security http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3960/all en-US Here's What to Do Immediately After a Credit Card Breach http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit_card_phishing_000056442984.jpg" alt="Learning what to do after a credit card breach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The new EMV credit cards (better known as &quot;chip&quot; or &quot;chip and pin&quot; cards) are supposed to significantly cut down on credit card fraud. But these new cards, embedded with computer chips, are far from foolproof. Most security experts say that criminals will now focus on online transactions, stealing consumers' information as they enter it into websites.</p> <p>&quot;If it gets too difficult to steal credit card information from transactions at the register, criminals will increasingly move online,&quot; said Tom Donlea, e-commerce director for Whitepages.&quot;The new EMV cards offer no protection to consumers who are shopping online.&quot;</p> <p>So, what should you do if your financial records are exposed in a credit card breach? Here are five steps you should take immediately after you discover that your credit card information has been compromised.</p> <h2>1. Close the Compromised Account</h2> <p>Once you discover that thieves have stolen your credit card information, immediately call your provider to close that account. This will stop thieves from using your card to make any additional fraudulent purchases.</p> <h2>2. Dispute Any Fraudulent Purchases</h2> <p>The federal Truth in Lending Act protects you from credit card purchases made without your permission. According to federal law, your credit card provider can only charge you a total of $50 for unauthorized purchases made with your card, no matter how many of these purchases thieves run up.</p> <p>There's no time limit on when you must report these disputed charges, either. If thieves are using your debit card, though, you do have to act quickly. To be eligible for the Truth in Lending Act's personal liability limit of $50, you must report your card lost, stolen, or breached within <em>two </em>business days.</p> <p>Once you call your card provider to report a fraudulent purchase, the financial institution will send you a document to fill out stating that you believe that the charges are fraudulent. Don't worry about having to argue with your provider. They will usually take your word. And most won't even charge you that $50 to which they are entitled.</p> <h2>3. Check Your Credit Card Statements Carefully</h2> <p>Study not only your current credit card statement, but past ones, too, for suspicious charges. You don't know how long thieves have been using your credit card to make unauthorized purchases. Check older statements for purchases that you don't remember making or that look unusual.</p> <p>You should be studying your statements carefully every month, of course. Being vigilant for suspicious purchases on your account is the best way to stop fraudulent activity quickly.</p> <h2>4. Alert the Three Credit Bureaus</h2> <p>Next, contact the three national credit bureaus &mdash; TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax &mdash; to inform them that your credit card information was compromised. The bureaus will then place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit reports. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-always-dispute-mistakes-on-your-credit-report">Should You Always Dispute Mistakes on Your Credit Report?</a>)</p> <p>This fraud alert will protect you against future unauthorized charges. That's because with the alert in place, creditors will take extra steps to make sure anyone opening an account in your name is actually you and not a fraudster.</p> <h2>5. Educate Yourself</h2> <p>You might never discover how thieves were able to gain access to your card information. But you can take steps to prevent future problems.</p> <p>Because so many criminals are turning to online fraud today, learn how to protect yourself when using the Internet. Don't open suspicious email messages, and never click on links when an email supposedly from your bank asks you to verify your information. These are usually scam emails.</p> <p>Only buy items online from trusted, legitimate retailers. And never use your credit card at a site that doesn't ask you to provide the three-digit security code that is usually printed on the back of your card. Sites that don't ask for this information aren't doing enough to protect you.</p> <p>There's little that you can do to protect yourself from a wide-scale data breach, such as those suffered in recent years by major retailers. But you can protect yourself from those scammers who target individual consumers. It just takes a bit of commonsense on your part.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had one of your credit accounts hacked? How did you respond?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach">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/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</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-things-you-should-never-buy-with-your-credit-card">5 Things You Should Never Buy With Your Credit Card</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/are-debit-cards-as-safe-as-credit-cards">Debit Cards vs. Credit Cards: Fees and Fraud Protection</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-ways-chip-credit-cards-make-life-easier">4 Ways Chip Credit Cards Make Life Easier</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/stupid-credit-card-tricks-how-your-credit-card-company-lies-to-you">Stupid Credit Card Tricks: How Your Credit Card Company Lies to You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards chip cards credit card theft emv fraud online shopping security Mon, 01 Feb 2016 18:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1646116 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/surveillance_video_000015585918.jpg" alt="Learning of cheap ways to deter house intruders" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Burglaries are decreasing in the United States, which is good news for homeowners, though the victims who experienced the <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/november/crime-statistics-for-2013-released/crime-statistics-for-2013-released">1.9 million burglaries</a> in 2013 might not see the glass as half full.</p> <p>The average dollar loss per offense was $2,322 that same year. That number, along with the fact that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">protecting your home</a> with a home security system can <a href="https://usinsuranceagents.com/cheap-home-insurance">lower home insurance premiums</a>, may be enough to convince you to do something to deter intruders.</p> <p>Installing a home security system, however, can cost a few hundred dollars (along with $15 to $100 for monthly monitoring). So here are six cheaper alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Set Up a Home Camera Yourself</h2> <p>For about $150, you can buy a camera that you can set up yourself to record your front porch, for example, and save on your computer. The upfront cost may equal what you'd pay for a security system, but you avoid the monthly monitoring costs.</p> <p>Another option is to set up a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CWRXEVG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CWRXEVG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VMD43IRA6GXM4KF6">fake video camera</a> or webcam as a deterrent to potential criminals. Seeing a few &quot;security cameras&quot; over the garage may be enough to cause them to move on. And if you want the cameras to work, there are all kinds of apps to turn a <a href="http://www.ugolog.com/pages/25-applications-to-turn-your-webcam-into-home-security-system">webcam into a security camera</a>.</p> <h2>2. Put a Home Security Sign Up</h2> <p>Just as with a non-working camera, you can put up a security company's sign in your yard stating that your home is being protected, but don't pay for the service.</p> <p>A generic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DT8JLI2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DT8JLI2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DRPOKSZXCZJHZPPY">alarm system sign</a> sells online for less than $25, although experienced criminals may well recognize the knock-offs. (Less than scrupulous vendors sell signs from well-known security services on eBay and elsewhere, but this trick seems unfair to the security firms who provide actual services.) Again, the point is to make burglars think twice before trying to break into your home.</p> <h2>3. Install Motion Sensors</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=motion%20sensor%20lights&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amotion%20sensor%20lights&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=UIEK2HSFJNXEERC3">Motion sensor outdoor lights</a> are as cheap as $50, turning on whenever someone or something moves in front of them. Lighting the outside of a home is an easy deterrent for nighttime break-ins.</p> <h2>4. Leave the Radio On</h2> <p>If you're gone all day, leave a radio on so that anyone walking up to the house will hear it and think someone is inside. Leaving a small desk radio on for six hours costs an estimated <a href="http://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/appliance_opcost_list_duke_v8.06.pdf">22 cents per month</a>.</p> <h2>5. Run a Fake TV</h2> <p>Burglars are looking for unoccupied homes, and a glowing TV screen is a sign that someone's home.</p> <p>For as little as $25, a small device called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BTKGHDE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BTKGHDE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5O6AEGTHITP6432P">FakeTV</a> simulates the flickering light of real television. Close the curtains and from the outside, it looks like you're home watching TV. The device has a light sensor and timer, and uses the same amount of power as a night light.</p> <h2>6. Lock Your Doors</h2> <p>This is a simple tip, but one that many people may forget about once in awhile. Lock all doors and windows before going to sleep at night, and install deadbolts where you can. A chain lock on a door won't be enough to stop a determined intruder. A security door jam for a door or window can cost only $10 and should also be locked at night.</p> <p>Those are some of the cheapest ways to deter house intruders. If you really want something that makes noise when a burglar or anyone else comes to your house, consider getting a sometimes expensive but trustworthy burglar alarm: a dog. The barking may drive you crazy, but it can protect your home from burglars when you're away. And the mailman may even think twice before leaving you those pesky bills!</p> <p><em>Do you employ any of these or other cheap security tricks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">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/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</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/diy-home-defense-10-ways-to-protect-your-home-from-burglars">DIY Home Defense: 10 Ways to Protect Your Home From Burglars</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-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</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/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home burglary intruders safety security surveillance Thu, 22 Oct 2015 21:16:53 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1593625 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_identity_theft_000000240734.jpg" alt="Man wondering if credit monitoring is ever actually worth it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Should you pay for credit-monitoring &mdash; that identity theft protection service that promises to alert you whenever your card provider notices suspicious activity on your account?</p> <p>The short answer? Probably not. If you're proactive in monitoring and protecting your credit, you likely won't need these services. But in some cases, credit monitoring and identity theft alerts might make sense. Read on to learn about free alternatives to paid services, as well as when it actually makes sense to pay for them.</p> <h2>Free Credit-Monitoring Alternatives</h2> <p>You can already order one copy of each of your three credit reports &mdash; one each maintained by the three national credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; every year at no charge from AnnualCreditReport.com.</p> <p>These credit reports will list the amount you owe on your credit card accounts, and all active and inactive credit card accounts in your name. It will also list any auto, mortgage, student, or other loans you are paying back, and how much you owe on these loans. A separate area of your credit report lists any negative judgments against you, such as bankruptcy filings, housing short sales, or foreclosures.