Family en-US 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="" 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="">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=";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=";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=";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=";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, 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=";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=";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="">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=";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> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Time-Saving Tools Everyone Should Own" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Productivity Shopping efficiency gadgets labor savers time time savers Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1220280 at 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="" 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="">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="">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="">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="">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> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to Be a Better Friend" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Personal Development friends friendship loyalty relationships Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1203541 at 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="" 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="">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="">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> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Is Your Partner Financially Unfaithful? (1 in 3 Are)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Alaina Tweddale</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Family marriage marriage and money productivity saving Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1168483 at 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="" 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="">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="">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="">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="">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="">&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="">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> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Are You Smarter Than Your Sibling? (Your Birth Order Might Provide the Answer)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family birth order intelligence sibling rivalry Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1162785 at If You're Doing This on Your First Date, You're Not Getting a Second <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-youre-doing-this-on-your-first-date-youre-not-getting-a-second" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="bad date" title="bad date" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="136" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dating has certainly changed since the world became tech-savvy. With the advent of smart phones, dating apps, and social media, making that awkward first move is not nearly as tough as it used to be. But, once you've both agreed to go on a first date, how do you make sure you get a second? (See also: <a href="">Find Love With These Fun and Frugal First Date Ideas</a>)</p> <p>The following behaviors will guarantee that your first date will almost certainly be your last. Oh, and these apply to both men and women, so don't kid yourself that some of these don't concern you.</p> <h2>Turning Up Late</h2> <p>Leave your date chewing on breadsticks for 45 minutes without so much as a call or text message, and two things will happen. First, if your date has been polite enough to stick around, you'll be sitting through the most painful hour of your year. And second, you will not be making plans to do this again. Ideally, you should show up five minutes early. If you are going to be considerably late through no fault of your own, let your date know. If it is your own fault (and really, it always is), apologize but perhaps cushion the blow with something flattering (&quot;I wanted to look really nice for you and completely lost track of time.&quot;) (See also: <a href="">How to Always Be On Time</a>)</p> <h2>Paying Too Much Attention to Your Cell Phone</h2> <p>Really, paying <em>any</em> attention to your cell phone. This is supposed to be a time when you only have eyes for each other. Constantly pulling out your phone to check messages, read Facebook updates and scroll through Reddit and Twitter will not make you very popular. Why would anyone want to give you a second date if you can't put them first for a few hours?</p> <h2>Getting Completely Drunk</h2> <p>Hey, first dates can be nerve-wracking, and a glass of wine or beer can definitely ease the tension. However, you cannot let a few drinks turn into a bender. If you start knocking back the booze like it's ice water in a heat wave, you will come across as an irresponsible jerk that cannot be trusted. You also do not look attractive when you're face down in the dessert and drooling like you've just had major dental surgery. Do yourself a favor. Have one or two drinks, and stop.</p> <h2>Turning the Date Into 20 Questions</h2> <p>First thing's first; people love talking about themselves. So, if you ask questions that get people to open up and talk about their favorite subject, you'll be doing well. Being a good listener is a very attractive quality, and asking about someone's life is just as becoming. But, you can go too far.</p> <p>If it goes from &quot;tell me more about the kind of work you do&quot; to &quot;how much do you earn?&quot; &quot;how many dates have you been on this year?&quot; and &quot;do you vote Republican or Democrat?&quot; your date is going to feel like they're being interviewed for the role of your next partner. That's a big turn off. To curb this, try to make sure the questions you're asking are open-ended, and follow on what was asked before, as opposed to running down a pre-planned checklist.</p> <h2>Talking About Sex</h2> <p>Flirting is good. Being lecherous is bad. This is a first date, and you should be on your best behavior. By all means respond to the signals you're getting in an appropriate manner, but have some decorum. By diving into the subject of sex, you're giving the impression that you're only after one thing. Even if you both decide that the first date will also be your first intimate encounter, there's no need to become aggressive with it. Show some class.</p> <h2>Being Cheap</h2> <p>Both men and women should come to the date expecting to pay for half of it. This is not the dark ages, both sexes deserve equal treatment, and no one should just sit there expecting the other person to dive into their pocket and pay for everything. If the other person wants to pay, by all means acquiesce politely to their wishes. But being cheap is as off-putting as being drunk. You should show your date consideration. Dating can be expensive, and if you are both willing to meet up, you should both be willing to share the costs.</p> <h2>Bringing Your Buddy</h2> <p>There's not really much to say about this. You may have your doubts about the person you're meeting, and you may also want your best friend to give them the once-over. However, there is a time and a place for that kind of consultation, and it is not on the first date. Bring yourself to the date, and no one else.</p> <h2>Focusing On Your Ex</h2> <p>We all have horror stories about our past. We have also had dream dates. Neither should really be discussed unless the conversation naturally turns to it. Even then, it's good to treat an ex the same way you would a former employer in a job interview. Acknowledge them, but move on quickly. If you stay focused on a bad ex, your date may just wonder if you were the problem. If you go on and on about a great ex, they may feel they can never live up to that ideal.</p> <h2>Playing It Too Cool</h2> <p>There's cool. There's aloof. And there's just plain rude. By all means, dull your enthusiasm a little. You don't want to come across as a desperate eager puppy just dying to go home with someone and be their partner forever. But then the whole &quot;I'm so cool I could freeze hell&quot; routine won't cut it either. &quot;Where would you like to go for dinner?&quot; should not be answered with &quot;hey, whatever, I don't really care.&quot; Be happy to be there, just not so happy your kittens are having kittens.</p> <h2>Being Keener Than Mustard</h2> <p>Perhaps even worse than being too cool for school is being an eager beaver. You turn up for the date with armfuls of gifts, and have pre-arranged for a string quartet to play your date's favorite song (which you found out by cyber-stalking them). It's just too creepy, and honestly, no one wants to be around someone that desperate (even if that is not your intention). Ease off on the gas. By all means show that you're happy to be around, but if you could be a contestant on The Price Is Right, you might want to think about toning down your hyperactivity.