Family http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4566/all en-US The 4 Worst Mistakes Good Parents Make http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-worst-mistakes-good-parents-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-4-worst-mistakes-good-parents-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father-children-going-to-school-Dollarphotoclub_63100416.jpg" alt="father children school" title="father children school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that kids don't come with instruction manuals. And now that my daughter is three, I could sure use some guidance more than ever. What I've learned in my short time as a mom is that we're all doing the best we can to be good parents. But the truth remains: Even good parents make mistakes. Here are some common ones you can start working on today to benefit everyone in your family. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-parenting-hacks-that-will-save-you-time?ref=seealso">13 Parenting Hacks That Will Save You Time</a>)</p> <h2>1. Hovering</h2> <p>Children of all ages need to develop a sense of autonomy in the world. They need alone time, even in small doses. Parents need alone time, too. Yet, many awesome moms and dads hover around their kids all hours of the day so they won't miss out on all of life's milestones. Or, in some cases like mine, out of mere habit. Over time, this <a href="http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/teach-your-kids-how-to-play-alone">constant attention creates stress</a> that kids pick up on in both big and small doses.</p> <p>Letting go can be hard, especially with toddlers and preschoolers, but some scheduled independent play can help everyone. If you create a safe space free from obvious dangers (and maybe rotate some fun toys and art supplies), you can begin the process with confidence. Start with 15 minutes to a half hour on a Saturday morning and go from there. The amount of alone time will depend on your child's age and personality (take his or her lead), but he or she will probably enjoy the space as much as you will.</p> <h2>2. Over-Scheduling</h2> <p>Extracurricular activities are fun. They provide unique outlets for kids to develop interests in areas outside of academics and simple play. However, when well-intentioned parents sign their kids up for all those ballet classes, soccer teams, music lessons, scout troops, and other groups &mdash; they may be doing more harm than good. In fact, too many structured activities may &quot;<a href="http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2014/07/study_too_many_structured_activities_hinder_childrens_executive_functioning.html">hinder children's executive functioning</a>.&quot; In other words, they disrupt the development of those critical skills that revolve around decision-making, planning, prioritizing tasks, and more.</p> <p>Researchers suggest that when kids control how they spend their free time &mdash; playing independently, for example &mdash; these important areas hone accordingly. There's even evidence that children with higher executive function will be &quot;healthier, wealthier, and more socially stable throughout their lives.&quot; So, sign your little one up for a few fun things throughout the year, but keep some free time in the mix to allow their minds to grow and function well.</p> <h2>3. Comparing</h2> <p>As embarrassing as it is to admit, I have fallen into the <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/12/04/7-simple-ways-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-moms/">comparison trap</a> with my parenting on many different occasions. One mom is always put together while I'm sporting sweats and zero makeup. Another mom always comes prepared while I'm continually forgetting all the essentials. Yet another mom has her kids in line sans yelling while my own is going crazy despite my creative discipline techniques. The list goes on.</p> <p>The thing with comparison is that you can't win in any of these scenarios. Everyone is always doing something better (or worse) than you at any given moment. Yet, at the same time, assumptions are dangerous, since we never truly know the whole story about someone else's life. The best you can do is revel in your own parenting accomplishments and fight the urge to stack yourself against others. Plus, being a better parent starts with paying attention to your own situation, not gazing at the family across the street.</p> <h2>4. Being Distracted</h2> <p>My mom has commented numerous times that her child-rearing years would have been totally different with the Internet and our many modern devices for checking in. In good ways and bad. I hear her on this one, since I'm guilty of being distracted by my cell phone from time to time. Okay. More often than I'd like to admit. Good parents try limiting their children's screen time, but it's time we pull back on our own. Who's with me?</p> <p>Kids ages four through 18 were surveyed related to their parents' cell phone habits, and the response &mdash; no matter the age &mdash; was strangely similar. They're <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/04/16/303749247/when-parents-are-the-ones-too-distracted-by-devices">tired of competing with screens</a> for attention. Try to unplug with your kids as often as possible. Leave your phone at home when you walk to the park. Never bring your device to the dinner table. Or perhaps set designated times to check your emails, texts, the news, or whatever else sucks you in the most often. That stuff will still be there, but the moments you spend with your kids are limited.</p> <p><em>What parenting mistakes have you made? And what have you done to change your habits?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-worst-mistakes-good-parents-make">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/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget">Single Parent? Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books">The 5 Best Parenting Books</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-to-manage-costs-while-youre-on-maternity-leave">5 Ways to Manage Costs While You&#039;re on Maternity Leave</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-afford-to-have-a-baby">Can You Afford to Have a Baby?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family child rearing parenting Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1304448 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways to Earn Extra Cash From Thrift Stores http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-thrift-shopping-shoes-Dollarphotoclub_53295669.jpg" alt="woman thrift shopping shoes" title="woman thrift shopping shoes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a single parent, I'm always looking for ways to save money. I've always loved thrift stores, and have found some great clothing, DVDs, books, collectibles, and pieces of furniture at my local shops. But things got really interesting six months ago when I came across an item that I didn't really want, but knew was valuable. It was a Coogi sweater; the kind worn by Bill Cosby in the 80s. Definitely not my style, but highly collectible and worth at least 10 times the $5.99 asking price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-can-resell-on-ebay-that-make-the-most-money?ref=seealso">5 Things You Can Sell on eBay That Make the Most Money</a>)</p> <p>I bought it, sold it on eBay, and since then I have turned my thrift store runs into a way of not just saving money &mdash; but making money. It's not a new concept. Many people make a good living from thrift stores, but I have a full time job and cannot dedicate all of my time to it. If you're selective, and follow these guidelines, I guarantee you will make an extra $200-$300 every month on eBay and Craigslist just by visiting a few thrift stores several times a week.</p> <h2>1. Always Have Your Smartphone on You</h2> <p>When I first started out, I had absolutely no clue what was valuable, and what was junk. I got lucky with the Coogi sweater, but I knew there were valuable items in the stores just hiding on the shelves. So, I took advantage of my smartphone. What you need to do is use eBay as a research tool. Here's how.</p> <p>When you see an item you think may be valuable, grab your phone.</p> <p>Go to eBay, do a search for it, and then refine it to look for SOLD ITEMS. (Never look at current listing prices; someone could be asking $800 for an old watch, but it doesn't mean they'll ever get that.)</p> <p>Next, look at the sort order of prices from highest to lowest, including shipping. You now know what someone is willing to pay for that item. Also, do it in reverse order, from lowest to highest. This shows you what you may actually get, and if it's worth your time and money.</p> <p>By using your smartphone in this way, you take almost 90% of the guesswork out of thrifting for profit.</p> <h2>2. Be Prepared to Take Your Time</h2> <p>My best finds have come from taking my time, and looking in each section carefully. To date, my most successful purchase was a beauty product that I bought for $6 and sold for $141. I found it nestled at the back of a shelf filled with old plastic cups and plates. You can sometimes do a quick 30-minute tour on your lunch break, if you have a store close to you, but you will almost certainly miss things.</p> <p>If you want to make this a successful venture, get to know your local thrift stores well, and learn the layout. I always start in the electronics aisle, then go to toys, followed by sweaters, shirts, knick-knacks, and then books and media. That's just my routine, and it works for me. Have a plan, and scan the shelves and racks of clothes more than once. You will miss things if you just walk through in a hurry.</p> <h2>3. Know Your Best Bets</h2> <p>Over time, you will know what sells well, and what doesn't. For me, vintage sweaters, classic video games, Disney snow globes, and blank media (especially cassette tapes and computer disks) always sell quickly. You will probably have different best sellers, depending on your own level of expertise, and passion for selling the item. If you are in a rush, hunt for those items first.</p> <h2>4. Think About the Profit/Time/Work Scenario</h2> <p>If you see a product that costs $10, that will likely make $20, it's more of a risk than a product that will make the same but costs only $1. It's only a difference of $9, but the initial outlay is much smaller.</p> <p>Similarly, if you see something that costs $40 but will easily sell for $100, your outlay is greater but your return is excellent. Sometimes, as I have so much to list, I will pass on items like the first one I mentioned. It takes time to photograph and list things, and it's often not worth the effort when you could be listing something that could make you a lot more money. But once again, if the initial spend was almost nothing, that changes the game a little.</p> <h2>5. Use the Color Coded System to Your Advantage</h2> <p>Every major thrift store, from Goodwill and Savers to ARC and The Salvation Army, has a color coded system. Every item has a price tag of a specific color, and each week, one color will be 50% off (the exception is Goodwill). If you shop wisely, you can pick up some valuable items for half-price &mdash; or even one dollar. Today, I picked up four beautiful framed posters for 99 cents each. They're big, and they would cost at least $20 each in the store. I have found video gaming systems, VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray players, speakers, suits, keyboards, and even wedding dresses for just 99 cents. These are no brainers. You can easily turn a profit from them.</p> <h2>6. Keep Track of Your Expenses and Profits</h2> <p>It's easy to think you're making money when you see the sales start rolling in from eBay or Craigslist. But if you buy 10 items and only sell one of them, are you losing money? Sometimes it's not the case. Buy 10 items for $25, sell only one of them for $50, and you're in profit whether you sell the others or not.</p> <p>A simple spreadsheet (you can find free templates online) will help you. Just write down the item, what you paid, when you bought it, what it sold for, and how much it cost to ship (sometimes you may have to offer free shipping to get someone to bite). If you're always making money, you're good to go. If you buy too much, and aren't making your money back, you need to rethink your strategy.</p> <h2>7. Don't Forget Yourself and the Kids</h2> <p>Many times, you will get so focused on making money that you will forget the real reason you went to the thrift store in the first place. I have found a lot of awesome items for the home, the kids, and even myself. If you know you need something, keep a list and remember to check it before you go into the thrift store. You can even find new name-brand laundry detergents, socks, light bulbs, and gloves for a lot less than you'd pay in stores like Target or Walmart.</p> <h2>8. Examine and Test Everything</h2> <p>Thrift stores actually have a very generous return policy, usually 10 days for most items. If you don't have the chance to test something in store, do it as soon as you get home. It's not a great deal if it doesn't work (with a few notable exceptions), and you won't be able to turn a profit on a broken, torn, or stained item.</p> <p>The major exceptions are vintage electronic items, and new high-end consoles. If someone has given them to a thrift store, they are most likely broken. Still, you can get a surprising amount of money for broken electronics. I recently paid $2.99 for an old Sony Walkman and sold it as-is for over $70. There are people willing to pay for them, and do the repairs themselves. I also found a PS3 for $10. Even broken, they sell for over $50 (usually they're stripped down for parts).</p> <h2>9. Old Doesn't Mean Expensive</h2> <p>It's easy to think that older item, especially something that looks antique, can be very valuable. This is when a smartphone is invaluable. Many times, you may see a 70s board game, or 50s kitchen gadget, and think it has to be collectible. Not so. They are often very common, and you could end up losing money.</p> <h2>10. Very Valuable Is Very Rare</h2> <p>You hear stories of people finding million dollar dishes, or long lost paintings that could set you up for life. The odds of finding these items like these are about the same as winning the lottery. Thrift stores have people who usually know what to look for. Obviously, things fall through the cracks, but don't depend on a big score. Solid silver or gold jewelry, utensils, or tea sets are almost impossible to find, too.