Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 5 Ways Your Credit Card Can Help You Manage Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-your-credit-card-can-help-you-manage-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-your-credit-card-can-help-you-manage-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_online_shopping.jpg" alt="Woman online shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When most people think of credit cards and personal finances, they imagine the former ruining the latter. It's incredibly easy to make purchases with your credit card, which can be both its greatest strength and its most profound weakness.</p> <p>But rather than seeing credit cards as an enemy of your budgeting efforts, consider all the ways your cards can actually help you to manage your financial life. Try thinking of your credit cards as incredibly powerful financial tools that can be harnessed to achieve your goals.</p> <p>Here are five ways that your credit card can help you manage your finances.</p> <h2>1. Keeping records</h2> <p>One of the great things about both credit cards and debit cards is that they can offer you a record of every transaction you make. Your statements include the merchant name, the date of the transaction, and the amount. So if you ever wonder where your money is going, this is one way to find out in great detail. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Top 7 Reasons I Use My Credit Cards for Everything</a>)</p> <h2>2. Paying taxes</h2> <p>The record of all your payments can be vital when it comes time to complete your taxes. Your credit card statements can help you to identify and claim charitable contributions and other deductions, as well as business expenses.</p> <h2>3. Tracking category spending</h2> <p>Many credit cards have reporting features built in, so you can see statistics on where your money is being spent. For example, you can find out if you spent more at restaurants this month versus last, or how much you've been spending at gas stations. If you're a small-business owner, your credit card may contain even more robust expense reporting tools. Using these tools, you can see if you need to adjust your budget or tighten up spending in certain areas. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Your Small Business</a>)</p> <h2>4. Smoothing out your cash flow</h2> <p>Our income and our expenses are never as predictable as we would like them to be. Freelancers and small business owners occasionally deal with delayed payments from, and all of us will eventually have an unexpected home repair, car repair, or health care bill. Thankfully, your credit card can be used as a shock absorber of sorts for your personal finances. When a large bill arrives, or your income is delayed, you can rely on your credit card's grace period to hold you over until you can make ends meet.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card's grace period</a> is the time between when your statement period closes and your payment is due. When you pay your statement balance in full before the grace period ends, nearly all credit cards waive your interest charges. By law, a credit card's grace period must be at least 21 days, but many have grace periods of 25 days. This means that you could have as many as 30 days before your statement period ends, plus as many as 25 days to pay your balance in full. That adds up to an interest-free float of up to 55 days on your credit cards, giving you a lot of time to get your finances in order while avoiding interest charges.</p> <h2>5. Earning rewards</h2> <p>When you avoid interest charges by paying your monthly statement balances in full, then you can earn rewards from your credit cards at no cost. For example, some credit cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-with-easy-travel-redemption?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel statement credits</a> worth a percentage of all your purchase transactions &mdash; sometimes as high as 2 percent on every purchase. Two percent might not sound like a lot, but it can help you to make ends meet.</p> <p>Instead of earning cash back, some people use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> to earn frequent flyer miles or hotel points. When you are able to use these travel rewards instead of paying out of pocket for a flight or a hotel stay, it's another way that your credit card can help you save money and manage your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-business-travel-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-your-credit-card-can-help-you-manage-your-finances">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/suze-orman-tells-us-to-pay-only-the-minimum-on-credit-cards-wait-what">Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY The Minimum On Credit Cards. Wait, What?!</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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</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-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top 7 Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pre-approved-for-credit-card-offers-are-you-pre-qualified">Pre-Approved for Credit Card Offers: Are You Pre-Qualified?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Credit Cards budget tips credit card tips credit cards finances making a budget manage your money Thu, 19 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2038828 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Budget When You're No Longer Broke http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rich_business_man.jpg" alt="Rich Business man" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first job out of college was working at Barnes &amp; Noble for $8.25 an hour, which meant I took home about $1,000 per month. It was a pretty precarious financial position considering that my rent cost $500 per month and I owed $200 per month to my student loans.