</p> <p><em>So, what first date mistakes have you made? What about mistakes your date made? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="If You&#039;re Doing This on Your First Date, You&#039;re Not Getting a Second" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Lifestyle Personal Development Dating etiquette first dates manners romance Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1154565 at 6 Surprising Ways Your Smartphone Can Keep You and Your Family Safe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprising-ways-your-smartphone-can-keep-you-and-your-family-safe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family smartphone" title="family smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="147" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They used to be a luxury, but now, almost every American home has at least one smartphone. With their ability to organize and simplify so many of our daily tasks, it's no surprise that today's iPhones, Androids, and Windows-based gadgets are allowing us to be safer than ever before. Here are some of my favorite ways to use my smartphone to keep me and my six kids secure! (See also: <a href="">How Men and Women Use Smartphones Differently</a>)</p> <h2>Weather Warnings</h2> <p>Last month, my property suffered damage from a tornado. Living out in the country, we have no warning sirens, so it's important that I have an alert system that stays with me and is updated in real time.</p> <p>In addition to the &quot;alert&quot; feature on my phone that is tied into my zip code and sets my phone off when a storm warning is issued for my area, I can use any number of apps to check radar and even follow the social media accounts for the meteorologists for my part of the state. This past storm, I was able to get the kids into the cellar just in time to avoid softball sized hail and an actual tornado touch-down that tore 100-year-old trees out by the roots. I was very thankful for technology!</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: Check your local TV station's website for a link to their specific weather app. Most will be tailored to the viewing area. The Red Cross also has an app for a <a href="">variety of environmental emergencies</a> unique to your climate and region.</p> <h2>Traffic Reports</h2> <p>I remember the days of sitting in my car at 5:01 p.m. and listening to my local AM radio station for the traffic report. While it was helpful, it was no match for the real-time reports you can get from phone apps and even the GPS service available on most phones. While using your cell phone is prohibited while driving in my jurisdictions, it's OK to have your traffic app or GPS mode running while your phone is in your seat or placed safely on the dash. Avoiding an accident isn't just a time-saver; it could be a life-saver!</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>:The <a href="">Google Maps app</a> does a pretty good job of alerting you to accidents on major highways and the interstate. If you don't have an Android phone, the <a href="">Mapquest version</a> works well.</p> <h2>First Aid</h2> <p>If you are a parent, you know very well that some kids have an insane desire to put everything into their mouths. For those moments, a call to Poison Control may be advisable, and, if you plan ahead, you can program your phone to connect via a shortcut on smartphone screen.</p> <p>If the situation isn't life threatening, a quick reference to some basic first aid tips might be called for. The Red Cross makes first aid apps available for the<a href="">people members</a> of your family, <a href="">as well as pets</a>!</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: While poison is serious business, sometimes a game is called for. The <a href="">Name Your Poison app</a> teaches kids and parents that common poisons can easily be mistaken for safe materials &mdash; like candy.</p> <h2>Emergency Contact</h2> <p>Most of us don't carry around little cards in our wallet telling medical personnel or the police who to contact if they find us unconscious. Most of us do, however, carry around our smartphones.</p> <p>If you don't already have an &quot;emergency&quot; contact designated in your phone's contact list, do so right now. Otherwise, your phone might also have some unique features to help you in a life-threatening situation. My Samsung Galaxy, for example, will automatically connect me with my designated contact with three short pushes of the power button, and it will record sound, take photos, and send along GPS coordinates until I deactivate emergency mode. Other smartphone have similar features in their settings screen. (Consult your user's guide for more info.)</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: Medical professionals recommend an &quot;ICE&quot; (In Case of Emergency) contact clearly labeled on your phone, but many rumors claim that doing so leaves your phone open to viruses. <a href="">Snopes clearly debunks this myth</a>.</p> <h2>Food Allergies</h2> <p>Not everyone is allergic to peanuts or pineapple, but if your kids are, it can seem like the whole world is against you. While it may be obvious to you that certain foods contain allergens, not all caregivers are savvy to the language of food labeling. Giving your kids access to information on food ingredients via a handy app empowers them to choose safe foods when they aren't obvious to everyone; <a href="">Food Additives 2</a> gets good review from parents of allergy-sufferers.</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: Food allergies don't go away when you dine out. <a href="">Allergy Eats mobile dining guide</a> helps you make safe decisions when on the road and at your favorite restaurant.</p> <h2>Child Location</h2> <p>If little Johnny wandered off without his phone, tracking him down may be difficult. Since most kids carry their phones with them at all times (even into the bathroom), there is a good chance you can find him with a good GPS location tool. <a href="">Securafone</a> is a comprehensive tool that not only offers geographic location services, it alerts you when a child may be driving over the speed limit or texting while driving.</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong>: In the case that your child really does go missing, having a &quot;kit&quot; on hand with their info and identifying features can be the difference between finding them and not. The <a href="">FBI offers</a> a high-tech version of the traditional &quot;ID Kit&quot; for most smartphones.</p> <p><em>Do you use any smartphone safety apps not mentioned here? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Surprising Ways Your Smartphone Can Keep You and Your Family Safe" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Technology apps first aid safety smartphone Mon, 07 Jul 2014 17:00:11 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1151053 at Dads Who Do Dishes Raise Ambitious Daughters (and 4 Other Ways Any Parent Can Help Their Kid Succeed) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dads-who-do-dishes-raise-ambitious-daughters-and-4-other-ways-any-parent-can-help-their-kid-succeed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="child entrepreneur" title="child entrepreneur" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recent study by UBC found that dads who do the dishes &mdash; and other household chores &mdash; <a href="">tend to raise more ambitious daughters</a> than dads who stick to more traditional (or, dare I say, outdated) gender roles and leave the kitchen duties to the women in the house. (See also: <a href="">7 Important Financial Lessons Kids Teach Their Children</a>)</p> <p>I am not a mother (yet), but I'd say I'm a pretty ambitious daughter myself. And yes, my dad did do the dishes. In fact, he did them every single night. Coincidence? Probably. But sticking dad with kitchen duty isn't the only way to raise daughters who want to take on the world. Here are a few things that could make a difference.</p> <h2>But First&hellip;</h2> <p>Before looking at how to turn precocious young girls into determined young women, we have to acknowledge the existence of what Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg calls &quot;<a href="">the ambition gap</a>.&quot; According to Sandberg, even though girls in the United States are well-educated, most still <a href="">fail to make it to the executive level</a> in business, <a href="">don't have proportional representation in political office</a>, and <a href="">still earn significantly less</a> in almost all jobs compared to men. And, of course, this doesn't happen because women are less capable, or even less interested. It happens, according to many experts, because so far, our world hasn't been designed to set girls up for this kind of success.</p> <p>So, rather than looking at how to raise more ambitious <em>daughters</em>, I'm going to look at what the research says about raising more ambitious <em>children</em>. I think the idea here is that these lessons should be applied equally to both girls and boys.</p> <p>Here are four ways that have been shown to help kids to achieve their best &mdash; whatever that may be.</p> <h2>Stop at One</h2> <p>According to a study from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, the eldest or only female child in a family is likely to be (at least statistically) <a href="">more capable and successful than her younger siblings</a>. So, if you want to give young girls the best chance, just have one.