</p> <h2>11. Don't Expect Miracles Immediately</h2> <p>It takes time to get to know your thrift stores, and how to navigate them. After a few months, you'll start getting a nose for valuable items, and also know what to avoid. Put the time and effort in, and you'll find that thrift stores are a lucrative way to save, <em>and earn</em>, money for you and your family. Good luck, and happy thrifting!</p> <p><em>Do you earn money from your thrift store finds? What are your secrets?</em></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/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores">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/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget">Single Parent? Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget</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-simple-ways-to-market-your-side-business">6 Simple Ways to Market Your Side Business</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second">If You&#039;re Doing This on Your First Date, You&#039;re Not Getting a Second</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Family Lifestyle side gig single parents thrift store Mon, 16 Feb 2015 18:00:08 +0000 Paul Michael 1289825 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/engagement-diamond-ring-Dollarphotoclub_61801254.jpg" alt="engagement diamond ring" title="engagement diamond ring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning to pop the question? You'll need a ring before you get down on bended knee, and when it comes to buying jewelry, it's easy to make costly mistakes (especially if you don't know what you're doing). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-wedding-trick-will-save-you-thousands?ref=seealso">This One Wedding Trick Will Save You Thousands</a>)</p> <p>To ensure that you're getting the best value for your budget, here are 12 engagement ring tricks from leading industry experts. Former diamond cutter and third-generation jeweler Anubh Shah of<a href="http://www.fourmine.com/"> Four Mine</a> jewelry, and Andrea Novella, creative director at<a href="http://www.gemmajadejewelry.com"> Gemma Jade Jewelry</a>, divulge their insider secrets to help you get the most brilliance for your buck.</p> <h2>1. Buy Diamonds Just Shy of Critical Weights</h2> <p>Carat weight and size are important in the ring-buying process &mdash; at least they are to your girlfriend &mdash; and jewelers know it. That's precisely why most diamonds are cut in half and whole increments, as pricing is based on those thresholds.</p> <p>&quot;Instead of shelling out for the full 1.00 carat diamond, try to find something around 0.95 carat,&quot; advises Shah. &quot;Manufacturers do everything they can to cut to critical weights because the pricing is tiered on those values. If a diamond is cut to less, the value is lost and therefore price can be significantly less.&quot;</p> <p>Novella agrees, calling this &quot;the best tip of all.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Diamond prices increase exponentially for each carat,&quot; she says. &quot;So if you want one carat, buy a .97. If you want 2, buy 1.95. It's essentially the same thing but much cheaper.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Buy Diamonds Online</h2> <p>We buy everything else online these days, so it only makes sense that you can find great deals on diamonds at Internet retailers.</p> <p>&quot;Buy diamonds online, even if you want to browse in store,&quot; suggests Anubh. &quot;Prices are significantly less and selection is far larger. You can see upwards of 20% price differences between online and in-store prices. Online jewelers are extremely price competitive and so the markups are actually very low. Jewelers make their margins on the setting, so buying the diamond loose then having it set in a ring locally is also a great idea.&quot;</p> <p>There's another important tip that you don't want to overlook, and it can save you hundreds of dollars.</p> <p>&quot;Also, buy one from a jeweler that's out of state so you save on taxes,&quot; Anubh adds, &quot;which can be an 8%+ difference.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Plan Your Purchase for the Summer</h2> <p>June through August is unofficially known as wedding season, so you probably assume that's the worst time to buy an engagement ring. The exact opposite is true, in fact, because while the actual weddings are taking places during the warmer months, most engagements are established throughout the rest of the year.</p> <p>&quot;Summers are a good time to buy &mdash; summers are slow for most jewelers and wholesalers so they'll be more price flexible to try and push inventory,&quot; says Anubh. &quot;Pricing is volatile around Christmas and can either go drastically up or down. Avoid the volatility and buy during the summer days. Plus it's wedding season so people aren't generally buying as many engagement rings at that time.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Opt for a Non-Traditional Shape</h2> <p>Would your lady prefer a round diamond? Unfortunately for you, she's in the majority, which drives the price up due to demand. To save some coin &mdash; if it won't leave you single, of course &mdash; look into more non-traditional shapes.</p> <p>&quot;Fancy shapes (shapes other than traditional round) are significantly less expensive and more trendy &mdash; why?&quot; asks Anubh. &quot;Because round is the most popular shape so it's most in demand &mdash; simple economics. Also, a diamond cutter's job is to preserve the maximum amount of weight. Rounds lose much more carat weight than other shapes, so they carry a premium.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Consider Alternative Stones</h2> <p>They say that diamonds are a girl's best friend. But isn't it interesting how there's no famous idiom that equates diamonds to a dude's worst enemy? If you're feeling the pinch on the prospect of buying a diamond, perhaps you can consider alternative stones, like precious gems or even a manmade, eco-friendly diamond-esque stone. (Tough sell, I know, but it's worth a shot.)</p> <p>&quot;Non-conventional brides might want to consider alternative stones to diamonds, or use a diamond setting but another stone for the center stone,&quot; Novella suggest. &quot;Asian cultures highly value imperial green jadeite, for example. It's more rare than diamonds but still more affordable.&quot;</p> <p>(P.S. If your bride is non-conventional, consider yourself an even luckier man.)</p> <h2>6. Go for the Gold</h2> <p>Yellow gold went out of fashion for a while over the past couple decades, but its back with a vengeance now that it has an enviable price tag. And Novella wants you to hone in on it for investment's sake.</p> <p>&quot;Gold provides the best value. Prices have steadily risen over the years so it's a good investment metal, but more affordable than platinum,&quot; she explains.</p> <h2>7. Look for 14k Instead of 18k Gold</h2> <p>While you're concentrating your efforts on gold, you also should know that there's a better value between one karat weight and another. It may seem like 18k gold is the best buy given the higher number, but that's not the case.</p> <p>&quot;Generally, you can consider 18k like a brand name; it's purer than 14k, but adds little to no extra raw value,&quot; says Anubh. &quot;The longevity of 14k is high, and simple 'servicing' (yes, like with a car) can keep it looking brand new. Just polishing out scratches or rhodium plating restores shine as if it were new. Do this once year &mdash; it should only cost about $10 to $20.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Steer Clear of the Brand Name Rings</h2> <p>I didn't have to buy an engagement ring because I married a dude (we're simple like that), so I had no idea that there were brand-name rings. Now that you are enlightened, you should stay far away too.</p> <p>&quot;Avoid brand name rings and branded designs,&quot; Anubh warns. &quot;Any ring can be custom made and any design created as close to the original as possible. There are huge savings when custom making a branded design so I definitely recommend that route if you like something branded outside your budget.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Look for Diamonds in the H/I Color and S1 Clarity Range</h2> <p>Now we're getting into the nitty-gritty of engagement ring buying with a quick lesson on diamond color and clarity.</p> <p>H/I Color is an<a href="http://www.jewelry-secrets.com/Diamonds/Is-H-I-Color-A-Good-Diamond-Color/H-I-Color-Diamonds-Good-Or-Bad.html"> &quot;average color, middle of the road, greatly abundant, and Consistent Color in Nature</a>,&quot; according to Jewelry Secrets. In laymen's terms, the color is a little bit off (a bit of yellow in the mix), but hardly noticeable. The SI Clarity range on the other hand includes three levels &mdash; SI1, SI2, and SI3 &mdash; which equate to flawless to the naked eye, flawed to the naked eye, and &quot;this is probably a diamond, but it's definitely not the best one,&quot; respectively.</p> <p>If you want to spend less, this is where you can make some concessions, says Anubh.</p> <p>&quot;Diamonds in the H/I color and SI clarity range offer the best value,&quot; he explains. &quot;The imperfections are rarely visible to the naked, untrained eye and the color is hardly distracting. Round diamonds mask color much better than fancy shapes.&quot;</p> <p>This is another slippery slope, gentlemen, so proceed with caution.</p> <h2>10. Seek Out GIA-Certified Rings</h2> <p>Did you know that there's, like, a governing body on diamonds? There are a few, actually. But the Gemological Institute of America is the only one you need to know.</p> <p>&quot;Only buy GIA-certified diamonds, if you're truly looking for value for money,&quot; Anubh advises. &quot;GIA is the most consistent grading lab and has the highest grading standards. Other labs are inconsistent and carry noticeable discounts for a reason. Don't be fooled!&quot;</p> <h2>11. Put Away the Plastic and Pay Cash</h2> <p>Given the high cost of engagement rings, your plan probably is to pay for it with credit. That's not the best idea for two reasons &mdash; you can easily rack up interest charges if you let the balance drag on, and you may be missing out on savings. A better bet is to hoard cash until you can afford it outright. You'll sleep better at night knowing that you don't have another huge bill looming over your head, it'll give you enough time to make sure this is definitely the right relationship for you, and you'll keep more money in the bank because of a potential kickback.</p> <p>&quot;Buy your engagement ring via bank wire or check from a wholesaler,&quot; Anubh recommends. &quot;There's almost always a discount because no credit card processing fees are involved.&quot;</p> <p>While we're on the subject of diamond wholesalers, Novella thinks you should seriously consider this route over a local jewelry store.</p> <p>&quot;Buy the diamond wholesale or through a broker, and then have it set with the jeweler,&quot; she says. &quot;You'll save on the markup for the center stone, which is the main part of the cost.&quot;</p> <h2>12. Stick to Your Intended Budget</h2> <p>It's really easy to go over budget when you're blinded by love &mdash; but you need to keep it together, man. Set a max amount that you'll spend and make it your goal to find the perfect ring by coming in <em>under</em> that threshold.</p> <p>&quot;Unless you're blowing out your budget, the odds of getting something significantly better for a small increase in budget are low,&quot; Anubh imparts. &quot;It'll make you feel bad in the long run. Stick to a number and stay under. Everyone is happy when they find an extra dollar in their jeans pocket.&quot;</p> <p><em>Did you save a bundle on an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry? How'd you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wedding-dresses-for-under-200">Wedding Dresses for Under $200</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-awesome-sites-to-shop-for-affordable-cool-jewelry">10 Awesome Sites to Shop for Affordable, Cool Jewelry</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-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</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/where-to-buy-discounted-designer-clothing-online">Where to Buy Discounted Designer Clothing Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping Style engagement ring jewelry marriage ring wedding Fri, 13 Feb 2015 18:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1289195 at http://www.wisebread.com Single Parent? Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father-son-soccer-park-Dollarphotoclub_61127791.jpg" alt="father son soccer" title="father son soccer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Single parents are challenged with finding ways to cut costs wherever they can, and that reaches into so many aspects of everyday life.</p> <p>Today, one of the trickiest challenges I am faced with is how to keep my kids entertained on a budget. Sure, the TV and Xbox could keep them amused for hours on end, but I don't want to have them zoning out in front of the tube. So, with very little money for entertaining, how do you keep the young ones happy and fulfilled? Here are some ideas that I use.</p> <h2>1. Get Baking</h2> <p>There are three reasons that this is a great way to pass the time with your kids.</p> <p>First, you're teaching them a practical skill that they can use later.</p> <p>Second, you're saving money. By baking your own breads, cookies and cakes, you're not spending money on pre-packaged goods full of additives and preservatives.</p> <p>And most important of all, it's actually a lot of fun &mdash; kids love to help and get involved. They also like to see what their hard work has helped them achieve. When you taste those cookies, or a slice of warm banana bread, you'll enjoy their reactions as much as they enjoy the sweet treats.</p> <h2>2. Artwork Is a No Brainer</h2> <p>I don't just mean it's an obvious way to spend your time with the kids for next to nothing. It's also a chance to shut your brain off from all the hectic stresses of life, and be a kid again yourself.</p> <p>Set up the dining room table with paper, crayons, paints, markers, and anything else they need to be creative. Then, join in &mdash; don't just leave them to it. This is good bonding time, and you will enjoy yourself just as much as they do. I like to frame pieces of artwork that my kids have created (I only ever pay $1 for my frames at thrift stores) and have created a gallery we're all proud of.</p> <h2>3. Set Up a Home Spa</h2> <p>My girls are 10 and 8, and they love being pampered. I'm a guy, but I'm not afraid to get out the nail polish and curling irons. Put on some relaxing music, let them feel like the princesses they are, and get creative with it. You can make their nails look like bees, ladybugs, or chalkboards &mdash; it's all very easy after a while and tons of fun for everyone. And if you have little boys, don't think they don't deserve something similar. My toddler wanted his nails painted a boy-approved black and blue, and I obliged. He loved it. Older boys may not be interested, but spray-in hair colors and waxes can give you some punkish results.