Art and Leisure http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4802/all en-US 11 Things You Can Do in Philadelphia That You Can't Do Anywhere Else http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/independence-hall-4822654577_de365c1009_z.jpg" alt="independence hall" title="independence hall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="146" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Philadelphia is nestled snugly between the nation's capital and New York City, the largest city in the U.S. Like a middle sibling that's often overshadowed by its other siblings, it's no wonder the city of brotherly love is often overlooked or &mdash; even worse &mdash; gets a bad rap.</p> <p>Despite the fame and illustriousness of its east coast neighbors, this surprisingly large city (it's the fifth largest in the nation) has plenty to boast about. If you're looking to spend a day (or five) in town, check out these 11 things you can only do in Philadelphia. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Recreate Rocky Balboa's Run Up the Steps</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/rocky-steps-6308164330_c0321870ab_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Join the tens of thousands of visitors who trek up the 72 steps to the entrance of the world class <a href="http://www.philamuseum.org">Philadelphia Museum of Art</a>. From the top step, you can enjoy one of the most breathtaking views of the Philadelphia skyline. It's no wonder this gorgeous landmark that has been named the <a href="http://www.uwishunu.com/2011/01/the-philadelphia-museum-of-arts-rocky-steps-named-the-second-most-famous-movie-location-in-the-entire-world/%20">second most famous movie location in the entire world</a>. Once inside, enjoy more than 300,000 works of art, including those from the Renaissance, American, Impressionist, and Modern eras. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas?ref=seealso">9 Fun and Affordable Vacation Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>2. Hang Where the Country's Forefathers Once Dined</h2> <p>Tour a hidden piece of Philadelphia history at <a href="http://woodlandsphila.org/hamilton-mansion/">Hamilton's Mansion</a>, a forgotten treasure tucked away inside the Woodlands Cemetery in University City.</p> <p>Constructed in 1770, the house boasts what may have been one of the finest neoclassical interior spaces of its time, along with sophisticated servant's quarters that were among the first of their kind. &quot;When touring the home,&quot; says Marla McDermott, Chief Experience Officer and Lifestyle Concierge for <a href="http://www.iheartphl.com/">Iheartphl.com</a>, &quot;it's surreal to think that you're standing on the same original wood plank floors where guests like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin once dined. You just can't do that anywhere else.&quot;</p> <h2>3. See the Strangest Medical Oddities Ever</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/mutter-musuem-177439530_6b64c34d46_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>If you've ever wanted to see what a jar of pickled human skin looks like, well, now you can. At the <a href="http://muttermuseum.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/">Mütter Museum of Medical Oddities</a> at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia you can see this and more, including a display of 139 skulls that were collected by a Viennese anatomist in the 1800s; 1300 jars of bottled body parts, cysts, and tumors; and even small slices of Albert Einstein's brain, carefully preserved in glass slides.</p> <h2>4. Visit One of the World's Finest Collections of Impressionist Art</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.barnesfoundation.org">Barnes Foundation</a> houses the vast private art collection of self-made millionaire Albert Barnes. From 1912 until his death in 1951, Barnes collected 19th and 20th century French masterpieces from the most daring artists of the time, including Cézanne, Renoir, Monet, Picasso, and van Gogh. &quot;If you're going to check out only one museum in Philadelphia,&quot; says McDermott, &quot;the Barnes Foundation is a can't miss.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Walk Through the Inside of a Giant Beating Heart</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/franklin-institute-6307641429_f275553e68_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Inside the Franklin Institute Science Museum you can walk through a <a href="https://www.fi.edu/exhibit/giant-heart">beating model heart</a> that's large enough for a person the height of the Statue of Liberty. Also explore a host of permanent and rotating exhibits, including Circus! Science Under the Big Top, 101 Inventions that Changed the World, and a rooftop observatory.</p> <h2>6. Get Spooked at the World's First True Penitentiary</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/eastern-penintentary-9001558044_648f346b20_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>(And yes, it's haunted.)</p> <p>The now vacant <a href="http://www.easternstate.org">Eastern State Penitentiary</a> revolutionized the penal system in 1829 with this imposing prison built to house criminals in solitary confinement. &quot;It's design was so innovative for it's time that it was the inspiration for Alcatraz,&quot; says McDermott. &quot;The prison also once housed famous criminals like Al Capone and Willie Sutton.&quot; Closed since 1971, the prison is now open to tour, year-round. If you really want to get scared, visit in October for <a href="http://www.easternstate.org/halloween">Terror Behind the Walls</a>, one of the most terrifying annual haunted houses you'll ever visit.</p> <h2>7. Take a Stroll Down America's Oldest Residential Street</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Elfreths-Alley-4353709000_3f0162e460_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>People have been living on <a href="http://www.elfrethsalley.org">Elfreth's Alley</a> in Old City since 1728, making it the oldest continually inhabited residential street in the nation. The National Historic Landmark consists of one cobblestone-lined alley that is flanked by Georgian and Federal-style homes and provides a glimpse at how the 18th Century working class smiths, glassblowers, and furniture builders once lived.</p> <h2>8. Eat the World's Best Cheesesteak</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/cheesesteak-3587342833_356fc5907c_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Philly is famous for loading up a freshly baked hoagie roll (See? Where else will you get a hoagie roll but in this fine city?) with thinly sliced rib eye steak and then smothering it with heaps of fried onions and, depending on where you dine, either cheese whiz or melted provolone. Like all fine things, you'll find variations on the original, but this is the gist. <a href="http://dalessandros.com">Dalessandro's</a> in Roxborough is a favorite but explore for yourself with this list of <a href="http://www.visitphilly.com/articles/philadelphia/top-10-spots-for-authentic-philly-cheesesteaks/">top cheesesteak shops</a> in the city. Resistance is futile so come prepared with an elastic waistband. You've been warned.</p> <h2>9. Visit the Nation's First Zoo</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/philadelphia-zoo-3330522255_7345b0565d_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.philadelphiazoo.org/">Philadelphia Zoo</a>, opened in 1874, sits on 42 acres in the middle of the city and is home to 1,300 animals, including many that are rare or endangered. The zoo features a 2.5 acre primate preserve; Big Cat Falls, where visitors can stand eye-to-eye with 12 endangered big cats, separated only by a pane of glass; and a miniature African plain featuring white rhinos, reticulated giraffes, zebras, hippos, and gazelles. Throughout the zoo are statues of endangered animals, constructed completely out of legos. Peacocks and Peahens also roam the zoo freely.</p> <h2>10. See the Birthplace of Our Nation</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/independence-hall-4855689546_9c7a6ce8d8_z.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Philadelphia served as the backdrop for much of our country's battle for independence, and we have the <a href="http://www.visitphilly.com/historic-philadelphia/attractions-in-historic-philadelphia/">landmarks</a> to prove it. Visit Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were created. The first continental congress met at Carpenter's Hall and the American flag was sewn at the Betsy Ross House.</p> <h2>11. Get In Touch With Nature</h2> <p>It's a little known secret to city outsiders but Philadelphia is home to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairmount_Park">largest landscaped urban park</a> in the world. There are 9,200 acres of nature across 63 parks, making it easy to access from almost anywhere in the city. You can go for a stroll, pack a family picnic, or grab your fishing rod for a day in the stocked creek. &quot;Few things beat spending a beautiful afternoon riding along the scenic Schuylkill River Trail, then looping around to Martin Luther King Drive,&quot; says McDermott, &quot;Especially on weekends from April through October, when the road is closed to auto traffic.&quot; <a href="http://www.wheelfunrentals.com/locations/philadelphia">Rent a bike or segway</a> and start exploring.</p> <p><em>Do you know and love Philadelphia? We want to know your favorite spots! Share the love in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this Post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20in%20Philadelphia%20That%20You%20Can%26%23x27%3Bt%20Do%20Anywhere%20Else.jpg&amp;description=11%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20in%20Philadelphia%20That%20You%20Can%26%23x27%3Bt%20Do%20Anywhere%20Else" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20in%20Philadelphia%20That%20You%20Can%27t%20Do%20Anywhere%20Else.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-you-can-do-in-philadelphia-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-sightseeing-on-the-cheap">5 Tips for Sightseeing on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/headaches-begone-5-tips-for-making-airline-travel-easier">Headaches, Begone!: 5 Tips for Making Airline Travel Easier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-road-trips-here-and-there-little-savings-everywhere">Little Road Trips Here and There: Little Savings Everywhere</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel Art and Leisure cheap fun history museums parks philadelphia Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1157690 at http://www.wisebread.com Would You Pay? The Brave New World of Online Music http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-pay-the-brave-new-world-of-online-music <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/would-you-pay-the-brave-new-world-of-online-music" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2565850315_6a74f8b9d0.jpg" alt="Music" title="Music is my religion" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="157" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've been anywhere on the internet over the last several years, you've probably heard about the difficulties music companies are having in getting people to pay for the music they download. In fact, you may have downloaded &quot;free&quot; music yourself or at least been tempted to try it.