gifts http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/35/all en-US Why Some Economists Say You Should Give Cash Instead of Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/why-some-economists-say-you-should-give-cash-instead-of-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-some-economists-say-you-should-give-cash-instead-of-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_origami_snowflake.jpg" alt="Money Origami snowflake" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If Christmas shopping gives you the blues, and you labor over the thought of selecting the best gifts to no avail, you now have permission to stop. That's right. &quot;Scroogenomics&quot; may provide the peace of mind you seek during this festive, gift-giving season. In this retelling of Charles Dickens' classic tale, the lesson is to give generously, but not the type of stuff that typically ends up wrapped in paper and bows. Cash is king in this version, and other types of gifts are deemed a waste of time and money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-ways-to-wrap-the-gift-of-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Fun Ways to Wrap the Gift of Cash</a>)</p> <h2>The reality behind &quot;Scroogenomics&quot;</h2> <p>Economist and University of Minnesota professor Joel Waldfogel coined the term in his 2009 book, <em>Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays</em>. The reason behind Waldfogel's anti-gift stance isn't because he dislikes his friends and family. He simply believes giving gifts is a colossal waste of money. In fact, he calls gift giving an &quot;orgy of wealth destruction.&quot;</p> <p>Waldfogel suggests that we waste our money by buying the wrong gifts, completely underwhelming the recipient with stuff they don't even want. For the unimpressed giftees among us, the thought actually doesn't count.</p> <p>According to Waldfogel's theory, we alone are the best judge of the products or services that bring us joy. Gift givers often miss the mark, thus gifts go underused and money is wasted. Waldfogel argues that gifts are best received when given to children or people that we know very well. &quot;With everyone else, we might be better off giving cash or gift cards,&quot; he writes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too</a>)</p> <h2>The solution: Give cash</h2> <p>Before you dismiss Scroogenomics as a cynical case of <em>bah humbug</em>, consider this. Annie Leonard, co-writer of the short film <em>The Story of Stuff</em>, shares that only 1 percent of the materials we use to produce consumer goods (including the items themselves) are still in use six months after purchase. That doesn't mean that 99 percent of those goods end up in the landfill. It does mean that 99 percent of the planet's resources that were consumed in the making of those goods were. Not only is your unwanted and underappreciated gift a big waste of money &mdash; it's a colossal waste of the world's resources.</p> <p>According to the National Retail Federation, American consumers will spend an average $967 on holiday gifts this year. If the vast majority of those gifts are just going to waste, wouldn't giving cash be a more appropriate use of your time, energy, and hard-earned resources? And considering the NRF found that 61 percent of recipients would actually<em> prefer</em> some type of gift card or certificate instead of an object, there's even less reason to believe that &quot;stuff&quot; is the ticket to a well-received present.</p> <p>Cash as a gift tends to feel less exciting and tangible these days, since money transfers can be done with the click of a button or through a smartphone. But, giving cash also doesn't have to include forking over a manilla envelope stuffed with bills. Your thoughtful cash gift can take many forms. For example:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Donate to a charity on behalf of a loved one. Think about a cause near and dear to the recipient's heart and share the gift in their name. Your donation is also tax deductible, so this gift is a win-win-win (be sure to save the receipt!). The environment will thank you, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-charities-you-can-trust-with-your-holiday-donations?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Charities You Can Trust With Your Holiday Donations</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>Open a savings or investment account for the recipient and stock that full of cold hard cash. This is the gift that literally keeps on giving. Can you say compound interest?</p> </li> <li> <p>Earmark the money for an outing or travel excursion that you and the recipient can plan together. These are memories that will last longer than the stuff destined for a landfill near you. Plus, who wouldn't love a free trip?</p> </li> </ul> <p>If your need to experience the warm fuzzies of gift giving won't allow you to simply give cash, compliment your cash gift with a craft. A money tree made of dollar bills or a folded-bill chain combine the joy of making something for your recipient, with the utility of giving cash. This way, everyone can enjoy the holidays and get exactly what brings them joy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-you-should-ask-for-cash-this-christmas?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons Why You Should Ask for Cash This Christmas</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/toni-husbands">Toni Husbands</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-some-economists-say-you-should-give-cash-instead-of-gifts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance cash clutter gifts Holidays material goods presents things unwanted gifts wasting money Mon, 11 Dec 2017 10:00:07 +0000 Toni Husbands 2068120 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gift_of_money_against a_defocused_background_and_christmas_lights.jpg" alt="Gift of Money against a Defocused Background and Christmas Lights" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays are here today, gone tomorrow &mdash; and it's easy to get caught up in a tinseled tornado of financial distress if you're not careful. Avoid that fate this season with these self-imposed goals on how to better manage your holiday budget. It'll help you start the New Year financially fresh and fancy-free.</p> <h2>1. Stop spending money on gifts people don't need</h2> <p>When planning out your holiday gift list, think long and hard about what those people on your list may want or need. Don't be afraid to ask them, either. I always ask friends and family if they have something specific in mind &mdash; and I staunchly believe in getting what they'll love and use, so long as it fits into my budget.</p> <p>Sometimes they provide solid ideas, and other times I get the ol' &quot;I don't need anything&quot; routine, even though they know good and well I'm going to buy them something anyway. (Way to help, Dad.) If you're unsure about a gift, or you feel like you're buying something just to buy it, think again. There's no reason to spend your money on something that will go unused, or even worse, be regifted.</p> <p>When in doubt, a gift card to a favorite store generally works well &mdash; and you should take advantage of the ubiquitous &quot;Spend $X in gift cards and get a $X gift card for free&quot; promotions that many retailers and restaurants offer during the holidays. Stretch that cash every way you can. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a>)</p> <h2>2. Stop spending money on people who don't need gifts</h2> <p>Does <em>everyone</em> you know need a gift? Will you even see the recipients this holiday season? Are you disproportionately spending money on the people you do buy for? If money is tight and you're stuck in a pattern of buying gifts because you feel obligated, stand up for yourself and put a stop to it.</p> <p>Several years ago, my brother, cousin, and a few of my best friends started churning out children left and right. I had to make the tough decision to cut the adults off my list. I couldn't afford to buy for everyone, so I chose the kids instead. I've never looked back on that decision with any regrets. I get to be the cool uncle who always gives the best presents &mdash; all while being able to save money despite that distinction.</p> <h2>3. Select, make, and &quot;buy&quot; gifts from stuff you already have</h2> <p>There's only one rule to regifting, in my opinion: Make sure the regift doesn't end up anywhere near the person who gave it to you in the first place. Bad form. Otherwise, please, regift items that were given to you that you haven't used (so long as they're still unopened and/or haven't expired). The same goes for unused items that you bought for yourself throughout the year (like clothing with the tags still on). Gift them to someone you think will appreciate them to help keep more money in your pocket.</p> <p>I'm also a big fan of making gifts by hand. For instance, I'm hosting a small dinner party in December, and I'm making my guests a little take-home gift consisting of a festive homemade body scrub, a hand-poured holiday candle, and a bottle of wine I've recently made from a kit.</p> <p>Simple, inexpensive, thoughtful &mdash; that's the name of the game. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>4. Concentrate on eliminating existing debt before racking up more</h2> <p>One of your top money goals this time of year should be focusing on debt you already have instead of racking up more buying gifts. That's not always easy to do during the holidays, but the due diligence will pay off.</p> <p>If you have existing credit card debt, try your best not to make only the minimum monthly payments. Instead, begin paying a bit extra toward the principal starting with the card with the highest interest rate. This repayment strategy (otherwise known as the debt avalanche) will save you the most money overall on interest payments. High interest rates are what's keeping you in debt, and the faster you reduce or pay these cards off, the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Make a list of gift recipients and assign a budget per person</h2> <p>I like to plan out my gift buying to the tee, because I know how bad I can be with impulse purchases around the holidays. You know what it's like: You plan to get your mom a nice perfume set, but then you see this great piece of jewelry on sale &mdash; and your entire budget unravels before your eyes.</p> <p>To combat this habit, I make an itemized list of what I'd like to buy for each person and assign a top-line budget based on the advertised retail price. And then I get to work. Before I make the final purchases, I scour my apps for cash-back deals, search the internet for promo codes, cash in my retailer rewards, and try to plan my in-store shopping around major sales. It helps that I get just about every circular and marketing email known to man &mdash; so I'm always abreast of what deals are going down &mdash; but you'll find equal savings with your own resourcefulness and research.</p> <p>The point of all this extra legwork is to drastically come in below the gifts' retail prices so you cannot only stay under budget but, in fact, walk away from the holidays a solid winner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a>)</p> <h2>6. Pay for gifts strictly from your holiday-spending envelope</h2> <p>Once you've made your itemized list of gifts and determined the overall budget, take out the cash from the bank, stick it in an envelope, and use only that money to buy gifts. There is no other alternative; this is all the money you have to spend, and you need to stick to this plan. If what you want to buy is online, consult your budget to make sure you're on track, then use your debit card. Then, immediately replace the deduction by making a deposit into your checking account so everything balances out. Yeah, it's old school &mdash; but it works.</p> <h2>7. Put any cash gifts you receive into savings or toward bills</h2> <p>Plan to put any holiday cash you receive from family members straight into your savings account or toward bills. This savings tactic isn't any fun &mdash; I understand &mdash; but you'll likely receive plenty of gift cards that you can spend instead that will help quell your urge to blow everything before the holidays even come to a close.</p> <h2>8. Shop with a buddy to keep each other away from impulse buys</h2> <p>I like shopping alone for several reasons. For starters, I don't have to wait on my companions and they don't have to wait on me, which, when shopping together, can really zap the relaxation out of my leisurely pace. Furthermore, I don't like people's opinions of my purchases or their comments about whether I really need this or that. It's my money, and I'll buy what I want.</p> <p>Except around holiday time.</p> <p>This is the time of year I like to employ the buddy system when shopping for the sole purpose of keeping each other focused on our lists and away from impulse buys. Because if my bestie can't smack my hand in public and tell me no, who can? That's what friends are for.</p> <h2>9. Lay the groundwork for 2018 and the future of your finances</h2> <p>There are a million things happening during the holidays, but that doesn't mean you can't look ahead and prepare yourself financially for the New Year. In fact, you owe it to yourself.</p> <p>Kevin Driscoll, VP of Advisory Services for Navy Federal Financial Group, agrees.</p> <p>&quot;If you're not already doing so, begin contributing to your 401(k),&quot; he says. &quot;Make 2018 the year of financial freedom in retirement by saving now. Check out the retirement plan your employer offers, and if they offer a match, be sure to take advantage of this.&quot;</p> <p>Also worth considering is investing in an online investment platform.</p> <p>&quot;You'll find that there are many sites that allow you to make minimal contributions to buy a portion of a stock,&quot; Driscoll continues. &quot;This is a great way to get your feet wet with investing and hopefully make some extra money, too. Additionally, these platforms are generally low maintenance, and don't require any prior knowledge of the market or investing.