</p> <h2>4. The Library Is Your Friend</h2> <p>There is more to the library than just books and movies. Your library often has special events, including authors who will read aloud from their latest best sellers. They also have movie screenings, and host discussion groups and fun family activities afterwards.</p> <h2>5. Go to Museums and Parks on Free Days</h2> <p>Every museum and park will give out free passes on certain days of the year. Mark these days down on the calendar, and when they arrive, make sure you get the kids there to experience nature, or to learn about art, history, and geography.</p> <h2>6. Decorate a Bedroom</h2> <p>You can buy a few cans of &quot;oops paints&quot; for 70-80% off the regular price. Dig around whenever you're in a home improvement store, and if you find the perfect shade, you can repaint their bedrooms for under $20. But, do it with them &mdash; the older kids can do some of the big painting, while the younger kids love helping out with smaller areas. Just make sure they have on old clothes, and you have a drop cloth down. Let them have fun with it. They will love helping you paint their own room.</p> <h2>7. Volunteer</h2> <p>It's a great way to fill their time, and get them learning about life. A pet shelter is a good cause to start with. They will love seeing all the animals, and helping out with food, cuddles, and walks. You could also see if other local charities have space open for kid volunteers. It's wonderful to give back to the community, and it gives kids a sense of accomplishment and pride.</p> <h2>8. Visit a Cheap Movie Theater</h2> <p>Yes, these theaters get the movies long after the major chains have shown them. So what?! Kids shouldn't care about being the first to see it. Mine certainly don't. What they do love is the chance to go and see a new release (and it's way more affordable than seeing first-run flicks). On a recent visit to the movies, I saw <em>Big Hero 6</em> with my three kids. I bought them popcorn and slurpies, plus we shared a bag of Twizzlers. The entire outing cost a mere $29. Try doing that at a full price theater.</p> <h2>9. Get Out the Board Games</h2> <p>Sure, we live in an electronic world &mdash; but does that mean those great board games have to gather dust in the basement or garage? Dedicate one night a week to games. You can find used (and often new) board games at thrift stores for as little as $2; just check to see if they have all the pieces first. Your kids will enjoy spending time with you in a way that is more stimulating than just sitting in front of the TV.</p> <h2>10. Just&hellip; Play!</h2> <p>Hide and seek. Soccer. Tag. Charades. Twister. Name that tune. Your kids will not want to play with you forever, so cherish the times they want to be around you. You may often find yourself saying &quot;Oh, I'm too old for that.&quot; Shame on you. Sylvester Stallone is a senior citizen and he's jumping out of planes and fighting bad guys. It's just a bit of fun around the house. Who knows&hellip; you may actually enjoy yourself more than they do!</p> <p><em>Are you a single parent? In what creative, low-cost ways do you keep the kids entertained?</em></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/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget">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/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores">11 Ways to Earn Extra Cash From Thrift Stores</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/14-ways-to-spend-less-money-on-valentines-day">14 Ways to Spend Less Money on Valentine&#039;s Day</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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/free-ways-to-celebrate-mothers-day">Free Ways to Celebrate Mother&#039;s Day</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/30-signs-you-were-raised-by-healthy-parents">30 Signs You Were Raised by Healthy Parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family Lifestyle entertaining kids entertainment parenting single parents Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:31:15 +0000 Paul Michael 1285774 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Manage Costs While You're on Maternity Leave http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-manage-costs-while-youre-on-maternity-leave <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-manage-costs-while-youre-on-maternity-leave" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pregnant-woman-piggy-bank-Dollarphotoclub_57556649.jpg" alt="pregnant woman piggy bank" title="pregnant woman piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The United States has some of the least generous maternity leave policies in the developed world.</p> <p>If you're lucky enough to work at a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-29-companies-with-the-best-maternity-benefits">company with a great maternity policy</a> (where you continue to earn most or all of your salary while on leave), you probably don't need to worry about costs quite as much. But, for most women, maternity leave can mean lower pay. At a time when you're already facing the increased costs of having a baby, it can create added financial stress. Here are my best tips for managing costs while on maternity leave.</p> <h2>1. Embrace Assistance</h2> <p>People love offering help to new mothers. Take them up on their offers for assistance &mdash; put them to work doing dishes, throwing in a load of laundry, or even running the vacuum cleaner. It can free up your time to to take care of more important &mdash; and valuable tasks. And when maternity leave ends, childcare assistance from friends or family can help reduce the cost of daycare when you're back at work.</p> <h2>2. Love the Free Meals</h2> <p>There's a saying that you should never visit a new mom empty handed &mdash; and many people in your life will show their support for new moms by bringing them food. After my first child was born, we didn't cook a meal for nearly six weeks. You may also be able to get on a list through your church or local moms group to bring you meals, saving you a ton of money on groceries. (And while you'll be appreciative of the money you save, you'll be more appreciative of the free time &mdash; and the fact that it's a hot meal, not just whatever you can throw together one-handed.)</p> <h2>3. Snag New Mom Offers</h2> <p>A plethora of couponing and parenting websites offer deals and discounts for new moms. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/mom/signup/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KIRE2DJWIZKKHMX7">Amazon Mom</a>, for example, offers 20% off diaper subscriptions and free two-day shipping. Or sign up for new mom coupon offers. <a href="http://newparent.com/mom/best-coupon-sites-for-moms">New Parent</a> provides a listing of the best coupon and discount sites for new moms. <a href="http://www.babycheapskate.com/">Baby Cheapskate</a> also offers some terrific deals for newborns.</p> <h2>4. Join New Parent Clubs</h2> <p>New parent clubs in your community are not only a wonderful source of support and camaraderie, but they can also help point you to deals and discounts. Plus, pot luck dinners, carpooling, free play dates, and other shared resources can mean less costly ways to enjoy being a new parent.</p> <h2>5. Maximize Your Benefits</h2> <p>Working moms know to make use of their maternity leave benefits, but in many cases, the father's company may also offer certain new parent benefits which can help make costs more manageable. Make sure you double check with both employers' HR departments to be certain you're accessing all available benefits. HSAs, FSAs, free day care, new parent helplines, and many other benefits may go unexploited if you don't ask. And don't forget about healthcare benefits &mdash; contact your insurer to make the most of these, as well.</p> <p><em>How did you manage costs while on maternity leave? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-manage-costs-while-youre-on-maternity-leave">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books">The 5 Best Parenting Books</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/can-you-afford-to-have-a-baby">Can You Afford to Have a Baby?</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-4-worst-mistakes-good-parents-make">The 4 Worst Mistakes Good Parents Make</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-29-companies-with-the-best-maternity-benefits">The 29 Companies With the Best Maternity Benefits</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/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget">Single Parent? Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family Home maternity benefits maternity leave new parents parenting Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:00:09 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1277630 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Parenting Hacks That Will Save You Time http://www.wisebread.com/13-parenting-hacks-that-will-save-you-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-parenting-hacks-that-will-save-you-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-family-morning-Dollarphotoclub_73600395.jpg" alt="happy family morning" title="happy family morning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Before I had kids, I thought I didn't have much time. Then came along Kid #1 and it felt like we were always busy. Fast forward three years to Kid #2 and now I really know what it's like to not have enough time to do everything I want to do in a day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-must-do-if-youre-traveling-with-kids?ref=seealso">9 Things You Must Do If You're Traveling With Kids</a>)</p> <p>So how do busy parents save time? Try these time saving hacks for parents to get more done in your day.</p> <h2>Clothing</h2> <p>Getting kids dressed takes time. Here are my favorite tips for saving time when it comes to clothes.</p> <h3>1. Instead of PJs, Dress Your Kids in Clothes</h3> <p>Perhaps the most practical tip I got from Sheryl Sandberg's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385349947/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0385349947&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=J3Z34FFQFFQYBC3X">Lean In</a> was that she dresses her kids in their next day's clothes instead of pajamas. If your kids are not yet of the I-want-to-wear-this-not-that-Toddler-kicking-and-screaming phase, you have no idea how much time this can actually save you. It literally took 45 minutes one morning to get my son's pants on. (&quot;I don't like these pants.&quot; &quot;Fine, don't wear pants.&quot; &quot;I don't want my legs to be cold.&quot;)</p> <p>Now, most weekday nights he puts on clean clothes for the next day. And we have saved ourselves a ton of time and a huge battle.</p> <h3>2. Set Out a Week's Worth of Outfits</h3> <p>One week at my son's preschool was &quot;Rainbow Week&quot; where the kids wore a different color of the rainbow everyday. In order to make sure we had the right clothes for every day, we set out clothes for the week, and it saved a ton of time. We now do this at the beginning of each week. And this tip also works wonders for your own wardrobe.</p> <h3>3. Iron Clothes With a Flat Iron for Hair</h3> <p>I don't remember where I read this tip first, but a flat iron (for hair) actually does a fantastic job of ironing clothing. If you're time pressed or only have one item to de-wrinkle, your flat iron is already hot from straightening your hair and can be used to fix your clothes.</p> <h3>4. Put a Bathrobe Over Your Clothes</h3> <p>In my first few weeks of going back to work after maternity leave I frequently needed two outfits &mdash; one for before the spit-up and one for after I had handed off my baby daughter to the nanny. Even older kids (and pets) tend to leave work clothes in less than presentable shape if you're not careful before leaving the house. By throwing a bathrobe over your clothes once you're dressed, you won't have to get dressed twice every morning.</p> <h2>Eating</h2> <p>As a parent, it seems that about half of my &quot;free&quot; time involves preparing or eating meals. Here are the tricks we use to save time in our household.</p> <h3>5. Meal Plan</h3> <p>Planning the next week's worth of meals has become a key &quot;to-do&quot; item for our weekend. No longer do we scramble after work to figure out what's in the cupboard or go out to eat because we can't figure out what to make (which actually takes more time than cooking). Plus, you'll end up saving a ton of money.</p> <h3>6. Freeze a Bag Full of Sandwiches</h3> <p>Making school lunches was either a nightly or morning chore that usually seemed rushed. Now, we buy a bag of mini bagels, cut and fill each bagel with either peanut butter or cream cheese, and freeze the whole bag. We also own enough divided lunch containers (I like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006T5BLRQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006T5BLRQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NUOSVCIL4OAV7465">Lunchbots</a>) to make a whole week's worth of lunches on the weekends, and then easily throw the items each day in the lunch bag.</p> <h3>7. Master the Crock Pot</h3> <p>We got a crock pot for a wedding present, but it didn't become a counter-top staple appliance until after my daughter was born. We now have crock pot meals at least once a week, because they just save so much time.</p> <h3>8. Make Breakfast Ahead of Time</h3> <p>I like a hot breakfast (or at least not cold cereal) most mornings. Here are my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes">favorite make ahead and freezable breakfast recipes</a>.</p> <h3>9. Buy a Coffeemaker With Programmable Timer</h3> <p>Mornings with kids are difficult (as evidenced by the fact that half my tips are about them) and a great place to save time in your day. Using a programmable coffeemaker is a great as it's one less thing to spend time on once you're out of bed.</p> <h2>Cleaning</h2> <p>I'm convinced that once you have children, there is never enough time to master keeping a spotless house, but here are some tips to make it a bit easier.</p> <h3>10. Buy a Dustbuster</h3> <p>When you don't have time to vacuum, a dustbuster is a miracle worker. We use ours at least every other day.</p> <h3>11. Love Your Dishwasher</h3> <p>Before kids, we used to handwash most of our pots, pans, and bowls. Recently, I've fully embraced our dishwasher and started putting pretty much all cookware in it. While we run loads much more frequently, we are less likely to have a stack of dishes waiting to be hand washed in the sink.