your monthly income after taxes</a>.</p> <h2>2. Withholding (Too Much) Taxes</h2> <p>Here's the scenario: When you file your taxes at the very last minute in April, you suddenly realize that you owe Uncle Sam a lot more than you expected. You promise yourself this won't ever happen again, so you update your W-4 form with your employer to withhold more than last year. The problem is that now you withhold way more than it's actually necessary. In fact, every year, <a href="http://business.time.com/2013/03/18/why-were-so-irrational-when-it-comes-to-tax-refunds/">75% of Americans withhold too much tax</a>.</p> <p>It's a good idea to withhold a <em>little bit</em> extra in order to avoid owing taxes on April 15th. But the average tax refund in 2013 was over $2,800, meaning that &quot;little bit extra&quot; was probably too much. The IRS isn't a bank and it won't pay you interest for your taxes. You're better off withholding the right amount of taxes and putting the extra in an interest-bearing savings account.</p> <p>Updating your W-4 takes very little time. Before filling it out, figure out <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator">how much you need to withhold in federal taxes</a> based on your income and set your W-4 accordingly.</p> <h2>3. Saving &quot;More&quot;</h2> <p>In theory, this sounds great. In reality, you're setting yourself for failure by not defining any specifics. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-new-years-resolutions-will-fail?ref=seealso">Why Your New Year's Resolutions Will Fail</a>)</p> <ul> <li>How much is exactly &quot;more&quot;? $100? $1,000? $5,000?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What is your time frame? Summer? Your birthday? Christmas?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your other resolutions prevent you from saving? If you're planning to join a gym and bike to the office, are you going to have money leftover?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are you cutting back on other expenses? If so, which ones?</li> </ul> <p>The concept of &quot;go big or go home&quot; doesn't apply to saving. If you want to improve your chances of saving this year, you need to be as specific as possible.</p> <ul> <li>Establish your reason to save. For example, &quot;I'm saving for a mortgage down payment&quot; or &quot;I'm saving to replace my desktop computer.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Specify a dollar amount. Unless you have that number, you won't be able to know if you have reached your objective.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Calculate how much you need to put away per week or per month to achieve your target number.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a separate account, such as a savings account, every week or month to force yourself to save.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take advantage of mechanisms to block the access to your stash until the deadline. For example, if you're saving to buy Christmas gifts with cash, you could use a Christmas savings account (also known as a &quot;Christmas Club&quot; at some credit unions).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Determine what activities and expenses you need to cut back. Remember that the savings money has to come from somewhere!</li> </ul> <h2>4. Borrowing From Your Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>More and more Americans are treating their retirement accounts as revolving lines of credit.</p> <p>There are several statistics that show why borrowing from your retirement account is a bad idea:</p> <ul> <li>As many as <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/168824/fewer-rely-401-retirement-pre-recession.aspx">48% of non-retirees</a> are planning to use retirement saving accounts as a major source of income during retirement;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Yet, Americans took about <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-06/early-tap-of-401-k-replaces-homes-as-american-piggy-bank.html">$57 billion from retirement funds</a> before they were supposed to;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Even worse, every year Americans default on <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2012/07/17/retirement/401k-loan-defaults/">about $37 billion on 401(k) loans</a>;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Unpaid balances become part of your taxable income and receive an additional 10% tax penalty from the IRS.</li> </ul> <p>This partly explains why <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/shocking-number-of-americans-have-no-retirement-savings/">more than one-third of al</a>l<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/shocking-number-of-americans-have-no-retirement-savings/"> working-age adults have no retirement savings</a>. There are very few times when it makes sense to borrow from your retirement account. If you find yourself borrowing from retirement accounts, you need to resolve to kick this habit next year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">This is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <p>Let's start 2015 on the right foot!</p> <p><em>What are some other bad money resolutions to skip next year? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Money Resolutions You Should Skip This Year" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-resolutions-you-should-skip-this-year">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-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-saving-new-years-goals-that-you-can-actually-keep">10 Money-Saving New Year&#039;s Goals That You Can Actually Keep</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-productive-things-to-do-in-january-to-start-the-new-year-off-right">31 Productive Things to Do in January to Start the New Year Off Right</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/successful-new-years-resolutions-have-this-one-thing-in-common-does-yours">Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions Have This One Thing in Common — Does Yours?</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/21-ways-to-make-a-big-financial-change">21 Ways to Make a Big Financial Change</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> Personal Finance Frugal Living Personal Development goals money goals resolutions Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:00:16 +0000 Damian Davila 1270229 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Little Stressors You Can Easily Eliminate Today http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-stressors-you-can-easily-eliminate-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-little-stressors-you-can-easily-eliminate-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stressed-woman-traffic-Dollarphotoclub_53811864.jpg" alt="stressed woman traffic" title="stressed woman traffic" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Stress is how we respond to life's challenges. And since life always throws us curveballs (especially if you're a Baltimore Oriole gunning for a World Series title&hellip; I'll get over the shutout eventually), a completely stress-free life might never happen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress?ref=seealso">20 Free (or Cheap) Ways to Reduce Stress</a>)</p> <p>But while you can't snap your fingers and wish away big stresses, you can eliminate little stressors that impact your everyday life. Expunging minor annoyances that increase blood pressure and anxiety level may not provide complete peace of mind, but it's a good starting point. Here are six to set you on the right path.</p> <h2>1. Toxic Relationships</h2> <p>Whether it's a so-called friend, a co-worker, neighbor, or miserable relative (you know who you are, <em>Aunt Silvie</em>), some people may drain the life out of you and increase your stress level. You may put up with the abuse because of your history, but the last thing you need is a toxic relationship adding stress to your life.</p> <p>It's a common type of relationship. In fact, &quot;84% of women &mdash; and 75% of men &mdash; said they'd <a href="http://www.today.com/id/44205822/ns/today-today_health/t/toxic-friends-people-endure-poisonous-pals/#.VH4pgofPbzI">had a toxic friend</a> at some point,&quot; acccording to a study conducted by Today.com and Self Magazine. You don't have to banish these people from your life, but to enjoy less stress and more happiness, you have to acknowledge a toxic relationship sooner than later and <a href="http://www.webmd.com/women/features/toxic-friends-less-friend-more-foe?page=3">deal with the toxicity</a>, such as &quot;taking some degree of responsibility for the situation&quot; and setting boundaries.</p> <h2>2. Traffic Jams During the Morning Commute</h2> <p>Nobody wants to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic (especially if you are not a morning person), and research proves that traffic and your commute can be bad for your health. &quot;It is very stressful &mdash; you have little control over it,&quot; says Dr. David Frid of the Cleveland Clinic. &quot;And it is something, like most stressful situations, that can have an impact on your heart. It can increase your heart rate and increase your blood pressure, both which are very bad for your system in the short term as well as the long term.&quot;</p> <p>Researchers believe that honking and the sound of traffic can trigger elevated stress levels. But if you work outside the home and live in a heavily populated area, major slowdowns are inevitable and a bad start to your day. There's nothing you can do about traffic, but you can minimize its effect.</p> <p>&quot;Leave with enough time so that if a traffic jam occurs&hellip; you're not going to be bothered by it,&quot; Frid says. &quot;If you get caught in a traffic jam, it is what it is. Don't get upset about it. Listen to your (audio) book, listen to the radio.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Long Lines</h2> <p>Whether it's at the grocery store or the bank &mdash; you can't escape long lines. And if you're tired, hungry, and stuck standing in a long line after finishing an eight-hour shift, this might be the thing that pushes you over the edge.</p> <p>Unfortunately, as long as there are people, there will be lines. But this doesn't mean you have to waste time standing in them. Take advantage of time-saving tools created to make your life less stressful. Just about every bank and credit union has a mobile app that lets customers deposit checks from a mobile device (this is one of the best technological advances so far this century, in my opinion). And I recently learned that Walmart (and many other grocery stores) now offers a feature that lets customers grocery shop online. Visit the grocery store's website, select items to purchase, choose a pick-up time (or delivery, in some cases), pay online, and pick up your items from the store's designated area. No lines.