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Find ways to spend and save even smarter</h2> <p>Every year, one of your top resolutions should be to stay on top of your finances and to improve your own money management. How do you do that? That's really up to you, but it will require due diligence on your part. It could be as easy as subscribing to personal finance blogs so you'll receive the latest financial self-help articles in your inbox, or maybe you can enroll in a local course that will help you better understand your money and your relationship with it. Both of these tactics combined would be great, too.</p> <p>The point is, you should continue to educate yourself about how to spend and save smarter so you can achieve your goals and live a life free from the burden of debt. Easier said than accomplished, but people just like you do it on a regular basis. Invest in yourself and it will pay off eventually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year's</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Money%2520Goals%2520You%2520Should%2520Set%2520for%2520the%2520Holidays.jpg&amp;description=10%20Money%20Goals%20You%20Should%20Set%20for%20the%20Holidays"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Money%20Goals%20You%20Should%20Set%20for%20the%20Holidays.jpg" alt="10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending">5 Excuses We Need to Stop Making About Overspending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-some-economists-say-you-should-give-cash-instead-of-gifts">Why Some Economists Say You Should Give Cash Instead of Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgets cash Christmas deals debt gifts Holidays sales saving money shopping Spending Money Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 2053944 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Excuses We Need to Stop Making About Overspending http://www.wisebread.com/5-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/out_of_cash_lost money_being_broke_concept.jpg" alt="Out of cash, lost money, being broke concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being able to rationalize something that we know we shouldn't do is one of the things that humans are best at. Specifically, we do a fantastic job of coming up with reasons to explain away or excuse our overspending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-types-of-overspenders-which-one-are-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Types of Overspenders &mdash; Which One Are You?</a>)</p> <p>But no matter how clever you are in coming up with a great reason for maxing out your credit card, emptying your savings account, or otherwise living large on money you don't have, your overspending will catch up with you. That's why it's time to stop relying on these excuses for spending more than you can afford. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. &quot;I deserve it&quot;</h2> <p>After a long day at the office, you decide to swing by your favorite store, telling yourself you deserve a retail pick-me-up after all your hard work &mdash; even though you can't afford it. Or after finishing a major project, you go on a lavish vacation, courtesy of your credit card, because you deserve some time to unwind. Or when your old clunker finally gives out on you, you decide to lease a much more expensive car that will turn heads as you zoom past, because you deserve to have a ride that matches how fabulous you are.</p> <p>Buying something you can't afford may provide a temporary thrill that feels like a reward in the moment. But the debt associated with your splurge will soon begin to feel like a burden. Where's the reward in that?</p> <h3>End the excuse</h3> <p>If you think that you deserve things that you can't afford to buy, you've got it all backward. What you deserve is feeling less stress and more happiness. There are plenty of ways to reward yourself for hard work that don't involve spending money. Take time out from your routine to go for a walk with a friend, indulge in a favorite TV show, or simply count your blessings.</p> <p>Anytime you are struggling with the sense that you deserve something you don't have, take a moment to write a list of things you are grateful that you <em>do </em>have. This can help put the &quot;I deserve it&quot; excuse in context.</p> <h2>2. &quot;It's on sale&quot;</h2> <p>The fact that an item is cheaper than it could be is often an excellent excuse for buying it &mdash; at least according to our irrational brains. Unfortunately, retailers are onto this quirk of our thinking, and so they play any number of shenanigans with prices to make products seem like a good deal. This includes everything from artificially jacking up prices in order to be able to offer the items &quot;on sale,&quot; to offering unbeatable discounts that are delivered directly to your email inbox. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</a>)</p> <h3>End the excuse</h3> <p>There are two ways to deal with this excuse. The first is to simply avoid sales situations that will tempt you to overspend because of the low prices. According to a 2013 study in the <em>Journal of Personality</em>, the key to saying no to temptations is to avoid them. Maia Szalavitz reported on this study for <em>TIME</em>, writing &quot;[the highly self-disciplined] tended to avoid creating situations in which their goals would conflict, and reported fewer instances of having to choose between short-term pleasure and long-term pain.&quot;</p> <p>For those individuals who still struggle to avoid sales, there is another way to let go of this excuse for overspending. Ask yourself the following three questions about any sale item that tempts you to spend:</p> <ol> <li> <p>Do I need this item?</p> </li> <li> <p>Would I buy this item if it weren't on sale?</p> </li> <li> <p>Can I afford to buy this item?</p> </li> </ol> <p>Unless the answer to all three questions is an unqualified yes, put the item down and walk away.</p> <h2>3. &quot;I was going to buy it anyway&quot;</h2> <p>What if you do answer that you need an item on sale, even though you simply don't have the money for it right now? At that point, you can often rationalize purchasing the item because you're going to have to buy it anyway, so you might as well do so now.</p> <p>Unfortunately, we are very good at lying to ourselves about whether or not we truly did plan to buy something at some point in the future. I can recall a pair of adorable rain boots that I bought on a bright sunny day because I convinced myself that I was going to need them at some point soon anyway. But I had no immediate need for the boots, and I could have gone quite some time without them. I told myself I <em>needed</em> the boots simply because I <em>wanted </em>to buy them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h3>End the excuse</h3> <p>This excuse is a way of pretending that something you want is something you need. To help you navigate the difference between wants and needs, institute a waiting period for any unplanned purchases. When you see something that you are convinced you will buy anyway, commit to waiting at least 24 hours before you make the purchase. This will help you to separate the &quot;Wow, I want this now&quot; chaff from the &quot;OK, I'll need to come back for this later&quot; wheat.</p> <h2>4. &quot;I was good last month, so I can afford to splurge now&quot;</h2> <p>You've been depriving yourself by taking the bus instead of Ubering, choking down the office coffee instead of getting your morning latte, and even saying no to a pub crawl with friends &mdash; so now it's time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. You reason that you're allowed to go a little nuts, since you've already been so good for so long.</p> <p>The problem is that this mentality is similar to the excuses that dieters and exercisers use when they fall off the wagon. This excuse makes it clear that you see your underspending month (or month of dieting or jogging) as a kind of deprivation. If you think of underspending as good behavior that you can perform in order to get back to your usual program of overspending, you'll never be able to get ahead financially. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a>)</p> <h3>End the excuse</h3> <p>It's important for everyone to find a budget or spending plan that they can live with for the long term &mdash; one that does not feel like deprivation, but does allow you to live within your means. You can completely foil this excuse for overspending if you create a budget that still allows you to spend money on the things you care about most, while cutting the items that don't matter as much to you.</p> <p>When you have a financial life that you feel good about committing to long term, you will be able to end the thought process that encourages you to overspend after doing a great job of living within your means.</p> <h2>5. &quot;It's the holidays&quot;</h2> <p>It feels great to spend money to celebrate the holidays and give gifts to family and friends. And our brains can keep that great feeling going by convincing us that spending money on these things is a selfless act. After all, we just want to provide our loved ones with a memorable and happy holiday, which means we can put it all on a credit card and worry about the bill later. We're spreading holiday cheer, for heaven's sake!</p> <p>But there are real consequences to overspending for the holidays. Your loved ones would hate to see you feel overwhelmed by credit card debt or unable to save for the future because of the money you spent on showering them with gifts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-post-holiday-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Dealing With Post-Holiday Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>End the excuse</h3> <p>The best way to end this excuse is to recognize just what you are getting out of spending money on gifts, decorations, food, or other traditions. While you do want to create a lovely holiday memory for your family, you probably also love being known as the Christmas hostess with the extravagant brunch menu or the uncle who always has the best presents.</p> <p>Once you admit that you get something out of overspending on gifts or the holiday, you can start coming up with ways to get that same feeling without overspending. When you recognize that your spending isn't entirely selfless, it's much easier to come up with creative ways to evoke the magic of the season without giving your credit card a daily workout.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Excuses%2520We%2520Need%2520to%2520Stop%2520Making%2520About%2520Overspending.jpg&amp;description=5%20Excuses%20We%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making%20About%20Overspending"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Excuses%20We%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making%20About%20Overspending.jpg" alt="5 Excuses We Need to Stop Making About Overspending" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday">11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping buying excuses gifts Holidays overspending sales saving money Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2051157 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laughing_girl_with_falling_confetti_at_party.jpg" alt="Laughing girl with falling confetti at party" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember when the holidays were all about simple pleasures like spending time with family and exchanging modest gifts? Neither do I. Holidays have taken on a life of their own, turning otherwise reasonable folks into consumer zombies and blowing up the budgets of too many Americans. This year, let's celebrate simplicity and financial solvency. Here are the secrets to a debt-free holiday season.</p> <h2>1. Push back against &quot;holiday sprawl&quot;</h2> <p>Ever feel like the holidays come earlier, last longer, and require more gifts, more elaborate decorations, more money, and more travel? Let's call this endless expansion what it is &mdash; <em>holiday sprawl</em>. Fight back by embracing the idea of <em>enough</em>. Suggest (and stick to) reasonable spending limits and keep ballooning expectations in check. Your budget will thank you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-right-now-for-a-frugal-holiday-season?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things You Can Do Right Now for a Frugal Holiday Season</a>)</p> <h2>2. Shop early and shop around</h2> <p>Bright lights, big crowds, sales of the century &mdash; it's enough to make even the most levelheaded shopper lose control. Skip all the holiday madness by shopping early (I start in September and try to finish by Thanksgiving). You'll have more time to compare prices, shop for sales, and space out purchases so you won't have to rely on credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-january-is-the-right-time-to-start-planning-for-christmas?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Reasons January Is the Right Time to Start Planning for Christmas</a>)</p> <h2>3. Slow down</h2> <p>Holidays can be frantic. In the rush of activity, we often make bad decisions about what to buy and how much to spend. Slow. Things. Down. Break up your shopping excursions into several smaller trips and avoid shopping on days when you have a thousand other things to do. When shopping online, load your virtual cart, but don't commit to buy until you've thought about your choices overnight.</p> <h2>4. Avoid gimmicks</h2> <p>The holiday season can make or break retailers. To help us stretch our spending muscles, almost every store features blowout sales or deals that require the purchase of multiples (10 for $10). My advice? Be skeptical. That &quot;biggest sale of the year&quot; probably isn't. And what are you going to do with 10 bacon-scented candles, anyway?