hobbies http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3340/all en-US 6 Things You Might Do on Your First Day of Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-might-do-on-your-first-day-of-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-might-do-on-your-first-day-of-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement-469546153-small.jpg" alt="retirement" title="retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Besides saving, planning, and being practically prepared for when you end the working phase of your life, how will it actually feel? What will you be thinking? What will you <em>do</em>?</p> <p>Most of us who start planning early, though we're diligently preparing for that time, can't fathom what it will be like to actually hang up our careers and have time to &quot;putz&quot; around the house.</p> <p>Ending such a large part of your life, your work, is almost sure to bring about some predictable feelings and emotions.</p> <p>Here's a taste of what those thoughts might revolve around, and what you might do.</p> <h2>1. Get a Part-Time Job</h2> <p>If you haven't already made plans, this is likely to be the first thing on your to-do list.</p> <p>Having free time is something that is often longed for by those who have little or none of it. Yet the reality we face as adults is that free time is deceptively attractive, yet tends to let us down. Once we get it, we're restless and in need of something to keep us busy.</p> <p>A part-time job with easy hours, possibly in something you're already experienced with can be a great way to ease out of the workforce and into your retirement.</p> <h2>2. Spend Time (and Possibly Money) on Your Hobbies</h2> <p>One of the best perks of retirement is the opportunity it affords you to do something you love.</p> <p>A loose schedule, fewer demands on your time, and a predictable budget will have you thinking about whatever it is that you've always wanted to do but only got to enjoy in small portions during your working years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies?ref=seealso">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a>)</p> <p>Fishing rods, hunting gear, mountain bikes, cookbooks, a full bookshelf, a garden, or whatever else you've longed to spend your time on will finally get some attention.</p> <p>Your first day of retirement could spent, at least in part, planning how to engage these activities more often.</p> <h2>3. Miss the Routine of Going to Work</h2> <p>It sounds strange, but even the most difficult jobs can have a kind of comforting routine to them and will often cause sadness or frustration when they're gone.</p> <p>What's more, if you liked your job and have just left for good, then you'll almost certainly experience some disappointment on that first day. You'll miss going to work.</p> <p>Isn't that part of most life changes though?</p> <p>Even if the change is good and you have all this new time for yourself and for the things you love, not going to work will be tough at first.</p> <p>Yet you'll adjust and acclimate and won't be able to imagine going back.</p> <h2>4. Start Exercising More Often</h2> <p>You might have long prepared yourself to face the reality of old age, as you aren't likely to be younger than 55 (probably older) by the time you retire.</p> <p>But that isn't likely to stop you from spending some <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/exerciseforseniors.html">more time maintaining your health</a>.</p> <p>According to what your body permits, regular exercise will be far more appealing with extra time to spare and the leisure to get to the gym or your local health club. Particularly if you were an active person before retiring, your health can be a hobby in itself.</p> <h2>5. Keep a Tighter Budget</h2> <p>Depending on your streams of income, retiring means your available spending money will be fixed and predetermined. Thus living expenses will need to be more closely watch and monitored so that you don't run short. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/just-saving-isnt-enough-how-cash-flow-allocation-helps-you-retire?ref=seealso">How Cash Flow Allocation Helps You Retire</a>)</p> <p>That alone can be a completely new feeling, as you're relying on income that you've either already earned, or that you're getting in the form of social security or a pension.</p> <p>How can you stretch it then?</p> <p>You stretch it by managing your expenses and keeping a cap on what you pay out. Just because you aren't working doesn't mean you're not managing money.</p> <h2>6. Feel a Sense of Relief</h2> <p>Despite all the difficult emotions and the changes, having your entire working career behind you will undoubtedly be visited by a sense of relief; a deep and relaxing exhale.</p> <p>You've finished a major portion of life's race and the rest is mostly a cool down phase.</p> <p>Life still moves, but at a much slower pace.</p> <p>This should be a relief to you, both in a physical sense and an emotional sense, making your life far more relaxing than it had been previously.</p> <h2>Mixed Emotions</h2> <p>Some people look forward to retirement, even from a young age. Others find it scary, intimidating and an unfriendly reminder of the quickness by which life passes.</p> <p>But like all stages and changes life brings, it has both benefits and drawbacks; pros and cons.</p> <p>Thus your first day of retirement is going to be a complex set of mixed emotions. Some of these will be positive and joyful, while others will be negative and hard to process. A lot of it depends on your personality, health and how you feel about what you accomplished.</p> <p>You can look forward to the positive and be prepared for the negative.</p> <p>We're privileged to live in a time when we don't have to work ourselves into the ground to survive.</p> <p>So the opportunity of retirement itself is worth being thankful for.</p> <p><em>Have you retired? What were some of the thoughts that ran through your head when it was all new to you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-might-do-on-your-first-day-of-retirement" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Things You Might Do on Your First Day of Retirement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement hobbies retirement side jobs Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:00:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1142649 at http://www.wisebread.com The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally) http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reading-482436757.jpg" alt="woman reading" title="woman reading" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wise Bread readers are masters at saving more and spending less. You know how to shop smart, how to stretch a budget, and how to find the best deals on just about anything.</p> <p>But what about when you want to cut loose and relax?</p> <p>Life, after all, is about balance and having some hobbies is a key component of living a happy, healthy life. If only those hobbies weren't so expensive.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay true to your frugal principles and still have a good time in the process. Here are 35 ways to enjoy yourself without breaking the bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress?ref=seealso">20 Free Ways to Relieve Stress</a>)</p> <h2>1. Reading</h2> <p>Too obvious? Maybe, but it's cheap, cheap, cheap, and if you enjoy doing it, you'll never run out of new material. Find an endless supply of stuff to read on the Internet, pick up used books at garage sales and thrift stores, or take advantage of your free library card and gain access to everything from the old classics to the latest best-sellers.</p> <h2>2. Journaling/Writing</h2> <p>Writing offers a number of benefits, not the least of which is learning to write better by constructing your thoughts on paper. Work through your issues by journaling or leave something memorable for your descendants by writing your memoirs. If you're not yet ready to put your life on paper, try writing about someone else's life instead, or write about a cause or event that you think is important.</p> <p>Or just make the whole thing up. One of the great things about writing fiction is that you have control over how the story develops. Not sure where to start? Let this handy <a href="http://writers-den.pantomimepony.co.uk/writers-plot-ideas.php">online plot generator</a> start for you.</p> <h2>3. Writing Poetry</h2> <p><em>There is an art to making words rhyme,</em></p> <p><em>A rhythm that requires those words to keep time,</em></p> <p><em>But master it and you will see,</em></p> <p><em>There's nothing quite so creative as poetry.</em></p> <p>Where to start? Turco's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874513812/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0874513812&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">The New Book of Forms</a> and Hollander's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300088329/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0300088329&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Rhyme's Reason</a> are classic introductions to English rhyme and verse, with clear explanations and plenty of examples.</p> <h2>4. Performing Slam Poetry</h2> <p>If traditional rhyme isn't your thing, consider <a href="http://nps2013.poetryslam.com/">slam poetry</a> instead. Meant to be spoken, slam poetry is much more visceral in content, often used as a means to vent about political issues, humanitarian injustices, and personal milestones. It's also much more flexible when it comes to style and syntax. You can use rhyme if you want, but it's not required; in fact, the only real &quot;requirements&quot; of slam poetry is that it's passionate, and if you're going to compete, your poem must be three minutes or under.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-482059289-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>5. Sewing</h2> <p>When I was in elementary school, my mother made matching outfits for me and my best friend. They featured faux suede vests and skirts with cream-colored satin shirts, and since this was the '70s, we were hot stuff in those outfits to say the least.</p> <p>I never really got into sewing after a dress-debacle in my 8th grade Home-Ec class, but now, with a daughter of my own, I've pulled out mom's sewing machine, and I'm slowly but surely learning how to make my own garments. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. Sewing is a wonderfully creative outlet and the perfect way to fashion a custom wardrobe for a fraction of what you'd spend buying off the racks. Plus &mdash; and this is my goal &mdash; if you get really good at working with patterns, you can start working on your own designs. Move over, Jaclyn Smith!</p> <h2>6. Walking</h2> <p>Despite the obvious cardiovascular benefits, walking is a great way to clear your head, let off some steam, and just enjoy the outdoors. You can walk the trail at your local park or just walk your neighborhood after dinner. The benefits are the same, and it's free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-benefits-of-a-10-minute-walk?ref=seealso">Surprising Benefits of a 10-Minute Walk</a>)</p> <h2>7. Gardening</h2> <p>When we moved out of the city some seven-plus years ago, I wanted to fully experience the whole &quot;country-lifestyle,&quot; so I promptly tilled up an area for a small garden. It was one of the best things I've ever done. Not only do you get to commune with nature, but if you grow edibles, you can cut down your grocery bill to boot. And just let me say, there's <em>nothing</em> like homegrown tomatoes. Plus, you don't need lots of space to enjoy this hobby &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-great-container-garden-started-with-this-guide">container gardening</a> works well even in the smallest of spaces &mdash; and if you grow heirloom plants and harvest your seeds, you'll only have to buy your starter plants once.</p> <h2>8. Bird-Watching</h2> <p>When we moved to said country home, we noticed a mud nest on our front porch. Hubby wanted to tear it down&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash; and</span>&nbsp;I wanted to know what lived in it. As it turns out, that nest belonged to a pair of <a href="http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/purple_martin/id">Purple Martins</a>, birds known for eating their weight in mosquitoes. And because they come back every spring, I've never had to buy a can of repellant. The moral of this story? Learning more about the birds in your backyard might be worth your time.</p> <h2>9. Painting</h2> <p>Years ago, my girlfriends and I decided to try our hand at painting. We began with oils, which I loved as a medium, but they were a little pricey and a pain to clean up. Then I discovered acrylics. Water soluble and much, much cheaper, they have been my go-to medium ever since. You can find canvases and brushes &mdash; also inexpensive &mdash; at most craft stores, and there's an endless supply of how-tos on the web.</p> <h2>10. Drawing</h2> <p>If painting isn't your thing, try drawing. Sketchbooks are relatively cheap and easy to tote, so you can take your hobby with you wherever you go. And like painting, you can self-teach using books, online instruction, and lots of practice.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-482330273-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>11. Cooking</h2> <p>Forget about prepackaged mixes and store-bought cans &mdash; there's something about cooking and baking from scratch that feels almost spiritual. Maybe it's the creative aspect of pulling it all together, tasting and adjusting along the way to be sure your recipe is just right. Maybe it's the satisfaction of seeing your creation turn out well, a manifestation of all the love and intention that went into making it. Maybe it's the presentation, with all the little drizzles and sprinkles that turn your dish into art.