</p> <h2>4. Too Much News</h2> <p>After work you may turn on the TV to catch up on the latest headlines. But given how most news isn't good news, after a few programs you may notice your anxiety level rising. This feeling isn't all in your head.</p> <p>A national survey of more than 2,500 Americans conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health found that 1 in 4 participants experienced &quot;a great deal of stress in the previous month,&quot; and the biggest contributing factor was reading, watching, or listening to the news. Additionally, a study conducted after the Boston Marathon bombing found that &quot;people who exposed themselves to six or more hours of media daily actually reported more acute stress symptoms than did people who were directly exposed &mdash; meaning they were at the site of the bombings,&quot; says professor Alison Holman of the University of California.</p> <p>We should stay up-to-date on national and world events, sure. But try limiting yourself to only 10 or 20 minutes of news coverage a day.</p> <h2>5. Perfectionism</h2> <p>We can be our own worst enemy and our own stress trigger. Some people have to do everything perfectly, and mistakes are unacceptable. However, nobody is perfect, and if you're reaching for perfection, you're only going to succeed at stressing yourself out (which is why Xanax is my best friend). Do your best, but know your limits (and I'll try to practice what I preach as well).</p> <h2>6. Too Much Technology</h2> <p>Between smartphones, tablets, and unlimited data plans, you can be connected to the outside world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But there's a <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042390/">connection between stress and overuse of technology</a>. And if you can't go 30 minutes without checking your email or text messages, you may experience higher stress levels than someone who completely unplugs.</p> <p>Sure, you may need your smartphone or tablet, but it's okay to set boundaries. Maybe shut down all devices two or three hours before bed to allow your mind time to unwind. This means no playing games, texting, reading blogs, and definitely no paying bills online. It'll be hard to break this habit, but people have put more difficult addictions to rest. You got this if you want this.</p> <p><em>What are some other stressors that are commonplace that we can feasibly avoid? Let me know your suggestions and tips in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-little-stressors-you-can-easily-eliminate-today" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Little Stressors You Can Easily Eliminate Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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-little-stressors-you-can-easily-eliminate-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">20 Free (or Really Cheap) Ways to Relieve Stress</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/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself">12 Ways You Can Go Easier on Yourself</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-little-ways-to-de-stress-and-enjoy-life-more">6 Little Ways to De-Stress (and Enjoy Life More)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-nervous-tics-you-need-to-stop-right-now">6 Nervous Tics You Need to Stop Right Now</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-slow-down-your-fast-paced-life">How to Slow Down Your Fast-Paced Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Health and Beauty Personal Development relax stress stress relief tension Fri, 19 Dec 2014 12:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1270104 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Signs You Were Raised by Parents With Bad Social Skills http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-you-were-raised-by-parents-with-bad-social-skills <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-signs-you-were-raised-by-parents-with-bad-social-skills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rude-girl-stopping-mother-Dollarphotoclub_64392755.jpg" alt="rude girl stopping mother" title="rude girl stopping mother" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you have bad social skills? Chances are you inherited your habits from your parents. I'm speaking from personal experience here, as my mom and dad will tell you they aren't the most socially gifted in the bunch. I have struggled for years to overcome some bad habits combined with my own special kind of introversion. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-things-people-with-good-social-skills-never-do?ref=seealso">18 Things People With Good Social Skills Never Do</a>)</p> <p>The good news? In most cases, your social skills aren't set in stone. So take a look at this list of behaviors suggesting you may have been raised by parents with bad social skills, and if you're guilty, start reprogramming your brain today!</p> <h2>1. You Make Excuses to Get Out of Seeing People</h2> <p>My parents didn't go out much with friends while I was growing up. When they did make plans, they'd often cancel at the last minute, and &mdash; for years &mdash; I'd do this exact same thing. There's a not-so technical term for this practice, and it's called <em>flakiness</em>. Don't blame yourself too much, though &mdash; modern technology makes it extremely easy for us to flake out on social situations. Sometimes, you have good reason and sometimes, not.