</p> <h2>5. Pay cash</h2> <p>Do you tend to spend more when you use credit? You're not alone. Paying by credit card &mdash; or worse yet, smartphone &mdash; blunts the conscious connection between spending more money and having less money. Make this holiday a cash-only affair. It'll keep your accounts in the black and make your first credit card bill of the new year a lot less frightening.</p> <h2>6. Make your gifts</h2> <p>Exchanging handmade gifts can be wonderful, even among adults. Buck the retail trend altogether and focus on your talents. Are you an expert baker? A gifted artist? An inspired brewmaster? Explore Pinterest for inexpensive homemade holiday gift ideas, then tap into your creative spirit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-almost-nothing-on-gifts-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</a>)</p> <h2>7. Skip the greeting cards</h2> <p>I didn't get the memo: When did everyone decide that $14.99 is an acceptable price for a box of holiday cards? This year, save a few bucks by ditching the costly cards and postage. Instead, send a group email or catch up with a leisurely phone call.</p> <h2>8. Share experiences</h2> <p>If money's tight, swap traditional gifts for the gift of time together. Organize a holiday potluck, host a movie night with friends, or coordinate a charity event where everyone contributes a few hours of their time as a group. After all, what could be better than good food, good friends, and goodwill?</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Secrets%2520to%2520a%2520Debt-Free%2520Holiday%2520Season.jpg&amp;description=8%20Secrets%20to%20a%20Debt-Free%20Holiday%20Season"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Secrets%20to%20a%20Debt-Free%20Holiday%20Season.jpg" alt="8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-bounce-back-from-your-holiday-splurge">How to Bounce Back From Your Holiday Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Lifestyle cash Christmas gifts holiday debt Holidays homemade gifts sales tactics shopping Spending Money Mon, 13 Nov 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 2050494 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_asian_woman_with_shopping_bags.jpg" alt="Happy asian woman with shopping bags" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't let the success of Cyber Monday fool you: Black Friday is still a massive holiday spending day. According to the National Retail Federation, over 154 million consumers shopped over Black Friday weekend in 2016 &mdash; up from 151 million the year before.</p> <p>Chances are, you're going to be one of those many consumers shopping on Black Friday this year. But you don't have to totally blow your budget in the process. There are ways you can soften the blow to your bank account with advance preparation. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Put your common indulgences on hold</h2> <p>I like to have my hair cut every two weeks. But when I'm trying to save, I push the cut out to every three weeks. My haircuts cost $17 including tip, and if I adhered to this schedule on a regular basis, I'd save a whopping $148 a year. You may have an indulgence like this that you can honor less frequently or stop altogether while you try to budget more strictly during the holidays. These indulgences usually aren't cheap, and forgoing them will provide a sizable amount of extra dough for you to use for gift shopping.</p> <h2>2. Focus on paying off any existing credit card debt</h2> <p>Before you start swiping your cards left and right, it's important to tackle any existing credit card debt, especially if you've only been making minimum payments up to this point. Concentrate on the highest-interest cards first; you'll save more in the long run by paying those down or off as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Pause or change your media subscriptions</h2> <p>The holidays are busy. Shopping, parties, pageants &mdash; you know the drill. All that running around probably leaves you with little time to use the subscription services for which you're paying a premium. So don't.</p> <p>&quot;Consider pausing subscriptions for a few months, or temporarily changing services to a lower-priced tier,&quot; advises Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing with DealNews. &quot;For example, if you pay extra for Hulu without ads, premium Netflix, or extra data cell service, you might want to adjust all of them for a month or two to save some cash for Black Friday and the holidays.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Pick up short-term gigs and odd jobs for quick cash</h2> <p>I participate in several &quot;gig&quot; services throughout the year, but this side work really picks up around the holidays &mdash; and that helps my disposable income swell. Pet sit via Rover.com, pick up passengers using Lyft, host guests in your home through Airbnb, and deliver groceries with the help of Instacart. I do it all, and I highly recommend looking into any one of these opportunities for quick cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-seasonal-side-hustles-thatll-cover-your-holiday-spending?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Seasonal Side Hustles That'll Cover Your Holiday Spending</a>)</p> <h2>5. Make a gift list and establish a firm maximum budget</h2> <p>Make your list, check it twice, and decide how much you want to spend on each recipient. Once that budget is set, stick to it. Better yet, make it your goal to come in under the amounts you've established for each person so you can treat yourself to a little something special when all is said and done. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a>)</p> <h2>6. Research the Black Friday deals ahead of time</h2> <p>News of many Black Friday offers will be released well in advance &mdash; several retailers, like Walmart, Costco, Kohl's, and JCPenny have already whetted consumers' appetites with &quot;leaked&quot; deals &mdash; which allows you plenty of time to research the best of the best. There are entire sites, such as <a href="https://bestblackfriday.com/" target="_blank">Best of Black Friday</a>, dedicated to compiling the deals in one place.</p> <h2>7. Start shopping early to spread out your spending</h2> <p>Why wait until Black Friday if you recognize a great deal when you see one? Just because the day after Thanksgiving receives heavy promotion doesn't mean there aren't other great deals before the stampedes begin.</p> <p>&quot;Make it a point to get a jump-start on planning and shopping early so you have a few months to purchase gifts instead of waiting until the holiday season,&quot; suggests Natasha Rachel Smith, personal finance expert at TopCashback.com. &quot;Also, don't forget about deals on Thanksgiving. Every year Black Friday has crept up earlier and earlier. In fact, in recent years, some deals sell out before Black Friday.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-score-a-black-friday-deal-without-leaving-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Score a Black Friday Deal Without Leaving Home</a>)</p> <h2>8. Have a game plan before stepping foot in the store</h2> <p>Similar to never going to the supermarket on an empty stomach, don't head into the holiday season without a game plan.</p> <p>&quot;Most major retailers will release their deals for Black Friday the week before to give consumers time to plan and get excited about what they want to purchase,&quot; Smith says. &quot;Use this time wisely to see what is going to be on sale and compare deals at each retailer. By creating a game plan, you can prioritize any items that sell fast or are at the best-discounted price. Not only will you save time but you'll save money too by planning what to get, when, and where.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-skills-you-need-to-survive-black-friday?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Frugal Skills You Need to Survive Black Friday</a>)</p> <h2>9. Consult your cash back apps before heading out</h2> <p>I've been killing it in the cash back game lately, thanks to apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51. The trick is to consult these apps before you go shopping so you know what's available and opt in if required. With Ibotta, for instance, many times it requires you to make purchases through its app &mdash; it will launch the retailers' sites for you, like Under Armour, as an example &mdash; so it can track your purchase and deposit the cash back you've earned. Every penny returned to you helps. Trust me &mdash; you will be thankful for this at holiday time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a>)</p> <h2>10. Consider your method of payment for maximum savings</h2> <p>You might think that cash in hand is the best way to shop on Black Friday (it certainly can help avoid overspending if you're disciplined), but you could be disqualifying yourself for deals available through other methods of payment. Capitalize on your Black Friday spending by deciding how you're going to buy things &mdash; cash, debit, or credit card &mdash; to reap the best benefits.</p> <p>Scope out all your payment options and use the bonuses and rewards in your favor. If you do the research and find that you want to apply for a specific card, do so a couple weeks in advance to ensure you receive it in time to use it. Using the shopping season to get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up?ref=internal" target="_blank">bonus cash back</a> that has a spending requirement can give you help ease the holiday costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season</a>)</p> <h2>11. Renew your commitment to financial freedom</h2> <p>It's easy to go overboard during the holidays, whether it's on gifts or social activities. Don't let yourself off the hook on your financial goals just because it's the holidays. Stay committed to them and use the holidays to focus on gratitude rather than the mad dash to grab discounts.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Ways%2520to%2520Prepare%2520for%2520Your%2520Best%2520Black%2520Friday.jpg&amp;description=11%20Ways%20to%20Prepare%20for%20Your%20Best%20Black%20Friday"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Ways%20to%20Prepare%20for%20Your%20Best%20Black%20Friday.jpg" alt="11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-skills-you-need-to-survive-black-friday">8 Frugal Skills You Need to Survive Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-score-a-black-friday-deal-without-leaving-home">6 Ways to Score a Black Friday Deal Without Leaving Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping black friday budgeting cash back credit deals gifts holiday shopping money moves retail rewards sales Thanksgiving Thu, 09 Nov 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 2050495 at http://www.wisebread.com Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_daughter_exchanging_gifts.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter exchanging gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Giving my children Hannukah presents is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. Seeing their faces light up when they open a gift is one of the best feelings in the world.</p> <p>However, it can be very easy for kids to overlook the message of generosity that we are trying to teach for Christmas and Hannukah. They are bombarded by advertisements on all sides and constant reminders that the holidays are on their way &mdash; which means kids can often fall prey to the <em>gimme gimmes.</em> Many parents see this play out when they ask their kids to create a holiday wish list, and receive an eight-page, single-spaced list of expensive items.</p> <p>But just because children can learn the wrong things from holiday gifts doesn't mean they have to. In fact, parents can use the practice of writing a gift list to teach their kids about budgeting, frugality, generosity, and managing expectations. This year, try one of the following holiday gift lists to help your children learn about money and the true spirit of giving. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. The four gift list</h2> <p>Families following the four gift list rule will give each child:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Something they want.</p> </li> <li> <p>Something they need.</p> </li> <li> <p>Something to wear.</p> </li> <li> <p>Something to read.</p> </li> </ul> <p>When your kids are penning their holiday wish lists, tell them to place each item in one of these four categories. You can make it clear that they can put more than one item in each category, but they will only receive one present from each category. This will help them to better understand the things they truly need and recognize how much they value their various wanted items. If everything on their list is a want, this exercise will help them manage their expectations. It can also potentially spur them to find needs, clothes, and books that they are excited to receive.</p> <p>This rule is also very helpful for parents who often go overboard with gift shopping. When you see something adorable that you'd love to give your child, you'll have to decide if it's worthy of being one of only four &quot;somethings&quot; on the list.</p> <h2>2. Include gifts to others</h2> <p>Last winter, my sons were delighted to watch the animated adaptation of <em>The Snowy Day</em> by Ezra Jack Keats on Amazon. We had long been fans of the classic book, and the sweet story of Peter's adventure in the snow was expanded to tell an animated Christmas story in this short film.</p> <p>One of my favorite parts of the adaptation was the story of Peter's Jewish friend Layla, who delivers a gift to a charity on the sixth night of Hannukah. She explains that it's her family's tradition to give instead of receive on that night of Hannukah, and she and her mother have picked out something special to give away.</p> <p>This tradition is very well-suited to Hannukah, which lasts for eight nights. Parents can easily set aside one night to be about giving to those less fortunate rather than receiving &mdash; but any family can encourage their children to think of others when making their holiday gift lists.