</p> <p>You can study these reports to uncover any unusual financial activity in your name, such as credit card accounts that you don't ever remember opening. You can also look for missed or late auto loan or mortgage payments that you know you actually paid on time. You can then report this suspicious activity to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>Another place that offers free credit monitoring is your credit card. Many credit cards offer credit monitoring tools as well as access to your credit score each month. Check out the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">best credit cards that offer free credit monitoring tools</a>.</p> <h2>How to Handle Fraud for Free</h2> <p>If you do think that someone has illegally taken out a credit card in your name, you can place a fraud alert with any or all of the three credit bureaus. Once you do this, you are entitled to a free copy of your three credit reports once every 90 days, which gives you even more ability to monitor your credit on your own. Filing a fraud alert is free, and lasts for 90 days. You can renew these alerts, again for free, as often as you'd like. This sort of protection renders identity theft and credit-monitoring services even more unnecessary.</p> <p>You can also spot fraudulent purchases on your existing credit card accounts without the help of add-ons. Just study your monthly credit card statement when it comes in the mail. Even better, log onto your credit card account every week to study the activity on your card. If you see a suspicious purchase, alert the provider of your card. Plus, many banks and credit card companies will proactively alert you of any suspicious activity &mdash; at no cost.</p> <p>Know, too, that you won't be responsible for a big bill even if someone uses your credit card to run up thousands of dollars in new purchases. Your liability for credit card fraud is capped at $50 maximum, no matter how many fraudulent purchases were made with your card. And most issuers of credit cards won't charge you anything if you report fraudulent purchases.</p> <h2>When It Makes Sense to Pay for Credit Monitoring</h2> <p>There is a caveat, though. If you don't take the time to order your credit reports, or if you pay your credit card bill each month without even glancing at the new purchases you made, paying for a program like credit-monitoring or identity theft protection <em>might </em>make sense.</p> <p>Yes, you can do everything that your credit card company offers on your own, at no charge. But if you know that you won't take the time to monitor your credit card accounts yourself? Then that small investment every month might make financial sense. This is especially true if you suspect ongoing fraud, or have several new credit-related activities on your report.</p> <p>Sure, in most cases, paying for monitoring doesn't make financial sense. But you know yourself best &mdash; if paying for credit monitoring will keep you best alerted to potential issues, it's an excellent investment in your financial health.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been a victim of identity theft or credit fraud?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">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-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach">Here&#039;s What to Do Immediately After a Credit Card Breach</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/beware-of-adding-another-user-to-your-credit-card">Beware of Adding Another User to Your Credit Card</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-times-you-must-freeze-your-credit-report">5 Times You Must Freeze Your Credit Report</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-times-its-okay-to-close-a-credit-card">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Close a Credit Card</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/stop-dont-cut-up-your-credit-cards">Stop! Don&#039;t Cut Up Your Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit monitoring credit reports fraud identity theft security Wed, 30 Sep 2015 21:01:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1570316 at http://www.wisebread.com 31 Super Smart Travel Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/31-super-smart-travel-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-super-smart-travel-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_packing_000039949614.jpg" alt="Mom learning super smart travel hacks before next trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since the dawn of exploration, travelers have been finding ways to simplify and streamline their adventures. Today, we call this &quot;travel hacking,&quot; and a few important tricks can save you a lot of time, space, and money. I've traveled the world with my wife since 2008 and we've saved thousands of dollars and a lot of time by using these 31 essential hacks that every traveler should know. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers?ref=seealso">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travellers</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Theft-Proof Luggage</h2> <p>There are a ton of brands out there that offer theft-proof luggage. I have a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=numinous%20anti-theft&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Anuminous%20anti-theft&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=ZLT5MAJJVNVP6PCJ">Numinous Theft-Proof Backpack</a> which has anti-slash technology, puncture-proof lockable zippers, and a steel tie-down cable. This bag is like a portable safe, and it gives me peace of mind knowing that my valuables are secure while I'm on the road.</p> <h2>2. Use Packing Cubes</h2> <p>If you don't already have these things, I highly recommend picking some up. Simply put, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=packing%20cubes&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Apacking%20cubes&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=NU6VYS5SBZDAU5R3">packing cubes</a> are small, zippable compression squares that help to keep your backpack and luggage organized and compact. You can separate your tops, bottoms, and underwear into different sized cubes so that next time you're at the airport and you need to take out a t-shirt, you'll know exactly where to look.</p> <h2>3. Roll, Don't Fold</h2> <p>I first heard of this trick on the Oprah show a few years back, but it really works. Rolling your clothes can save a lot of space &mdash; and having them rolled and lined up in packing cubes (instead of folded and stacked on top of each other) allows you to better see your traveling wardrobe.</p> <h2>4. Protect Your Toothbrush With a Clothing Pin</h2> <p>Who knows what kind of nasty bacteria and particulate matter has accumulated on that hotel bathroom sink and counter!? According to a hotel sanitation study conducted by Katie Kirsch and a team from Purdue University and the University of South Carolina, the bathroom sink is one of the &quot;germiest&quot; surfaces in the hotel room. Her team claimed that the same sponges are sometimes used to clean the toilets and the counters. I'm really sorry to be the one to tell you, but this is why the <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/26880928998279779/">clothes pin toothbrush holder</a> is so important. Don't ever rest your toothbrush on the counter again!</p> <h2>5. Charge Your Device on the TV</h2> <p>Newer LCD and Plasma screens usually have a USB outlet on the rear console. If you've used up all of the outlets in your hotel, or you forgot to bring that little USB/AC wall adapter, the TV in your hotel room could save the day.</p> <h2>6. Pack the Boil Coil</h2> <p>I love this little thing and I wouldn't travel without it. Basically, it's a small heating coil that you can place in a metal bowl or mug to boil water. It can boil a cup of water in a little over a minute. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VK0DRY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000VK0DRY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DPN2FUP7CDPOE3MV">boil coil</a> is perfect for coffee, noodle bowls, hard boiled eggs, and tea! (Maybe even pasta?)</p> <h2>7. Cook in the Coffee Machine</h2> <p>Did you know that the coffee machine in your hotel room can also be used as a mini vegetable steamer or porridge cooker? Simply place your desired grub in the carafe, add some water, and let it cook.</p> <h2>8. Put Your Valuables in an Empty Sunscreen Container</h2> <p>Next time you're at the beach, don't worry about leaving your valuables behind while you go for a swim. Just create this <a href="http://www.safewise.com/blog/hiding-plain-sight-6-sneaky-ways-keep-valuables-safe/">brilliant little hidden container</a> by cutting your sunscreen bottle in half and you can easily hide your iPhone, money, and wallet while you're out enjoying the waves.</p> <h2>9. Stay Fresh With Dryer Sheets</h2> <p>Stinky backpack? Toss in a Bounce sheet. Smelly dorm? Put a sheet on the fan or air conditioner. Nasty foot odor? You guessed it. Fill up your hikers with <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=dryer%20sheets&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=CHHOSX25ACKLE3I6">dryer sheets</a>. These things can freshen even the most unsavory of situations. Never travel without them.</p> <h2>10. Carry a Portable Home Theatre</h2> <p>The newest DLP technology has shrunk down to a size that travelers can actually pack. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QXS8L6I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00QXS8L6I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YWDADU4JMIXHOOCB">RIF6</a> is a Rubix Cube-sized projector that can fit inside of an empty shoe in your backpack. All you need is a device and a white wall and you've got your own personal cinema.</p> <h2>11. Carry a VGA or HDMI Cord Instead</h2> <p>Don't want to buy the portable projector? Just carry a VGA or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=hdmi%20cord&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahdmi%20cord&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=SCJN7PXJI4ZRJCG4">HDMI cord</a> so that you can hook your laptop up to the hotel room television.</p> <h2>12. Find Wi-Fi Passwords on Foursquare</h2> <p>This is a great hack to use when you stay at hotels and guest houses that are located in cities with lots of access points. Just search Foursquare comments for businesses around your hotel and you'll likely find that someone posted a Wi-Fi password near you. Help the community by posting passwords as you find them as well.</p> <h2>13. Plug a Drain With a Coin</h2> <p>Sometimes you just want to do a bit of laundry in your hotel room sink, but you didn't pack a plug or the plug you packed doesn't fit. Luckily, coins come in pretty much all sizes, so just dig into your wallet and pick out two that will fit the drain in your sink. Then wrap the first one in plastic, place it in the sink and put the other one on top to hold it down. Now you can fill up the sink and do your laundry!</p> <h2>14. Take a Picture of Your Travel Documents</h2> <p>It's always a good idea to carry your passport and important documents with you, but you also run the risk of losing them or having them stolen. Instead, take photos of them and keep them in your smartphone photo library. If a corrupt border guard asks for your documents, try to flash the screenshot rather than your actual passport. Also make sure to email the documents to yourself so you still have them, even if your smartphone is stolen.</p> <h2>15. Be a Signal Vulture</h2> <p>When you first arrive at a new destination, head into as many restaurants and cafes as you can, buy something small and get the Wi-Fi code. Hit up 10 to 20 places around your hotel and you'll soon have free Wi-Fi within a one mile radius.</p> <h2>16. Use Fishing Line Security</h2> <p>If you're sleeping on an overnight train or bus, you're probably not paying much attention to your bag. If you don't have theft-proof luggage from the first hack on this list, tie fishing line to your important luggage and attach the other end to your wrist. If anyone tries to take it, they won't notice the invisible line, but you'll wake up when your arm jerks. You can then stop them in their tracks.</p> <h2>17. Record YouTube</h2> <p>Sometimes you just want to save that favorite video or music playlist to watch or listen to during a flight or long bus ride, but you know you're not going to have Wi-Fi. Head to <a href="http://en.savefrom.net/">savefrom.net</a> and you can download your favorite vids and songs to watch or listen to later.</p> <h2>18. Hide Jewelry</h2> <p>Hide your beloved wedding ring and your favorite gold necklace in a Tylenol container instead of a Tiffany's box. No thieves are going to look in your first aid kit for a big score.</p> <h2>19. Practice the Secret Offline Google Maps Function</h2> <p>This is a very useful trick for those of us who don't want to spend money on data usage overseas. While you have Wi-Fi, open the Google Maps app on your smart device. Zoom into a map area that you know you'll want to look at later and then type &quot;okay maps&quot; into the search field. The app will then download that portion of the map for you to view later while offline.