</p> <p>Now there's a new idea on the horizon to get people to pay for the music they download. There's talk about building a &quot;Foursquare for music,&quot; to quote venture capitalist Tim Chang. The gist is pretty simple &mdash; make listening to and downloading music into a game, like Foursquare has done with going to places in the neighborhood. Users will earn awards, badges, and achievements for the music they listen to and download from the site (for a fee, of course), and their friends will be notified of these. Users may also be eligible for a small sum when someone downloads a song or playlist they suggest.</p> <p>On the one hand, this seems like a pretty obvious gimmick to get people to pay for music. Who really cares about a badge on the computer screen, especially when it cost you the price of several albums to get it? Are people really going to fall for something like this?</p> <p>On the other hand, look at how many people play games like MafiaWars, FarmVille, and more on social networks like Facebook. If people can be convinced to care about the health of their fake online strawberry patch, maybe the iconic little badges will be enough to encourage them to buy music. In fact, the more I think about this idea, the more I think it just might work. Here's why.</p> <p><strong>It appeals to people who care about what others think of their musical tastes.</strong> While people of all ages download music illegally, the most likely culprits are high school and college students. However, these are the age groups that also care the most about what their peers think of them. If they can advertise their musical tastes by winning titles, badges and awards for them, they might be willing to pay.</p> <p><strong>Social networking is more powerful than it seems like it should be.</strong> When Facebook was started in a dorm room, who ever thought it would be the internet power that it is today, yet here we are. There's something about connecting with others online that seems to draw us in, even if we don't particularly want to be drawn. I can't tell you how many friends I have on Facebook who once refused to join. Who's to say the same won't happen with music, over time?</p> <p><strong>People are suckers for making &quot;easy&quot; money.</strong> Part of the scheme behind a social network focused on music would probably be financial rewards for listeners when someone downloaded one of their playlists. While the kickback will probably be relatively small, even that is enough to draw a lot of people in. Look at how many people voluntarily do tasks from Amazon's Mechanical Turk, where the payouts are positively minuscule. If there's a chance of making money, most likely there will be plenty of takers.</p> <p>None of this is to say that such an online gamble would succeed, just that it could. What do you make of this type of social network? Would it draw you in? Would you pay?</p> <p>Kudos to <a href="http://pitchfork.com/features/poptimist/7783-poptimist-27/">Pitchfork's Poptimist</a>, where I first heard about this intriguing possibility.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-pay-the-brave-new-world-of-online-music">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/magazines-for-free-or-cheap">Magazines for Free or Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disneyland-on-the-sort-of-cheap">Disneyland on the (Sort of) Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-easy-halloween-costumes-for-kids">Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-entertainment-all-over-town">Free entertainment all over town</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-all-you-readers-out-there">For all you Readers out there</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Art and Leisure Music download social networking Thu, 08 Apr 2010 13:00:09 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 6327 at http://www.wisebread.com The Underground Guide to International Volunteering (Review) http://www.wisebread.com/the-underground-guide-to-international-volunteering-review <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-underground-guide-to-international-volunteering-review" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/volunteer ebook pidc.gif" alt="The Underground Guide to International Volunteering" title="The Underground Guide to International Volunteering" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="304" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wanted to volunteer internationally, but not known where to start? Or have you performed an online search, only to discover that all the &ldquo;volunteer&rdquo; opportunities cost thousands of dollars to participate in? There are indeed opportunities to volunteer for less (or even for free)&hellip;you just have to find them.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nerdynomad.com/volunteering"><strong>The Underground Guide to International Volunteering</strong></a><strong> will help you discover what sort of volunteer you are, what you might like to do, and where to find the volunteer opportunities that will make you sing.</strong></p> <p>International Volunteering is an increasingly popular way to spend a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/america-is-the-no-vacation-nation">vacation</a>. Whether you want a fully organized all-inclusive vacation that includes both volunteering and tourist activities, or if you simply want to show up and lend a helping hand, you can find something that will put your talents to use &mdash; and good use.</p> <p>Kirsty Henderson (the author) is a Canadian who has lived abroad since 2001 and volunteered in one capacity or another since 1998. After amassing volunteer experience in a variety of locations and manners, she has developed an alliance with Hands On Disaster Response and is currently in Haiti to &mdash; of course &mdash; volunteer in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.</p> <p>Before getting into the nitty gritty of volunteer opportunities in the ebook, Kirsty first sets the scene by outlining the different types of volunteering, and the sorts of people who thrive on each. Although she has her biases, she also does an excellent job of presenting all the information fairly and thoroughly.</p> <p>For example, even though fee-based volunteer programs (the kind where you pay up to $1,000/week to volunteer) aren&rsquo;t Kirsty&rsquo;s favorite, she does an excellent job of citing why they exist, who they are for, exactly where all those fees go, and why you might want to participate. She even compares various pay-to-volunteer companies and search platforms, enabling readers who are interested in these opportunities to find what they are looking for without being ripped off.</p> <p>International Volunteering can be a touchy subject for some people. Kirsty addresses some of the criticisms towards international volunteering by answering common questions about whether international volunteers help or hinder communities they visit.</p> <p>The book is punctuated with profiles of volunteers with various backgrounds and volunteering experience. It&rsquo;s not all rosy and perfect either, which I appreciate. Volunteering is tough stuff &mdash; I know from my own experience in <a href="http://theprofessionalhobo.com/category/burma-cyclone-relief/">Thailand</a> and <a href="http://theprofessionalhobo.com/category/victorian-bush-fires/">Australia</a>.</p> <p>Just when I get tired of reading rhetoric about volunteering, Kirsty spices it up with a gotta-bookmark-this-page list or comparison of organizations/web sites for researching volunteer opportunities. She has done her research (much of it personally or through word of mouth), and vetted these opportunities for the good ones.</p> <p>Kirsty includes fabulous tips on how to manage the emotional and physical tolls, and how to make yourself as comfortable as possible in the trenches of volunteering. Interestingly, packing for a volunteer trip is different than packing as you would for a vacation or backpacking trip, and she goes into what sorts of things you want to consider.</p> <p>And if for nothing else, then the last few pages of this ebook alone are worth the purchase price. This is the section where worldwide free or cheap volunteer organizations are profiled. Kirsty more often than not either knows the founders, knows former volunteers, or has personal experience with these organizations, which adds a personal and testimonial element that instills additional confidence. And Kirsty welcomes new additions to the list by inviting readers to advise her of them, so she can update this e-book to improve the listings and keep them current.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re sitting on the fence about whether or not to get this book, allow me to sweeten the deal: <strong>I have no vested or affiliate interest in selling copies of this ebook. This is because Kirsty is already sharing her profits; she is on a mission to raise $10,000 for <a href="http://www.hodr.org">Hands On Disaster Response</a>, and is using 50% of the profits of this ebook to do so.</strong></p> <p>So if you&rsquo;re feeling altruistic, then pick up a copy of <a href="http://www.nerdynomad.com/volunteering">The Underground Guide to International Volunteering</a> and not only prepare for your own volunteer mission, but also contribute to a worthy volunteer cause.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nerdynomad.com/volunteering"><strong>The Underground Guide to International Volunteering</strong></a><br /> <strong>Pages:</strong> 63<br /> <strong>Price:</strong> $14</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-underground-guide-to-international-volunteering-review">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-costa-rica-lesson-awwwwwww-they-got-me">The Costa Rica Lesson: Awwwwwww They Got Me</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-a-budget-travel-expert-beth-whitman-here-to-answer-your-questions">Ask a Budget Travel Expert: Beth Whitman Here To Answer Your Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Travel Art and Leisure book review ebook volunteering Tue, 06 Apr 2010 13:00:08 +0000 Nora Dunn 6234 at http://www.wisebread.com Tips for Sounder Sleep at Hotels http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-sounder-sleep-at-hotels <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tips-for-sounder-sleep-at-hotels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4296103727_7960812b45.jpg" alt="motel sign" title="motel sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've always wondered why libraries are the sanctum sanctorum of peace and quiet, yet hotels seem to be boisterous hubs of noisy activity. If libraries inspire quiet contemplation and study, shouldn't hotels offer a peaceful atmosphere for a few hours of sleep? It's as if no thought went into the science of silence when most hotels were designed and constructed. Paper-thin walls shake when the doors slam, elevators beep to announce their arrival, utility carts rattle up and down hallways. Add to that a rise in business travel, growth of discount hotel chains, our society's love affair with cell phones and car alarms, and you'd be hard-pressed to find any quiet oasis through the din of life on the road. After nearly two decades of business and leisure travel, coupled with a natural disposition towards insomnia, I've refined my strategy for carving out a bit of rest against the odds.</p> <h3>1. Half the battle is packing a good offense.</h3> <p>Travel with the right supplies. I never head anywhere overnight without earplugs &mdash; nothing fancy, just the disposable foam kind that you can get in multiple pairs at most department or drug stores. They come in handy at 6:00 a.m. when you want to sleep just a bit longer, but early-bird travelers are wrangling the kids in the hallway, or later, when the housekeeping staff start knocking on your neighbor's door to start the cleaning routine. Earplugs don't kill all the sound (you'll still hear your wake-up call), but work perfectly to dull most background noise.