Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/97559139.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgeting. In some of our lives, it's known as &quot;the b-word.&quot;</p> <p>If you've never budgeted before, it can seem like a gargantuan task that only produces something that will make you miserable. And if you consider yourself bad with money or find that you have a difficult time living within your means, budgeting can feel like one more way to fail financially.</p> <p>But budgeting doesn't have to be any of these things. It doesn't have to take a lot of time and energy, and it can free you so that you can save for the things that you really want. It can also help you understand why you spend the way you do, and help you get a handle on it.</p> <p>The key to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank">making your budget</a> into a friend and not a foe is having the right set of skills to make it happen. Here are a few of those.</p> <h2>1. See Money as a Tool</h2> <p>We tend to think of money in a lot of different ways. Money can be freedom, it can be despair, it can mean power or significance, or any one of a number of things. The point is, to be good at budgeting, develop the mindset that money is a tool. It helps you do the things that you want and need to do. No matter how much or how little you have, your money can help you achieve your goals.</p> <h2>2. Record Your Transactions</h2> <p>On a practical level, you will need a record of your transactions to start a budget, and you will need to keep recording them to continue budgeting. You can do this by hand, via an app, or once a week on a spreadsheet. Do it however works for you, but learn to record your transactions and you will be well on your way to budgeting.</p> <h2>3. Assess Your Spending</h2> <p>Recording your transactions won't help if you never think about them. Learn to categorize your transactions in whatever way is meaningful for you, so you can see how much you're spending in different areas. This can help you decide where to spend more, where to spend less, and what cutting back might look like in your everyday life.</p> <h2>4. Make a Budget</h2> <p>This might be the most obvious skill in this list, but it's also one of the most important. There are spreadsheets you can download, programs like <a href="http://www.youneedabudget.com">YNAB</a> and <a href="http://www.mint.com">Mint</a> that help you see your spending in different ways, and more. Some things to think about before you choose a method involve deciding whether you want to go old school or online, and whether you want to store it on your personal computer or in the cloud.</p> <h2>5. Write It Out</h2> <p>Throughout the budgeting and recording process, it will help if you actually write things out. This can be on a computer, though there is something about the act of writing something and then seeing it there in your own handwriting that helps you remember. Whatever you do, don't keep your budget in your head. It's easy for numbers to become fuzzy and for you to forget about your budget entirely. Instead, put your budget where you can see it often, so that it feels real and you remember your goals.</p> <h2>6. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>When you make your budget, don't just think about what you need right now, or even your monthly expenses. Think, too, about expenses that only come around every so often. Car insurance, life insurance, and property taxes are a few line items that can fall into these categories. Then, save a little bit of money every month toward these items, so you can pay them without worry when that bill shows up.</p> <h2>7. Include Spending Money</h2> <p>If you don't have spending money, you will feel like your budget is a cage you need to break out of, rather than a structure supporting you and your goals. Even if all you can afford is $5, give yourself something. This can go against the grain, especially if you have a lot of debt or very little income. However, you are important. And you will be happier keeping your budget if you know you have a little money you can spend however you want.</p> <h2>8. Make a System That Works for You</h2> <p>It's easy to get sucked into a system that doesn't work for you. For instance, you may not be able to track your spending every day. If that's you, then don't buy into a budgeting system that requires this. There are plenty of systems where you can record once a week, or so. If the system doesn't work for you, you won't do it, and there won't be any value to budgeting. Keep trying things until you find something you like.</p> <h2>9. Live With Discipline</h2> <p>This is a huge skill and one that won't happen overnight. Living a disciplined life, though, will go far toward helping you make and keep your budget. Pay attention to your budget. Update it. And when you don't have any money left for something, stop spending! It can help to breathe through your desires, to remind yourself of your bigger goals, and to give yourself a waiting period before you buy things.</p> <h2>10. Know When to Splurge</h2> <p>This is a tricky skill, especially in light of the one above. However, there are times in every life when it's right to splurge. This doesn't have to be a huge spending binge &mdash; it can be something as small as a coffee with a friend. A lot of times, this comes into play when you choose to buy something of a higher quality even though it costs more. It's up to you to decide when to splurge, but make sure there's some room for it in your financial life.</p> <h2>11. Ask Yourself Hard Questions</h2> <p>When you're budgeting alone or you are the one in charge of the budget, it can be easy to let things slide. Get into the habit of asking yourself hard questions, like, &quot;Why do I always spend too much on entertainment?&quot; and &quot;Am I realistically able to take that vacation this year?&quot; You may not like the answers you find, but being honest with yourself will ultimately help you become more aware of who you are and how things work inside of you &mdash; which will help you meet your goals, financial and otherwise.</p> <p><em>Are there any other budgeting skills that are important to you? Which ones are they?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">21 Times Spending More Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of">10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting expenses organization planning record keeping saving money skills spending Splurging Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1759923 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20 http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_cash_20_39629376.jpg" alt="Finding brilliant ways to stretch $20" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Few great things in this life are free. Even the most frugal folks have trouble staying under $20 doing any particular activity. The world is quite the pricey place now. But if $20 is all you have left to spend on weekend fun, here are 72 ways to drop that Harriet Tubman.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_diy_painting_000017057578.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less?ref=fbf">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a> &mdash; Is that $20 burning a hole in your pocket? Put it to good use with some simple and frugal home improvement projects. Because you really don't need to throw away big bucks on every repair or piece of decor.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-baltimore-the-20-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in Baltimore: The 20 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; If you find yourself in Baltimore, check out one of the last remaining drive-in theaters, visit the grave of John Wilkes Booth, or take in the city from the water in the Baltimore water taxi.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_applying_makeup_000060162238.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-brand-name-beauty-buys-under-20?ref=fbf">10 Great Brand Name Beauty Buys Under $20</a> &mdash; You don't need to settle for store brand beauty products to score good deals. These brand name beauty products are top notch, and will fit right into your limited budget.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-new-york-city-the-15-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in New York City: The 15 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; Strolling around the Big Apple wondering if a gourmet coffee and a slice will deplete your funds? Never fear! You can check out the Brooklyn Bridge, see an off-Broadway play, or grab a bite from a food truck. The options are endless in this beautiful city.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/los-angeles-5224486542_688f23ce34_z.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-los-angeles-the-16-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in Los Angeles: The 16 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; And on the other coast is sunny LA, where the people are gorgeous and the pressed juice is in abundance. But don't waste your $20 on just one pricey juice, when you can be an audience member at a live show and still eat all the tacos.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20?ref=fbf">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed 'Em for Under $20</a> &mdash; Hosting a dinner party is stressful, especially if you only have $20 to feed everyone! But here are some brilliant tricks to fill the bellies of your guests without going over your $20 limit.</p> <p><em>What other brilliant ways can you stretch $20? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-45-life-lessons-youd-give-to-your-younger-self">Flashback Friday: 45 Life Lessons You&#039;d Give to Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-81-best-tips-for-saving-big-at-the-grocery-store">Flashback Friday: The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-95-best-ways-to-get-fit-for-free">Flashback Friday: The 95 Best Ways to Get Fit for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-53-beauty-hacks-you-have-to-try-this-summer">Flashback Friday: 53 Beauty Hacks You Have to Try This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-143-fun-and-frugal-ways-to-spend-your-weekend">Flashback Friday: 143 Fun and Frugal Ways to Spend Your Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting $20 beauty entertainment fbf flashback friday frugal living money management Spending Money weekend activities Fri, 22 Jul 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1757097 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_72593117_LARGE.jpg" alt="going car free is easy in these cities" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's ample evidence that walkable neighborhoods breed <a href="http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/12/growing-evidence-shows-walkability-is-good-for-you-and-for-cities/383612/">safer, healthier, and more democratic constituencies</a>. And even in cities with high levels of smog &mdash; here's looking at you, Los Angeles &mdash; studies show that the <a href="http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/walking-and-cycling-good-for-health-even-in-cities-with-higher-levels-of-air-pollution">health benefits of walking</a> or cycling or recreation or as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-morning-commute">means of commuting</a> far outweigh the negative health risks associated with breathing in air pollution. What's more, when city dwellers opt to walk or cycle instead of relying on gas guzzlers, overall air pollution levels can be reduced. It's a win-win-win. You don't need a car to get around these U.S. cities.