</p> <h2>20. Use Duct Tape to Fix Anything</h2> <p>This strong, sticky, grey adhesive can do so much for a traveler. Fix your broken shoes, seal up holes in window frames where creepy crawlers can enter, patch tears in your mosquito net, or temporarily cover a wound. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=duct%20tape&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aduct%20tape&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=RBC77I6JHIF6XCF3">Duct tape</a> can do it all!</p> <p>And there's no need to pack a huge bulky roll: instead just ditch the ink portion of a ballpoint pen, roll about 10 feet of tape around the outer casing, and cut off the excess plastic bits on either end of the pen.</p> <h2>21. Call Your Credit Card Company and Bank Before Traveling</h2> <p>The last thing you want is to be in the middle of your vacation and suddenly you're cut off from all of your accounts. If your credit card provider or bank sees random charges from Timbuktu, they'll probably freeze your accounts, forcing you to call in and sometimes order a new card. Don't let this happen to you. Simply call them before departing and let them know where you'll be and for how long.</p> <h2>22. Carry an Empty Water Bottle at the Airport</h2> <p>I hate spending $3 for a bottle of water that can be bought for 50 cents anywhere else in the country. But airport security will take your bottle if it has any water in it. Instead of paying airport prices, carry an empty bottle through security and then fill it up from a fountain or at Starbucks on the other side. Stick it to those airport overcharges!</p> <h2>23. Clear Your Cache or Browse Privately When Booking Flights</h2> <p>This is just one of several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">flight booking hacks</a> I've got for you, but it's a goodie. Booking engines and airline websites store cookies in your browser so that they can jack up prices if they see you coming back to shop for the same flights over and over again. Clear your cache or browse &quot;incognito&quot; in Google Chrome (cmd-shift-n) to save yourself hundreds of dollars on airfare. (Ctrl-shift-n for PC Chrome users.)</p> <h2>24. Keep Your Collars Crisp With Your Belt</h2> <p>Roll up your belt and place it inside the collar of your favourite shirt to keep it from wrinkling and bending out of shape while in transit.</p> <h2>25. Seal Shampoo Containers With Shrink Wrap</h2> <p>Have you ever had your shampoo explode while in your luggage? It's a mess and the dyed liquid can potentially stain your cloths. To prevent this catastrophe, simply place some plastic wrap (or a Ziploc bag) over the opening and screw the lid on over top of it. Don't have cellophane wrap? Just tape the lids shut.</p> <h2>26. Ask Siri Your Flight Status</h2> <p>Hold the home button on your Apple smart device and say &quot;Check flight status for (your flight number)&quot; and Siri will list results with up-to-date information about your flight. If you don't have an Apple device, simply Google your flight number and you will see your flight info above the search results.</p> <h2>27. Put All Travel on Rewards Credit Cards</h2> <p>You might as well get some cashback and rewards from all of your travel purchases. Put your hotel rooms, restaurant bills, flights, and insurance on your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">favorite travel rewards credit card</a> and earn some rewards for all of your purchases. Even better, use a card with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal">no foreign transaction fees</a> if you're abroad.</p> <h2>28. Get a Travel Debit Card</h2> <p>Some banks charge upwards of $5 for every transaction from international ATMs. Shop around and find an account that waives these fees so that you're not wasting money every time you withdraw cash overseas. In the U.S., the Charles Schwab debit system doesn't charge foreign ATM fees, while in Canada, the TD Canada Trust Select Service Account offers the same.</p> <h2>29. Ladies, Use the Diva Cup</h2> <p>If you're on a world trip, you're not going to want to carry a year's worth of pads or tampons in your bag, and in some countries it's hard to find tampons at all. Enter: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=diva%20cup&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Adiva%20cup&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=VS7LYZGR3VMDIQDS">The Diva Cup</a>. This little thing will save you a ton of space in your luggage and it is much better for the environment and for your body.</p> <h2>30. Get a Range Extender</h2> <p>Wi-Fi in hotels and hostels seldom reaches the private rooms or dorms, but with this handy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=range%20extender&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Arange%20extender&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=TNO5V2GNMQOCQFN4">range extender</a>, you can double the strength of the signal just by plugging it into a wall socket. It captures the signal from the router and magnifies it for you to use. It even has its own password so other people can't share the bandwidth with you unless you want them to.</p> <h2>31. Watch Inflight Movies on Budget Airlines</h2> <p>Carry a Ziploc bag big enough to fit your device and then clip the bag into the seat tray table in front of you. Hang the device down and voila! You have yourself an inflight movie, even when the plane lacks video on demand.</p> <p><em>Did you find any new and useful hacks in this post? I must have missed some! What easy tricks have you used to make your travels cheaper, safer, and more comfortable? Please share with us in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-super-smart-travel-hacks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-saving-travel-gadgets">5 Money Saving Travel Gadgets</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-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them">5 Dangers of Mobile Banking — And How to Avoid Them</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/extend-your-vacation-for-free-with-open-jaws-and-stopovers">Extend Your Vacation for Free With Open Jaws and Stopovers</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/make-flying-easy-the-ultimate-carry-on-packing-list">Make Flying Easy: The Ultimate Carry-On Packing List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-make-a-hotel-feel-like-home">5 Simple Ways to Make a Hotel Feel Like Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel hotel rooms luggage organization packing tips security travel hacking wi-fi Mon, 28 Sep 2015 15:00:47 +0000 Nick Wharton 1570273 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Dangers of Mobile Banking — And How to Avoid Them http://www.wisebread.com/5-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_000039409614_0.jpg" alt="Woman using her phone to manage mobile banking" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Managing your money has never been so easy. With the rise of mobile banking, paying your bills and checking your balance can be as simple as posting a photo to your Instagram feed. But there's a price to pay for the convenience of depositing checks from anywhere in the world with a simple click of your mobile camera. That price is the increased risk that your private data and access to your accounts could fall into the wrong hands.</p> <p>Banking fraud expert Julie Conroy warns, &quot;as additional people flock to the mobile channel and transactions multiply, the bad guys are paying attention and <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-dangers-of-mobile-banking">deploying more attacks</a> against it.&quot;</p> <p>The best way to protect yourself, of course, is to know the risks. Read on for our guide to the dangers of mobile banking and foolproof tips on how to avoid them.</p> <h2>1. Wireless Networks Are Hacker-Friendly</h2> <p>Unlike websites, mobile apps don't <a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0014-tips-using-public-wi-fi-networks#Mobile">properly encrypt information</a>, which means it's not a good idea to access your bank account via mobile app when you're on a public or otherwise unsecured Wi-Fi network. As computer science expert Ron Vetter explains, &quot;mobile banking apps are connected to wireless networks, and these networks are inherently insecure as they broadcast their messages into the open air.&quot;</p> <p>If you plan to use a mobile app to conduct a sensitive transaction, you're better off using a secure wireless network or your phone's data network. This will help reduce the risk of your private information being intercepted by a hacker or some other third party.</p> <h2>2. Poor Reception Means Poor Security</h2> <p>Even if you're diligent in accessing your mobile banking app on your phone's data network rather than a wireless network, the security of your financial information could still be at risk if your 4G or 3G data drops into a lower service range. Poor reception invites the chance that the data contained in your banking transaction could misfire and be intercepted by an unauthorized third party.</p> <h2>3. There's More at Stake If You Lose Your Phone</h2> <p>Studies show that nearly 40% of smartphone owners don't <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/consumers-and-mobile-financial-services-report-201403.pdf">password protect</a> their devices. If any of those folks were to lose their phone, anyone could pick it up, log into their banking app, and access their money. Even if you do password protect your phone, you could still be putting yourself at risk by auto-saving your password. For optimal security, select &quot;no&quot; when any of your apps ask to remember your username and password. You can further help protect yourself from fraudsters who gain access to your phone by installing a remote-wiping application that allows you to <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2352755,00.asp">erase your phone's data</a> even when the device isn't physically in your possession.</p> <h2>4. You May Not Be Able to Access Newly Deposited Funds Right Away</h2> <p>Although you can deposit funds into your account instantly via a mobile banking app, there may be a longer lag than normal until you can access those funds.</p> <p>&quot;In many cases, [banks] will protect themselves against fraud by increasing the delay in the availability of funds, as compared to if you'd just deposit that check in an ATM or branch,&quot; Conroy says.</p> <h2>5. Fraudulent Apps May Deceive You</h2> <p>Mobile apps can cost you &mdash; even the free ones. <a href="http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/mobile-security/317083-mobile-threat-monday-malicious-banking-apps-and-crafty-copycats">Fraudulent apps</a> posing as your official banking institution are lurking throughout the app store, and if you unknowingly start using one, the app creators can access &mdash; and abuse &mdash; your private information. Download your app directly from your bank's website to avoid this scam. And if you use Android, set your security settings to abort installations from sources other than Google Play.</p> <p><em>Has your mobile banking security ever been compromised? How did you recover?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them">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/31-super-smart-travel-hacks">31 Super Smart Travel Hacks</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/making-direct-deposit-safe-for-the-garnished">Making direct deposit safe for the garnished</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-tips-to-save-you-from-an-atm-skimmer">10 Tips to Save You from an ATM Skimmer</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/chexsystems-what-it-is-and-how-it-can-make-it-difficult-for-you-to-open-a-bank-account">ChexSystems: What It Is, and How It Can Make It Difficult for You to Open a Bank Account</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/citimortage-told-me-to-default-on-my-loan-if-i-want-their-help">CitiMortgage Told Me to Default on My Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Consumer Affairs data mobile apps mobile safety networks security wi-fi Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1359338 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/deadbolt-door-Dollarphotoclub_44563535.jpg" alt="deadbolt door" title="deadbolt door" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Safety may not be the first thing you daydream about when picturing the home of your dreams. But your ability to insure, resell, or even just live comfortably in your home may be dependent on several safety and security factors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/must-do-home-maintenance-that-saves-you-moneyand-might-save-your-family?ref=seealso">Must Do Home Maintenance</a>)</p> <p>Though some major structural flaws may require a larger budget, most home safety hacks can be accomplished with a sensible to-do list and at a modest cost. Here are some of the top tips for making your home more habitable for less money than you think.</p> <h2>Mitigate Mold</h2> <p>Mold, a potentially dangerous uninvited guest, can cause illness and decrease the value of a home quickly. Peter Jacobus, an agent for <a href="http://insurance-agency.amfam.com/NE/peter-d-jacobus/default.aspx">American Family Insurance</a>, tells homeowners to be proactive in their efforts to keep a home safe from this unwanted affliction.