Family http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4566/all en-US Becoming a One-Car Family: 5 Points to Consider http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/one_family_car_000026960870.jpg" alt="Family deciding to become a one-car family after consideration" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're looking to simplify your life or just save money, leaning your family down to just one car can be a wise choice. My husband and I have been doing the one car thing for around a year, and it's working out quite well since our daughter is young and I work from home. We made the change after the repairs and gas costs started taking huge chunks out of our monthly budget, and it's proved to be a smart financial choice for us overall.</p> <p>While there are still times when owning two vehicles might be more convenient, with a little compromise and some planning, we're hoping to keep it simple for as long as possible. Here's how you can do the same.</p> <h2>1. Map It Out</h2> <p>Before anything else, click open a map to investigate the area around your home. When I checked our location, I discovered that our daughter's school, as well as a hospital, pharmacy, grocery store, and even a few restaurants and shops, were all within a mile of our front door. Since I work from home, knowing these amenities were in close distance helped us feel confident that we could access most of what we might need on foot in a pinch. You can also choose to switch banks, doctor's offices, pharmacies, and other spots to fit your new lifestyle.</p> <h2>2. Consider the Weather</h2> <p>That being said, we also live in an area where winter overtakes the region a good five months out of the year. If inclement weather is a factor that might make walking or other transportation difficult, weigh it in your decision accordingly. If you have kids, think down the line to when getting to school events or other activities might get tricky with just one vehicle.</p> <h2>3. Group Your Trips</h2> <p>A lot of the bumps in switching to just one car come from convenience and ease of transport. Sometimes you can't go where you want to go at the moment you want to go there. Start keeping lists of items (food, household, etc.) that you need and try to take shopping trips all at once. Group activities, like gym classes and other recreation, to get the most out of your trips. I find it particularly helpful to post a large calendar so my husband and I can see where the car is needed and when. Then practice before you drop that second car. Can you make it work?</p> <p>As a bonus, you may also find you save money by not running to the store every time you need something. Staying home more often has its benefits.</p> <h2>4. Consider Alternative Transportation</h2> <p>There's a lot on the spectrum between driving and walking. Check out the bike routes to work, for example. The average speed bike commuters travel is around 10 mph, and trips of three miles or fewer are actually faster by bike. Those of you who live in cities can check local bus and subway schedules to see if you can get where you need to go in good time. Buying frequent rider passes can be a great way to save on travel this way. Comb Craigslist and other classifieds for motorized scooters. Where there's a wheel, there's a way.</p> <h2>5. Dip in the Pool</h2> <p>Furthermore, if you live in a more spread out area, carpooling might be a good option &mdash; especially for your daily commute. Ask your coworkers or Human Resource office if any employees have organized groups. You may also find community programs by searching online. And there are lots of carshare and rideshare programs, like <a href="http://www.zipcar.com/webch&amp;gclid=COno04Os4sQCFdY8gQodw60Amw">Zipcar</a> and <a href="https://erideshare.com">eRideShare</a>, across the country that allow you to get from point A to point B without owning a car at all. Once you've surveyed all the options, make a plan that works for your family. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carpooling-pros-cons-and-how-to-stay-safe?ref=seealso">Carpooling: Pros, Cons, and How to Stay Safe</a>)</p> <p><em>We'd love to hear your tips on making just one car work for a family (or perhaps no car at all). Please leave your thoughts in the 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/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider">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/can-you-survive-with-one-car-in-suburbia">Can You Survive with One Car in Suburbia?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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/carpooling-pros-cons-and-how-to-stay-safe">Carpooling: Pros, Cons, and How to Stay Safe</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/downsizing-with-kids">Downsizing With Kids</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/car-buying-part-2-into-the-devils-domain">Car Buying Part 2 – Into the Devil&#039;s domain.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Family carpooling downsizing rideshare saving money simplifying life Wed, 15 Apr 2015 21:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1386019 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_son_money_000014942268.jpg" alt="Mother talking to her son about investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Roughly 68% of Americans feel that <a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/press/2014/middle-class-retirement-saving_1022/">saving for retirement</a> is harder than they anticipated. Some 25% of all middle-class Americans &quot;get depressed&quot; when even thinking about it. And 40% of millennials have no idea how much <a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/press/2014/20140610_millennials">money to save</a>. The most frightening statistic: 21% of Americans think that <a href="http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/Financial_Planners_Study011006.pdf">winning the lottery</a> is the most practical way for them to fund their retirement.</p> <p>I discussed these problems and the financial behavior of investors with Rob Pivnick, a financial literacy advocate and author of &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NDHXOH8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00NDHXOH8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5MOTCBD3L7AR5A2F">What All Kids (and Adults Too) Should Know About...Saving &amp; Investing</a>.