Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 10 Dumb Little Budgeting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-budgeting-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-dumb-little-budgeting-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-frustrated-bills-78426183-small.jpg" alt="woman frustrated bills" title="woman frustrated bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did your budget go bust&hellip; again?</p> <p>Instead of promising yourself that it won't continue to happen, you need to fix the roots of the problem, once and for all. Start paying attention to the small, yet important, details that you are leaving out of your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-small-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-finances?">10 Small Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Here are the 10 dumb little budgeting mistakes that you need to stop making today.</p> <h2>1. Forgetting to Cancel That Membership You Never Use</h2> <p>Do you have a Netflix subscription for several DVDs at a time, only to have a single DVD gathering dust for an entire month? Then you're wasting money. Take a second look at all of those memberships that you pay on a recurring basis. A very common one is that expensive gym subscription that goes unused month after month. If you don't use it, lose it.</p> <p>Also, evaluate your music, movie, and TV show subscriptions and decide whether you should continue it, downgrade it to a smaller plan, or switch to pay-as-you-go. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-or-subscribe-how-to-pay-the-least-for-the-media-you-love-the-most?ref=seealso">Buy or Subscribe: How to Pay the Least for the Media You Love the Most</a>)</p> <h2>2. Budgeting Based on Your Gross Income</h2> <p>Let's imagine that you were making $50,000 per year. This would mean that you would count on about $4,167 every month before taxes, right?</p> <p>Wrong! Even before that money hits your bank account, there may be several deductions affecting it. Some of them are mandatory, such as taxes, union dues, and uniform deductions. Others are voluntary, such as 401(k) contributions, health saving accounts, and parking fees. Make sure to budget based on your net paycheck, not on your gross paycheck.</p> <h2>3. Withholding Too Much in Taxes</h2> <p>Talking about paychecks, <a href="http://business.time.com/2013/03/18/why-were-so-irrational-when-it-comes-to-tax-refunds/">75% of Americans are withholding too much in taxes</a> from their incomes. If you're struggling to make ends meet, one possible cause is that you are unnecessarily limiting every single one of your paychecks.</p> <p>Review two year's worth of tax forms and determine what should be the right amount to withhold from your paycheck:</p> <ul> <li>Update your W4 form for changes in marriage status or number of dependents;</li> <li>Stop withholding additional amounts, if applicable; or</li> <li>Adjust your <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-%26-Self-Employed/Estimated-Taxes">estimated taxes every quarter through Form 1040-ES</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Develop these three habits every year and you will increase your available monthly cash flow. Remember that the IRS doesn't pay you interest on the money that you withhold from your paycheck.</p> <h2>4. Buying Christmas Gifts on Credit</h2> <p>During January and February, consumer counseling agencies see a <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=88539">25% increase</a> in the number of people seeking financial help.</p> <p>Too many folks fall for discounts on opening store cards or using credit cards. About 60% of Americans keep on rolling their card balances, maintaining an average balance of more than $11,500.</p> <p>The best way to fix this is by setting a budget for holiday gifts in January and saving up every month to meet that goal. If you have problems resisting the temptation of spending those funds before the holidays, then use a financial vehicle, such as a Christmas Saving account (also known as &quot;Christmas Clubs&quot; at credit unions) or Certificate of Deposit, that blocks access for a set period of time.</p> <h2>5. Forgetting About Your Car Registration Fee</h2> <p>While you cannot predict every single expense related to your car, there are several that you can count on every year. The most important one is your annual car registration fee.</p> <p>This is no small fee and, depending on the weight and year make of your car, can run into a couple hundred of dollars. For example, between my wife's truck and my sedan, we pay about $500 every year in registration fees. That's enough to mess up any month's paycheck if we were to forget about setting an annual reminder.</p> <p>Check with your local DMV, find out how much is your registration fee, and set a reminder every year.</p> <h2>6. Buying a Cup of Coffee Every Day</h2> <p>That morning stop at your favorite coffee shop may be throwing off your budget without you even noticing. If you buy a $3 cup of coffee every weekday, it adds up to $780 over the year. And that's being conservative: in New York City shoppers have reported that a <a href="http://www.humuch.com/prices/Starbucks-Cappuccino-grande/______/102#.VDSW8xZ9LWo">Starbucks Cappuccino Grande costs between $5.01 and $5.30</a>.</p> <p>With what you're spending on coffee in a year you could easily pay off an entire store card or knock off a good chunk of a credit card balance.</p> <p>Instead of buying coffee every single day, look for cheaper alternatives, such as:</p> <ul> <li>Preparing your own cup at home and investing in a good travel mug;</li> <li>Drinking your office's free coffee or starting a coffee pool with coworkers; or</li> <li>Having your own drip machine and coffee bag at work.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Not Negotiating Credit Card and Cell Phone Bills</h2> <p>The path of least resistance is the most expensive one. If you don't negotiate credit card interest rates or cell phone charges, then you are paying more than you have to. A 20-minute call could save you a couple hundred dollars over the course of a year.</p> <p>Don't think that you're being rude for asking for a better deal, you're entitled to do so. Even the Federal Trading Commission provides <a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/shopping-saving">tips on shopping and saving</a>. Do your homework, compare prices from competitors, and negotiate your way into savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily?ref=seealso">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a>)</p> <p>The worst that can happen is that they say no, and you get a freebie for your effort. Make sure to ask for one, such as account credit or a gift card.</p> <h2>8. Relying Only on Credit Cards</h2> <p>You need to start paying with cash more often.</p> <p>The convenience of carrying a less bulky wallet or purse is killing your spending power. People paying with credit cards spend <a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/tips/credit-cards-make-you-spend-more/">12% to 18% more</a> than those paying with cash. Even McDonald's knows this because its customers using plastic spend an average of $7 per order, while those using cash only an average of $4.50.</p> <h2>9. Spending Lucky Money Windfalls</h2> <p>What do you do when any of these happen?</p> <ul> <li>Found a $50 bill on the street.</li> <li>Grandma's sends you a $100 check for your birthday.</li> <li>Surprise bonus at the end of the year.</li> </ul> <p>If you answer: &quot;shopping spree!&quot;, then that's a dumb little budgeting mistake. Like Will Rogers said, &quot;too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like.&quot;</p> <p>Curb your spending habit and put all those lucky windfalls into your savings account. Even better, use them to pay down debt. If you often have trouble meeting monthly expenses, then use that extra cash to prevent you from breaking your budget.</p> <h2>10. Not Having an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Not having or maintaining an emergency fund is the biggest of all dumb budgeting mistakes you can ever make. If you don't have one, you're hit with a double whammy.</p> <p>First, you bust your budget by spending more than you have available. Second, you are very likely to put those expenses on a credit card. These are the reasons why you need to build an emergency fund and, of course, replenish it every time that you use it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">Figuring the Size of Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <p>Remember to save your emergency fund for true emergencies: forgetting about your monthly credit card bill or your annual tax payment is not an emergency.</p> <p><em>What are some other common dumb little budgeting mistakes? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-budgeting-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Dumb Little Budgeting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting budgets saving spending Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1236726 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Never Succumb to Impulse Spending Again http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping-81172431-small.jpg" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Impulse spending can make it almost impossible for someone to manage their finances effectively. It creates a habitual need to spend and a knee-jerk reaction to sales, products, and advertising. And the result is usually the same: a lack of cashflow, problems saving, and almost always an inability to maintain a budget.</p> <p>But what exactly is impulse spending? How do we define and/or recognize it?</p> <h2>Defining Impulse Spending</h2> <p>First, impulse spending is almost always chronic and recurring. To see something every once in a while and &quot;splurge&quot; is normal. Impulse spending is something that happens regularly and develops into a bad habit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money?ref=seealso">13 Creative Ways to Defeat Impulse Spending</a>)</p> <p>Second, buying on an impulse means that you're making an unplanned purchase that you hadn't already recognized a need for. These purchases might be useful and might even seem wise on the surface, but had you not made visual contact with the item, you probably wouldn't have wanted to spend money on it. In other words, an impulse purchase is made when a product or ad instigates the transaction. Instead of you deciding that you need something and then going to find it, you see a product or service and decide immediately that it warrants your money. Those who struggle with this end up spending a lot of money that they didn't need to spend or that wouldn't have been spent, had they been in control of their purchases. In fact, that's the real goal here &mdash; to be in control of how purchases.</p> <h2>1. Break the Habit With a Freeze on All Discretionary Spending</h2> <p>Impulse spending is a habit, so try breaking it by going cold turkey on all discretionary spending. That's not to say that you can't pick back up after a few weeks, but stick to essentials until you've given yourself enough time to get comfortable spending money on just those things.</p> <p>The goal is to take away your tendency to be a reactive purchaser, before you take the steps necessary to build yourself back into a proactive budgeter. Once you can go into stores and see ads without feeling that twitch making you want to spend money, you're ready to move on. It'll happen quicker than you think.</p> <h2>2. Make a Weekly Budget</h2> <p>Budgeting is one of the simplest and most basic safety nets you have to protect yourself against impulse spending. There are plenty of ways to do it, like using a <a href="http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/">Dave Ramsey budget sheet</a>. But the general concept is to start by writing down both your expected income and expenses for each month. Separate your expenses between the amounts that are fixed (rent, insurance, etc.) and those that fluctuate (gas, groceries). Use what's left to disperse between savings, discretionary spending, charitable giving, or however you choose to divide it up. That discretionary amount will serve as a safeguard to help limit your ability to spend impulsively.</p> <p>You'll know that there's a limit to what you can spend, thereby making you less likely to buy something on an impulse. Instead, you end up asking yourself the question: &quot;Do I really want to buy this?&quot;</p> <h2>3. Practice Deciding What to Buy Before You Leave the House</h2> <p>After breaking with your bad spending habits, a good habit to get into is to always make a list or at least plan in your mind what you want to buy before you shop. This ensures that you're in control of your purchasing and that you're not being pushed around by products and advertisements that you might see. Make sure you decide specifically what you want to purchase and avoid deviating from that plan. In time, you'll be able to shop around in a way that isn't impulsive. But until you get better spending habits established, it's best to never deviate from intentional expenses.</p> <h2>4. Put Potential Purchases Through a Litmus Test</h2> <p>There will be gray areas that come up regarding whether or not you're being impulsive or if a purchase is actually necessary or beneficial in some way. A good way to figure that out is to come up with a litmus test in the form of a few questions that you can use to figure out whether or not you really need to spend money on something.</p> <ol> <li>Is there room in the budget for it?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Is the purchase redundant (do you already have the item or something similar to it)?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Will it substantially improve your quality of life?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Did you want or need this item before you were made aware of its existence?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What really made you want the item (an ad, visual appeal, need, practical use, etc.)?