</p> <p>I'm kidding, of course. But the discrepancy is pretty interesting, and it disappears as the space between children in a family widens. The study's author, FeiFei Bu, believes that the difference could have something to do with parents' investment of time and effort into first-born children compared to their younger siblings. It's worth keeping in mind, especially since many experts still argue that birth order doesn't define a kid's destiny. But, they say that in order to reduce the birth-order effect, parents need to be aware of the biases they have about their children, and work to encourage their strengths individually.</p> <h2>Encourage Them (or Let Them) Dream Big</h2> <p>Big achievements usually start as big dreams and research suggests those are worth nurturing, no matter how abstract, grandiose, or even absurd they might seem. According to researchers at London University's Institute of Education, <a href="">little kids with the biggest dreams fared the best</a> as adults, regardless of their backgrounds. Sure, an unrealistic proportion of the kids in the study may have said they wanted to be sports stars or veterinarians. The fact that many of them probably didn't achieve those careers (and, by the time they got a little older may not have wanted to) doesn't matter. What made the difference is that their big goals gave them hope for the future.</p> <p>So how can parents encourage those big dreams? A <a href="">poll out of the U.K</a>. found that all it takes is opening up the conversation with kids about what they'd their lives to look like and encouraging them to &quot;think big.&quot; The poll also found benefit in education and career guidance from an early age.</p> <h2>Value Effort Over Achievement</h2> <p>When Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck told kids how smart and capable and awesome they were before asking them to assemble a puzzle, those kids did much worse than those who weren't praised at all. Weird, right? But it makes sense when you think about it.</p> <p>When you call someone &quot;smart,&quot; you give them a big, important label they feel they have to live up to. It becomes how they define themselves. The problem is that &quot;smart&quot; isn't really something you have to work at. In practice, that meant that the <a href="">kids who weren't worried about being smart</a> tended to try harder at the tasks they were given, feel happier with their achievements, and progress better over time. According to Dweck's extensive research in this area, praising kids for their <em>efforts</em> rather than their achievements and encouraging them to do their best is the way to go. (See also: <a href=""> The Secret to Succeeding at Absolutely Everything</a>)</p> <h2>Remember What's Important</h2> <p>Of course, there's more to life than becoming a CEO, and many parents are most concerned about raising their kids to be happy and healthy. And that isn't such a crazy idea. In <a href="http://&lt;a href=&quot;;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0345515625&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ROL2XLDL2QYYTQBL&quot;&gt;">Raising Happiness: 10 Steps to More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents</a>, happiness expert and author Christine Carter says that kids who grow up and <a href="">learn to be happy are also more successful</a>, both in their jobs and in their relationships.</p> <p>Raising ambitious kids to believe in themselves, to have the emotional strength to keep trying at difficult tasks, and to learn to balance all that with becoming happy people is a huge job, even if dad is on dish duty. But hey, it's worth a try, right?</p> <p><em>What are you doing to raise ambitious daughters (and sons)? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Dads Who Do Dishes Raise Ambitious Daughters (and 4 Other Ways Any Parent Can Help Their Kid Succeed)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family ambition children education family successful children Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Tara Struyk 1147197 at How to Navigate 4 Tricky Family Money Situations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-navigate-4-tricky-family-money-situations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family money" title="family money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I hate awkward moments. I hate them so much that I cringe when people in a movie or a book enter into a situation that I know is going to end up awkwardly.</p> <p>This loathing of all things awkward means that, for years, I didn't talk to my extended family about money. I didn't indicate to them how my kids and I were doing, when we needed money, when we didn't, and when things they did affected me financially. I just kept quiet. (See also: <a href="">The Right Thing to Say in 20 Tough Situations</a>)</p> <p>Recently, though, I had to bite the bullet and have a potentially difficult conversation. Members of my family were demonstrating some attitudes and behaviors that were teaching my children things about money that I didn't agree with, and I needed to ask them to change.</p> <p>Before I had that conversation, I took some time to think about what I wanted to say, and to research dealing with family and money issues, in general. Here is some of what I learned.</p> <h2>Asking to Borrow Money</h2> <p>Depending on the financial situations of your relatives, there may come a day when you need to ask your nearest and dearest for a loan. If you really don't have another choice (or, at least, a good choice), here are some ideas for making your best case and keeping your relationships intact.</p> <h3>Make Your Case</h3> <p>Be sure you can document your need for the loan.</p> <h3>Keep in Mind Power Dynamics</h3> <p>Borrowing from a relative gives them a certain power over you. Make sure they won't take advantage of that, and that you will be able to live with it.</p> <h3>Have a Plan</h3> <p>Know how much you need, what interest you'd be willing to pay (if they ask), and how you plan to pay the loan back. Be able to <a href="">talk about these things</a> when you ask for the loan.</p> <h3>Choose Your Time</h3> <p>Don't ask for a loan during stressful moments, or ones that are supposed to be exciting and fun. Instead, schedule a meeting specifically to talk about the loan.</p> <h3>Write Down Your Agreement</h3> <p>Make sure <a href="">everything is spelled out</a>, so if anyone has questions later, you have a common point of reference. If the lender would like you to sign the agreement, sign it.</p> <h3>Stick to Your Agreement</h3> <p>This goes without saying, but you need to be sure to make your payments on time.</p> <h3>Communicate</h3> <p>If something goes wrong or you have a question, be sure to bring it out into the open. Otherwise, it could damage your relationship.</p> <h3>Talk About Other Things</h3> <p>Be sure that you never let a relationship become just about money.</p> <h2>Asking to Be Paid Back</h2> <p>There may come a time when you are on the other side of the equation and have given a loan to a family member. Whether you came up with an agreement or not, it's easy for people to forget to pay you back, or to let it slide because you are family. However, that money is yours, and you have a right to ask for it back. (See also: <a href="">Getting Your Money Back Without Losing Your Friendship</a>)</p> <h3>Get Your Details Right</h3> <p>Be sure you know as precisely as possible how much money you lent, when you made the loan, and how much of it is owed you at this point. If you didn't set up any expectations about repayment, decide how much it might be fair to ask for at this point, and be willing to be flexible.</p> <h3>Find a Good Time to Talk</h3> <p>Sometimes you'll need to make your request at a time that is stressful for the other person, but do your best to do it in a way that is comfortable for both of you and not threatening to them.</p> <h3>Don't Butt Into the Details</h3> <p>You may not agree with the way your family member spends money, but <a href="">don't critique this now</a>. They can spend however they want, as long as they repay your money. If they don't know where the money to repay you will come from and they ask, you might make a couple of suggestions.</p> <h3>Ask Nicely</h3> <p>If you have a particular reason for needing repayment, this will make your request easier to swallow. While you don't have any obligation to make it easier for them, being kind will help keep your relationship.</p> <h3>Write Down a Plan</h3> <p>Whether you have already had a written plan or not, you will need to make a new one here. Be sure to have both parties sign the plan, and get it notarized if you feel like that will help make sure you get repaid.</p> <h3>Put It in Writing</h3> <p>This is usually a last resort. If the person is resistant or continues to not repay you, consider <a href="">writing them a letter</a>. This gives you a paper trail, in case you decide to pursue repayment with legal action, but it also tells them that you're serious about getting your money back.