</p> <h3>12. Have a Washer/Dryer Routine</h3> <p>We have yet to figure out how to save time on folding laundry (as seen by the piles of clean clothes around our house. If you have any tips for getting this done, let me know!). But no longer are we rushing around trying to clean clothes for the day we need them. Growing up my dad always put in a load of wash first thing in the morning (we had a laundry chute so there was no collecting of clothes that had to be done). I have recently adopted this habit for myself and found that with a regular routine, I am saving time on laundry.</p> <h2>Shopping</h2> <p>Getting kids in the car, driving to the store, shopping, returning home, unloading kids, and unloading the car &mdash; this adds up to hours each week. My single favorite tip for saving time on shopping is this:</p> <h3>13. Join Amazon Prime</h3> <p>I don't know how parents got their shopping done before <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BSRLSR2O6O2MPEFF">Amazon Prime</a>. If you don't know, Amazon Prime offers free two day shipping and one day shipping for $3.99. You'll save a ton of time by not having to run to the store every time you need an item.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite parenting hacks that save you time? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-parenting-hacks-that-will-save-you-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning">15 Essential Life Hacks That Will Save You Time in the Morning</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/having-a-baby-nine-financial-considerations-for-new-parents">Having a baby? Nine financial considerations for new parents</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/a-frugal-renewal-retying-the-knot-without-untying-your-budget">A Frugal Renewal: Retying The Knot Without Untying Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-entertain-your-child-for-free-or-cheap">25 Ways to Entertain Your Child for Free or Cheap</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family General Tips breakfast children laundry parenting time savers Wed, 07 Jan 2015 12:00:09 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1275628 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Small Ways to Make Your Mom Happy http://www.wisebread.com/11-small-ways-to-make-your-mom-happy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-small-ways-to-make-your-mom-happy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-daughter-mother.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><i>This post contains references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Please visit our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advertiser-disclosure">Advertiser Disclosure</a> to view our partners, and for additional details.</i></p> <p>As the mom of a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler boy and soon-to-be-born baby girl, I confront the challenges of being a mom every single day. Some days, children are so demanding that I wonder, &ldquo;When will they be old enough to stop making demands of me?&rdquo; Then I realize that I still make many demands of <em>my</em> mother (in the way of emotional support, child-rearing advice, work-advice, and babysitting.) I think that most of us continue relying on our mothers as we grow older, but how we rely on them changes. Over the years, I&rsquo;ve tried to become better at finding ways to say thanks, express my love, and generally tell my mom how much I appreciate her. With that in mind, here are some of the best small ways to make the mom in your life happy.</p> <h2>1. Send Flowers</h2> <p>Yes, it&rsquo;s cliché, but I don&rsquo;t know any mom who doesn&rsquo;t appreciate flowers sent to her at home or her workplace. Or, if you truly insist your mom &ldquo;is not the flowers type,&rdquo; opt instead for a longer-living plant. Plants are surprisingly not that much more expensive and can be ordered from a florist just as easily as flowers.</p> <h2>2. Give Her a Public Shout Out</h2> <p>Some moms are extremely active on Twitter or Facebook (even if only to watch over their children). Give your mom a public shout out thanking her or telling her you love her. Don&rsquo;t forget to tag her in the post. If she&rsquo;s a Pinterest user, you could go above and beyond and create an art project and pin it just for her.</p> <h2>3. Email Her a Photo of Something that Reminds You of Her</h2> <p>During the day, try to find something that reminds you of your mother. Maybe it&rsquo;s the kind of cereal you&rsquo;re eating for breakfast, a house that looks like one you grew up in, a purse at a store that you know she would like. Whatever it is, snap a quick photo on your phone and email it to your mom with a note that just says &ldquo;thinking of you.&rdquo;</p> <h2>4. Buy Her Something She&rsquo;s Always Wanted</h2> <p>Some moms are so busy with kids, work, and life&rsquo;s general stresses that they never take time to buy the things they have always wanted. You can probably think of something your mom talked about growing up. Maybe it&rsquo;s still too fancy, impractical, or expensive (like a 1970 lemon-lime colored Jaguar convertible). But maybe it&rsquo;s something as simple as a nice fountain pen or watch. If it&rsquo;s feasible, buy it for her.</p> <h2>5. Send Her a Favorite Nostalgic Candy</h2> <p>There are many online candy stores that specialize in &ldquo;nostalgic candy.&rdquo; You may remember your mom&rsquo;s favorite candy from when she was a kid, but if not, check out the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oldtimecandy.com/decades.htm">candy by decades selection on this candy site<b>&nbsp;</b></a>for ideas (I browsed my decade, and it was surprisingly accurate).</p> <h2>6. Send Her a Note in the Mail</h2> <p>Grab a piece of stationary out of your desk and write your mom a handwritten note. Something short and sweet thanking her for something specific she has done for you works, as does a more general &ldquo;just saying hi&rdquo; -- it doesn&rsquo;t matter. Your mom will be happy when she opens her mailbox and finds more than just junk mail and magazines.</p> <h2>7. Take Her to Lunch or Brunch</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re lucky enough to live in the same town as your mom, schedule a time to go to lunch or brunch with just her. She&rsquo;ll not only be happy on the day you take her out, but she&rsquo;ll be happy on the day you invite her too.</p> <h2>8. Send Her an Old Photo</h2> <p>A picture really can convey more than words. So, dig through some old photo albums and find a favorite photo or two of you and your mom and mail them to her. (Or text her a photo of the photo or post it on Facebook as a #tbt.)</p> <h2>9. Send a Cute Photo or Story About Your Kids</h2> <p>Most moms, as much as they aren&rsquo;t ready to embrace being old enough to be grandmothers, cherish having grandkids. Call or write your mom with a cute or funny story about something your kids are doing, and it will be sure to bring a smile to her face. Better yet, add a photo if you can.</p> <h2>10. Send a Cute Photo or Story About Something You&rsquo;re Doing</h2> <p>Even if you don&rsquo;t have kids, there is likely something you can send your mom that displays skills or values she taught you. Perhaps you have a cute dog that you&rsquo;ve taught a new trick to. Or maybe you&rsquo;re growing a garden and your mom has a green thumb. It could even be as simple as using a piecrust recipe of hers and sending a photo of the finished product. She&rsquo;ll be proud to see you using a skill she taught you.</p> <h2>11. Call Her Just to Say Thanks</h2> <p>The simplest (and least expensive) way to make your mom happy? Call her just to say thanks. It&rsquo;s these #EveryDayMoments that can be more impactful than a grand expenditure. Think of a specific moment you cherish, and tell her about that. Or tell her that as you&rsquo;re getting older, you appreciate more and more everything she does for you.</p> <p><b>What is a small thing you have done to make your mom happy? Conversely, as a mom, what have your kids done to make you happy?</b></p> <p><em>This post was inspired by the new, no annual fee <a href="https://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/amex-everyday">Amex EveryDay Credit Card</a>, which rewards you for those everyday purchases and #EveryDayMoments, no matter how small. If you make 20 purchases in one billing cycle you earn 20% on your Membership Rewards points earned for that period. Terms and limitations apply.</em></p> <p><i>I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about the <a href="http://www304.americanexpress.com/credit-card/amex-everyday">Amex EveryDay Credit Card</a>. As such, I was paid for my services, but tips and opinions shared about and American Express and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card are my own.</i></p> <p><i>Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author&rsquo;s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.</i></p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/mom-happy-infographic.png" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-small-ways-to-make-your-mom-happy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-my-toddler-has-taught-me-about-money">8 Things My Toddler Has Taught Me About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</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/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</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-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-worst-mistakes-good-parents-make">The 4 Worst Mistakes Good Parents Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family credit cards Tue, 30 Dec 2014 06:42:04 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1260486 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Time-Saving Tools Everyone Should Own http://www.wisebread.com/15-time-saving-tools-everyone-should-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-time-saving-tools-everyone-should-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-smartphone-462363713-small.jpg" alt="woman smartphone" title="woman smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feel like there's just not enough time in the day? Join the club. It feels like I'm going nonstop from before sunup to waaaay past sundown every day. I haven't found a solution that will add any time to my daily routine, but I have found a few ways to cut back on the time I'm spending on tasks that otherwise could be more efficient. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-a-time-budget-and-how-to-create-it?ref=seealso">You Need a Time Budget</a>)</p> <p>Take a look at some of my time-saving solutions here, then let me know how you shave a few minutes off your day in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. Food Processor</h2> <p>I enjoy cooking, and I usually make time to eat a healthy meal at home, but I don't always have the time (or energy) to cut, chop, peel, grate, and slice my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rather, I use a food processor whenever it makes sense to quickly and effortlessly manipulate the ingredients I need so I can speed up the cooking process and feed my hungry tummy faster. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A6JHPK8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A6JHPK8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZWCJVCQYHLUO3GZJ">KitchenAid makes a great processor</a> (the assortment of blades are beyond helpful), but <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003O47MKA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003O47MKA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZR6ZGBIKSY3QGPL5">Ninja also makes a line of powerful food prep products</a> that I personally give my seal of approval.</p> <h2>2. Backup Gadget Batteries</h2> <p>iPhone users in particular know the daily struggle of seeing 1% at 11 a.m. even though they awoke four hours before with a fully charged device. Thus, we're forced to charge our phones multiple times a day to avoid being without power when we're not near a socket. In fact, I've personally spent 20 minutes or more on multiple occasions in an actual Apple store just to get a little juice. A rechargeable, on-the-go battery, however &mdash; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=mophie&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=4MOINVFV3IS6JINE">like the ones from Mophie</a> &mdash; drastically cuts back on the instances that I have to stop and recharge my phone when I'm out and about. I plug it in at night and take it with me to avert any low-battery crises.</p> <h2>3. Slow Cooker</h2> <p>There's not much better in this world than coming home after a long, hard day at work to a house that smells delicious because dinner is ready to eat. I don't use my slow cooker much in the summer, but I'm looking forward to stealing a little me-time this fall and winter thanks to my Crock-Pot. I'm also fond of this handy little attachment for slow cookers called the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ET9E7U2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00ET9E7U2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WLEWWACF42T4LJW4">Lid Pocket</a>, which helps me reduce the potential of an OCD attack when I have to put the lid on the counter or sink when taking it off &mdash; and I know I'm not alone.</p> <h2>4. Smartphone and Apps</h2> <p>There's no denying that smartphones help us save time in innumerable ways, from eliminating the need to clip coupons and helping us make lists to managing the security on our homes and keeping in touch with friends. If I had to pick my favorite time-saving app though, I think it would be my mobile banking app. When my bank launched it, it was like trumpets from the heavens were playin' my jam. Now I deposit my checks online, transfer money easily, and even sign up for in-app deals that give me cash back on participating purchases.</p> <h2>5. BB Cream</h2> <p>Erin Konrad, a spokesperson for CouponPal.com, told me about BB Cream. I didn't know much about this facial cosmetic product before Erin chimed in, but Wiki describes it as an all-in-one replacement for serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock. &quot;I love using a BB cream in my beauty regimen; it has multiple uses, which can help save me time during my morning routine,&quot; Erin says. &quot;I love anything that allows me to sleep in a few more minutes.