</p> <h2>1. Boston</h2> <p>Nicknamed America's Walking City, Boston's relatively small footprint is dense with small neighborhoods, each with a unique character and a smattering of restaurants, shops, and convenience stores. That is to say that most Bostonians can complete their daily errands without ever putting the key in the ignition. Boston is also a city where owning a car, in many cases, costs more than it's worth. Take, for example, these<a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/06/30/got-these-back-bay-parking-spots-could-yours/BOvFjiiID0xWUJtQZxjdNM/story.html"> tandem, uncovered parking spaces</a> in the high-end Beacon Hill neighborhood. For about a half million dollars, they can be yours. No, this isn't a one-time fluke in pricing. That's actually the going rate. A pair of parking spots on the same street <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/11/03/look-back-some-priciest-parking-spots-boston/tIPhO225Vv5Mrdxy8aVYjJ/story.html?p1=Article_Related_Box_Article">sold for $560,000</a> at an auction in 2013.</p> <h2>2. New York</h2> <p>The city that never sleeps &mdash; Manhattan, in particular &mdash; is as pedestrian-friendly as they come. With sidewalks, bike lanes, buses, and subway routes galore, New York brings amenities such as markets, shops, workplaces, medical centers, and gyms in close proximity to the apartments and condos where people live. The city also has easy street crossings and long block lengths, making for more pleasurable pedestrian routes. There is, however, <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/plans-studies/sustainable-communities/bmn/bronx_metro_report/walkability.pdf">room for improvement</a>. Manhattan is by far the most walkable of New York's boroughs, but it accounts for just 8% of the city's population. Other boroughs aren't actually all that walkable. In the Bronx, neighborhood decline and disinvestment in public transit has made walking around some neighborhoods difficult and less enticing. In truth, the real walkability winner here is Manhattan, and not all of New York City.</p> <h2>3. Washington, D.C.</h2> <p>Much of the nation's capital has walkable zones where residential and retail spaces are in close proximity. And, unlike New York, these zones are evenly distributed between downtown areas and the suburbs. That means it's not just the <a href="http://www.archdaily.com/521438/washington-d-c-the-most-walkable-city-in-the-us">heart of the city that's walkable</a>, but the outskirts, as well.</p> <h2>4. San Francisco</h2> <p>The Golden Gate City was built on 42 hills &mdash; terrain that can make for treacherous gear shifting. And while all those hills will do a number on your calf muscles, there's truly no better way to get around San Francisco's densely populated districts. That's because a quarter of the 49 square-mile city's office, retail, and multi-family rental space is located within the bounds of <a href="http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/foot-traffic-ahead-2016/">walkable neighborhoods</a>. And while it's possible to break out of these neighborhood walkability zones and <a href="http://www.sfwalkingman.com/">trek the entire city by foot</a>, it's not exactly the fastest or most practical method of getting around. Alas, every city has its walkability limits.</p> <h2>5. Detroit</h2> <p>Oddly enough, you can get around Motor City just fine by foot &mdash; no motor required. In fact, these days <a href="http://wdet.org/posts/2016/06/20/83328-going-motorless-in-the-motor-city/">pedestrian-friendly projects</a> are sprouting up all over Detroit. And it's not just for the sake of recreation. About a quarter of all households citywide lack access to a motor vehicle. New walking path projects can help many in this demographic commute to and from the places they need to go, such as work, the grocery store, and school. And since you can't walk everywhere, new bike paths are surfacing, as well. Whereas Detroit had no bike lanes a decade ago, there are now nearly 200 of them.</p> <p><em>What other cities are good for going car-free? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-hidden-advantages-to-getting-rid-of-your-car">7 Hidden Advantages to Getting Rid of Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us">The good life on less energy--even in the US</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-how-to-use-a-parking-meter-serious-question">Do you know how to use a parking meter? Serious question.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Cars and Transportation bike car car-free city environmentally friendly public transportation transportation u.s. cities walking Wed, 20 Jul 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1755541 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_sunset_79384959.jpg" alt="Woman making moves after conquering debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations &mdash; you're debt free! Now what?</p> <p>The road to debt elimination was long and treacherous, but just because the black cloud of lingering bills is no longer hanging over your head, that doesn't mean your financial house is in order. It's in better shape, sure, but you've still got a ways to go. To continue working toward that goal, here are a few smart moves you should make as soon as you get out of the red:</p> <h2>1. Rearrange and Trim Your Budget</h2> <p>Your top priority when getting out of debt is to not get back into debt. To accomplish that, you'll need to make changes to your spending and savings habits. You'll also need to revisit your budget and rearrange your priorities. Now that you don't have credit card or loan payments bleeding you dry every month, you'll have more disposable income &mdash; and you need to decide what you'll do with it to improve your quality of life and set yourself up for the future. Cut out anything that's unnecessary: Maybe it's the cable that you don't watch much of, the gym membership you don't use, or subscriptions to services you can live without. Whatever is it, cut the fat and don't look back.</p> <h2>2. Get Back to Building Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you've been digging yourself out of a negative-money pit, chances are you don't have much of an emergency fund &mdash; and that needs to change ASAP. Building an emergency fund is the best way to avoid a potential debt scenario in the future. You'll be able to draw from that account to pay off life's little surprises in full, so you're not constantly treading water every time something unexpected happens.</p> <p>&quot;I recommend having an emergency fund saved up equal to six months' worth of expenses,&quot; says financial planner Russell Robertson of Alidade Wealth Partners in Atlanta, GA. &quot;This will give you time to get back on your feet if something unforeseen happens without completely disrupting everything in your life.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Check in on Your Credit Situation</h2> <p>Brace yourself. If you've been battling debt for an extended period of time &mdash; especially if you've only being sending in minimum payments &mdash; your credit situation is likely less than ideal. The good news, however, is that you're in the clear now (debt-wise, anyway), and this is the best time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent?ref=internal">start rebuilding your credit</a>.</p> <p>Having a solid credit score puts you in a strong position when you need to finance a purchase, like a house or car, or apply for a new line of credit. It's always a good idea to know where you stand with credit and take steps to improve it.</p> <h2>4. Max Out Your Matching-Dollar Opportunities for Retirement</h2> <p>Like your emergency fund, contributions to your 401K and IRA were probably low (or perhaps even nonexistent) while you concentrated on paying down your debt. With more funds freed up now, it's important to start concentrating on your future &mdash; especially your retirement goals &mdash; and that includes maxing out dollar-matching opportunities to take full advantage of free money.</p> <p>&quot;401K plans in 2016 have a contribution limit of $18,000 a year, plus an extra $6,000 for people over 50, so with no debt to pay, you might have the opportunity to reach that limit now,&quot; says financial planner and investment adviser Jaycob Arbogast of Arbogast Advisers. &quot;Similarly, an IRA has a $5,500 limit for people under 50 and a $6,500 limit for people 50-plus, so maxing out those plans might be a good idea too. For example, with a 6% return, adding an extra $5,000 each year to your retirement savings from age 50 to 60 could add an additional $65,000 to your retirement savings. That's a great boost that someone in debt might not be able to maintain.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Start Investing With Long-Term Returns in Mind</h2> <p>Personally, I recommend investing in real estate, but what you invest in is up to you, so long as you're investing. Outside of your emergency fund, your money should never sit in a savings account earning fractions of pennies. Instead, you'll be better off putting that money in places that promise bigger returns over the long term, so you can meet your savings goals sooner and continue making more investments for (hopefully) a more prosperous life.</p> <p>Alternatively, Robertson recommends the stock market.</p> <p>&quot;If your budget still has room for more saving, put that money to work by investing in the markets,&quot; he advises. &quot;Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a great way to get diversified, low-cost exposure, and many online brokerages will offer commission-free ETF options as well.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Put Money Back Into the Investments You Already Have &mdash; Like Your Home</h2> <p>For many people, their homes are their biggest investments. To ensure that investment pays off the way you want and need it to, you have to maintain it. Thus, when you've paid off your debt, start thinking about home improvement projects that will increase value. Just be careful that you're not taking on projects that cost more than the house is worth. The last thing you need is to dump your savings into your home if the project doesn't enhance the house enough to make it worthwhile in the long run.</p> <h2>7. Open a Money Market Account for Higher Interest on Savings</h2> <p>If you have a substantial amount of savings in your emergency fund &mdash; and you should &mdash; that money shouldn't be in a traditional savings account. Contact your bank, or research others, to find savings accounts that offer the best interest rates, like money market accounts or high yield savings. Bottom line, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be getting the most bank for your buck, especially where savings are concerned.</p> <p>Robertson agrees, and in this particular case, rescinds his recommendation to invest in stocks.</p> <p>&quot;If there is something specific you are saving up for &mdash; a celebratory trip to Europe? A wedding? &mdash; within the next two to three years, I would recommend keeping that money out of the stock market,&quot; he says. &quot;Instead, consider a money market account or CD from an online bank. In many cases you can get close to 1% interest right now on cash that is still guaranteed up to FDIC limits (currently $250,000). In fact, this is a good idea for that emergency fund as well &mdash; something that earns interest and is separate from your everyday checking account.&quot;</p> <p><em>What else should the newly debt-free do with their money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-choosing-the-right-fund-for-your-portfolio">Are You Choosing the Right Fund for Your Portfolio?