</p> <p>After about eight months of working retail, I landed an office job that paid me $10,000 more per year. When I received my first paycheck from the new job, I was sorely tempted to cash the whole thing and make it rain for an entire weekend to make up for the frugality I'd been forced to live under while I was selling books. I made grand plans to decorate my apartment and buy new clothes &mdash; and I couldn't wait to stop double checking the cost of everything all the time.</p> <p>Going from barely making ends meet to suddenly flourishing can be a difficult transition to adjust to. It's tempting to just throw your budget out the window, since you no longer need such a restrictive attitude toward money. But going from broke to flush does not mean you can abandon budgeting altogether, or else you risk making bad financial decisions that will stick with you for years to come. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-got-a-raise-now-what?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You Got a Raise! Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>Beware lifestyle creep</h2> <p>We all have a tendency to spend right up to our income ceiling, no matter how much money we make. When you have a major income increase, it's very easy to go nuts with all the things you have been denying yourself on your more restrictive budget. But this kind of spending will keep you unprepared for a financial problem down the line, and you will also simply get accustomed to your new standard of living because of a cognitive bias known as <em>hedonic adaptation</em>.</p> <p>Hedonic adaptation describes the phenomenon wherein we get used to the things we have. This cognitive bias helps explain why it is so easy for you to become just as financially stressed after a major pay raise or other financial increase as you were at the lower level. When the things that were rare treats when you were earning less become a standard part of your life, you enjoy them less &mdash; but you are also less willing to give them up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-biases-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Mental Biases That Are Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <p>It's very difficult to avoid lifestyle creep when you are excited to upgrade from ramen dinners and cement-and-plywood furniture. There are a couple of things you can do to keep your larger paychecks from being frittered away with lifestyle creep.</p> <h3>1. Give yourself a (small) raise</h3> <p>You should get to enjoy the fruits of your labors, and no one can keep living on a restrictive budget forever. So start by increasing your monthly fun money budget by a portion of your increased income. For instance, if you're going to be seeing $1,000 more per month, let $50&ndash;$100 of it become money in your pocket. Enjoying a portion of your extra money in an intentional way will make it much easier for you to avoid unintentional lifestyle creep.</p> <h3>2. Reassess your budget</h3> <p>Whether you had a strict budget that you followed religiously while you were broke, or you simply tried to keep from spending any money at all, a major change in your income level is an excellent time to look back over your budget. Specifically, it's a good time to figure out what budget categories were underfunded while you were making less money &mdash; and if there were any categories where you can trim some fat.</p> <p>It's tempting to simply beef up all of your budget categories with your extra income, but it pays to determine where your money can do the most good. For instance, you might be itching to increase your dining out budget category so you can start keeping up with the friends who go out every weekend. But if you have high-interest debts, it makes more sense to wipe those out before you start living it up with your high-roller friends. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>3. Make gradual changes to your lifestyle</h3> <p>After making do with a leaking bean bag chair instead of a real sofa, it's natural to want to go out and replace everything from your broke days as soon as the money starts coming in. But even though you now have more money, your funds are not unlimited, and you'll be able to make better and more intentional replacements if you make changes gradually rather than all at once.</p> <p>So take the time to figure out what you would most like to replace or change first so that you can make such gradual changes. For instance, rather than buying all new furniture, you might instead just upgrade your mattress, since having an old and worn out mattress could be affecting your sleep. As you build up your savings, you can slowly replace other pieces of furniture as needed.</p> <h3>4. Set up automatic transfers</h3> <p>Set up automatic transfers to start as soon as your new paychecks do, so that the extra money is working for you as of day one instead of burning a hole in your checking account. These can be especially helpful for combating lifestyle creep when you get a raise or higher-paying job.</p> <p>If you don't have an emergency fund already, start by setting up an automatic transfer into savings for one. From there, sign up for automatic transfers into your retirement account &mdash; and if you don't already have one, now is an excellent time to enroll! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Choosing a Retirement Account: What's Available, and What's Best for You?