</p> <p>That doesn't mean your relationships won't become damaged over time. So, before you cancel on your next engagement, consider a <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/friendship-20/201205/yes-you-might-be-flake">few key factors</a>, including how important your presence is at the particular event, whether or not the organizer will understand, and if your excuse is truly legitimate. If you observe a pattern and/or cancel frequently, it could be a sign of something deeper, like anxiety, depression, or modeled behaviors from the past.</p> <h2>2. You Talk, But Don't Listen</h2> <p>Whether out of nervousness or something else, you might chat someone's ear off and not return the favor. Or you might not talk much and avoid chatting altogether. Active listening is a critical part of interpersonal communication, and it's ever-so-important during those pesky social situations. When I'm thrust into a social arena with a bunch of people I don't know, I'm uncomfortable. Over time, I've learned a few tricks that have become second nature.</p> <p>To become a <a href="http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/active-listening.html">more active listener</a>, be sure to display both verbal and nonverbal cues. You can smile and keep steady eye contact to show you're entertained or otherwise paying attention. Your posture actually shows quite a lot about how engagement level, so keep your body open and tuned in versus closed off. You may even mirror facial expressions to show connection with emotion. And lastly, avoid distractions (cell phones, fidgeting, doodling, etc.) whenever possible.</p> <h2>3. You Avoid Eye Contact</h2> <p>One of those important nonverbal cues is eye contact. Of course, many of us are just shy by nature &mdash; so it can be hard to stare directly into those windows to the soul without some major discomfort (especially around strangers).</p> <p>You can work on this skill in the comfort of your living room by <a href="http://www.succeedsocially.com/eyecontact">using your television</a>. Turn on a show and try to make eye contact with the character or characters on the screen. When you're out and about, start slow by trying to look near the person you're speaking with. If long periods of eye contact feel uncomfortable, try shorter periods interspersed with breaks.</p> <h2>4. You Skip Introductions</h2> <p>People skills are certainly put to the test whenever introductions are involved. I am notoriously bad at making introductions because I have difficulty remembering the names of my acquaintances. I also feel uncomfortable meeting scores of new people at parties. My parents would often retreat to their own area in social situations and I, too, often find myself in a corner surrounded by a couple of close friends. And that's okay sometimes. But, still, you could be missing out by not meeting and greeting.</p> <p>There is some <a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/08/10/how-to-make-introductions-like-a-gentleman/">traditional etiquette</a> for making introductions, but the key thing to remember is this: Something is better than nothing. Making sure everyone feels included is the real goal here, and it can aid in your own comfort level, too.</p> <h2>5. You Lose Your Cool</h2> <p>If you routinely blow up or show extreme emotions in social settings, you might be alienating others and hurting yourself in the process. Maybe you grew up seeing your dad get irate if his football team lost or your mom drink a few too many glasses of wine before chatting with guests. In short, you don't ever want to be that person asked to leave the party.</p> <p>Most heated situations arise from controversial topics or other triggers. Removing yourself from those conversations can take some willpower, but might ultimately save you from a blowup. Don't confuse passion with rage, however. Your beliefs and feelings are valid, however strong they may be, so long as you can communicate them effectively. And if you routinely require lots of social lubrication, you may want to speak with your doctor to see if <a href="http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder/social-anxiety-and-alcohol-abuse">Social Anxiety Disorder</a> is at play, in which case therapy and/or medication can help.</p> <p><em>How are your social skills? Did your parents provide you with a good example &mdash; or a bad one?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-you-were-raised-by-parents-with-bad-social-skills" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Signs You Were Raised by Parents With Bad Social Skills" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-you-were-raised-by-parents-with-bad-social-skills">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-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-rude-things-even-polite-people-do">10 Rude Things Even Polite People Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-most-people-are-faking-it">8 Times Most People Are Faking 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/5-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid</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-office-politics-goofs-that-can-set-your-career-back-years">9 Office Politics Goofs That Can Set Your Career Back Years</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/masters-of-small-talk-never-do-these-10-things-do-you">Masters of Small Talk Never Do These 10 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development etiquette eye contact polite rude social skills Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1269732 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Rude Things Even Polite People Do http://www.wisebread.com/10-rude-things-even-polite-people-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-rude-things-even-polite-people-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rude-woman-using-cellphone-ignoring-friend-Dollarphotoclub_60377517.jpg" alt="rude woman cellphone" title="rude woman cellphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Much rudeness is inadvertent. In fact, even the most polite among us probably have some bad habits that make us appear rude when we don't mean to be. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-people-with-good-table-manners-never-do?ref=seealso">13 Things People With Good Table Manners Never Do</a>)</p> <p>Wondering what you do that might come across as impolite? Read below for some ideas.</p> <h2>1. Being &quot;All Business&quot; in Electronic Communication</h2> <p>It's good to be professional and businesslike in your communication, especially when you're doing it for business purposes. When you communicate electronically, though, it's easy to come across as cold, uncaring, and rude when you focus entirely on business. Think about adding on a &quot;How are you?&quot; or &quot;I hope you're doing well,&quot; so the person on the other end knows you care.</p> <h2>2. Forgetting to RSVP</h2> <p>Even if you don't know your plans and won't until the last minute, contact the host to let them know. Ask if you can still show up (or bring more people), or if it would be easier to just decline the invitation. Being honest with your host is always better than not responding at all.</p> <h2>3. Not Handling Germs Properly</h2> <p>You're sick. You feel like crap. But you can still cover your mouth (and then not offer the covering hand when you shake hands). Even if you're polite, it's easy to forget to protect others from your germs, especially when you're coughing and sneezing a lot. If you must go out in public, though, make the effort to contain your illness.</p> <h2>4. Focusing Too Much</h2> <p>Focusing in and of itself is not a problem, but when you end up ignoring other people or treating them dismissively, it can come across as rude. If you need to focus intently to do a task, try to do that in a private place. Otherwise, you can figure out a way to not focus so intensely, or you can be sure to apologize and explain &mdash; &quot;I was so focused on that task that I didn't see you.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Not Cleaning Up After Yourself</h2> <p>Most polite people take pains to clean up any messes they create so that others don't have to. However, in busy or stressful situations, even the most polite person can forget himself and leave a mess behind. If you can't stop at the moment, at least notify someone of the mess and offer to come back later to fix it. They may not take you up on it, but they will know that you care.</p> <h2>6. Giving One-Word Answers</h2> <p>Sometimes, there's just not much to say. While you can be both polite and introspective, or in need of down time, or bereft of words, when someone speaks to you, try to give them a complete answer. If you don't have much to say, tell them, &quot;I don't really have an opinion on that. I'll think about it and get back to you if something comes up.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Crossing Your Arms</h2> <p>Crossing your arms is a self-protective gesture, one designed to keep people away from you. You're there, you're in it, so take a deep breath and face the situation in front of you courageously and openly, rather than communicating that you wish you could run and hide.</p> <h2>8. Overusing Sarcasm</h2> <p>Sarcastic humor is often funny at the expense of someone else, and, even if that person thinks you're funny, too, constantly teasing others is not polite. If you can't think of something funny without being sarcastic, it's much more polite to be quiet.</p> <h2>9. Forgetting Cell Phone Etiquette</h2> <p>The whens and hows of being on your cell phone are much debated right now. There are some absolutes, though, that even polite people violate from time to time. It's always rude to interrupt one person by taking a call or text from another. If you are waiting for an important call, at least be sure that the person you're &quot;in person&quot; with knows that and understands why you must take it. And if you're having trouble hearing or being heard during a call, politely hang up and try again later, rather than carrying on a conversation everyone around you can't help but hear.</p> <h2>10. Misusing Social Media</h2> <p>Social media can be a great place to try on a new personality or to be a bit different than who you are in real life. But sometimes even polite people fall into the trap of letting go of their politeness online, because they feel anonymous and it doesn't seem like anyone will get hurt. Be careful, thoughtful, and remember that words hurt whether they are written on a screen or said out loud &mdash; be sure that your online persona lines up with your polite, offline one.</p> <p><em>Do you consider yourself a polite person? Where do you find yourself falling into rudeness?