</p> <p>Or maybe it's just that it tastes better.</p> <p>Depending upon what you have in your cabinets, you may need to purchase certain spices and staples, but I've found that it's not too hard to keep a well-stocked kitchen, and it's definitely cheaper than eating out. Plus, it's nice to get a craving for something and know that I have the ingredients to make it, meaning fewer spontaneous trips to the grocery store.</p> <p>Where to start? Pick a cuisine or style you like, and decide to master its ingredients and recipes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies?ref=seealso">10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a>)</p> <h2>12. Genealogy</h2> <p>I can't tell you what got me started in genealogy. But I can tell you that once I started digging, I was forever hooked. There's something absolutely fascinating about tracing your past, learning where you came from, and even (occasionally) stumbling upon photos and stories of ancestors you never met. I have an ancestor who was a Revolutionary War Patriot, for example, and there's a memorial built in his honor in his hometown.</p> <p>I have another ancestor who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and he, too, is remembered in a memorial, this one placed in an Abbey in Somerset.</p> <p>Not all of my ancestors have notable stories, of course, but following their trail is interesting nonetheless. You can splurge for an <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10456885">Ancestry.com</a> membership or you can begin by exploring the free genealogy websites online and the genealogy section at your local library. If you're just getting started, try <a href="http://www.cyndislist.com/categories/">Cyndi's List</a>.</p> <h2>13. Become an Expert</h2> <p>When I discovered that I had an ancestor with ties to Queen Elizabeth, I couldn't help but learn more about that particular era. Between the assassination attempts on the Queen and all the betrayal and beheadings during her father's (King Henry VIII) reign, there's more than enough information to keep my interest piqued. And in the process, I've become a bit of an expert on this topic.</p> <p>Now, think about something that interests you. Are you a history buff? Fascinated by science? Passionate about climate change? Dig in deeper and learn everything you can. In a world where we're bombarded with information 24/7, it's a nice change of pace to cover more than just a few fleeting details. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day?ref=seealso">11 Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <h2>14. Jewelry-Making</h2> <p>If you've got kids, then you've probably seen the rubber-band bracelets that are all the rage. My daughter loves making them, and has even branched out to woven friendship bracelets using string and cord. Helping her figure out new techniques and patterns reminded me of how much fun those smaller craft projects could be and while the rubber-band variation isn't really my thing, wire jewelry offers some great possibilities.</p> <p>There are literally hundreds of websites where you can get ideas and inspiration, along with step-by-step tutorials to walk you through a complete project. You can find wire at most craft stores, but you'll pay less if you order from some of the jewelry-supply websites, such as <a href="http://www.firemountaingems.com/">Fire Mountain Gems</a>. Beads can be found at most of these sites as well, or you can order them in bulk from Amazon.</p> <p>And if you find that you're especially good at jewelry making, you can sell your stuff on Etsy for extra cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-etsy-can-help-start-your-small-business?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Launch a Small Business With Etsy</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-481199535-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>15. Guitar</h2> <p>Of all the musical instruments you could play, the guitar is probably the most practical &mdash; easy to take with you, and if you buy it used, you can get one relatively cheap.</p> <p>There's also plenty of free lessons to be had. <a href="http://justinguitar.com">Justin Guitar</a> and <a href="http://guitarlessons.com">GuitarLessons</a> both offer free instruction as do many other websites. Or, you can just head over to YouTube &mdash; you'll find both generic lessons as well as instructions for specific songs, meaning you can finally learn how to play that 80s tune that you love so much.</p> <h2>16. Card Tricks</h2> <p>Who hasn't seen a card trick and wondered, <em>&quot;How did they do that?&quot;</em> Well, here's your chance to find out! The beauty of learning card tricks compared to other types of magic is that you can buy a deck of cards for a dollar &mdash; one dollar, and you have everything you need to start learning new tricks.</p> <p>Granted, some are more complex than others, but many are relatively easy and if you add a <a href="http://magic.about.com/od/Card-Magic-Tricks/ss/Learn-Shuffle-Card-Magic-Tricks.htm">fancy shuffle</a>, you'll look like a pro when you perform your trick.</p> <p>Cards not your thing, or a dollar to high a price to pay? How about <a href="http://www.goodtricks.net/coinmagic.html">coin tricks</a>?</p> <h2>17. Play Cards</h2> <p>Want to stretch that dollar even further? Learn to play Texas Hold 'Em or Five Card Draw or Bridge for that matter. Playing cards is a fun and easy way to relax and unwind, and it's also a great option when the Internet mysteriously goes down and you decide to reinvent family time.</p> <h2>18. Star-Gazing</h2> <p>There is something magical about looking out at the night sky, even if you don't have a telescope. Learn to spot the different constellations with one of the many astronomy apps available (I use <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/star-chart/id345542655?mt=8">Star Chart</a> &mdash; it's <em>free</em>!) and subscribe to some of the astronomy websites (such as <a href="http://astronomy.com">Astronomy Magazine</a> and <a href="http://skyandtelescope.com">Sky and Telescope</a>) to learn more about space and upcoming celestial events.</p> <h2>19. Fishing</h2> <p>You'll need a place to fish obviously &mdash; a lake or a stocked pond, for example &mdash; but that's about the biggest challenge you'll find with this hobby. Fishing requires patience, but it can also be a great way to get outside and clear your head. It's also a great way to take care of dinner.</p> <h2>20. Photography</h2> <p>No need to spend lots of money on expensive cameras; many smartphones can now take some really nice pictures and you can always upgrade later. If you've got an eye for photography, you can sell your images on sites like <a href="http://www.istockphoto.com/">iStockphoto</a> and make a few extra bucks in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies?ref=seealso">Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a>)</p> <h2>21. Chess</h2> <p>You can get a cheap chess board at Walmart, or you can play online for free (plus pick up tips and strategies) at <a href="http://chess.com">Chess.com</a>. In addition to being a great way to challenge yourself, chess is actually good for you. It exercises both sides of the brain, can help prevent diseases like dementia, and has even been shown to raise IQ.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-461263895-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>22. Whittling</h2> <p>All you need is a knife and a piece of soft wood; the rest is nothing but your own creativity. There are plenty of tutorials online to get you started, and there are even some whittling magazines out there as well. And if you're wondering what you could possibly make by whittling, <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=whittling">take a look at these</a>.</p> <h2>23. Puzzles</h2> <p>Puzzles are cheap. Puzzles are easy to find. And depending upon your level of patience, puzzles can be a wonderful way to spend a quiet evening at home. Don't care for the jigsaw variety? Then try crossword puzzles or <a href="http://www.sudoku.com/en">Sudoku</a> &mdash; both help improve concentration, memory, and critical thinking.</p> <h2>24. Coding</h2> <p>Not everyone welcomes the idea of deciphering code, but for those that do, there are plenty of free resources to keep you busy. <a href="http://codeacademy.com">Code Academy</a> offers free lessons in several scripts and languages, including PHP, Ruby, HTML, and Java. Become proficient, and you can charge for your skills on sites like <a href="http://elance.com">Elance</a>.</p> <h2>25. Dancing</h2> <p>Besides being a wonderful form of exercise, dancing is intensely expressive, allowing you release your tension while you work up a sweat. Learn specific dance styles, such as Salsa, Latin, or Hip Hop on YouTube or at sites like <a href="http://learntodance.com">LearntoDance</a> and <a href="http://www.thedancestoreonline.com/ballroom-dance-instruction/index.htm">The Dance Store Online</a>, or just turn on your radio and go freestyle.</p> <h2>26. Scrapbooking</h2> <p>If you buy all the ready-made scrapbooking kits, you can easily spend a small fortune. So don't do that. Instead, make your own scrapbooking accents with cheaper alternatives such as construction paper, coloring book pages, free printables off the Internet, and pictures cut out of magazines.</p> <h2>27. Pinterest</h2> <p>I've just recently started using <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/">Pinterest</a>, but I can definitely see the appeal. You create &quot;boards&quot; devoted to whatever topics you choose and then &quot;pin&quot; related items that you find on the Internet. Think of it as digital collecting, and you're on the right track. For me, it's like window shopping online &mdash; I have a board for shoes, one for recipes, one for wire jewelry, another for astronomy pics, and yet another for gardening ideas. It's a free and fun way to share the stuff you find online and follow others who share your interests.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-481194329-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>28. Raise Chickens</h2> <p>I currently have eight chickens &mdash; four that are full-grown and keep me well stocked with fresh eggs, and four new chicks, about three weeks old and currently living in a tub in my dining room until they're big enough to live outside.</p> <p>Getting chickens was one of the first things I did when we moved out of the city, and I have to tell you, I am in love. Chickens are easy to keep, funny to watch, and if you get the right breeds, sociable. My girls follow me around the yard, they keep the grasshoppers under control, and as I said, they keep me and my neighbors well stocked in eggs. If you decide to breed, you can sell your chicks to feed stores or direct to the public for $2 to $3 apiece. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens?ref=seealso">Raising Backyard Chickens</a>)</p> <h2>29. Homesteading</h2> <p>Homesteading is actually a broad term that covers a variety of activities and practices, all devoted to living self-sufficiently. Canning falls under homesteading for example, as does making your own wine and cheese. You don't have to go completely off the grid, but if making your own jerky sounds appealing, or if you've often thought about keeping bees, crafting elixirs, growing your own crops, or just &quot;going green,&quot; homesteading might be for you. And with the right planning and preparation, even a little homesteading can be very friendly to your pocketbook.</p> <h2>30. Papier Mache</h2> <p>Not only is this hobby extremely creative, it's also a great way to recycle all that junk mail and old newspapers. Visit <a href="http://www.ultimatepapermache.com/">Ultimate Paper Mache</a> for recipes, tutorials, and inspiration.</p> <h2>31. Origami</h2> <p>The art of paper folding, origami, dates back to 17th Century Japan. It uses a series of folds to create sculptures out of flat pieces of paper, no glue or cutting allowed. To start your origami adventure, try <a href="http://www.origami-instructions.com/">these projects</a>.</p> <h2>32. Whistling</h2> <p>Yes, whistling. I can whistle one note &mdash; one sad, little note that's barely audible, but I love the idea of being able to whistle a tune, or even just whistle for my dog. Those that can do it typically take it for granted, while those that can't would love to learn. And as with everything else, practice makes perfect. <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Whistle">Here's some tips to get you started</a>.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-478115241-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>33. Singing</h2> <p>Everyone &mdash; <em>everyone</em> &mdash; likes to sing along to their favorite songs. So, why not improve that singing voice and share it with the rest of the world? There's plenty of singing tutorial videos on Youtube or you can take free lessons from <a href="http://free-singing-lessons.com/">Free-Singing-Lessons</a>.</p> <h2>34. Make Recycled Art</h2> <p>We've all seen those news stories about people who made impressive works of art from what might otherwise be considered as trash or junk. The <a href="http://kylebean.co.uk/portfolio/whatcamefirst">chicken made from egg shells</a> for example, or <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickgentry/sets/72157634425010430/">the paintings created from floppy disks</a> &mdash; the possibilities are endless, and what better way to recycle your trash?