</p> <h3>1. Reduce Humidity</h3> <p>By keeping the level of moisture in your home below 40%, you can often outsmart mold. Avoid excessive dampness by using dehumidifiers in rooms that collect steam. An air-conditioner will perform this role in the summer.</p> <h3>2. Ventilate</h3> <p>In addition to reducing moisture, overall good airflow is key. Your home should have exhaust fans in both the kitchen and bathroom, for starters.</p> <h3>3. Paint With Care</h3> <p>By using an inexpensive mold inhibitor mixed into your paint, you can further protect your walls and ceilings against mold growth. (Products cost around $6 per packet and can be found at home home improvement stores.)</p> <h3>4. Skip the Carpet</h3> <p>Per square foot, carpet can be more expensive than other floor coverings and is never appropriate for moisture prone areas &mdash; like bathrooms.</p> <h2>Confuse Criminals</h2> <p>While no home can be 100% robbery-proof, some simple changes to your set-up can keep you clear of break-ins. Sadie Cornelius, Security Expert for <a href="http://www.asecurelife.com/">A Secure Life</a>, recommends some simple precautions and security upgrades.</p> <h3>5. Add Deadbolts</h3> <p>All outside facing windows and doors should have one. They don't have to be fancy &mdash; they just need to work!</p> <h3>6. Stash the Spare Key</h3> <p>Just don't put it outside. Fake planters, rocks, or other &quot;in plain sight&quot; hiding places are well-known by career criminals.</p> <h3>7. Invest in Motion Sensors</h3> <p>Just having some outside lights that flick on when they detect a visitor can spook away a thief. Motion lights start around $10, and can be found at most hardware stores.</p> <h3>8. Get a Peephole</h3> <p>They're not just useful for hotel rooms. Knowing who's outside from behind the safety of your door is a good idea!</p> <p>In addition, you're always wise to keep news of an empty house to yourself.</p> <h3>9. Skip Oversharing on Social</h3> <p>Please, no posts on Facebook about how much you're enjoying your vacation in Hawaii. Wait until you get back to post photos, and turn off location services from any apps that post on your behalf while you're gone.</p> <h3>10. Leave a Light On</h3> <p>Don't keep your home completely dark. Consider investing in a timer for your television to have some activity happening in the home during your prime time viewing hours.</p> <h2>Discourage Slips and Falls</h2> <p>Home safety is important for everyone who lives there, as well as visitors. Keeping injuries to a minimum isn't just important for the health of your family; it can keep insurance premiums low, too. National Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford, host of the nationally-syndicated TV and radio program, <a href="http://www.todayshomeowner.com/">Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford</a>, suggests a couple of fixes.</p> <h3>11. Create No-Slip Surfaces</h3> <p>Stairs, especially concrete entry stairs, can prove dangerous to visitors and family members alike. &quot;It's easy to add a self-adhesive anti-skid strip to the front flat edge of steps to provide traction,&quot; says Danny. Concrete porches and decks can benefit from a good paint or stain with some playground quality sand mixed in prior to applying.</p> <h3>12. Secure Handrails</h3> <p>After years of use, it's not uncommon for them to come loose or fall off completely. Using lag bolts or epoxy adhesive to put them back in place makes good sense and can prevent a serious fall.</p> <h2>Organize Maintenance Tasks</h2> <p>Homeownership can feel like a tremendous burden if you try to do all the necessary cleaning and repair tasks at once. Be proactive and lighten the financial load by scheduling safety-related tasks throughout the year.</p> <h3>13. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors</h3> <p>Do this monthly, and replace batteries at least once a year.</p> <h3>14. Clean Lint From Your Clothes Dryer</h3> <p>This should be done at least once a year for the average user. (Our family of eight needs it done at least every few months, due to the number of loads we do, as well as the fact we own pets that shed.) Family Handyman has a great guide for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/appliance-repair/washer-and-dryer-repair/dryer-lint-cleaning-tips/view-all">cleaning lint from dryers</a>, and you'll want to be sure to never run your dryer when you are not home!</p> <h3>15. Check Your Garage Door Sensor and Closures</h3> <p>With pets and kids in the house, keeping the heavy weight of a garage door in check is essential. Get tips for how to do this at the International Door Association's <a href="http://garagedoorcare.com/garage-door-safety.html">safety page</a>.</p> <p>All of the above tasks, as well as any other household to-dos can be easily planned and tracked with <a href="http://www.homezada.com/homeowners/home-maintenance">HomeZada's online app.</a> You can track your progress, save photos and notes, as well as store all of your maintenance records in case you ever sell your home.</p> <p><em>These are just 15 of many steps you'll likely take in your lifetime to secure your home and practice responsible living. What home safety tip did we forget? Which one is most important to your family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</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-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars</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/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit">7 Ways to Decorate an Apartment Without Losing Your Deposit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing home maintenance home safety safety security Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1284262 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Psychologists Say Saving Boosts Your Mental Health http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-woman-piggy-bank-Dollarphotoclub_73644280.jpg" alt="young woman piggy bank" title="young woman piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that saving consistently can do wonders for our bank accounts, but what about our minds and our moods? As those dollars add up, how do our personalities change? Our outlooks on life? Our stress levels?</p> <p>If your personal savings plan is gaining momentum, I bet you've noticed some unexpected benefits in other areas of life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-factors-what-traits-do-most-savers-share?ref=seealso">What Traits Do Most Savers Share?</a>)</p> <p>Here are seven psychological benefits of saving regularly.</p> <h2>1. Discipline</h2> <p>A healthy bank balance doesn't happen by accident. We live in a virtual wonderland of consumer goods where every taste, inclination, or terrible idea can be indulged with a swipe or a click. Saving means swimming against the tide of stuff and having the discipline to say &quot;no&quot; more often than &quot;yes.&quot; And the wonderful thing is this: When we adopt effective <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-self-discipline-tricks-i-learned-from-the-marathon">self-discipline tricks</a>, the results can help us in nearly every part of life.</p> <h2>2. Peace of Mind</h2> <p>If being in debt or riding the edge of your budget has you stressed, then <a href="http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/message/message.asp?p=Finance&amp;m=122">building a savings cushion</a> should bring you peace of mind, suggests Rutgers University. All savers may not be Zen masters, and there's a lot more to tranquility than a pile of cash, but establishing a healthy financial buffer sure doesn't hurt. Saving is a form of personal insurance and, after all, isn't peace of mind what insurance companies are selling?</p> <h2>3. Confidence</h2> <p>Successful saving builds confidence in at least two important ways. First, it reinforces the fact that you can really achieve something when you set your mind to it. And second, saving provides the capital to get things done when necessary. If that 1979 Bronco finally kicks it, you have the capital to buy a dependable replacement (or at least fund a healthy down payment). If your 30-year old furnace gives you the cold shoulder in the middle of a January blizzard, you don't have to kindle a campfire in the bathtub to stay warm. Isn't having the resources to act the ultimate confidence-builder? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-little-ways-to-feel-more-confident?ref=seealso">17 Little Ways to Feel More Confident</a>)</p> <h2>4. Assertiveness</h2> <p>Having a deeper and more authentic sense of confidence makes people more assertive. With the skills to save and the bank balance to prove it, you can channel healthy assertiveness when the occasion calls for it. Go after that promotion, ask that special someone out on a first date, or simply work toward your next set of personal goals with greater gusto.</p> <h2>5. Optimism</h2> <p>It's easy to be cynical when all your hard work barely floats you from one paycheck to the next. Research shows that saving <em>something</em> &mdash; no matter how small &mdash; can gradually build a sense of optimism. Watching a fledgling bank account grow helps us feel like we're working toward something greater and gives us the traction we need to find new ways to save more and save faster.</p> <h2>6. Compassion</h2> <p>Savers don't have a monopoly on compassion, of course, but saving can give us enough breathing room in our own financial lives to look around and see what others need. Saving regularly affords us the luxury of a clearer perspective &mdash; and that's often the seed of active compassion. It also gives rise to compassionate actions &mdash; such as having the means to donate to good causes or help others when they're in need.</p> <h2>7. Sense of Freedom</h2> <p>A high level of consumer debt is a lot like indentured servitude. Steep interest rates, late fees, the potential damage to credit (and all that can entail) can keep people toiling for years with very little to show for it. Being able to save regularly means you've at least tamed your debt enough to stash some cash &mdash; and cash is often an important part of being free. Spending less and saving more can help us embrace <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-freedoms-you-gain-by-spending-less">important freedoms</a> in our careers, our relationships, and where we choose to live. Without overstating it: If you feel cornered by any aspect of life, explore the transformative power of amassing some capital and then use it to launch yourself in a new direction.</p> <p>Sure, it might not be the cure for everything that ails you, but there are some very real psychological benefits to establishing and maintaining a savings routine. In fact, saving and frugality can be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/men-why-frugal-is-sexy">downright sexy</a>. So, as you watch that bank balance grow, consider what other parts of your life are blossoming too.</p> <p><em>Do you save regularly? How has it improved your frame of mind and your sense of self? Share your story below.</em></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/7-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health">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/7-habits-of-highly-frugal-people">7 Habits of Highly Frugal People</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-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</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-best-places-to-get-coupons-online">The Best Places to Get Coupons Online</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-nfls-5-most-frugal-players">The NFL&#039;s 5 Most Frugal Players</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/stop-ignoring-these-11-financial-cries-for-help">Stop Ignoring These 11 Financial Cries for Help</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting confidence psychology saving security Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:00:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 1267802 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3125086563_ea5a5a766a_z.jpg" alt="anti-vandal paint" title="anti-vandal paint" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've got home security systems and car alarms and bike locks. Yet our belongings still get stolen from time to time. When the mainstream anti-theft devices just aren't cutting it, it may be time to get creative. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-afford-a-home-alarm-system-you-probably-already-have-one?ref=seealso">Can't Afford a Home Alarm System? You Probably Already Have One</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the top seven outside-the-box things you can do to protect your assets.