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-rude-things-even-polite-people-do" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Rude Things Even Polite People Do" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/10-rude-things-even-polite-people-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-you-were-raised-by-parents-with-bad-social-skills">5 Signs You Were Raised by Parents With Bad Social Skills</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/18-things-people-with-good-social-skills-never-do">18 Things People With Good Social Skills Never Do</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-times-most-people-are-faking-it">8 Times Most People Are Faking It</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-everyday-words-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">5 Everyday Words That Are Making You Look Stupid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-rules-of-etiquette-everyone-should-know-and-follow">10 Rules of Etiquette Everyone Should Know (and Follow!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development behavior etiquette polite rude social skills Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:00:06 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1269543 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Surprising Ways to Beat Stress http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-surprising-ways-to-beat-stress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-surprising-ways-to-beat-stress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stressed-woman-working-Dollarphotoclub_48218874.jpg" alt="stressed woman working" title="stressed woman working" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on surprising ways to beat stress, bad habits you may have when you shop for clothes, and simple ways to be inspired.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://want2discover.com/31-little-known-ways-beat-stress-really-work/">31 Little Known Ways to Beat Stress That Really Work</a> &mdash; Consume more essential fatty acids &mdash; they produce hormones that help your body deal with stress. [Want2Discover]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/bad-clothes-shopping-habits/">7 Bad Clothes Shopping Habits to Break Now</a> &mdash; Storing your credit card info on your favorite retailers' sites makes it way too easy to buy something in a few clicks. [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/5-simple-ways-to-add-inspiration-to-your-days">5 Simple Ways to Add Inspiration to Your Days</a> &mdash; Schedule time with your loved ones. The human connection you make from a simple coffee date is often all you need to feel inspired. [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2014/12/11/christmas-gifts-that-keep-on-giving/">Christmas Gifts That Keep on Giving</a> &mdash; If someone you love is just getting by, don't just give them more stuff for the holidays. Give them something they really need, like a gas gift card or pay-as-you-go minutes on their phone. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thousandaire.com/how-to-give-when-you-cant-afford-it/">How to Give When You Can&rsquo;t Afford It</a> &mdash; Consider giving your time &mdash; and don't limit it to volunteering. Calling an old friend, writing thank-you notes, and helping your niece with her homework counts, too! [Thousandaire]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Rules-Writing-Thank-You-Letter-36261667">3 Rules of Thank-You-Letter Writing</a> &mdash; Sending your post-interview thank-you letter through the mail may be more personal, but it will definitely take longer. Stay ahead of the competition and send your interviewer an email within 12 hours. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-single-biggest-money-mistake-people-make/">The Single Biggest Money Mistake People Make</a> &mdash; People too often choose short term gains over long term goals. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dinksfinance.com/2014/12/6-things-need-next-vacation">6 Things You Need for Your Next Vacation</a> &mdash; Carry local currency with you before you set out, in case you need to buy anything before you can find a place to exchange your money. You'll save on ATM fees, too! [Dinks Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/featured-articles/ways-to-save-on-your-holiday-party/">5 Ways to Save on Your Holiday Party</a> &mdash; Instead of a sit-down dinner, set out finger foods, soups, or spreads. And make sure to keep the recipes simple! [NerdWallet]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-festive-holiday-drinks-for-kids">5 Festive Holiday Drinks for Kids</a> &mdash; Cranberry &quot;Champagne&quot; is the kids&rsquo; own version of bubbly &mdash; without the alcohol. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-surprising-ways-to-beat-stress" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Surprising Ways to Beat Stress" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-surprising-ways-to-beat-stress">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress">20 Free (or Really Cheap) Ways to Relieve Stress</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-signs-youre-burned-out-and-how-to-recover">4 Signs You&#039;re Burned Out (and How to Recover)</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-happiness-habits-7-ways-to-feel-better-now">The Happiness Habits: 7 Ways to Feel Better Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-pieces-of-emotional-baggage-and-how-to-ditch-them">8 Common Pieces of Emotional Baggage (and How to Ditch Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-you-can-go-easier-on-yourself">12 Ways You Can Go Easier on Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Development best money tips stress Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:00:21 +0000 Amy Lu 1268206 at http://www.wisebread.com