</p> <h2>35. Blogging</h2> <p>After you've mastered some of these other hobbies, write a blog about it! You can blog for free on sites like <a href="http://blogger.com">Blogger</a> and <a href="http://wordpress.com">Wordpress</a> or, if you want something more custom, you can download the <a href="http://wordpress.org">Wordpress</a> platform for free and install on your own domain. Domain names can be had for about $10 a year (I use <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11757863">Namecheap</a>) and hosting for under $10 per month, depending on the package you choose (I use <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10408508">Hostgator</a>).</p> <p>Blogging about your hobbies and interests allows you to continue improving those writing skills and connect with others who share your interests.</p> <p><em>Now it's your turn&hellip; what's your favorite frugal hobby?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally" class="sharethis-link" title="The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living crafts hobbies pastimes skills Sun, 06 Apr 2014 02:45:22 +0000 Kate Luther 1134343 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Make Money From Your Hobbies? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-make-money-from-your-hobbies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-make-money-from-your-hobbies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hobby-83493472.jpg" alt="knitting" title="knitting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-make-money-from-your-hobbies#comment-744120">Catseye</a>, Amanda, and Tabathia for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>A great way to earn some side income is to monetize your hobbies by selling the things you make, helping others with a task you enjoy doing, or even teaching a skill to someone and charging a fee for the lessons.</p> <p><strong>Do you make money from your hobbies?</strong> What challenges have you come across so far? Do you plan on eventually making it your primary source of income?</p> <p>Tell us about your money-making hobbies and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rc-79857d81" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d81/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a></p> <script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script></p> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, March 17th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after March 17th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-make-money-from-your-hobbies" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: Do You Make Money From Your Hobbies?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your money-making hobbies and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Ask the Readers hobbies Tue, 11 Mar 2014 11:36:40 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1130385 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Easy Ways to Make Your Life More Interesting http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-make-your-life-more-interesting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-easy-ways-to-make-your-life-more-interesting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bicycling-1851891-small.jpg" alt="bicycling" title="bicycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Variety is more than just the spice of life; it expands our experience and makes our lives more fulfilling. Unfortunately, many of us are bound to tight, overwhelming schedules that leave little room for novelty or adventure. The good news is that making your life more interesting is easy if you are willing to make small departures from the norm. Here are 25 simple ways you can make your life more interesting &mdash; starting today. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine">Reasons to Change Your Routine</a>)</p> <h2>1. Greet the Dawn</h2> <p>Even if you&#39;re not a morning person, plan to watch the sun rise. Prepare for this moment by picking out a view point and determining when the weather in your area will be clear enough to usher in a beautiful day. Brew some strong coffee and bring a friend along. As the sun rises, remind yourself of all the possibilities that a new day holds.</p> <h2>2. Take a Different Path</h2> <p>Give yourself some extra time to take the scenic route to work. Try side streets instead of the freeway. Make a conscious effort to change your routine travels once-in-a-while and discover new places and new people.</p> <h2>3. Plan a Mini Roadtrip</h2> <p>Explore new vistas right around the corner. Search the web for nearby points of interest or comb the countryside for vegetable stands and garage sales. You don&#39;t have to travel far or spend a lot of time (or money) to make the most of the miles you roam. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-escape-with-these-14-affordable-weekend-getaways">14 Affordable Weekend Getaways</a>)</p> <h2>4. Move to the Beat of a Different Drummer</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/inting-4040854-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Tired of listening to the same old song? Applications like <a href="https://www.spotify.com/us/">Spotify</a> allow users to preview different artists and listen to entire albums for free. Spotify can also make suggestions for other music based on the genres you enjoy most. Who knows, your quest for variety might reveal a whole new musical interest!</p> <h2>5. Turn Off Your TV</h2> <p>Watching TV is a passive activity at best. Why not turn it off for a day and actively search out your news and entertainment elsewhere? Read a newspaper, enjoy a play at a community theater, or simply revel in some rare silence.</p> <h2>6. Make Something Interesting</h2> <p>Try your hand at crafting. Explore <a href="http://spoonful.com/create/recyclable-crafts-gallery">making simple recyclable crafts for kids</a> or try reconnecting with a skill you already have. <a href="http://www.pintrest.com">Pintrest</a> is a great place to search for quick and simple projects.</p> <h2>7. Find a Poem</h2> <p>Awaken your inner Shakespeare by penning a sonnet from words you find in newspapers, owners&#39; manuals, magazines, or even this blog post. For example, choose every third word from your found material and place them into a word bank. Next, choose words from your bank that fit into a Haiku format (5 syllables for the first line, 7 for the next, and 5 for the last).</p> <h2>8. Wander Down Memory Lane</h2> <p>Remember all those pictures you took at your last family reunion or vacation? What about that old diary tucked away in the shoebox? Find those memories and spend some time with them. As you wander down memory lane, reflect on what was interesting to you back then. Sparking a new interest can start by rekindling forgotten embers.</p> <h2>9. Visit With Children</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/inting-kid-dad-5118053-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Kids aren&#39;t afraid to color outside the lines or paint the sky orange instead of blue. Spending time in their company will open you up to the wild musings of your inner child. The young folks in your life will revel in the attention and sometimes, as the old saying goes, kids say the darnedest things! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-entertain-kids-for-an-afternoon">15 Free Ways to Entertain Kids</a>)</p> <h2>10. Make Your Own Value Meal</h2> <p>If you had only $2.00 to make a meal, what would be on the menu? Scrounge around your pantry first and complement your culinary findings with a $2.00 purchase (or less) at your local grocery store or farmer&#39;s market.</p> <h2>11. Play Anthropologist</h2> <p>Grab a small notebook and a pen and situate yourself in a park, at a cafe, or in the mall. Write down your observations of the people you see and make notes of the tidbits of conversation you can&#39;t help overhearing. This exercise takes you out of your own head and tunes you into the world around you.</p> <h2>12. Perform Random Acts of Kindness</h2> <p>Make your day more interesting by bolstering your positive outlook and giving someone else&#39;s mood a little lift. <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200607/pay-it-forward">Research in positive psychology</a> shows that doing something unexpected and kind has benefits for you, as well as others. Try holding the door for someone, send a thank you e-mail, or try composing a &quot;<a href="http://www.moreloveletters.com/">love letter&quot; to a stranger</a>.</p> <h2>13. Eat Outside the Box</h2> <p>Introduce your taste buds to a new experience. Maybe you&#39;ve noticed a new restaurant or heard about an ethnic cuisine you&#39;ve never eaten. Go ahead and give it a try &mdash; even if you only have an appetizer at first. For maximum effect, search out a recipe on your cuisine of choice and make it at home.</p> <h2>14. Have a Simple Scavenger Hunt</h2> <p>Have you ever noticed how focusing on one thing makes other things nearly impossible to see? Challenge your awareness patterns by going on a quick scavenger hunt in your home or office. Choose a simple trait to look for, like words spelled containing the letter &quot;Q&quot; or anything with the color green in it. Try to amass a collection of ten things that meet your chosen criteria. You might even find those long lost keys in the process.</p> <h2>15. Flip a Coin</h2> <p>Can&#39;t decide between two items on a menu or what to do on a random Sunday afternoon? Call one heads and the other tails and leave the decision to random whims of chance. You might be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.</p> <h2>16. Discover Treasure at the Library</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/inting-3061123-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Visit your local library and wander among the shelves. Scan the titles for something that grabs your attention and then look at the books on the shelves above and below. Because of libraries&#39; organization system, there&#39;s a good chance you&#39;ll find something related, but just slightly different from what you originally found interesting.</p> <h2>17. Volunteer</h2> <p>What better way to make your day more interesting than to be the change you want to see in the world? Consider the local groups who do good work in your community. Reach out to them and offer your time and talent. If you are unsure where to start, an online resource like <a href="http://www.volunteermatch.org">VolunteerMatch.org</a> can help connect you to the causes near and dear to your heart. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering">Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering</a>)</p> <h2>18. Spend Time With Pets</h2> <p>Animals can be an endless source of interest and entertainment for the people in their lives. Treat your dog or cat to a new toy and spend a little time helping them enjoy it. Don&#39;t have a pet? Consider adopting one from a shelter or pet sit for a friend.</p> <h2>19. Revisit Your Childhood Dreams</h2> <p>What do you want to do when you grow up? Try to recall how you answered that question as a child. Did you want to be a nurse, an artist, or used car salesperson? If you&#39;re not already living that five-year-old&#39;s dream, take some time to read about the career you would have picked for yourself.</p> <h2>20. Stop and Smell the Roses</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/inting-garden-5271047-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>When did you last spend time enjoying a rose bush, bed of hydrangeas, or a beautiful bouquet at the grocery store? Flowers have been evolving for over 100 million years to bring you their enchanting looks and inviting fragrances.</p> <h2>21. Don&#39;t Surf &mdash; Stumble</h2> <p><a href="http://www.stumbleupon.com">StumbleUpon</a> is a free web-based tool that helps you discover new sites, photos, and blogs. Just select what interests you, and StumbleUpon will suggest random related websites.</p> <h2>22. Repurpose Something</h2> <p>Add interest to your day, save money, and help the environment at the same time. Find an everyday object and envision another use for it. Brainstorm reuse ideas for typical throwaways like paper plates, coffee cups, and plastic bags. What new and useful creations can you make? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <h2>23. Say &quot;Bonjour! Ciao! Hallo!&quot;</h2> <p>Learn how to greet someone in a new language. It&#39;s quick and easy to acquire a few simple phrases like &quot;How are you?&quot; and &quot;Thank you&quot; in another tongue. Once you&#39;ve mastered some pleasantries, find someone to practice them with. You might make a new friend in a faraway place!</p> <h2>24. Switch Hands</h2> <p>Most people tend to prefer one hand over the other for writing and other manual tasks. If it&#39;s safe and practical, try writing a short note or doodling a simple picture with your other hand. See if you can master simple tasks using your non-dominant hand.</p> <h2>25. Realize That Today Really Is Interesting</h2> <p>Maybe today is &quot;National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day&quot; or &quot;Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day.&quot; <a href="http://www.checkiday.com/">Find out what&#39;s special about today</a> or learn about <a href="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history">what happened today</a> in history.</p> <p>You don&#39;t have to do anything extravagant to experience a little variety in your life. Let go of the reins a bit and see where the ride takes you. Meeting new people, finding a poem, or a reviving a dormant talent carry benefits that extend far beyond breaking out of the mundane.</p> <p><em>What will you do to make your life more interesting today?