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Programmable Coffee Maker</h2> <p>I'm not a coffee drinker myself &mdash; to be honest, I don't get it at all &mdash; but I don't have to be a java head to know that a programmable coffee maker can shave a good five to 10 minutes off your morning routine if you set it to brew just before you get up or while you're doing your other daily routines. There's also another cool gadget that will help you save time in the morning, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GKNOH8W/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00GKNOH8W&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4GMUXPG5QLDH53QJ">Gamila Impress Coffee Brewer</a>, which gives you the fresh taste of a French Press while you're on the move. I had a chance to try it for another post and even I was impressed.</p> <h2>7. Dishwasher</h2> <p>Most homes have dishwashers nowadays, so let's consider this one an &quot;oldie but a goodie.&quot; In fact, it may even be the biggest time saver of them all. Remember when you had to wash and dry all those dishes by hand? How long did it take you &mdash; 20, 30 minutes? More? Who has time for that &mdash; or dishpan hands? Not me. I just load it and forget it. Until it's time to unload it, of course; you know nobody else in the house is gonna do it.</p> <h2>8. Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>You can save a lot of time and money by buying exercise equipment for your home. I'm not talking about expensive machines, but rather inexpensive pieces like dumbbells, resistance bands, and over-the-door pull-up bars that will help you stay in shape without wasting time going back and forth to the gym multiple times a week. You'll also save anywhere from $10 to $100 a month on gym membership after the initial investment on the equipment.</p> <h2>9. Coin Sorter</h2> <p>My dad used to keep a huge water jug full of coins in his bedroom when I was a kid. Every year or so he would empty it out and spend hours &mdash; like many hours! &mdash; counting and wrapping the coins so he could take them to the bank and cash them in. Of course, these days you also can take your coins to a public machine and have them sorted and counted for you, but that'll cost you upwards of 8% to 10% of your total take.</p> <p>A great solution to save time and money is to purchase a coin sorter for your home and get in the habit of throwing your change into it every day. When the coin wrappers are full, set them aside until you're ready to take them to the bank. I'd also advise buying a fairly decent sorter. I purchased a relatively cheap one in the past and it wasn't worth the plastic it cost to make it.</p> <h2>10. DVR</h2> <p>I don't watch much TV anymore, but back in the day I was a junkie, scheduling my activities around my favorite shows. But thanks to my DVR, I now can do more of what I want and need to do &mdash; like pump out these Wise Bread articles to help you live a more efficient and fiscally responsible life &mdash; because I know I can watch my programs later. Which is perfect for a lazy Sunday when there's nothing else on anyway.</p> <h2>11. Autonomous Cleaning Robots</h2> <p>When <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UUBCNO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000UUBCNO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RRJ3CWOUE4UVFCJC">Roomba</a> was first invented the line only consisted of a round disc that would move around your carpeted floor and suck up all the junk that you used to have pick up by manually pushing a vacuum cleaner. That product still exists, though it's now a much more advanced version, but the line also include models that will scrub and mop floors and clean pools and gutters. I can't even begin to quantify how much time these little babies save, but it's not drop in the bucket.</p> <h2>12. All-in-One Washer Dryer</h2> <p>I'm not sure if it's okay for a grown man to look at shiny new appliances like a wild cat eyes a juicy piece of fresh meat, but my obsession is real and perhaps a tad frightening. Nonetheless, I'm totally into the high-efficiency, all-in-one washer-dryers. I know I'm not the only person who hates going back and forth to the washer and dryer putting clothes in and taking them out of one machine on another all day long, and this is the perfect solution.</p> <p>It's important to note, however, that while the machine's TurboWash will dramatically reduce wash time, the dryer (because it's non-vented) may take longer than you're used to. But who cares? When it's done, it's done, and you can get back to your DVR.</p> <h2>13. No-Iron Clothing</h2> <p>I would probably have to iron no-iron clothing &mdash; because I'm totally a freak about ironing my clothes &mdash; but for people who loathe it but have to do it if they want to look presentable and professional, I think this is a great compromise. If you're skeptical about how well no-iron clothing performs, Good Housekeeping put a few brands to the test, <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=127614">as reported by ABC News</a>.</p> <h2>14. George Foreman Grill</h2> <p>For those of us who live in urban areas and have no room for a real grill &mdash; or can't own one altogether &mdash; a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001NXC65K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001NXC65K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QJ5RAST22J6QQ6NM">George Foreman Grill</a> is a great compromise appliance. There's no charcoal to burn of course, so you're saving time there, but the other awesome time-saving aspect of these grills is that they cook both sides of the food at once, essentially cutting your time in the kitchen in half. Plus, reviews have always been on the positive side for the grills, so you know you're getting a good product.</p> <h2>15. Hybrid or Electric Car</h2> <p>I left this entry last because as a society we're still not quite ready to fully embrace hybrid and electric cars, but we are moving steadily in that direction. Alas, once these kind of cars become commonplace, positive results will abound. We won't pollute the environment as much, we won't have to rely on foreign oil so heavily, and we won't have to pop in and out of gas stations as much (or ever if your car is completely electric). You can get where you're going faster and cheaper, which will make your trip all the more relaxing. Aaaah.</p> <p><em>Do you have more time-saving items that everyone should own to suggest? Let me know 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-time-saving-tools-everyone-should-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/10-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it">10 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Time Without Realizing 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-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</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-ways-to-avoid-buying-electronics-youll-regret">5 Ways to Avoid Buying Electronics You&#039;ll Regret</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/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</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-as-seen-on-tv-kitchen-gadgets-that-are-actually-worth-the-money">6 &quot;As Seen on TV&quot; Kitchen Gadgets That Are Actually Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Productivity Shopping efficiency gadgets labor savers time time savers Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1220280 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-need-to-stop-doing-today-to-be-a-better-friend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-you-need-to-stop-doing-today-to-be-a-better-friend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/best-friends-cafe-178720038-small.jpg" alt="best friends cafe" title="best friends cafe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes true friendships seem to be born out of a mysterious, intangible energy that pulls two people together. Keeping friendships strong and thriving is a far less mysterious affair, though. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-time-tested-ways-to-make-a-relationship-work?ref=seealso">6 Time-Tested Ways to Make a Relationship Work</a>)</p> <p>Part art, part science, and part common sense, being a better friend takes a lot of effort, and maybe the kicking of a bad habit or two. Or a dozen. So here are 12 things you need to stop doing now in order to be a better friend.</p> <h2>1. Shopping for Better Social Offers</h2> <p>Psst&hellip; you're not fooling anyone when you're consistently non-committal about plans. Your friends probably know you're holding out for a better offer. We get it &mdash; your time is a rare and valuable commodity. But as tempting as &quot;social shopping&quot; might be from time-to-time, consider the long-term effects it can have on the relationships your hold most dear. <em>Commit</em>, participate, and stop wondering what's behind curtain number three.</p> <h2>2. Going AWOL When You're Dating</h2> <p>Are you the type of friend that disappears the moment a romantic relationship gets serious? Or worse, do you reconnect with old friends once it's time to pick up the pieces after a breakup? If so, it may be time to reevaluate how you balance the relationships in your life. Solid friendships are built on consistency and mutual respect; don't go MIA the moment you fall head over heels.</p> <h2>3. Texting, Tweeting, Calling, Clicking, Snapping, and Chatting</h2> <p>It's difficult to listen when we're surrounded by mobile devices that are never silenced or sidelined. Make face time (and by <em>face time</em>, I mean face-to-face time, not the Apple product), electronics-free. You'll <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-ways-to-become-more-present-and-love-your-life-more">become more fully present</a>, your friends will thank you for it, and you'll begin to appreciate the unplugged moments of life.</p> <h2>4. Being Late</h2> <p>Sometimes it's unavoidable. But if you're terminally tardy, you're implying that your friends' time isn't as valuable as yours. Honor the people you care about by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-always-be-on-time">learning how to be punctual.</a></p> <h2>5. Listening Just to Respond</h2> <p>The art of conversation is built on active listening, but many people cut their listening time short in order to formulate a reply. Instead of worrying about how you're going to respond (if a response is even necessary), listen to learn. What is your friend really saying? And just as importantly, what's <em>not</em> being said?</p> <h2>6. Avoiding the Truth</h2> <p>John Lennon said it best: &quot;Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it'll always get you the right ones.&quot; Good friends are kind to each other, but rigorously honest about the things that matter. Work to make your closest friendships &quot;no BS zones&quot; where you can be open about the ups and downs of life, love, career, and money. It'll help create a refuge where each of you can give and receive honest feedback.</p> <h2>7. Forgetting Important Dates</h2> <p>Birthdays, anniversaries, significant events at work &mdash; remembering these details shows that you're listening and that you're tuned into another person's world. Acknowledging the major and minor moments of our friends' lives promotes trust, connection, and appreciation.</p> <h2>8. Imposing Time Limits</h2> <p>Aren't we all on the clock too much as it is? I don't know about you, but the last thing I need is a friend who can't put down his mental stopwatch. Sure, sometimes it's just fine to sneak a quick cup of coffee in between meetings, but a chronic I've-got-to-run attitude is doesn't allow room for friendships to meander, grow, and deepen.</p> <h2>9. Over-Planning Everything</h2> <p>Doesn't it seem like the best moments in life are the unplanned ones? As much as a good plan can benefit a Friday night or a weekend getaway, it's important to know when to scrap the schedule and just wing it.</p> <h2>10. Being Predictable</h2> <p>Sometimes small gestures of kindness, surprising moments, and a spontaneous spirit can breathe new life into a friendship between two people who know each other frontward and backward. Keep your friendships fresh by showing appreciation and nurturing a bit of the unexpected. Running low on inspiration, explore new and inexpensive <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-fun-free-ways-to-have-a-great-time-with-friends">ways to have fun with friends</a>.</p> <h2>11. Holding Grudges</h2> <p>Every relationship has its highs and lows. But friendships are investments that two people make in each other; don't let hurt feelings or an argument wipe out what you've built.</p> <h2>12. Dodging the Truly Terrible Times</h2> <p>It's inevitable &mdash; when two people are friends for a long enough period of time, they'll witness life-altering events in each other's lives. The death of a parent, a messy divorce, or loss of a job are just a few examples of moments when good friendships are forged by fire and become something far more profound. Don't dodge the down times because you don't know the right thing to do or say. Realize the comfort your shared history can provide and rise to the occasion.</p> <p>In the end, friendships are formed by common interests and complementary senses of humor, but they're maintained and deepened by the shared events &mdash; the comedies and tragedies that shift and shape our lives. Friendships should help us achieve more, worry less, laugh louder, and handle the challenges of life with a little more support. With that in mind, learning to be a better is nearly a sacred pursuit. Put your whole heart into it.</p> <p><em>Do you have a best friend? How did he or she earn that coveted title in your life?</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/12-things-you-need-to-stop-doing-today-to-be-a-better-friend">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-be-a-better-friend-without-any-effort">6 Ways to Be a Better Friend Without Any Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-repair-a-burned-bridge">10 Ways to Repair a Burned Bridge</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/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting">Happily Ever After: How to Stay Married for 29 Years (and Counting)</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/friends-and-goals-dont-let-a-blue-falcon-bring-you-down">Friends and Goals: Don&#039;t Let a Blue Falcon Bring You Down</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/make-friends-and-be-happy-why-cultivating-relationships-is-good-for-you">Make Friends and Be Happy: Why Cultivating Relationships Is Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Personal Development friends friendship loyalty relationships Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1203541 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Your Partner Financially Unfaithful? (1 in 3 Are) http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-partner-financially-unfaithful-1-in-3-are <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-your-partner-financially-unfaithful-1-in-3-are" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-finances-476200461-small.jpg" alt="couple finances" title="couple finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One in three adults in a combined financial relationship admits to <a href="http://www.nefe.org/Portals/0/WhatWeProvide/PrimaryResearch/ConsumerPolls/PDF/2014%20Financial%20Infidelity%20Survey%20Summary.pdf">financially deceiving their partner</a>, according to a recent poll published by the National Endowment for Financial Education. Even worse, 76% admit that financial deceptions have had an impact on their relationship. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-questions-that-reveal-if-you-and-your-partner-are-a-money-match?ref=seealso">7 Questions That Reveal If You and Your Partner Are a Money Match</a>)</p> <p>Hiding money, bills, or purchases from a partner can have severe repercussions on a relationship, including arguments, broken trust, and even divorce or separation. Why do partners lie about money and what can you do to uncover the fraud? Even more important, how can you rebuild a relationship that's been shaken by a partner who's been dishonest about your combined cash flow?</p> <h2>Why Partners Cheat</h2> <p>Being unfaithful with finances often comes down to a sense of shame or embarrassment about money choices. Men and women don't often see eye-to-eye about the importance of each other's purchases. &quot;I find that women don't see the value in the cost of two sporting event tickets,&quot; says Patricia Nelson, founder of the community outreach program Wise Women Workshop. &quot;Likewise, men are confused that women can spend hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes.&quot; Those who fear judgement from their partner often choose to hide their financial choices, instead of coming clean.</p> <h2>Tell Tale Signs of Infidelity</h2> <p>Dishonesty &mdash; be it in the bedroom or in the joint checkbook &mdash; can have a detrimental affect on an intimate relationship. &quot;Any behavior that seems out of the ordinary should act as a red flag,&quot; says Nelson. Your partner may be hiding something if you:</p> <ul> <li>Find receipts for purchases you don't recognize (or you haven't discussed as a couple).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are denied access to the monthly bills.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Witness defensive or withdrawn behavior when you broach the topic of money.</li> </ul> <p>Nelson suggests all couples should pull their credit histories annually, as a matter of course (to monitor for external fraud). &quot;If your partner doesn't want you to have access to tax or credit report information,&quot; she says, &quot;that could be the biggest red flag of all.&quot;</p> <h2>How to Talk About It</h2> <p>While most couples polled were adversely affected by financial infidelity, some used the experience as a springboard for more effective and frequent conversations about money. Eight percent of those surveyed said the experience actually brought them closer together. &quot;If you can find the source of the secrecy,&quot; says Nelson, &quot;you can fix anything.&quot;</p> <p>When broaching the subject:</p> <ul> <li>Know that there will be some sensitivity around the financial infidelity. Your partner may already feel guilty about his or her actions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Come prepared with the points you want to make. Pivotal relationship discussions won't be effective if they're planned on the fly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work together to uncover solutions that will allow each of you to feel financially secure within the relationship. &quot;You need to have the freedom to save and spend,&quot; says Nelson, &quot;without feeling like you're on an austerity diet.&quot;</li> </ul> <h2>Rebuilding the Relationship</h2> <p>&quot;Sometimes talking about money is as uncomfortable as talking about sex,&quot; says Nelson. She suggests a monthly accounting date, where couples can work through bills and budgeting together. &quot;If you set goals together, review progress together, and reach goals together &mdash; you also have the opportunity to celebrate your successes together.&quot; Working together to rebuild your finances gives you the opportunity to restore something equally important to long-lasting couples &mdash; your trust in each other.</p> <p><em>Have you and your partner ever hid money decisions from each other? Were you able to overcome the infidelity. If so, how? Tell us about it in the comments section below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-partner-financially-unfaithful-1-in-3-are">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-questions-that-reveal-if-you-and-your-partner-are-a-money-match">7 Questions That Reveal If You and Your Partner Are a Money Match</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/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-we-dont-make-anymore-and-2-we-still-do">6 Financial Mistakes We Don&#039;t Make Anymore (and 2 We Still Do)</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-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family marriage marriage and money productivity saving Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1168483 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Smarter Than Your Sibling? (Your Birth Order Might Provide the Answer) http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-smarter-than-your-sibling-your-birth-order-might-provide-the-answer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-smarter-than-your-sibling-your-birth-order-might-provide-the-answer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/siblings-homework-178888000-small.jpg" alt="siblings homework" title="sibling homework" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Does birth order impact overall intelligence? It's a question researchers have been asking for centuries and continue to investigate today. And while there are many factors that contribute to personality and smarts, studies do show that where you fall in your family tree may have some impact on the person you become and the I.Q. you achieve. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/good-and-bad-habits-of-smart-people?ref=seealso">Good and Bad Habits of Smart People</a>)</p> <p>Here's what we know.</p> <h2>First Born Smarts</h2> <p>As the eldest in my family of two kids, I'm happy to report that a Norwegian study published in 2007 supports my brain power over my brother's. Researchers examined military IQ tests of 18- and 19-year-old men and corrected for factors that might otherwise skew data, including maternal age, parents' education level, and total family size. In the end, first born children scored an average of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/21/science/21cnd-sibling.html">3% higher</a> on intelligence tests than second children (103.2 versus 100.3) and 4% higher than third borns (who scored 99.0 on average).</p> <h2>Age Matters</h2> <p>What's interesting to note is that younger siblings &mdash; second borns, in particular &mdash; seem to score higher on their I.Q. tests before age 12. The theory behind these findings? When kids are younger, the first born is impacted by his or her siblings, even negatively when it comes to both <a href="http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20070621/does-birth-order-affect-intelligence">language and cognition</a>. On the flip side, big brothers or sisters have the opposite effect, enriching the lives and brains of their kid siblings. This situation changes over time, perhaps as the eldest matures and fosters the intelligence (tutoring, etc.) of the rest of the pack.</p> <h2>Rank and Circumstance</h2> <p>There are other <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/316/5832/1717.full">notable factors</a> that have the power to shift these basic findings. For example, if the eldest sibling in a family dies and the second-born is, then, bumped up in the lineup, the game changes. This kind of circumstance results in beefed up scores for a second born, who then becomes, for all intents and purposes, the biological and social leader to the rest of the kids in the family.</p> <h2>Age Gaps, Family Size, Etc.</h2> <p>Still, it's hard to declare first borns are inherently smarter than their siblings because so many other variables are at play. If there's not much spacing between brothers and sisters, for instance, birth order appears not to matter quite as much. In fact, small age gaps have shown an <a href="http://www.bioline.org.br/pdf?jp07012">&quot;unfavorable&quot; impact</a> on I.Q. levels. And there does seem to be some relationship between overall family size and smarts as a whole for everyone involved, but &mdash; again &mdash; the dynamic is complicated and requires further study.</p> <h2>Lonely Onlys</h2> <p>Then there are those only children &mdash; how do they stack up? Well, hundreds of studies in the 1980s &mdash; that continue to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/only-children-lonely-and-selfish.html">gain support today</a> &mdash; show that only children often score significantly higher on intelligence tests, all while boasting higher self-esteem and emotional lives. The idea is that parents with only one child (a one in five chance in America) are able to devote all their resources, both time and money, giving singletons the best of all worlds. However, these benefits come with a price. Stress increases with age for only children, as they are taxed with facing elder care and other issues without the help of siblings.</p> <p><em>So? Does all this match your own experience? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-smarter-than-your-sibling-your-birth-order-might-provide-the-answer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</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-4-worst-mistakes-good-parents-make">The 4 Worst Mistakes Good Parents Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores">11 Ways to Earn Extra Cash From Thrift Stores</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/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-senior-resume-for-high-school-students">The Senior Resume for High School Students</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family birth order intelligence sibling rivalry Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1162785 at http://www.wisebread.com If You're Doing This on Your First Date, You're Not Getting a Second http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bad-date-163136286-small.jpg" alt="bad date" title="bad date" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="136" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dating has certainly changed since the world became tech-savvy. With the advent of smart phones, dating apps, and social media, making that awkward first move is not nearly as tough as it used to be. But, once you've both agreed to go on a first date, how do you make sure you get a second? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-love-with-these-fun-and-cheap-first-date-ideas?ref=seealso">Find Love With These Fun and Frugal First Date Ideas</a>)</p> <p>The following behaviors will guarantee that your first date will almost certainly be your last. Oh, and these apply to both men and women, so don't kid yourself that some of these don't concern you.</p> <h2>Turning Up Late</h2> <p>Leave your date chewing on breadsticks for 45 minutes without so much as a call or text message, and two things will happen. First, if your date has been polite enough to stick around, you'll be sitting through the most painful hour of your year. And second, you will not be making plans to do this again. Ideally, you should show up five minutes early. If you are going to be considerably late through no fault of your own, let your date know. If it is your own fault (and really, it always is), apologize but perhaps cushion the blow with something flattering (&quot;I wanted to look really nice for you and completely lost track of time.&quot;) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-always-be-on-time?ref=seealso">How to Always Be On Time</a>)</p> <h2>Paying Too Much Attention to Your Cell Phone</h2> <p>Really, paying <em>any</em> attention to your cell phone. This is supposed to be a time when you only have eyes for each other. Constantly pulling out your phone to check messages, read Facebook updates and scroll through Reddit and Twitter will not make you very popular. Why would anyone want to give you a second date if you can't put them first for a few hours?</p> <h2>Getting Completely Drunk</h2> <p>Hey, first dates can be nerve-wracking, and a glass of wine or beer can definitely ease the tension. However, you cannot let a few drinks turn into a bender. If you start knocking back the booze like it's ice water in a heat wave, you will come across as an irresponsible jerk that cannot be trusted. You also do not look attractive when you're face down in the dessert and drooling like you've just had major dental surgery. Do yourself a favor. Have one or two drinks, and stop.</p> <h2>Turning the Date Into 20 Questions</h2> <p>First thing's first; people love talking about themselves. So, if you ask questions that get people to open up and talk about their favorite subject, you'll be doing well. Being a good listener is a very attractive quality, and asking about someone's life is just as becoming. But, you can go too far.</p> <p>If it goes from &quot;tell me more about the kind of work you do&quot; to &quot;how much do you earn?&quot; &quot;how many dates have you been on this year?&quot; and &quot;do you vote Republican or Democrat?&quot; your date is going to feel like they're being interviewed for the role of your next partner. That's a big turn off. To curb this, try to make sure the questions you're asking are open-ended, and follow on what was asked before, as opposed to running down a pre-planned checklist.</p> <h2>Talking About Sex</h2> <p>Flirting is good. Being lecherous is bad. This is a first date, and you should be on your best behavior. By all means respond to the signals you're getting in an appropriate manner, but have some decorum. By diving into the subject of sex, you're giving the impression that you're only after one thing. Even if you both decide that the first date will also be your first intimate encounter, there's no need to become aggressive with it. Show some class.