</p> <p>If you're a light sleeper like me, but don't have earplugs handy, create white noise by turning on just the fan to the AC/heating unit. I've even made a &quot;Sleep&quot; playlist on my laptop to keep nature sounds running in a loop until morning if I'm worried about guests that go bump in the night.</p> <h3>2. Once you're defensively prepped, it's time to scout out the best hotel.</h3> <p>If you're on the road and looking for lodging in real-time, there are a few clues that can spell trouble. First, look for hotels with pools or fun-centers for kids &mdash; and avoid them! In my experience, pools equal wet squealing children running in the hallways while their parents (just as loudly) admonish them for said squealing and running. This atmosphere is great for Disneyland in August, but less so if you're trying to recover from a six-hour flight.</p> <p>Keep an eye out for commercial utility vehicles or contractor vehicles parked outside. This usually indicates that the hotel is being used as a temporary home-base for a road crew or construction team working on a nearby project. These folks are early risers, so expect a lot of activity around 6:00 a.m. and a bit of lively camaraderie during the off-hours.</p> <h3>3. Once you've chosen your hotel, it's time to request your room.</h3> <p>Speak up and don't be afraid to let the clerk know that you'd prefer the quietest location available. Just a few extra minutes at check-in can make all the difference. Let's face it, most modern hotel rooms are about as sound-proof as a shipping crate. I always make sure to avoid rooms that are:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Near the lobby.</strong> Late night or early morning check-ins, shift changes, and phone calls aren't conducive to sound sleep.</li> <p></p> <li><strong>Near the dining room.</strong> I don't want to share in the morning fun of kids at the waffle machine.</li> <p></p> <li><strong>Near the elevator.</strong> Too much foot traffic, and you'd be surprised how loud those elevator arrival tones sound at 3:00 a.m.</li> <p></p> <li><strong>Near the ice machine or vending machines.</strong> This almost goes without saying. There's no fate worse than trying to drift off while ice machine cranks out another batch into a guest's plastic bucket/percussion instrument.</li> <p></p> <li><strong>Near the parking lot or with windows facing the parking lot.</strong> Headlight strobes, slamming car doors, car alarm activation tones all make for a very long night.</li> <p></p> <li><strong>Near any loading dock or garbage collection area.</strong> That's not the kind of wake-up call anyone wants.</li> </ul> <p>The top floor is typically the safest bet for a quiet night; at least you won't have anyone above you flushing the toilet, kicking off shoes or serenading you with a deviated septum. Upper floors can also dampen some street-level noise in congested urban areas.</p> <h3>4. Once settled in my room, I always just post the &quot;Do Not Disturb&quot; sign for my entire stay.</h3> <p>It's easier than trying to remember to post it each night before bed. I'll trade the surplus of fresh towels for the assurance that I won't be prematurely woken by the housekeeping staff.</p> <p>A good night's sleep might be harder to come by while on the road these days, but with a little planning and fortitude, you can at least have a fighting chance. Until hotels realize that simple silence is as important as shower caps, ironing boards, and mini-bars, we each have to keep fighting for our own little sanctuaries. Sleep well...and hope the faucet doesn't drip.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ftips-for-sounder-sleep-at-hotels&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FTips%20for%20Sounder%20Sleep%20at%20Hotels.jpg&amp;description=Tips%20for%20Sounder%20Sleep%20at%20Hotels" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Tips%20for%20Sounder%20Sleep%20at%20Hotels.jpg" alt="Tips for Sounder Sleep at Hotels" width="250" height="374" /></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Kentin Waits. Kentin has worked in web marketing for 13 years and run his own eBay business for 10.&nbsp; In 2009 he published two articles for Backwoods Home Magazine and is currently working on a page-a-day desk calendar on the topic of financial empowerment.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-sounder-sleep-at-hotels">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-travel-accommodations">Save Money on Travel Accommodations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Become a Frequent Flyer Master and Earn a Free Flight Every Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel Art and Leisure hotels sleep Thu, 01 Apr 2010 17:00:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 6095 at http://www.wisebread.com Magazines for Free or Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/magazines-for-free-or-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/magazines-for-free-or-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mags.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-dealista-file"> <div class="field-label">Dealista MP3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://media.blubrry.com/dealista/traffic.libsyn.com/dealista/dealista029_magazines.mp3" target="_blank">Dealista #29: How to Save Money on Magazines</a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This article shares tips from the newest episode of </em><a href="http://dealista.quickanddirtytips.com/"><em>Dealista</em></a><em>, our podcast that'll help you get more for less.</em></p> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to justify spending cover price for magazines &mdash; ever. That&rsquo;s why we recommend that you don&rsquo;t. If you&rsquo;d still like to read your favorite issues (and borrowing them from the library is something that doesn&rsquo;t appeal to you), then go ahead and subscribe. Just follow our tips to be sure you get all your subscriptions for far less than newsstand prices.</p> <h3>How to Get Magazines for Free</h3> <p>The ultimate solution is to pay nothing for your magazines. No trial subscriptions, no credit-card needed, no money ever. This is how I currently get about half of my best magazines. The key is to know where to look, and to expect that you won&rsquo;t always find a free offer when you really need it (If you&rsquo;re set to run out of your favorite subscription, you most likely won&rsquo;t be getting a freebie in time to keep it coming.) If you like a bit of unpredictability, or would like to try some new genres of magazines, then freebies is the way to go.</p> <p>In addition to checking out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bestdeals/today">Daily Deals</a> for freebies, I suggest visiting <a href="http://www.dealseekingmom.com/">Deal Seeking Mom</a>, <a href="http://www.consumerqueen.com/">ConsumerQueen</a>, or <a href="http://moneysavingmom.com/">Money Saving Mom</a>, and looking for their magazine deals. They&rsquo;ll most likely direct you to some of the major free fulfillment sites, including:</p> <p><a href="http://rewardsgold.com/">RewardsGold.com</a> &mdash; You can&rsquo;t sign up for a freebie through this site without a direct link or invitation (registration isn&rsquo;t open to everyone). But once you&rsquo;ve found an offer on a freebie board, you very likely to get the magazine you sign up for. You&rsquo;ll have to answer a few questions on shopping preferences (what kind of perfume you use, for example), and provide your mailing info. Once you&rsquo;ve done this, the mags are almost certain to come. I&rsquo;ve gotten <em>TV Guide</em>, <em>Newsweek</em>, <em>Woman's Day</em>, <em>Parents</em>, and <em>Ladies Home Journal</em> through this site with no money out of pocket.</p> <p><a href="http://www.mercurymagazines.com/pr1/100/10000">Mercury Magazines</a> &mdash; Another company mentioned frequently on freebies and deals sites, these go very quickly! Answer questions about your line of work (putting down homemaker should still get you in), and provide your mailing info to be eligible. Visiting the home page may get you various digital offers at any time, but the best magazines (like the recent <em>Fitness</em> offering) are found through exclusive links only.</p> <p><a href="http://www.valuemags.com/freeoffer/thankyoumain.asp">ValueMags</a> &mdash; This site is another one that freebie boards mention frequently. Check out their offer main page to see if any good digital magazines are being offered &mdash; while you wait for good print magazines to pop up!</p> <h3>How to Get the best Magazine Deals Online</h3> <p>Sometimes you&rsquo;ll still need to cough up some cash to get the magazines you REALLY want. That&rsquo;s OK, as long as you go through the publisher as the last resort and never agree to pay full price. Here are my favorite discount dealers.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fmagazines%2Fb%3Fie%3DUTF8%26node%3D599858%26ref_%3Dsa%5Fmenu%5Fmagazines0&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957">Amazon.com</a> &mdash; Offering just about every magazine available, it often has great $5 and $10 subscription deals. Don&rsquo;t forget, you can always add magazine subscriptions to any existing merchandise order to total $25 &mdash; and score free shipping!</p> <p><a href="http://www.bestdealmagazines.com/">Best Deal Magazines</a> &mdash; I&rsquo;ve used this service many times. Most of their magazines are marked down into &ldquo;buckets&rdquo; of $4.69, $5.95, and under $10. They also offer gift cards, which is perfect for giving someone a magazine gift, when you&rsquo;re not quite sure if they&rsquo;re more <em>Maxim</em> or <em>Martha Stewart Living</em>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.magazinepricesearch.com/">Magazine Price Search</a> &mdash; This useful search tool allows you to type in the name of any magazine for a price comparison across several magazine sites. (Hint: This is especially useful if you are looking for a specialty magazine that is not offered on very many sites.) It will also tell you which sites DON&rsquo;T carry the title.</p> <h3>How to Negotiate Your Existing Magazine Subscription</h3> <p>One of the best ways to save on magazines, especially those you already subscribe to, is to negotiation pricing from the distributor directly. Getting those renewal calls can be annoying, or you can turn them into an opportunity to talk them down on price. Remember, they want your business!</p> <p>Your wiggle room will vary by company, and some will want to lock you into a several-year deal, but usually you can ask for up to 50% off the asking price for a 2-3 year renewal. Perfect for those who know that they will definitely want 48 more issues of <em>Car and Driver</em> and don&rsquo;t want to pay full price.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.com</em></p> <p><em><a href="http://dealista.quickanddirtytips.com">Dealista</a> is a collaboration between Wise Bread and <a href="http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/">Quick and Dirty Tips</a>, the producer of popular podcasts such as <a href="http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/">Grammar Girl</a>, <a href="http://moneygirl.quickanddirtytips.com/">Money Girl</a>, <a href="http://winninginvestor.quickanddirtytips.com/">Winning Investor</a>, and <a href="http://mightymommy.quickanddirtytips.com/">Mighty Mommy</a>.</em></p> <p><em>If you enjoyed these tips you can find more in <a href="http://dealista.quickanddirtytips.com">our show's archive</a>.