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-make-your-life-more-interesting" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Easy Ways to Make Your Life More Interesting" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development activities crafts hobbies self help self improvement Thu, 31 Oct 2013 10:36:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1062403 at http://www.wisebread.com 30 Great Side Jobs http://www.wisebread.com/30-great-side-jobs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/30-great-side-jobs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5548053540_c5629f418e_z.jpg" alt="dog and camera" title="dog and camera" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="193" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are thousands of side jobs out there these days, but they aren&rsquo;t necessarily created equal. Some are better than others, especially in terms of how much work you have to do compared to how much money you earn. These are a sample of the better side jobs you may be interested in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-side-jobs-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads">12 Side Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <h2>1. Tutoring</h2> <p>If you know a particular subject well, you can find many opportunities to tutor, both through employers and on your own. The best-paid tutors often specialize in helping with test preparation, particularly for graduate and professional exams.</p> <h2>2. Medical Testing</h2> <p>While there can be some serious side effects that can go along with being a medical test subject, there can also be some decent money. Do your research before agreeing to a particular trial and make sure that it won&rsquo;t interfere with your other obligations before signing the paperwork.</p> <h2>3. Pet Sitting</h2> <p>Not all pet owners prefer to put their pets in a kennel when they travel &mdash; some prefer that their pets get to stay home. Some pet owners even need someone to handle pet sitting duties (like walking the dog) when they&rsquo;re home. If you&rsquo;re fond of furry friends, such a side job could be a good fit.</p> <h2>4. Landscaping</h2> <p>Mowing lawns and handling other landscaping tasks is hard work, but if you just do it for a few people on the side, it can be a manageable workload. For anyone willing to do gardening, landscape design, or other specialized work, there&rsquo;s more money available.</p> <h2>5. Teaching</h2> <p>For anyone with a skill or an area of expertise, teaching can be a decent option. Don&rsquo;t just look at colleges for adjunct positions, though. Many different types of organizations will bring in a teacher to offer a specific class.</p> <h2>6. Bartending</h2> <p>Food service jobs in general are often suggested for side jobs, but bartending jobs are the cream of the crop. There are usually better tips, at the very least.</p> <h2>7. Catering</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to start a catering company of your own to land a side job with one. Many catering companies rely on part-time and seasonal help to staff events as needed. From waiting tables to cooking the food, caterers need lots of help.</p> <h2>8. Party Planning</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got the knack for putting on a great event, you may do well as a party planner. You can plan parties on your own, as well as check into companies that are hiring part-time help.</p> <h2>9. Photography</h2> <p>While it can take a while to build up a successful photography practice, especially if you want to get into a competitive field like wedding photography, many photographers bring in assistants to help with specific shoots on a routine basis. You can work your way up to establishing yourself on your own and earn some money along the way.</p> <h2>10. Virtual Assisting</h2> <p>For those of you with a background in business administration, you can offer your skills up to small businesses that need help. If you can do it online &mdash; and there are few business tasks you can&rsquo;t do online these days &mdash; someone will pay you to do it.</p> <h2>11. Performing</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s tough to make a living as a musician, but there can be some surprisingly lucrative gigs, particularly if you aren&rsquo;t trying to put your own music out there. There are plenty of events where the organizer wants live music, and if you can perform their favorite pieces, you can get paid.</p> <h2>12. Consulting</h2> <p>For professionals who have been in the game for a while, consulting on your area of expertise with different companies can be a great source of income. If you are currently working in the same field, though, double check to make sure that moonlighting doesn&rsquo;t violate your contract.</p> <h2>13. Advertising</h2> <p>There are all sorts of opportunities to make money, provided you don&rsquo;t mind being associated with the company doing the advertising. Some companies will pay people to put ads on their cars or wear specific T-shirts, while others are looking for sign spinners. As long as you&rsquo;re comfortable with the product, it can be a good opportunity.</p> <h2>14. House Sitting</h2> <p>You have to be absolutely trusted by anyone who will hand over the keys to their house and head to the airport. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig">House sitting</a> can be a good opportunity, although there aren&rsquo;t always big dollar signs attached to the job, but there are often other perks.</p> <h2>15. Transcribing</h2> <p>Despite what those ads for medical transcriptionists claim, there is skill required to become a transcriptionist. But it&rsquo;s a side job that you can train for in your spare time and, once you&rsquo;re up to speed, there are a lot of opportunities out there, especially if you specialize in medical or legal transcription.</p> <h2>16. Altering or Tailoring Clothes</h2> <p>There used to be plenty of places where you could get clothes altered to fit better. There&rsquo;s still a serious demand for such skills, especially during a time when people want to get as much wear out of their clothing as they can.</p> <h2>17. Providing Customer Service</h2> <p>Many companies rely on part-time customer service reps to handle phone calls, either from a call center or from their own homes. It may not be the most fun side job, but the work is steady.</p> <h2>18. Selling Cosmetics (or Other Products)</h2> <p>Selling Avon make up has been a way to make money on the side for years, and there are plenty of other companies that use the same methods to move their products. Serious salespeople can make a lot of money by selling these products, though it&rsquo;s not a good fit for everyone.</p> <h2>19. Caring for Children</h2> <p>From babysitting up to providing daycare, there are plenty of different opportunities out there for offering child care.</p> <h2>20. Freelancing</h2> <p>For a lot of creative professionals, freelancing is a logical way to make money on the side. There are many different types of freelancers, from writers to graphic designers to social media specialists.</p> <h2>21. Guiding Tours</h2> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t live in a place known as a tourist destination, there are lots of opportunities to lead tours, especially if you&rsquo;re willing to do the research to put them together yourself. Think about variations, like ghost tours or tasting tours, to expand your opportunities.</p> <h2>22. Providing Beauty Services</h2> <p>There are lots of part-time jobs in the beauty industry, especially if you have a knack for making other people look good. Just in hair care, different people can handle cutting, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dye-your-own-hair-without-a-beauty-disaster">dying</a>, braiding and more. In some places, some or all beauty-related jobs require licenses, so do your homework.</p> <h2>23. Delivering Items</h2> <p>Many different types of companies need delivery drivers, from pizza to furniture. It&rsquo;s just a question of finding a job that fits into your schedule.</p> <h2>24. Cleaning</h2> <p>While typical cleaning gigs don&rsquo;t pay as much as one might like, many specialized types of cleaning can pay much more. Using organic cleaners, tackling pet stains, or washing curtains &mdash; it&rsquo;s just a question of finding a niche.</p> <h2>25. Repairing Furniture</h2> <p>If you have the skills to restore a piece of broken furniture to its former glory, there are plenty of people who will pay you to do it. Some will even pay you to build custom original furniture, if that&rsquo;s more your thing.</p> <h2>26. Computer Troubleshooting</h2> <p>Technical skills are in great demand, especially among people who need occasional help with problems that seem too trivial to take to the store. If you&rsquo;re willing to provide some basic IT support, you can wind up with a lot of customers.</p> <h2>27. Personal Shopping</h2> <p>There are plenty of people who will happily pay someone to shop for them, both for everyday purchases like groceries, and for bigger things.</p> <h2>28. Crafting</h2> <p>The rising demand for handmade items has made it easy to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">make money from a variety of skills</a>. You can sell everything from scrapbooking skills to scarves &mdash; and there are even some companies that will now hire you directly so they can sell your work.</p> <h2>29. Cooking</h2> <p>There are a variety of cooking jobs these days that don&rsquo;t require you to ever set foot inside a restaurant. You can work as a personal chef, cooking up a week&rsquo;s worth of meals and delivering them to a customer, for instance.</p> <h2>30. Providing Handyman Help</h2> <p>Everyone needs a little help around the house sometimes, if only for those jobs that take two people. If you&rsquo;ve got the skills to take care of a building, you can find a lot of work.</p> <p><em>Have you ever held a side job? What was it?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-great-side-jobs" class="sharethis-link" title="30 Great Side Jobs" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Income hobbies part-time jobs side jobs stay at home jobs work at home jobs work from home Wed, 09 Jan 2013 11:36:29 +0000 Thursday Bram 961783 at http://www.wisebread.com Take One More Thing Seriously http://www.wisebread.com/take-one-more-thing-seriously <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/take-one-more-thing-seriously" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rocks-in-ocean.jpg" alt="Rocks in the ocean" title="Rocks in the Ocean" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When time and money are tight, it's natural to try to narrow down what you're trying to get done. I suggest experimenting with the reverse. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-engineer-the-best-time-of-your-life">Reverse Engineer the Best Time of Your Life</a>)</p> <p>You've probably done this. When you feel over-stretched, your first inclination is to pitch over a couple of things that are using whatever resource seems most burdened. Not just big things, like that volunteer gig that turned out to be way more work than you'd expected, but even things as small as a magazine subscription can find themselves on the chopping block when you're looking to free up a little money or a little time.</p> <p>It's not necessarily a bad strategy. If your problem really is that you're letting yourself be spread too thin, then it's the right thing to do. (There's good sense in the strategy of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-as-hedonism">voluntary simplicity</a>.) But a lot of people do this over and over again. They start with a list of the things that are supposed to be important &mdash; your family, your job, your health, your God &mdash; and then pare away anything that doesn't relate directly back to one of those priorities. And then, when their life still seems unbalanced, they do the same again. And again.</p> <p>If you've tried this a few times, and you're <em>still</em> feeling stressed and burdened, here's something to consider &mdash; maybe you're not trying to do too much. Maybe the solution to finding balance will not be found by subtracting yet another thing, but by adding one.</p> <p>Here's my suggestion &mdash; take one more thing seriously.</p> <ul> <li>Maybe it's something artistic &mdash; track down your watercolor brushes or start back up with the community theater group that used to be so much fun. Or, if your artistic inclinations are more toward appreciation than production, then go appreciate &mdash; check out the local music scene, attend a poetry slam, visit an art museum.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Maybe it's a hobby &mdash; go bird-watching, get out your old stamp collection, find out if there's a chess club in town.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Maybe it's something handy &mdash; woodworking or repairing classic cars.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Maybe it's something civic-minded &mdash; volunteering at a soup kitchen or getting involved with a community group that's working to improve the local bicycling infrastructure.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Maybe it's an activity &mdash; skiing or hiking or gardening or fishing or running.</li> </ul> <p>It should be something that fills a gap. Something that feeds your soul or exercises your body or stretches your mind in a different way than the stuff you're already doing can be regenerative.</p> <p>This is key &mdash; it needs to be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-the-most-of-your-guilty-pleasures">something that's important to you</a>. Just picking some hobby at random is unlikely to help. It needs to be something hefty enough to balance the other priorities in your life.</p> <p>The point is not to have another thing you need to do or another way to spend money. The point is that when you only have a couple of priorities in life, it's hard to keep them balanced. It's like a metaphorical washing machine. If your whole load is just one or two big things, it's bound to get unbalanced. You're not going to fix that by putting in a sock.