</p> <h2>Agreeing on Financial Values to Teach Children</h2> <p>This was the situation in which I found myself. My children are the only grandchildren on both sides, and that has meant that they have gotten a lot of gifts, some of which have been extravagant. My kids were starting to expect this from all of our extended family, which led to a difficult situation with a family member who couldn't buy them what they wanted. Whether this is similar to your situation or not, here are some tips for coping when family members have different financial values than you do. (See also: <a href="">7 Important Money Lessons Parents Teach Their Kids</a>)</p> <h3>Plan Your Points</h3> <p>Make sure you know what you're going to say and how you want to say it. Try to state your points as objectively as possible, so you do your best to have a rational, focused conversation.</p> <h3>Use an &quot;I&quot; Statement</h3> <p>Or two or three. Basically, you want to <a href="">talk about what you do value</a>, rather than what your family may not value. This lowers defenses and helps you communicate with compassion.</p> <h3>Don't Give Ultimatums</h3> <p>In my case, it would have been easy to say something like, &quot;If you don't stop teaching our kids these things, you won't get to see them as much.&quot; However, statements like that only promote defensiveness. Instead, make it clear that you want to come to a solution that works for everyone.</p> <h3>Decide What You Want</h3> <p>When you have your conversation, ask for your family members to take concrete steps. For instance, I asked my family to keep their gifts for holidays, and instead to focus on doing everyday things with my kids that they will remember. Now, grandma is teaching my daughter how to bake cookies, and she is also teaching my son how to count with legos.</p> <h2>Dealing With Expensive Expectations</h2> <p>It's never easy when you want to spend less on something than your family does. In some families, participation in a large group gift is expected on all occasions, not just for large events like weddings. In other families, there can be expectations of going out to dinner every week or throwing large birthday parties. If you don't have the money to do these things, or you'd just prefer to spend it other places, you'll need to talk with your family.</p> <h3>Come Up With an Alternative</h3> <p>If your family wants you to buy an expensive gift, tell them that you have come up with something that will be deeply meaningful to the recipient, but that you'd prefer to give it yourself. If they like to have expensive meals, offer to cook rather than going out.</p> <h3>Focus on the Relationships</h3> <p>If you have solid relationships with your family members, talking about financial expectations will be less likely to ruffle feathers. If they know you love them and want to be around them, they are less likely to react defensively.</p> <h3>Be Honest</h3> <p>This can take a lot of courage, especially if you need to tell your family members that you don't have enough money for something, or that you have been irresponsible and need to cut back. When you tell the truth, though, your family has more reason to be understanding and help you out, rather than being resentful because you aren't fulfilling their expectations.</p> <p>When I talked to my family about money, I was terrified. However, their response convinced me that I didn't need to fear talking about money all these years. At first, I could tell they felt defensive because we didn't like the way they'd been acting. By the end of the conversation, though, they felt assured of our love for them and our deep desire for our kids to know them well. We came up with a plan, and haven't had any problems with follow-through so far.</p> <p><em>Do you need to talk to your family about money? Let me know how it goes!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Navigate 4 Tricky Family Money Situations" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family family and money friends and money talking about money Tue, 24 Jun 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1145902 at 7 Ways Immaturity Can Make You Happier and More Successful <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-immaturity-can-make-you-happier-and-more-successful" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="father son playing" title="father son playing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine what it would be like if life was a grand adventure and you were an intrepid explorer. For children, this is life every day. By their very nature, kids approach the world with genuine curiosity and are able to delight in the possibilities of what's waiting just over the horizon. (See also: <a href="">How to Be a More Positive Person</a>)</p> <p>Sometimes, though, the older we get, the easier it becomes to lose some of that untamed spirit. The horizon can seems further and further away. If it's time for you to break free of the monotony of adulthood and rekindle some of the magic of youth, start with these essential lessons from childhood.</p> <h2>Embrace Endless, Wild Optimism</h2> <p>Children see only the possibilities, not the probabilities. Kids daydream about the most fantastic ways the impossible might come true. Their imaginations joyfully pursue the next good idea even before they know what to do with it. Adults can take lesson from this: Learn to stop dwelling on the reasons something can't happen. Instead, change your focus and explore the possibilities of what <em>can</em> happen.</p> <h2>Cultivate Curiosity</h2> <p>It's easy for adults to lose patience with a youngster's endless line of questioning. But instead of being annoyed, try emulating that strategy and staying curious yourself.</p> <p>Eleanor Roosevelt said, &quot;I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.&quot; I wholeheartedly agree. Being more curious means opening up to the possibility that there's more to life than meets the eye.</p> <p>Cultivate curiosity by learning a new skill, traveling, or getting to know people on a deeper level by asking more questions &mdash; it can only expand your world.</p> <h2>Get Creative</h2> <p>Children don't care if they color between the lines or make the sky plaid and the grass pink. They use arts and crafts as a ready outlet for their wild creative impulses. You don't have to be a trained artist to doodle on paper or paint with your fingers. Get the whole family involved in simple <a href="">at-home DIY craft projects</a>. And if you feel like you need an art lesson, ask your children to <a href="">mix up some finger paint</a> with you and then show you how it's done!</p> <h2>Be Fearless</h2> <p>Have you ever noticed that kids are willing to try out their ideas without hesitation (even if it results in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich crammed into a place it clearly doesn't belong)?</p> <p>Adults tend to travel in less fanciful circles because we're less willing to risk failure. Fortunately, most grown-ups also have better planning skills than children. We can prepare for risk-taking in ways that reduce the possibility of unpleasant (or sticky) outcomes. So, consider new ways to step out of your comfort zone and <a href="">do the things that scare you</a>. Put your adult planning skills to good use and start taking some risks on the things that matter to you most.</p> <h2>Play With Abandon</h2> <p>For kids, fun is still synonymous with fitness. They don't bother to count reps when they're engaged in endless rounds of kickball. They don't need to stare at the clock on an exercise bike when their real bike takes them to faraway places. They don't need the gym because every day is a calorie-burning, strength-building, circuit training challenge! Kids know what fitness experts having been trying to tell adults for years. The best way to get in shape is to make physical activity a <a href="">fun part</a> of your everyday experience.</p> <h2>Say What You Mean</h2> <p>Kids really do say the darnedest things, don't they? That's because they're telling us what they really think. Adults, on the other hand, have well-crafted filters and we feel virtuous for &quot;holding our tongue.&quot;</p> <p>Sometimes having a filter can help diffuse a situation, but at other times, filters holds us back from having conversations that really count. Wouldn't it be great to tell your significant other just how much you love and appreciate them? Or set some more reasonable limits on what is expected of you at work? One of the most empowering lessons we adults can learn is the art of gracefully saying what we mean.</p> <h2>Laugh &mdash; and Cry &mdash; Out Loud</h2> <p>Children proudly wear their hearts on their sleeves. When something strikes them as funny, they light up the room with their laughter. If things get too monotonous, they'll spice things up with their own brand of slapstick. And if they're hurting, kids don't hesitate to ask for a kiss to make it better. But somewhere on the winding road from childhood to adulthood, we stop sharing our feelings and put on thick masks to hide how really feel. Adults can benefit from shedding those masks when the occasion calls for it and being willing to share more laughter, as well as tears.</p> <p>Every lesson adults can learn from kids boils down to this: Let go of some of your fear. Kids don't have the same quality or quantity of fear that adults do &mdash; and that intrepid nature keeps them learning, growing, and discovering something new every day. As adults, if you want to be healthier, happier, and have better relationships, all you really have to fear is fear itself. So go ahead, channel that bold little explorer you used to be, the one who looked under rocks, played with worms, climbed trees, wore cowboy boots with sweatpants, and imagined new worlds.