</p> <h2>Being Cheap</h2> <p>Both men and women should come to the date expecting to pay for half of it. This is not the dark ages, both sexes deserve equal treatment, and no one should just sit there expecting the other person to dive into their pocket and pay for everything. If the other person wants to pay, by all means acquiesce politely to their wishes. But being cheap is as off-putting as being drunk. You should show your date consideration. Dating can be expensive, and if you are both willing to meet up, you should both be willing to share the costs.</p> <h2>Bringing Your Buddy</h2> <p>There's not really much to say about this. You may have your doubts about the person you're meeting, and you may also want your best friend to give them the once-over. However, there is a time and a place for that kind of consultation, and it is not on the first date. Bring yourself to the date, and no one else.</p> <h2>Focusing On Your Ex</h2> <p>We all have horror stories about our past. We have also had dream dates. Neither should really be discussed unless the conversation naturally turns to it. Even then, it's good to treat an ex the same way you would a former employer in a job interview. Acknowledge them, but move on quickly. If you stay focused on a bad ex, your date may just wonder if you were the problem. If you go on and on about a great ex, they may feel they can never live up to that ideal.</p> <h2>Playing It Too Cool</h2> <p>There's cool. There's aloof. And there's just plain rude. By all means, dull your enthusiasm a little. You don't want to come across as a desperate eager puppy just dying to go home with someone and be their partner forever. But then the whole &quot;I'm so cool I could freeze hell&quot; routine won't cut it either. &quot;Where would you like to go for dinner?&quot; should not be answered with &quot;hey, whatever, I don't really care.&quot; Be happy to be there, just not so happy your kittens are having kittens.</p> <h2>Being Keener Than Mustard</h2> <p>Perhaps even worse than being too cool for school is being an eager beaver. You turn up for the date with armfuls of gifts, and have pre-arranged for a string quartet to play your date's favorite song (which you found out by cyber-stalking them). It's just too creepy, and honestly, no one wants to be around someone that desperate (even if that is not your intention). Ease off on the gas. By all means show that you're happy to be around, but if you could be a contestant on The Price Is Right, you might want to think about toning down your hyperactivity.</p> <p><em>So, what first date mistakes have you made? What about mistakes your date made? Please share in comments!</em></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/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-driving-your-coworkers-insane">12 Ways You&#039;re Driving Your Coworkers Insane</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-things-people-with-good-social-skills-never-do">18 Things People With Good Social Skills Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores">11 Ways to Earn Extra Cash From Thrift Stores</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/14-ways-to-spend-less-money-on-valentines-day">14 Ways to Spend Less Money on Valentine&#039;s Day</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-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle Personal Development Dating etiquette first dates manners romance Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1154565 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Surprising Ways Your Smartphone Can Keep You and Your Family Safe http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-ways-your-smartphone-can-keep-you-and-your-family-safe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprising-ways-your-smartphone-can-keep-you-and-your-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/family-smartphone-458844997-small.jpg" alt="family smartphone" title="family smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="147" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They used to be a luxury, but now, almost every American home has at least one smartphone. With their ability to organize and simplify so many of our daily tasks, it's no surprise that today's iPhones, Androids, and Windows-based gadgets are allowing us to be safer than ever before. Here are some of my favorite ways to use my smartphone to keep me and my six kids secure! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-men-and-women-use-smartphones-differently?ref=seealso">How Men and Women Use Smartphones Differently</a>)</p> <h2>Weather Warnings</h2> <p>Last month, my property suffered damage from a tornado. Living out in the country, we have no warning sirens, so it's important that I have an alert system that stays with me and is updated in real time.</p> <p>In addition to the &quot;alert&quot; feature on my phone that is tied into my zip code and sets my phone off when a storm warning is issued for my area, I can use any number of apps to check radar and even follow the social media accounts for the meteorologists for my part of the state. This past storm, I was able to get the kids into the cellar just in time to avoid softball sized hail and an actual tornado touch-down that tore 100-year-old trees out by the roots. I was very thankful for technology!</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: Check your local TV station's website for a link to their specific weather app. Most will be tailored to the viewing area. The Red Cross also has an app for a <a href="http://www.redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps">variety of environmental emergencies</a> unique to your climate and region.</p> <h2>Traffic Reports</h2> <p>I remember the days of sitting in my car at 5:01 p.m. and listening to my local AM radio station for the traffic report. While it was helpful, it was no match for the real-time reports you can get from phone apps and even the GPS service available on most phones. While using your cell phone is prohibited while driving in my jurisdictions, it's OK to have your traffic app or GPS mode running while your phone is in your seat or placed safely on the dash. Avoiding an accident isn't just a time-saver; it could be a life-saver!</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>:The <a href="https://www.google.com/mobile/maps/">Google Maps app</a> does a pretty good job of alerting you to accidents on major highways and the interstate. If you don't have an Android phone, the <a href="http://www.mapquest.com/traffic/">Mapquest version</a> works well.</p> <h2>First Aid</h2> <p>If you are a parent, you know very well that some kids have an insane desire to put everything into their mouths. For those moments, a call to Poison Control may be advisable, and, if you plan ahead, you can program your phone to connect via a shortcut on smartphone screen.</p> <p>If the situation isn't life threatening, a quick reference to some basic first aid tips might be called for. The Red Cross makes first aid apps available for the<a href="http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/first-aid-app">people members</a> of your family, <a href="http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/pet-first-aid-app">as well as pets</a>!</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: While poison is serious business, sometimes a game is called for. The <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/choose-your-poison/id419949128">Name Your Poison app</a> teaches kids and parents that common poisons can easily be mistaken for safe materials &mdash; like candy.</p> <h2>Emergency Contact</h2> <p>Most of us don't carry around little cards in our wallet telling medical personnel or the police who to contact if they find us unconscious. Most of us do, however, carry around our smartphones.</p> <p>If you don't already have an &quot;emergency&quot; contact designated in your phone's contact list, do so right now. Otherwise, your phone might also have some unique features to help you in a life-threatening situation. My Samsung Galaxy, for example, will automatically connect me with my designated contact with three short pushes of the power button, and it will record sound, take photos, and send along GPS coordinates until I deactivate emergency mode. Other smartphone have similar features in their settings screen. (Consult your user's guide for more info.)</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: Medical professionals recommend an &quot;ICE&quot; (In Case of Emergency) contact clearly labeled on your phone, but many rumors claim that doing so leaves your phone open to viruses. <a href="http://www.snopes.com/crime/prevent/icephone.asp">Snopes clearly debunks this myth</a>.</p> <h2>Food Allergies</h2> <p>Not everyone is allergic to peanuts or pineapple, but if your kids are, it can seem like the whole world is against you. While it may be obvious to you that certain foods contain allergens, not all caregivers are savvy to the language of food labeling. Giving your kids access to information on food ingredients via a handy app empowers them to choose safe foods when they aren't obvious to everyone; <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/food-additives-2/id287917148?mt=8">Food Additives 2</a> gets good review from parents of allergy-sufferers.</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: Food allergies don't go away when you dine out. <a href="http://www.allergyeats.com/?gclid=CNTKvZSJ974CFSlgMgodTRYARQ">Allergy Eats mobile dining guide</a> helps you make safe decisions when on the road and at your favorite restaurant.</p> <h2>Child Location</h2> <p>If little Johnny wandered off without his phone, tracking him down may be difficult. Since most kids carry their phones with them at all times (even into the bathroom), there is a good chance you can find him with a good GPS location tool. <a href="http://www.securafone.com/subpages/securafone.php">Securafone</a> is a comprehensive tool that not only offers geographic location services, it alerts you when a child may be driving over the speed limit or texting while driving.</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: In the case that your child really does go missing, having a &quot;kit&quot; on hand with their info and identifying features can be the difference between finding them and not. The <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/august/child_080511/child-id-app-content">FBI offers</a> a high-tech version of the traditional &quot;ID Kit&quot; for most smartphones.</p> <p><em>Do you use any smartphone safety apps not mentioned here? Please share in comments!</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/6-surprising-ways-your-smartphone-can-keep-you-and-your-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-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-photoshop-fixes-for-your-family-photos">7 Easy Photoshop Fixes for Your Family Photos</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-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad">How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When You Travel Abroad</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/find-lost-keys-fast-with-a-teeny-tiny-tile">Find Lost Keys Fast With a Teeny Tiny Tile</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> Family Technology apps first aid safety smartphone Mon, 07 Jul 2014 17:00:11 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1151053 at http://www.wisebread.com Dads Who Do Dishes Raise Ambitious Daughters (and 4 Other Ways Any Parent Can Help Their Kid Succeed) http://www.wisebread.com/dads-who-do-dishes-raise-ambitious-daughters-and-4-other-ways-any-parent-can-help-their-kid-succeed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dads-who-do-dishes-raise-ambitious-daughters-and-4-other-ways-any-parent-can-help-their-kid-succeed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child-entrepreneur-172429752-small.jpg" alt="child entrepreneur" title="child entrepreneur" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recent study by UBC found that dads who do the dishes &mdash; and other household chores &mdash; <a href="http://news.ubc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/FULL-submitted-version-PSCI-13-1163-R2.pdf">tend to raise more ambitious daughters</a> than dads who stick to more traditional (or, dare I say, outdated) gender roles and leave the kitchen duties to the women in the house. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-lessons-frugal-parents-teach-their-children?ref=seealso">7 Important Financial Lessons Kids Teach Their Children</a>)</p> <p>I am not a mother (yet), but I'd say I'm a pretty ambitious daughter myself. And yes, my dad did do the dishes. In fact, he did them every single night. Coincidence? Probably. But sticking dad with kitchen duty isn't the only way to raise daughters who want to take on the world. Here are a few things that could make a difference.</p> <h2>But First&hellip;</h2> <p>Before looking at how to turn precocious young girls into determined young women, we have to acknowledge the existence of what Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg calls &quot;<a href="http://www.makers.com/sheryl-sandberg/moments/closing-ambition-gap">the ambition gap</a>.&quot; According to Sandberg, even though girls in the United States are well-educated, most still <a href="http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-fortune-1000">fail to make it to the executive level</a> in business, <a href="http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fast_facts/levels_of_office/Current_Numbers.php">don't have proportional representation in political office</a>, and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/upshot/the-pay-gap-is-because-of-gender-not-jobs.html">still earn significantly less</a> in almost all jobs compared to men. And, of course, this doesn't happen because women are less capable, or even less interested. It happens, according to many experts, because so far, our world hasn't been designed to set girls up for this kind of success.</p> <p>So, rather than looking at how to raise more ambitious <em>daughters</em>, I'm going to look at what the research says about raising more ambitious <em>children</em>. I think the idea here is that these lessons should be applied equally to both girls and boys.</p> <p>Here are four ways that have been shown to help kids to achieve their best &mdash; whatever that may be.</p> <h2>Stop at One</h2> <p>According to a study from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, the eldest or only female child in a family is likely to be (at least statistically) <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/apr/26/firstborn-children-excel-study-reveals">more capable and successful than her younger siblings</a>. So, if you want to give young girls the best chance, just have one.