</a>)</p> <h2>Going from broke to bank</h2> <p>A higher income can slip through your fingers if you are not paying attention to your spending, which is why it is so important to adjust your budget after you get a major pay raise or higher-paying job. Take the time to responsibly enjoy your new wealth, but also be sure to make rational and deliberate decisions about where your money can do the most good in your life.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Budget%2520When%2520You%2527re%2520No%2520Longer%2520Broke.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You're%20No%20Longer%20Broke"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You%27re%20No%20Longer%20Broke.jpg" alt="How to Budget When You're No Longer Broke" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</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/what-to-do-when-youve-blown-your-budget-for-the-month">What to Do When You&#039;ve Blown Your Budget for the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-youre-still-stuck-in-a-financial-hole">8 Reasons You&#039;re Still Stuck in a Financial Hole</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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting automatic transfers income increase lifestyle changes lifestyle creep mental biases more money promotion raise Spending Money Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2035881 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 52 Ways to Keep Your Finances Fit During the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-52-ways-to-keep-your-finances-fit-during-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-52-ways-to-keep-your-finances-fit-during-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/christmas_jar_coins_500639910.jpg" alt="Keeping finances fit during the holidays" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays are coming, and with that comes a serious budgeting struggle. You want to get the right gifts, the right food, the right decorations, and you don't want to spend too much money on any of it. Many of us end up with a pile of debt at the end of the holiday season, but this year, don't let it happen to you.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/couple_christmas_shopping_51383450.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins?ref=fbf" target="_blank">9 Smart Money Moves to Make Before the Holiday Season Begins</a> &mdash; The best way to get started is to tackle that worm as the early birds do and make a plan immediately. Set a budget, save money while you can, and go into the holiday season with a savvy strategy.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line?ref=fbf" target="_blank">6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line</a> &mdash; Most likely, you'll travel during the holiday season to see family members and spread that holiday cheer. This means that you'll probably end up at the airport, facing delays and long security lines. These money moves are so easy, you can make them while you wait.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/happy_young_woman_depositing_money_into_her_piggy_bank.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays?ref=fbf" target="_blank">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</a> &mdash; Another way to keep your money from becoming a mess is to tidy them up before the snow starts to fall. In addition to coming up with a holiday financial strategy, you should organize your bills, shred financial documents as needed, track receipts, and get a clear picture of the ways you currently spend money before you start spending more.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money?ref=fbf" target="_blank">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a> &mdash; Take this opportunity to get the kids involved in your financial planning this season, as it will help them understand the value of a dollar and that everything comes at a price.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/christmas-gift-wrapping-515521261-small.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-festive-ways-to-make-extra-money-for-the-holidays?ref=fbf" target="_blank">16 Festive Ways to Make Extra Money for the Holidays</a> &mdash; The best way to keep your money neat this season is to bring in more of it to balance out your spending. If you have some free time and can take on a side hustle, you might end up breaking even by New Year's!</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/winter-is-coming-make-these-6-money-moves-now?ref=fbf" target="_blank">Winter Is Coming: Make These 6 Money Moves Now</a> &mdash; With the arrival of Santa and spiked eggnog comes snow and necessary home care. You need to get your pipes, tires, and roof ready to weather the white fluffy stuff, so you can avoid any pricey winter surprises in the dead of chilly season.</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-52-ways-to-keep-your-finances-fit-during-the-holidays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-52-money-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making">Flashback Friday: 52 Money Mistakes You Need to Stop Making</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-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</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-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</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-137-ways-to-make-this-the-best-halloween-yet">Flashback Friday: 137 Ways to Make This the Best Halloween Yet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting budgeting tips Christmas fbf flashback friday Holidays money moves Thanksgiving Fri, 13 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 2035918 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_in_new_apartment_dream_and_plan_interior.jpg" alt="Happy couple in new apartment dream and plan interior" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When done properly, home improvement projects can add resale value to your home. In fact, Angie&rsquo;s List estimates the <a href="https://www.angieslist.com/articles/remodeling-projects-highest-roi.htm" target="_blank">return on investment for kitchen</a> and bath renovations to be as high as 85 percent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Easy Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing</a>)</p> <p>On the other hand, these projects can bust your budget if you fail to map out supply costs and get multiple quotes from contractors. Get the job done right the first time so you can cash in big later with these 10 tips for starting a home improvement project.