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/magazines-for-free-or-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-more-places-to-buy-sell-and-trade-books">17 More Places to Buy, Sell, and Trade Books</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-appliances-at-any-time-of-year">Save Money on Appliances at any Time of Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-the-best-fall-and-holiday-travel-deals">7 Ways to Get the Best Fall and Holiday Travel Deals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-gift-giving-for-the-truly-broke">14 Gift Ideas for the Truly Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Shopping Art and Leisure bargains cover price dealista magazines Sun, 21 Mar 2010 17:00:06 +0000 Linsey Knerl 5948 at http://www.wisebread.com Teach Your Way Around the World http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-way-around-the-world <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/teach-your-way-around-the-world" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sunrise.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&rsquo;re itching to hit the road, but can&rsquo;t find the funds to do it. Still, you have some unexpected, maybe unwanted, free time on your hands and an urge to see the world. Now&rsquo;s the time to check out the teaching abroad scene. Loads of jobs await in places near and far. From just across the border in Mexico to the furthest reaches of the Polynesian Islands, opportunities abound. All you have to do is get a few key elements in order and you can be off on the adventure of a lifetime.</p> <p><strong>Bachelor&rsquo;s Degree</strong></p> <p>Having a Bachelor&rsquo;s degree is the first step to hitting the road as an English instructor. In fact, in many cases, whether you have one or not will determine if you are even eligible to teach in a particular country. Some places, such as South Korea and Japan, require only a Bachelor&rsquo;s degree and no other ESL teaching certification. So once you polish off this degree, you&rsquo;re well on your way. It doesn&rsquo;t even matter what subject you study, although if you have a degree in Education or English Teaching, it could give you a boost in an employer&rsquo;s eyes.</p> <p><strong>English Teaching Certification</strong></p> <p>Other countries, such as Vietnam and Indonesia, require additional training. For Vietnam, you have to have a TEFL, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, certification. While you may be able to find a job without one, it&rsquo;s more difficult and you have less access to the higher paying gigs. Working your way through the maze of certification programs can be a true challenge. Best option? Choose the country or culture you&rsquo;d like to immerse yourself in and research what you need to do to get there.</p> <p>If you already know where you want to go, sweet! You can browse through programs for <a href="http://www.oxfordseminars.com/">TEFL</a>, <a href="http://www.english-international.com/CELTA.html">CELTA</a>, or <a href="http://www.tesoltraining.net/">TESOL</a> certification programs and get to it. Go for the hands on, face-to-face courses and avoid the online ones, which employers don&rsquo;t regard very highly. It shouldn&rsquo;t take you more than a month or so part-time to polish off a course.</p> <p><strong>Sweet Spots</strong></p> <p>Once you&rsquo;re all schooled up and certified, you can get straight to the job hunt. Excellent places to start are <a href="http://www.eslcafe.com/">Dave&rsquo;s ESL Café</a>, especially if you&rsquo;re interested in teaching in Korea, China and other parts of Asia. <a href="http://www.tefl.com/">TEFL.com </a>also offers a wealth of opportunities around the world, as does <a href="http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/esl/index.shtml">Transitions Abroad</a>. And those are just a few of the sites around. Search around and see what else you can find.</p> <p>For more formalized experiences and the support of an established organization, you can check out the <a href="http://www.peacecorps.gov/">Peace Corps</a>, <a href="http://www.jetprogramme.org/">JET in Japan</a>, Georgetown University&rsquo;s <a href="http://elf.georgetown.edu/">English Language Fellow Program</a>, or even some of the <a href="http://fulbright.state.gov/">Fulbright</a> programs.</p> <p>Some countries, especially places like Taiwan or some places in Eastern Europe, don&rsquo;t respond to applications from afar. It&rsquo;s easier to fly out and make an appearance in person to apply for a job. You&rsquo;re taking a bigger risk by doing that, but if you have the funds and the time for it, it&rsquo;ll give you a chance to see if you like the country and to find an employer you really like.</p> <p><strong>Caveats</strong></p> <p>A downside of finding an ESL teaching job in another country is that you never know what you&rsquo;re going to get when you get there. Sure, the ad sounds great, the interview goes well, and the money looks solid. But be prepared for anything once you hit the ground. Sometimes the housing isn&rsquo;t what was promised or the hours are more than expected.</p> <p>To mediate these challenges, make sure to do as much research as possible beforehand. Hit some job forums like the ones that Dave&rsquo;s ESL Café has, and see if anyone knows about the school you&rsquo;re talking to. Ask the school for the names and email addresses or phone numbers of people who are currently working there or have worked there in the past. Do a few online searches to see what comes up. It never hurts to have more information. It may not change your decision or what happens when you get there, but at least you have a bigger picture idea of what&rsquo;s going on.</p> <p>If you can rustle up a few contacts &ndash; friends of friends of friends or acquaintances who know people in the spot where you&rsquo;re going &ndash; even better. You can get some seriously authentic takes on what to expect and make a few new friends along the way.</p> <p>So get researching and studying. Soon you&rsquo;ll be off on a super adventure, work-cation style. &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sasha-a-rae">Sasha A. Rae</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-way-around-the-world">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-can-travel-with-ease-and-without-guilt">Yes You Can!: Travel With Ease and Without Guilt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-worth-buying-before-heading-overseas">5 Things Worth Buying Before Heading Overseas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips">10 Ways to Get More Out of Business Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-international-vacation-destinations">5 Cheap International Vacation Destinations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/headaches-begone-5-tips-for-making-airline-travel-easier">Headaches, Begone!: 5 Tips for Making Airline Travel Easier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Travel Art and Leisure international travel teaching Thu, 18 Mar 2010 14:00:02 +0000 Sasha A. Rae 5893 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Plan Your Garden http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-your-garden <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-plan-your-garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3646621989_8cffca015f.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our family has made a major <a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/26/when-our-grapes-come-in/">life change</a> in leaving the corporate world to begin a vineyard in west Texas. With a large family (10 children, 8 still at home) living on savings until our house in Alabama sells, frugal living is a necessity. Having never been a gardener, I have learned from those who have had successful gardens by asking many questions. One piece of advice repeated many times is the importance of planning before starting.</p> <p>So, here it is, time to start thinking about and planning your spring and summer vegetable garden! Yes, it is still cold outside, but now is the time to begin. Before we know it, we will be having fresh-from-the-garden produce, fresh tomato sandwiches, and fresh cucumbers and...I know what you are thinking, to get to that point there is a lot of hard work. But, even before the hard work comes the all-important planning stage. There are several factors to consider before planting your garden.</p> <h3>Space Availability</h3> <p>One consideration when beginning to plan is the amount of space which is available for your garden area. If space is limited, priority should be given to family favorite vegetables which would afford the most savings. If space is not an issue, then what vegetables does your family enjoy? Which do you like to eat and cook!</p> <h3>Growing Zone</h3> <p>Certain plants are adapted to particular areas of the country more so than others. Charts are available from various seed companies and on the backs of individual seed packets. These charts specify in which growing zone that particular seed grows well. These growing zones are based on temperatures, daylight hours, and general climate. It is important when making your selection to keep in mind your growing zone.</p> <h3>Seeds vs. Plants</h3> <p>Do I buy seeds or plants? In many instances, time is a key factor in deciding between seeds and plants. Some seeds may be sown directly into your garden soil. Others must be started indoors and once established, transplanted to your garden. These seedlings must be started early enough to be transplanted in a timely manner to your garden (usually after all danger of frost is past). Although more expensive, if indoor space for starting seeds is limited and time is short, plants are probably the better choice.</p> <h3>Where to Purchase</h3> <p>Once you decide upon seeds, plants, or a combination, the decision must be made as to where to purchase them. Local stores often carry seeds and plants specific to your local growing area. They may also be ordered from various companies. The advantages of ordering from a &ldquo;seed company&rdquo; are several. They deal exclusively with products specific to gardening thus the quality tends to be better. Also, often their customer service is available to answer any questions you may have and guide you in your decisions so that you will be a loyal satisfied customer. Once satisfied with service, you will be a returning customer.</p> <h3>Experience</h3> <p>Have you ever gardened before? If not, you might want to start small with easy to grow vegetables such as <a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/22/pumpkins-pumpkins-and-more-pumpkins/">pumpkins</a>, squash, <a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/31/the-last-pickin/">tomatoes</a>, cucumbers, corn, and beans. I had no experience, but asked questions of those who did. As a result, I had a large successful garden which has provided food for our family.</p> <h3>Resources</h3> <p>Search out resource persons among your friends, family and acquaintances. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Most people are more than happy to provide information about a subject they are familiar with and even expert in. Read books on the subject of gardening. These are readily available at your local library, bookstores, and online. Another great resource is your local county extension agent. They often have quality information on all areas of gardening and are also willing to answer questions.</p> <h3>Crop Rotation</h3> <p>Crop rotation is generally thought of in relation to the large farmer. However, it is also important to the backyard gardener also. Some plants are more susceptible to certain insects and viruses. Rotating the crops discourages these from being harbored in an unnatural concentration. An example of this is the squash bug. Different crops also use nutrients from the soil in different amounts. Rotating the crops helps prevent soil depletion.