</p> <p>I'm kidding, of course. But the discrepancy is pretty interesting, and it disappears as the space between children in a family widens. The study's author, FeiFei Bu, believes that the difference could have something to do with parents' investment of time and effort into first-born children compared to their younger siblings. It's worth keeping in mind, especially since many experts still argue that birth order doesn't define a kid's destiny. But, they say that in order to reduce the birth-order effect, parents need to be aware of the biases they have about their children, and work to encourage their strengths individually.</p> <h2>Encourage Them (or Let Them) Dream Big</h2> <p>Big achievements usually start as big dreams and research suggests those are worth nurturing, no matter how abstract, grandiose, or even absurd they might seem. According to researchers at London University's Institute of Education, <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/education-19586824">little kids with the biggest dreams fared the best</a> as adults, regardless of their backgrounds. Sure, an unrealistic proportion of the kids in the study may have said they wanted to be sports stars or veterinarians. The fact that many of them probably didn't achieve those careers (and, by the time they got a little older may not have wanted to) doesn't matter. What made the difference is that their big goals gave them hope for the future.</p> <p>So how can parents encourage those big dreams? A <a href="http://www.suttontrust.com/our-work/research/download/70/">poll out of the U.K</a>. found that all it takes is opening up the conversation with kids about what they'd their lives to look like and encouraging them to &quot;think big.&quot; The poll also found benefit in education and career guidance from an early age.</p> <h2>Value Effort Over Achievement</h2> <p>When Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck told kids how smart and capable and awesome they were before asking them to assemble a puzzle, those kids did much worse than those who weren't praised at all. Weird, right? But it makes sense when you think about it.</p> <p>When you call someone &quot;smart,&quot; you give them a big, important label they feel they have to live up to. It becomes how they define themselves. The problem is that &quot;smart&quot; isn't really something you have to work at. In practice, that meant that the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/raising-successful-children.html?pagewanted=all">kids who weren't worried about being smart</a> tended to try harder at the tasks they were given, feel happier with their achievements, and progress better over time. According to Dweck's extensive research in this area, praising kids for their <em>efforts</em> rather than their achievements and encouraging them to do their best is the way to go. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-succeeding-at-absolutely-everything?ref=seealso"> The Secret to Succeeding at Absolutely Everything</a>)</p> <h2>Remember What's Important</h2> <p>Of course, there's more to life than becoming a CEO, and many parents are most concerned about raising their kids to be happy and healthy. And that isn't such a crazy idea. In <a href="http://&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345515625/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0345515625&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ROL2XLDL2QYYTQBL&quot;&gt;">Raising Happiness: 10 Steps to More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents</a>, happiness expert and author Christine Carter says that kids who grow up and <a href="http://time.com/35496/how-to-raise-happy-kids-10-steps-backed-by-science/">learn to be happy are also more successful</a>, both in their jobs and in their relationships.</p> <p>Raising ambitious kids to believe in themselves, to have the emotional strength to keep trying at difficult tasks, and to learn to balance all that with becoming happy people is a huge job, even if dad is on dish duty. But hey, it's worth a try, right?</p> <p><em>What are you doing to raise ambitious daughters (and sons)? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dads-who-do-dishes-raise-ambitious-daughters-and-4-other-ways-any-parent-can-help-their-kid-succeed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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-ways-to-entertain-your-child-for-free-or-cheap">25 Ways to Entertain Your Child for Free or Cheap</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/13-parenting-hacks-that-will-save-you-time">13 Parenting Hacks That Will Save You Time</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-important-lessons-frugal-parents-teach-their-children">7 Important Lessons Frugal Parents Teach Their Children</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter">7 Strategies for Controlling Toy Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family ambition children education family successful children Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Tara Struyk 1147197 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Navigate 4 Tricky Family Money Situations http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-navigate-4-tricky-family-money-situations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-navigate-4-tricky-family-money-situations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-money-86514868-small.jpg" alt="family money" title="family money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I hate awkward moments. I hate them so much that I cringe when people in a movie or a book enter into a situation that I know is going to end up awkwardly.</p> <p>This loathing of all things awkward means that, for years, I didn't talk to my extended family about money. I didn't indicate to them how my kids and I were doing, when we needed money, when we didn't, and when things they did affected me financially. I just kept quiet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-right-thing-to-say-in-20-tough-situations?ref=seealso">The Right Thing to Say in 20 Tough Situations</a>)</p> <p>Recently, though, I had to bite the bullet and have a potentially difficult conversation. Members of my family were demonstrating some attitudes and behaviors that were teaching my children things about money that I didn't agree with, and I needed to ask them to change.</p> <p>Before I had that conversation, I took some time to think about what I wanted to say, and to research dealing with family and money issues, in general. Here is some of what I learned.</p> <h2>Asking to Borrow Money</h2> <p>Depending on the financial situations of your relatives, there may come a day when you need to ask your nearest and dearest for a loan. If you really don't have another choice (or, at least, a good choice), here are some ideas for making your best case and keeping your relationships intact.</p> <h3>Make Your Case</h3> <p>Be sure you can document your need for the loan.</p> <h3>Keep in Mind Power Dynamics</h3> <p>Borrowing from a relative gives them a certain power over you. Make sure they won't take advantage of that, and that you will be able to live with it.</p> <h3>Have a Plan</h3> <p>Know how much you need, what interest you'd be willing to pay (if they ask), and how you plan to pay the loan back. Be able to <a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/your-money/how-successfully-ask-family-members-loan">talk about these things</a> when you ask for the loan.</p> <h3>Choose Your Time</h3> <p>Don't ask for a loan during stressful moments, or ones that are supposed to be exciting and fun. Instead, schedule a meeting specifically to talk about the loan.</p> <h3>Write Down Your Agreement</h3> <p>Make sure <a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/rules-borrowing-money-friends-family/">everything is spelled out</a>, so if anyone has questions later, you have a common point of reference. If the lender would like you to sign the agreement, sign it.</p> <h3>Stick to Your Agreement</h3> <p>This goes without saying, but you need to be sure to make your payments on time.</p> <h3>Communicate</h3> <p>If something goes wrong or you have a question, be sure to bring it out into the open. Otherwise, it could damage your relationship.</p> <h3>Talk About Other Things</h3> <p>Be sure that you never let a relationship become just about money.</p> <h2>Asking to Be Paid Back</h2> <p>There may come a time when you are on the other side of the equation and have given a loan to a family member. Whether you came up with an agreement or not, it's easy for people to forget to pay you back, or to let it slide because you are family. However, that money is yours, and you have a right to ask for it back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-your-money-back-without-losing-your-friendship?ref=seealso">Getting Your Money Back Without Losing Your Friendship</a>)</p> <h3>Get Your Details Right</h3> <p>Be sure you know as precisely as possible how much money you lent, when you made the loan, and how much of it is owed you at this point. If you didn't set up any expectations about repayment, decide how much it might be fair to ask for at this point, and be willing to be flexible.</p> <h3>Find a Good Time to Talk</h3> <p>Sometimes you'll need to make your request at a time that is stressful for the other person, but do your best to do it in a way that is comfortable for both of you and not threatening to them.</p> <h3>Don't Butt Into the Details</h3> <p>You may not agree with the way your family member spends money, but <a href="http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ask-celes-loaning-money/">don't critique this now</a>. They can spend however they want, as long as they repay your money. If they don't know where the money to repay you will come from and they ask, you might make a couple of suggestions.</p> <h3>Ask Nicely</h3> <p>If you have a particular reason for needing repayment, this will make your request easier to swallow. While you don't have any obligation to make it easier for them, being kind will help keep your relationship.</p> <h3>Write Down a Plan</h3> <p>Whether you have already had a written plan or not, you will need to make a new one here. Be sure to have both parties sign the plan, and get it notarized if you feel like that will help make sure you get repaid.</p> <h3>Put It in Writing</h3> <p>This is usually a last resort. If the person is resistant or continues to not repay you, consider <a href="https://www.rocketlawyer.com/article/how-to-collect-personal-debt-from-a-friend-family-member-or-a-business.rl">writing them a letter</a>. This gives you a paper trail, in case you decide to pursue repayment with legal action, but it also tells them that you're serious about getting your money back.</p> <h2>Agreeing on Financial Values to Teach Children</h2> <p>This was the situation in which I found myself. My children are the only grandchildren on both sides, and that has meant that they have gotten a lot of gifts, some of which have been extravagant. My kids were starting to expect this from all of our extended family, which led to a difficult situation with a family member who couldn't buy them what they wanted. Whether this is similar to your situation or not, here are some tips for coping when family members have different financial values than you do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-lessons-frugal-parents-teach-their-children?ref=seealso">7 Important Money Lessons Parents Teach Their Kids</a>)</p> <h3>Plan Your Points</h3> <p>Make sure you know what you're going to say and how you want to say it. Try to state your points as objectively as possible, so you do your best to have a rational, focused conversation.</p> <h3>Use an &quot;I&quot; Statement</h3> <p>Or two or three. Basically, you want to <a href="http://www.compassioncoach.com/how_and_when_to_use_i_statements">talk about what you do value</a>, rather than what your family may not value. This lowers defenses and helps you communicate with compassion.</p> <h3>Don't Give Ultimatums</h3> <p>In my case, it would have been easy to say something like, &quot;If you don't stop teaching our kids these things, you won't get to see them as much.&quot; However, statements like that only promote defensiveness. Instead, make it clear that you want to come to a solution that works for everyone.</p> <h3>Decide What You Want</h3> <p>When you have your conversation, ask for your family members to take concrete steps. For instance, I asked my family to keep their gifts for holidays, and instead to focus on doing everyday things with my kids that they will remember. Now, grandma is teaching my daughter how to bake cookies, and she is also teaching my son how to count with legos.</p> <h2>Dealing With Expensive Expectations</h2> <p>It's never easy when you want to spend less on something than your family does. In some families, participation in a large group gift is expected on all occasions, not just for large events like weddings. In other families, there can be expectations of going out to dinner every week or throwing large birthday parties. If you don't have the money to do these things, or you'd just prefer to spend it other places, you'll need to talk with your family.</p> <h3>Come Up With an Alternative</h3> <p>If your family wants you to buy an expensive gift, tell them that you have come up with something that will be deeply meaningful to the recipient, but that you'd prefer to give it yourself. If they like to have expensive meals, offer to cook rather than going out.</p> <h3>Focus on the Relationships</h3> <p>If you have solid relationships with your family members, talking about financial expectations will be less likely to ruffle feathers. If they know you love them and want to be around them, they are less likely to react defensively.</p> <h3>Be Honest</h3> <p>This can take a lot of courage, especially if you need to tell your family members that you don't have enough money for something, or that you have been irresponsible and need to cut back. When you tell the truth, though, your family has more reason to be understanding and help you out, rather than being resentful because you aren't fulfilling their expectations.</p> <p>When I talked to my family about money, I was terrified. However, their response convinced me that I didn't need to fear talking about money all these years. At first, I could tell they felt defensive because we didn't like the way they'd been acting. By the end of the conversation, though, they felt assured of our love for them and our deep desire for our kids to know them well. We came up with a plan, and haven't had any problems with follow-through so far.</p> <p><em>Do you need to talk to your family about money? Let me know how it goes!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-navigate-4-tricky-family-money-situations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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