</p> <p><em>What lessons have you learned or relearned from the children in your life? What's the most important childhood quality you've been able to preserve in yourself or own kids?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways Immaturity Can Make You Happier and More Successful" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Personal Development children kid lessons learning self improvement Mon, 23 Jun 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Kentin Waits 1145814 at 8 Things My Toddler Has Taught Me About Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-my-toddler-has-taught-me-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Toddlers don&rsquo;t understand the concept of money. But my two-and-a-half&ndash;year-old son, William, has taught me an enormous amount about money through his everyday activities. Here are eight of the best things he has taught me.</p> <h2>1. Negotiate Everything</h2> <p>Toddlers are expert negotiators. My son constantly asks for &ldquo;five more minutes&rdquo; of playtime outside before dinner and &ldquo;one more book&rdquo; before bed. Usually his requests are for things that are slightly negotiable. But he also tries to negotiate the seemingly non-negotiable or requests a third alternative when presented with two choices &mdash; like &ldquo;chocolate cake&rdquo; when given the option of eggs or oatmeal for breakfast. And sometimes, this third choice gives him an alternative he would never have been presented with in the first place. (Perhaps chocolate milk instead of plain milk with breakfast.)&nbsp;The lesson: Negotiate everything. Even when it seems like there is only one or two choices, there might be a third. For instance, I would never think to ask for a discount at a big department store, but I know someone who asks for and frequently gets &ldquo;secret&rdquo; coupons or discounts from sales associates. Take it from a toddler, and don&rsquo;t be afraid to ask for chocolate cake at breakfast.</p> <h2>2. It&rsquo;s Better to Make Money Than Spend It</h2> <p>My son recently got a toy cash register. He doesn&rsquo;t really understand the concept yet, but likes the sound the buttons make, taking money from me to put in the register, and running my (old and expired) credit card through the swipe machine. But whenever I try to get him to be the customer, he&rsquo;s not interested &mdash; he tries to keep the money (or make me give him a $100 bill as change for the quarter he paid with). He doesn&rsquo;t understand what he&rsquo;s doing quite yet, but there is a good takeaway here: It&rsquo;s better to be the one receiving money than the one spending it.</p> <h2>3. The Best Things Are Often Close By and Inexpensive</h2> <p>We are fortunate to have a great backyard, and after my spouse and I took a recent four-day vacation (without William), he started taking &ldquo;vacations&rdquo; in the backyard. He says &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to Paris&rdquo; and walks up the hill to an area with a number of trees and bushes and plays. On a similar note, even at two and a half, he is still happier playing with a large box than the product that it came in.&nbsp;What have I learned from this? That amazing adventures and things are often more within our reach and cheaper than we think.</p> <h2>4. Be Impulsive (Sometimes)</h2> <p>At the end of winter, when it was 40 degrees and the snow was melting, my son came into our kitchen first thing in the morning and exclaimed &ldquo;Isn&rsquo;t it nice out today?!&rdquo; Then, he ran outside in just his PJs and bare feet and happily played in the yard for several minutes before his feet got cold. If you have or have had a toddler, you know that they are quite impulsive, for better and for worse. And usually something they&rsquo;ve impulsively decided to do brings them the greatest joy. As we get older, we forget how much pleasure impulsivity can bring. It&rsquo;s OK to impulsively splurge on a fancy meal, last-minute vacation, or great seats at the theater every once in awhile. Chances are you&rsquo;ll be happier for it.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. Take Risk</h2> <p>William has a spectacular skill of finding the highest point in a room, and before anyone notices, climbing up there and jumping off. Toddlers are known for pushing boundaries and taking uncalculated risk. This is how they learn limits, but it also enables them to grow. Adults can also grow personally, professionally, and financially by taking risk. You aren&rsquo;t (likely) going to become a millionaire by putting all your savings in a 0.1% interest account, so you should take a risk and invest in stock index funds and companies you believe in. Chances are, this responsible risk taking will lead to greater wealth.</p> <h2>6. Recognize That Change Is Difficult and Takes Time</h2> <p>I won&rsquo;t ever forget the consequences of the night I was so frustrated by my son not listening at bedtime that I skipped the rest of his normal routine of reading a second book and singing songs and insisted he go right to bed. Two hours later he was finally asleep after far too much struggle. Toddlers aren&rsquo;t known for their adaptability and willingness to change. But it&rsquo;s not just fussy toddlers who take time to adapt to change &ndash; we all do, especially when it comes to financial habits. Don&rsquo;t try to reduce your spending by 30% in one week or increase your income by 50% in a month. Smaller, gradual changes are more likely to stick.</p> <h2>7. Ask Lots of Questions If You Don&rsquo;t Understand Something</h2> <p>Winter snow has given way to spring rainstorms, and consequently my son has bombarded us with questions about thunder. Can you show me a picture of thunder? What does thunder smell like? Can we get a ladder and climb to the sky and touch the thunder? Many financial concepts are just as amorphous and confusing to us as thunder is to a toddler. Never be afraid to ask questions if you don&rsquo;t understand an investment, retirement plan, or even something as seemingly simple as a credit card rewards program. Even if you feel like it&rsquo;s a &ldquo;dumb&rdquo; question, it probably isn&rsquo;t &mdash; and it&rsquo;s better to feel silly asking than to lose money on something because you didn&rsquo;t understand it.&nbsp;</p> <h2>8. Giving and Sharing Can Be Difficult, but Rewarding</h2> <p>We have been working hard on the concept of sharing with William. He has mastered being on the receiving end &mdash; &ldquo;Will you share that with me?&rdquo; is a favorite phrase usually referring to something like my last bite of ice cream or piece of chocolate. But he is learning to grasp the concept of sharing with others and gathers great satisfaction from it. Of course, when he hands something to you with a big smile on his face and says &ldquo;I will share this with you,&rdquo; &ldquo;this&rdquo; usually refers to a half-eaten piece of now-soggy toast or something equally unappealing. But we happily take it and show that we appreciate his willingness to share. Similarly, we have recently translated this concept to our own finances and significantly increased our charitable contributions. Having done so, I can confirm &mdash; it feels really good to share.</p> <p><i>What have you learned from your toddler about money? </i><i>Share in the comments!</i></p> <p><i>This post was sponsored by <a href="">Amex EveryDay Credit Card</a>, the new credit card from American Express that celebrates #EveryDayMoments and everyday purchases. All thoughts and opinions are my own.</i></p> <p><i>Editorial Note: 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="">Advertiser Disclosure</a> to view our partners, and for additional details.</i></p> <p><i><a href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></i></p> <p>Check out more infographics at <a href=""></a>.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Things My Toddler Has Taught Me About Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Lifestyle Mon, 16 Jun 2014 22:12:11 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1142781 at 20 Cute and Frugal DIY Clothes You Can Make for Your Kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-cute-and-frugal-diy-clothes-you-can-make-for-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="sewing" title="sewing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="172" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We recently covered some inexpensive ways to <a href="">update a woman's wardrobe</a>. Now? Well, it's time for the kids to get in on the fun! These projects cover the spectrum of sewing abilities from novice to expert &mdash; and many of them even use clothing you already have sitting in your child's (or your) closet. So, before you head to the donation center, check out these tutorials. (See also: <a href="">How to Save on Special Occasion Clothing for Kids</a>)</p> <h2>1. Legwarmers</h2> <p>When my daughter was born, I spent a mint on baby leggings. Making <a href="">your own version</a> out of women's knee-high socks is super simple &mdash; I wish I had found this website sooner!