</p> <p>Are you ready to get started planning your garden?</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Dina-Marie. She can be found at <a href="http://dimes2vines.com/">Dimes2Vines</a> where she shares her family's adventures starting a vineyard in west Texas. Read more by Dina-Marie:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/11/05/fit-to-be-or-not-to-be/">Fit - &quot;To Be or Not to Be&quot;</a></li> <li><a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/26/when-our-grapes-come-in/">When Our Grapes Come In...</a></li> <li><a href="http://dimes2vines.com/2009/10/27/how-do-you-do-it/">How Do You Do It?</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dina-marie">Dina Marie</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-your-garden">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-gift-giving-for-the-truly-broke">14 Gift Ideas for the Truly Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-travel-with-postcard-fun">Free Travel With Postcard Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/use-beer-to-get-rid-of-pests">Use Beer to Get Rid of Pests</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Art and Leisure garden planning gardening Tue, 09 Mar 2010 15:00:02 +0000 Dina Marie 5704 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Learn a Language http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-learn-a-language <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-learn-a-language" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000005769347XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&rsquo;re ready to hit the trails and soak up all the cultures the world has to offer&hellip;but you have no clue how to say please, no thanks, or can I have a steaming cup of strong coffee straight up. You slide into a mild panic about being overcharged for your hotel room or thinking you&rsquo;re ordering kidney beans only to end up with a steaming platter of sautéed kidneys. True story. It happened to me in China &mdash; me and my <em>Pimsleur</em> dictionary. It&rsquo;s not the dictionary&rsquo;s fault, though. Its job is to cough up words for me, not show me how to use them. Still, lunch that day was a very illuminating experience!</p> <p>The best way to avoid these kinds of situations is to tune up your language skills or at least get the basics down before you step on the plane. Here are some places you can get language lessons, from free to pricey.</p> <h3>Livemocha</h3> <p>A great place to start is at <a href="http://www.livemocha.com/">Livemocha</a>. This online language paradise offers you a community of foreign language speakers, a wealth of online lessons and a great introductory quiz that lets you know what level you&rsquo;re at and what class would fit you the best. I love it.</p> <p>You can sign up for the free service, log in and start doing lessons immediately. The service relies on other members to check your work and, in exchange, you proof the work of other learners. You can also record audio and get feedback from a native speaker. The paid service offers more in-depth courses.</p> <h3>BBC</h3> <p>Another choice spot for language acquisition is the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/">BBC</a>. They offer a host of language lessons you can use online or download them for use at home. They also send out weekly emails and updates in the language of your choice. Sign up for French or German classes and start receiving podcasts and weekly lessons for three months. The website also has additional materials, such as news sources and crossword puzzles.</p> <h3>Pimsleur</h3> <p>Want to brush up by yourself sans the Web, but still in the low-budget range? Grab some <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-11018676">Pimsleur</a> books and CDs. Not just good for dictionaries, this company has some of the best and easiest to use software around. Grab a set, load it onto your iPod, and get talking. The lessons start with the simplest phrases and work up to more complex ones. Each lesson also incorporates a review of the previous lesson. You might be able to find these at your local library. If not, you can buy these for around $20 to $25 new.</p> <h3>Rosetta Stone</h3> <p>A more costly do-it-yourself way is the <a href="http://www.rosettastone.com/">Rosetta Stone</a>. This system is super pricey at $220 per packaged set, but noted as wickedly awesome and amazingly effective according to people who have tried it. Based on immersion techniques, Rosetta Stone abandons rote memorization and tedious grammar drills in favor of teaching students how to use the language in real-life settings. Worth checking out if you can.</p> <h3>Groups and Events</h3> <p>For more face-to-face interactions, you can always find a local <a href="http://www.meetup.com/">Meetup</a> group in your area. In Seattle, for instance, I found groups for German, Indonesian, French and Spanish. Places like San Francisco and New York City offer a broader range of language groups, including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic. Or you can start your own group. You never know who else is around wanting to learn the same language.</p> <p><a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/">Yahoo groups</a>, <a href="http://www.facebook.com/">Facebook</a>, and <a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Twitter</a> all offer different pages and sources in foreign language along with a chance to interact with native speakers in the language of your choice. Maybe you can swap language lessons with someone. You teach them English and they teach you French or Chinese. Ask around and see what you find.</p> <p>Otherwise, your local community college, small language schools in your community, or Berlitz are great choices for gaining a few language skills before you take off.</p> <p>So dust off the old books, fire up your neurons and get studying. The world is awaiting your arrival.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sasha-a-rae">Sasha A. Rae</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-learn-a-language">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/theres-a-board-game-out-there-that-will-teach-you-to-be-rich-if-you-can-afford-it">Cashflow: The Board Game That Will Teach You To Be Rich, If You Can Afford It.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-engineer-the-best-time-of-your-life">Reverse engineer the best time of your life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essential-travel-tools">5 Essential Travel Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-series-part-i-bukisa">Write for money online series - Part I - Bukisa</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/search-online-for-a-fix-before-you-toss-that-broken-gadget">Search Online for a Fix before You Toss that Broken Gadget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Art and Leisure foreign language language learning Wed, 03 Mar 2010 17:27:43 +0000 Sasha A. Rae 5587 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Free Things to Do With Your Kindle http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-things-to-do-with-your-kindle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-free-things-to-do-with-your-kindle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/amazonkindlepic.jpg" alt="dog with Kindle" title="I Love My Pit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I&nbsp;received a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2FB0015T963C%2F&amp;tag=myfufufa-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325">Kindle</a><img width="1" border="0" height="1" alt="" style="border: medium none ; margin: 0px;" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=myfufufa-20&amp;l=ur2&amp;o=1" /> ebook reader for Christmas, I was worried that it would prompt me to start spending a lot of money on books. Pre-Kindle, I got most of my reading material from the library, borrowed books from others, or at least bought them used. Since most Kindle books are priced around $9.99, I thought I might be tempted to add an extra $10 a month to my entertainment budget.</p> <p>I was delighted to learn that there are lots of free things to do with my Kindle. So far the only actual cash I have spent on the thing? $27 for a cute case from <a href="http://www.etsy.com">Etsy</a>. Here are 10 free things I&nbsp;discovered I could do with my Kindle.</p> <h3>1. Browse books on Amazon.</h3> <p>One of my favorite activities in the world is to linger in a bookstore, picking up new and old titles and reading a few pages here, a few pages there. Now that I have three kids, it's something I almost <em>never</em> get to do. One thing that I realized shortly after getting my Kindle was that this thing <em>is</em> a bookstore &mdash; one I can step into at any time of the day or night. The Kindle can download a free sample of any book on offer, and these samples are usually one or more chapters in length! I absolutely adore sitting down to breastfeed my son and checking out a new book I heard about on NPR that day &mdash; without paying a cent and without even using two hands!</p> <h3>2. Download and read public domain works.</h3> <p>There are multiple places to download free books formatted for the Kindle, but the easiest place to start is Amazon.com. Simply go to the Kindle books page and sort prices from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=1267406538/ref=sr_st?rs=154606011&amp;page=1&amp;bbn=154606011&amp;rh=n%3A133140011%2Cn%3A!133141011%2Cn%3A154606011&amp;sort=price">low to high</a><img width="1" border="0" height="1" alt="" style="border: medium none ; margin: 0px;" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=myfufufa-20&amp;l=ur2&amp;o=1" />. You'll find a hodgepodge of classics (so far I've downloaded and read Jane Austen's<em> Northanger Abbey</em> and Joseph Conrad's <em>Heart of Darkness</em>) and oddities like ancient issues of the Atlantic Monthly. I think these have been converted to Kindle format by volunteers. So far I have no complaints about the formatting and had no trouble reading them. There are also <a href="http://ireaderreview.com/2008/01/19/free-books-for-the-amazon-kindle/">millions of free books</a> available from sites other than Amazon.</p> <h3>3. Check your email.</h3> <p>Free access to email and the Web&nbsp;is actually the top reason I&nbsp;wanted a Kindle. Kindles access wireless networks wherever you are, just like an iPhone or Blackberry. But unlike those devices, you don't have to pay any data fees when checking your email on your Kindle. The downside is that my Yahoo Mail and Gmail look pretty crappy on Kindle, the speed is low&nbsp;and navigating is cumbersome. To try it on your own Kindle, simply hit the Menu button, select Experimental from the menu, then select Basic Web. You'll find a Web browser into which you can type the URL of your Web-based email.</p> <h3>4. Read blogs.</h3> <p>You can pay to subscribe to blogs on Kindle, but why? The Web browser makes it quite easy to type in the address of your blog, and while the format doesn't look perfect, it's not bad either.</p> <h3>5. Get directions and do everything else that one does with mobile Internet.</h3> <p>You can access Google Maps to get turn-by-turn directions, or really look up anything on the entire Internet. You get the idea.</p> <h3>6. Look words up in the dictionary.</h3> <p>Kindle has a built-in New Oxford American Dictionary. To search it even when you're not reading, hit Menu, then select &quot;Search.&quot; You'll be given a text window and the options of looking up what you type in the dictionary, Wikipedia, the books on your Kindle, the Amazon store, or just Google.