</li> </ol> <p>These questions can help give you a clearer picture of why you might want to buy something and whether or not that purchase will benefit you in a way that justifies the amount of money needed to acquire it.</p> <h2>Be the One in Control</h2> <p>The underlying problem with impulse spending is that you end up losing control of your money. If products, services or advertisements are completely driving you to spend, then you'll never be able to stop, because those things will always be there. While it's true that those things have an informative impact (i.e. you see a product and can tell it's useful), the bulk of the decision should stem from your own needs and decisions. Thus, learning how to avoid impulse buys will go a long way in freeing up your financial situation and putting you back in control of your money. It's well worth the effort.</p> <p><em>How do you control impulse spending? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Never Succumb to Impulse Spending Again" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Debt Management budgets impulse spending mindful spending spending Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1236048 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Make a Better Budget Today http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-make-a-better-budget-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-make-a-better-budget-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-paying-bills-76754631-small.jpg" alt="man paying bills" title="man paying bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles with helpful tips to make your budget better, the smartest way to repay your student loans, and the only legit reasons to work for free.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://blog.readyforzero.com/17-ways-to-budget-better-starting-today/">17 Ways to Make Your Budget Better &ndash; Starting Today</a> &mdash; You can learn a lot about your spending habits when you try out a &quot;zero spending day.&quot; [ReadyForZero]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/smartest-way-to-repay-student-loans">What&rsquo;s the Smartest Way to Repay Your Student Loans?</a> &mdash; It depends on your financial situation. If you want to reduce your monthly loan payments, consider consolidating or refinancing your student loans. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/the-only-five-reasons-you-should-ever-work-for-free-and-one-big-reason-why-you-shouldnt/">The Only Five Reasons You Should Ever Work For Free (and One Big Reason Why You Shouldn&rsquo;t)</a> &mdash; One good reason to work for free is if the project will enhance your career skills in some way, like helping you gain new expertise or visibility in a different area. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Youll-Never-Regret-35665219">51 Things That You'll Never Regret</a> &mdash; For a happier life, remember that you'll never regret traveling somewhere new or saying &quot;I love you&quot; when you mean it. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/business/T057-S001-7-things-that-will-soon-disappear/index.html">7 Things That Will Soon Disappear</a> &mdash; Your neighborhood mail collection box will soon become a thing of the past as the USPS pulls boxes that don't see enough traffic. [Kiplinger]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thousandaire.com/is-now-the-time-to-buy-a-house/">Is Now the Time to Buy a House?</a> &mdash; Interest rates are at historic lows, so if you're financially prepared to buy a house, this may be the right time to take the jump! [Thousandaire]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/peer-lending-friends-family-layoff/">How to Use Peer-to-Peer Sites to Borrow Money From Friends and Family After a Layoff</a> &mdash; Using a peer-to-peer lending site formalizes the borrowing process so you don't encounter the usual misunderstandings that can occur when you borrow directly from friends and family. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/transition-from-employee-entrepreneur/">Is Now the Right Time to Transition From Employee to Entrepreneur?</a> &mdash; Saying &quot;yes&quot; to everything and creating an abundance of work ensures that you'll have a full portfolio of clients to draw from when you quit your day job. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/8-ways-to-get-and-stay-healthy">8 Ways to Get and Stay Healthy</a> &mdash; Keeping your family healthy isn't only about good nutrition and exercise. Make sure to spend quality time together, too. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://couponpal.com/blog/where-to-buy-glasses-online-for-less">Where to Buy Glasses Online for Less</a> &mdash; You can find great deals on glasses when you shop online. For example, get your first pair of glasses at Coastal.com for free when you use their coupon code! [CouponPal]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-make-a-better-budget-today" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Ways to Make a Better Budget Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting best money tips budgeting Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:00:06 +0000 Amy Lu 1235110 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart Ways to Make Yourself Hate Spending Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-hate-spending-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-hate-spending-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-thinking-480158747-small.jpg" alt="couple thinking" title="couple thinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money has a nasty habit of inexplicably disappearing. Where the process of earning and obtaining it can be incredibly difficult, its evaporation from your wallet can be almost effortless.</p> <p>In an ideal world, you would have such a strong distaste for spending money that you only did so in situations that spending was absolutely necessary. But for those of us who aren't &quot;stingy&quot; or just naturally bent towards being tight with our money, it can be almost impossible to keep ourselves from the lure of spending it on a variety of things. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-one-month-spending-freeze?ref=seealso">How to Do a One Month Spending Freeze</a>)</p> <p>But what if there were ways to train ourselves to just hate spending money?</p> <p>We would stop buying things we didn't need and avoid nickel and diming ourselves all the time. We would have less clutter in our houses and more money in our bank accounts. It might even lower our stress levels a bit. While we might always be &quot;spenders&quot; at heart, there are some things we can do to keep fresh in our mind the damage of over-spending and an unbridled checkbook.</p> <h2>1. Take Some Personal Finance Courses</h2> <p>There are actually a lot of <a href="http://blog.silversaver.com/7-places-to-get-free-personal-finance-classes/">free personal finance courses</a> available online. They'll help you get familiar with the pitfalls and long-term repercussions of spending money that might elude you in the short term. They'll also make you aware of things like retirement savings plans, investments, and other things that need to be factored into your immediate budget.</p> <h2>2. Convert Your Spend to Your Hourly Wage</h2> <p>Even if you're not the frugal type, consider how long it takes you to <em>earn</em> the cost of that trinket. You'll be far more judicious about what you're spending money on and whether or not it's really necessary. When it takes several hours (or days?) to pay for something, that thing suddenly doesn't seem so important. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-psychology-of-money-how-a-t-shirt-equals-a-taco?ref=seealso">How a Taco Equals a T-Shirt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Run the Numbers on a Retirement Calculator</h2> <p>Calculating <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/retirement/retirement-need/">how much you'll need for retirement</a> can be a sobering reminder of the importance of saving money. It can also make you avoid spending on unnecessary things and cut back so that you can contribute more to your long-term savings goals.</p> <h2>4. Write Down What You Spend</h2> <p>If you have a budget in front of you and you're looking at all the things that you need to pay for simply to live, it can make you hate the idea of spending your money other places. That is, at least until you're sure you have discretionary income left over. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-every-day-to-defeat-out-of-control-spending?ref=seealso">Do This One Thing Every Day to Defeat Out of Control Spending</a>)</p> <h2>5. Carry Cash</h2> <p>The act of having to hand cash over to pay for something is psychologically more unpleasant than simply swiping a credit or debit card. Set aside cash to pay for the day-to-day things, and you'll find yourself wanting to avoid spending situations in general.</p> <h2>6. Save for Something You Actually Want or Need</h2> <p>Too often we spend money in an impromptu manner or on things that we don't really need or want. Plan to save for something that you really do want, and that will act as a motivator to avoid spending on other things. Perhaps a new computer, a vacation, or even something big like a car can be excellent savings motivators.</p> <h2>7. Find Your Spending Weakness and Calculate Its Cost</h2> <p>If you notice a trend in your spending &mdash; perhaps you spend a lot dining out &mdash; run the numbers and figure out how much money you actually spend at restaurants that could be saved by eating at home. For example, one meal out per day at $15 a meal for five days a week is $300 a month. Seeing that number in three-figures can be a good motivator to pack a lunch or eat at home.</p> <h2>8. Plan for Unforeseen Expenses</h2> <p>Things like medical bills, car expenses, or even taxes can often be unexpected and unbudgeted for. Consider that these are usually three or four-figure purchases, which will require that you have money set aside to cover them when they do show up.</p> <h2>9. Plan to Pay Yourself</h2> <p>The idea of paying yourself is simply the practice of planning to have enough money from your paycheck (money that's not already spent or spoken for) to keep for yourself and to save. You don't spend it on anything, but instead you just keep it for a rainy day. Consider that if you don't do this, every time you get a paycheck, all your money is gone or in the process of being transferred to someone else. If you realize that you are the only one who doesn't get paid when you get your paycheck, it can make spending money fairly cringe-worthy.</p> <h2>10. Value Your Money</h2> <p>People who understand how valuable money is and how difficult it is to obtain it will often have an easier time avoiding over-spending than those who don't. Money itself should be valued above the short-term, and if we learn to view it as a commodity and an asset, we're less likely to waste it on a regular basis and more likely to hate spending it.</p> <p>Hate is a strong word, and it might seem unreasonable to expect to <em>hate</em> spending money. Because spending can be a good thing right? But if we lean towards the side that hates spending as opposed to the side that loves it, we're likely to be in a more sound and consistent financial situation with better cash flow. And we'd all love that.</p> <p><em>How do you make yourself hate and thus avoid spending money? Let us know in the comments section below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-hate-spending-money" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Smart Ways to Make Yourself Hate Spending Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting money habits saving spending Fri, 03 Oct 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1226296 at http://www.wisebread.com Never Use Cash for These 11 Things http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl-shopping-checkout-180329083-small.jpg" alt="shopping checkout" title="shopping checkout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people only make their purchases in cash in order to avoid accumulating debt. Others swear by credit cards in order to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-type-of-rewards-credit-card-is-right-for-you?ref=inarticle">earn rewards</a>. But most people use a mix of cash and card. So which purchases should you never use cash for? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks?ref=seealso">Top 6 Reasons Cash-Only Rocks</a>)</p> <h2>1. A House</h2> <p>There are few people who can afford to purchase a house outright, but even if you can, it may not be the wisest financial decision. Mortgage rates are at all time lows, and so you would likely be better off using the cash you would otherwise pay for the home to invest in the stock market. And obtaining and making payments on a mortgage is good for your credit history. Plus, mortgage interest is tax deductible.</p> <h2>2. Appliances</h2> <p>Many credit cards offer extended warranty protection, which is insanely helpful for appliances that are prone to breaking. This means that if your $300 above-the-stove-microwave breaks after 18 months (six months after the warranty expired), you can contact your credit card company and they will issue you a refund. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-credit-card-perk-that-saved-me-300">This exact thing happened to me</a>, and I got all my money back, and now I make sure to purchase all my appliances on a credit card which has warranty protection. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer?ref=seealso">How to Use Your Credit Card's Free Extended Warranty</a>)</p> <h2>3. Items From Stores With Short Return Policies</h2> <p>Some stores only offer a two week or 30-day return policy. If you pay cash and want to make a return past this period, you're out of luck. But many credit cards offer 90 day return protection, which means that if the store won't take back the item on day 89, the credit card will refund your money. (Note that usually you are required to ship the product you can't return to the store to the credit card company.)