</p> <p>In addition to writing down the things that they want, your kids can also include a list of gifts they can give to others. These could be traditional gifts for families in need, or they can be more creative, like writing letters to deployed soldiers or volunteering. By including a place for giving back on their holiday wish list, your kids will learn to associate generosity with your holiday traditions.</p> <h2>3. Create a gift-giving theme</h2> <p>For older children, a fun way to celebrate the holidays and teach frugality is to set a theme for gift giving. For instance, Stacia Mcclure's family would give everyone a hard spending limit, and specify where everyone could shop: &quot;One year, we decided all gifts had to come from a truck stop &mdash; and gift cards were excluded. My dad still talks about that year because he got an entire box of Necco wafers. The hospital gift shop Christmas was also quite entertaining.&quot;</p> <p>Other types of holiday themes might include only buying &quot;As Seen on TV&quot; items, books, games, or food items.</p> <p>Picking a &quot;theme&quot; helps teenagers learn to be creative within a spending framework, which is excellent practice for learning how to be frugal. A teen who can have fun and give a meaningful (or at least hilarious) low-cost gift from a truck stop will learn to think outside the box when it comes to tougher money decisions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-stress-free-holiday-gift-giving?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Stress-Free Holiday Gift Giving</a>)</p> <h2>4. Ask them to pick a stock</h2> <p>Several years ago, Stephanie McCullough's daughter asked for a new iPod for the holidays. &quot;Instead, I bought her two shares of Apple,&quot; McCullough says, &quot;which cost about the same as a new device at the time. There was no way to know this at the time, but the stock has skyrocketed since then.&quot;</p> <p>If you let your children know that you plan to buy them a share of a company they like, you will not only be giving them a gift that will keep on giving, but you can also help to spark an interest in finance.</p> <p>They can either pick a publicly-traded company they like, or they can do a little research into how well their favorite companies have fared in the market. The latter will help them start to get a sense of figuring out what makes a good investment. Even if they don't research their stock before including it on their gift list, you can invite them to track the stock's price over time to see how their gift is doing.</p> <h2>5. Include a time gift</h2> <p>As much as your children love ripping the wrapping paper off a new toy, what they really want most is to spend time with their parents. You can give them the gift of your time by asking them to include a request on their gift list for something you can do together. For instance, your child might list &quot;baking cookies together&quot; or &quot;going fishing together&quot; on their wish list.</p> <p>While you could always create a &quot;coupon&quot; for the requested time gift, you can also find a small tangible item you could give your child to use for their time gift. For instance, you might give them a new cookbook that you can peruse together to find the perfect cookie recipe, or a fishing hat for them to wear next time you go to the lake.</p> <p>By having your child include a time gift request on their holiday wish list, you are teaching them that the best gifts come from being together, rather than spending lots of money.</p> <h2>The benefit of limits</h2> <p>The magic of the holiday season does not come from tearing into an enormous pile of presents, even though much of our culture tries to convince kids otherwise. Teaching your children to use frameworks for thinking about their holiday gift wishes can help them to better appreciate the real lessons of the season, as well as learn some important money skills that will last them well into adulthood.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fteach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FTeach%2520Your%2520Kids%2520About%2520Money%2520With%2520Their%2520Holiday%2520Gift%2520Lists.jpg&amp;description=Teach%20Your%20Kids%20About%20Money%20With%20Their%20Holiday%20Gift%20Lists"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Teach%20Your%20Kids%20About%20Money%20With%20Their%20Holiday%20Gift%20Lists.jpg" alt="Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day">6 Financial Gifts Mom Will Love for Mother&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family children Christmas gifts hannukah Holidays kids money lessons presents stocks wish lists Thu, 09 Nov 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2046508 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_young_woman_depositing_money_into_her_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Happy young woman depositing money into her piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is over. This fall, fortify your finances to take the end of the year in stride. These helpful tips will get you back on track (and help you stay on track) budget-wise.</p> <h2>1. Start your holiday shopping now</h2> <p>Instead of making a mad rush for last-minute deals, spread out your gift buying over the course of the next couple months. Watch your local circulars and emails for discounts and promo codes, and strike while the proverbial iron seems hot.</p> <p>For instance, I just purchased several packs of Calvin Klein undies as a Christmas gift for my boo because I received an email for 25 percent off, plus I had an additional 15 percent off coupon with free shipping. Will there be steeper discounts in the near future? I can't be sure, but I had enough savings stacked up to feel like I made a smart choice, and now I can check one more gift off my list.</p> <h2>2. Max out retirement plan contributions</h2> <p>If you haven't already &mdash; and your budget can tolerate it &mdash; try to max out your 401(k) and 403(b) contributions at work. The employee contribution limit for 2017 is $18,000, and if you haven't reached that, it's time to come as close as you can. Those over age 50 can contribute an additional $6,000 as a catch-up contribution. If your employer offers matching funds, this should be a top financial priority, lest you fail to claim thousands of dollars in free money.</p> <h2>3. Take advantage of layaway</h2> <p>Layaway has had its up and downs over the years. What was once a common practice during the Great Depression started to fall out of favor by the 1980s thanks to the rising popularity of credit cards. Walmart all but left the service for dead in 2006 when it announced it would stop offering it, but by 2012, many retailers were back on the layaway bandwagon to make buying easier on customers in a tumultuous economy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-layaway-still-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Layaway Still Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>Personally, I loved layaway in my early 20s when I was on a shoestring budget. It allowed me to plan ahead and make scheduled payments so everything would be ready to go by Christmas. It's certainly a helpful buying tactic to look into if your finances are tight but you still want to participate in gift giving.</p> <h2>3. Use or lose flexible spending dollars</h2> <p>If you're lucky enough to have a flexible spending account through your employer, your FSA may need to be spent by year's end. Try to use up the balance so you're not losing cash. In doing so, you'll free up funds elsewhere that you don't have to use on medical needs.</p> <p>&quot;Since 2013, your employer may offer one of two carry-over options,&quot; says Ryan McPherson, founder of the financial planning firm Intelligent Worth in Atlanta, Georgia. &quot;One &mdash; roll up to $500 of unused funds into the following year or two, offer a two-and-a-half month grace period during which you may use your unspent FSA balance. Check with your employer, because offering one of these options is not a requirement. If you don't have either of these carry-over options and expect to have money left in your FSA, try to move appointments and medical/dental-related purchases (i.e., eye glasses or contacts) into 2017.&quot;</p> <p>If you're unsure where your FSA funds apply, IRS publication 502 offers guidance on what counts as a &quot;<a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/p502--2016.pdf" target="_blank">qualified medical expense</a>.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a>)</p> <h2>4. Make a gift list and check it twice</h2> <p>I use to get in this mindset &mdash; especially when I started making a little more money &mdash; that everybody needed a gift. That logic is false. Everybody doesn't need a gift for the sake of giving them a gift. Now, I make a list of the usual suspects with whom I exchange &mdash; immediate family, boyfriend, a few friends &mdash; but even then I give it a second glance to see where I can make cuts. Will I see this aunt or that buddy this year? If the answer is no, decide whether a gift is necessary at all to put some more money back in your pocket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter</a>)</p> <h2>5. Revise your winter budget</h2> <p>Everything about winter costs more than other times of the year, and you should prepare by revising your budget to make sure all bases are covered.</p> <p>&quot;In addition to holiday expenses, as the weather gets colder, heating costs also increase,&quot; says Roslyn Lash, an accredited financial counselor. &quot;It's imperative that you also set some money aside for inclement weather expenses. Unfortunately, when ice/snow is the forecast, schools typically close, and this could mean paying someone to baby-sit the kiddos. It could also prevent you from going to work, which means lost revenue.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-winter-expenses-that-could-freeze-your-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Big Winter Expenses That Could Freeze Your Budget</a>)</p> <h2>6. Determine what's necessary for the holidays and cut back from there</h2> <p>I love all things holiday &mdash; the decorations, the parties, the gifts, the endless array of baked goods &mdash; and if I'm not participating in someone else's festivities, I'm hosting my own. Of course that can get expensive, so I take a one-year-on, one-year-off approach to the latter part of that equation. Two years ago I hosted a holiday party in my home, but last year I didn't. I bought more holiday decorations for the house last year, but this year I won't. This practice not only helps me save money, but it also lets me cycle through things that I need to get rid of in a timely manner (like half-full bottles of liquor, for instance) and cut down on overall holiday clutter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a>)</p> <h2>7. Get into a cash back state of mind</h2> <p>Upfront coupons and savings are great, but there's plenty more to be had on the back end if you know where to look. Apps like <a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv" target="_blank">Ibotta</a> and Fetch Rewards provide cash back on purchases made on preset items or at selected retailers. Last month I scored more than $50 cash back (which was on top of other savings I received on the front end) by shopping through Ibotta.</p> <p>If you're responsible at managing credit, now's also a great time to take advantage of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back credit card</a> on your day to day purchases. By using a cash back card on necessities like groceries or gas, you'll earn cash to bolster your budget. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full every month, or else this method isn't worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>8. Rebid your insurance policies</h2> <p>You may be able to shave some money off your bills this fall by reviewing your insurance coverage.</p> <p>Michael Landsberg, CFP and founder of Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management in Punta Gorda, Florida, recommends rebidding your auto and home insurance policies to at least three independent agents (but not the online ones that are all owned by the same companies).</p> <p>&quot;Often times, this rebidding process puts hundreds if not thousands back in people's pockets right before the holidays,&quot; he explains. &quot;It's very easy. Just take your current policy declaration page and send that to an independent agent and let them do the work. The worst that can happen is you find out you've got a good program in place already.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Book travel before demand pricing kicks in</h2> <p>If you're traveling this fall or holiday season, book your mode of transportation and accommodations as soon as possible so you're not looking at ultra expensive rates at the last minute. Hotels and rental cars in particular go fast, and they're subject to on-demand pricing, which means your wallet could end up getting walloped if you're not shut out altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-9-things-now-to-make-holiday-air-travel-easier?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Do These 9 Things Now to Make Holiday Air Travel Easier</a>)</p> <h2>10. Investigate a balance transfer</h2> <p>If you're carrying a high balance on a credit card, now is a great time to give yourself a credit card checkup.</p> <p>&quot;Explore what's out there,&quot; advises Han Chang, co-founder of InvestmentZen. &quot;Many lenders are beginning to offer deals now to get a jump on the holidays. Consolidating credit card debt via a balance transfer can be pretty enticing, especially with those 0 percent introductory APR offers, which usually last for six to 12 months. If you can find a good offer, you could potentially pay down a significant amount of debt before November and December.