</p> <h3>7. Listen to your mp3s.</h3> <p>OK, the Kindle makes for a dorky-looking music player, but what the heck? It's the word nerd's iPod. The mp3 function is also under the &quot;Experimental&quot; menu option. (Also, this is not free but you can subscribe to Audible.com and listen to audiobooks on Kindle as well.)</p> <h3>8. Read your own files.</h3> <p><a href="http://ireaderreview.com/2008/01/18/how-to-view-pdf-files-on-the-kindle/">This site</a> has instructions for transferring PDFs to your Kindle &mdash; you can have them converted to Kindle format or just transfer them as PDFs.</p> <h3>9. Buy and read new releases &mdash;<strong> with Swagbucks</strong>.</h3> <p>Recently, I wrote about how I used the <a href="http://swagbucks.7eer.net/c/27771/19503/799">Swagbucks site</a> to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-went-christmas-shopping-with-fake-money">earn Amazon gift certificates for my Christmas shopping</a>. Many of you signed up through <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10967374-1438279993000?sid=ckirby-5534">my affiliate link</a> &mdash; and thanks to you I am getting so many points called SB each day that I can afford to cash some in for Amazon gift cards, which I then spend on Kindle books &mdash; and still have plenty left over to save for next Christmas. Once gift cards are applied to your Amazon account, they will automatically be used to pay for any books you order through your Kindle. It takes about 900 SB (they recently multiplied all SB by 100) to pay for one $9.99 Kindle book, and I'd guess that most people who use Swagbucks for search the Web every day could probably earn enough to buy one book per month.</p> <h3>10. Listen to a story.</h3> <p>Once you have books on your Kindle, you can listen to them as audiobooks for no&amp; additional charge with the text-to-speech function. I&nbsp;found the robot voice surprisingly listenable. I also downloaded a free fairy tale book in case I ever need Kindle to read my kids a story in a pinch.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-things-to-do-with-your-kindle">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-for-answers-in-life-heres-your-key">Looking for Answers in Life? Here&#039;s your Key...</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">How to Travel in Style...For Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Amazon.com Art and Leisure kindle Mon, 01 Mar 2010 14:00:02 +0000 Carrie Kirby 5534 at http://www.wisebread.com Want Free HBO or Showtime? Just Ask. http://www.wisebread.com/want-free-hbo-or-showtime-just-ask <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/want-free-hbo-or-showtime-just-ask" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2507062583_1d4a8a0226.jpg" alt="HBO" title="HBO" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Premium channels come with premium prices. Usually, between $10 and $20 a month, depending on the channel and your cable/satellite company. But here's something that applies across the board. They're usually available for free.</p> <p>I used to be employed by one of the big premium channels, and I can tell you right now that there are ALWAYS deals going on. The basic idea is one that drug dealers and razor blade companies alike will use time and again &mdash; get you hooked with a free sample, and then hope you come back for more later on, at full price of course. So, they'll do deals with you, via your cable/satellite company, to try them for free. Many people will cancel after the free period (this is called &quot;churn&quot; in the biz) but a good percentage will stick around because they like it, or they forget to cancel it. The latter is the most common reason.</p> <p>Right now in my zip code all FIVE premium channels have something special going on. I just got my mother-in-law a great deal &mdash; six months of HBO for free from Comcast. And all I had to do was call and ask for it. In this digital day and age, activation is instant and can be done remotely. Ten minutes after reading this article, you'll almost certainly have a free premium channel that you didn't have before.</p> <p>Just give your service provider a call, or use live chat if you prefer, and ask what special offers are currently available for the premium channels. If you're met with any kind of resistance, simply tell them that someone you know in the area got a deal for 6 months of free HBO, or Showtime, and then see what happens. As these deals are always going on, you will get offered something.</p> <p>If that fails, then the good old fallback is to say you'd like to cancel your cable or satellite service and go elsewhere. The customer service rep is usually authorized to give you a special offer as part of a &quot;save sale,&quot; which can also net the customer service rep some extra cash for keeping you around as a customer. And it makes good sense. It's far less costly to retain a current customer than to try and find a new one, and it doesn't really cost the service provider, like Comcast, anything to do this. They're already piping the feed through, they just have to turn it on at your end.</p> <p>Give it a try today and see how you do. Remember, insistence and determination is the key. No one wants to give you something for free at the drop of a hat. But a few minutes of your time can get you a few months of free entertainment.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-free-hbo-or-showtime-just-ask">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-night-i-threatened-to-disconnect-my-cable">Last night I threatened to disconnect my cable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-new-years-eve-party-on-a-budget">How To Host A New Year&#039;s Eve Party On A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-ways-to-stream-tv-and-movies-for-free">The 8 Best Ways to Stream TV and Movies for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-will-the-comcastnbc-merger-really-affect-you">How Will The Comcast/NBC Merger Really Affect You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/istopover-earn-extra-income-or-travel-on-the-cheap-and-a-special-promotion-for-wise-bread-readers">iStopOver: Earn Extra Income or Travel on the Cheap, and a Special Promotion for Wise Bread Readers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Art and Leisure cable Cinemax Comcast DirecTV Dish DishNetwork movies Starz Mon, 22 Feb 2010 17:01:43 +0000 Paul Michael 5398 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Essential Travel Tools http://www.wisebread.com/5-essential-travel-tools <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-essential-travel-tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010177837XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="210" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&rsquo;re packing up and moving on out, hitting the trails, expanding your horizons. And you&rsquo;re looking for ways to pare down your belongings to the requisite two pieces of low-weight luggage you&rsquo;re allowed to bring on the plane. Or maybe you&rsquo;re going for the most simplistic of travel styles and tossing it all into a single backpack. No matter which way you do it, there are a few essential tools you have to pack.</p> <h3>Duct Tape</h3> <p>Another more multi-functional travel item has yet to be invented. This gem of a tool operates not only as a lint remover, but a repairer of pretty much any non-electronic item that can break on the road. Got a hole in your luggage? Reinforce it with duct tape on both sides and you&rsquo;re all set. Need more support at the bottom of your pack? Rip your jeans while scaling a mountain in South America somewhere? Duct tape to the rescue. In fact, if you tear anything and aren&rsquo;t worried about having a bit of adhesive stuck to it, this is your easy-to-find, simple-to-pack, and fairly cheap answer.</p> <p><strong>Duct tape. Don&rsquo;t leave home without it.</strong></p> <h3>Wire Hanger</h3> <p>Ranking right up there with duct tape is the wire hanger. It&rsquo;s your basic binding tool for all things mechanical. Zipper on your bag stop working? No worries. Use the wire to poke holes in and out of the fabric and tie it all back together. Exhaust pipe fall out of your old car while you&rsquo;re driving down the highway checking out the California coast? Wire is your buddy, at least until you can get to an auto mechanic. Need to hand wash your clothes and hang them to dry, but drying racks aren&rsquo;t anywhere to be seen? Once again, the wire hanger is there for you. Plus, it&rsquo;s cheap and it can fit into any type of luggage you&rsquo;re using.</p> <p><strong>Bend it, scrunch it, tie it around things. The wire hanger is your traveling friend.</strong></p> <h3>Swiss Army Knife</h3> <p>Not just for the mega-outdoorsy type, this mother of the all-in-one tools comes in handy in several urban settings. Stuck in a room in a remote part of the world with no electricity, no cooked food, and no way to cook the raw stuff you just bought? Crack out the canned goods, whip out your Swiss army knife can opener, and get eating. Got a new pair of shoes that have no traction, causing you to slip and slide all over the nicely slick and impossible to walk on sheets of ice outside? The knife makes a good impromptu sander. Use it to carve some traction into your treads so you can walk tall through town. And, of course, if you do hit the trails, it rocks as the best thing around for cutting up some kindling for a campfire or whittling some wood to roast marshmallows.</p> <p><strong>A Swiss army knife is best tool for all types of travelers. And it fits right in your back pocket.</strong></p> <h3>Hand Sanitizer</h3> <p>Keeping clean on the road can be a challenge. Soap is hard to come by, especially if you&rsquo;re trekking through roads less traveled or hitting up the cheapest bus rides and digs around. Witness the long plane trips around the world where the cushions before and around you seem to be emitting strange and unrecognizable smells or the random and unnerving pit stops the cross-country bus line makes through their less-than-sparkling bus stations. Who knows when that spot was last scrubbed? You don&rsquo;t want to know. And you don&rsquo;t need to &mdash; if you have a bottle of hand sanitizer with you.</p> <p><strong>Sanitize early and often. Your health will thank you for it.</strong></p> <h3>Toilet Paper</h3> <p>You just can't ever be sure that there will be toilet paper where you're going. It's one of those things that you won't ever be sorry you carried.</p> <p><strong>No toilet paper? Bad scene. &lsquo;Nuf said.</strong></p> <p>So stock up, throw it in your luggage and head out. It&rsquo;s time to hit the road.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sasha-a-rae">Sasha A. Rae</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-essential-travel-tools">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/theres-a-board-game-out-there-that-will-teach-you-to-be-rich-if-you-can-afford-it">Cashflow: The Board Game That Will Teach You To Be Rich, If You Can Afford It.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-learn-a-language">5 Ways to Learn a Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-engineer-the-best-time-of-your-life">Reverse engineer the best time of your life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-series-part-i-bukisa">Write for money online series - Part I - Bukisa</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/search-online-for-a-fix-before-you-toss-that-broken-gadget">Search Online for a Fix before You Toss that Broken Gadget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Art and Leisure traveler tools. travel Mon, 15 Feb 2010 17:00:09 +0000 Sasha A. Rae 5257 at http://www.wisebread.com Money Related Traditions for Celebrating Chinese New Year http://www.wisebread.com/money-related-traditions-for-celebrating-chinese-new-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/money-related-traditions-for-celebrating-chinese-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/goodhealth.