</p> <p>At some point, it becomes counterproductive to try to achieve balance by pitching out stuff that's important to you. You achieve balance by, well, keeping the things that are important to you in balance. Part of that is taking them seriously, even the ones that aren't work or family.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/take-one-more-thing-seriously" class="sharethis-link" title="Take One More Thing Seriously" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks happiness hobbies work-life balance Wed, 26 Sep 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Philip Brewer 954726 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tactics for Relieving Work-Related Stress http://www.wisebread.com/5-tactics-for-relieving-work-related-stress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tactics-for-relieving-work-related-stress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/322659230_8cd3cd5c4a_z.jpg" alt="working at desk" title="working at desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While money concerns usually top work stress, time spent in the cubicle and on the clock has a way of grinding away at even the most well-balanced person's gears. If your workplace anxiety and anger require more than <a href="http://www.geeksugar.com/Fun-Stress-Relieving-Bubble-Wrap-Games-7169077">a bubble wrap session</a> try these healthy stress-relieving tactics.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Improve-Your-Work-Life-Balance-23367160">RELATED:&nbsp;Simple Steps to Improve Your Work-Life Balance</a></p> <h3>Decode Your Stressors</h3> <p>How can you combat the <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Your-Two-Cents-Whats-Your-Biggest-Stresser-Work-6348952">most significant workplace tension triggers</a>? Start by decoding the elements of your day and the tasks and projects you perform that set off your stress meter and how you can change them. If you're generally content with your position, focus on the positive during moments of dread and actively try to fall back in love with your job.</p> <p>When in doubt, take a walk around the block and consider talking to your manager about changing things up to keep you motivated and growing. If you experience anxiety all day, spend some time thinking about the bigger picture, your career options, and steps you will need to take to make a larger change.</p> <p>Study more of the <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Tips-Combating-Most-Common-Workplace-Stressors-7514821">most common workplace stressors</a>.</p> <h3>Focus on Your Strengths and What You Do Have</h3> <p>Margaret Wehrenberg, co-author of &quot;The Anxious Brain,&quot; <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/jobs/19career.html/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">has useful advice for how to cope</a> with financial stress and says, &quot;Think about what you&rsquo;ve got in the now. Today you&rsquo;re OK. Focus on what you have instead of what you don&rsquo;t have.&quot;</p> <p>Her suggestion to &quot;worry once and do it well&quot; is perhaps overly optimistic, though conquering anxiety with productivity (like meeting with a financial planner or updating your resume) is always a good idea and a proactive approach to managing finance and career stress can only help.</p> <h3>Clean Off Your Desk</h3> <p>A cluttered desk can clutter your mind. And a dirty desk is even worse. If you feel tensions rising <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Need-Cubicle-Cleanup-7193673">clean off your space and kill a few germs while you cool off</a>.</p> <h3>Find an Inexpensive and Healthy Way to Unwind</h3> <p>Keeping your head clear after a rough day at work isn't easy for anyone. It's crucial to let go of the workday blues when you leave the office by taking time for yourself, but the key is to not rely on retail therapy. Try <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Cheap-Ways-De-Stress-After-Work-7345807">SavvySugar readers' favorite tips</a>.</p> <h3>Get Away</h3> <p>Vacations can be <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Travel-Therapy-Prescribes-Trips-Your-Troubles-3103162">effective for clearing your head when the stress of every day becomes overwhelming</a>, and most importantly, they allow you to enjoy life without a schedule. Can't jet to Jamaica on the fly? Take a walk around the block. Plan a no-email Saturday. Schedule in &quot;me&quot; time.</p> <h3>What's Your Work-Related Stress Relief Tip?</h3> <p>We all have our own way of fighting through the stress. What's your surefire cure?</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don&#039;t let on-the-job stress ruin your day. Instead, follow these tips to help remain calm, centered, and happy, no matter what work throws at you. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Tips-De-Stress-Work-22310420">13 Ways to&nbsp;De-Stress During the Workday</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Buy-Happiness-23647317">How People Are Buying Their Happiness</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Exercise-Busy-Professionals-23464313">Exercise for Busy Professionals</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career and Income Personal Development crappy jobs de-stress hobbies relaxing Wed, 27 Jun 2012 10:36:09 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 936404 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Do You Save Money on Your Hobbies? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-on-your-hobbies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-on-your-hobbies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3337795296_8ce5dfed2a_z-1.jpg" alt="How Do You Save Money On Your Hobbies?" title="How Do You Save Money On Your Hobbies?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-on-your-hobbies#comment-533292"><em>Melissa Hansson</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-on-your-hobbies#comment-533253"><em>Alex J</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-on-your-hobbies#comment-533254"><em>Margaret Davis</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>If you have any free time after work or on the weekends, you probably have some sort of hobby you participate in to pass the time. Whether you are a guy who loves to work on his car, a beach fanatic who enjoys surfing, or a movie buff who must see the latest movie as soon as it comes out, your hobby probably costs you money. Chances are you have figured out how to keep your passion for your hobby alive without breaking the bank!</p> <p><b>How do you save money on your hobbies?</b><span style="font-weight:normal">&nbsp;Do you use discount sites? Buy previously used equipment? Or do you have other tricks to help you participate in your favorite hobby frugally?</span></p> <p>Tell us how you save money on your hobbies and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, May 7th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after May 7th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-money-on-your-hobbies" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: How Do You Save Money on Your Hobbies?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how you save money on your hobbies and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Ask the Readers hobbies hobby saving Tue, 01 May 2012 10:36:10 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 926044 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Dollar Store DIY Projects to Try Out http://www.wisebread.com/9-dollar-store-diy-projects-to-try-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-dollar-store-diy-projects-to-try-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013871671Small.jpg" alt="girl crafting" title="girl crafting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some <a href="http://www.casasugar.com/DIY" title="Latest photos and news for DIY">DIY</a> projects can get pricey because of the materials, but you can always keep your costs low if you stick to dollar store items! I recently spotted this cool site called <a target="_blank" href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/">Dollar Store Crafts</a> that has plenty of great ideas for what to do with your $1 goodies. Read on to find out some of my favorite dollar store projects.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Powder-Laundry-Detergent-22835913 ">RELATED: How to Make Detergent</a></p> <h2>Umbrella With Ruffles</h2> <p><img width="295" height="350" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Umbrella-Ruffles.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>To make the <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2009/11/ruffly-umbrella/">umbrella with ruffles</a>, purchase $1 shower curtain liners from your local dollar store to make cute ruffles, and sew them onto a plain umbrella you already have.</p> <p>Bonus points for you if you want to add a cute flower-like detail using an old button as the center of the flower and sewing on the ruffle around it.</p> <h2>T-Shirt Necklace</h2> <p><img width="526" height="350" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/T-Shirt-Necklace.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>There's plenty of cheap t-shirts you can find at the dollar store, and if you find one in a color you love, you can consider making this <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2011/01/diy-fashion-blooming-bib-recycled-t-shirt-necklace/">flowery bib necklace</a> out of the T.</p> <h2>Japanese Lantern</h2> <p><img width="232" height="350" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Japanese-Lantern.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Make this <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2011/03/japanese-lantern-tutorial/">Japanese-style lantern</a> out of manila folders, bamboo chopsticks or wooden skewers, and colored tissue paper, rice paper, or textured paper.</p> <h2>Egg Pendant Lamp</h2> <p><img width="350" height="350" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Egg-Pendant-Lamp.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Make an <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2011/04/make-an-egg-pendant-lamp/">egg pendant lamp</a> with oversized plastic eggs (courtesy of Easter) from the dollar store, battery-operated tea lights, and some string.</p> <h2>Spring Table Runner</h2> <p><img width="234" height="350" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Spring-Table-Runner.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2010/03/spring-table-runner-out-of-dish-towels/">Spring table runner</a> was made out of dish towels from the dollar store. All the crafter did was use leftover cloth to stitch on some flowers and sewed together three dish towels to make this runner.</p> <h2>Flower Brooch</h2> <p><img width="500" height="333" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Flower-Brooch.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Make an <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2010/10/make-an-oversize-flower-brooch/">oversized flower brooch</a> from The Original Shammy, a dollar store staple.</p> <h2>Shabby Chic Hooks</h2> <p><img width="252" height="350" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Shabby-Chic-Hooks.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Buy plastic hooks from the dollar store and stick faux metal embellishment tags on them. Then paint them with some acrylic paint, and you have your <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2010/04/make-shabby-chic-hooks/">shabby chic hooks</a>!</p> <h2>Tiled Mirror</h2> <p><img width="380" height="350" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Tiled-Mirror.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>To get this beautiful <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2012/02/tutorial-pb-inspired-tiled-mirror-for-10/">tiled mirror</a>, piece together nine framed mirrors from the dollar store.</p> <h2>Beaded Chandelier</h2> <p><img width="234" height="350" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/Beaded-Chandelier.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Get some hanging baskets from the dollar store as well as some Mardi Gras-style beads to create this lovely <a href="http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2010/05/make-a-beaded-chandelier/">beaded chandelier</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Get your craft on for less with these fun and inexpensive projects for accessories, home decorations, and more. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Reusing-Hotel-Amenities-21860840">8&nbsp;Cool Things to Do With Hotel Amenities</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Customize-Ikea-Furniture-21602743">5 Ideas to Make Your Ikea Furniture Look&nbsp;High-End</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Organizing-Craft-Materials-22294390">10 Ideas to Organize Your&nbsp;DIY&nbsp;Materials</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY crafts dollar store hobbies things to do Mon, 30 Apr 2012 10:24:07 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 926045 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Awesome, Useful Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-awesome-useful-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift-94097581_0.jpg" alt="gift" title="gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&#39;re like me, you want to give something <em>useful</em> to the people on your list. Here are my ideas for 25 useful yet awesome gifts for almost anyone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving?ref=seealso">31 Gifts That Keep On Giving</a>)</p> <h2>1. Classes</h2> <p>Research says that we <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-money-really-can-buy-happiness">value experiences more than stuff</a> &mdash; why not give an experience that also teaches a lasting skill? From cooking to comedy, knitting to karate, the gift of a class can have long-lasting benefits.