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">401K or IRA? You Need Both</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth">Best Online Sites for Building Wealth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Investment 401k advice credit score emergency funds ETFs home improvements IRA money moves retirement stock market Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:00:17 +0000 Mikey Rox 1752364 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Budget-Friendly Beach Destinations http://www.wisebread.com/6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_beach_vacation_5993498.jpg" alt="Woman finding budget-friendly beach destinations" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is all about the beach escape &mdash; a well-earned break from the toil of the daily routine in a place where the day is ruled by the rise and fall of the sun. But have you truly earned it? According to American Express, the average American vacation costs $1,145 per person, or $4,580 for a family of four. If that price tag looks steep, let's consider your options.</p> <p>Sure, you could forgo your annual vacation, but there's a price to pay for that, too. Studies show that vacationing can make you feel more restful and productive, improve your relationships, and boost your health. Neglecting to vacation, on the other hand &mdash; also known as being overworked &mdash; has been connected to depression, anxiety, insomnia, health problems, weight gain, and higher divorce rates. Perhaps your best bet is a trip to one of the nation's budget-friendly beaches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in?ref=seealso">6 &quot;Tourist Towns&quot; That Are Actually Great to Live In</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cayucos, California</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/beach_cliffs_859494.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>You won't find swanky tapas bars or hundred million dollar homes in <a href="http://www.visitcayucosca.com/cayucos-family-vacation/">this overlooked enclave</a> on the California coast. Yes, like many California beach destinations, Cayucos has gorgeous ocean views and surf spots galore. But unlike the rest, it's not over-the-top expensive. It's also not ultra-crowded with tourists. Fill your days with walks on the newly renovated historic pier, visits to the acclaimed skate park, kayak excursions down the coast, horseback riding adventures on the beach, or afternoon wine tasting. Laid-back and slow-moving with many dog and kid-friendly beaches, hotels, and restaurants &mdash; yes, you really can bring Sparky out to eat &mdash; Cayucos makes for a great, no-frills getaway for the entire family.</p> <h2>2. Gulfport, Mississippi</h2> <p>In Gulfport, where the <a href="http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00">median home value</a> is just $175,700, miles of sandy beaches are bordered by a boulevard populated by hotels and casinos. Though badly battered by Hurricane Katrina, this relatively undiscovered portion of the Gulf Coast has been rebuilding itself as a lively destination for beach-goers, fishermen, golfers, gamblers, and lovers of nightlife and live music. And, for now, that not-so-distant memory of Katrina's wrath keeps the prices here low. For $29, you can buy a roundtrip ferry ride to <a href="http://www.msshipisland.com/?q=about">Ship Island</a>, home of Mississippi's most scenic beaches. Located 11 miles south of Gulfport, this pristine barrier island is the ideal setting to soak up the sun, picnic, and unwind.</p> <h2>3. Pensacola, Florida</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/pensacola_florida_beach_66117559.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Florida is home to more coastline than any other continental state. And while many of the Sunshine State's beach destinations will empty your wallet, Pensacola was seemingly <a href="http://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/florida/pensacola">made for the bargain-minded</a>. In addition to its affordability, this <a href="http://www.cityofpensacola.com/35/Visiting">westernmost city</a> in the Florida panhandle is known for its crystalline water and long stretch of powdery white sand beaches. A 20-minute drive from the city's downtown will get you there, though there is a public beach accessible from downtown, as well.</p> <p>In addition to beaches, Pensacola boasts a collection of pre-Civil War brick fortresses. The Gulf Breeze Zoo is home to 900 animals, while the National Naval Aviation Museum features a collection of more than 150 warbirds. Budget motels and inexpensive condominium vacation rentals are plentiful both in the Pensacola beach area and downtown &mdash; and so are budget-friendly dining options.</p> <h2>4. Matagorda, Texas</h2> <p>Matagorda is home of miles upon miles of untouched beaches. It's almost as if no one knows they're here. For the budget traveler, that's good news because it means <a href="http://www.fishermansmotel.com/page1/index.html">you can score a waterfront motel room</a> for $75 per night. Apart from the beach, there isn't much to Matagorda. But if you're looking for scenic solitude on a budget, this is where you'll find it.</p> <h2>5. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/new_jersey_beach_18947400.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Situated just two hours from Washington, D.C., Rehoboth Beach boasts a mile-long boardwalk along a beautiful beach as well as numerous food, entertainment, and shopping options within walking distance of the coast. In addition to the beach, the Rehoboth area has lots to offer, including the Tanger Outlets, which has 160 stores, as well as golfing, fishing, and hiking on a number of local nature trails. And with a number of <a href="http://www.anchoragemotelinc.com/rates/">no-frills rentals</a> such as the Anchorage Motel, you can rent a room for less than $100 &mdash; even during the high season.</p> <h2>6. Keansburg, New Jersey</h2> <p>This bayside town offers mesmerizing beachfront of the New York City skyline, calm waters for swimming, a fishing pier to cast your line, scenic walking trails &mdash; and a median home value of just $162,000. This <a href="http://www.zillow.com/keansburg-nj/home-values/">bargain town</a> on the famed Jersey Shore is undertaking <a href="http://patch.com/new-jersey/middletown-nj/keansburg-awarded-11-million-streetscape-revitalization-grant">a huge streetscape revitalization project</a> that promises to enhance building facades and improve walkways, something that's bound to lure in even more small businesses and vitality in the coming years. For now, room rentals at the quaint, family-owned <a href="http://www.hollyhillmotel.com/Luxury-Motel-About-West-Keansburg-NJ.html">Holly Hill Motel</a> come as low as $69 per night.</p> <p><em>What other beach destinations are budget-friendly? Share with us!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Budget-Friendly%20Beach%20Destinations.jpg&amp;description=6%20Budget-Friendly%20Beach%20Destinations" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Budget-Friendly%20Beach%20Destinations.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-save-and-make-money-while-traveling">12 Ways to Save and Make Money While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-on-baggage-fees">6 Ways to Save On Baggage Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel beach beach vacation beaches budget travel budget-friendly destination frugal living saving money travel Thu, 14 Jul 2016 10:31:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1751466 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Awkward Money Moments Everyone Has at Work http://www.wisebread.com/8-awkward-money-moments-everyone-has-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-awkward-money-moments-everyone-has-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_4640750_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="everyone has an awkward money moment or two at work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money and work go together like peanut butter and jelly. We go to work to make money, and we spend money while we're at work. But it's not always as simple as that. People and situations can make some money moments more than a little awkward, and you are left feeling all sorts of emotions. Here are eight of those occasions we'd all prefer to be stricken from the workplace.</p> <h2>1. Contributing to Gifts for People You Don't Like</h2> <p>It's fair to say, wherever you work, there will be people you like, and people you don't. There will also be the usual birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, and layoffs. That's when Janice from accounting pops around with a collection tub and asks for money to buy a gift. You are faced with the dilemma &mdash; do you chip in and say nothing, or refuse and look like a real villain? It's hard to come out and say, &quot;Nah, not putting money in, I hate that guy.&quot; You can try and act poor, or claim you don't have any money on you. However, that's usually met with, &quot;No worries, I'll put $10 in for you, pay me back later.&quot; Perhaps the only option you have left is to just avoid the collection using ninja-like skills.</p> <h2>2. Splitting the Check on a Pricey Night Out</h2> <p>The boss decides that after-work drinks are going to happen, and everyone is invited. But this is not a company-sponsored event, despite the fact that people are ordering food and drinks like everything is &quot;on the boss.&quot; After an evening of revelry, the check comes, and that's when most people say it's easier to just split the check equally among everyone. Great. Except John and Jane were knocking back $15 cocktails all night, and you were taking advantage of the 2-for-1 well drinks. So you tell everyone you want the check split based on what everyone had, making you about as popular as a cold sore&hellip; especially with your server. Is it better to pay up, and chalk it up to experience? Oof, it's very hard to win this one.</p> <h2>3. Asking for a Raise</h2> <p>You've been doing your homework on your salary, and realize you are being underpaid. Whether it's by a little, or a lot, the next move is not easy. It's time to have that awkward conversation with the boss, and you know it will not be easy. If there have been layoffs recently, it makes it even harder. Maybe you'll be met with the old &quot;you're lucky you still have a job!&quot; retort. Whatever has happened though, if you are doing the work and should be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">getting paid more</a>, you deserve the money.</p> <h2>4. Calling in a Loan You Gave to a Coworker</h2> <p>It may only be $20, but it's been months since you forked over the cash for a coworker in need. A sad realization has dawned on you. Either they totally forgot about the money you loaned them, or they are hoping you have forgotten about it, and are doing nothing to remind you. It's time to get your money back. From the furtive glances in the office kitchen, to steering the conversations back to money, nothing is working. You have to come out and ask &mdash; which somehow makes you look like a tightwad who cares only about money. And worse still&hellip; they may tell you you'll get it back, but forget, and you have to go through it all again!</p> <h2>5. Saying No When Someone Asks to Borrow Money</h2> <p>If you don't want to get into the situation outlined above, you can simply say no when someone asks for money. But it's not as easy as that, is it? It's hard enough to pluck up the courage to ask a coworker for money, but that person is almost always going to be greeted with a &quot;Sure, how much do you need?&quot; in reply. Now, you have to drop the hammer and say no. But what good reason do you have? If it's a significant amount of money, then declining based on that is not a problem. But if it's $10&ndash;$50, and you feel sure you'll have a horrible time trying to get it back, what do you do? Saying &quot;Sorry, I'd like to, but I don't trust you to ever pay that back&quot; is not going to give you the best reputation in the office. This could be a great time to suddenly make an urgent call, and hope he or she never comes back and asks again.</p> <h2>6. Watching in Horror as Your Card Is Declined</h2> <p>It's been a fun lunch. The server comes back to the table with a mountain of receipts for people to sign. Well, except you. They have to whisper in your ear &quot;I'm sorry&hellip; this card was declined.