</p> <h2>4. Clearance Items</h2> <p>Many stores have no refund policies for clearance items (typically marked &quot;all sales final&quot;). For the same reasons as for stores with short return periods, by using a credit card with 90 day return protection instead of paying cash you'll protect yourself if the item doesn't work out.</p> <h2>5. An Item You're Likely to Break or Ruin</h2> <p>Another of my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-credit-card-perks-checklist-benefits-you-dont-know-about">favorite credit card perks</a> is &quot;buyer protection,&quot; a form of purchase protection that protects you if you lose or break an item within a certain time of purchasing it (typically three months). If you're buying an expensive item or something you could break, ruin, or get stolen, then charge the item to a credit card.</p> <h2>6. Medical Expenses</h2> <p>Medical expenses are subject to certain tax breaks and thus it's best to have a record of them. Whether you're claiming a deduction because you've accumulated expenses greater than 7.5% of your income, or you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you must keep a record of your purchases. While the IRS may not accept a credit card bill (the rules on this are a little complex), it doesn't hurt to have the card bill if the tax man comes knocking at your door. More importantly, using a credit card will help you keep track of expenses so you can make the claim when the time comes.</p> <h2>7. Charitable Donations</h2> <p>Like with medical expenses, putting charitable donations on a credit or debit card will help you keep track of the expenses for tax purposes. Use a budgeting tool like Mint.com to easily help you compile your deductions at the end of the year.</p> <h2>8. Purchases at a Store Where You Shop Frequently</h2> <p>If you spend at least several thousand dollars each year at certain stores, it may be worthwhile to get the store's credit card to save you money. For example, a Target Card saves you 5% on every purchase and an Amazon.com card gives you 3% in rewards. Certain department stores even offer special coupons or savings events for their cardholders. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?ref=seealso">Store Credit Cards That Don't Suck</a>)</p> <h2>9. Recurring Purchases</h2> <p>If you have recurring debits set up for payments on your water bill, cable TV, phone, utilities, or anything else, you should charge it to a credit card and not have the amount debited directly from your bank. Why? If you have a dispute over a charge, you can file a dispute with your card company and immediately get your money back. (If you file a dispute with your bank over an automatic withdrawal from a checking account, you have a much harder battle to fight.) I know someone who recently cancelled an insurance policy, but the company continued to debit her checking account anyway. Had she charged it to a card, it would have been far less hassle to sort out because the credit card company would do the fighting for her.</p> <h2>10. Airline Tickets</h2> <p>When you book your plane ticket using a credit card, you're likely eligible for a whole host of related benefits including: Baggage Loss Protection, Passport/Credit Card Loss Protection, No Baggage Checking Fees, Free Airport Lounge Access, Lost Luggage Tracking Assistance, Emergency Translation/Interpretation for Medical Emergencies, and Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance. Chances are you won't need to use any of these protections, but if you do run into a sticky situation, these protections will make a huge difference. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso"> Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>11. Car Rentals</h2> <p>Want to save a lot of money on rental cars? Decline the additional insurance offering and rely on your credit card's insurance instead. Besides car rental insurance, using a credit card for renting a car may also entitle you to additional car rental discounts and roadside assistance.</p> <p>Note regarding credit cards: Many of the protections listed above vary by credit card, so be sure to check with your card company to see what benefits you're entitled to. And these benefits assume that you're paying your card in full every month; if you're not, the additional interest you accumulate may not offset the benefits of paying with a card.</p> <p><em>What other items do you never use cash to buy?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things" class="sharethis-link" title="Never Use Cash for These 11 Things" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Credit Cards Shopping budgeting cash credit cards interest shopping Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1226294 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of http://www.wisebread.com/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-thinking-laptop-178850320-small.jpg" alt="woman thinking" title="woman thinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like me, your budget follows the 80/20 rule -- 80% or your income goes to 20% of your spending categories. To knock out the expense of any of these big ticket bills would have an immediately therapeutic effect on your cash flow. Ironically, these big items are also some of the most difficult to part with. (See also: See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unnecessary-household-expenses-you-can-cut-today?ref=seealso">7 Unnecessary Household Expenses You Can Cut Today</a>)</p> <p>Lucky for you, we've got a plan for scrapping them one by one&hellip;.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage or Rent</h2> <p>Everyone needs a place to live, and we are not suggesting that you crash in a van &mdash; down by the river. But you don't necessarily need a full mortgage or pricey rental lease to live comfortably, either.</p> <p>While it's difficult for families to go without a housing payment, single folks should be able to find a creative way to skip paying for housing. This can include taking on a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jobs-that-offer-free-room-and-board">job that includes free room and board</a>, staying with relatives (while offering them something in return), or getting a school loan specifically for paying that dorm bill. And there is always refinancing your mortgage to pay it off early.</p> <h2>2. Car Payment</h2> <p>Technology has made it easier than ever to skip the car payment, and many are taking advantage. You can choose a car-sharing arrangement, public transportation, carpooling, or even biking it. My family of eight has opted to maintain a 20-year-old car over the cost of making payments, and we rent a new model from a rental company when we need a more reliable vehicle for going out of town. We save big money.</p> <h2>3. Other Car Fees</h2> <p>Did I mention that having a 1996 vehicle comes with extra perks? It costs just $30 to license and register our vehicle every year. And liability insurance is less than $12 a month!</p> <h2>4. Cable</h2> <p>You can find all kinds of articles on how streaming entertainment can almost fully replace the traditional cable box. We cut the cord two years ago and have never regretted it. The only thing our expensive $97 a month bill got us that the $21 total bill for Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix combined can't offer is live college football games. We listen to the radio when we can't make it to the local eatery to watch the games on the wall of TV's. It's a small sacrifice for the big savings we see.</p> <h2>5. Internet</h2> <p>With most smartphone plans offering Wi-Fi hotspots as part of your plan, it's possible to skip having broadband in your home altogether. This won't work for the homebody who streams Netflix all day, but it is perfect for the person who is almost always in a public Wi-Fi location and only need their hotspot for using apps or checking email. You can also add on extra data for a lower cost per month than buying a contracted plan through many internet providers.</p> <h2>6. College for the Kids</h2> <p>Not all kids go to college, but for those who want to, having a college savings plan can make all the difference. We have straight up told our kids that they won't be getting a fat plan from Mom and Dad when they graduate. We do contribute a small &quot;allowance&quot; that they put into their funds, but the rest of each child's cost will be paid through their own contributions from after-school jobs, gifts, scholarships, and creative use of transfer and dual credit courses. Our daughter, for example, can take classes while still in high school at the local community college for 50% of the tuition cost. These transfer to her chosen 4-year college at 100% credit.</p> <h2>7. Retirement</h2> <p>Yes, you will need something to live off of when you retire, but who said it has to come from a traditional &quot;retirement savings&quot; plan such as a 401(k) or Roth IRA?</p> <p>Since stocks can be just as volatile as other investments, and the funds can't easily be touched until you retire, many are turning to business investments as an alternative. Buying farmland, investment property, or real assets in your own startup can start paying off right away, and the value can increase to well over what you'll need when you retire. As with any investment, there are risks, but since you are involved in the day-to-day of these investments, the chances of another Enron-style scam are limited.</p> <h2>8. A Big Wedding</h2> <p>Big &quot;I do's&quot; can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, but why? The happiest day of your life doesn't also have to be the most expensive. Invest in a small function, or elope and have an intimate reception with close family and friends. The money saved can be put to more useful things (such as knocking out expense #1 on our list.)</p> <h2>9. Funeral</h2> <p>While not as fun to think about, the same approach for the happiest day of your life can be taken for the last day of your life. Things like satin-trimmed caskets and premier burial plots can take a healthy life insurance policy and whittle it down to nothing; prepaid plans burn money you could easily invest while you're still alive. A simple cremation and memorial service can be a beautiful, but budget-conscious, alternative. Be sure to discuss your frugal wishes with family before you go; or better yet, include it in your legally-binding last will and testament.</p> <h2>10. Baby Delivery</h2> <p>While you can't get rid of all the costs of having a baby, you can significantly cut back by delivering at home. I have no experience in this matter, so I can't say that it's for everyone. Paying an experienced midwife to facilitate a home-birth is known to be a blessing for all involved, however, and if you and baby are healthy enough to try it, the savings can be $5-$15K or more!</p> <p><em>How much can you save by cutting out just one of these high-cost items? We'd love to hear how you got rid of your &quot;80%&quot; in the comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Lifestyle budgets costs expenses spending Fri, 03 Oct 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1226260 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Dark-Side Motivations to Start Saving http://www.wisebread.com/8-dark-side-motivations-to-start-saving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-dark-side-motivations-to-start-saving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business-couple-flirting-480187847-small.jpg" alt="business couple flirting" title="business couple flirting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From ruling the galaxy to getting out of debt, embracing the dark side can be a powerful tool. Sure, the motivations may be impure, but if it's monetary results you're after, maybe that's okay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt?ref=seealso">10 Dark Side Motivations to Getting Out of Debt</a>)</p> <p>So embrace your demons and get ready to stockpile some cash with these eight ways you can use the darker side of your nature as a driving force to save more money.</p> <h2>1. To Impress Someone</h2> <p>Whether it's a potential new partner, or just someone you really want to one-up, having a nice wad of cash in the bank can be a great way to get noticed. You can't just casually drop &quot;hey, I've got $30k in my savings account&quot; into conversation, though. You'll need to find more underhand ways to do it. You could check your balance, get a receipt, and just happen to leave it in a place someone else could see it. Or, you could ask about investment opportunities for your enormous rainy day fund. This works well at those high school reunions.</p> <h2>2. To Get Laid Off</h2> <p>Most people don't want to get fired. These days, jobs are tough to get in many industries, and just as tough to keep. Why on earth would anyone want to get laid off, or fired?</p> <p>Well, some people do have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-laid-off-a-step-by-step-guide">reasons for wanting to leave a job</a>. They may genuinely hate it, but leaving is not as lucrative as being kicked out, with many companies offering handsome severance packages. If this is your plan, you need to have some savings as a safety net. When the time comes, you can use it as buffer until you find work. A word of warning though: be sure to check the redundancy policy of the job you plan to &quot;leave.&quot; Some companies are making cuts everywhere, and that includes termination benefits.</p> <h2>3. To Get Revenge</h2> <p>It may be a dish best served cold, but it can also be an expensive one. If you really want to hit someone where it hurts, you are going to have to put down some cash to make it happen. Revenge can be as simple as a college prank, or as complicated as the plot from a movie. It could be something that takes five minutes to plan or several months. Depending on the level of vengeance you're aiming for, you may need to put away a large sum of money to finance your cunning plan.</p> <h2>4. To Spy on Someone</h2> <p>Cheating spouse? Co-worker embezzling money? Neighbor's dog using your lawn as a toilet? Whatever your reason, you'll need a nice sum of money if you want to get hard evidence. This could involve hiring a private investigator, setting up a substantial hidden camera system, and even wearing recording devices (check the legality of this in your state first). However you plan to spy, you'll need to bankroll your operation. Start saving now &mdash; some of these people will only accept cold, hard cash.