</p> <h2>1. Before contracting anyone, consider the value added</h2> <p>No matter what project you plan to start around the house &mdash; from the bathroom to the backyard &mdash; it&rsquo;s important to ask two all-important questions: How much will this cost you, and how much value will this add to your home? For those answers, you&rsquo;ll need to talk to a couple people, mainly a contractor for the former and a realtor for the latter. If your project bumps up your home&rsquo;s value significantly, it&rsquo;s probably not a bad idea to dive in, especially if what you plan to upgrade is long overdue. If you&rsquo;ll only see a small return on investment, however, consider the consequences. There&rsquo;s nothing wrong with pursuing a vanity project if it&rsquo;ll make you happy in the long run, but you need to reconcile that with yourself and your wallet before you make any costly decisions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/architect-designer-or-contractor-who-should-you-hire-for-your-project?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Architect, Designer, or Contractor: Who Should You Hire for Your Project?</a>)</p> <h2>2. You will most likely be inconvenienced</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re planning a major renovation, you&rsquo;ll likely be inconvenienced by not being able to use those rooms while the project is ongoing, and that&rsquo;s something you need to think about before starting. Consider not only how you&rsquo;ll manage without these facilities, but also the time of year and how uncomfortable you may be during construction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home's Value</a>)</p> <h2>3. Not all contractors are created equal</h2> <p>You won&rsquo;t have trouble finding a contractor to bid out your work, but finding the right contractor will take some time.</p> <p>&ldquo;In the planning stages, interview multiple contractors,&rdquo; says Kylee Della Volpe, an editor for Mortgages.com. &ldquo;Ask them about their costs, communication style, and to provide references. This will help you choose a professional who can help keep the project running smoothly for you.&rdquo;</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not a bad idea to ask your friends and family for recommendations, as well. Before I blindly search online for a contractor, I always consult those in my network whom I trust. Look at past results, too. Ask the contractor for photos and/or videos of recent projects. Those who know what they&rsquo;re doing and run a solid business will have no problem showing you what they&rsquo;re capable of. Experience counts here.</p> <p>The Better Business Bureau also advises that homeowners find out if a contractor is a member of a professional association, which has standards or a code of ethics.</p> <p>&ldquo;All BBB Accredited Businesses have agreed to uphold BBB standards for ethics in the marketplace,&rdquo; says Lisa Schiller, director of investigations and media relations for BBB serving Wisconsin. &ldquo;Homeowners also should check with BBB to learn how long a contractor has been in business and if the firm has been responsive to any complaints filed with BBB. In addition, BBB reports can tell you how long the company has been in business, show complaint detail, and show posted reviews &mdash; positive, negative, and neutral &mdash; as well as any known government action.&rdquo; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-and-hire-a-reliable-contractor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find and Hire a Reliable Contractor</a>)</p> <h2>4. Original blueprints of your house will move the process along faster</h2> <p>If you have the original blueprints of your home, plus any plans that include home improvements and additions over the years, offer them to the contractor. You&rsquo;ll save time and possibly money if he or she doesn&rsquo;t have to start from scratch.</p> <h2>5. Make sure there&rsquo;s a contract that covers the scope of work</h2> <p>Before starting any kind of work that&rsquo;s going to impact your finances, you should have a contract in place. If the contractor is unwilling to provide one or acts shifty when it&rsquo;s suggested, you should absolutely consider this a red flag. Do not work with anyone who doesn&rsquo;t want to draw up a contract for your plans.</p> <p>The contract should include the company's name, address, and phone number, and have start and completion dates, plus estimated cost written into it.</p> <p>However, if you sign the contract away from the place of business, the Right of Rescission applies &mdash; which says you have three legal business days to cancel. If you enact this right, be sure to put the rescission in writing, mail it so that it&rsquo;s postmarked by the third business day, and make a copy for yourself. Also, keep a copy of the contract and the warranty for your records, as well.