&quot; Aaaarrgghhhhhh! If you could grow a shell and crawl inside it, you would. It may be a technical error, or it could be that the card was canceled due to a fraud alert, but it doesn't really matter right now. All you know is that a bunch of coworkers are looking at you with a mixture of pity and confusion on their collective faces. Will rumors surface that you're having money problems? Will people start offering to pay for things because they know you're having a hard time? Eek, there's no way to come out of this one without a perma-cringe on your face.</p> <h2>7. Saying No to a Charity Collection</h2> <p>Coworkers may be actively involved in fundraising for charities, or may even know someone who benefited from that charity. But let's face it, if we all contributed to every charity, we'd go broke. What's more, you may simply not agree with giving money to some charities, and that's your right. However, the fact of the matter is, when you say no to a charity collection, you are instantly seen as some kind of Scrooge figure who hoards money and hates the poor, the sick, and the disabled. And what if you say no, but then go out later to the office happy hour and drop a bunch of money on drinks? Your best bet here is to make up an excellent excuse (you gave money already to the charity last week), or offer support in another way. Your time, your skills, or something non-monetary.</p> <h2>8. Finding Out What People Earn</h2> <p>There is a reason most companies keep salary information a secret. It can lead to a lot of griping, demands for raises, or even job losses and people quitting. So when you find out what someone else in the company makes, it can really lead to some stunningly awkward moments. They may make way less than you assumed, and your reaction can make them feel awful. &quot;Really&hellip; you're only earning that? Wow!&quot; On the other hand, you could think they're overpaid, especially if they do the job you do, but for more money.</p> <p>And then there's the moment people discover what you earn. If you earn more than they expected, you can get daggers shooting at you. They expect you to pick up the check at lunch. They feel like you owe them. If it's less, suddenly you're pitied. Or laughed at for taking such a low salary. In any of these situations, red faces, long silences, and hasty exits are the norm.</p> <p><em>What was your most awkward money moment at work, and how did you deal with it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-awkward-money-moments-everyone-has-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-never-feel-guilty-at-work">8 Times You Should Never Feel Guilty at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker">6 Reasons Your Coworkers Think You&#039;re a Slacker</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Budgeting awkward budgeting coworkers money moments office etiquette work work conversations work etiquette work talk Wed, 13 Jul 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1750532 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Amazon Prime Day Actually Worth It This Year http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-amazon-prime-day-actually-worth-it-this-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-amazon-prime-day-actually-worth-it-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_57678276_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="making the most of amazon prime day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Were you disappointed by Amazon's Prime Day last year? You're not alone. Even though the company sold 34.4 million items during its special promotion day, many shoppers felt that the deals were not that great.</p> <p>Amazon is bringing back Prime Day on July 12 with over 100,000 deals going live that day. While some deals will be worth buying, most of the deals are only bought because of consumer overspending. How do you know if you should participate in Amazon's shopping holiday? Here are some tips and strategies to save the most money on Prime Day, as well as how to avoid the compulsion to spend.</p> <h2>Make a List and Avoid Temptation</h2> <p>Before you look at any Prime Day deals, it is best to make a list. Is your vacuum on its last leg? Perhaps you need a kitchen-type gift for a bridal shower and your budget is $30. Your list will help you stay within your budget and only buy things you need or were planning to buy in the next three months.</p> <p>Amazon excels at creating hype around deals, making the average shopper feel that they need to buy something immediately so they don't miss out. During last year's Prime Day, Amazon sold 47,000 TVs, 28,000 Rubbermaid 42-piece food storage sets, and 24,000 pressure cookers. There is no way that 47,000 people needed a new TV. Instead, many people bought several items that they did not need, just like they would during&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-score-a-black-friday-deal-without-leaving-home">Black Friday sales</a>.</p> <p>After you make your list, stick with it. When you get tempted by a sale on toys or fun gadgets you don't need, remember to look back at your list. Yes, a basketball hoop would be fun, but if it wasn't on your list, then chances are you weren't thinking about it before the sale started.</p> <h2>Add Deals to Your Cart Immediately</h2> <p>If you are still on the fence whether a hot deal is really a good deal, then be sure to add it to your cart as soon as the deal goes live. Once it's in your cart, you have 15 minutes to decide if the deal is worth purchasing. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in this time frame:</p> <ul> <li>Do I need this?</li> <li>Can I afford this without accumulating more debt or making this month's budget too tight?</li> <li>Is this the best deal I can get?</li> <li>Can I find it cheaper used or refurbished?</li> </ul> <h2>Check the Price History</h2> <p>You can check the price history of an item with different price tracking sites. One of the most popular price tracking sites for Amazon products is<a href="http://camelcamelcamel.com/"> CamelCamelCamel</a>.</p> <p>For example, the Nest Learning Thermostat, third Generation was advertised as a deal of the day from the end of June through the first week of July. This Nest was marked down 20%, making the price $199. I wasn't sure if this was the lowest price possible for the third generation Nest, so I looked up the ASIN on CamelCamelCamel. The price tracker showed that this was the lowest price this model of the Nest has ever been listed on Amazon, and it also showed that a third-party merchant through Amazon was selling a new and used Nest for a cheaper price.</p> <h2>Take Advantage of Slow Shipping</h2> <p>Since Prime Day will be a busy day for Amazon, the company will most likely offer a bonus for choosing slower shipping methods. In the past, Amazon has offered Prime Members $1 credit for ebooks, movies, and music, as well a $5.99 credit for Prime Pantry.</p> <p>Select the slower shipping method for your deal to get the bonus offer and to have extra time to change your mind. With the slower shipping option, you will be able to cancel your order easily within one to two days, as long as the item did not ship yet. So if you do have buyer's remorse, it will be easier to reverse the damage. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-save-with-amazon-prime-pantry?ref=seealso">Can You Really Save With Amazon Prime Pantry?</a>)</p> <h2>Do Research Ahead of Time</h2> <p>Doing a quick scan before the deals go live will allow you to determine what you want before the buying rush begins. Be sure to look up reviews for the item and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-always-buy-and-sell-on-ebay">check eBay</a> and Craigslist for used and less expensive options available.</p> <p>Once you know the deals you want to get, set notifications for them. Simply download the Amazon app for free and sign onto your account. Then go to &quot;notifications,&quot; then &quot;Your Watched and Waitlisted Deals.&quot; From there, you will be able to search the upcoming deals to see what you want to watch and receive notifications for. This will save you time and help you avoid impulse buys at the last minute.</p> <p><em> Will you be shopping Amazon's Prime Day deals?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-amazon-prime-day-actually-worth-it-this-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-little-known-amazon-shopping-hacks">5 Little Known Amazon Shopping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save">Buy These 9 Christmas Gifts Now and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping Amazon amazon prime Amazon Prime Day amazon shopper saving money shopping on amazon Mon, 11 Jul 2016 09:30:31 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1748326 at http://www.wisebread.com The Real Reason We Still Spend to Impress http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_80217451_LARGE.jpg" alt="spending to impress" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money and relationships have always gone hand in hand. From the practice of paying wedding dowries, to the formal class system, which kept layers of wealth strictly separate. But we're over that now, right?</p> <p>Maybe not.</p> <p>In some ways, society never really moved on. And the amplifying effect of social media and easy communication can actually make us more likely than ever to be tempted to spend to impress. Here's why.</p> <h2>Herd Behavior</h2> <p>As sophisticated as our modern lifestyle might be, we're all still powered by brains that evolved more to keep us out of the way of wild animals than to encourage us to develop prudent retirement plans. The primal part of the brain is hardwired to take over when there is a threat or pressure &mdash; making it responsible for much of the reflex action that drives the sort of &quot;keeping up with the Joneses&quot; conspicuous consumption.</p> <p>While our more rational mind might recognize that we risk spending money we don't have, buying things we don't need to impress people we don't like (to paraphrase Dave Ramsey), the instinct to keep up takes over. Faced with the perceived threat of being left behind by the herd, our instinctive responses make it far more likely we will spend to maintain or improve our place in the pecking order. And before we know it, our brains can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">trick us into spending</a> on an impulse, no matter what our more rational intentions might be.</p> <h2>Old Habits Die Hard</h2> <p>Conspicuous consumption is a concept over a century old &mdash; appearing in the 1899 economics book, <em>The Theory of the Leisure Class</em>. At the time, it was intended to describe the habits of the emerging upper class, made rich by the industrial revolution. While wealth had been condensed in the hands of very few, this up and coming class felt the need to cement their worth in the eyes of their peers &mdash; and spent to an outrageous degree to do so.</p> <p>A more modern term for this practice is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-youre-suffering-from-lifestyle-inflation">lifestyle inflation</a>, in which the basic building blocks of our lifestyle start to cost more than we can afford. As we live beyond our means, the costs can snowball quickly, and spending becomes a defining part of our identity.</p> <p>Stuff can define us. While the &quot;greed is good&quot; years might have passed, the brands we identify with, the places we choose to spend our leisure time, and the districts we live in still form the backbone of the persona we present to the world. We tend to be drawn to others who make the same choices, and the whole circle becomes self-fulfilling. Spending to impress never went away, it just got a new name.