</p> <h2>5. To Get Plastic Surgery</h2> <p>Some would say that improving yourself is very worthwhile, and I tend to agree. Are breast implants, tummy tucks, and lip injections really that bad? Well, it all depends. If you're saving for those and letting your kids go hungry, then yes, that's bad. If everyone is taken care of, and this is something you'd rather do than buy a new car or go on vacation, then more power to you.</p> <h2>6. To Annoy Your Neighbor</h2> <p>Have you ever watched a show about battling neighbors? It happens often, and it can go from the silly to the downright bizarre. Case in point &mdash; the Bank of Manhattan and the Chrysler building. Both wanted to be taller than the Woolworth back in 1929. It looked like the Bank of Manhattan won the battle, but the war went to the Chrysler building a few months later, when a spire was secretly assembled on its roof. From building bigger fences, to painting houses brighter colors, suburban neighbors have also battled for years. If you want to get into it, you'll need the money to compete.</p> <h2>7. To Get Divorced</h2> <p>Maybe you're in a relationship that is just barely hanging on for life. You may be tied to the other person financially, and cannot separate until you have the money to do so. This is where saving money comes in, but you will have to be careful how you do it. You cannot just squirrel away money from your partner, and not declare it. But if you do it legally, and with full disclosure, saving money now is the best way to ensure you can finally start down the road to unwedded bliss. As Louis CK has so rightly said, don't commiserate with people going through this; no good marriage ended in divorce.</p> <h2>8. To Do Nothing</h2> <p>Some people have a dream that is neither productive, nor inspiring. They simply want to save enough money so that they don't have to work again. Or do anything else remotely connected to work, if truth be told. There's a famous quote from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-secrets-about-life-and-career-from-office-space">Office Space</a> that sums it up, uttered by the protagonist Peter Gibbons, when asked what he'd do with a million dollars: &quot;I would relax&hellip; I would sit on my ass all day&hellip; I would do nothing.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, his friend Lawrence counters that with, &quot;Well, you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin; he's broke, don't do sh*t.&quot; Sorry, Lawrence, you do need money. A lot of money. Doing nothing may not cost a lot, but you still need to eat, pay bills, and live a somewhat comfortable existence. Start saving.</p> <p><em>So, those are eight dark side motivations, but what are yours? What dark things inspire you to save money? Let us know in comments below!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-dark-side-motivations-to-start-saving" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Dark-Side Motivations to Start Saving" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Debt Management debt goals motivation saving Mon, 15 Sep 2014 17:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1209316 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Dumb Little Purchases You Need to Stop Making Today http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-buying-DVDs-158220812-small.jpg" alt="man buying DVDs" title="man buying DVDs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all make dumb little purchases here and there &mdash; it's what puts the <em>'merica</em> in America &mdash; but this habit can result in a whole bevy of negatives like unnecessary overspending and hazards to your health. Yep, some of them could actually be making you sick. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/knowing-your-triggers-can-prevent-stupid-spending?ref=seealso">Knowing Your Triggers Can Prevent Emotional Spending</a>)</p> <p>What seemingly harmless, little purchases are absolutely not helping you in any way and might actually be holding you back? Here are 13 that you need to learn to just say no to today.</p> <h2>1. Coffee on the Go</h2> <p><a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cup-of-coffee-to-cost-more-at-starbucks-2014-06-21">You're wasting an incredible amount of money</a> every time you step into a java shop. You're also wasting time (you know you've stood in that long, zig-zaggy line just to get your fix) &mdash; and in my world (and probably yours, too) time is money.</p> <p>For the price that you pay for two Venti caramel soy mocha latte ya yas &mdash; or whatever they're called &mdash; you can buy a pound of coffee from your grocery store or local discount retailer (like Marshalls or T.J.Maxx) that you can make at home. Fact: <a href="http://store.starbucks.com/Coffee-Preparation-FAQ/coffee-prep-faq,default,pg.html">One pound of coffee makes about 40 eight-ounce cups of coffee</a>, depending on how you like it. That's a lot of joe for very little dough. Need more perspective? You'll save roughly $30 with a pound of coffee at home opposed to buying cups on the go. That's not a drop in the carafe, folks. If you're a coffee addict, that kind of savings will add up quickly.</p> <h2>2. Bottled Drinks</h2> <p>Let's get the obvious out of the way: Tap water is free nearly everywhere you go. Thus, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a reusable bottle that you're filling up whenever you're thirsty instead of heading to the convenience store or vending machine for a bottle of water.</p> <p>With that out of the way, let's tackle the flavored drinks.</p> <p>First, you can cut back on how much you're consuming and spending on soft drinks if you recognize that most of them have no health benefits, and they're only making you fat, but if you want to ignore that warning at least recognize that nowadays you can easily and inexpensively make your own soft drinks at home. Whether you're investing in a machine that instantly turns flat drinks into fizzy beverages or purchasing your favorite soft drink in liquid or powder form to mix at home, you can save a substantial amount of coin with the press of a button or a few stirs of a pitcher.</p> <h2>3. Magazines and Newspapers</h2> <p>I get a lot of flack every time I suggest that we should abandon magazines and newspapers in order to save money. I can almost bet that someone will comment about how this is irresponsible of me because people's jobs are on the line. Guess what, folks? I'm a writer for print publications as well, so my own advice directly affects me. Still, there's no stopping the gradual progression toward a paperless world. News moves at the speed of the Internet these days, and it's completely free. Save the trees.</p> <h2>4. Lottery Tickets</h2> <p>I wish you all the luck in the world, of course, but the odds just aren't in your favor. That's not to say that you can't take a gamble and have fun every once in while &mdash; I do, and you can, too &mdash; but if you're playing the lottery and buying scratch-offs several times a week (or just on a regular basis), you might as well skip a trip to the store and flush your hard-earned cash right down the toilet &mdash; which, depending on your financial situation, can be a decent chunk of change according to reports: Business Insider revealed recently that low-income households earning less than $13,000 a year spend 9% of their income on lottery tickets. That's bad.</p> <h2>5. Cheap Shoes</h2> <p>The problem with cheaply made shoes (and cheaply made anything for that matter) is that they have a shorter lifespan than quality-made shoes. The result of this discrepancy is that you'll replace the former more often than the latter, which can result in an overall higher cost in the end. How do you think Walmart became so big and profitable?</p> <h2>6. DVDs and On Demand Movies</h2> <p>My husband is the most notorious on-demand orderer I know. He often can't wait for the early release movies to become available for rent, so he buys them outright for $15 to $20 a pop, which practically makes me faint every time I see a newly purchased flick in the queue. Does he realize that if we change cable providers all that content is lost?! I seriously might have to pop a Xanax just thinking about this.</p> <p>It's okay to rent a DVD from a kiosk or order on demand every so often &mdash; especially if it's an alternative to spending more money going out &mdash; but don't make it a habit. DVD kiosk rentals &mdash; although initially inexpensive &mdash; can add up if you're renting frequently, renting without promo codes, or returning late. And at anywhere from $3.99 to $6.99 per on-demand rental, it's wise to be conservative here, too. A good compromise, however &mdash; if you're a heavy content consumer &mdash; is to subscribe to a relatively low-cost streaming service or checking out content (for free!) from your local library.</p> <h2>7. In-App Purchases</h2> <p>As someone who's in in-app-purchase rehab, learn from my weaknesses and repeat after me: I DO NOT NEED THIS. I CAN LIVE WITHOUT THIS. The temptation is hard to resist, but it'll get easier as time goes on and you won't have to live with that gnawing guilt anymore.</p> <h2>8. Paper Towels and Napkins</h2> <p>You're literally throwing away money with paper towels. Swap them out for reusable, washable towels/napkins by repurposing items you already have &mdash; like old t-shirts as replacements with personality &mdash; which will require no additional investment whatsoever.</p> <h2>9. Antibacterial Soap</h2> <p>Why, in this age of Ebola and the Kardashians, would you skip the antibacterial soap? Simple: Because it doesn't work. The FDA recently noted that antibacterial products are no more effective than soap and water, and, in fact, they may even be dangerous. Here are <a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/five-reasons-why-you-should-probably-stop-using-antibacterial-soap-180948078/?no-ist">four more reasons to skip antibacterial everything</a> and get back to basics.</p> <h2>10. Multivitamins</h2> <p>I mean, I don't want to burst another bubble for you, but <a href="http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/news/20131216/experts-dont-waste-your-money-on-multivitamins">your multivitamins are worthless too</a>. Recently, three separate studies concluded that a daily multivitamin doesn't help boost the average American's health. The takeaway? Put down the gummies and pick up some veggies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multivitamins-arent-as-good-as-you-think-eat-these-real-foods-instead?ref=seealso">Multivitamins Aren't as Good as You Think: Eat These Real Foods Instead</a>)</p> <h2>11. Travel-Size Toiletries</h2> <p>Frankly, I'm offended that personal-product makers take us for complete idiots by waaaay overpricing smaller, travel-size versions of their larger products. Most travel-size items are a dollar or more, and there are rarely (if ever) coupons available for these tiny items. Conversely, the full-size version of the same product &mdash; shampoo and toothpaste, for instance &mdash; doesn't cost much more than the travel size and there are often coupons available for full-size items. In the end, you could spend less on the full-size item than the travel-size item (the ounce-to-ounce cost difference is absurd, too), which is a huge win in my book. Here are a few more tricks you can use to save on travel-size items:</p> <ol> <li>Buy TSA-approved containers in which you can put shampoo, conditioners, gel, etc. and toss them in your travel bag. These <a href="http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10036635&amp;N=&amp;Ntt=silicone+travel">GoToobs</a> are my favorite. I just fill them up from my big bottles and I'm ready to go.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't bother buying or bringing toothpaste, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, and other grooming products that you know your hotel will have. Just ask for them at the front desk at check-in.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take the partially used (or even unused) hotel-provided toiletries with you so you're not wasting product or money. (Somebody will inevitably cast shame on me for yanking unopened products, but listen man, if I pay over $150 a night to sleep in a bed, I'm takin' some shampoo with me. Me and You-Know-Who will reconcile this in the afterlife.)</li> </ol> <h2>12. Food Delivery</h2> <p>Trust me, I get it. Sometimes you just can't (cannot!) be bothered to make a simple sandwich at home let alone cook a real meal because you and the couch have become one. I've been there. But if you're ordering out frequently, you're not only wasting your money, you're wasting away. Get this problem in check before it becomes a habit; if it's already become a habit, consider making a lifestyle change. Delivery is okay as a treat, but it should not be a regular routine.</p> <p>In addition, there's another thing to consider about food delivery these days: Many companies that previously offered free delivery are now charging for delivery. I was recently charged a $2.25 delivery fee for a pizza delivery that took more than two hours. Investigate if there's a delivery fee before you order so you can make an informed decision to patronize that establishment or take your business elsewhere. That delivery fee is on top of tax and tip.</p> <h2>13. Paper and Plastic Products</h2> <p>I know people who strictly eat and drink from paper and plastic products and who have cabinets full of perfectly fine dishes. Their reliance on these expensive (they may seem cheap in the short-term, but it'll add up quickly) and wasteful products is a direct result of pure laziness &mdash; they don't want to wash dishes by hand, or, and this really makes me shake my head, they view loading and unloading the dishwasher as way too much work for one person to reasonably handle. This is where my doctor-prescribed breathing techniques come in handy.