</p> <h2>2. Pillowcase Dress</h2> <p>This project would make use of mismatched vintage pillowcases, though many choose to just use fabric for <a href="">this tutorial</a>. It works for a variety of ages, from baby to little kid.</p> <h2>3. Pillowcase Romper</h2> <p>If you want to take this dress a step farther, check out this adorable <a href="">pillowcase romper</a>. Requires a bit more sewing skill, but can still be completed in under an hour.</p> <h2>4. Leggings</h2> <p>Those fashionable hand-stamped leggings are expensive. Making them at home &mdash; with <a href="">these instructions</a> &mdash; costs only a fraction of the price.</p> <h2>5. Stenciled Shirt</h2> <p>For more fabric paint fun, try this <a href="">stenciled shirt</a>. You can go as creative as your ability allows.</p> <h2>6. Stamped Shirt</h2> <p>This next shirt uses pipe cleaners for a neat <a href="">arrow stamped design</a>. I wonder what other shapes you could bend!</p> <h2>7. Cardigan Onesie</h2> <p>I can't think of anything cuter than this <a href="">DIY cardigan onesie</a> with interchangeable bowties. The project takes some skill, but the tutorial is detailed and easy to follow.</p> <h2>8. Suspenders</h2> <p>If you need to dress your little guy up fast, slip him into these <a href="">quick suspenders</a>. No craftiness necessary, just felt, clips, and a little hot glue.</p> <h2>9. Tutu</h2> <p>For a special occasion or just dressing up, this <a href="">basic tutu</a> fits the bill. You can also lengthen your pieces of tulle to make it a dress.</p> <h2>10. Skinny Jeans</h2> <p>Try making these bright blue <a href="">skinny jeans</a> for some fun in your kid's wardrobe. You can use a pair you already own as a pattern.</p> <h2>11. Undies</h2> <p>I can't wait to try making these fun and colorful <a href="">undies</a> once my daughter is fully potty trained. You use old T-shirts, making it a great way to use up something old to make something new.</p> <h2>12. Revamped Pants</h2> <p>These <a href="">color &quot;dipped&quot; pants</a> are a smart use for all that second-hand clothing you might have laying around. I also love how they're unisex.</p> <h2>13. Nightgown</h2> <p>The author of this <a href="">nightgown tutorial</a> promises it will come together in just 10 minutes. Just morph an adult t-shirt into a nightgown for a little girl.</p> <h2>14. PJs</h2> <p>And let's not forget the boys! You can quickly make <a href="">Little Man Pajamas</a> from a men's XXL shirt.</p> <h2>15. Shark Towel</h2> <p>We're all getting ready for those endless summer days spent at the pool. Your kid will love this <a href="">hooded shark towel</a> to dry off and relax in.</p> <h2>16. Shortalls</h2> <p>These <a href="">DIY shortalls</a> could be dressed up or dressed down. Customize them with a splash of patterned fabric.</p> <h2>17. Shorts</h2> <p>For some much-needed play pants &mdash; try these <a href="">jersey shorts</a>. They are made from old t-shirts and feature a cool bleached design.</p> <h2>18. Romper</h2> <p>Turn one of those old, neglected sun dresses into a <a href="">bubble romper</a>. Perfect for summer.</p> <h2>19. Sweatpants</h2> <p>Another great upcycle find! Use an old adult sweatshirt to make the legs of these <a href="">easy sweatpants</a>. Bonus points if you can find one with pockets like the hoodie in the tutorial!</p> <h2>20. Vest</h2> <p>Turn a plain old jean jacket into a <a href="">tribal denim vest</a>! This website has a lot of other genius projects as well.</p> <p><em>Have you put together any fun DIY outfits for kids lately? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Cute and Frugal DIY Clothes You Can Make for Your Kids" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Style clothing DIY kid's clothes Fri, 06 Jun 2014 19:00:20 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1141769 at 30 Signs You Were Raised by Healthy Parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/30-signs-you-were-raised-by-healthy-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mom and daughter" title="mom and daughter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Were you a locavore before you even knew what the term meant? Were you raised by health-conscious parents who were plugged into organic, cage-free, non-GMO, nutritious eating before it was cool? Are you raising your kids the same way? If so, embrace your history and health! Here are 30 signs you were raised by health-conscious parents. (See also: <a href="">30 Signs You Were Raised by Frugal Parents</a>)</p> <p>1. In your house, soda was reserved for only the rarest special occasions. You had entire friendships based on accessing bootleg bottles of soda.</p> <p>2. For the first 18 years of your life, dessert was synonymous with fresh fruit.</p> <p>3. Your parents diluted chocolate milk with regular milk based on a 40:60 ratio.</p> <p>4. At school, you were known for bringing the freshest, healthiest, least trade-worthy sack lunches.</p> <p>5. In your mind, sugary cereal will always be a Schedule II controlled substance.</p> <p>6. You know the sweet delight of eating a ripe tomato plucked straight from the vine.</p> <p>7. As a kid, odd behavior was always met with the question, &quot;What have you been eating?&quot;</p> <p>8. Your Halloween candy haul was immediately confiscated and dispensed gradually throughout the year.</p> <p>9. A beautiful summer day meant the TV was off and the kids were outside.</p> <p>10. From planting to harvest, you had a working knowledge of gardening by age 9.</p> <p>11. You had the kind of peanut butter that needed to be stirred before use.</p> <p>12. You still think Wonder Bread tastes a little bit like cake.</p> <p>13. As a kid, you had a difficult time distinguishing candy bars from actual currency.</p> <p>14. You campaigned for class president by promising to install a salad bar in the school cafeteria.</p> <p>15. Your trips to the dentist were largely uneventful.</p> <p>16. You waited in vain for yoga and Pilates to be added to your school's Physical Education curriculum.</p> <p>17. You used to sneak your own healthy snacks into movie theaters. Raisins, almonds, apple slices, and homemade popcorn were standard fare.</p> <p>18. You could identify every green in a mixed green salad by age 5.</p> <p>19. You learned to read by studying nutrition labels on packaged food.</p> <p>20. As a youngster, it was difficult for you to fully grasp the difference between a farmer's market and a county fair.</p> <p>21. Your mom or dad made their own baby food using only organic ingredients.</p> <p>22. Your taste buds can't distinguish carob from chocolate.</p> <p>23. In your house, &quot;fast food&quot; meant leftover sliced turkey (free-range, of course) on millet bread.</p> <p>24. Your parents cooked and baked with brown eggs instead of white.</p> <p>25. You went through a profound junk-food binge phase the moment you moved out of your parents' house (but came out the other side).</p> <p>26. You probably ate at least one meal each day at the table with your family &mdash; no TV and no distractions.</p> <p>27. You tend to sweeten things with honey instead of sugar.</p> <p>28. You know that recipes with fewer ingredients are often the best.</p> <p>29. You have a long history with Echinacea.</p> <p>30. There's a small pot of wheat grass setting on your windowsill right now.</p> <p>As much as we may have failed to realize or fought it in our youth, our health-conscious parents were trying to set us up for a lifetime of healthier choices. And if you were a kid in the 1960's and 70's, that kind of thinking has proven to be ahead of its time. As the U.S. fights its fast-food culture, ballooning waistlines, and skyrocketing rates of diabetes and other chronic conditions, any advantage we have in defending our health is a big advantage indeed. Take a moment to thank mom and dad today. Are you passing those same healthy habits done to the next generation?</p> <p><em>Were you raised by health-conscious parents or are you one yourself? What funny stories or fond memories do you have to share?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="30 Signs You Were Raised by Healthy Parents" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Health and Beauty Lifestyle fitness Health parenting Wed, 28 May 2014 08:24:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1140739 at 15 Money-Saving Tips Every Parent Should Know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-money-saving-tips-every-parent-should-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average <a href="">cost to raise a child</a> (birth to age 18) for a middle-income family in the U.S. is now estimated at over $240,000. If you're like most parents, you are still looking for that proverbial money tree (a really big one at that!) in your backyard. The bad news: There is no such thing as a tree that sprouts currency. But the good news: There are plenty of easy ways to stretch your parenting dollar to its fullest. (See also: <a href="">Important Frugal Lessons Parents Teach Their Children</a>)</p> <h2>1. Prepare Your &quot;Defense&quot; Strategy</h2> <p>Grocery shopping with kids can get expensive. It's no accident that stores place candy, gum, and snack-size bags of cheese curls at checkout lanes, where they beg the attention of your junior shoppers. One strategy to sidestep &quot;negotiation,&quot; or worse yet, a full-fledged tantrum is to allow your child the &quot;privilege&quot; of putting an item of his or her choice on the shopping list before you hit the store.