</p> <h2>Social Media Amplification</h2> <p>Possibly the biggest challenge today is that when it comes to lifestyle, everybody is faking it. Social media promotes unrealistic ideals when it come to the perfect beach body, but it is responsible for projecting a lot of unrealistic lifestyle images, too.</p> <p>It's not malicious. Most of us use social media primarily to share good things and celebrate successes &mdash; keeping life's challenges out of the unrestricted sharing of the Internet. But naturally, you then see a social media feed full of only glamorous vacation pictures, new purchases, and awesome parties. It's easy to think that this is how everyone else lives their life. But when the truth is that nearly half of all Americans would struggle to find the ready cash to cover an <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/">unexpected bill of only $400</a>, the reality seems a little less glitzy.</p> <h2>How to Break the Cycle</h2> <p>So doing poorly thought-out things on an impulse, to impress the crowd and retain our place in the social pecking order, might have been with us since our cavemen days. Despite our sophisticated outlook and lifestyle, our basic instincts have not evolved beyond this stage &mdash; and won't any time soon. With aspirational images of lifestyles we can't afford popping right into our phones by the minute, it's no wonder that the boundaries of what is realistic are blurred.</p> <p>Even though we can't change our brains, and are unlikely to be able to step away from the social media feed for very long, we can take a look around us. We can actively learn to appreciate the things we already have, rather than looking for the next thing to provide temporary fulfillment. It isn't easy, but practice makes perfect.</p> <p><em>How do you make sure that you're not getting sucked into lifestyle inflation? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-retail-therapy-good-for-you">5 Ways to Make Retail Therapy Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Spending</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping bad habits debt impress impress others keeping up with the joneses shopping habit Spending Money Wed, 29 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Claire Millard 1740967 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Clever Ways to Keep Cool When It's Stupid Hot Out http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_fan_hot_17666765.jpg" alt="Man finding clever ways to keep cool when it&#039;s stupid hot out" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know what it's like where you live, but where I am, it's hot. And if my weather app is at all accurate, it's going to stay that way for a good long while.</p> <p>While I am lucky to have air conditioning in my house, I like to use it as little as possible. Those bills add up, and every dollar I spend on air conditioning is a dollar that I can't spend on something else I'd rather have, like a trip or a comfortable retirement.</p> <p>So I'm finding other ways to keep cool this summer. Sure, I'll use the A/C sometimes. But the rest of the time, I'll be doing these things to stay cool, and you can, too! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer?ref=seealso">9 Dumb Ways You're Going to Waste Money This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Your Hair Wet</h2> <p>I'm always amazed at how much cooler I am when my hair is wet. Even just damp, it changes my perception of how warm I am by a significant factor. So when I get hot this summer, I'll dump some water on my head or take a quick (and cool!) shower, or even hose my head down outside.</p> <p>I'm lucky in that I can wear my hair air-dried and it looks fine. If you can't do that, you can still use this technique. Get your hair wet, let it air dry to damp, then style it as usual. Or wear it air dried around your house, because no one there cares how you look!!</p> <h2>2. Wear Cotton</h2> <p>Because it is light and breathable, you will stay cooler in cotton than you will if you wear most synthetics. So if you're trying to beat the heat, make sure you have as many cotton-based clothing items as possible. This goes for undergarments as well as outer ones.</p> <h2>3. Mist Your Clothes</h2> <p>I've had people tell me to freeze my clothes, but that sounds miserable no matter how hot I am. Instead, I keep a spray bottle of water in my fridge and I spray myself down when I start to get warm. Because the clothes dry slower than my skin, this keeps me cooler longer than just spraying my arms and legs (though I usually do that, too!). Fortunately, cotton clothing tends to handle water just fine, so you can spray it down as many times as you need to.</p> <h2>4. Wash Your Hands (and Feet!) In Cold Water</h2> <p>I learned this from a college roommate who swore by it. When it gets hot, run your hands and feet under cold water for 30-60 seconds and you will feel cooler. You can repeat this as needed.</p> <p>My friend claimed that this works because your veins are close to the surface in your hands and your feet, so the water cools off the blood as it runs through them back to your heart. I don't know if this is true, but I do know that this trick got me through some seriously hot nights in an LA apartment when the A/C broke.</p> <h2>5. Sit on an Ice Pack</h2> <p>Stuck in an office chair all day? I know a lot of buildings don't give you any control over either AC or heat, so you can end up pretty warm all summer. Instead of suffering, take an ice pack to work with you. One of the flat ones most often used for injuries is best. Get it cold, stick it under a towel, and sit on it or put it behind your back to cool off.</p> <h2>6. Don't Cook &hellip; Grill</h2> <p>Anytime you cook in your house, it heats things up. Since you still need to eat, try using a grill instead. This keeps the hot air outside, and it lets you get even more mileage out of what is often an underutilized major purchase. I know a family who grills four or five times a week in the summer, and they swear that it keeps their house significantly cooler.</p> <h2>7. Suck on an Ice Cube</h2> <p>Need to cool down quickly? Suck on an ice cube. Smaller is better, since the large ones can trigger ice cream headaches if they cool your mouth too quickly. Try to suck and not chew the ice, so the coolness can slide down your throat and into your belly, chilling you as it goes. This doesn't offer long-lasting cooling, but it can give you the break you need on a hot day.</p> <h2>8. Make Your Own A/C</h2> <p>If you like to tinker and/or you have a lot of time on your hands, there are about a billion ways to <a href="http://www.instructables.com/howto/air+conditioning/">make your own A/C</a>. My favorite is super easy. Fill a large-ish bowl with ice cubes. Set the bowl somewhere near you, with a portable fan on the opposite side. Make the fan blow toward you, and make sure the air passes over the ice cubes. It will blow that delicious frozenness toward you, too, cooling the air around you.</p> <p>There are more complicated versions of this with coolers and dry ice, so you can get as fancy as you want. Do make sure, though, that you aren't spending more money doing this than you would just running the A/C!</p> <h2>9. Close the Blinds</h2> <p>About <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/energy-saving-tips/how-to-save-energy-and-cut-cooling-costs/view-all">30%&nbsp;of the heat</a> you don't want in your home comes in through the windows. Thus, it's worth investing in some heat-blocking film, blinds, or curtains to keep your home cooler.</p> <p>I've done this in my homes over the years and it's amazing the difference it makes! Sometimes, I pull back the curtains to open my sliding glass door and get a blast of heat, because there's so much of it trapped between the curtain and the door. But hey, it's not getting into my house, so I'm good with that!</p> <h2>10. Freeze Your Hat</h2> <p>So, we established earlier that freezing clothing sounds at least a little miserable. But what about freezing your hat? If you want to cool your head and getting your hair wet won't work, for whatever reason, try putting a hat in the freezer for a couple of hours before you want to wear it. This will cool your head and your temples, which will help your whole body feel cooler.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to stay cool this summer without your A/C? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-70-brilliant-ways-to-beat-the-heat-this-summer">Flashback Friday: 70 Brilliant Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-places-to-go-to-beat-the-summer-heat">9 Places to Go to Beat the Summer Heat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle air conditioning frugal living hot day life hacks summer summer heat summer sun Tue, 28 Jun 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1740225 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easiest Ways to Score Free eBooks http://www.wisebread.com/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_72457041_XLARGE.jpg" alt="reading free ebooks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a bookworm. But the life of a bookworm can be an expensive one. Popular novels tend to be priced anywhere from $6 to $20. That's a pricey prospect for readers who tend to power through five, ten or more books every month.</p> <p>Throughout elementary school and college, I controlled the costs of books primarily by utilizing my public library. I haven't stepped foot in a library in three years, yet I still tend to pay less than $10 every month buying books. The large majority of my reading time is spent downloading and reading free ebooks. Here are five smart reading hacks that can eliminate your monthly book expenses entirely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-on-audio-books?ref=seealso">8 Smart Ways to Save on Audio Books</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sign Up for Kindle Family Library</h2> <p>Kindle Family Library is a handy feature that allows you to link up to two adult and four child Amazon accounts. Once the accounts are linked, you have access to all the eBooks that the individual has purchased in the past. This can provide months of free reading.</p> <p>Once you have read all of the books in your shared library, you can then separate your accounts, wait 180 days, and then sync up with another family member or friend for access to <em>their </em>library.</p> <p>The only downside of linking accounts is that you will need to authorize the other individual to utilize the credit and debit cards you have on file. You need to trust the individual not to go on a wild shopping spree on your Amazon account.</p> <h2>2. Borrow ebooks From Strangers and Friends</h2> <p>Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble allow individuals to lend the books they bought for 14 days. This can allow you access to more books without directly linking up your accounts.</p> <p>You can supercharge your ability to borrow books by signing up for an online book lending community. Websites like <a href="http://booklending.com/">booklending.com</a> (Kindle), <a href="http://lendle.me/">Lendle</a> (Kindle), and <a href="http://ebookfling.com/f">eBookFling</a> (Kindle and Nook), all allow you to borrow and lend books to strangers.</p> <p>However, many of these lending sites (Lendle and eBookFling in particular) do expect you to lend books to other members in order to continue to borrow books yourself. If you don't already have a library of lendable books, or you don't plan on slowly expanding your library, you might not be able to utilize many of the online lending communities.</p> <h2>3. Read Non-Professional Stories Online</h2> <p>There are hundreds of solid stories self-published online for free on a variety of websites. Budding writers flock to sites like <a href="https://www.fictionpress.com/">FictionPress</a> to in order to practice the craft of writing. In exchange for an occasional review of a chapter or story, readers have the ability to dive into a potentially good book for free.