</p> <p>Let's not get started on the people who actually wash the plastic products. Uh huh, people do it. And I'm like, why did you buy disposable products if you're going to wash them? That completely defeats the purpose, but I suppose it's at least a small step in the right direction. In any case, buy a set of dishes, please. It's much more economical to use something over and over opposed to using it once, throwing it away, and repurchasing the same thing time and again.</p> <p><em>Can you suggest more dumb little purchases that we should stop making today? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today" class="sharethis-link" title="13 Dumb Little Purchases You Need to Stop Making Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Green Living budgeting small buys spending wasteful spending Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1197959 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Nice Ways to Tell Your Spendy Friends You're Staying on Budget http://www.wisebread.com/7-nice-ways-to-tell-your-spendy-friends-youre-staying-on-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-nice-ways-to-tell-your-spendy-friends-youre-staying-on-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-disagreement-78155615-small.jpg" alt="friends disagreement" title="friends disagreement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unless you're invited to hang out at a friend's house, social invitations typically require spending money &mdash; going to the movies, grabbing a bite to eat, hitting an amusement park.</p> <p>Ignoring an invite or saying that you're busy can get you off the hook, but friends might get suspicious if you pull the same excuse over and over. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-peer-pressure-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso">Is Peer Pressure Keeping You Poor?</a>)</p> <p>You don't have to justify your reasons for not spending. But if you don't want friends or relatives to get the wrong idea or think that you're avoiding them, a simple explanation goes a long way. Whether you're on a financial fast or have other plans for your money, there are friendly ways to tell someone you don't want to spend money.</p> <h2>1. I'm Saving Up for the Holidays</h2> <p>It doesn't matter if you're buying gifts for family or taking a vacation, planning for the holiday season is a good reason (and good excuse) to scale back on spending. And since many people feel the pinch during the holidays, those in your social circle will likely understand your reasoning, and won't give you a hard time for turning down pricey invitations.</p> <h2>2. I'm Trying to Stick to My Budget</h2> <p>Saying, &quot;I'm on a budget&quot; is one way to say you're broke without actually uttering the word. But even when you have extra money, budgeting can prevent overspending.</p> <p>If you receive an invitation to join friends at a restaurant, or if you're invited to a network marketing sales party, be honest and let the host know that extra spending isn't in the budget right now. This doesn't necessarily suggest that you don't have money, but that you're careful with how you spend your pennies. Your willpower might rub off on others.</p> <h2>3. I Have New Responsibilities</h2> <p>Social invitations can go beyond dinner and a movie, and your friends might plan a vacation together or suggest a shopping trip in the city. A responsible adult counts the cost before any large purchase. And if you have new responsibilities or financial obligations (such as you've started a family or recently purchased a home), now may not be the best time to spend money on an expensive adventure. If you're the first one in your group to have children or buy a house, you might need to kindly remind your friends how these changes impact personal finances. And remember: specifics count here. So if you feel comfortable, feel free to go into detail about said new responsibilities.</p> <h2>4. I've Had Some Unexpected Expenses Arise</h2> <p>Maybe you haven't taken on new responsibilities, yet unexpected costs have zapped your disposable income. You may have some extra money, yet realize it's wiser to put this cash towards getting your finances back on track &mdash; and right now, frivolous spending is out of the question.</p> <h2>5. I'm Planning for My Future</h2> <p>Friends don't need to know the nitty-gritty details about your plan. Whether you're growing your retirement fund, saving up for a house, or planning to buy a vacation property, you'll never reach long-term saving goals unless you're disciplined and willing to turn down a few invitations.</p> <h2>6. Can I Suggest Another Activity?</h2> <p>The fact that you don't want to spend money doesn't mean that you don't want to spend time with friends. Another friendly approach is suggesting an alternate activity &mdash; one that doesn't cost a dime, or an activity that costs very little.</p> <p>For example, if a friend suggests a getaway, but you don't want to spend money on airfare, hotels, and meals in an expensive city, suggest a cheaper option and look for a destination within a one or two-hour drive of your house. Spend the day enjoying the local sights, and drive back the same day. Pack a lunch and snacks and only spend money on gas.</p> <h2>7. Blame a Scapegoat &mdash; if Necessary</h2> <p>Explaining that you're on a budget or saying that you're planning for the future are friendly ways to tell someone that you don't want to spend money. But sometimes, these reasons don't put an end to spending peer pressure, and you might need to use a scapegoat.</p> <p>This suggestion comes from a friend who felt pressured by co-workers to dine out for lunch. Her colleagues ate out just about everyday of the week, spending upwards of $30 to $40 a week on lunch. Although joining the group wouldn't create a hardship, she couldn't justify spending so much on lunch. The pressure didn't stop until she nicely used her husband as a scapegoat, saying he didn't like the idea of her spending $100 a month on lunch. Fair? Maybe. Effective? Yes.</p> <p><em>Can you suggest some other friendly ways to tell someone you don't want to spend money? What excuses have you used in the past? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-nice-ways-to-tell-your-spendy-friends-youre-staying-on-budget" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Nice Ways to Tell Your Spendy Friends You&#039;re Staying on Budget" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Budgeting friends saving spending Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1197955 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stop Hating Yourself About Money and Actually Make Positive Changes http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-hating-yourself-about-money-and-actually-make-positive-changes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-hating-yourself-about-money-and-actually-make-positive-changes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/financial-problems-177252638-small.jpg" alt="financial problems" title="financial problems" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bad money management leads to money guilt, which leads to more bad money management.</p> <p>More specifically, this is because money guilt can lead you to avoid thinking about or addressing the scenarios that make you feel guilty. You might budget less, or find yourself nervous to look at your checking account or open your bank statements. You engage in these behaviors to avoid the anxiety and guilt you experience when trying to improve in these areas. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-money-worries-are-holding-you-back-heres-what-to-do?ref=seealso">Your Money Worries Are Holding You Back</a>)</p> <p>This cycle is known as avoidance coping, and it has to stop.</p> <p>Instead of staying trapped in a <a href="http://psychcentral.com/lib/breaking-the-cycle-of-shame-and-self-destructive-behavior/00015434">guilt and shame cycle</a>, we need to make intentional changes in the way we handle our money and the way we deal with the guilt that ensues after we inevitably make mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Make Saving Manageable With Small Contributions</h2> <p>Budgeting and saving isn't about being able to put large sums of money into your savings account all at once. It's being intentional and calculated about what you're spending so that you allow yourself to put modest and manageable sums of money away for retirement or whatever else you might want to save for. People get hung up because they think they need to put a lot away at once. This often leads to failure, which then results in money guilt and giving up.</p> <p>Instead, budget and give yourself plenty of room with your savings. Go with a small amount; something you're certain won't be difficult for you to manage. Over time those small amounts add up and can change as your income changes.</p> <h2>2. Include a &quot;Fun&quot; or &quot;Misc&quot; Category in Your Budget</h2> <p>You can use one of the &quot;other&quot; categories in <a href="http://a248.e.akamai.net/f/1611/26335/9h/dramsey.download.akamai.com/23572/daveramsey.com/media/pdf/forms/fpu_qbudget.pdf">Dave Ramsey's budget forms</a> to allow yourself money for a &quot;fun&quot; budget item. This part of your budget is essentially a cushion that can be spent on whatever you want. If you mess up and buy a coffee or go to the movies when you didn't plan on it, deduct it from this section of your budget so that you don't feel like you've broken your financial plan for the week. Make sure you allot a reasonable amount, because assuming you spend all of the fun budget, it shouldn't drain your account. Reasonable is determined by your income, but generally, it shouldn't be more than 10% of your take-home pay.</p> <h2>3. Prioritize Fixed Expenses and Set Them on Auto-Pay</h2> <p>Some expenses are the same month in and month out. These are usually bills like electricity, your rent, mortgage, car payments, and whatever else you know you'll have to pay. When these are missed or late, you get notices which can be uniquely scary and demoralizing. Prioritize them first on your budget and make sure that they get paid early, every month. If the service offers an auto-bill pay or a similar feature that automatically drafts the money from your account, set that up so that you'll get in the habit of having the money there every month before it's due.</p> <h2>4. Assume an Imperfect Process</h2> <p>Making positive changes to your personal financial situation takes time, and it's almost never a smooth road. Recognizing this up front and expecting to make mistakes will help to minimize the guilt that you might feel when you fail to stick to your list of best practices. If you know that this is part of the journey, you're more likely to resist the temptation to backtrack and ignore the process altogether. So assume that you'll run into some snags along the way. When you do, just get back up and stick to your original plan.</p> <h2>Practical Tips for Initially Getting Out of a Money Guilt Rut</h2> <p>The most difficult part of the process can often be in the initial stages when you're trying to change habits and get away from feeling bad about how you handle your money.</p> <p>In that stage there are a few initial things you can do that will help you get your plan jump started.</p> <h3>1. Avoid Taking on More Debt</h3> <p>If you have debt that needs to be paid off, it can be part of your budgeting and planning. What you want to avoid completely is incurring any <em>new </em>debt while you're trying to make good habits.</p> <h3>2. Cut Your Dining and Entertainment Budget</h3> <p>If you do make a &quot;fun&quot; or &quot;misc&quot; budget, it might be wise to bundle entertainment, dining, and all other unnecessary expenses into that category, at least until you get into the swing of being able to budget and save.</p> <h3>3. Make Saving Automatic</h3> <p>Setting up an automatic, weekly transfer from your checking to savings accounts makes contributing to your savings more of an inevitable bill than an optional transaction. Set this up with a small amount that won't stress your cash flow and let it draft every week. As you pay down debt and regain control, up your contribution to savings.</p> <h2>Stick With It</h2> <p>Once you start on a path of good money management and you stay on course, weeks and months turn into years, and before you know it you've been managing money well, developing good habits, and increasing your cash flow and savings. At that point it becomes part of your life and begins to happen naturally. And best of all, you've escaped the trap of guilt-shame-avoidance.</p> <p><em>What about you? How do you avoid the cycle of money guilt and frustration? What are some of your best practices?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-hating-yourself-about-money-and-actually-make-positive-changes" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Stop Hating Yourself About Money and Actually Make Positive Changes" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Lifestyle avoidance money guilt money shame saving Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1190508 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Pricey Things You Shouldn't Buy (And What to Get Instead) http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl-shopping-470978525-small.jpg" alt="girl shopping" title="girl shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Shakespeare said it best: &quot;Fast bind, fast find; a proverb never stale in thrifty mind.&quot;</p> <p>Savvy shoppers know that living a thrifty lifestyle doesn't mean that you have to give up on the finer things of life. The trick is to find cheaper alternatives to expensive purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-an-above-average-life-for-below-average-prices?ref=seealso">How to Have an Above Average Life for Below Average Prices</a>)</p> <p>Here are 14 thrifty ways to enjoy affordable alternatives to big ticket items.</p> <h2>Food</h2> <p>Eat like a king without looking like a jester.