&quot; His message is that parents should teach their children the right habits as early as possible, so they don't become one of these statistics. And it doesn't have to be difficult. Here are 10 easy ways to teach your children about smart investing.</p> <h2>1. Start Them Off Early</h2> <p>Starting to save as early as possible is the easiest way to let your money work for you. In fact, this is probably the number one thing you can teach your children about money.</p> <p>Consider this example from Rob's book comparing two savers: One starts saving when he is 20 years old, while the other waits until she is 30 years old. Each one saves $100 per month until they are 60 years old, and they both get the same 8.5% return. The early saver will have $406,825. The saver who waited ten years will only accumulate $166,339. That 10 year difference results in over $240,000 more growth! But the difference in the amount contributed was only $12,000 &mdash; compound interest made up all the rest. So, encourage your children to start investing now.</p> <h2>2. Don't Try to Beat the Market</h2> <p>Your kids should want to be average &mdash; at least when it comes to investing. It is better to embrace the market than try to beat the market. It isn't very often in life that you won't tell your children to try to be the best, but when it comes to investing, teach them to be average. Passive management, or indexing, is an investment approach that tries to match the performance of the market as closely as possible rather than try to beat it.</p> <p>Over the long term, it is impossible to consistently beat the market without taking on additional risk. Over just about any historical five year period, passive index funds beat actively managed funds. Over the last five years, for example, only 20% to 35% of <a href="http://www.spindices.com/documents/spiva/spiva-us-mid-year-2014.pdf">actively managed funds</a> beat the benchmark for their category. The professionals aren't smarter than the market. And neither are you (or your kids). It's a humbling fact, but still a fact nonetheless. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-investors-with-better-returns-than-warren-buffett?ref=seealso">5 Investors With Better Returns Than Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <h2>3. Minimize Expenses: Invest in Low-Cost Index Funds</h2> <p>Actively managed funds have an average expense ratio of a full percentage point higher than passive funds. One percent may not sound like much, but over the long term it becomes much more significant. How does this translate into lost dollars? Well, from another example in Rob's book, if you invested $100,000 over 30 years at an average yearly growth of 8.5%, paying for those higher fees would cost you approximately $280,000. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?ref=seealso">3 Steps to Getting Started With Index Funds</a>)</p> <p>Everyone should know that past performance is no indication of future returns. But does everyone know that the most accurate predictor of future returns is low fees? When looking at factors like past performance, fees, and Morningstar ratings, expense ratios are the only reliable predictor of future performance.</p> <h2>4. Think Long Term: Buy and Hold Is the Best Strategy</h2> <p>The average <a href="http://www.dalbar.com/ProductsampServices/AdvisorsSolutions/QAIB/tabid/214/Default.aspx">investor's annual return</a> is around 4%. That's compared to the historical average market return of 8.5%. Why? Because we tend to invest emotionally &mdash; which causes us to buy high, and sell low (instead of the opposite).</p> <p>Emotional investing is a losing strategy. Don't fall into this trap &mdash; teach your children to stick to their long term plan and ignore the daily market swings.</p> <h2>5. Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket</h2> <p>An important part of smart investing is diversifying. While diversification alone won't increase returns, it allows investors to reduce their risk. Diversification limits losses without sacrificing gains. It's the only way to do that. It's the &quot;free lunch&quot; of investing.</p> <p>By spreading investments over a variety of sectors and assets, the risk that any specific investment will fail is partially canceled by the other investments, thereby lowering the overall risk. Teach your adolescent children to diversify among asset classes, and furthermore, to diversify within each type of asset (such as different sectors, geographical regions, market capitalization, industries, etc.). Pivnick's book devotes a very readable chapter to diversification and provides useful examples of how to make it work for you.</p> <h2>6. Involve Your Children in Investment Decisions</h2> <p>Parents know that children tend to model their behavior after them, so it should be unsurprising that children's saving and investing behavior also follows that of their parents. Any chance you have to involve your children in day-to-day discussions about money are learning opportunities. And they are habit forming. If your children see you making sound, reasoned decisions about spending, they will start to think the same way about their spending habits.</p> <h2>7. Have Kids Write Goals and Savings Charts</h2> <p>It shouldn't come as a surprise that those who write down their goals are a third more likely to reach them. Plus, this can serve as a teaching moment for budgeting.</p> <p>As soon as your children receive birthday money, are old enough to do chores, or begin earning allowance, start a savings chart outlining their budget. People who write down their savings goals save, on average, over two times more than those that don't write a goal down.</p> <h2>8. Practice Learning by Doing</h2> <p>Anything you can do that actually involves your children in &quot;money&quot; tasks is a teaching opportunity and can instill good spending habits. Here are a few examples Rob provided:</p> <ul> <li>Have them help you figure out the restaurant bill and tip.</li> <li>Take them to the bank with their piggy bank to deposit funds in a savings account.