</p> <p>Another non-professional option for the more geek-inclined is to start reading fanfiction. Fanfiction, for those who don't know, are stories that utilize the characters and setting of already existing television shows, movies, comics, or books. If you do delve into the world of free reading by devouring fanfiction, I would suggest starting with either <a href="https://www.fanfiction.net/">Fanfiction.net</a> or <a href="https://archiveofourown.org/">Archive of Our Own</a>.</p> <p>But there are a couple potential downsides of utilizing sites like FictionPress or Fanfiction.com to find good books.</p> <ul> <li>You can expect to find some sub-par writing due in part, to the fact that individuals of various skill levels publish on these types of sites. Try to choose more popular novels based on how many reviews, favorites, or follows they have.</li> <li>The majority of writers publish in these forums as chapters are completed. This process often leads to many writers abandoning stories mid-way. So search for completed stories when doing searches for potential novels.</li> </ul> <p>If fanfiction is for you, utilize an application within Calibre (a free eBook organizer) called&nbsp;<a href="https://github.com/JimmXinu/FanFicFare/wiki/SupportedSites">FanFicFare</a> to download the books onto your computer as either an ePub (Nook), a Mobi (Old Kindle), or an AZW3 (New Kindle) file.</p> <h2>4. Read Public Domain Books</h2> <p>You can keep your electronic bookshelf well stocked by simply sticking to reading books that are within the public domain. This means that anyone is free to use or re-use the book. You can find older classics like <em>Pride and Prejudice</em> by Jane Austen or <em>Oliver Twist</em> by Charles Dickens as part of public domain.</p> <p>Some of these books you can find for free on major eBook publishing sites. Others, you can locate on one of these 25 different&nbsp;<a href="http://ebookfriendly.com/free-public-domain-books-sources/">free public domain publication</a> websites. Many of the free-to-use websites allow you to choose which format (ePub, mobi, HTML) you would like to download the novel in.</p> <p>If you're unsatisfied with the file option available on the site you choose, you can always upload the file to Calibre and convert that file to one of your choice.</p> <h2>5. Check Author Websites for Free Short Stories and Novels</h2> <p>You might want to scope out your favorite author's websites for free novels or short stories. Many authors publish their older novels or short stories online as a gift to fans or in an attempt to attract new readers.</p> <p>And you can either read their stories online or utilize Internet applications like&nbsp;<a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/send-to-kindle-for-google/cgdjpilhipecahhcilnafpblkieebhea">Send to Kindle</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://ebookfriendly.com/how-to-send-any-web-page-to-ibooks-nook-or-kobo-app/">Readability</a> to send the chapters or short stories on the author's website to your ereader.</p> <p><em>How do you save money on ebooks? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-on-audio-books">8 Smart Ways to Save on Audio Books</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-choose-traditional-books-over-e-books">5 Reasons to Choose Traditional Books Over E-Books</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/another-one-for-the-readers-0">Another one for the readers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-as-an-ebook-writer">Can You Really Make a Living as an Ebook Writer?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass">Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Shopping books bookworm eBooks entertainment ereader free books reading tablet Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1738461 at http://www.wisebread.com Buy These 9 Christmas Gifts Now and Save http://www.wisebread.com/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_71995217_XLARGE.jpg" alt="christmas shopping early to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving money when shopping for Christmas gifts is often about timing. Timing your purchases so you can buy when the price is the lowest, and not be stuck buying when demand, and thus the price tag, is at its peak. If you can plan ahead and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping">cross names off your Christmas list</a> now, not only can you save money, but you'll often enjoy a more peaceful holiday season knowing you have a good chunk of your shopping done. Here are the items worth considering.</p> <h2>1. Cold Weather Apparel</h2> <p>With the higher temperatures that most of the country is experiencing, it has many retailers trying to quickly get rid of their outdoor jackets, boots, and related gear. Take advantage of these clearance deals and stock up now on Christmas gift ideas. In particular, keep an eye out for <a href="http://www.news-press.com/story/money/2016/05/29/shopping-expert-how-take-advantage-sports-authority-close-out-tips/85127626/">Sports Authority liquidation deals</a> as they try to sell all of their inventory as they're shuttering all stores later this summer. The apparel deals might not be that spectacular right at the beginning of the liquidation sale &mdash; as the liquidators are trying to make as much money as possible on the inventory &mdash; but the last couple weeks should see some screaming deals on outdoor gear. Also, keep an eye out for deals in the 40%-50% off range from Dick's, REI, and Eddie Bauer.</p> <h2>2. Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>According to Consumer Reports, by far the best time of the year to <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/best-time-to-buy-things/index.htm">buy a new elliptical machine</a> or treadmill is in June. This is because the nice weather has more people exercising outdoors, so the demand naturally falls for exercise equipment. Because of this, retailers will start to mark equipment down to try and capture more sales. In the end, you win if you can buy now and have a place to store the exercise equipment until Christmas morning.</p> <h2>3. Running Shoes</h2> <p>'Tis the season for fun runs and charity 5k races in many communities across the country. Because of this, athletic shoe retailers start offering some attractive incentives for these less serious runners in the hopes they'll buy some new running or training shoes. Use this to your advantage and stock up now for yourself, or someone on your shopping list. Key retailers to check include: Road Runner Sports, Kohl's, Amazon, Famous Footwear, and even the liquidation sale at your local Sports Authority. Not only will you find savings in the 40%-50% off range, but you'll also see BOGO events, which help you save if you're buying multiple pairs.</p> <h2>4. Laptops</h2> <p>If you have someone on your shopping list who's in need of a new laptop, right now is a pretty good time to shop. It's potentially a better time to shop than during the back-to-school season at the end of the summer. If you're an Apple person, they're kick starting their&nbsp;<a href="http://www.apple.com/us-hed/shop">online education page</a> with up to a $200 discount on a new laptop. If you're shopping for a PC user, Dell has savings in the 45% range on an Inspiron laptop.</p> <h2>5. Lingerie</h2> <p>Every June, Victoria's Secret kicks off their Semi-Annual sale and slashes the price of many products to a cool 70% off. In an effort to keep up with the competition, many other retailers will also slash their prices this time of year. Look for significant savings from Soma, Aerie by American Eagle, and even Sears. And yes, before you ask, Sears has a fairly popular<a href="http://www.sears.com/clothing-shoes-jewelry-clothing-women-s-clothing-intimates-sleepwear/b-1279794998"> lingerie and sleepwear section</a>. The bottom line is that's a great time to stock up and put away lingerie gift ideas until December. Plus, you'll have the added benefit of making your shopping that much easier come Christmas, and what guy doesn't love that?</p> <h2>6. Dishware</h2> <p>As we enter the peak of the wedding season, right now is a great time to shop and save on new dishware for your kitchen. This includes not only dishes, but also cups, flatware, and glassware. The good news is, you don't have to be getting married and registered to take advantage of the savings. Look for deals in the 35%-45% off range at stores like Macy's, Mikasa, Pfaltzgraff, Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, and Crate &amp; Barrel.</p> <h2>7. Baseball Gear</h2> <p>As little league season across the country starts to wind down, it has many families moving onto soccer in the fall. The result is very little demand for baseball gear like bats, gloves, apparel, helmets, and various accessories. So if you know your son or daughter plans to play again next year, right now is a great time to stock up on the cheap as sporting goods retailers try to clear out this season's baseball inventory. While buying pants and socks might be tricky because of color and sizing requirements, items like bats, gloves, and training aids can be found at a steep discount at local sporting goods retailers. Plus, check online on eBay for really good deals on <a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/Sporting-Goods/888/i.html?_from=R40&amp;_nkw=baseball+gear">gently used equipment</a>.</p> <h2>8. Luggage</h2> <p>Online luggage sellers like eBags, LuggageOnline.com, Irv's Luggage are offering some great coupons and deals right now. Each seller has deals that include up to 70% off brands like Samsonite, Tumi, Victorinox, and American Tourister. When shopping in-store, you'll also find luggage deals at TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and even a 20% off coupon for Macy's and JCPenney.</p> <h2>9. Vacuum Cleaner</h2> <p>Nothing says a romantic, thoughtful gift, like a new vacuum cleaner. Although I must say, my wife would love a new vacuum for Christmas as ours has been on its last leg for months. It still works well enough to not replace, but it takes several passes to get all the dirt sucked up. In any case, right now is an excellent time to purchase a new vacuum as most new models are released in late May, early June &mdash; making it a great time pick up last season's clearance vacuum for cheap. Look for discounts in the 30%-40% off range on brands like Dyson, Shark, Oreck, Hoover, and even the Roomba.</p> <p><em>Do you look for opportunities to save money on Christmas gifts throughout the year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-amazon-prime-day-actually-worth-it-this-year">How to Make Amazon Prime Day Actually Worth It This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping Christmas Christmas gifts Christmas in July christmas shopping saving money Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Kyle James 1738462 at http://www.wisebread.com These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_92636795_XLARGE.jpg" alt="saving money this summer on cheaper buys" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Once summer is in full swing, it can feel like you're paying a lot of money for air conditioning, and other necessities. However, there are several things that are actually cheaper during the summer months. In the summer of 2015, many factors caused huge price increases in food and fuel. However, this summer, these problems seem to be lessened, and our budgets will benefit for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer?ref=seealso">9 Dumb Ways You're Going to Waste Money This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Beef and Dairy</h2> <p>Last year's big drought did a number on beef and dairy prices. While the drought is not officially over in some places, like California, the price of beef and dairy has decreased drastically for 2016. In fact, there's actually an oversupply of dairy and cheese right now, so stock up when prices are cheap. Most grated cheeses, feta cheese, and Parmesan cheese freeze well.