</p> <h3>1. Caviar</h3> <p>If Family Feud were to ask &quot;Name a food most people can't afford,&quot; caviar would be among the top two answers. A single ounce (28g) of Sevruga caviar can cost you between $108 to $125. If you try to buy one ounce of Osetra Caviar you have to be ready to shell out at least $200. Fortunately, U.S. produced caviar is <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/us-caviar-worldly-reputation-black-gold-19622396">rising in popularity</a>. Buy buying U.S. caviar, you can score a two ounce tin for about $28.</p> <h3>2. Saffron</h3> <p>The <a href="http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/07/16886009-saffron-gives-farmers-in-war-torn-afghanistan-a-taste-of-the-good-life">saffron business is booming</a>. With some farmers selling a kilo of saffron for up to $1,600, you shouldn't be surprised to be paying around $15 for a 0.02 oz. (0.5g) jar. The next time you need some saffron for a delicious paella, bouillabaisse, or risotto, turn to its close cousin: turmeric. You can get a 4 ounce bag (over 100 grams) of turmeric for about $4. To turn down turmeric's strong flavor a notch, use 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric plus 1/2 teaspoon of sweet Hungarian paprika to substitute for 1/4 teaspoon of ground saffron.</p> <h3>3. Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese</h3> <p>You say Parmigiano-Reggiano, I say Pecorino Romano and Locatelli Pecorino Romano. The two latter cheeses are also Italian cheeses, made further down south near Rome. While a little bit saltier, they pack the same wonderful flavor that your Italian masterpieces need. Your wallet will thank you, too. Pecorino Romano and Locatelli Pecorino Romano go for about a $12 per round, which is $10 less per round than Parmigiano-Reggiano. This means you could buy almost two rounds for what you were paying before.</p> <h3>4. Basmati Rice</h3> <p>I love Indian cuisine, but if you look up any DIY videos on the web you quickly realize how expensive it can get to make a full Indian dinner. Top-notch cardamom, garam masala, basmati rice, and curry powder can put a serious dent in your dinner budget. The quickest way to save between $4 to $6 per 25-pound bag is to switch basmati rice for jasmine rice. This Thai rice pairs perfectly with any curry sauce.</p> <h2>Transportation</h2> <p>Getting around shouldn't be complicated and expensive. Not everybody needs a car, and even when you really do need one, you should consider consolidating into a single car. Make it less expensive to get around with these two cheap alternatives.</p> <h3>5. Bicycle</h3> <p>I have lived in several cities that I didn't need a car at all &mdash; all I needed was a bike. As much money as I was saving on gas, I still had to incur several expenses, such as keeping my bike secure, spending money on parking (yes, there is such a thing in congested downtown areas in which space comes at a premium), and replacing my bike whenever stolen or vandalized. Fold-up bikes are an awesome solution to do away with these three big expenses. Some people think that fold-up bikes are only available for $500. Actually, Citizen Bike has fold-up bikes <a href="http://www.citizenbike.com">starting at $169</a>.</p> <h3>6. Car</h3> <p>For the cities that biking or taking public transportation is out of the question, you gotta have a car. For college students, young working professionals, and single parents, the cost of acquiring a car is often out of the question. Fortunately for them, <a href="http://www.zipcar.com">ZipCar</a> provides a viable option to access a car whenever they need it. With memberships starting at $6 per month or $60 per year, you can access a car in 22 U.S. cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Austin, and three international cities. If you don't want to commit to a membership, Zip Car driving rates range from $8 to $10 per hour.</p> <p>Other alternatives for owning a car, are <a href="http://www.lyft.com">Lyft</a> and <a href="http://uber.com">Uber</a>. When using Uber beware of <a href="http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2014/02/06/uber-neighborhood-pricing-surge-charges-marina-most">surge pricing</a>, which make the rate more expensive than usual during busy times.</p> <h2>Tech</h2> <p>Gadgets can make your life easier and help you make money. Here are ways to make four expensive tech purchases more accessible.</p> <h3>7. Tablet</h3> <p>Internet access is essential nowadays to get access to cheaper products and convenient services, such as mobile banking and email. Tablets are awesome tools because they combine the computing power of laptops and the portability of smartphones. Unfortunately, the <a href="http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/">cheapest iPad models</a> start at $399 and alternatives such as the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Fire-Amazon-Tablet/dp/B0051VVOB2">original Kindle Fire</a> start at $119. And this doesn't include the cost of the Internet itself. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, then consider <a href="http://ubislate.us">Datawind's UbiSlate</a>. This tablet starts at $37.99 for Wi-Fi-only and has a $99.99 offer that includes one year of <a href="http://ubislate.us/product.php?prodid=2">unlimited basic mobile Internet</a>.</p> <h3>8. Adobe Acrobat Pro</h3> <p>Business professionals around the world create and use PDF files to communicate effectively. An <a href="http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatpro.html">Adobe Acrobat Pro license</a> costs $19.99 per month or close to $240 per year, over and over. There are several cheaper options out there (sorted in descending order of price):</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.nitropdf.com">Nitro Pro 9</a>: With just $140 you get access to a software just as powerful as Adobe Acrobat Pro.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.qoppa.com/pdfstudio/">Qoppa PDF Studio</a>: At $129 this software gives Nitro Pro 9 a good competition, especially if you are looking for reliable OCR conversion, page manipulation and markup.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.cutepdf.com/products/cutepdf/pro.asp">CutePDF Professional</a>: This user-friendly PDF editor allows you to markup your document in different ways. But with a price tag of $50, you shouldn't be surprised that you can do more than that. Still, it is suitable alternative for getting the job done.</li> </ul> <h3>9. Microsoft Office Suite</h3> <p>Microsoft has jumped on the cloud bandwagon and now makes it popular productivity suite available as a subscription service over the web. This provides major savings for you.</p> <p>For example, it costs $219.99 to buy an installation CD for Office Home 2013 to get Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote and Outlook. Instead, with a <a href="http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/buy/">cloud-based subscription</a> (known as Office 365) you pay just $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. Additionally, Office 365 is way cheaper than a CD license because it is always the latest version. If you buy a one-time CD, you have to pay again to upgrade to a newer version.</p> <h3>10. Smartphones</h3> <p>Next to tablets, smartphones are changing the way we communicate with each other. There is no need to spend more than you need to. Smartphones are no longer a novelty and there are several options beyond Apple and Samsung. Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-powerful-smartphones-that-arent-overpriced">4 powerful smartphones that aren't overpriced</a>. There are plenty more available, too.</p> <h2>Travel</h2> <p>The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.</p> <h3>11. Hotels</h3> <p>There are several, cheaper alternatives:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.couchsurfing.org/">Coachsurfing.org</a>: With listings in 100,000 cities worldwide and 7 million members, you can stay at virtually every city in the world at the lowest possible cost.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hostels: The two largest listings of hostels are <a href="https://www.hihostels.com/">Hosteling International</a> and <a href="http://www.hostels.com/">Hostels.com</a>. Make sure that you meet the booking requirements (e.g. valid student ID) before paying for a stay.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.airbnb.com">Airbnb</a> gives you access to local renters in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries at prices below hotels.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you're a fan of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457939/">The Holiday</a> with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, then you might be into home swapping through networks, such as <a href="http://www.homelink.org/">HomeLink</a>, <a href="http://www.homeexchange.com/">HomeExchange</a>, and <a href="http://www.lovehomeswap.com/">Love Home Swap. </a></li> </ul> <h3>12. Cell Phone Abroad</h3> <p>While international calls and roaming charges are incredibly expensive, there is no need to become completely unreachable just because you are traveling abroad. Here are two cheap alternatives:</p> <ul> <li>If you have access to Wi-Fi, while abroad: <ul> <li>Schedule calls and leverage Skype to do calls while on vacation (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-use-skype-to-keep-in-touch-with-friends-and-family?ref=seealso">How I Use Skype to Keep in Touch With Friends and Family</a>).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Contact your cell provider and figure out how to do calls through Wi-Fi only.<br /> &nbsp;</li> </ul> </li> <li>If you don't want to take your own smartphone: <ul> <li>Buy a cheap pre-paid cell and use it to receive calls. Unlike the U.S., several countries don't charge minutes to receive calls.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Research if a cell phone rental would make sense.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h2>Entertainment</h2> <p>Here is how to play on the cheap.</p> <h3>13. Gym Membership</h3> <p>Keeping in shape through a gym can run between $20 to $50 per month. That's about $240 to $600 per year! There are two ways to get a cheaper gym membership. First, check out if your local Costco sells gym memberships and compare it to your current rate. Even if you have no Costco card, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-non-members-can-get-at-costco-including-cheap-eye-exams">window shop at Costco</a>. Second, find out if your health plan provides a fitness reimbursement program, such as <a href="http://uhctogether.com/uhcwellness/16181.html">United Healthcare</a> or <a href="https://www.harvardpilgrim.org/portal/page?_pageid=213,217714&amp;_dad=portal&amp;_schema=PORTAL">Harvard Pilgrim</a>, or discounted gym membership plan, such as <a href="http://www.activeandfit.com">Kaiser Permanente</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-legit-ways-to-use-the-gym-for-free%20?ref=seealso">8 Legit Ways to Use the Gym for Free</a>)</p> <h3>14. Video Games</h3> <p>You can be a couch potato and still rack up a heavy entertainment bill. Let's face it, game consoles have always been <a href="https://games.yahoo.com/photos/the-10-most-expensive-video-game-consoles-1382035547-slideshow/">crazy expensive</a>. Stop paying $60 (or more!) per game and take note of these cheaper alternatives:</p> <ul> <li>Download free games for your <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/category/GAME/collection/topselling_free">Android device</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;%3Bqid=1404347925&amp;%3Brh=n%3A133140011%2Cn%3A154606011%2Cn%3A156279011%2Cn%3A156376011%2Ck%3Afree%20games&amp;%3Bsort=price-asc-rank&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;keywords=free%20games&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2QETN2WWDHOHO3XJ">Kindle device</a>, or <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewRoom?cc=us&amp;fcId=805001580&amp;id=25180&amp;mt=8&amp;urlDesc=/great-free-games">Apple device</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use the Netflix for video games: <a href="http://www.gamefly.com">Gamefly</a>. Remember to test drive the service with a first free month trial (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-or-subscribe-how-to-pay-the-least-for-the-media-you-love-the-most?ref=seealso">Pay or Subscribe: How to Pay the Least for the Media You Love The Most</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rent a video game for $2 per day with <a href="http://www.redbox.com/games">Redbox</a> (sign up for their SMS and email alerts for promo codes for free and discounted rentals)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Buy old school PC games at heavily discounted prices at <a href="http://www.gog.com">Gog.com</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Score old game consoles, such as NES and Sega, with dozens of games at dirt cheap prices on Amazon.com or Craiglist</li> </ul> <p><em>What is your favorite cheap alternative to an expensive purchase?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead" class="sharethis-link" title="14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping cheap alternatives discounts shopping spending Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Damian Davila 1172367 at http://www.wisebread.com Never Use Your Credit Card to Pay for These 10 Things http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-your-credit-card-to-pay-for-these-10-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/never-use-your-credit-card-to-pay-for-these-10-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bar-credit-card-134480241-small.jpg" alt="bar credit card" title="bar credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Plastic comes in handy during an emergency, and when you're building <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">reward points</a> or your credit history. But although credit cards can be used for just about any purchase, there are things you should never charge to your card. Sometimes, you're better off using cash or a debit card. Here are 10 things you should never put on your credit card.