</p> <h2>2. Coffee Maker</h2> <p>Even if the person you&#39;re shopping for already has a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-coffeemakers">coffee maker</a>, this can still be a great gift. Upgrade their coffee by downgrading their maker from a traditional drip machine to a method that&#39;s known for great-tasting coffee, such as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/french-press-coffee">French press</a> or <a href="http://www.chemexcoffeemaker.com/">Chemex</a>.</p> <h2>3. Food</h2> <p>Food is delicious and, well, necessary to live. I&#39;d say that makes it useful. Give a gift of something your friend likes but rarely buys for herself, such as a nice jar of olives or mustard.</p> <h2>4. Socks and Underwear</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holusegift-160888132-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I know they&#39;re often considered synonyms for &quot;boring gift,&quot; but the older I get, the more I appreciate new socks and underwear. I tend to wait a little longer than I should to throw out old socks and underwear, and an influx of new always makes me sort through my drawers and toss the old stuff.</p> <h2>5. Books</h2> <p>This should be pretty self-explanatory. And don&#39;t think that books just means new books &mdash; used books can make great gifts too. Look for an old edition of someone&#39;s favorite book, or put a few used cookbooks in a gift basket with some...</p> <h2>6. Kitchen Tools</h2> <p>There are tons of useless kitchen devices out there &mdash; you already have a darn quesadilla maker; it&#39;s called a pan and spatula. But there are also plenty of useful items that are fun to give and super useful. A few of my favorites include silicone muffin/cupcake wrappers (no more paper to throw away!), bowls with measurements written on them, and the one tool I always have to mention in an article about cooking &mdash; a really <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-chefs-knives">good chef&#39;s knife</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-holiday-gifts-for-home-cooks?ref=seealso">20 Great Gifts for Home Cooks</a>)</p> <h2>7. Bath and Body&nbsp;Products</h2> <p>My mom is great with this one. I buy myself soap, obviously&nbsp;(I hope that&#39;s obvious &mdash; I swear, I keep clean). But come Christmas, my mom almost always gives me some lovely, organic soaps in my favorite scents like mint.</p> <h2>8. A Magazine Subscription</h2> <p>&quot;A gift that keeps on giving&quot; is a tired cliche, but it&#39;s true when it comes to magazines. Which, incidentally, can be found for crazy cheap rates. Check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bestdeals">daily deals</a>, which frequently feature magazine subscriptions as low as $4 for a full year.</p> <h2>9. A Haircut</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holusegift-hair-4277210-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I really appreciate a decent haircut, especially as a curly haired lady. But I don&#39;t go to salons frequently because they can be darn expensive. A gift certificate to a salon &mdash; or even an actual haircut if you&#39;re deft with scissors &mdash; is an indulgent, useful gift that can boost self-esteem.</p> <h2>10. Paying Regular Bills</h2> <p>There are many regular services that we have to go out of our way to deal with &mdash; it&#39;s annoying that we have to pay for them too. If you&#39;re a parent feeling generous with your cash-strapped college kid, this could take the form of paying for your child&#39;s phone bill for a month. Or go the extra step and not only pay for an oil change, but actually take your friend&#39;s car to the lube joint.</p> <h2>11. Music</h2> <p>Whether it&#39;s &quot;old-fashioned&quot; CDs, an iTunes gift card, a <a href="http://www.spotify.com">Spotify</a> Premium account, or something else, music is a gift people can enjoy over and over.</p> <h2>12. Plants</h2> <p>They look nice, they <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">keep the air fresh</a>, and depending on what you get, they can even provide food. Hearty herbs like chives or an aloe plant are always good bets.</p> <h2>13. Babysitting</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holusegift-kid-brother-4312325-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Help out parents by offering yourself for babysitting, or ask your favorite babysitter if she&#39;d be willing to provide a voucher for childcare.</p> <h2>14. Organization Tools</h2> <p>It&#39;s true &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-will-never-make-you-organized">stuff won&#39;t make you organized</a>.&nbsp;But it can help. Thrifted baskets, vintage Tupperware, and similar items can make cute, useful gifts...as long as you aren&#39;t trying to passive-aggressively suggest that your friend is too messy.</p> <h2>15.&nbsp;Placemats and Other Kitchen Linens</h2> <p>Like with bath and body supplies, this is another area where I find that frugal people often don&#39;t want to spend money on themselves. Pretty, colorful floursack towels, a tablecloth, or placemats are useful and can help brighten up a kitchen.</p> <h2>16. Athletic Supplies</h2> <p>Foster a love of fitness with a bicycle, skates, a baseball glove, a pedometer, or even something as simple as a Frisbee.</p> <h2>17. A Camera</h2> <p>I know many of us have cameras on our phones. But for those who don&#39;t &mdash; or who value photography beyond what a phone can do &mdash; a camera is a great gift. It provides a hobby and a way to remember great experiences. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-dslr-cameras?ref=seealso">The 5 Best DSLR Cameras</a>)</p> <h2>18. Photos and Frames</h2> <p>Every time I want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-display-your-art">display a photo</a>,&nbsp;I&#39;m shocked by how expensive frames are. Photos of loved ones set in a nice frame is a great gift.</p> <h2>19. Hobby Supplies</h2> <p>These can be for an existing hobby or a hobby a person might want to start. If you have a skill like knitting or cooking, you can bundle together a couple of supplies with an expert lesson from you. It&#39;s a great gift and an excuse to hang out.</p> <h2>20. Cleaning</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/holusegift-cleaning-3735519-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I know about two people who really <em>like</em> to clean. For everyone else, having someone else clean their house &mdash; or even just one room &mdash; is a great gift.</p> <h2>21. Clothes</h2> <p>Hopefully I don&#39;t need to tell you that clothes are useful &mdash; even if you don&#39;t like them, you have to go out in public <em>sometimes</em>. If you know your giftee well enough to buy something they&#39;d actually wear, this can be a great route.</p> <h2>22. A Nice&nbsp;Glass</h2> <p>If you know someone who enjoys a particular drink, your first thought might be to get them a bottle. But giving them one or two nice glasses appropriate to the beverage is another way to support their interest. This gift isn&#39;t just for people who like wine or spirits, either &mdash; Beer Advocate has a nice breakdown of <a href="http://beeradvocate.com/beer/101/glassware">glassware for beer</a>.</p> <h2>23. Coasters</h2> <p>Speaking of those glasses...keep someone&#39;s furniture safe from that glassware with fun, functional coasters. There are tons of coasters you can make, including <a href="http://diybydesign.blogspot.com/2012/03/tumbled-marble-coasters-tutorial.html">tumbled marble coasters</a> and these <a href="http://www.bethanyreynolds.com/coasters.html">coasters that fit on wine glasses</a>.</p> <h2>24. Tools</h2> <p>Fuel a (metaphorical) DIY&nbsp;fire with tools. If your child has just moved into his first apartment, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/screwdrivers-to-saws-stocking-your-first-toolbox">starter toolbox</a> is great (and you might be able to get everything you need for one by hitting a few estate sales). For homeowners who like to take remodeling into their own hands, look to tools that they&#39;d use often enough to justify owning them instead of just renting or borrowing.</p> <h2>25. Money Towards Something</h2> <p>Money is always useful. It can be fun if you attach it a specific purpose &mdash; a fun goal that your giftee is trying to reach, whether it&#39;s a trip, a down payment on a house, or even just dinner at a nice restaurant.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite useful gifts?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Awesome, Useful Gifts" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Shopping affordable gifts hobbies simplicity tools Mon, 23 Apr 2012 10:36:08 +0000 Meg Favreau 911560 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Frugal Ways to Battle Boredom http://www.wisebread.com/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bored_girl2.jpg" alt="Bored girl" title="Bored girl" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="162" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If I have a free day with absolutely nothing to do, my first impulse is often to go shopping. I could just take a walk, window shop, and peruse my favorite stores without feeling the need to buy a thing. Unfortunately, my wallet is no shrinking violet.</p> <p>The good news is that there are a lot of great ways to battle boredom and keep your spending under wraps. And you don&rsquo;t even have to resort to doing laundry or balancing your checkbook (although that&rsquo;s not a bad idea either). Here are a few of my frugal (and 100% fun) favorites. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mommy-im-bored-25-frugal-ways-to-beat-summer-bordeom">Mommy, I'm Bored: 25 Frugal&nbsp;Things to&nbsp;Do With Kids</a>)</p> <h3>1. Find Friends</h3> <p>If you have good company, you&rsquo;ll never be bored. Seek out a good friend and spend some time catching up.</p> <h3>2. Make a Theme</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve held a few parties, and the best ones always have a theme. So pick a theme you think you and your friends can get into, and invite a crowd over to celebrate the 80s, ugly Christmas sweaters, or any other theme that makes you smile. If it goes over well, make it an annual function. Better still, make it BYOB (bring your own beer). Check out some <a href="http://www.celebrations.com/themeparty">unique party ideas</a>.</p> <h3>3. Cook a Feast</h3> <p>Have you ever cracked open Julia Child&rsquo;s <em>Mastering the Art of French Cooking</em>? Many of those recipes take hours to prepare, but if you have time on your hands it&rsquo;s a great opportunity to put together the kind of meal you&rsquo;d find at a fancy restaurant &mdash; for less than you&rsquo;d pay at a greasy spoon.</p> <h3>4. Take a Nap</h3> <p>I can&rsquo;t say there&rsquo;s anything that makes me happier than taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon. Studies suggest that many people don&rsquo;t get enough sleep. This is your chance to catch up! Plus, a short nap is one of life&rsquo;s great (and free) luxuries, and it can do wonders to reduce stress and increase alertness.</p> <h3>5. Take a Short Trip&nbsp;</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m often amazed by how many parts of my city I rarely visit or have never even seen. If you have time to kill and feel like getting out, go for a drive or ride your bike to an area you&rsquo;re unfamiliar with. If you&rsquo;re lucky, you&rsquo;ll find a new store, park, or coffee shop you can make plans to visit again.</p> <h3>6. Read a Book</h3> <p>A good book &mdash; or even a trashy magazine &mdash; can transport you anywhere you want to go. Pick out a few good volumes at the library, then spend an hour or two curled up in your favorite chair.</p> <h3>7. Do Something You&rsquo;ve Always Meant to Do</h3> <p>Many people have a &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-bucket-list-look-back-before-looking-forward">bucket list</a>,&rdquo; but it often consists of big-ticket items such as traveling, running a marathon, or learning a language. You may be able to begin to tackle some of these in your down time, but if not, consider having a mini bucket list of simple activities you&rsquo;re always meaning to do, but haven&rsquo;t gotten around to.</p> <h3>8. Write a Story</h3> <p>More than a 100,000 people run a Google search on how to become a writer each month. If you&rsquo;re harboring a desire to put pen to paper, skip the search and start putting your thoughts on paper.</p> <h3>9. Visit an Ethnic Food Store</h3> <p>Visiting a local ethnic food store will introduce you to a whole new world of foods you may never have even heard of and provide you with key ingredients to cook some authentic cuisine from another part of the world. It&rsquo;s way cheaper &mdash; and way more fun &mdash; than takeout.</p> <h3>10. Call Your Mother (Father, Grandmother, Great Aunt)</h3> <p>A busy day-to-day life can often get in the way of relationships. If you&rsquo;ve been thinking of someone, give that person a call and find out how they&rsquo;re doing.</p> <h3>11. Play at the Park</h3> <p>I&rsquo;m about 20 years past my prime park-playing days, but I don&rsquo;t let that stop me from taking a ride on the swings now and then. If you think you&rsquo;re too old for the park, bring some kids &mdash; they&rsquo;ll provide encouragement.</p> <h3>12. Indulge Your Dog</h3> <p>The dog park is one of my favorite places in the world. Give a dog some space to run, and it will respond with pure, unadulterated, tongue-lolling joy. Sometimes, it does the same for me (minus the tongue).