</p> <p>While you will see a significant decrease in savings in the meat section at your local grocery store, you will also see a bigger savings at fast food restaurants. The cheaper beef prices allow some fast food chains to offer aggressive deals, such as Taco Bell's $1 Beefy Crunch Burrito and the Cheesy Double Beef Burrito.</p> <h2>2. Eggs</h2> <p>Last May, a bird flu outbreak caused egg prices to soar in the Midwest. Thankfully that crisis has passed, and egg prices are now at a record low. However, chicken prices are trending higher due to heat waves. So choose egg salad over chicken salad this summer to enjoy the savings.</p> <h2>3. Gas</h2> <p>Usually gas prices seem higher during the summer, since many people use the hotter months to travel and vacation. This year, however, gas prices will remain low.&nbsp;<a href="https://blog.gasbuddy.com/posts/Gasoline-Prices-Little-Changed-Best-Summer-to-Hit-the-Road-In-Years-Lies-Ahead/1715-645069-3695.aspx">Gasbuddy</a> reported that the average gas prices were $2.23 per gallon in May, which is almost $0.50 cheaper than it was in May 2015.</p> <p>To save even more at the gas tank, try planning your road trip during the cooler part of the day to save on gas.</p> <h2>4. Air Travel</h2> <p>When gas prices are down, flight prices are also down. In February, the<a href="http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts008_16"> Department of Transportation</a> announced that the average cost of airfare was the cheapest it has been since 2010. Now with lower fuel costs, cheaper airfare will be able to stay until the end of summer. Airfare can eat up so much of your vacation budget, so don't miss out on the opportunity to travel with the low prices this summer.</p> <p>Try booking your airfare on a Tuesday morning and follow the airline's social media accounts to take advantage of the best flight prices. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>5. Foreign Travel</h2> <p>Get your passports ready. Not only is air travel cheaper, but traveling abroad might make your dollar stretch further. A recent GOBankingRates survey found that the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-travel-while-the-dollar-is-strong">U.S. dollar was strongest</a> in Argentina, Australia, and Europe. If you do travel, make sure to use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">credit card that does not have foreign transaction fees</a>.</p> <h2>6. Whole Foods</h2> <p>Whether you have been to a Whole Foods store or not, you already know that their prices are generally outrageous. Many people associate this chain with overpriced and overrated items. Luckily, Whole Foods is now opening a cheaper version of itself with a store called 365. The store is targeted towards millennial shoppers, with Teabot machines and lower prices. The first 365 store opened in Los Angeles at the end of May. Two more 365 stores will open this year in Oregon and Washington.</p> <h2>7. Cars</h2> <p>Generally, cars are cheaper during the summer because it is the end of the peak selling season. Look for special promotions and score a vehicle while interest rates are still low. Many car buyers wait until Labor Day to start looking at cars, but some dealerships will offer hard-to-beat incentives to move their old inventory.</p> <h2>8. Winter Wear and Gear</h2> <p>You don't want to think about snuggling up in a jacket when it's hot and humid out, but early summer is a great time to get the lowest prices for winter gear before the store gets rid of their inventory altogether.</p> <p><em>What deals are you taking advantage of this summer?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-amazon-prime-day-actually-worth-it-this-year">How to Make Amazon Prime Day Actually Worth It This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping grocery shopping sales saving money summer summer activities summer costs summer fun Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:30:03 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1737544 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/backyard_party_78624345.jpg" alt="Family creating a dream backyard on a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer has arrived, and your number one priority might be giving your backyard or other outdoor space a party-perfect makeover.&nbsp;We chatted with DIY and design experts Ben and Erin Napier, who are currently working with <a href="http://promo.bankofamerica.com/ccsearchlp6/">Bank of America</a> to provide brilliant tips on how to make a dreamy outdoor space on the cheap. Ben and Erin approach their projects with a realistic and relatable point of view, because they want you to succeed without having to sacrifice. All of their projects are attainable &mdash; even by the newbiest of newbies. And what's better than that?</p> <p>Here are some of their best pearls of outdoor DIY wisdom.</p> <h2>Start With Seating and Lighting</h2> <p>If you're planning on hosting a summer soiree, you need the right seating and the right ambience to make it memorable. Erin Napier told us that she and Ben prefer to entertain at night, since it gets so hot during the day where they live. She also suggested stringing party lights around the yard to create a magical setting. For additional seating and decor, &quot;pull things from inside the house into the backyard. Bring rugs and lamps and the dinner table outside, and it makes great décor. Just make sure to bring them back inside before it rains!&quot; Erin said.</p> <p>Unfortunately, since mosquitoes and summer typically go hand in hand, do what you can to keep those pests away. Erin suggests going with citronella plants over the typical candles and sprays.&quot; If you can find citronella plants, buy all they have! Put them in pots and they keep away mosquitoes and bugs. Plants do an awesome job keeping bugs away naturally, and they are just as good as candles. You just need to have them strategically placed around your yard,&quot; she said. You can find these at Home Depot, or any major garden center.</p> <p>Just be careful if you're a dog owner, as they can be <a href="https://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-mosquito-plants/">toxic to dogs</a>.</p> <h2>3 Yard Decor Choices Even the Pros Worry About</h2> <p>When it comes to DIYing, mistakes are part of the journey. But to avoid any missteps that can easily destroy your budget, Ben and Erin recommend being cautious in three areas: Lawn furniture, paint for your porch, and flowers.</p> <p>When asked what people typically overspend on, Ben told us, &quot;Lawn furniture that&rsquo;s not going to hold up and be durable. Be sure to look for metal that can be used year after year with a metal-bonding paint.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking of paint, don't waste your money on latex paint for your porch. Erin said, &quot;Painting a porch with latex paint is a bad idea. You'll need to redo it because it doesn't hide scratches. Only use old-ace enamel paint because will hold up for a few years.&quot;</p> <p>As for flowers, Erin is all about perennials. &quot;They bloom all year long, even in colder months, whereas annuals need to be replanted.&quot;</p> <p>When it comes to lawn care, Ben reminds us that timing is everything. &quot;It gets so hot in Mississippi, people water and mow their yards in brutal heat during the afternoon, which does more harm than good. Do the mowing and watering in the early morning, and cut your yard a little taller in order to create shade for the roots and allow for more water to be absorbed.&quot;</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WaYqp0rHhBA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>So in terms of staying on budget, Ben says you need to set a budget, choose priorities, and make a plan. Once you're ready to shop, you can earn cash back with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bankamericard-cash-rewards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_campaign=napier" target="_blank">BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card</a>. Or really, anytime you shop, this card should be in your wallet. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. Knowing what to buy for the backyard, you can get cash back on your DIY buys, which can help extend your budget.</p> <h2>Must-Have Tools</h2> <p>Not all tools are created equal, so make sure you have the right ones in your toolbox before you start redecorating. Ben's three must-haves are a drill, a hammer, and a pair of pliers. Erin added, &quot;And a caulk gun. That's worth spending money on. Tape measures are a must, too. We seem to have thousands of them.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>And in terms of splurging on the right tools, if you have a little wiggle room in your budget, and plan to do more DIY projects in the future, Ben recommends getting a skill saw, a miter saw, and a table saw.</p> <p>For more of Ben and Erin's home improvement tips, and some brilliant how-to videos, head over to <a href="http://promo.bankofamerica.com/ccsearchlp6/" target="_blank">Bank of America</a>. Also, be sure to check out their blog at <a href="https://erinandben.co/">https://erinandben.co/</a>. They update it every day with more fun and creative ideas.</p> <p><em>Do you have any additional outdoor DIY tips you'd like to share? Leave them in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting DIY Home credit cards decor design DIY diy projects gardening home improvement interview lifestyle outdoor decor party tips Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1737243 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Useful Items Hotels Usually Provide for Free http://www.wisebread.com/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/33142202.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all been there. You're in that pre-trip rush, and you forget to pack an essential travel item, or just need a little something extra when you arrive at the hotel. Before you make that trip to the gift shop or convenience store, swing by the front desk. Many hotels are well-stocked with freebies and extras for road-weary travelers. Here are 14 useful items hotels usually provide free of charge.</p> <h2>1. Extra Pillows and Blankets</h2> <p>I'm man enough to admit it &mdash; I need at least five pillows (two on each side and one under my head) to get a good night's sleep. In recent years, hotels have begun to appreciate how important pillows are to the guest experience. Besides offering an extra pillow or two upon request, major chains such as Holiday Inn now offer quests pillow menus &mdash; just pick your pillows based on the preferred firmness level.</p> <h2>2. Roll-Away Beds</h2> <p>Many hotels will provide a rollaway bed for an unexpected guest or to accommodate an unusually large group. It may not be the most comfortable way to sleep, but it beats the floor.</p> <h2>3. Nightlights</h2> <p>Nightlights can help small children and the elderly navigate unfamiliar spaces. Higher-end chains provide nightlights to guests upon request.</p> <h2>4. Earplugs</h2> <p>Though providing guests with free earplugs may imply a less-than-ideal location, they're part of the standard offerings at La Quinta and DoubleTree hotels. These chains have realized an important truth: Cities (and guests!) can be noisy &mdash; especially during big events. Often, a disposable pair of foam earplugs can mean the difference between a decent sleep and a fitful night of tossing and turning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-sounder-sleep-at-hotels?ref=seealso">Tips for Sounder Sleep at Hotels</a>)</p> <h2>5. Sewing Kits</h2> <p>Have a loose button or split seam? Don't come unraveled. Many large hotel chains have complementary sewing kits on-hand for just such wardrobe malfunctions.