</p> <h2>6. Permits will most likely be required for major work</h2> <p>You may need permits for your work. The contractor should provide the costs for all permits in your estimate, and usually the contractor is responsible for pulling the permits from local offices unless you agree otherwise. Home improvements that may require permits include new windows, fences; structural changes, like building a deck; and plumbing and electrical work. Your city council office will have information for improvements and projects that require permits.</p> <h2>7. Get an itemized estimate to help you plan your budget</h2> <p>When a contractor bids out your work, ask for itemized billing opposed to a lump sum fee for the scope of work. The latter doesn't provide you with a transparent view of where you&rsquo;re money is going, but that&rsquo;s information you need to know in order to choose the right person for the job, or if the job is even worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate</a>)</p> <p>&ldquo;Before you start a project, you should be sure to get estimates on everything, including the permits and any money you spend if you can't use parts of your house, like the kitchen or bedrooms, then do some research to see how much that particular improvement adds to the value of the home,&rdquo; Della Volpe says. &ldquo;If it adds more value than it costs, go for it. If it doesn't, it's time to evaluate how much you'll lose in the process and whether that amount is worth it to you in terms of comfort in your home.&rdquo;</p> <h2>8. Never pay in full or up front</h2> <p>You should solicit at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the exact same specs of the full project, including materials, labor, and time needed to complete.</p> <p>&ldquo;Homeowners need to discuss bids in detail with each contractor, making certain they understand the reasons for any variations in the prices and not automatically making a decision based on lowest price,&rdquo; Schiller says. &ldquo;Cost differences may include issues such as material quality, craftsmanship, and subcontracting for specialized labor.&rdquo;</p> <p>Never pay in full or up front. Any contractor who requires this is most likely scamming you. Only pay the balance once the work is completed and to your satisfaction. One-third down payment should be sufficient to start &mdash; if you must put anything down. Then pay one-third when the project is underway, and the balance upon completion. Don't pay in cash, either; BBB suggests paying with a credit card whenever possible.</p> <h2>9. Your contractors must be insured</h2> <p>God forbid something happens to one of your contractors on the job and you&rsquo;re held liable or just plain S.O.L. You don&rsquo;t want that headache, which is why their company should be bonded and insured against worker&rsquo;s comp claims, property damage, and personal liability in case of accidents. Don&rsquo;t just take the contractor&rsquo;s word for it, either. Ask for proof or call to verify insurance coverage by asking for the name of the agency and carrier.</p> <h2>10. Don&rsquo;t bite off more than you can chew if you&rsquo;re DIYing</h2> <p>If you think you&rsquo;re handy enough to handle a home improvement project yourself, more power to you. Just be realistic in your capabilities and what you can handle given the scope of work. You don&rsquo;t want to bite off more than you can chew, which in the long run will not only inconvenience you, but could end up being costlier than if you&rsquo;d have hired a contractor from the beginning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-10-diy-jobs-homeowners-should-avoid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Top 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Things%2520to%2520Know%2520Before%2520You%2520Start%2520a%2520Home%2520Improvement%2520Project_0.jpg&amp;description=10%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20You%20Start%20a%20Home%20Improvement%20Project"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20You%20Start%20a%20Home%20Improvement%20Project_0.jpg" alt="10 Things to Know Before You Start a Home Improvement Project" width="250" height="374" /></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/10-things-to-know-before-you-start-a-home-improvement-project">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/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs">Save Time, Money, and Hassle by Bundling Your Home Repairs</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-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</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-winterize-your-home-for-maximum-savings">How to Winterize Your Home for Maximum Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Home contractors home decor home improvement home improvement projects Home repair renovation Tue, 10 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 2033607 at http://www.wisebread.com What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You? http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_reading_a_letter_at_office.jpg" alt="Businesswoman reading a letter at office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since it costs money to produce and mail marketing materials, most of the junk mail you receive does not end up in your mailbox by accident. Marketing companies target customers with junk mail based on information that leads them to believe you would be a good candidate for their offers. The companies that send junk mail use information such as credit history, credit card balances, mortgage information, and public records to find targets for their marketing materials. They also buy lists of potential customers that have recently purchased a certain type of item or signed up for a catalog in a product category.