</p> <h2>1. Invest In Kidnap Insurance</h2> <p>So your beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed twenty-something is studying abroad in Colombia. And you're thrilled he's embarking on this eye-opening, cultural experience until you read that Colombia is a hot bed for kidnappings. We kid you not, one person was <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2013/0621/Kidnapping-in-Colombia-The-role-of-abductions-in-decades-long-conflict">kidnapped in Colombia on five</a> different occasions.</p> <p>What's a parent to do? You could put the kabosh on the trip and accept that you won't be receiving a Father of the Year Award &mdash; or you could purchase <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/11/kidnap-ransom-insurance-leadership-ceonetwork-ceos.html">kidnap insurance</a>. This type of highly unique travel insurance comes at a cost of several thousand dollars a year. Experts say the best plans cover not only a reward paid to informants who can provide tips that lead to an arrest, but also things like lost income, psychiatric expenses, and loss of fingers.</p> <p>Yes, we know, these aren't pleasant thoughts. The price tag isn't pleasant, either. But for journalists, business executives, and other frequent travelers, some form of kidnap and ransom protection may be a smart idea. A less expensive way to go about it is <a href="http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-blackberry/">The Executrac</a>, an app ($29.95 with a $19.95 monthly subscription) that turns any smartphone into a covert GPS tracker with a panic button.</p> <h2>2. Plan for Death When You Say, &quot;I Do&quot;</h2> <p>If you came to your end this very moment, what would happen to your family, your dog, your home, your internal organs, your online passcodes, and your social media accounts? Even if you're young and healthy, experts say it's all worth thinking about.</p> <p>Perhaps you want to commission <a href="http://www.lovedonesart.com/">artwork made with your ashes</a> blended in paint. Or, like Michael Jackson, <a href="https://www.everplans.com/blog/the-10-biggest-inheritances-ever-left-to-pets">maybe you want to leave $2 million to your pet chimpanzee</a> payable upon your death. Services like <a href="https://www.everplans.com/">Everplans</a> can help delineate such requests, starting with a free online personal will developer.</p> <p>The company's founders started creating the will developer as a young married couple concerned about the future. They recommend others start the process as soon as they begin to build their own family. It might seem premature, but the alternative to this kind of planning can be grim.</p> <h2>3. Channel Your Inner Kevin McCallister</h2> <p>When you'll stop at nothing to keep your belongings safe, it's time to implement the booby trap. The term was coined in 1850 and has been wreaking havoc on enemies, thieves, and otherwise unsuspecting victims ever since.</p> <p>In a modern day example, a Missouri homeowner fed up with pranksters driving their cars in his yard <a href="http://www.bnd.com/2014/07/20/3310581/off-the-beat-did-homeowner-go.html">buried a bed of nails in the ground</a> along the perimeter of his property. Tire tracks on the front lawn? Not on his watch.</p> <p>A word of warning: Some of these rigs can trigger police involvement, leading us to very cautiously recommend the booby trap, which is only sometimes legal. Please: be safe.</p> <h2>4. Paint It Neon</h2> <p>Investigators dealing with a rash of car battery thefts in Richmond County, Georgia two years ago recommended residents invest in a can of brightly colored paint. Car batteries &mdash; and other items whose value isn't tied to its outward appearance such as lawnmowers and construction equipment &mdash; can benefit from a coat of <a href="http://www.wfxg.com/story/19473021/investigators-working-to-prevent-vehicle-battery-thefts">high visibility paint that deters theft</a> and makes it easier for police to identify and return your item to you in the event that it does get stolen.</p> <h2>5. Make It Slippery</h2> <p>Got a problem with trespassers jumping the fence around your property? There's a paint for that. Aptly named <a href="http://www.decoratingwarehouse.co.uk/buy/paints&mdash;coatings/anti-graffiti-coatings/coo-var-anti-climb-paint&mdash;vandalene-/416">anti-vandal paint</a>, this slippery residue makes climbing near impossible when applied to fences, support beams, gutters, or gates. The paint, which can also be used to stop graffiti artists, is colorless, weather resistant, and <a href="http://www.anthonylatimerandson.co.uk/?page=antivandal_painting">it never dries</a>.</p> <h2>6. Strap a GPS Tracker On It</h2> <p>If Spot has a tendency to roam, it's not a bad idea to consider investing in a dog collar with GPS tracking capabilities. Embedded with mini GPS units, these collars can <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/04/how-to-track-a-lost-animal/index.htm">pinpoint your pet's exact location</a> should he stray from the yard. The <a href="http://www.whistle.com/gps/">WhistleGPS</a> (preorder for $129) tracks not only your pet's location, but all of his activities in an easy-to-use app on your smartphone. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Tracking-Unit-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B004HFRA7A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406467661&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=garmin+gtu-10">Garmin GTU 10</a> ($200) allows the pet owner to configure up to 10 &quot;geofences.&quot; If your dog crosses the boundary, you get a warning emailed to your account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-lost-keys-fast-with-a-teeny-tiny-tile?ref=seealso">Find Lost Keys Fast With a Teeny Tiny Tile</a>)</p> <p>Dog collars aren't the only things that come GPS-equipped. The list of things you can track using this advanced location technology is endless &mdash; <a href="http://wallet.thetrackr.com/">wallet</a>, <a href="http://www.securusgps.com/eZoomGPSforAssets.aspx">speed boat</a>, <a href="http://bluetrackgpstrackers.co.uk/shop/gps-trackers/bluetrack-prime-1-gps-tracker/">luggage</a>. Kanye West, who is internationally known for taking things one step too far, allegedly installed a GPS tracker on Kim Kardashian's cell phone so he can <a href="http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/560194/20140724/kanye-west-stand-hearing-wife-s-ex.htm">keep track of his wife</a>.</p> <h2>7. Hide It With Camouflage</h2> <p>If you live in a wooded area, you can quite easily use <a href="http://camoclad.com/products/sheet-goods/">camouflage paneling</a> to conceal your storage sheds, vehicles, and boats. You can also hide your home. Even if you don't live in the forest, you can camouflage your living quarters in other ways to blend in with the natural surroundings. There's a home in Atlantic Beach, Florida, for example, that's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qekezUcALys">built inside a sand dune</a>.</p> <p>Casa do Penedo in Portugal's Fafe Mountains is perhaps the ultimate example of covert housing. <a href="http://obviousmag.org/archives/2009/12/casa_rochedo.html">The home is made of four giant boulders</a>, giving it a rugged aesthetic that would probably be pleasing to the likes of Barney and Betty Rubble. There's no electricity, but there is a swimming pool and living room fireplace. Not bad for a house made of nothing but rock, right?</p> <p><em>Ever heard of a crazy, creative way to keep things safe? Let us know in comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-calls-you-can-make-now-to-save-hundreds-to-thousands-of-dollars">Five calls you can make now to save hundreds to thousands of dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-25-gadget-that-keeps-my-home-and-family-safe">The $25 gadget that keeps my home and family safe.</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/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</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-lifesaving-skills-everyone-should-know">10 Lifesaving Skills Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living General Tips Insurance insurance protection safety security Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1175047 at http://www.wisebread.com New $100 Bill: Issue Date Set http://www.wisebread.com/new-100-bill-issue-date-set <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-100-bill-issue-date-set" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new-100-image-cropped.jpg" alt="New $100 Bill" title="New $100 Bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After years of production problems, the new $100 bill finally has a date of issue. It will start circulating on October 8th. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/video-on-how-to-spot-counterfeits">Video on How to Spot Counterfeits</a>)</p> <p>I wrote about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-100-bill-unveiled">new $100 bill</a> back in 2010 when the Federal Reserve first announced that it would start circulating early the following year. But then a problem with the paper creasing caused an unacceptable proportion of defective notes, and the release was delayed. Last week, the Federal Reserve announced that these problems have been solved, and announced the new release date.</p> <p>I covered the new security features in considerable detail in my earlier post, but as security is of paramount importance in the $100, here's a quick rundown of the security features, new and old.</p> <h2>New Security Features</h2> <p>There are a lot of security features on the bill, but there are two obvious new ones.</p> <p><strong>3-D Security Ribbon</strong></p> <p>There's a broad blue band that runs down the middle of the note. It has images of bells that change to 100s and back, and move back and forth and up and down as the angle of the note changes.</p> <p><strong>Bell-in-the-Inkwell</strong></p> <p>Just to right of Franklin and the blue band, in the bottom half of the note, there's an image of a bell printed in color-shifting ink against a copper-colored background in the shape of an inkwell. Looked at head-on, the bell appears copper-colored and vanishes into the background. Shift the angle of the note and the color of the bell changes to green making it stand out against the background.</p> <h2>Old Security Features</h2> <p>The new $100 retains a number of the security features that the new U.S. currency has added over the past few years.</p> <p><strong>Portrait Watermark</strong></p> <p>Like all the bills larger than the $2, the new $100 has a watermark on the right-hand side. The watermark shows the same portrait as the face on the bill &mdash; in this case, Franklin. Hold the bill to the light to see it.</p> <p><strong>Security Thread</strong></p> <p>Like all the bills larger than the $2, there's a security thread. In the new $100 (like the old $100) it's to the left of the portrait and is printed with USA and 100. It glows pink when illuminated with UV light.</p> <p><strong>Color-Shifting 100</strong></p> <p>Like all the bills larger than the $5, the denomination in the lower-right corner is printed in color-shifting ink. Shift the angle of the bill to see the 100 change color from copper to green.</p> <p><strong>Raised Printing</strong></p> <p>Like all U.S. currency, the note is printed using a process called <em>intaglio</em> that leaves the ink on the surface of the paper, giving the note its distinctive texture.</p> <p><strong>Microprinting</strong></p> <p>Several places around the note there are words printed in letters too small to be reproduced by most copying technologies. Around Franklin's jacket collar it says &quot;The United States of America.&quot;</p> <p>Because those are the same as they were, you can go on following the same <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-counterfeit-money">procedures to spot counterfeit money</a> as before &mdash; you simply have the new security features as additional options.</p> <p>Bureau of Engraving and Printing has produced a bunch of material for businesses to use in training their employees who handle cash. Among other things, there's a fancy <a href="http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/flash/interactive100/index.html">interactive page with all the security features</a>.</p> <p>Find that, and a bunch of other materials, on their <a href="http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/default.aspx">full site on new U.S. currency</a>.