</li> <li>Encourage them to take the lead on a refund or return with customer service.</li> <li>Allow them to negotiate a discount on the purchase of goods and services.</li> </ul> <h2>9. Give Limited Control and Let Them Make Mistakes</h2> <p>Once they are old enough, young adults should be given limited access to their money or bank accounts. Limited, in the context of parents-get-final-say-and-approve-silly-purchases, but still providing enough room to allow them to make those silly purchases. It only takes one super wasteful purchase to teach a lesson.</p> <h2>10. Teach Rules of Thumbs and Takeaways</h2> <p>Studies have shown that <a href="https://www.moodys.com/microsites/miic2010/presentationfiles/Fischer.pdf">rule-of-thumb money rules</a> affect financial behavior more than a thorough lesson on the topic. So, the rules of thumb must be included in your discussions. Here are some examples.</p> <ul> <li>After a lesson on compounding, provide an actionable takeaway, such as &quot;start early.&quot;</li> <li>Show the power of diversification with a rule of thumb: &quot;A single stock is riskier than a stock mutual fund.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>In Pivnick's book, you can find a great list of 14 takeaways to share with your children. After all, as parents, you want your kids to succeed &mdash; so set them up for that success by following these tips.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to teach your children about smart investing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">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/buy-baby-bunting-but-dont-pay-full-price">Buy Baby Bunting... But don&#039;t pay full price!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-youre-on-track-for-retirement">How to Tell if You&#039;re on Track for Retirement</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-boost-your-odds-of-retiring-early">5 Ways to Boost Your Odds of Retiring Early</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Investment Lifestyle allowance investment money smart raising kids savings Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:00:11 +0000 Damian Davila 1349215 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Delaying Marriage or Kids Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_wedding.jpg" alt="married couple on their wedding day saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For some, the decision to get married and start a family is as natural as falling in love. But marriage and family are big responsibilities that require emotional and financial maturity. Though there's rarely a perfect time for settling down (love &mdash; and sometimes kids &mdash; strike when you least expect), it's worth considering the financial implications of waiting. Now that many couples are delaying marriage and kids, it's important to know why putting off these major milestones can be good for your financial health.</p> <h2>Debt</h2> <p>Once you tie the knot, you and spouse will share everything, including in some cases, debt. So, sit down together, discuss your combined debt, and map out a smart plan for tackling it. Facing reality and seeing the numbers in black and white might make you rethink your wedding date. Research shows a large number of couples divorce within the first five years &mdash; and problems stemming from debt is the primary reason.</p> <h2>Cost of Marriage</h2> <p>The average wedding cost in the U.S. is $25,000. Some couples spend even more. If you rely on credit cards to finance your wedding plans (i.e. engagement ring, wedding, and honeymoon), you and your spouse will be paying off the debt for several years down the road. It will be difficult to jump-start your new life. Postponing the wedding date, saving for the ceremony, and opting for a less extravagant celebration are all reasonable options for reducing this expense. (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> <h2>Cost of Kids</h2> <p>Having kids probably costs more than you expect. The <a href="http://transform.childbirthconnection.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Cost-of-Having-a-Baby1.pdf">hospital delivery cost</a> in America runs between $33,000 and $51,000, on average &mdash; depending on whether it's natural or a caesarean birth. And don't assume health insurance always covers childbirth. Often couples don't realize they're on the hook for these charges until it's too late.</p> <p>WebMd reports that the cost of a raising an infant during its first year increased to $40,000 &mdash; equivalent to the cost of one year's tuition at an Ivy League university. Daycare alone is an estimated $15,000 per year. The total <a href="http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/cost-of-children/?iid=EL">cost of raising children</a> until they reach the age of 18 is $245,000 each. Planning your family based on your financial ability can reduce household stress and make for a happier home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-costs-to-raise-a-child?ref=seealso">What It Costs to Raise a Child</a>)</p> <h2>Tips to Save Money While Delaying Marriage and Kids</h2> <ul> <li>If possible, pay off any high-interest pre-marriage debt before tying the knot. Paying off your loans early will save you thousands on interest charges and reduce any friction over shared finances.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Do not finance the engagement ring. Consider a less expensive option, instead. Take it from a woman: As long as it has bling and it's not cubic zirconia, you'll probably be fine. You can upgrade it on your five year wedding anniversary, or once you're financially settled.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Stay engaged until you have saved enough money saved to cover all wedding day expenses. Create a budget and stick to it.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Consider living together during the engagement. The money saved on rent, utilities, etc. can be set aside to pay down debt or for the wedding. What you learn about each other &mdash; and your financial habits &mdash; will be priceless.