</p> <h2>6. Activities for Kids</h2> <p>An occupied kid is a happy kid. If you forgot to pack your little one's favorite toy, ask the hotel staff to help. Many chains offer coloring books and crayons, word search books, and other age-appropriate material that promotes nearby attractions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-must-do-if-youre-traveling-with-kids?ref=seealso">9 Things You Must Do If You're Traveling With Kids</a>)</p> <h2>7. Board Games</h2> <p>Snowed in? Rained out? Many hotels will deliver board games to guests' rooms or provide them as part of the amenities in the lobby.</p> <h2>8. Books</h2> <p><a href="https://www.countryinns.com/feature.do?feature=riar">Country Inn &amp; Suites' Read It &amp; Return It Lending Library</a> lets guests borrow a book free of charge. It's pressure-free. Readers who haven't finished the book by the end of their stay can just return it next time. How's that for service?</p> <h2>9. Phone Chargers</h2> <p>Who hasn't left for vacation and completely forgotten their cellphone charger? When (not if) this happens to you, your friendly hotel staff can help. Most hotels have a respectable collection of chargers left behind by previous guests and are happy to pass one on.</p> <h2>10. Toothpaste and Toothbrushes</h2> <p>Got a wicked case of morning breath? Basic oral hygiene products like toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, and even toothbrushes are available at the front desk.</p> <h2>11. Razors</h2> <p>Have an important meeting but forgot to pack a razor? Never fear. Savvy hotels &mdash; especially those that cater to business travelers &mdash; usually keep a stash of extras at the front desk.</p> <h2>12. Curling Irons and Straightening Irons</h2> <p>Ladies, if you've forgotten your curling or straightening iron, don't despair. Many top hotels chains such as Kimpton and Hyatt have loaners on-hand. Check with the front desk staff and don't miss a beat in your morning routine.</p> <h2>13. Snacks</h2> <p>We're all familiar with the complementary coffee and cookies available in most hotel lobbies. But some of the more accommodating hotel staff members will raid the continental breakfast bar after hours to help a guest in need. Yogurt, fruit, energy bars, and bottles of juice are the standard fare and will work in a pinch.</p> <h2>14. Dog Treats</h2> <p>Pets are family and pet owners are loyal to hotels that don't forget Fido. Many pet-friendly hotels provide free dog treats and even loan out food and water bowls for their four-legged guests.</p> <p><em>What's the most surprising thing you've received for no charge at a hotel? What do you wish more hotels offered their guests? Share with us!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F14%20Useful%20Items%20Hotels%20Usually%20Provide%20for%20Free_0.jpg&amp;description=14%20Useful%20Items%20Hotels%20Usually%20Provide%20for%20Free" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/14%20Useful%20Items%20Hotels%20Usually%20Provide%20for%20Free_0.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations">6 Budget-Friendly Beach Destinations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-save-and-make-money-while-traveling">12 Ways to Save and Make Money While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-a-more-expensive-hotel-room-can-save-you-money">6 Ways a More Expensive Hotel Room Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-hotel-hiding-these-5-fees-in-your-bill">Is Your Hotel Hiding These 5 Fees in Your Bill?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel beauty products free stuff hotel hotel amenities travel travel accessories travel hacks travel tips Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 1737238 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Hire a Broker to Buy a Car? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-hire-a-broker-to-buy-a-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-hire-a-broker-to-buy-a-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_60741810_XLARGE.jpg" alt="she hired a broker to find her car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After four years living car-free, a job change recently pushed my family to buy a vehicle. I dreaded going head-to-head with a car salesman and possibly failing to negotiate a good price.</p> <p>While researching how to get a good deal on a used car, I happened upon this quote in an Edmunds article: &quot;You're not a professional car buyer, so why go up against a professional car seller alone?&quot; The piece was about hiring an auto broker to locate a car and negotiate a good deal. It was a practice that I had scarcely heard of, but the one person I know who used a broker raved that it saved her both time and money. And a little online searching had showed me that the specific used car I wanted was going to be hard to track down at a good price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-used-car-without-getting-ripped-off?ref=seealso">How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Ripped Off</a>)</p> <p>So I decided to give it a whirl.</p> <h2>How to Hire a Broker</h2> <p>Car brokers tend to be solo or small-group operators, and each brokerage may operate slightly differently, but this is what the process was like for me.</p> <p>First, I emailed a local broker who had positive reviews on Yelp, and told him exactly what we were looking for: make, model, acceptable years and mileage range, colors, and trim level. He replied, explaining how his service works and the fee, which for used cars is $800. He would search online through publicly available sites, dealer-only wholesale sites &mdash; a good source for finding former rental cars, he said &mdash; and possibly through his network of other brokers. He'd check vehicle history reports, eliminating cars that had been in accidents or driven in rust-prone regions. Then he'd call sellers to verify availability and nail down the lowest price they'd be willing to sell it for. Finally, he'd send me a list of matching cars, so I could pick the one I wanted to buy.</p> <p>The process went pretty much as he said it would. When he sent the list, he also showed me how to judge how good a deal each car was, and gave his recommendations for the best bets.</p> <h3>Be Sure to Confirm Broker Services</h3> <p>One thing that I did not realize going into the experience was that my broker's work ended when I selected a vehicle. I had hoped that I would simply tell him which car I wanted, and he'd have the necessary documents sent to me, tell me where to wire the money, and the car would be delivered to my door without me ever having to speak to a dealership. Some services &mdash; more likely those that market themselves as car concierge services &mdash; do some of this for their clients, but in my case, the broker simply gave me the phone number of the dealership and the price they'd agreed to, and got a shipping quote for me from his preferred shipping service. I had to talk to the dealership, in a series of back-and-forth calls that ended up stretching over several days, sign the paperwork they FedExed me, and then call the shipper to schedule the delivery.</p> <p>In the end, I got the car I wanted at a good price, with less hassle than I would have gone through if I'd tried to do it all on my own. Because the car I wanted, a late-model Toyota Highlander Hybrid, is in high demand, my broker wasn't able to get the dealership to budge from its advertised price. But it was still a good deal &mdash; in fact, when I contacted a local dealer to see if they could match the price, they congratulated me on getting a steal. But the main advantages of the broker, for me, were saving time and peace of mind. If I'd done it on my own, I'd have felt uncertain as to whether I'd gotten a good deal or a bad one &mdash; and I also wouldn't have had the nerve to attempt an out-of-state transaction without someone to explain how it works.</p> <h2>Is It the Right Move for You?</h2> <p>Car brokers also help people buy new vehicles, but because my purchase was used, the tips here mostly pertain to pre-owned car purchases.</p> <p>You may want to work with a dealer if:</p> <h3>You Hate Negotiating</h3> <p>Even though I would have loved to save more, I liked knowing that when I contacted the dealer, we had already agreed on a price. I had considered avoiding negotiation by visiting a fixed-price outlet like CarMax, but I'm glad I didn't, because CarMax is selling an identical vehicle to the one I bought &mdash; for $3,000 more than I paid.</p> <h3>You Are Really Busy</h3> <p>In the past, I have bought cars through ads posted on Craigslist or even the classified section of the newspaper. It takes a lot of time to contact individual sellers and dealerships this way, not to mention checking Carfax reports. My broker made all these searches, phone calls, and background checks for me, earning his fee in the hours he saved me, alone.</p> <h3>You Want to Find a Vehicle Quickly</h3> <p>My broker located a car with everything on my wish list in under a week. If I were searching myself, I'm pretty sure I would have spent all summer searching Craigslist and other sites before I found a vehicle that matched my list so well.</p> <h3>You Don't Know Much About the Car-Buying Business</h3> <p>If I had been well-versed in how to compare prices based on the <a href="http://www.nadaguides.com/">NADAguides</a> trade-in price, and knew what to look for in a car's history, I might not have needed my broker's help. As it was, I learned so much from my broker that I would feel comfortable searching and negotiating on my own next time around.</p> <h3>You're on a Tight Budget</h3> <p>It may seem counterintuitive to be willing to shell out hundreds of dollars up front in order to get a good deal, but think of it this way: If you're not price sensitive, you don't need a broker, because you can save time and hassle by walking into a dealership and buying a new car at the advertised price.</p> <h2>Downsides of Working With a Broker</h2> <p>Although I'm glad I did it, the experience wasn't perfect.</p> <h3>Pressure to Work on the Broker's Timeline</h3> <p>My natural inclination would have been to only spend an hour or two a week working on my car search, and spread it out over a longer period. Understandably, my broker wanted to get the job over with and get paid. Because of that, I ended up fielding multiple phone calls and emails from him during that week, often at times when I was busy with work.</p> <h3>The Broker May Have Other Incentives</h3> <p>Some brokers are also compensated by dealers &mdash; which is something you should ask about in advance. My broker sold extended warranties, and while his warranties were less expensive than those sold by dealerships, I felt like he expected me to buy one. It would have been awkward for me to say no after working together all week. (In the end, I bought a car that came with a warranty, so the point was moot.)</p> <h3>It's Not Ideal for Introverts</h3> <p>On one hand, it was great to have someone available to answer my questions at every step of the car search process. On the other, I'm not much for talking on the phone, and it felt awkward to have to work on a team every day for a week. Sometimes we had communication issues that caused me stress, especially when my broker would sound irritated, because I didn't understand what he was talking about.</p> <p><em>Have you worked with a broker before? What was your experience like? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-hire-a-broker-to-buy-a-car">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-new-car">How Much Should You Spend on a New Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-buying-a-new-car-and-be-happy">How to Save Money Buying a New Car and Be Happy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-uber-saving-or-costing-you-money">Is Uber Saving or Costing You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Cars and Transportation broker buying a car car financing car salesman car salesperson car shopping new car saving money selling a car Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:00:04 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1735466 at http://www.wisebread.com