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-100-bill-issue-date-set">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/weird-money-facts-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-counterfeit-money">Weird Money Facts: 10 Things You Didn&#039;t Know About Counterfeit 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/carry-some-cash">Carry some cash</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/weird-money-facts-5-true-cases-of-unbelievable-inflation">Weird Money Facts: 5 True Cases of Unbelievable Inflation</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-ways-the-canadian-dollar-decline-will-impact-your-wallet">5 Ways the Canadian Dollar Decline Will Impact Your Wallet</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/heres-everything-you-need-to-get-started-with-bitcoin">Here&#039;s Everything You Need to Get Started With Bitcoin</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance counterfeit money currency security Tue, 30 Apr 2013 09:37:01 +0000 Philip Brewer 973780 at http://www.wisebread.com The Second-Best Way to Make your Household More Secure http://www.wisebread.com/the-second-best-way-to-make-your-household-more-secure <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-second-best-way-to-make-your-household-more-secure" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/neighborhood-event-2.jpg" alt="Crowd at Neighborhood Event" title="Crowd at Neighborhood Event" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You already know the best way to make your household finances more secure: emergency fund, insurance, diversified investment portfolio, marketable skills. But once you're doing those things, you've got a choice to make: Do additional resources go toward more of the same, or do you opt instead to do something different?</p> <p>I vote for something different.</p> <p>The current conventional wisdom on household financial security is about two or three generations old. That list above would have made sense to someone back until about the 1920s or so. Before that, it would have seemed like a very weird list indeed. Ask someone from an earlier time what makes a household more secure and you'd have gotten a completely different answer.</p> <p>From the dawn of man until at least the industrial revolution, the best way to make your own household more secure would have been to <strong>boost the security of others around you</strong>. Even after the money economy came to dominate &mdash; even after the organizational structures of tribe and clan gave way to more modern structures &mdash; everyone would have understood that boosting the security of family members and friends in nearby households, would boost your own security.</p> <p>It would be your friends, neighbors, and relatives who would help out if a hailstorm ruined your crops, if a fire destroyed your home, if a relative got sick, if technological change made your job obsolete, if you got hurt and couldn't work, or if someone rich and powerful took a disliking to you.</p> <p>That's not so true any more. Although people would be pleased to have friends and relatives who would help out, most people figure that they'd better arrange things so that they're relying on formal, rather than informal structures: insurance companies, banks, brokerage firms, a college degree, the rule of law.</p> <p>In fact, people go beyond just preferring these structures &mdash; they look down on people who don't make use of them. And not just a little: Someone who has failed to avail themselves of these ordinary tools is scorned &mdash; treated as not worthy of support &mdash; because they haven't taken the ordinary, minimal steps to protect themselves.</p> <p>I see this a lot, reading the comments to my posts here. Many people, having made difficult sacrifices to provide security to their families, are bitter and put out when friends and relations who failed to do so need their support. Some commenters say they provide it and others say they won't (refusing to be enablers of their loved-one's self-destructive behaviors), but they're all pretty unhappy to be put in that position.</p> <p>Even so, after thinking about it a bit, I've about decided that the old ways have a lot to recommend them.</p> <p>That's not to say that people shouldn't buy insurance, establish an emergency fund, and avoid debt &mdash; that's just ordinary good sense. But at some point &mdash; a point that's reached pretty quickly once you take those basics steps &mdash; you add more security to your household by helping your friends and relations than you do by shoveling another few thousand dollars into your 401(k).</p> <p>There are two big reasons.</p> <p>First, it's yet <strong>another form of diversification</strong>. During hard times, when people are defaulting on their formal obligations, sometimes they can still make good on their informal ones.</p> <p>Second, <strong>legal obligations end at the boundary of your household</strong>. Your losses in a disaster &mdash; natural disaster, illness, stock market crash, job loss, disabling injury, lawsuit &mdash; are essentially unlimited. No amount of insurance can guarantee that you won't lose everything you own in a lawsuit. But no matter how far your assets fall short of covering what you owe, the court won't go after your friends, neighbors, or relatives to make up the difference.</p> <p>That means that a network of related households &mdash; parents, children, siblings, cousins &mdash; is much more secure than any single household, no matter how wealthy or well-insured.</p> <p>Of course, the nay-sayers aren't completely wrong when they worry that being too ready to support your relatives runs the risk of enabling improvident behavior, but that can be managed simply by paying attention. (Of course, this is easy for me to say, since my relatives are all doing pretty well.)</p> <p>This is not to say that spreading cash around your neighborhood is the place to start. Rather, start by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-dont-people-share-more">sharing stuff</a> that you don't use all the time or that you have more of than you need. If that works well, carry on by coordinating purchases of items that you'll be able to share going forward.</p> <p>Help out directly &mdash; carpool, run errands for one another, watch one another's kids.</p> <p>Set a good example of frugal, sustainable living.</p> <p>One of the most powerful ways to help &mdash; teaching one another skills &mdash; has largely fallen by the wayside, because everybody is too busy earning a living to be able to pick a new hobby. But learning how to garden, how to make stuff, how to fix things around the house makes everyone's household more stable. The more the skills spread among the people close to you, the more likely they'll be able to help you when you need help, and the less likely they'll be to need your help.</p> <p>Over the last few decades the conventional wisdom has turned against this sort of direct help. Instead, every adult has tended to shift into the paid labor market &mdash; meaning that there's no one home at your neighbor's to help you or to be helped. Paid work brings in money which lets people boost their security, but it's a brittle form of security. The older forms of extra security &mdash; friends and relations who care about your success and will help out when you need it &mdash; are much more resilient.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-second-best-way-to-make-your-household-more-secure">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</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/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-go-from-two-incomes-to-one">How to Go From Two Incomes to One</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/can-you-buy-your-way-out-of-the-rat-race">Can You Buy Your Way Out of the Rat Race?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance friends household neighbors relatives security Mon, 03 May 2010 13:00:04 +0000 Philip Brewer 56733 at http://www.wisebread.com Flying With Valuables? Keep Them Safe And Carry A Gun! http://www.wisebread.com/flying-with-valuables-keep-them-safe-and-carry-a-gun <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flying-with-valuables-keep-them-safe-and-carry-a-gun" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/51B0KX9P9VL__SL500_AA216_.jpg" alt="gun" title="gun" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="216" height="216" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In this day and age, with heightened airport security and insane flying fears, it may seem like an odd piece of advice. But that is just what has resurfaced in the internet recently, and for at least one guy, it's working. Put a gun in your checked bags and keep your valuables safe.</p> <p><a href="http://www.boingboing.net/2006/09/24/secure-your-checked-.html">Boing Boing</a> reported this back in 2006, and I suspect it caught on back then, too. But it appeared on reddit.com's radar last week, and I thought it was an interesting idea to say the least.</p> <p>Since that terrible day back in 2001, flying with locked cases has been impossible. If you do lock them, the TSA is perfectly within their rights to break the lock to check your case. This means either a broken $10 lock, or a broken suitcase. Usually, most people just leave them unlocked and hope for the best. Well, hoping is all well and good, but for the thousands of travelers who &quot;lose&quot; valuables every year, it's not good enough.</p> <p>Enter <a href="http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/09/expensive_camer.html">Bruce Schneier</a>, who heard of someone using a gun in every case he flies with.</p> <blockquote><p>A &quot;weapon&quot; is defined as a rifle, shotgun, pistol, airgun, and STARTER PISTOL. Yes, starter pistols &mdash; those little guns that fire blanks at track and swim meets &mdash; are considered weapons...and do NOT have to be registered in any state in the United States.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I have a starter pistol for all my cases. All I have to do upon check-in is tell the airline ticket agent that I have a weapon to declare...I'm given a little card to sign, the card is put in the case, the case is given to a TSA official who takes my key and locks the case, and gives my key back to me. That's the procedure. The case is extra-tracked...TSA does not want to lose a weapons case. This reduces the chance of the case being lost to virtually zero.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It's a great way to travel with camera gear...I've been doing this since Dec 2001 and have had no problems whatsoever.</p> </blockquote> <p>Now, that was in 2006 as I stated earlier. So, I wanted to do some digging. With the recent incident over Christmas, who knows what the rules are regarding firearms. What I found was that the rules are the same as Bruce describes. The complete list can be found <a href="http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm">here</a>, but the main point is this: the case has to be LOCKED.</p> <ul> <li><em>The container must be locked. A locked container is defined as one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you. Cases that can be pulled open with little effort do not meet this criterion. The pictures provided here illustrate the difference between a properly packaged and an improperly packaged firearm. <p> </em></li> <li><em>We recommend that you provide the key or combination to the security officer if he or she needs to open the container. You should remain present during screening to take the key back after the container is cleared. If you are not present and the security officer must open the container, we or the airline will make a reasonable attempt to contact you. If we can't contact you, the container will not be placed on the plane. Federal regulations prohibit unlocked gun cases (or cases with broken locks) on aircraft.</em></li> </ul> <p>There are, of course, special circumstances for Law Enforcement Officers traveling with guns, which can be found <a href="http://www.tsa.gov/lawenforcement/programs/traveling_with_guns.shtm">here</a>. But that's not what you really need to know about. In your case (no pun intended) you want the gun in your case. In that way, your case flies locked and secure, along with anything else that's in there. It's a great &quot;flying hack&quot; that helps you travel with valuables without worrying about losing them for the duration of your flight.</p> <p>But what about the gun? Those are hard to come by, right? And there's hassle, too. Well, not if you go for the lowest common denominator and buy a starter pistol. I found a starter pistol at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VZ38TO?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000VZ38TO">Amazon.com</a> for just $53.95 plus shipping. Not only is that way cheaper than a &quot;real&quot; gun, it's also safer. After all, I know I wouldn't trust myself with a 9mm automatic. Not without training anyway.</p> <p>You don't need to go as far as Bruce and buy one for each case. Just put the gun in the case with your valuables. You'll get special treatment for the case, and you'll also be the owner of something which may even act as a deterrent when you're not flying.</p> <p>So, what do you think? Is the extra cost of a starter pistol worth it for a locked case? Do you think there is still a big risk of your property being stolen? Has Bruce just lost the plot completely? Or do you have a better way to travel with your valuables that you have to check, rather than carry on? Let us know.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flying-with-valuables-keep-them-safe-and-carry-a-gun">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/are-your-new-tires-really-6-year-old-ticking-time-bombs">Are your new tires really 6-year old ticking time-bombs?</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-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them">5 Dangers of Mobile Banking — And How to Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-your-car-stolen">How to get your car stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon">What will you do when gas drops below $1.50 a gallon?