</li> </ul> <p><em>Did delaying marriage or kids save your family money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-delaying-marriage-or-kids-saves-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/19-frugal-ways-to-entertain-teenagers">19 Frugal Ways to Entertain Teenagers</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-ways-to-create-a-great-home-gym">6 Ways to Create a Great Home Gym For Less</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/10-financial-perks-of-marriage">10 Financial Perks of Marriage</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-difficult-conversations-you-have-to-have-with-your-spouse">5 Difficult Conversations You Have to Have With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family affordable having kids marriage wedding cost Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1347548 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal" 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_000011085198.jpg" alt="Happy family at the park" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was chatting with a childless friend over dinner about how I'd been <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-ive-learned-from-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget">feeding our family of five</a> on $80-$100 a week. The friend was flabbergasted.</p> <p>&quot;My shampoo alone would take up most of that budget!&quot; she said. (I hope she was exaggerating.)</p> <p>The fact is, all of us are as frugal as we have to be to get by, except for those of us who fail to stay out of debt. But having kids actually makes us more frugal because we <em>have to save more</em> of our income to pay for their present and future needs. But there are other important ways that being a mother of three drives me to spend less on all aspects of life.</p> <h2>1. We Are Practically Banned From Restaurants</h2> <p>I used to brunch with toddlers. We'd hold our kids tight while we waited in line, lest we lose them in the sea of waiting adults. We'd ply them with Cheerios while we waited for our food, try to prevent their eggs from hitting the floor, but inevitably, one of us would have to dart out to the sidewalk to avoid disturbing other patrons when a kid started crying.</p> <p>Add onto all this stress the fact that many fellow restaurant patrons don't want to see us there, no matter how hard we work to keep our kids from disturbing them. And the huge tip we'd feel obligated to leave to <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/should-parents-tip-more-than-non-parents-2015-02-10">compensate for the mess</a> we left.</p> <p>Finally one Sunday morning, it hit me that this was not easier than making eggs at home. Nope, it was just more stressful and expensive. If I wasn't enjoying a relaxing treat, why pay to dine out? Now we dine out with our kids only rarely, and when we do, it's likely to be at the least expensive restaurants (because those are the most kid-friendly ones). And we're not alone: Non-parents are more than twice as likely as parents to <a href="http://qz.com/262645/people-without-kids-live-better-than-parents-on-all-fronts-except-one/">eat in upscale restaurants</a>, according to a recent survey.</p> <h2>2. We Would Just Fall Asleep at Bars</h2> <p>Hitting a bar or two with coworkers after work was a weekly ritual when my husband and I were childless professionals. I recently read a San Francisco bar review that noted the cocktails were &quot;only&quot; $10, and I realized that this habit, while fun, was probably one of the reasons my husband and I never had much left in the bank at the end of each pay period.</p> <p>Nowadays, getting a sitter is too much work, no one wants to see our babies at bars, and we can't stay up until the clubs open&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(84, 84, 84); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 18.2000007629395px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;so we enjoy our wine or cocktails at home, where we never have to tip the server.</span></p> <h2>3. We Are Playing for Keepsies Now</h2> <p>When we were a childless couple, we once seriously underestimated how much tax to withhold from our paychecks, and when tax time came, we owed thousands. It was a momentary freak out, but it wasn't hard to pick up a few hours of overtime at work, and cut back on going out until it was paid.</p> <p>With three kids to provide for, we know that we don't have the budget flexibility for an &quot;oh, well&quot; moment. We can't easily put in more work time because we are busy with the kids, and we have less fat in our budget to trim in an emergency. So we were forced to be frugal enough to build an emergency fund.</p> <h2>4. We Have No Time to Shop</h2> <p>Ever hear about deeply indebted consumers who shop compulsively every day? That certainly wouldn't be me, even if I actually liked to shop. Between running Girl Scout meetings, cooking meals, school pick-ups, and ice skating lessons, I'm lucky if I can get to the grocery store, much less a clothing store. If it's true for my wardrobe, it's even more true for our house, which is full of outdated and scratched-up furniture &mdash; not just because we don't have the extra money for a Pottery Barn splurge, but because we would never have the time to select new furniture anyway.</p> <p>Besides, this way we don't feel bad when one of the kids scrapes the coffee table with a pair of scissors or bleeds all over the old rug.</p> <h2>5. Time is Now More Precious Than Money</h2> <p>Like many mothers, I cut way back on my work time when my children were born. This, above all things, is why I got into frugality: I was on the lookout for ways to not have to leave the kids in order to earn more money. And I'm not alone in this desire: A Pew study found that fully a third of American parents feel they're not spending enough <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/03/14/modern-parenthood-roles-of-moms-and-dads-converge-as-they-balance-work-and-family/">time with their children</a>.</p> <h2>6. Baby Gear Introduces Us to the Second-Hand World</h2> <p>When having a baby (probably more than any other time in life), we suddenly need to acquire a lot of stuff we never owned before &mdash; and that we will use for only a short time. All the clothes, shoes, tricycles, and such, are usually only good for a year, or so.