</p> <h3>13. Learn an Old-Time Skill</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s getting increasingly hard for many people to imagine, but there was a time before <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/massive-list-of-things-to-do-while-watching-tv">TV</a>, which can often become crutch we use to make time pass rather than spend it doing something we enjoy. Consider taking up an old-time hobby such as knitting, collage, listening to music, or playing cards. Some of these activities involve an initial investment, so start small to see how you like it.</p> <h3>14. Start Up an Old Hobby</h3> <p>The older I get, the more I feel like doing the things I loved when I was a kid. Maybe you collected stamps, built model airplanes, or played guitar. Whatever it was, think about some of the hobbies that made you happy in the days when you had nothing but time.</p> <h3>15. Play a Board Game</h3> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t played a board game lately, you might think they&rsquo;re a thing of the past. No so. In fact, manufacturers are coming up with new games all the time, and you&rsquo;ll find that most of your old favorites are still available too. Check out the list of <a href="http://www.topboardgame.com/best-selling-board-games">best-selling board games in 2011</a> for some ideas. These games can be pricey, but they last for years. Choose one you love, and invite your friends to play rather than going for dinner. It&rsquo;ll pay for itself in no time.</p> <p>The opposite of earning money doesn&rsquo;t have to be spending it. The next time you&rsquo;re feeling bored, look for a way a valuable way to spend your time, rather than spending your money. And, if I&rsquo;ve missed your favorite cure for boredom, send it my way &mdash; I&rsquo;d love to hear them!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Frugal Ways to Battle Boredom" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment boredom frugal fun hobbies things to do Thu, 26 Jan 2012 11:36:15 +0000 Tara Struyk 877203 at http://www.wisebread.com The Many Benefits of DIY http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-benefits-of-diy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-many-benefits-of-diy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sewing2.jpg" alt="Woman with a sewing machine" title="Woman with a sewing machine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I will be the first to admit that the I'm not a good handyman. I'm not proficient with anything that has to do with my hands other than, well, typing. But even for someone like me, DIY has its place. This is especially true when it comes to money-related matters. Here are five reasons why you need to learn how to do-it-yourself every once in a while. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes&nbsp;You&nbsp;Should Stop&nbsp;Paying Others For</a>)</p> <h3>DIY Costs Less Money (Most of the Time)</h3> <p>And it's not just because of the labor cost. When you know how to do things yourself, you understand the intricate details of what makes a high-priced product or service costly. Once you have this understanding, then you have the knowledge to&nbsp; choose what is important to you, saving money while getting something that will truly serve your needs. Take a home remodeling project, for example. A major expense is the appliances that you choose. The price difference between ultra-high-end and high-end products can be thousands of dollars. If you have the knowledge to know that the lower-priced option will work find for you, you can use the rest of the money to remodel the more of your house.</p> <h3>Learning Something New Is Fun and Fulfilling</h3> <p>Completing a DIY project gives you one of the most satisfying feelings anyone can have. And when you are happy, you can avoid the spending temptations that would fill an emotional void. Say good bye to your midlife crisis!</p> <h3>Your Pursuit for Improvement Gives You a Chance to Meet New People</h3> <p>As you dive deeper into DIY, you will find like-minded individuals, whether it's at classes you attend or local get togethers arranged through online forums dedicated to your craft. Over time, some of the wonderful people you meet will surely become friends.</p> <h3>You May Even Be Able to Charge for Your New Skill</h3> <p>Many people come up blank when they are trying to think of ways to earn more money. If this is you, then you might want to start developing a skill to improve your income.</p> <p>Having a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-everyone-needs-side-income">side hustle</a> is great not only because you can possibly earn side income, but you will also be less afraid of a layoff if you have more income diversity. Not being afraid of losing your job might help you speak out more and be more assertive, character traits that could help with getting a promotion.</p> <h3>DIY Gives You More Options in Retirement</h3> <p>Having DIY skills is perfect for retirement. For starters, you might find a way to use your expertise to bring in additional income, helping you achieve your retirement goal faster and allowing you to retire earlier. Even if you don't plan to charge for your skill, you might find retirement more enjoyable as you spend a good portion of your day enjoying your DIY passion.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-benefits-of-diy" class="sharethis-link" title="The Many Benefits of DIY" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY hobbies learning a new skill side jobs Tue, 24 Jan 2012 10:36:20 +0000 David Ning 872547 at http://www.wisebread.com Audit-Proof Your Hobby Business http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/audit-proof-your-hobby-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-audit-proof-your-hobby-business" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-audit-proof-your-hobby-business</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/audit-proof-your-hobby-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013596000Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/audit-proof-your-hobby-business" class="sharethis-link" title="Audit-Proof Your Hobby Business" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>People who start a business as <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/10-artists-explain-how-they-became-art-entrepreneurs-1" target="_blank">a sideline job</a> are called &ldquo;second job entrepreneurs&rdquo; by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nobody knows exactly how many people fall into this category, but there are likely millions. Second-job entrepreneurs do so to earn extra money or because they enjoy the work. But a sideline business costs can introduce some difficult tax situations.</p> <h2>Audit Risk</h2> <p>If you have a sideline business that&rsquo;s separate from your job or main business and your expenses exceed the income from your sideline activity, you face a special tax challenge from the IRS under the &ldquo;hobby loss rule.&rdquo; This rule limits write-offs from the sideline activity.</p> <p>While there&rsquo;s no absolute way to avoid an audit of your sideline activity, there are things you can do to minimize your chances of being selected for audit as well as ensuring a happy outcome if you are audited. Understand what the rule is and what you can do to escape its application to your sideline activity.</p> <h2>Impact of the Hobby Loss Rule</h2> <p>The tax law says that if you engage in an activity with no profit motive, it is considered to be a hobby. As such, expenses from the activity in excess of income from the activity cannot be deducted. They are lost and gone forever. There&rsquo;s more.</p> <ul> <li>Expenses (up to the amount of income) are deductible only as miscellaneous itemized deductions. This means they are deductible (1) only if you itemize; and (2) only if they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.</li> <li>Expenses that are claimed as a deduction are not allowed for alternative minimum tax (AMT) purposes. The AMT is a tax affecting about four million taxpayers, and anyone with a hobby activity may find themselves subject to the tax, or paying more because of their activity.</li> <li>You cannot deduct your medical insurance as an adjustment to gross income even though the coverage relates to your sideline activity. The insurance is only deductible as an itemized medical expense.</li> </ul> <h2>Profit Motive</h2> <p>The hobby loss rule does not apply if you have a reasonable expectation of making a profit from the activity. Clearly, you don&rsquo;t have to give a guarantee to the IRS or anyone else that you&rsquo;ll be successful; in business there are no guarantees. But you can&rsquo;t operate solely for personal reasons, without regard to financial considerations.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there&rsquo;s no bright line for determining whether you have a profit motive. Your word alone isn&rsquo;t good enough. There are two ways to show the IRS you mean business:</p> <ul> <li><b>Rely on a presumption</b>. If you can show that you&rsquo;re profitable in three out of five years (two of five years for certain horse-related activities), the IRS will assume you had a profit motive all along, even though you had some loss years. To use this presumption, you have to file a form (IRS Form 5213) for the first year of your business. This delays any IRS audit until the end of five years.</li> <li><b>Demonstrate motive</b>. Instead of asking that the IRS not examine you for five years, simply operate as if you have a profit motive. Then, if you&rsquo;re ever selected for audit, you&rsquo;ll show that your activity is a business and not just a hobby.</li> </ul> <h2>Audit Protection</h2> <p>Here are some ways to protect yourself:</p> <ul> <li><b>Form a C corporation</b>. A regular corporation is not subject to the hobby loss rule; all other types of business entities, including Schedule C businesses, limited liability companies, and S corporations, need to be concerned about the hobby loss rule if they&rsquo;re not profitable.</li> <li><b>Don&rsquo;t rely on the presumption</b>. Filing Form 5213 <i>guarantees </i>that the IRS will examine your returns for all of the years in the presumption period, so don&rsquo;t use it.</li> <li><b>Operate your activity like you mean business</b>. This means keeping good books and records and maintaining a separate business bank account and credit card (apart from your personal finances or those of any other business). Have a business plan. Apply analytics to your performance. Work with professionals and continually try to achieve or improve profitability. No single factor shows a profit motive, but taken together they can demonstrate that you&rsquo;re running a business and not a hobby if you are selected for audit.</li> </ul> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re up for some &ldquo;light reading,&rdquo; you can view the factors that the IRS uses to determine a profit motive by checking the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=208400,00.html" target="_blank">IRS guide</a>. This is the guide used by IRS auditors for hobby loss challenges. Also work with a CPA or other tax advisor to help you stay off the IRS&rsquo; radar or to be successful if the IRS challenges your deductions.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/barbara-weltman">Barbara Weltman</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Income Small Business Resource Center hobbies hobby business hobby business taxes sideline business taxes sideline businesses small business Fri, 12 Aug 2011 18:22:53 +0000 Barbara Weltman 648830 at http://www.wisebread.com Metal Detecting for Beginners: Patience and Profit http://www.wisebread.com/metal-detecting-for-beginners-patience-and-profit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/metal-detecting-for-beginners-patience-and-profit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebreadmetaldetecting.jpg" alt="Man Metal Detecting" title="Man Metal Detecting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a kid, the majority of my tenth and eleventh years were spent poring over treasure hunting magazines. I was a budding archeologist, coin collector, historian, and ghost-town adventurer wrapped into one junior-sized Indiana Jones. When I realized there was a device available that could turn any backyard into a potential dig site, I had to have one. I honed in on my parents&rsquo; own proclivities toward antiquing, collecting, and exploring to make my case. I petitioned them for a metal detector like most other kids my age begged for a new bike or skateboard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reselling-antiques-the-five-principles-of-power-picking">Reselling Antiques: The Five Principles of Power Picking</a>)</p> <p>Since my record of past requests was fairly modest and I tended to take very good care of my things, the folks indulged me. I was the proud owner of a brand new Garrett Groundhog detector by the time I was 12. Fast forward 30 years and I&rsquo;m still detecting &mdash; still finding small treasures and great joy in this curious pastime.</p> <p>Metal detecting is often misunderstood by the general public. It&rsquo;s typically a solitary activity that most people look upon with a mix of curiosity and comedy. We&rsquo;re a varied bunch, but we generally fall into four broad groups: the mineral hunter, the relic hunter, the beachcomber, and the coin shooter. Mineral hunters use their detectors to &ldquo;mine&rdquo; gold or locate other valuable minerals based on local geography. Relic hunters look for artifacts, not necessarily coins or jewelry (think Civil War enthusiasts looking for Confederate belt buckles or musket balls). Beachcombers are looking for anything of value &mdash; modern coins, jewelry, etc. Coin shooters focus on older, more valuable U.S. coinage. Dimes and quarters produced before 1965 contain silver, while the same coins produced after 1964 are &ldquo;clad&rdquo; (comprised of baser metals like zinc and copper). But whatever category a detectorist falls within, he&rsquo;s a treasure hunter through-and-through. As hobbies go, there are few others that can combine sunshine, fresh air, and moderate exercise with a dash of adventure and the potential for profit.