</p> <h2>2. Watch for Your State's Sales Tax Holiday</h2> <p>Most states offer a &quot;<a href="">sales tax holiday</a>,&quot; which could mean a nice gift for your pocketbook. On these days, which vary by location, states and some local governments suspend sales tax on certain items for a specific time period. Most occur in late summer to help parents save money when buying back-to-school supplies and clothing.</p> <h2>3. Form a Co-Op</h2> <p>Organize a co-op with other parents. Take turns visiting the warehouse stores (Sam's Club, Costco) and split those huge boxes of diapers, baby shampoo, and potato chips. Rotate child care services, with each couple or parent taking one Saturday night (or Tuesday afternoon) a month to watch the kids while the others enjoy a grown-up night out on the town or a solo afternoon to run errands or take care of your own appointments. (See also: <a href="">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>4. Plan Purchases</h2> <p>Parents can save money by planning purchases during months when bargains are more likely. As Wise Bread outlines in the <a href="">Shopping Calendar</a>, certain items &mdash; from furniture to camping gear &mdash; tend to go on sale during predictable times of the year.</p> <h2>5. Take Advantage of Seasonal Sales</h2> <p>Stock up on crayons for $1 a box in late July and early August when the office supply and discount stores all compete for your back-to-school shopping business. Mechanical pencils, rulers, glue sticks, and loose leaf paper don't go bad, and you'll appreciate your &quot;back stock&quot; come February when your kids need to replenish their school supplies.</p> <h2>6. Shop Post-Holiday Clearance Sales</h2> <p>From Valentine's Day to Christmas or the 4th of July, after-holiday clearance sales provide a great opportunity to buy gift bags, wrapping paper, and decorations for next year.</p> <h2>7. Unleash Your Inner Negotiator</h2> <p>Participate in <a href="">eBay</a> auctions for everything from gently used clothing and kids' accessories to remote-control race cars or multi-packs of diaper rash cream.</p> <p>What's more fun than a treasure hunt? Consignment shops offer great buying (and selling) opportunities for gently used clothing, furniture, accessories, toys, and more. Similarly, thrift shops, house sales, yard sales, estate sales can all be sources of hidden jewels &mdash; at super low prices, which are often negotiable.</p> <h2>8. Visit the Clearance Table Early and Often</h2> <p>Party store clearance sections offer a great assortment of plates, napkins, gift bags, and party favors for your child's upcoming birthday parties. Why wait until the week before the party to stock up? See something you like, grab it when it's on sale!</p> <h2>9. Approach Online Shopping as You Would Black Friday at the Mall</h2> <p>Before you hit the &quot;checkout&quot; button when making any online purchase, make sure to search for a RetailMeNot <a href="">online discount code</a>, ranging from free shipping to percentage off purchase price. Many websites &mdash; from Shutterfly to Kohl's and Sports Authority &mdash; frequently offer their own discounts on the website's home page. Copy and paste into the promo code box at checkout for savings!</p> <p>Visit websites like <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, and <a href=";dept=kids&amp;ref=qd_nav_tab_kids"></a> &mdash; just a few examples of online retailers that offer discounted prices on brand-name (often designer) kids' clothing, shoes, and accessories.</p> <h2>10. Compare Prices</h2> <p>It sounds simple, but prices for the exact stroller or bath soap can vary widely from one website or local retailer to another. Sometimes &quot;free shipping&quot; on what looks like a steal online isn't as good a bargain as it sounds if the base price is higher. Visit <a href="">ShopSavvy</a> or <a href="">RedLaser</a>to find the best prices on thousands of items online and in stores. Both also have apps to download to your smartphone, so you can compare prices on the go.</p> <h2>11. Love Thy Community (And Its Bargains)</h2> <p>From books to DVDs to audiobooks to even study aids, your local library can be a treasure-trove of free materials to educate and entertain &mdash; both you and your kids! Most libraries also offer free drop-in read aloud sessions and other special programming for kids.</p> <p>Many local park district programs offer free (or low-cost) lessons, sports programs, and entertainment options. If you live in an area without a park district, find one in a neighboring town. You'll almost always be welcome, although you might have to pay a slightly higher fee than residents.</p> <p>From middle schools to high schools, community colleges and fine arts associations, many local theater departments offer variety shows, plays, and concerts free of charge for area residents.</p> <h2>12. Visit Cultural Venues on &quot;Free Days&quot;</h2> <p>Many zoos, aquariums, and museums offer &quot;Family Free Days,&quot; listed on their respective websites. For example, the Milwaukee County Zoo offers six <a href="">Family Free Days</a> throughout the year where admission fees are waived. Lots and lots of other <a href="">venues around the country offer free days</a>, too.</p> <h2>13. Dine Out for Less</h2> <p>Applebees, IHOP, and many other family-oriented restaurants offer <a href="">&quot;kids-eat-free&quot;</a> deals, where your child's meal is complimentary with the purchase of your adult meal. The Entertainment Book and its <a href="">members-only website</a> contains local buy-one-get-one-free (or at discount) meals, movie theater tickets, bowling games, and more &mdash; not to mention retail and travel deals. Usually sold as a fundraiser, if you use the book a few times, you've usually recouped its cost &mdash; and more!</p> <h2>14. Reuse and Recycle</h2> <p>With a coat of paint and a creative eye, many pieces of furniture can be <a href="">refinished or repainted</a> to look like new &mdash; or better!</p> <p>Decorating is fun &mdash; and affordable &mdash; when you look for affordable ways to <a href="">upgrade or repurpose furniture</a> to brighten up your kid's spaces.</p> <p>Old white undershirts may look like undershirts &mdash; that, is, until you take your kids' artistic talents to task. Tie-dye, fabric paint, and bedazzle kits can turn an old t-shirt into a fashion statement your kids will be proud to wear &mdash; not to mention a fun afternoon activity.</p> <p>Hand-me-downs often get a bad rap. Let friends and relatives know that you won't be offended if they offer you their child's outgrown clothing! Kids often love getting clothes from their &quot;cool&quot; older cousin or neighbor.</p> <h2>15. Harness the Power of &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>Sometimes it's that simple: &quot;No.&quot; Or &quot;not now.&quot; Or my personal favorite: &quot;Put it on your wish list.&quot; In addition to saving money, you could be teaching your kids valuable lessons in personal spending. Sometimes the anticipation of getting that special toy or outfit makes it even sweeter &mdash; and sometimes, after the impulse period passes, the item doesn't hold as much appeal as it did in the store. Done right, &quot;no&quot; can often lead to teachable moments, which no money can buy!</p> <p><em>How do you save money on kid's stuff? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Money-Saving Tips Every Parent Should Know" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mardee Handler</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Shopping bargains discounts kids Tue, 27 May 2014 08:24:19 +0000 Mardee Handler 1140443 at New Study Says You Should Spend Less on Kids Sports. Here's How. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-study-says-you-should-spend-less-on-kids-sports-heres-how" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="kid basketball" title="kid basketball" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Good news: spending less on your kid&rsquo;s sports will actually make him <i>better</i> at them.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s according to a Utah State University study <a href="">just reported by the Wall Street Journal</a>, which contends the more you spend on your children&rsquo;s sports, the less they&rsquo;ll enjoy them, and the less successful they&rsquo;ll be at them.</p> <p>Researcher and former pro-football player Travis Dorsh explains, &ldquo;When parental sports spending goes up, it increases the likelihood either the child will feel pressure or that the parent will exert it.&rdquo; And other experts agree, with the Director of Michigan State University&rsquo;s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports concurring, &ldquo;the more parents do, the more they expect a return on their investment.&rdquo;</p> <p>So now that you&rsquo;ve got a guilt-free justification for trying to save on your kid&rsquo;s sports, how do you go about actually doing it?</p> <h2>&nbsp;1. Choose Wisely</h2> <p>Not all children&rsquo;s sports are created equal, and some are much more expensive than others &ndash; just check out <a href="">this TurboTax infographic breakdown</a>. While the three most expensive youth sports are somewhat predictable (football, baseball, and hockey), the three least expensive might surprise you. Swimming and diving clocks in as the single cheapest despite pool rates, so&hellip; go ahead, toss your kid in the water!