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is celebrated annually by billions of people around the world. In 2010, New Year's Day falls on February 14th. Here are some of the customs related to money and financial prosperity you may see and hear during the Chinese New Year.</p> <h3>Wealth</h3> <p>One custom enjoyed by all Chinese children is the giving of <em>ya sui qian</em>, which literally means &quot;money to push down your age.&quot; This custom stemmed from a Chinese folklore that states each year there are evil spirits named <em>sui</em> that sickened children, and each family must bribe the spirits with some money to keep them away. These days kids do not worry about the evil spirits, but get the money. Elders generally would give money in little red packets to children as families visit each other in succession. In fact, it's not just children who receive these &quot;red envelopes&quot; but unmarried young adults as well. Once you are married, the tables are turned and you start <a href="http://www.lynntruong.com/chinese-new-year-cash-charity-and-community">handing out red envelopes</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u11/iStock_000002784461XSmall.jpg" /></p> <h3>Prosperity</h3> <p>A common greeting for Chinese New Year is <em>gong xi fa cai</em> in Mandarin or <em>gung hay fat choy</em> in Cantonese. It literally means &quot;congratulations and get wealthy.&quot; Another greeting that is often seen on cards is <em>nian nian you yu</em>, which means &quot;every year there will be extra.&quot; Since the word for &quot;extra&quot; is a homophone of the word for &quot;fish,&quot; New Year feasts usually include fish.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u11/1103891_jpg_c5e27cd2639b6230f4315c1fcaa76ed0.jpg" /></p> <h3>Health</h3> <p>Traditional New Year's food is symbolic of the hope for prosperity in the new year. A popular food item to eat during new year is the dumpling. Although they are eaten all year round, they are a must during the new year because dumplings are usually shaped like gold and silver ingots used in ancient China as currency. Another food eaten for prosperity is a sticky sweet rice cake called <em>nian gao</em>, which is a homophone for the words &quot;year&quot; and &quot;high.&quot; If you are invested in the stock market you definitely would want it to be higher in the new year.</p> <p>Ultimately, Chinese New Year is a celebration of family and friends. It is a time when we get together to wish each other the best for the future, and appreciate the fact that we have survived another year, together. Happy new year everyone!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-related-traditions-for-celebrating-chinese-new-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-alternative-investments-for-long-term-enjoyment-and-appreciation">3 Alternative &quot;Investments&quot; for Long Term Enjoyment and Appreciation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-part-5-your-own-blog-or-website">Write for money online - Part 5 - Your own blog or website</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-attraction">‘Secret’ Attraction</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-for-your-psychic-skills-at-predictify">Get Paid for your Psychic Skills at Predictify</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Art and Leisure chinese new year culture money Thu, 11 Feb 2010 16:00:02 +0000 Xin Lu 5190 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 More Places to Buy, Sell, and Trade Books http://www.wisebread.com/17-more-places-to-buy-sell-and-trade-books <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-more-places-to-buy-sell-and-trade-books" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stockxpertcom_id28250971_jpg_a5c2c06f98d283f7c4dd3ce261e88a42.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-dealista-file"> <div class="field-label">Dealista MP3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://media.blubrry.com/dealista/traffic.libsyn.com/dealista/dealista023_bookless.mp3" target="_blank">Dealista #23: Books for less</a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This article shares tips from the newest episode of </em><a href="http://dealista.quickanddirtytips.com/"><em>Dealista</em></a><em>, our podcast that'll help you get more for less.</em></p> <p>A few weeks ago, Sasha wrote a great article about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/books-are-the-bomb-where-to-get-them">where to find books for less</a>. The post generated so much discussion and suggestions I&nbsp;had to dig into it some more. Here are 17 more places to buy, sell, or trade books.</p> <h2>Trade</h2> <p>Out with the old, in with the new. Swap books with other bookworms online.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php">PaperBack Swap</a></strong> lets you trade your books with others online. Post the books you are willing to swap. Credits for sending books to members who request them. Then use your credits to buy books from other members. All you pay is the postage to send your books to members. With over 3,000 members and 4 millions books, you're sure to make a suitable trade.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://bookmooch.com/">BookMooch</a></strong> also uses a trade-for-points system. Get points when you send a book requested by another member. Use those points to request books for yourself. Give books away. Get books you want. It's that simple.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.swaptree.com/">Swaptree</a></strong> allows you to trade all sorts of things, like books, music, movies, and games. The best part is they match your trades for you. Their super smart algorithm instantly shows you thousands of items you could receive in trade for any item.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.bookins.com/">Bookins</a></strong> is another full-service swap site that arranges the swapping for you. They arrange the trade. Get points for your trade-in and request your trade-out. You don't need to deal directly with other traders.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.novelaction.com/main/">Novel Action</a></strong> allows you to trade without having to wait for someone to select your book. Select any books you want and send them an equal number of your books in exchange. Just pay the flat rate shipping and your exchanges are shipped to you once your books are received.</p> <h2>Buy</h2> <p>Don't have any books you're willing to part with? Check out these sites to buy new, used, or rare, for less!</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.alibris.com/">Alibris</a></strong> offers a large selection (100 million titles) of used, new, out-of-print, and hard-to-find books from their large warehouse or in their network of indie booksellers.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.abebooks.com/">AbeBooks</a></strong> connects thousands of professional booksellers that offer rare, new, and used books.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.a1books.com/">A1Books</a></strong> partners with the top ten major wholesalers and distributors to offer books, media, games, and electronics.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.overstock.com/Books-Movies-Music-Games/Books/9/dept.html">Overstock</a></strong> is better known for their rock bottom prices on clothing and home accessories, but they also has a large selection of books on sale.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/books-used-books-textbooks/b/ref=sa_menu_bo0?ie=UTF8&amp;node=283155&amp;pf_rd_p=328655101&amp;pf_rd_s=left-nav-1&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_i=507846&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_r=1FWS4CCF6GS6ZDG7XB8H">Amazon</a></strong> usually has a good discount on all their books, but their marketplace lets any vendor to compete and offer the same book, used or new. Look for the &quot;More Buying Choices&quot; link to see available offers for any given book.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.ebay.com/">eBay</a></strong> is always a good stopping place when bargain hunting. Don't forget that oftentimes sellers may want to unload an entire collection of books. Make sure to drop by and do a search for your favorite authors and genres to see if there are any bulk offerings.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.hamiltonbook.com/hamiltonbook.storefront">HamiltonBook</a></strong> offers new books at discounted rates. Most books are closeouts or overstocks, but there are also current titles at special prices.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.bookfinder.com/">BookFinder</a></strong> lets you compare prices across many sites for any particular book. Enter the title or ISBN number of the book you're looking for and get a list of all available sellers across various vendors and sites.</p> <h2>Sell</h2> <p>Want to just get some cash for your books? Besides listing them on Amazon and eBay, these are great places to sell your books, too!</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.ckybooks.com/">CKY Books</a></strong> offers instant quotes on your books. Enter the ISBN number and get offers right away. Get paid with PayPal or check and pay zero in shipping costs.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.cash4books.net/">Cash4Books</a></strong> also offers free shipping and fast payment.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://bluerectangle.com/">Blue Rectangle</a></strong> will buy your books as well as DVDs. They also have a ton of book reviews by their users.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://bookscouter.com/">BookScouter</a></strong> tells you which site will give you the very best price for your book!</p> <p><em><a href="http://dealista.quickanddirtytips.com">Dealista</a> is a collaboration between Wise Bread and <a href="http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/">Quick and Dirty Tips</a>, the producer of popular podcasts such as <a href="http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/">Grammar Girl</a>, <a href="http://moneygirl.quickanddirtytips.com/">Money Girl</a>, <a href="http://winninginvestor.quickanddirtytips.com/">Winning Investor</a>, and <a href="http://mightymommy.quickanddirtytips.com/">Mighty Mommy</a>.</em></p> <p><em>If you enjoyed these tips you can find more in <a href="http://dealista.quickanddirtytips.com">our show's archive</a>.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-more-places-to-buy-sell-and-trade-books">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/magazines-for-free-or-cheap">Magazines for Free or Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-the-best-fall-and-holiday-travel-deals">7 Ways to Get the Best Fall and Holiday Travel Deals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-for-teachers-that-theyll-actually-like">15 Unique Holiday Gifts for Teachers That They&#039;ll Actually Like</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-gift-giving-for-the-truly-broke">14 Gift Ideas for the Truly Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-best-deals-coupons-sites">50 Best Deals and Coupon Sites</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Shopping Art and Leisure cheap books dealista sell books trade books Tue, 02 Feb 2010 17:00:02 +0000 Lynn Truong 5003 at http://www.wisebread.com Event Planning ROI: Bigger Bang for Your Buck http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/event-planning-roi-bigger-bang-for-your-buck <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/event-planning-roi-bigger-bang-for-your-buck-linsey-knerl" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/event-planning-roi-bigger...