&quot;</p> <p>But nothing is ever free; offers like this often come with a one-time balance transfer fee ranging from 3 percent to 10 percent of the total balance transfer. That can really add up and, if you're not careful, completely negate any savings that 0 percent APR offers. Be sure to make your payments on time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-balance-transfer-offer-a-good-deal?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is a Balance Transfer Offer a Good Deal?</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Ways%2520to%2520Tidy%2520Up%2520Your%2520Finances%2520Before%2520the%2520Holidays.jpg&amp;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Tidy%20Up%20Your%20Finances%20Before%20the%20Holidays"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Ways%20to%20Tidy%20Up%20Your%20Finances%20Before%20the%20Holidays.jpg" alt="10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living balance transfer budgeting cash back checkup Christmas gifts Holidays layaway planning savings shopping winter Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 2030770 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Good Financial Deeds that Can Backfire http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/silly_young_woman_slapping_hand_on_head_having_duh_moment.jpg" alt="Silly young woman, slapping hand on head having duh moment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The saying goes that no good deed goes unpunished. Perhaps there are actually some good deeds that don't backfire, but there are many financial good deeds that can come back to haunt a generous soul if they're not careful. These favors can cost you more money than you expected, or hurt your credit. Before you embark on an expedition of financial kindness, consider these examples of good deeds that can backfire.</p> <h2>1. Co-signing a lease or loan</h2> <p>You may hope to do a friend or family member a favor by helping them buy a new car or land a new apartment. But even if you are assisting someone you know and trust, you are putting your own finances at risk. If the other person fails to make a loan payment or doesn't pay the rent, you will be on the hook for whatever is owed. If you can't make the payments, it will show up on your credit report and hurt your credit score. Even if the other party pays on time, you are increasing your debt-to-income ratio by being a co-signer to any loans, and that can hurt your own ability to get a loan.</p> <p>If you feel strongly about helping someone out with a lease or loan, it's better to protect your own credit by making them a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-16-cardinal-rules-of-loaning-money-to-friends-and-family" target="_blank">personal loan</a>, preferably one that won't sink you financially if they don't pay you back.</p> <h2>2. Adding an authorized user to your credit card</h2> <p>It's hard to build credit when you're first starting out. That's why some parents choose to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-add-your-teen-as-an-authorized-user-on-your-credit-card" target="_blank">make their child an authorized user</a> on their credit card. This is often a great way for your teen to start building credit.</p> <p>But there are right and wrong ways to do it. This strategy can backfire financially, especially if you're not keeping an eye on their spending. Missed payments and high debt levels could impact <em>both </em>of your credit scores.</p> <p>It's best to add your child as an authorized user only if you can closely track their spending. Once they've established that they can be financially responsible, let them get their own credit card if they qualify for one.</p> <h2>3. Donating to a bad charity</h2> <p>It's unfortunate, but every once in awhile you'll hear a story about a nonprofit group that either failed to live up to its mission or was a complete scam from the start. Hopefully, if you've donated to a bad charity, you've walked away with nothing more than a few lost dollars. But in a worst-case scenario, you may have unwittingly contributed to illegal activity.</p> <p>Before you donate to a charity, take some time to research the organization. Read their annual report and any public financial documents. Ask for their tax ID number and tax forms. Giving money is great, but it's worth taking the time to make sure it's going to a good and honest cause.</p> <h2>4. Lending money to your kids</h2> <p>There's nothing philosophically wrong with helping your kids out with money if you're in a position to do so. But if you're constantly giving them money or bailing them out of situations, you may be throwing good money after bad. Moreover, you're failing to teach them how to be financially responsible on their own.</p> <p>Even young children should learn the basics of budgeting and saving, and the consequences that come from, say, spending all their allowance on candy and then not having enough money to go to the movies with their friends. Teens should be encouraged to get part-time jobs if possible to help pay for vehicles or college. These lessons give them the skills to be financially independent, making them much better off financially in the long run than if you simply give them cash whenever they need it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a>)</p> <h2>5. Paying for your kid's college</h2> <p>With college costs rising to outlandish heights, many parents are making an effort to save for all or part of a child's education. This is a generous deed that could result in a child avoiding costly student loans.</p> <p>It's important, however, to avoid taking away too much from your own savings goals. If you save for your children's college education instead of saving for your own retirement, this may impact the lifestyle you can afford after you stop working. It's always possible to borrow for college, if necessary. But no one's handing out loans to cover your 30-plus years of retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>6. Socially responsible investing</h2> <p>There are many investors who want to make money in the stock market but don't want to go against some of their core beliefs. They may choose not to invest in energy companies that have gotten in trouble for polluting, for example. Or they stay away from investing in casinos for religious reasons. There's nothing wrong with this, and it's definitely possible to invest well without violating your principles.</p> <p>But it's important to know how these choices impact your investment returns. For one thing, there are many well-performing stocks that you may find objectionable, so you need to be comfortable with the notion of giving up some potentially big returns. It's also not easy to find an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds" target="_blank">index fund</a> (an often-recommended type of fund that mirrors a particular stock index or market segment) that doesn't own shares of at least one company you might object to, though socially responsible index funds have become more plentiful. Just make your decision to abstain from certain investments with full knowledge of how it might cost you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Good%2520Financial%2520Deeds%2520that%2520Can%2520Backfire%2520%25281%2529.jpg&amp;description=6%20Good%20Financial%20Deeds%20that%20Can%20Backfire"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Good%20Financial%20Deeds%20that%20Can%20Backfire%20%281%29.jpg" alt="6 Good Financial Deeds that Can Backfire" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-financial-deeds-that-can-backfire">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-still-stuck-in-a-financial-hole">8 Reasons You&#039;re Still Stuck in a Financial Hole</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-conversations-parents-should-have-with-their-adult-kids">7 Money Conversations Parents Should Have With Their Adult Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending">5 Excuses We Need to Stop Making About Overspending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance college gifts good deeds loans saving money socially responsible investing Spending Money Thu, 06 Jul 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1977971 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Gifts Mom Will Love for Mother's Day http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-537871137.jpg" alt="Finding financial gifts mom will love for Mother&#039;s Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mother's Day is an opportunity to let Mom know just how much she means to you, but it can be hard to find the perfect gift. You know that a World's Best Mom mug and some fancy bubble bath just won't cut it &mdash; so what should you do instead?</p> <p>This year, why not give Mom the gift of money? That doesn't mean handing over a wad of cash in lieu of a present, but instead finding a gift that will help her bottom line. Here are six gift ideas for Mom that will keep on giving financially.</p> <h2>1. Start a dream fund</h2> <p>Maybe Mom has always dreamed about a trip to a certain destination, or planting the perfect garden straight out of a magazine. These things cost money, and if there's little room in the budget, it can be hard and time-consuming to save up for them. This is where you come in: Give Mom a &quot;dream fund&quot; for Mother's Day with seed money to realize her goals.</p> <p>If Mom is a crafty or creative type, you could present the fund to her with a &quot;dream board,&quot; including relevant pictures to inspire her to keep saving. She'll love adding to the board herself. You could even add a complementary gift card (such as to a home and garden store) as a finishing touch.</p> <p>You might also consider saving up for something to do together. My mother and I have always talked about traveling to Greece, so our mother-daughter dream board would include photos of the Greek Isles, illustrations from Greek mythology (which I fondly remember her teaching me when I was a child), and photos of delicious Greek food. I would then also include a gift card to an airline or cruise line as the first step in reaching our goal together.</p> <h2>2. Buy her a share of a company she loves</h2> <p>Buying shares of a company can be a lovely way to honor your mother and give her a gift she will appreciate. You can buy her a gift-ready stock with a framed certificate, or buy shares directly from the company.</p> <p>While a gift-ready stock with certificate included will set you back more money, it does provide you with something to wrap up for Mother's Day and gives her something to display. Consider buying shares of a company whose products you know Mom absolutely loves, like Starbucks, Target, Tiffany's, Hershey, or Netflix.</p> <h2>3. Give her a subscription to a financial magazine</h2> <p>If Mom has remarked that she'd like to know more about how to handle her money, then get her a magazine subscription that can help improve her financial knowledge. Buy a copy of the current issue to wrap up for her on Mother's Day.</p> <p>As for which magazine to choose, both Kiplinger's and Money are considered excellent resources for the personal finance newbie.</p> <h2>4. Donate to her favorite charity</h2> <p>What causes are close to Mom's heart? Pick a charity that you know she supports, and make a donation in her name. Not only will Mom be touched by such a thoughtful gift, but an organization in need will benefit, too. It's a win-win. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-your-giving-with-5-smart-charity-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Improve Your Giving With 5 Smart Charity Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>5. Pay a few of her bills for the month</h2> <p>Help Mom get ahead financially by offering to pay one (or a few!) of her bills for Mother's Day. This could be a mortgage payment, utility bill, medical bill, or credit card payment &mdash; anything she could use a hand with. This will take some of the budgeting burden off her shoulders, and maybe even leave her with wiggle room to treat herself.</p> <h2>6. Pay for Mom to visit a financial professional</h2> <p>Depending on what type of financial needs your mom has, you could pay for her to consult with a certified financial planner. A CFP can be an invaluable resource in helping Mom plan out her saving, investing, and retirement strategies. So how do you go about finding, vetting, and paying for such a gift? You can start by asking around your inner circle for any recommendations. If that doesn't yield any leads, you can locate a fee-only CFP (which means the planner will not be working on commission) near you via <a href="https://www.napfa.org/" target="_blank">NAPFA</a>. The fees that planners charge vary greatly, but once you have found a CFP that you like, you can ask them how much it will cost to make Mom an appointment.</p> <h2>Show mom you love her with the gift of better finances</h2> <p>Flowers fade, brunch is over all too soon, and Mom does not need yet another canister of fancy tea. For Mother's Day this year, give your mother a gift that will keep giving for years to come.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-gifts-mom-will-love-for-mothers-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-some-economists-say-you-should-give-cash-instead-of-gifts">Why Some Economists Say You Should Give Cash Instead of Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-meaningful-mothers-day-gifts-for-every-budget">30 Meaningful Mother&#039;s Day Gifts for Every Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-top-money-lessons-to-learn-from-ruth-soukups-unstuffed">4 Top Money Lessons to Learn From Ruth Soukup&#039;s &quot;Unstuffed&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-moms">4 Stocks to Buy If You Love Moms</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family accountants dream boards financial magazines gifts Mom money coaches Mother's day presents professionals shares stocks Mon, 01 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1934997 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Stocks Your Kids Would Love to Own http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525331477.jpg" alt="Learning which stocks your kids would love to own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When taking a look at your 401(k) or investment accounts, you may often daydream about how cool it would have been if you started investing earlier. That way, maybe you could have jumped on investments that turned out to be home runs, such as Apple [Nasdaq: APPL] and Berkshire-Hathaway [NYSE: BRK].