</p> <h2>2. Make Them Earn the Nice Equipment</h2> <p>Kids try new sports like adults test drive new cars: it can take a few different tries until they really settle into something. Which is fine, but it also means you shouldn&rsquo;t go out and splurge on the latest model football pads when your child may end up playing soccer after one set of downs as an offensive linemen. Try renting or looking for hand-me-downs first.</p> <h2>3. Make Them Earn the Nice Leagues&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</h2> <p>&hellip;ditto for league memberships. Start them off in an inexpensive rec league, and make sure this is really their sport before shelling out money for select teams, traveling teams, etc.</p> <h2>4. Get Involved</h2> <p>Parent participation in a league means they&rsquo;ll often waive fees (or even pay you). So if you know a sport well, try reffing and coaching. And if you don&rsquo;t&hellip; try reffing or coaching little kids! Creating drills for five-year old soccer plays is somewhat less technical than creating them for the under-18 squad.</p> <h2>5. Carpool</h2> <p>Youth sports have costs beyond the purely monetary. Namely, a hell of a lot of schlepping. So make some friends on the sidelines and organize a carpool.</p> <h2>6. Just say &ldquo;no&rdquo; to team photos</h2> <p>Take pictures of your kids playing sports, just don&rsquo;t <i>pay</i> for pictures of your kids playing sports. Official team photos can be cheesy, and your little athlete would probably prefer an action shot anyway. Besides, what else is there really to do on the sidelines anyway?</p> <h2>7. Seek Out Sponsorships or Scholarships</h2> <p>Ok, so <i>you</i> paying more can have an adverse effect on your kid&rsquo;s sports career, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean <i>someone else</i> paying more will. If your child really is that good, consider putting her up for a sports scholarship, whether through a local program or a national organization like the <a href=";zTi=1&amp;sdn=familyfitness&amp;cdn=health&amp;tm=6301&amp;f=10&amp;su=p284.13.342.ip_&amp;tt=3&amp;bt=1&amp;bts=1&amp;zu=http%3A//">Women&rsquo;s Sports Foundation</a>.</p> <p><em>What's the most you've ever spent on your children's sports?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="New Study Says You Should Spend Less on Kids Sports. Here&#039;s How." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Joe Epstein</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Family saving youth sports Wed, 21 May 2014 14:24:34 +0000 Joe Epstein 1139535 at 7 Ways to Help Your Parents Save Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-help-your-parents-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use </em><a href=""><em>Skype Credit</em></a><em> to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</em></p> <p>It can be difficult to have financial conversations with your parents as they get older. Maybe your family never really talked about money, or maybe your parents don&rsquo;t want to discuss their financial life because they feel like they&rsquo;d be giving up part of their independence. Whatever the reason, it can make talking about money &mdash; and offering financial help &mdash; difficult.</p> <p>One thing that can make offering assistance easier is helping in ways that don&rsquo;t involve giving your parents money, housing, or other big things they might feel uncomfortable accepting. From helping them find discounts to offering technical assistance, here are seven easy ways you can help your parents save money.</p> <h3>1. Educate Them About Financial Scams</h3> <p>Many scammers target senior citizens &mdash; and older people can have a difficult time recognizing scams, even if they aren&rsquo;t suffering from dementia. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, there are several <a href="">scams that target the elderly</a>, from fake work-at-home training to scammers claiming to be grandchildren in trouble.</p> <p>Educate your parents about the different types of financial scams out there &mdash; <a href="">the government&rsquo;s Stop Fraud website</a> has some great resources. And let your parents know that they can always come to you if they&rsquo;re unsure whether something is real or not &mdash; even if the person who might be scamming them specifically tells them not to talk to anyone else.</p> <h3>2. Review Their Service Contracts With Them</h3> <p>There are a few reasons to look over your parents&rsquo; internet, cell phone, and TV service contracts with them. First of all, they might be on expensive plans that provide more than they need, but not realize it. Look over their usage, and see if they can get by with a less-expensive plan. Secondly, many service providers offer senior discounts. For example, <a href="">in Seattle</a>, cable providers like Comcast and WAVE offer $5 discounts to qualified seniors. Lastly, if your parents are on an Internet or cable plan that used to have an introductory price but is now more expensive, encourage them to call and ask if there are any discounts currently available. Just asking can usually get you back onto promotional pricing.</p> <h3>3. Look for Ways to Reduce Expenses</h3> <p>If your parents aren&rsquo;t sure about what expenses they can cut back on, and they don&rsquo;t have a budget, help them set one up. <a href="">Mint</a> is one of my favorite budgeting and expense monitoring tools &mdash; it automatically pulls in financial information from different financial accounts and tracks spending, so your parents can easily see where their money is going and where they can cut back.</p> <p>There are many ways your parents can reduce expenses without making any sacrifices. For example, if your parents enjoy calling their grandchildren regularly, consider using Skype. We are all familiar with Skype&rsquo;s free software, which allows you to talk to other Skype users for free. But Skype also offers an option called <a href="">Skype Credit</a>, which allows you to call any landline or mobile phone around the world at very low rates (<a href="">see rate information here</a>). The best part about Skype Credit is that there are no long term contracts. You can fill up Skype Credit in $10 increments, so your parents only have to pay for the minutes they need, instead of paying for a flat amount of minutes they might not use. This flexibility is great for older people on a fixed income.</p> <div id="kamidarticle" class="ggnoads" style="text-align:center;"> <div id="kamidarticle-middle-content"><center></p> <!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><div style="width:300px; height:250px;" id="div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0"> <script type='text/javascript'> googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0'); }); </script></div> <p></center></div> </div> <h3>4. Offer to Help Them Sell Possessions They Aren&rsquo;t Using</h3> <p>If your parents live in a house cluttered with things they no longer use, offer to help them sell the items. Have a yard sale together, or help them list items on eBay. You can even offer to do something special with the money you both earn, like taking a small trip together.</p> <h3>5. Make Sure They&rsquo;re Getting All of the Benefits They Can</h3> <p>There are many resources available to senior citizens, and they go beyond just Social Security and Medicare. A great place to start looking for additional benefits is <a href=""></a>. Run by the National Council on Aging, this site helps seniors (and their families) discover benefit programs they might not have known about for food assistance, health care, and more.</p> <h3>6. Make Sure They&rsquo;re Utilizing All the Discounts They Can</h3> <p>There are several discounts for senior citizens, available everywhere from grocery stores to movie theaters. Help your parents research additional opportunities they might not be aware of, and make sure they&rsquo;re signed up for AARP. Membership comes with benefits, information, and a <a href="">bevy of discounts</a> on everything from Kindle book purchases to travel to craft stores.</p> <h3>7. Help Them With Technology</h3> <p>Providing tech support to your parents can be a frustrating experience. But think of it this way &mdash; the few minutes that it takes you to help set up your parents&rsquo; printer could save them a $50 trip to the Geek Squad. If you don&rsquo;t live near your parents, you can still help them out by <a href="">sharing screens over Skype</a>, which allows you to view their computer screen and collaborate, so you can easily help them with things like running virus protection or installing new software without trying to explain it to them over the phone.</p> <p>What are your favorite ways to help your parents save money?</p> <p><em>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use </em><a href=""><em>Skype Credit</em></a><em> to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Help Your Parents Save Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Meg Favreau</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Lifestyle Skype Credit Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:11:46 +0000 Meg Favreau 1131425 at