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/event-planning-roi-bigger-bang-for-your-buck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/special_event_admit_one_iStock_000001991460XSmall.jpg" alt="special event" title="special event" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The economy has more and more companies forgoing corporate events and skipping conference hosting altogether. Those that continue to put on events are feeling the crunch, but don&rsquo;t want to sacrifice class or quality to put on an affordable occasion. It is possible to cut costs without catastrophic results, however. We look at four major areas of savings, and provide tips from the experts to help save your next event!</p> <h2>4 Tips for Boosting Your Event's ROI</h2> <h3>1. Strategize</h3> <p>While weekend affairs are glitzy, they are also rather costly. By forgoing the sweet spot on your calendar and keeping your event within the first three days (Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday), you can ask for &mdash; and expect to receive &mdash; significant savings. Dawn J. Strain of <a href="http://www.djsevents.com/">DSJ Events</a> explains why:</p> <blockquote>These are off nights for anyone in the event business meaning caterers, entertainment companies, audio visual, etc. You will have a much easier time negotiating price, and since for most of these businesses, it is either book a budget job or book nothing, they will find a way to make it work.</blockquote> <h3>2. Prioritize</h3> <p>As one of the most substantial portions of an <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218396076;41475586;v?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=298&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">event budget</a>, the venue can open up a world of opportunities and possibilities for your next event. While it may be tempting to become distracted by all the options in choosing a venue, it&rsquo;s wise to identify 3-5 main features that you can&rsquo;t do without and go from there. An employee event may require a location closest to public transportation, while a charity event may not. Perfect lighting is necessary for an art gala, while the typical business conference may get by with CFL&rsquo;s. If there are &ldquo;must-haves&rdquo; for your event, clarify these early on, and leave the other amenities as a bargaining tool, alone.</p> <h3>3. Smart-Size</h3> <p>While no one is suggesting that you always swap out bisque for burgers, there are opportunities to scale back on even the finest of cuisines. One option is to slightly reduce portion sizes, giving you an opportunity to make major cuts to food costs. Will anyone ever notice that you went with the 6 oz. filet instead of the 8 oz.? Probably not. And with many catering services willing to put the focus on the presentation, instead of the quantity, you may come out ahead in terms of your reputation. Ask to see dishes in various sizes before you book, giving you a chance to do a side-by-side comparison.</p> <p>You may also want to inquire about the dessert menu. Kathleen Willcox, of Indiana Market and Catering, offers her customers a number of small but original after-dinner options.</p> <blockquote>Very few people want a huge, formal dessert offering in this day and age. We&rsquo;ve found that offering passed desserts like homemade milkshake shooters with bite-size beignets or molten brownie bites not only cut down on costs, but are much more popular with our clients who find them innovative, fun, and not to mention delicious &mdash; even at large, formal galas.</blockquote> <h3>4. Specialize</h3> <p>The days of a full bar may be over, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean you have to leave out the spirit experience. Signature drinks are an effective way to offer one or two alcoholic beverages with little overhead, and they don&rsquo;t require that your bar staff be trained in anything but creating those particular recipes. As an added benefit, signature drinks can easily reflect the personality or mission of a company. (One recent event hosted by Energizer featured Bunni-tini&rsquo;s and were served alongside delicious treats designed to keep partygoers going through the night.) If the drinks are memorable, attractive, and most of all, taste delicious, your guests won&rsquo;t miss the usual bevy of beverages.</p> <h2>Expert Event Planning Pointers</h2> <p>In addition to these more general guidelines for savings, we picked up a few extra pointers from the experts themselves:</p> <ul> <li>Avoid shrimp at all costs. It seems to vaporize as soon as it hits the buffet table. And stay away from salty foods, as they will make your diners thirstier. (This can be a budget breaker for your open bar.) &mdash; Ginny Cooper, <a href="http://www.mycoopergroup.com/">The Cooper Group</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consider combining two events into one to avoid duplicate costs. You could include an annual awards evening event with an afternoon quarterly update, for example. Another popular choice is to hold an end of year meeting followed by a small holiday reception, so you can still have a seasonal celebration for employees, but not incur the cost of two separate meetings. &mdash; Sandra Rios, <a href="http://www.longwoodevents.com/">Longwood Events</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If it&rsquo;s a dinner, make the attire business casual. When more formal attire is required, guests are often expecting a more high-end meal (and high-end meals increase the overall costs). &mdash; Greg Jenkins, <a href="http://www.bravoevents-online.com/">Bravo Productions</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have the speaker do more than one session rather than hiring a different speaker. Most speakers charge only a fraction of their normal fee for a second session done on the same day. Even if you are paying travel expenses, you'll only be paying one set. &mdash; Barry Maher, <a href="http://www.barrymaher.com/">Speaker</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don&rsquo;t do a binder or printed material &mdash; offer everything on a jump drive or the company&rsquo;s web site. (This will save the cost of printing and shipping.) &mdash; Lynn Bjostad, <a href="http://www.meetingsbypremier.com/">Premier Meeting and Event Management</a></li> </ul> <p><em>What are your tips for event planning on a budget?</em></p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "gold"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/event-planning-roi-bigger-bang-for-your-buck">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holiday-gift-giving-for-the-truly-broke">14 Gift Ideas for the Truly Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-travel-with-postcard-fun">Free Travel With Postcard Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Become a Frequent Flyer Master and Earn a Free Flight Every Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center Art and Leisure event planning Fri, 29 Jan 2010 15:00:12 +0000 Linsey Knerl 4371 at http://www.wisebread.com Where to Publish Your Travel Stories http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-publish-your-travel-stories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/where-to-publish-your-travel-stories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stockxpertcom_id254665_jpg_187f4f9da822101999337c21963e7a06.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&rsquo;ve rolled on out of town. You&rsquo;ve seen the sights both on and off the beaten path and chatted with the locals. You&rsquo;ve even learned a bit of the local language and culture. For sure, you&rsquo;re coming back in the future. You also have tons of stories to tell your comrades back on the home front. The problem is you don&rsquo;t know how to tell the stories or even where to publish them.</p> <p>Digital storytelling &mdash; blogging, podcasting, webcasting &mdash; is all the rage among travelers on the road. Yet few of the websites out there seem to target the audiences you want to reach. The big magazines seem hard to crack and, although getting paid for your writing would be great, what you really want is to get your stories out there so other people can enjoy and learn from your experiences. It would also be great to connect with other travelers.</p> <p>Luckily, there are a few great options out there now for where and how to tell your story. And the best place to start is by setting up your own blog and directing people to it. In fact, a quick trip to Blogger or Wordpress will set you up with a personal blog in mere minutes. Easy, fast and user-friendly. You&rsquo;re all set to tell your stories. Add the link to your email signature, put it on your Twitter account, and stick in your Facebook profile.</p> <p>Of course, that&rsquo;s only the first step. Next you need to connect with other travelers around the world. This is where newly emerging travel writing sites will help you out. For instance, you can set up an account with <a href="http://www.earthwalkersmag.com/">Earthwalkers Magazine</a> and quickly be on your way to telling travel tales to a bigger audience. You can publish articles &mdash; sometimes for pay &mdash; on their website, set up a network of friends, and access personal travel stories from around the world.</p> <p>You can also check out <a href="http://www.thebackpacker.net/">The Backpacker</a>, an online magazine designed to help travelers share stories and experiences. Similar to Earthwalkers, this site offers a plethora of information, an opportunity to connect with other travelers and a Travel Wiki teeming with all the travel information you could need.</p> <p>If you like to mix it up with traveling and volunteering, try out <a href="http://www.compathos.org/">Compathos</a>, a new foundation that links artists and writers with meaningful organizations that make change in the world. It&rsquo;s all digital storytelling all the way with this organization.</p> <p>Women who have stories related to solo chic travel can post up on the <a href="http://www.journeywoman.com/">Journeywoman</a> site. This site abounds with stories, tips and advice for women who like to venture out into the world on their own.</p> <p>Now you&rsquo;re all set. Fire up your computer and get your stories out there. We need them today more than ever!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sasha-a-rae">Sasha A. Rae</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-publish-your-travel-stories">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/become-a-frequent-flyer-master-and-earn-a-free-flight-every-year">Become a Frequent Flyer Master and Earn a Free Flight Every Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-travel-ideas">Quick travel ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-free-and-4-cheap-things-to-do-in-auckland-with-a-toddler">8 Free (and 4 cheap) Things to Do in Auckland with a Toddler</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/headaches-begone-5-tips-for-making-airline-travel-easier">Headaches, Begone!: 5 Tips for Making Airline Travel Easier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-underground-guide-to-international-volunteering-review">The Underground Guide to International Volunteering (Review)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel Art and Leisure digital storytelling travel writing Fri, 29 Jan 2010 14:00:07 +0000 Sasha A. Rae 4891 at http://www.wisebread.com