</p> <p>If you have children, you're blessed with the opportunity of granting them the greatest gift any investor could want: time. Let's take a look at some companies whose shares would make a great gift for your kids to not only help them learn about investing, but also get them excited about money and business in general.</p> <h2>1. Snap Inc. [NYSE: SNAP]</h2> <p>Do you know what's cooler than a million dollars? $3.4 billion, which is how much money the parent company of Snapchat raised in its March 1, 2017 initial public offering (IPO). Since it has been estimated that <a href="https://blog.hootsuite.com/snapchat-demographics/" target="_blank">60 percent of Snapchat users</a> are under age 25 and nearly one in four hasn't finished high school, there's a very good chance that your children use this popular social media app.</p> <p>Leverage their interest in the app to keep them focused on tracking a stock price and keeping abreast of the effects of company announcements, such as <a href="http://www.recode.net/2016/9/24/13039900/snapchat-spectacles-google-glass-spiegel" target="_blank">Snap's Spectacles</a>, on the valuation of a publicly-traded company. Bonus: You could use Snapchat to send them their monthly allowance, keep a digital record of when you made that money available, and check how long it lasts them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-ways-to-send-money-to-your-kid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Modern Ways to Send Money to Your Kid</a>)</p> <h2>2. The Walt Disney Co. [NYSE: DIS]</h2> <p>&quot;Do you want to buy a stock share? Come on let's go and trade!&quot; If you started reading that in Princess Anna's voice, then you're a Disney parent and your kiddos spend a lot of time singing along to similar tunes. Keeping interested in this stock is easy because your kids will read about movie productions, toy developments, theme park construction, and other family entertainment projects.</p> <p>Disney is a great stock to hold onto for the long run, which is a maxim that you want to instill in any young investor. If you were to have held Disney stock from March 1, 2007 to March 1, 2017, you would have seen the stock price go from $34.39 to $111.04 (a 222.88 percent increase!). Plus, it's a dividend-paying stock, giving you a segue to introduce the concept of fixed income securities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-income-stocks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Are Income Stocks?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Amazon.com, Inc. [Nasdaq: AMZN]</h2> <p>Parcel-delivering drones, robots that work in warehouses, and voice-activated speakers that can control other home devices. It'll never be dull moment chatting with your kid about recent news from the Seattle-based ecommerce giant.</p> <p>If you have the budget, Amazon.com is one of those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-expensive-stocks-that-are-totally-worth-it" target="_blank">expensive stocks that are totally worth it</a>. Just when you think that the stock can't hit new heights, an uptick during the early November and December holiday season gives the stock price another boost. Time your gift well before the holiday season and provide immediate gratification to your kids from a stock price bump.</p> <h2>4. Foot Locker, Inc. [NYSE: FL]</h2> <p>On the other hand, here's one stock to develop in your children an appreciation for delayed gratification. If your kid is a sneakerhead or sports jock, they'll include a new pair of athletic shoes in their Christmas list. With a current stock price close to $75 per share, one share of Foot Locker goes for about the same as a brand-new, high-quality pair of athletic shoes meant to last at least one year.</p> <p>Give your child the option of the shoes or one share of Foot Locker, Inc. (Or pick another company that better matches the price of the shoes that they want, including Nike Inc. [NYSE: NKE] or Skechers USA Inc. [NYSE: SKX].) When your child chooses the stock over the shoes, they'll realize that they'll have more available after a one-year period. If they're still unconvinced, ask them to try selling a pair of old, smelly shoes after one year of (ab)use from a tween.</p> <p>Setting a strong foundation for delayed gratification will boost your child's ability to save for retirement and build an emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tesla Inc. [Nasdaq: TSLA]</h2> <p>The concept of saving for retirement is completely foreign to most individuals under age 18, maybe even for some under age 25! Getting somebody to plan about 40 to 60 years ahead is a difficult task. One way to get your kid thinking about the future with a fun and optimistic tone is to gift them stock from Tesla, because this company is in the business of electric cars, energy storage batteries, and solar panels.</p> <p>Plus, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is so cool as to inspire the way actor Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark in all Marvel films. By following the decisions of a cool and smart CEO, your child could gain further interest in business and entrepreneurship.</p> <h2>How custodial Roth IRAs can help with investing education</h2> <p>If your kid is under age 18 and makes some money on their own, such as through a hobby or during the summer, consider opening a custodial Roth IRA for them. This is a great way to educate your child about investing and providing a &quot;sandbox&quot; in which to make real-life decisions with investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a>)</p> <p>In 2017, your kid could contribute up to $5,500 to a custodial Roth IRA and watch those contributions grow tax-free forever. Many financial institutions require an account minimum of $100 to open a custodial Roth IRA. You could start with some stocks from this list or other stocks that your kid is interested in and eventually move on to index funds and mutual funds. To minimize fees, just keep post-contribution transactions at a minimum.</p> <p>Gifting your child stocks paired with several years of retirement savings could be one of the best gifts you could ever give them for a brighter financial future.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-your-kids-would-love-to-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-be-fooled-by-an-investments-rate-of-return">Don&#039;t Be Fooled by an Investment&#039;s Rate of Return</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-simple-ways-to-conquer-your-fear-of-investing">4 Simple Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-risk-averse-can-get-into-the-stock-market">How the Risk Averse Can Get Into the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment children fun stocks gifts kids money lessons Roth IRA stock market stocks young investors Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1925374 at http://www.wisebread.com The High Cost of Modern Love http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-modern-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-high-cost-of-modern-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525805229.jpg" alt="Couple learning the high cost of modern love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being in love is now more expensive than ever. In fact, Americans spend an <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/31/dont-let-love-break-your-budget.html" target="_blank">average of $20,000</a> in their lifetime on dates. With dinner and a movie costing about $90, you could easily go broke if you date frequently.</p> <p>We've covered some of the costs below so you can get a better idea of what modern love can cost. However, these are only national averages. The amount you pay for entertainment and impressing your date will vary largely depending on where you live.</p> <h2>Movie Ticket</h2> <p><strong>Average Price</strong>: <a href="http://variety.com/2016/film/news/average-movie-ticket-price-falls-in-third-quarter-1201892925/" target="_blank">$8.51 per ticket</a></p> <p>The worst part is that after spending money on movie tickets, you have to worry about buying popcorn, soda, candy, and other overpriced treats. For instance, if you decided to order one large popcorn, one large candy, and two small soft drinks, you could expect to <a href="http://pricesandfees.com/regal-cinemas-ticket-and-concession-prices/" target="_blank">spend around $22.25</a>, in addition to the price of the movie tickets. Instead of doing dinner and a movie out, consider cooking at home and taking advantage of Netflix.</p> <h2>Dining Out<strong> </strong></h2> <p><strong>Average Price</strong>: <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-it-costs-to-eat-at-resaurants-2015-3" target="_blank">$12.17&ndash;$88.00 per person</a></p> <p>A 2015 study found that the cost of eating at a chain restaurant ranges from $12.17 to $88.00 per person, but it depends on where (and what) you eat. It also depends on where you live. For instance, Zagat found that diners in NYC spend an average of <a href="https://www.zagat.com/b/the-state-of-american-dining-in-2016" target="_blank">$48.44 per person</a> when eating out, which is higher than the national average.</p> <p>As an alternative, consider happy hour deals, taking advantage of restaurant week or local food festivals, or impressing your date with a home-cooked meal. You can either show off your cooking skills or cook together as a bonding experience.</p> <h2>Concert Tickets</h2> <p><strong>Average Price</strong>: <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87981" target="_blank">$46.69 per person</a></p> <p>Concert tickets all depend on who you are going to see and which tickets you get (unobstructed or obstructed view). For instance, impressing your date with tickets to a Taylor Swift concert will set you back <a href="http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/01/12/the-20-most-expensive-concert-tickets-of-2015/" target="_blank">$110.15 a ticket</a>.</p> <h2>Broadway Show</h2> <p><strong>Average Price</strong>: <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/198306/average-paid-admission-at-broadway-shows-since-2006/" target="_blank">$105.68 a ticket</a></p> <p>Now, this is only appropriate if you are<em> really</em> trying to impress your date. With an average ticket price of $105.68, Broadway shows should be saved for <em>very</em> special occasions. The price will depend on what you go to see. For instance, a ticket to Hamilton could cost $300, while a ticket to Jitney could be <a href="http://www.broadwayworld.com/grosses.cfm?sortby=topticket&amp;orderby=desc" target="_blank">around $55</a>.</p> <h2>Baby Sitter</h2> <p><strong>Average Price</strong>: <a href="http://www.care.com/child-care-babysitting-cost-p1145-q22781.html" target="_blank">$10 an hour</a></p> <p>If you have a child at home, you can expect to spend a hefty amount on a baby sitter. The average cost of a baby sitter, per hour, in New York City is $15+, so the price will vary depending on where you live, who you hire, and the agreement you set with the sitter. As an alternative, consider asking another parent to baby-sit your child for a night at no charge, and tell them you will return the favor later by baby-sitting their child for free.</p> <h2>Gifts</h2> <p><strong>Average Price</strong>: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/19/holiday-spending-significant-other_n_6263910.html" target="_blank">$92.50 per occasion</a></p> <p>Once you find that special someone, you'll need to start worrying about the costs of gifts on special occasions. The average American spends only <a href="http://www.match.com/magazine/article/12273/The-Hidden-Costs-Of-Dating/" target="_blank">$25 per year on flowers</a>, but can expect to spend an average of <a href="http://time.com/money/4213074/valentines-day-spending/" target="_blank">$146.84 on Valentine's Day gifts</a>. Gifts for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions can take a hefty chunk out of your budget.</p> <p>According to Huffington Post, Americans spend an average of $92.50 per special occasion on their new love. They also found that people spend an additional $21 on gifts for each additional year of their relationship.</p> <h2>Dating Sites</h2> <p><strong>Average Price</strong>: $0&ndash;$60 per month</p> <p>Match.com is $41.99 per month, eHarmony.com is $60 per month, True.com is $50 per month, Tinder is free (unless you sign up for premium services, which range from $2.99&ndash;$34.99), and Bumble is free (again, unless you sign up for premium services, which range from $2.99&ndash;$35.99). You can save a lot of money by signing up for longer periods of time, like six or 12 months. Many dating sites, like Match.com, also offer free options with limited capabilities.</p> <p>When it comes to dating sites and apps, there are distinct differences in the quality of the service and potential suitors, so cost shouldn't be your only factor. For instance, PlentyOfFish and OKCupid are free, but they don't offer the same matching abilities or photo quality as a service like Match or eHarmony. The people on PlentyOfFish also aren't usually as devoted to finding that special someone for life, as compared to someone on Match or eHarmony.</p> <p>As an alternative, try meeting someone in real life. After all, only 5% of Americans in a marriage or committed relationship actually <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/29/5-facts-about-online-dating/" target="_blank">met their significant other online</a>. Studies continue to show that couples <a href="https://mic.com/articles/112062/the-way-most-people-meet-their-significant-others-is-not-what-you-think#.0PkKUQZ83" target="_blank">most often meet each other</a> through work, friends in common, or in social settings, so just put yourself out there more.