</p> <p>Yes, metal detecting can be profitable, but that profit is driven by research, networking, common sense, dedication, and &mdash; of course &mdash; a little luck. For most detectorists, every hour working a site is the result of 3-4 hours of research and scouting.</p> <p>As a coin shooter, I look for clues all around me to determine where people once gathered because &mdash; much like today &mdash; where people go, coins get lost. I know that the biggest tree in the old city park was probably where most folks gathered on a hot summer day. I know the open field next to the pre-war schoolhouse was most likely the baseball field or playground. Like all old coin hunters, I read the remnants of stone foundations like fortune tellers read tea leaves.</p> <p>And then I wait. Metal detecting is an exercise in patience and persistence. Like most things in life, the rewards are hard won. Sites get hit by other hunters and become tapped out, remote areas get overgrown, and I&rsquo;m always fighting the weather. But even on perfect days with the freshest location, successful detecting takes a zen-like calmness and steely determination. Hours might go by with no finds, junk finds, or just a few average finds (Wheat Pennies, post-1964 clad coins, etc). On particularly rough hunts, it seems like I&rsquo;m in the business of professionally recovering rusty bottle caps and old nails.</p> <p>But then there are those rare moments &mdash; unmatched by few things in modern life &mdash; when I pull something of real value out of the dirt. That gleam of a silver Mercury Dime (1916-1945) or better yet, a Barber Quarter (1892-1916) snaps me out of my stupor and reminds me why I devoted two hours finding the exact location of this old schoolyard and spent 45 minutes in the car to get here. I&rsquo;m immediately time-warped to the day that coin was lost, and I unearth it with something close to reverence. On particularly good days, I might pull two or three of these &quot;silvers&quot; from their hiding places. Once, last summer, after hearing my detector&rsquo;s familiar beep, I found a perfect 1865 silver dime just lying in the grass &mdash; no digging required. Those are the moments that keep all detectorists going.</p> <p>For beginners, information is everything. A great online resource is <a href="http://gometaldetecting.com/">GoMetalDetecting.com</a>. This site is filled with useful tips, tutorials, and motivational stories from other treasure hunters. I&rsquo;ve found that the most successful detecting is driven by three primary considerations: your knowledge/research, your equipment, and your understanding of detecting &ldquo;etiquette.&rdquo; Solid research can compensate for a lower-grade detector, but even the best detector won&rsquo;t find treasure where there is none. For a mid-range machine, expect to pay $800 new, but used detectors can be scored on Craiglist or in the classifieds for $400-$600. Focus on machines that have good &ldquo;discrimination&rdquo; options (settings that allow the machine to reject lower-grade junk metals) and depth readings (letting you know how far down your target is). Physically try out any machine before you buy; it&rsquo;s important to understand how it fits your body and if the weight is appropriate for your frame and size.</p> <p>Detecting etiquette deserves special mention because it affects not only your safety, but the image of the entire hobby. Be sure to get permission before detecting on private property. Property owners will typically be more motivated if you take a collaborative approach and offer to share what you find. If you&rsquo;re interested in detecting at historic sites or protected public sites, permission will also be necessary &mdash; start by checking around at City Hall. Once you have permission, take a very controlled approach when digging. Any lawns that end up looking like a scene from <em>Caddyshack</em> will guarantee that no detectorist is granted permission again. A common dig method is to first pinpoint your target, then dig a plug 7-8 inches in diameter around it, leaving a small portion of the sod attached on one side. This creates a sort of &ldquo;hinge&rdquo; that you can pull up and replace easily once you&rsquo;ve retrieved the find. This approach also allows the grass to recover and leaves the area more aesthetically intact.</p> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve got the hang of it and established a rapport with your machine, the finds will come. Depending on your research and the time you can devote to hunting, the profits will come too. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-silver-naturally">Silver</a> is currently selling for just over $39 per ounce and a pre-1964 Washington quarter is worth about $7 today. I&rsquo;m sure by strict accounting, there are much more profitable ventures. Sure, the hours of research, the travel, the machine itself can eventually pay off, but these must all be fueled by something more than a profit motive. Without a love of history, without a true desire to jump off the modern-day treadmill for awhile, without that essential curiosity, detecting can often seem more tedious than profitable. But if you can see the larger picture and use detecting as a catalyst to become an armchair historian, amateur archeologist, numismatist, or explorer, the profits are limitless. Happy hunting!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/metal-detecting-for-beginners-patience-and-profit" class="sharethis-link" title="Metal Detecting for Beginners: Patience and Profit" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle antiques history hobbies Fri, 22 Jul 2011 09:48:09 +0000 Kentin Waits 626954 at http://www.wisebread.com Top 5 Economy Based Board Games that Make You Think http://www.wisebread.com/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/agricola.jpg" alt="Agricola" title="Agricola" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband and I have a fairly large collection of board games that we play in our leisure time.&nbsp; A good number of these games have an economic element that teach you to think carefully about how to invest your resources and best your opponents.&nbsp; Here is a list of my favorite economy based board games.</p> <p>First of all the following games belong to a big group of board games called&nbsp; Eurogames.&nbsp; This means that there is less conflict between players, less luck, and more strategy involved.&nbsp; The antithesis to Eurogames is what board game players fondly call &quot;<a href="http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/16485">Ameritrash</a>&quot;, which are games that involve a lot of&nbsp; rules, dice rolling, and all out bloody fights between players.&nbsp; Those who like to play a bit slower and think a bit more&nbsp; would enjoy the following games immensely.</p> <h2><strong>Agricola</strong></h2> <p>The premise of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001C7617Q?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001C7617Q">Agricola</a> is that you are a farmer in a little shack and you have to build up your farm with your family.&nbsp; You start with yourself and one other family member and then you have exactly 14 turns to make your farm as plentiful as possible with the basic available resources of wood, clay, reed, and stone.&nbsp; Eventually you can also increase your family size by having babies, and also grow food and livestock.&nbsp; This game is extremely interesting in that you have to formulate a slightly different strategy with every game you play since you are dealt a hand of possible occupations and improvements to your farm.&nbsp; You also have to balance the food production of your farm with the improvement of your farm because your family members have to be fed every few turns. Every game of Agricola is different, and you could also play a one player variant where you try to beat a high score.</p> <h2><strong>Puerto Rico</strong></h2> <p>I like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008URUT?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00008URUT">Puerto&nbsp;Rico</a> a lot because there is almost no luck involved. Everything you do depend on what other players do.&nbsp; Every player is a plantation owner that tries to build up the most valuable plantation in Puerto Rico while shipping goods from the plantation back to Spain&nbsp; for points.&nbsp; There are a set of occupations that the players can take every turn, and each occupation gives a certain bonus. Every player is then given an equal opportunity to do the actions of the occupation chosen.&nbsp; There is also a pile of money that can be saved to upgrade the plantation.&nbsp; You also have to manage your workers to get the best production results.&nbsp; My general strategy in this game is to save up a lot of money to buy the best buildings because they give the most bonus, but it also takes some work to build up a viable income stream.</p> <h2><strong> </strong><strong> Power Grid </strong></h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007YDBLE?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0007YDBLE">Power Grid</a> is a bit like Monopoly with power plants, but there is a much smaller element of luck.&nbsp; Every player is given 50 units of currency to start with, and then there is an auction for power plants.&nbsp; Each power plant has a different minimum bid and they use different resources to produce different amounts of power.&nbsp; Players also have to spend their money to buy resources and houses. The houses are placed on a map so there are also connection costs between the homes.&nbsp; Once all the purchasing is complete players can use the resources they bought to power the houses they bought.&nbsp; Each home that is powered generates more money.&nbsp; This game is great for illustrating the laws of supply and demand because the prices of the desirable power plants go up as players bid, and the prices of resources also go up as they are depleted.&nbsp; In the end of the game the player who powers the most houses wins, and in case of a tie the person&nbsp; with the most money wins.</p> <h2><strong> </strong><strong>Caylus</strong></h2> <p>I played <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BNFHBI?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000BNFHBI">Caylus</a> a bit less than the others games on this list, but it is quite fun with more than two people.&nbsp; The basic premise is that you are a serf to a king, and you try to win the king's favors by helping him build a castle.&nbsp; In the meantime you try to collect resources and money for points.&nbsp; You use your resources to build buildings in the kingdom and whenever another player uses a building you own you get a point.&nbsp; You also get points for building castle pieces and favors.&nbsp; Similar to Agricola, you have a limited number of workers to take certain actions, but you have to pay gold to take each action.&nbsp; So in the entire game you need to balance the amount of gold you earn with the amount of actions you take because if you use too many actions it is possible that you cannot do much the next turn.&nbsp; There is also a mechanic by which other players can screw up your plans by moving a marker that dictates where the actions end so you have to be wary of where you place your workers.</p> <h2><strong> </strong><strong>Le Havre</strong>&nbsp;</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001N815J8?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001N815J8">Le Havre</a> is probably the hardest one to master out of these five because there are a lot more types of resources to manage. You also have a lot of choices of actions to take with each turn so it is difficult to make a decision.&nbsp; It can be described as a combination of Puerto Rico and Agricola since it involves shipping goods, feeding workers, and also purchasing improvement buildings.&nbsp; Anyone can use the improvement buildings but some buildings require players to pay a cost to the building's owner.&nbsp; This is also a game where the person with the most points win in the end, but you have to manage your money and resources carefully along the way to produce the best results.&nbsp; This game could also be played single player.</p> <p>Every year there are new board games being published so I am sure that I will be able to add to this list in the future.&nbsp; I like these resource and money management themed games the best because they make you think of how to optimize an outcome with what little resources you have.&nbsp; Although these games are quite simple compared to the real world, I think&nbsp; you could definitely apply the basic principles in them to optimize and better your lives.&nbsp; These games are also great for teaching older children the basics of money and resource management.</p> <p><strong>Are you a fan of any of these board games?&nbsp; What's your favorite economy based game? </strong></p> <p><em>Disclosure: This post contains my Amazon affiliate links to the games. You could also get these games from your local game store and other reputable online retailers.&nbsp; The games in my list are fairly reasonably priced and most are below $50 unlike the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/theres-a-board-game-out-there-that-will-teach-you-to-be-rich-if-you-can-afford-it">recently mentioned Cashflow board game </a>which is in my opinion a money making scheme by the inventors.&nbsp; <br /> </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think" class="sharethis-link" title="Top 5 Economy Based Board Games that Make You Think" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Art and Leisure board games hobbies leisure Thu, 06 Aug 2009 13:00:25 +0000 Xin Lu 3472 at http://www.wisebread.com