</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/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs firearm gun pistol security sirport Tue, 19 Jan 2010 14:00:02 +0000 Paul Michael 4651 at http://www.wisebread.com What Is Your Auto-Reply Email Telling People About You? http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/private.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s a common practice: You leave the office for any amount of time (a week, an hour, etc.) and you set up a nice little out-of-office email reply so people don&rsquo;t wonder why you haven&rsquo;t replied back in a timely fashion. You think you&rsquo;re being proactive, even professional. But could you be risking your personal information and possibly even your safety?</p> <h2>How Companies (and others) Get Your Info</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve managed several newsletter subscriptions for companies (including my own) over the years. For the most part, I&rsquo;ve never required that people give me much of their own information to sign up and receive the emails &mdash; an email address and possibly a first name will get the job done. What is surprising (and a bit disturbing), however, is that many people will willingly volunteer very personal tidbits of information to me, a stranger, via their email auto-replies.</p> <p>My company&rsquo;s newsletter goes out&hellip;your full name, address, company name, work number, cell phone number, and your schedule for the next week (as well as names of the co-workers who will be handling your job while you&rsquo;re gone) come back. Scared? You might want to listen up.</p> <p>Most companies don&rsquo;t read the auto-replies that they get from their mailing list subscribers. In fact, many times you can&rsquo;t automatically reply to mailings from companies because they come from some sort of auto-responder, and you may find that you just get an error message in return.</p> <p>However, are you aware of how many mailing lists you may be on? As an avid <a href="http://wisebread.com/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">sweepstaker</a> for over 10 years (and <a href="http://wisebread.com/bestdeals/today">a freebie hunter</a>), I know that I&rsquo;ve probably been on as many as a thousand lists at any one time. I use my personal email account (one that&rsquo;s specifically set up for these types of communications) and I NEVER use an auto-reply. Ever.</p> <h2>What Should You Do?</h2> <p>What if you have already signed up for newsletters at work and you have to use an auto-reply? There are two things you can do:</p> <p><strong>1. The next time you get any email to your work email that is part of a mailing list, have the email address changed to a personal email.</strong> Your work usually has a policy on using work email for personal use, anyway, so this may help you out in the long run if it ever comes up.</p> <p>OR</p> <p><strong>2. Use discretion when sending out an auto-reply.</strong>&lt; This is good practice, not just for mailing lists, but for any email. It&rsquo;s very easy for someone to get your work email, either by calling the receptionist at your company, or Googling to find the domain of your email server (@yourcompany.com, for example). If someone can figure out how to send an email by guessing (common addresses are <a href="mailto:FirstName.LastName@company.com">FirstName.LastName@company.com</a> or <a href="mailto:FirstInitial.LastName@company.com">FirstInitial.LastName@company.com</a>), they can send you an email, and ultimately get an auto-reply when you leave the office. Avoid giving out any more info than you need in an auto-reply, and under no circumstances should you give out personal info (like your home number, cell number that&rsquo;s not work-related, or where you will be going). This is an easy way to give out too much info to a scammer, stalker, or other evil-doer who may be trying to find out more about you or steal your identity.</p> <p>For the majority of companies and mailers out there, we aren&rsquo;t interested that you&rsquo;ll be visiting the podiatrist at 3pm today and that Sally in accounting will handle your calls. But just in case, it&rsquo;s always good to keep these things to yourself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams">The World&#039;s 4 Biggest Credit Card Scams</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-things-you-must-immediately-do-after-losing-your-smartphone">8 Things You Must Immediately Do After Losing Your Smartphone</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-comprehensive-guide-to-identity-theft-everything-you-need-to-know">The Comprehensive Guide to Identity Theft: Everything You Need to Know</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/11-terrifying-things-that-can-happen-when-someone-steals-your-phone-and-how-you-can-protect-it">11 Terrifying Things That Can Happen When Someone Steals Your Phone (And How You Can Protect It)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology auto-reply identity theft internet safety scams security Sun, 17 Jan 2010 18:00:04 +0000 Linsey Knerl 4701 at http://www.wisebread.com Can You Buy Your Way Out of the Rat Race? http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-buy-your-way-out-of-the-rat-race <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-you-buy-your-way-out-of-the-rat-race" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-saved-for-a-rainy-day.jpg" alt="Piggy bank saved for a rainy day" title="Piggy Bank Saved for a Rainy Day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="285" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/track-your-spending-or-not">tracking your spending</a>, you know how much money it takes to live on. If you're tracking your investments, you know about how much return you're getting from your capital. With those two numbers, you can get a pretty good estimate of how much money it takes to buy your way out of the rat race.</p> <p>In its simplest form, the cost to buy your way out is just your annual spending divided by the return on your investments. I used to do that calculation a lot. When I got my first job interest rates were in double digits, so I could imagine getting $30,000 or even $40,000 a year &mdash; plenty of money to live on &mdash; from an investment as small as $300,000.</p> <h2>A simple theory</h2> <p>Of course, that model is over-simplified. For one thing, you have to account for the possibility that in some years spending will be higher. (What if you need a new car or a new roof or to send the kids to college?) I knew how to handle that one, though: The same way I was already dealing with it when my income came from a regular job &mdash; covering major expenses by cutting other spending.</p> <p>More fundamentally though, the simple model doesn't account for inflation. And, at the time when interest rates were in double digits, inflation was similarly high. It wasn't a problem you could just handwave away.</p> <p>I spent way more time than it was worth trying to construct a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-do-i-need-to-retire-how-much-can-i-spend">mathematical model for living off capital</a> &mdash; a model that accounted for taxes, provided for reinvesting enough after-tax income to keep me even with inflation, and still paid out enough money for me to live on. All this, mind you, while my net worth (after a student loan) was probably negative.</p> <p>Anyway, that was my first guess at my number: a capital sum of $300,000, properly invested, would yield enough that I wouldn't have to work. That's what it would have cost me to buy my way out of the rat race. Other people have done the same sort of thinking and written whole books about it, and come up with better-researched models for accounting for taxes and inflation. I've written reviews of a couple of good ones: Bob Clyat's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-work-less-live-more"><em>Work Less, Live More</em></a> and Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-your-money-or-your-life">Your Money or Your Life</a>.</p> <h2>The less simple reality</h2> <p>In practice, though, for most people, buying your way out doesn't work out.</p> <p>First of all, it's really expensive. Unless you're extraordinarily frugal, it's still going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars a year to support your household. And (as you can't really count on double-digit returns on your investments), it turns out that you need around a quarter million dollars to stand behind each $10,000 of annual income.</p> <p>More fundamentally though, no amount of capital provides complete security. Your money can be lost any number of ways. The economy could turn down. Even if the economy goes up, your investments could go down. You could lose your money to theft, natural disaster, lawsuits, or government seizure (not to mention simple overspending). You can try to protect against any of those things through a combination of due care and proper insurance, but there's no such thing as perfect protection.</p> <p>Your real protection against those things is your own productive ability &mdash; which is something that can't be stolen, taken in a lawsuit, or seized by the government.</p> <p>Buying your way out of the rat race is a suboptimal strategy. It can work &mdash; people do it all the time, although not very many of them &mdash; but it's hard. It also doesn't leave you so very much better off than you were &mdash; you may be able to quit worrying about losing your job, but you have to start worrying about low interest rates.</p> <p>Now, accumulating some capital is a great idea. In fact, I think everyone should have a medium term goal of accumulating enough capital that the income from their investments could cover their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">bare minimum expenses</a>. Once you get beyond that, though, adding more capital starts yielding diminishing returns.</p> <h2>The real way to escape the rat race: Refuse to race with rats.</h2> <p>So, what do you do instead? Basically, invest in your own skills.</p> <p>Improving your skill at the job you already have can help you earn more (important if you don't yet have that basic level of capital), but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-investment-yourself">developing skills</a> at entirely new things gives you a whole new layer of protection against economic downturns and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-hate-my-job" title="&quot;I Hate My Job&quot; Guide">incompetent managers</a>.</p> <p>Broaden the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-work-worth-doing">kinds of work</a> you look for. Don't focus only on finding the highest pay &mdash; look for work that's interesting and that's useful. It's more fun. It's also more secure &mdash; there's only one job that pays the most.</p> <p>Beyond that, learn how to <strong>do</strong>, <strong>make</strong>, <strong>grow</strong>, and <strong>find</strong> things for yourself. To the extent that you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/opting-out-of-the-money-economy">directly provide</a> the things your family needs, you're not dependent on either your capital or your job.</p> <p>Each of these things improves your security. Taken together, they can give you as much security and freedom as a human being can achieve.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-buy-your-way-out-of-the-rat-race">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/seven-tips-for-the-newly-unemployed">Seven Tips for the Newly Unemployed</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</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/laid-off-what-to-do-before-plunging-into-the-job-search">Laid Off? What To Do Before Plunging Into The Job Search</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/lose-your-job-without-losing-your-identity">Lose Your Job Without Losing Your Identity</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/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">Self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and freedom</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income freedom How-To Guide rat race security Tue, 03 Nov 2009 14:00:01 +0000 Philip Brewer 3785 at http://www.wisebread.com Security is an illusion. Freedom is real. http://www.wisebread.com/security-is-an-illusion-freedom-is-real <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/security-is-an-illusion-freedom-is-real" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cat-with-claws.jpg" alt="Cat with claws" title="Cat with Claws" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="246" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a seeming tradeoff between freedom and security: You can stick with the day job or chuck it to live your dream--if you're willing to give up the security of the regular paycheck. That kind of security, though, is an illusion.</p> <p>We have to be a bit careful of our terms. People mean a lot of different things when they say &quot;security.