</p> <h2>The Cost of &quot;Ghosting&quot;</h2> <p><strong>Average Price</strong>: Your love life?</p> <p>If you decide that the cost of dating sites is just too much, consider the cost to your love life if you disappear from the app completely. If you start &quot;ghosting,&quot; it can end very badly. In fact, it often leads to even more confrontation than if you were just honest from the start. Take advantage of the sites and apps you subscribe to, while you still can.</p> <p>On the other end of the spectrum, if you take your special someone on a horrible date, you risk getting &quot;ghosted&quot; yourself. Getting ignored can really take a toll on one's confidence and lead to hurt feelings, so observe the golden rule and avoid ghosting. Just remember, a good date doesn't have to be an expensive one. Take them somewhere meaningful, dress and act the part, and find ways to impress your date without going broke.</p> <h2>Alternative Date Ideas</h2> <p>Ask your date what they would like to do. Going to the movies and dinner can be fun, but most people have other ideas for a better date night. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.</p> <ul> <li>Go for a hike or walk through your area. Show your date some of your favorite areas.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Get active with canoeing, miniature golfing, ice skating, rock climbing, paddle boating, paddle boarding, biking&hellip;the list goes on and on. Find out what your date is interested in and take advantage. It's cheaper, more meaningful, and can help you burn some calories.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Visit a museum during the day and time when it is cheapest. Most museums offer free admission on a particular day of the week. You can observe some local culture and will have plenty to talk about with your date.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Instead of going out for dinner, consider going out for coffee instead. After all, why spend something like $90 on a first date, when you're not even sure that they're worth dating long-term? With a coffee date, you can get to know each other in a more comfortable setting. A picnic is also ultraromantic, affordable, and memorable.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Go dancing at a bar or take dance classes, which start as low as $12 per person.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Go for a free wine or liquor tasting in your area.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take advantage of outdoor movie events (like free movies in the park).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take advantage of free local tours or free tour apps.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find a Groupon date that you both want to take advantage of. Give your date some options so they'll be able to pick what interests them most.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-modern-love">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-a-breakdown-of-concert-ticket-prices">How Much?! A Breakdown of Concert Ticket Prices</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/80-stocking-stuffer-ideas-for-10-or-less">80 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment concerts dates Dating dinners gifts going out movies significant others Spending Money tickets Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:00:16 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1889311 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-502527550.jpg" alt="make money from unwanted gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's already 2017, which means it's time to take inventory and clean up. Got a few unwanted or duplicate presents for the holidays? Here are five ways to make money on the gifts you don't want.</p> <h2>Sell Clothing on ThredUp</h2> <p>Need something to do with your &quot;ugly christmas sweater&quot; from the work holiday party, or the pjs that are four sizes too big? If you're saddled with some brand new clothes you don't want, resell them on ThredUp &mdash; a site dedicated to clothing recycling and reuse. Sign up and send a batch of your clothing with their provided kit, and they will send you payment based on what they deem the clothing to be worth. You can even estimate <a href="https://www.thredup.com/p/cleanout-payout-estimator" target="_blank">what you might earn</a>. Soon, you can make some scratch to spend toward that cute unicorn pj onesie you really wanted.</p> <h2>Sell Toys and Games on eBay</h2> <p>Some sites stay the same for a reason. When it comes to toys, games, and other collectibles, you just can't beat eBay. It's where folks looking for a specific item are shopping. If you're stuck with a gigantic Power Rangers toy your kids don't want, or a third copy of <em>Big Bang Theory</em> Monopoly, it's easy to post them with a &quot;Buy It Now&quot; and/or an &quot;Make an Offer&quot; option. eBay even makes it easy to fill out the product form, as half the fields can be auto-filled based on the product. Take a photo and you're good to go.</p> <h2>Sell Books on Amazon Marketplace</h2> <p>Turns out everyone in your life only knows one thing about you, because everyone got you a copy of the newest <em>Peanuts</em> collection. You should definitely push off your other copies at <a href="https://services.amazon.com/selling/benefits.htm" target="_blank">Amazon Marketplace</a>. When one shops for books on Amazon, they can look at the section reading (for example), &quot;5 used and new starting at $2.46.&quot; People buy tons of books there, as you can usually get a really good deal on a used, but &quot;like new&quot; copy. Group together a crop of books you don't need, then simply sign up for an Amazon Marketplace account as an individual selling fewer than 40 items per month, so that you only have to pay 99 cents per item and a few other fees.</p> <h2>Sell Antiques and Appliances on Craigslist</h2> <p>Good old Craigslist is always there for when you need to get rid of something fairly quickly. Got some majorly heavy and space-consuming gifts from family you can't use? Post an ad for that awkward antique floor lamp, the racing bike gathering dust, or that huge pizza oven that you'll never bake with on Craigslist. It's easy and everyone knows how it works. No setting up an elaborate account, and there's minimal upkeep. The buyer comes to you to pick up the bulky item and then it's out of your life.</p> <h2>Sell Household Items on OfferUp</h2> <p>For miscellaneous presents from friends and family that you know will only gather dust, sell them while they're still new on <a href="https://offerupnow.com/howitworks/" target="_blank">OfferUp</a> for extra money. OfferUp attempts to make the Craigslist style of selling accessible and easy for the mobile phone generation. Snap a photo of the item, add details, and post. You can chat instantly with buyers within the app, which is especially helpful for those who dread getting emails and texts from random strangers on Craigslist.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping Christmas Christmas gifts exchange gifts gifts Holidays Internet presents regift regifting resale sell your stuff Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1869197 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-498764046.jpg" alt="these minimalist gifts won&#039;t become clutter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you come from a family of minimalists? Do you live under the stairs like Harry Potter? Do you simply want less stuff in your home? Your friends and family may feel the same way. Here's a handy list of gifts that won't gather dust.</p> <h2>1. Anything on the Wish List</h2> <p>People spend a lot of time and thought assembling their gift lists. Respect that. A study by researchers at Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Austin found that when buying wedding gifts, the people closest to the bride and groom are the most likely to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/05/10/why-your-close-friends-always-buy-you-such-crummy-gifts/?utm_term=.40b205cef386" target="_blank">buy gifts off the registry</a> in order to express their close relationship with the recipients. The same study also shows that gift recipients are <em>less </em>happy with unique gifts than if they had just received something from their registry. Why would you ever want to make anyone less happy?</p> <p>If you're one of these people trying to cut down on the clutter, lead by example and set up a gift registry for yourself. By sharing your wish list, you not only limit what comes into your house, but it makes it easy to casually ask what everyone in your life really wants.</p> <p>Years ago, when I was setting up my first apartment, I registered myself for wedding gifts at Williams-Sonoma. Back in the days before the Internet, no one used gift registries for single people. They just didn't exist. I had to use the wedding registry form at the store to create my apartment wish list. When I told my friends and family, most of them were mortified. A gift registry for a single girl? How unseemly! However, it was the first year that I got everything that I wanted for the holidays and my birthday. Moral of the story: Ignore the negsters and stick to your guns about your registry.</p> <h2>2. Cash Money</h2> <p>Don't ask me how I know this, but gift cards are easy to lose in a messy house. I've lost conservatively a bazillion dollars in gift card and store credit value in my life. I have yet to lose one single paper currency gift.</p> <h2>3. A Night (or Day) Out</h2> <p>I can count on one hand the number of people I know who aren't completely overworked. While most people can't afford to give even themselves a needed vacation, a great night out can be just the break that people need to recharge.</p> <p>I love to take my friends out to lunch for their birthdays. Because many of my friends have super busy schedules, it's a great excuse to spend quality time with people I care about.</p> <p>I have friends who share their season tickets as their go-to gift. My friend Ellen buys two season tickets to the Hollywood Bowl each year. She then sends out the concert schedule to all of her friends so they can choose which show they want to see as her guest. My friend Ryan does the same thing with his season tickets to the Dodgers. My friend Andrew takes his friends and family to the Huntington Gardens for tours, museum events, and an occasional high tea. Sharing season tickets involves a lot of scheduling, but it's a gift that you get to enjoy with the recipients. As a bonus, this gift also benefits the organizations that you care about.</p> <p>A memorable day out doesn't have to be costly. Attend a free concert or set up a hiking date.</p> <h2>4. Digital Subscriptions</h2> <p>Digital subscriptions to magazines and entertainment companies like Audible, Steam, and Netflix are great gifts for people who live in small spaces. In addition to taking up no physical space, digital subscriptions can provide hours of entertainment throughout the year.</p> <p>Looking beyond entertainment subscriptions, there are a variety of other services that run on a subscription model. Offer to pay for a year's subscription to reference sites like imdbPro or for digital tools like Adobe Photoshop.</p> <p>I just received a 23andMe DNA testing kit in the mail. It was sent anonymously, with the message &quot;Happy Birthday&quot; noted on the invoice. I texted my adopted sister; she is a big fan of the service. &quot;Did you send me a DNA test?&quot; &quot;Hmmmmm, was it me or another mystery sister?&quot; she texted back. We both agree that we're probably distant cousins on our Neanderthal side.</p> <p>If you can't afford the cost of a gift subscription, there is an excellent, cost-free option: Curate a list of free podcasts. My best friend spends a lot of time in the car for work. She is a rabid fan of podcasts for education and entertainment. This year she asked me if I would listen along with her to <a href="http://ohwitchplease.ca/" target="_blank">Witch, Please</a>, a fortnightly podcast about the Harry Potter universe that is hosted by two potty-mouthed college professors. We spent an entire month listening to the podcasts and then debating important topics like whether the wizards, as described in the books, wear pants under their robes, and if puberty and Voldemort are equally evil forces.</p> <h2>5. Give the Gift of Education</h2> <p>My parents believe that the two lasting gifts you can give your children are love and a good education. I think this is true. Education, like love, might not make you richer, but it will make your life more interesting.</p> <p>The gift can be as large as a college scholarship or as small as a single knitting class at your local craft store. Two of my friends have asked me to teach them how to make homemade sauerkraut as their Christmas present this year.</p> <p>If you take a class with someone you love, it can be a present for you, too. When my best friend and I were 13, we obsessively read every Agatha Christie mystery. We were less into the whodunit than we were the Downton Abbey-esque universe of Hercule Poirot and his friends. The transcontinental train rides, the Mah Jongg games, the constant tea drinking all seemed so glamorous. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our friendship, we took a Mah Jongg class together, a game we still enjoy playing years later.</p> <p>Don't forget about online classes. Lynda.com has 4000 different courses in business, technology, and creative skills. Audible carries Pimsleur language courses at a discount.</p> <h2>6. Donate to a Charity in Their Name</h2> <p>Donating to charity is a nice way to make friends feel remembered at the holidays and also spread the holiday cheer to people who need help. If you need help choosing a worthy cause, <a href="https://www.charitywatch.org/top-rated-charities" target="_blank">Charity Watch</a> keeps a list of top-rated charities that spans a huge number of categories.