</p> <p>I might have stopped by a thrift store now and then before having kids, but that sudden need for baby stuff is what got me into visiting consignment events, cruising Craigslist, joining Freecycle, and actively seeking hand-me-downs from other families. Once you've tapped into the second-hand and sharing markets for kids' gear, it's only a short step to using the same resources to acquire things for yourself. My current bike &mdash; my main means of transportation since we <a href="http://www.carfreemom.com">don't own a car</a> &mdash; came to me via Freecycle.</p> <h2>7. Kids Are Expensive &mdash; Like, Maserati Expensive</h2> <p>It's not just the cost of <a href="http://journalistsresource.org/studies/economics/inequality/investing-children-changes-parental-spending-children#">feeding, clothing, and housing children</a>, or the worry about how we're not saving enough for college. It's sports. It's back-to-school shopping. It's pressure to throw the best birthday party. And the child care &mdash; oh God, the child care.</p> <p>Even if we try not to go crazy spending on all the above categories, raising kids is more expensive now than ever, and it forces us to be frugal in every other area of our lives.</p> <h2>8. What We Really Long to Do is Free</h2> <p>In a recent survey, parents were 29% more likely than the childless to report getting fewer than&nbsp;six hours of sleep a night. This might explain why after work, childless friends might be out riding their new road bikes or taking cooking classes, but if I have a free two hours, my activity of choice is sleep. Sweet, free sleep.</p> <p><em>How has having kids made you more frugal?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">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/downsizing-with-kids">Downsizing With Kids</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/surefire-ways-to-save-on-summer-camp-costs">Surefire Ways to Save on Summer Camp Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-financial-gifts-for-children">Great Financial Gifts for 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/five-jobs-for-children">Five &quot;Jobs&quot; for Children</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle children kids kids and money Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:00:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1333602 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-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/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/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-4 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-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> 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-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/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/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</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-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/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/where-to-buy-discounted-designer-clothing-online">Where to Buy Discounted Designer Clothing Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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-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/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/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/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-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-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/can-you-afford-to-have-a-baby">Can You Afford to Have a Baby?</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-5-best-parenting-books">The 5 Best Parenting Books</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/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-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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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-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/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/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-entertain-your-child-for-free-or-cheap">25 Ways to Entertain Your Child for Free or Cheap</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-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/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/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider">Becoming a One-Car Family: 5 Points to Consider</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-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-simultaneously-buy-and-sell-a-house">How to Simultaneously Buy and Sell a House</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-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/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/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/13-must-have-kitchen-purchases-under-10">13 Must-Have Kitchen Purchases Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money">10 Kitchen Gadgets That Aren&#039;t 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-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/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/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> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-preserve-your-relationships-when-circumstances-change">How to Preserve Your Relationships When Circumstances Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> </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-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/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/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> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-a-blissful-matri-money">8 Steps to a Blissful Matri-Money</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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</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. 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Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget</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