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage Payments</h2> <p>Some banks do not allow customers to pay their mortgage or auto loan with a credit card. However, if your bank allows this method of payment, you might be tempted if you're short on cash. However, robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn't solve the situation &mdash; it complicates it. It's one thing to pay your mortgage with a credit card, and then immediately pay off the credit card. But if this debt sits on your card for several weeks or months, it's a move that can trigger costly credit card debt.</p> <h2>2. Medical Bills</h2> <p>It might seem logical to pull out your credit card and pay off expensive medical bills. However, it's more cost-effective to work out a payment plan with your healthcare provider. Hospitals and doctor's offices are usually accommodating. Depending on the facility, you can possibly pay off your medical bills interest-free over several months, or pay an interest rate that's cheaper than most credit card rates.</p> <h2>3. College Tuition</h2> <p>Unless you're absolutely certain that you're able to pay off this debt before the end of the semester, never charge college tuition to a credit card. Some colleges and universities that accept credit card payments charge a processing fee. However, there are low-interest loan options available, and unlike a credit card, federal student loan repayment doesn't start until after graduation.</p> <h2>4. Gambling</h2> <p>If you're cash-strapped, you might take a chance and charge lottery tickets or hit the casino with your credit card. Yet, the chances of hitting it big are slim to none. And even if you win some money, it may not be enough to pay off charges put on your credit card. You could end up losing money, plus dealing with the aftermath of high credit card debt.</p> <h2>5. Weddings</h2> <p>Since one in two marriages in the U.S. end with divorce, charging a big wedding is a recipe for financial disaster. You might be happily in love today, but this can change in the future. And if you use a credit card to pay for an elaborate wedding, you might carry this debt long after the marriage ends. (See also: <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/say-no-7-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-get-married-if-youre-in-debt?ref=seealso">Say No! 7 Reasons You Shouldn't Get Married If You're in Debt</a>)</p> <h2>6. Vacations</h2> <p>You may crave the chance to escape and clear your head. But if you charge an expensive vacation to your credit card, the excitement of the trip will be short-lived. Rather than coming home with a clear mind, you're forced to deal with a mountain of new credit card debt, which can raise your stress level and kill your vacation high. (See our list of credit cards with the <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">best sign-up bonuses for airline miles</a>)</p> <h2>7. Income Taxes</h2> <p>If you owe Uncle Sam big money, using your credit card is one option for getting rid of your income tax worries. But just like paying your mortgage with plastic, you're basically trading one debt for another. And unfortunately, when you use your credit card to pay income taxes, there's a hefty processing fee based on the amount you owe. Rather than pay with a credit card, contact the Internal Revenue Service to setup <a style="text-decoration:none;" href="http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Payment-Plans,-Installment-Agreements">a low-interest repayment plan</a>.</p> <h2>8. Bar Tab</h2> <p>If you're hanging out with friends, it might be convenient to start a bar tab on your credit card. However, since cash isn't actually leaving your hand, you can get carried away and splurge on costly drinks. Bar drinks aren't cheap, and if you don't monitor how much you're spending, you'll get a shock at the end of the night. Bring cash instead.</p> <h2>9. Mail-Order Purchases</h2> <p>Rather than shop through mail order, visit a retail in-person or shop online. With mail order, you're required to put your credit card information on the form. Unfortunately, if your order gets lost in the mail, your credit card number can end up in the wrong hands, which increases your risk of identity theft.</p> <h2>10. Money Orders</h2> <p>Using a credit card to get a money order doesn't seem like a big deal. However, your credit card company might view this as a cash advance; and unfortunately, cash advances carry a fee of around 3% of the cost. Also, these transactions have higher interest rates than standard purchases. You could end up paying way more than the value of the money order.</p> <p><em>What are some other purchases that should never be put on credit cards? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-your-credit-card-to-pay-for-these-10-things" class="sharethis-link" title="Never Use Your Credit Card to Pay for These 10 Things" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Credit Cards bad credit decisions buying on credit credit credit purchases expensive credit Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1171185 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/quitting-job-182298092-small.jpg" alt="quit job" title="quit job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We usually like to take the high ground when motivating ourselves. When it comes to getting out of debt, common reasons include &quot;I want to put more money into a college savings fund&quot; or &quot;it will lower my insurance premiums.&quot; And yes, they're good reasons. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-harmful-money-beliefs-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso">6 Harmful Money Beliefs That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <p>But what if, for a second, we don't go the way of the good-hearted Luke Skywalker, and instead follow the path of his evil father? What if we use motivations that come from &quot;the dark side?&quot;</p> <p>Here are 10 dark-side motivations you could use to get out of debt. Feel the power of the force.</p> <h2>1. Beat the Joneses</h2> <p>Forget keeping up with the neighbors or co-workers who always seem to be doing better than you. It's time to beat them at their own game. Scrimp, save, cut back, and do whatever you can to get rid of that debt you have. Once you're debt-free, start throwing that in their face. The average indebted American has almost <a href="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson9/">$16,000 in credit card debt</a>. If your neighbors are driving around in fancy cars, and always wearing new threads, they're probably in that camp. How good will it feel to casually tell them you have ZERO credit card debt. That's right. None. Zip. Nada. Watch their squirming faces and enjoy.</p> <h2>2. Better Still, Move Away From Them!</h2> <p>It's all well and good one-upping your neighbors, but why not just get out of dodge and save enough money to buy a bigger, better house in a more exclusive neighborhood? By getting out of debt, you'll get a better credit score, have money to put into savings, and will be able to move into the home you've always wanted. Won't it be nice to wave goodbye to that one neighbor you really cannot stand?</p> <h2>3. Splurge On Something Insanely Selfish</h2> <p>Yes, we know the reasons people want to get out of debt. Paying off those credit cards every month sucks, especially when your money is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal">paying off the interest first</a>. What if you put a goal in front of you that is a complete waste of money, for most people anyway? Maybe you've always wanted the original costume Michael Keaton wore in Batman. Or perhaps it's a half-eaten cheeseburger that Elvis left behind. Whatever your insane splurge is, don't let other people tell you it's not something worth getting out of debt for. It is. If it is the reason you're debt-free, it really is. Of course, don't go back into debt buying it!</p> <h2>4. Quit Your Crappy Job Earlier</h2> <p>Think about it. The sooner you get out of debt, the sooner you can start saving. And that also means saving for retirement. The more you put into your 401(k), the quicker it will accumulate. Before you know it, you've shaved five, or even ten, years off your retirement date. If that's not a reason to get out of debt, what is?! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-retire-early?ref=seealso">14 Ways to Retire Early</a>)</p> <h2>5. Pig Out</h2> <p>How about some gluttony? Usually, getting out of debt is something that requires some major sacrifices. You may really be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-surprising-and-delicious-ways-to-cook-instant-ramen">eating ramen</a> for a few months, or if you're a Brit, the good old beans on toast. Why not give yourself a massive feast as a goal? Once you get out of debt, treat yourself to a meal fit for three kings. Order your favorite everything, have it delivered, eat it in the bathtub watching your favorite movie while drinking a one-gallon vanilla shake. It's only once, and to be honest, your stomach won't be able to handle the size or richness of the food you'll be throwing back. But who cares!</p> <h2>6. Destroy Something</h2> <p>Legally, of course. But think about this one; is there something you really hate that you want to get rid of? It can be small, like the clock in your mother-in-law's house that plays the sounds of different birds chirping, every single hour. Maybe it's an eyesore in the neighborhood. Whatever it is, promise yourself that when you get out of debt, you'll find a way to buy it&hellip; so that you can send it to a grisly end. Think this is silly? I talked to seven people in the office today; every single one had something in mind when I brought it up.</p> <p>What would you buy, only to put it on the chopping block?</p> <h2>7. Get Revenge</h2> <p>They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Well, it may be a while until you get out of debt, so your dish of vengeance could be quite cold indeed. But don't let that stop you from using it as grim motivation.</p> <p>Is there someone who wronged you? Someone who made (or is currently making) your life miserable? What could you do to them when you get out of debt? It could be a cheap and harmless prank, or it could be something more inventive and costly. Check out <a href="https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=revenge+prank">YouTube here</a> for a few ideas. Just don't go breaking any laws, okay?</p> <h2>8. Publish a Tell-All Book</h2> <p>Tired of all those haters who hate on you? Really wish you had the money to put all the dirt you have on them into a book? Well, it can happen. It doesn't take a big deal with a publisher: you can publish your own book on sites like <a href="http://www.lulu.com/">Lulu</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=revenge+prank">Blurb</a>. So, focus on getting out of debt, and spend those nights you're not going out writing everything down. When you hit your debt-free goals, use some of the money you're now saving to run off a few copies of the book and distribute it to those most deserving.</p> <h2>9. Invent Something Horrible</h2> <p>There's a device out there called &quot;the <a href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/b278/">Annoyatron</a>.&quot; Its sole purpose is to drive people absolutely nuts by emitting a random beep no one can trace. It's evil. Like Darth Vader meets the Joker evil. We are all capable of such creative mischief. Once you're out of debt, you can devote a little time and money into making your very own. And who knows, if it's popular it could make you a ton of money too!</p> <h2>10. Replace All Your Hand-Me-Downs</h2> <p>Right now, you may be calling them &quot;family keepsakes&quot; or &quot;precious memories.&quot; To be fair, some of them are. But some of them, like the old sofa with the weird smell, or the painting that scares you every time you pass it, are not so much keepsakes as heartaches. You're only keeping them around because you can't afford to replace them. Once you're out of debt, you can give them away, donate them, burn them, dump them, or give them back to the original owner &mdash; and replace them without something you actually like. And can now afford.</p> <p><em>So, this was clearly a list of more crazy, dark ideas, but how would you add to it? What dark motivation can you think of to help you (or anyone else) get out of debt?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Debt Management debt debt elimination motivation spending Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1166030 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Staying on Budget Can Be Fun (Really!) http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-staying-on-budget-can-be-fun-really <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-staying-on-budget-can-be-fun-really" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother-daughter-budget-83590568-small.jpg" alt="mother daughter budget" title="mother daughter budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ok, sure, &quot;budget&quot; isn't always synonymous with &quot;rollicking good time.&quot; But there are ways to make the process more fun at every stage, from assessing your finances, to setting goals, to meeting those goals, to reaping the rewards. And the more fun you can make the process, the more likely you are to stick with your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/evolve-your-money-management-beyond-the-budget?ref=seealso">Evolve Your Money Management Beyond a Budget</a>)</p> <p>These ideas may help you to stay on course and have fun, while you are budgeting.</p> <h2>1. Try an App</h2> <p>Check out <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wally-smart-personal-finance/id610314677?mt=8">Wally,</a> <a href="http://www.moneybookapp.com/moneybook.html">Moneybook</a>, or <a href="https://www.ireconcile.com/iReconcile/Features/iPhoneOS/Budgets">iReconcle</a> (love their rollover feature). Besides smartphones being an enormous help (because they're always with us when we shop), just the act of being able to toy around with a new gadget can make budgeting that more fun. View your finances in cool new infographics and charts, build organized and professional-looking budgets, and just generally nerd out! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget?ref=seealso">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track spending and Keep a Budget</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get Help From a Celebrity Pro</h2> <p>Check out free forms from <a href="http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/">Dave's Budgeting Forms</a> (Dave Ramsey) or <a href="http://www.suzeorman.com/suze-tools/">Suze Orman</a>. Read their blogs, or follow them on Twitter, and you'll get even more information &mdash; and find other people who share your questions and issues. Join in the conversations and see that you are far from being the only one who needs financial information. You're suddenly in a club!</p> <h2>3. Buddy Up!</h2> <p>Your partner, friend, family member, or co-worker may want to try budgeting and saving money along with you. Try approaching them with an idea about how fun it can be (like this <a href="http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/11/envelope-budgeting-a-simple-way-to-gain-control-of-your-money.html">envelope </a>idea). It's even more fun when you can compare notes, cheer each other on, or get a little competitive. If you feel the urge to spend, a buddy may be able to divert you to a different, free, activity. For instance, I might email my co-worker when I feel like dining out, instead of my brown bag, and she'll remind me about my goals and come eat brown-bag with me. Or, when I want to hit the mall, my girlfriend will say, &quot;Let's go thrift-shopping, instead!&quot; I like to be able to tweet or text my buddies when I am feeling sorely tempted &mdash; they keep me on track.</p> <h2>4. Think Tiny Rewards</h2> <p>If you have brown-bagged it all month instead of going out to lunch, a nice reward is to treat yourself to a moderately-priced restaurant. Some of my girlfriends used to love going out for manicures &mdash; until one of them figured out how to do her own. Hawaii not in the vacation cards this year? Consider a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-and-affordable-vacation-ideas">staycation</a>. Sometimes, just for making my own breakfast and brown-bag lunch, I'll treat myself to an hour at the library (cell phone off, of course!).</p> <p>The point is, you don't want to burn out on budgeting. If the fun factor goes down, you'll regress, and go looking for an expensive activity that will blow your hard work. Find your carrot. Movie night? Trip to the bookstore? What activity, or thing, will help you to feel less deprived?</p> <h2>5. Enjoy Anticipation</h2> <p>We're happier when we wait and <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/imperfect-spirituality/201403/are-your-beliefs-about-money-keeping-you-poor">anticipate</a> the purchase, believe it or not. Also, for me, on those really &quot;blah&quot; days at work, knowing I am working for something tangible helps to get me through. Children love marking days off of calendars (I still remember my Advent calendars before Christmas), illustrating how close they are getting to a special day or vacation.</p> <h2>6. Visualize It</h2> <p>Are you budgeting for a vacation? Saving for a new car? Put a picture of your dream location on your refrigerator, desk, or medicine cabinet. Seeing the goal will be a good reminder. Starting a <a href="http://jackcanfield.com/how-to-create-an-empowering-vision-book/">visualization board</a> is a fun thing to do. We have one in our hallway. You can also create a virtual one (or several, for different categories of your budget) on Pinterest.</p> <h2>7. Enlist Your Family</h2> <p>Rally your kids. They are great at collecting change and surprisingly good savers. Count it together each week, or find a Coinstar machine (our credit union offers free use of one). Let 'em go crazy with the couch cushions. Be sure to include the family in the &quot;tiny rewards&quot; to keep the fun going. (&quot;Okay, we saved $20 this week, so let's have ice cream tonight.&quot;)</p> <h2>8. Learn With a Group</h2> <p>Check your local community college, library, YWCA, or even churches to see if classes are offered in financial planning. I was surprised to find several in my area. All seminars were completely free! Many will first help you learn how to get rid of your debt.</p> <h2>9. Learn New Things</h2> <p>Spending a lot of money dining out? Try a cooking class. Maybe you can learn to change your own oil, or start a garden. You might learn a skill that will enable you to make a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">side income</a>. Several of our neighbors have yard-care businesses. Another does flower arrangements. Saving money may be the ultimate end, but there's no reason the means can't be an adventure in and of themselves!</p> <p><em>See? Budgeting really can be fun. How do you make it fun?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-staying-on-budget-can-be-fun-really" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Ways Staying on Budget Can Be Fun (Really!)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Budgeting General Tips budgeting debt management spending Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 1166029 at http://www.wisebread.com Zooey Deschanel Never Pays Late Fees and 5 Other Smart Money Lessons From Celebrities http://www.wisebread.com/zooey-deschanel-never-pays-late-fees-and-5-other-smart-money-lessons-from-celebrities <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zooey-deschanel-never-pays-late-fees-and-5-other-smart-money-lessons-from-celebrities" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/celebrity-57283707-small.jpg" alt="celebrity" title="celebrity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're Angelina Jolie and have Brad Pitt by your side, you can make anything look good.</p> <p>That's why Angelina spent a measly <a href="http://www.today.com/id/19215552/ns/today-today_entertainment/t/angelina-jolie-wears-outfit-premiere/#.U79OqxZ9LWo">$26 on a velvet dress</a> at a thrift shop for a major movie premiere. She is a good example of taking charge of your finances: while raking in the big bucks as the face of an American fashion brand, St John, she saved by dropping tags at the thrift shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-frugal-lifestyles-of-12-famous-superheroes?ref=seealso">The Surprisingly Frugal Lifestyles of 12 Famous Superheroes</a>)</p> <p>So crank up the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK8mJJJvaes">Macklemore and Ryan Lewis</a>, and let's learn some smart money lessons from six of our favorite celebrities.</p> <h2>1. Winona Ryder</h2> <p>If you think that a $26 dress is cheap, wait until you hear the price range for Winona Ryder. The star of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AGXEAG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001AGXEAG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FLFWNXVKPPYV7D2I">Beetlejuice</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679746048/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0679746048&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=46SHNOYWOSWNENCO">Girl, Interrupted</a> confesses to wearing <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2569347/Winona-Ryder-reveals-love-elder-peers-including-landlady-Helen-Mirren.html">$10 dresses to star-studded ceremonies</a>. But that's not at all. In an <a href="http://www.redonline.co.uk/red-women/interviews/winona-ryder">interview with Red Magazine</a> she admits that she wore the same dress from a 2005 film premiere to Sean Penn's Haiti gala in 2014. Winona wears a dress until it falls apart.</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: In her own words, &quot;I know that's kind of a no-no in the fashion world, but why wear something just once if you love it?&quot; Don't become a fashion victim and avoid buying new clothes every single season.</p> <h2>2. Zooey Deschanel</h2> <p>If you're making $9 million annually (including a cool $95,000 to $125,000 per episode of New Girl), you'd expect to get an invitation from the ultra exclusive American Express Centurion Card, aka &quot;The Black Card.&quot; Well, not Zooey Deschanel. In <a href="http://tmz.vo.llnwd.net/o28/newsdesk/tmz_documents/0104_zooey.pdf">court papers</a> from her 2012 divorce with Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, the actress/musician revealed that she has three credit cards and all with zero balance. Even more, two of her cards have a maximum credit line of $2,000 and one just $1,000. With a monthly budget of $500 for dining out, Zooey must be paying all meals with cash.</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: Have a credit card for emergency uses only. If you have to use it, pay the balance in full every month.</p> <h2>3. Tobey Maguire</h2> <p>Not just the ladies are frugal. For example, take the original Mr. Spiderman. While Tobey Maguire is estimated to have a <a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/actors/tobey-maguire-net-worth/">net worth of $75 million</a>, he is just comfortable wearing jeans and T-shirts. Google for non-gala pictures of him and all you will see are clothes that your neighbor down the street would wear. Tobey got his frugal mentality from his rough childhood. The star of The Great Gatsby confesses that <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/may/11/tobey-maguire-interview">his family lived on food stamps</a>, used government medical insurance, and even had to wander into shelters every now and then. This explains why he is so structured in his spending and doesn't spend in frivolities.</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: Don't live beyond your means. Tobey explains his <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=YEdwW78QWj0C&amp;pg=PA250&amp;lpg=PA250&amp;dq=%22I+just+never+wanted+to+put+myself+in+the+position+where+my+spending+was+so+huge+that+I+had+to+keep+making+movie+after+movie%22&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=HWr-vAUsYW&amp;sig=J59lc0Tz8ZHdJAissTU427Jh4qQ&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=U2K_U_CNG8K9oQSlxIGICA&amp;ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=%22I%20just%20never%20wanted%20to%20put%20myself%20in%20the%20position%20where%20my%20spending%20was%20so%20huge%20that%20I%20had%20to%20keep%20making%20movie%20after%20movie%22&amp;f=false">frugal philosophy</a>: &quot;I just never wanted to put myself in the position where my spending was so huge that I had to keep making movie after movie.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Mindy Kaling</h2> <p>The super funny comedienne is a great example of how to tame shopping addiction. Like plenty of people, Mindy loves to shop 'til she drops. She confesses to have even memorized her credit card number so that she can shop online anytime, anywhere up to three times a week. However, she keeps herself in check by forcing herself to return about <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/the-office-s-mindy-kaling-dishes-on-fashion-beauty-and-hollywood">75% of what she buys</a>. Also, she is a big believer in sharing clothes with her girlfriends. In her book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307886271/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307886271&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MLEV3BOM4LWXYLDP">Is Everyone Hanging Without with Me?</a>, she insists that best friends can borrow from each other anything in their closet, no matter how fancy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-greatest-frugal-fashion-makeover-ever-refresh-your-wardrobe-for-25-or-less">Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less</a>)</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: If you have a shopping habit, kick it by returning clothes as much as possible and sharing cool clothes with your friends.</p> <h2>5. Kristen Bell</h2> <p>If somebody has the highest probability of leaving Hollywood and becoming the next host of <a href="http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/extreme-couponing">Extreme Couponing</a>, that has got to be actress Kristen Bell. On an <a href="http://teamcoco.com/video/kristen-bell-loves-bed-bath-and-beyond">interview with Conan O'Brien</a>, she reveals: &quot;I shop almost exclusively with coupons&quot;. Like most of us, Kristen is a major fan of big box retailers, especially Bed Bath &amp; Beyond and is a major fan of its 20% discount coupon. Just the thought of saving $80 on a purchase puts Kristen in an ecstatic mood!</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: Whenever you need to shop, first look for coupons to maximize your savings.</p> <h2>6. Vincent Kartheiser</h2> <p>Another famous male celebrity is mindful of living on a budget is Vincent Kartheiser. Even though he plays an upper class slick ad salesman in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YABIQ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000YABIQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QIEST5HAVBXCYZGI">Mad Men</a>, Vincent is one of the 10% of Angelenos that relies only on public transportation. Yup, this big time actor doesn't own a car. He believes using <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/03/fashion/03With.html">public transportation is wonderful</a>. &quot;Instead of driving and being stressed out about traffic, you can work your scene, you can do your exercises or whatever on the bus. Everyone's got their own deal.&quot; Vincent is not alone: the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/31/american-driving-car-decl_n_5424867.html">average American household now owns fewer cars</a>, returning to the levels of the early 1990s.</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: Consider consolidating into a single car and increasing your use of public transportation. You'll save on gas, create an opportunity to relax, and reduce your carbon footprint.</p> <p><em>Any thrifty celebrities I've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zooey-deschanel-never-pays-late-fees-and-5-other-smart-money-lessons-from-celebrities" class="sharethis-link" title="Zooey Deschanel Never Pays Late Fees and 5 Other Smart Money Lessons From Celebrities" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Shopping famous thrifty people frugal celebrities money lessons Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Damian Davila 1161549 at http://www.wisebread.com