&quot; There's the security that comes from living in a sturdy house that helps keep out burglars and the winter cold. There's the security that comes from having family members who care for one another. And there's the security that comes from knowing that you have a diversity of skills for handling the problems that come your way. These things all have their limits (nothing provides absolute security), but they are real.</p> <p>What's an illusion is the faux security that comes from making the conventional choices and fitting in. That provides merely the security of knowing that, if things go badly, you'll have plenty of company in your misery. Even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">a good job can be taken away</a> if times get tough--or vanish all together if your boss is too timid to let people go when the times demand it.</p> <p>When you think about it, security can't possibly come from something you <strong>have</strong>. There's nothing you can have that can't be stolen by a thief or expropriated by the government. There's nothing you can have that can't be destroyed by war or natural disaster. There's nothing you can have that can't be made worthless by change (either circumstantial or technological).</p> <p>Security can't be something you have. It can only be something you are. Because who you are is the only thing that can't be taken away.</p> <p>Real security comes from inside you. It comes not from having a &quot;secure&quot; income but from having a diversity of sources of income. Not from having the right degree or credentials or skills, but from knowing that there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-2-boost-income">many things you can do that will earn money</a>--and many ways that you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">provide for your family even if you can't earn money</a>.</p> <p>At it's core, real security comes from expanding your range of options--which is what makes the security/freedom tradeoff false: More freedom is <strong>more</strong> security, not less.</p> <p>Of course, the many things that people do to increase their security have some benefits. The key is to remember that they also offer diminishing returns. Cash to cover three month's expenses is a good idea, and cash to cover six month's expenses is even better. But adding enough more cash that you could cover twelve month's expenses doesn't add nearly as much security as some of the other choices you might make. Certainly, it's nothing compared to the security you get by knowing how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending">cut your expenses</a> enough to stretch the smaller sum to cover your family for twelve months.</p> <p>Once you start keeping your eyes open for ways to increase your security by increasing your freedom, you'll find them everywhere. Buying tools is good. Learning new skills is better. Make friends with your neighbors. If you have family members who haven't reached a bare minimum level of security, help them take that step--a web of stable households makes everyone more secure. Go on adventures that put you at risk in a controlled way, so that you can safely learn the habits that will protect you when life throws uncontrolled risks into your path.</p> <p>Real security comes from who you are, not what you have. It's real and important. It comes in the form of freedom, because it grows out of having more choices, rather than fewer. The sort of &quot;lifestyle&quot; security that comes from making the conventional choices? There's nothing there. Not when it counts.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/security-is-an-illusion-freedom-is-real">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</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/get-ready-for-christmas-7-things-you-should-do-today">Get Ready for Christmas: 7 Things You Should Do Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-your-house-in-one-day">How to Clean Your House in One Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Lifestyle freedom security tradeoffs Thu, 22 Jan 2009 15:15:29 +0000 Philip Brewer 2766 at http://www.wisebread.com The $25 gadget that keeps my home and family safe. http://www.wisebread.com/the-25-gadget-that-keeps-my-home-and-family-safe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-25-gadget-that-keeps-my-home-and-family-safe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/White background LOCK JAW PRODUCT copy.jpg" alt="Lock Jaw" title="Lock Jaw" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="463" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How much would you pay to sleep soundly at night, knowing your home is secure and your family is much safer? Well, I'd pay anything to be honest. But after my <a href="/lock-bumping-your-home-isnt-safe">lockbumping </a>post back in March, I was contacted by a company that has created a unique, inexpensive and wonderful product called the Lock Jaw. It's literally made us all feel safer in so many ways. Plus, Wisebread readers can get it at a discount.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So, what is the <a href="http://lockjawsecurity.com/">Lock Jaw?</a> Well, it&rsquo;s a device that attaches to your door and drops down over the thumb latch, making the latch impossible to turn. I think the words &ldquo;deceptively simple&rdquo; sprang to mind when I installed it. Two screws, 3 minutes and boom, my front door was impenetrable to lock bumping. It was that easy. And believe me when I say I&rsquo;m rarely impressed. The pictures below should give you the idea of how it works and just how effective it is.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><img width="141" height="290" title="Lock JAw Disengaged" alt="Lock Jaw Disengaged" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u17/DISENGAGED_Lock_Jaw.jpg" /></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>The Lock Jaw Disengaged</strong></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><img width="128" height="280" title="LJ engaged" alt="LJ engaged" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u17/lockjaw_engaged.jpg" /></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>The Lock Jaw Engaged</strong></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><img width="227" height="211" title="Position diagram" alt="Position diagram" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u17/lockjaw-at-work.jpg" /></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Multiple ways to engage the Lock Jaw </strong></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The story goes deeper though. What my wife told me, a few days later, was that the Lock Jaw had also stopped our precocious three-year old from getting outside. She had figured out how to turn the latch some months ago. Which means that when our back is turned, even just for one second, she could be out on the street and in all kinds of trouble. However, she can&rsquo;t work the Lock Jaw. She&rsquo;s safe, we&rsquo;ve got peace of mind and we know that we can still get in and out of the door as easily as before. Some of the many benefits of the Lock Jaw are listed here:</p> <ul> <li>PREVENTS lock bumping and lock picking.</li> <li>It attaches ONLY to the door.</li> <li>Comes with temporary installation options for PORTABILITY.</li> <li>Helps PREVENT door threshold from being breached.</li> <li>Works with ALL thumb latch (single cylinder) deadbolts.</li> <li>PREVENTS deadbolt from retracting through the strike plate in door jam.</li> <li>Counters AGAINST door prying.</li> <li>Counters AGAINST spreading door away from door frame.</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">I had a chance to chat to the creator of the Lock Jaw, Brett Fulford, about the history of the invention.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>PM: What made you think of the idea for the Lock Jaw (any particular incident in your own life?)</strong><br /> BF: A friend who worked in security at an apartment association was talking about how dangerous it was living in apartments, given all of the master keys. We thought that there had to be a way to allow access to the apartments when the tenants were not there (fix toilets, leaking faucets, etc.), but the tenants have a right to privacy and security when they are home. This grew into developing a device that would keep small children in, but allow for a quick escape. The whole idea was to stop the actual key from working&hellip;lock bumping came to us vs. us coming to lock bumping.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>PM: And how long has the Lock Jaw been on the market?</strong><br /> BF: Since the 2006 National Hardware Show.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>PM: I&rsquo;m sure our Wisebread readers would love to know if this has this been endorsed by any of the major emergency services?</strong><br /> BF: Law enforcement agencies, in order to remain politically, correct are slow to endorse products; however, Lt. Carl Smith (note our commercial on our website) was not afraid to say that he had&hellip;&rdquo;never seen anything to Lock Jaw&rdquo;. You can also visit <a href="http://www.mrgadget.com/flash/action.lasso?-database=mrgadget.fp5&amp;-layout=data%20entry&amp;-response=detail.lasso&amp;-recordID=33127&amp;-search">Mr.Gadget</a> who&rsquo;s featured it as a Top 10 product for 2007 Homes. Lock Jaw complies with all fire codes for emergency escape and has been tested by members of the American Association of Locksmiths.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>PM: I know I will be asked about the one possible disadvantage of the Lock Jaw - that it can't be locked when you leave by that door (or, that you can't use your own key on that door if you have the Lock Jaw engaged). What would you say to Wisebread readers about that?</strong><br /> BF: We designed it to be engaged only from inside on purpose! We wanted to make it PORTABLE! Double stick tape works fine. Door chains, door jams, door guard bars, etc. are also only engaged from inside but they are not portable. I have never seen a door chain installed with double stick tape&hellip;have you? Lock Jaw only installs to the door, which is safer than most every other product that also attaches to the door trim. Door trim is not substantive. Plus some people may not want to damage their trim with the anchored part going into the trim. ANOTHER unique advantage is that door chains, etc. won&rsquo;t work on a French (bi) door because there is NO place to anchor. Lock Jaw doesn&rsquo;t need door trim&hellip;only the door, which is much stronger.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>The Lock Jaw site has a full page of <a href="http://lockjawsecurity.com/faqs.htm">FAQs </a> plus a demonstration video and other vital information</em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>I&rsquo;d like to point out that this is in no way a paid endorsement. I&rsquo;m writing this because I believe in the product and believe it can save lives.</strong> I&rsquo;ve had the Lock Jaw in my home for around two months now. But it was last week when things really took an unexpected turn. A friend in our neighborhood called, frantic, saying that her son had managed to turn the thumb latch and get outside. He was almost mowed down by a car, narrowly escaping a horrible accident. That&rsquo;s when my wife mentioned the Lock Jaw to her, and I realized that people need to know about this product.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Exclusive: 10% off the Lock Jaw for Wisebread readers.</strong><br /> Brett has very generously offered to give our readers a 10% discount on the Lock Jaw. Just <a href="http://lockjawsecurity.com/order.htm">visit the site here</a> and enter the code WISE BREAD (with or without spaces) to get your discount. It's good for 10% off regardless of how many you order.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">It&rsquo;s not often a product comes along that is truly ingenious, simple and so important. I believe Lock Jaw is one of them. And at less than the price of a new DVD, it&rsquo;s well worth it for the protection it can give your home and family. Sleep well.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-25-gadget-that-keeps-my-home-and-family-safe">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/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe</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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</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-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident">10 Steps You Must Take If You&#039;ve Been in a Car Accident</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-lifesaving-skills-everyone-should-know">10 Lifesaving Skills Everyone Should Know</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/security-is-an-illusion-freedom-is-real">Security is an illusion. Freedom is real.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips bolt gadget Lock Jaw peace of mind safety security Wed, 22 Aug 2007 05:22:49 +0000 Paul Michael 1034 at http://www.wisebread.com