</p> <h2>7. Make New Holiday Traditions<strong> </strong></h2> <p>In 2001, to address the Christmas elephant in the room &mdash; an elephant that we can't actually see because it's hidden under a pile of half-completed craft projects and books we intend to read very soon &mdash; my hoarder family took a radical step: We stopped giving Christmas gifts to each other. Even the kids. This is the nuclear option. But for families who can make the psychological jump, a No Gifts Christmas can totally change the way you feel about the holiday&hellip;for the better.</p> <p>For 15 straight years my family's No Gifts Christmas tradition has made the holiday season merrier for my relatives and me. There are countless ways to experience the spirit of the season that don't involve clutter. We have less stress and a lot more fun than when we had to shop for each other. Oh, and money. Did I mention <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor" target="_blank">we have a lot more money</a>? And empty floor space. Empty floor space in my house is priceless.</p> <h2>8. The Gift of Time</h2> <p>No one loves chores. That's why they are called chores instead of hobbies. Give the gift of time by helping your friends complete their own to-do lists.</p> <p>This year for my birthday my friend Señor Amor helped me hang curtains in my dining room. It was an all day ordeal. I can't imagine how long it would have taken me to do the job by myself. Every time I look at those drapes, I have a nice reminder of our friendship.</p> <p>My friend Crickett and I recently discussed our mutual hatred for filing. For our holiday gift to one another, we're going to help each other organize the piles of paperwork taking up precious real estate on our desks. If we have to suffer, at least we don't have to do it alone.</p> <h2>9. Just Ask</h2> <p>Even minimalists have wish lists. If you don't mind ruining the surprise, just ask.</p> <p>Don't get me wrong; surprises are great. But who prefers to be surprised by a gift she doesn't want over something she's been pining to own? You cannot deny there is a certain satisfaction to getting exactly what you want. If your soul requires that every gift contain the element of surprise, then stake out your friends' Amazon wish list, Pinterest page, or Etsy favorites. Or, just be a good listener.</p> <p>My friend Todd, a professional organizer who works with hoarders, is a master at choosing clutter-free gifts. He gives me two gigantic, 36-count packages of toilet paper from Costco every year for my birthday. Back when we were in college, I had mentioned to him that never having to buy toilet paper would be weirdly luxurious.</p> <p>Now, I don't remember saying this, but I do hate spending money on boring things like cleaning supplies. And, even if I never said it, can I tell you? Never buying your own toilet paper is luxurious.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Gifts%2520That%2520Wont%2520Become%2520Clutter.jpg&amp;description=9%20Gifts%20That%20Wont%20Become%20Clutter"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Gifts%20That%20Wont%20Become%20Clutter.jpg" alt="9 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-some-economists-say-you-should-give-cash-instead-of-gifts">Why Some Economists Say You Should Give Cash Instead of Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Organization Shopping charities classes clutter gifts Holidays presents subscriptions thoughtful gifts unique gifts wish lists Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Max Wong 1856079 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-155441599.jpg" alt="it&#039;s okay to do your holiday shopping at the last minute" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Full disclosure here, folks: I'm a planner. Most years, I start my holiday shopping in October and have everything wrapped Martha Stewart-style by Thanksgiving. But the older I get, and the more holidays I put behind me, the more tempted I am to cross over to the other side.</p> <p>For just one year, I'd like to make October and November strictly about enjoying the changing leaves, spooking trick-or-treaters, and consuming an embarrassing amount of turkey. Why? Because procrastinating offers some strategic advantages, especially during the holidays. Here are nine reasons why it's perfectly okay to shop for the holidays at the very last minute.</p> <h2>1. More Seasonal Spirit</h2> <p>Compared to those of us who start our holiday shopping in the heat of August, last-minute buyers are far more immersed in the spirit of the season. The air is crisp, stores are decked out in full holiday cheer, carolers are caroling, and everything feels more festive. If you have trouble gearing up for the holiday, a last-minute shopping trip could be the nudge you need.</p> <h2>2. Deeper Discounts</h2> <p>Who needs Black Friday? Retailers live and die by their holiday sales volume. The closer the holiday, the more anxious they are to hit their sales goals, clear out inventory, and prepare for the next big sales season. Last-minute shoppers can take advantage of this reality and score some amazing deals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/december-deals-that-are-better-than-black-friday?ref=seealso">December Deals That Are Better Than Black Friday</a>)</p> <h2>3. Amazing Online Deals</h2> <p>Sometimes the best last-minute deals are just a click away. Online retailers promote doorbuster discounts at different times throughout the holiday season. And if you don't mind being late with a gift or two, standard shipping is often free for buyers who meet minimum purchase requirements.</p> <h2>4. More Planning Time</h2> <p>Choosing to delay your holiday shopping doesn't have to mean you're operating in complete chaos. Procrastination gives you more time to plan and more time to see what other gifts have already been exchanged &mdash; two distinct advantages if you want find just the perfect item and avoid giving a duplicate gift.</p> <h2>5. Smaller Crowds</h2> <p>As the holidays draw near, most people focus less on shopping and more on decorating their homes, cooking, preparing for visitors, or traveling. That means malls and other retail outlets can be almost serene for eleventh-hour shoppers.</p> <h2>6. No Spoiled Surprises</h2> <p>No matter how expert your skills of concealment, kids have an uncanny ability to sniff out their gifts. But last-minute shoppers have nothing to worry about. They only need to hide their gifts for a few days &mdash; heck, sometimes just a few short hours! That means half-pint hunters have less time to explore and less chance of spoiling their surprise on Christmas morning.</p> <h2>7. Fewer Wish List Changes</h2> <p>Some children's holiday wish lists could generously be described as &quot;fluid.&quot; New products, changing tastes, and evolving interests all mean that what you bought in early November could be passé by late December. Here, last-minute shoppers have a distinct advantage: They can dash out the door on December 23rd with relative certainty that they have the latest and greatest wish list in-hand.</p> <h2>8. More Time to Save</h2> <p>In theory, the longer you wait to shop, the more time you'll have to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-do-now-to-get-your-finances-in-order-for-the-holidays">prep your finances for the holidays</a> and sock away some green. Last-minute shoppers who've been disciplined budgeters can pay cash for every item on their holiday list &mdash; that means not having to rely on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">credit cards and avoiding interest charges</a>. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!</p> <h2>9. Bigger Challenge</h2> <p>Are you one of those amazing people who work best under pressure? Then December 22&ndash;24 is your time to shine. Slam a double espresso, hit the malls, check out your favorite neighborhood shops, and start wrapping. You got this.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-160-gift-ideas-for-everyone-you-know">Flashback Friday: 160 Gift Ideas for Everyone You Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-30-brilliant-ways-to-survive-black-friday-madness">Flashback Friday: 30 Brilliant Ways to Survive Black Friday Madness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping Christmas gifts holiday shopping holiday shopping hacks Holidays shopping shopping hacks Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1851184 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_christmas_shopping_621576836.jpg" alt="Woman using miles and points for holiday gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although shopping isn't always the best way to get value out of your credit card or other loyalty rewards &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=internal">international flights and upgrades</a> typically get more punch for the point &mdash; there are lots of good reasons to consider spending some points on holiday gifts.</p> <p>If you're short on cash, tapping your miles and points is an easy way to come through for loved ones without racking up debt. It's a sneaky way to treat a spouse who shares your checking and credit accounts without having a bill for the &quot;gift&quot; arrive in January. Shopping can also be an expedient way to use up small caches of points that might otherwise expire, which should be part of your year-end financial cleanup anyway.</p> <p>Check out some of these easy ways to turn points into presents under the tree. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping?ref=seealso">25+ Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shoppin</a>)</p> <h2>1. Shop Amazon With Points</h2> <p>This is so easy that even I, usually a die hard &quot;save points for travel&quot; girl, bought my kids some toys using this method this year. Some credit cards allow you to link your Amazon account directly to easily use points for purchases. Amazon is also a popular vendor in shopping portals. Check your credit card issuer to see if they have a members-only shopping portal that allows you to use points (or earn bonus ones) when you shop with their partners.</p> <h2>2. Buy Gift Cards With Points</h2> <p>Many rewards programs offer gift cards as a redemption option. You can usually exchange your points at a $0.01 rate, so if you have 500 points, you can usually get a $5 gift card to a popular store, like Starbucks, Home Depot, or Banana Republic. Make sure to check whether your gift cards will arrive by mail or email, and if by mail, when they will be shipped.</p> <h2>3. Give the Gift of Travel</h2> <p>If you have a lot of points, you can always use them where you get the best value: airline flights. This is a great gift idea for a loved one you'd like to visit you. Simply use your points to book a ticket in his name. Southwest is a good candidate for this kind of gift, since your recipient can change the flight itinerary at no charge if your proposed travel dates don't work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-southwest-airlines-is-the-best-domestic-airline-for-families?ref=seealso">Why Southweest Is the Best Domestic Airline for Families</a>)</p> <h2>4. Give Subscriptions</h2> <p>If you have a few points close to expiration, you may have received an offer in the mail to trade points for magazine and newspaper subscriptions. This is a good way to squeeze some value out of miles for an airline you're unlikely to fly, or points from any program where you don't expect to accumulate enough to redeem anything big.</p> <p>For instance, while 3,200 miles is not enough for even a short flight on American Airlines, it can get you a yearlong subscription to The Wall Street Journal, a $278 value. Through <a href="https://www2.magsformiles.com/index.html?utm_source=expired&amp;utm_medium=10024767">Mags for Miles</a>, you can redeem United, Spirit, and a number of other types of miles for People, Sports Illustrated, or many other titles. This is a particularly good idea for Spirit miles, since they expire quickly.</p> <h2>5. Redeem Points for Merchandise</h2> <p>This usually ends up giving you the <em>worst </em>value for your points, but if it prevents you from actually spending your cash, it can still be worthwhile. Look at your options for points redemption, and you'll usually find a &quot;merchandise&quot; option, which lists gadgets and gifts you can get with your points. If the gift you really want to get is there, or you really wouldn't be able to use the points in a better way, why not?</p> <h2>6. Give Exclusive Experiences</h2> <p>Sometimes Broadway shows, sporting events, and other experience vendors offer exclusive opportunities to cardholders. Members might get offered pre-sale tickets for popular shows or access a VIP experience at a special event. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I've Earned with Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>7. Redeem Points for Cash</h2> <p>Even if your credit card isn't labeled a &quot;cash back&quot; credit card, you may still be able to redeem your points for cash or a statement credit. Sometimes they don't advertise this option, so dig a little into their rewards center to see whether it's an option.&nbsp;</p> <h2>8. Make a Donation</h2> <p>If your giftee is the type of person who would appreciate a charitable donation in their name, many issuers will allow you to donate your points to charities. Check your rewards center for options and availability.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday">11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-credit-card-moves-now-to-prepare-for-holiday-shopping">Make These 6 Credit Card Moves Now to Prepare for Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping Amazon cash back charities christmas shopping gifts holiday shopping miles rewards subscriptions Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1850499 at http://www.wisebread.com