</p> <p>What does the type of junk mail you receive say about you?</p> <h2>You have high net worth</h2> <p>If the information available to marketers such as home value in your neighborhood or length of your credit history indicates that you have significant net worth or may be nearing retirement, you may get offers related to investment and retirement planning offers, invitations to free dinner events to learn about investment services, and offers to subscribe to investment newsletters.</p> <h2>You have good credit</h2> <p>People with good credit scores tend to get the best credit offers. If you have a high credit score, you might receive offers for rewards and travel credit cards, preapproved credit card offers with favorable terms, and balance transfer offers with low fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-accepting-a-credit-card-offer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Credit Card Offer</a>)</p> <h2>You have poor credit or high debt</h2> <p>Credit offers with the least favorable terms are targeted to those with lower credit scores, since these people are more likely to take an offer with worse terms. Those with poor credit will typically get applications for credit cards with low &quot;teaser&quot; interest rates that go up, debt consolidation offers, and applications for credit cards with high interest rates, and high annual fees, as well.</p> <h2>You shop a lot</h2> <p>Many types of mail order purchases, online purchases, and orders from TV infomercials will get your name on catalog mailing lists that will be used to try to sell you related things, or even unrelated things.</p> <h2>You live in a good neighborhood</h2> <p>Some types of junk mail are sent to all residences in particular neighborhoods that are seen to be a good fit for what they are selling. You'll see lawn care and pest control services, high-end security alarm installation, and house cleaning deals addressed to you.</p> <h2>You're fixing up your house</h2> <p>Once you request information about one home improvement item, you'll likely start to get other offers as well, such as big ticket home improvement installations for doors, windows, siding, roofing, remodeling, and coupons from home improvement stores.</p> <h2>You bought a new car</h2> <p>If you buy a car from a dealer, your name can end up on a variety of mailing lists. Based on the date you purchased your car, you can get junk mail anticipating your next car purchase three or four years later. You'll get extended warranty offers, invitations for test drives, and contests you can enter if you stop by the car dealership.</p> <h2>You're an athlete or sports fan</h2> <p>If you buy sporting equipment by mail order or at a sporting goods store with delivery, your name and address can start to circulate on marketing lists for sporting goods, or fishing, hunting, and camping products.</p> <p>Or if you order tickets to watch your favorite sports team in action or sign up for a fan club, marketing companies will try to sell you other items related to your team, such as fan merchandise or event ticket offers.</p> <h2>You're a globe-trotter</h2> <p>Frequent travelers are a classic target for marketing via junk mail. If you're often seeing the world, once you get home you'll find vacation package offers, hotel club invitations, and frequent flyer program info in your mailbox. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Travel Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h2>What are the best junk mail offers?</h2> <p>While most junk mail really is junk &mdash; either promotions for stuff you don't need, or offers that aren't a good deal anyway &mdash; sometimes the market research behind the junk mail works out, and you get an offer for a product you need at a price that makes sense, such as:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Credit card offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Balance transfer offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Loyalty programs</p> </li> <li> <p>Bank bonus offers</p> </li> <li> <p>Coupons for products that you buy regularly</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Can you sell your junk mail?</h2> <p>There is a lot of information that can be gleaned by studying junk mail, so much so that you can actually get paid to send in your junk mail for analysis. A company called Small Business Knowledge Center (<a href="http://www.sbkcenter.com/consumer.html" target="_blank">SBKC</a>) processes junk mail to identify marketing strategies and provide competitive intelligence to their corporate clients. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-earn-170-a-year-with-your-junk-mail?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How to Earn $170 a Year With Your Junk Mail</a>)</p> <h2>How to get less junk mail</h2> <p>Many people don't find value in getting junk mail and would prefer not to waste the paper used to print it, or the time dealing with it. There are some actions you can take to cut down the amount of junk mail you receive.</p> <h3>OptOutPrescreen</h3> <p><a href="https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t" target="_blank">OptOutPrescreen</a> allows you to opt out of preapproved credit card offers. You will be asked to provide your social security number, but after you opt out, your name will not be reported in lists provided by the credit reporting companies to credit card marketers.</p> <h3>DMAchoice</h3> <p><a href="https://dmachoice.thedma.org/index.php" target="_blank">DMAchoice</a> is a service run by the Data &amp; Marketing Association (DMA) that allows you to cut down on the amount of direct mailings and catalogs you get. You can use their online tools to select which types of marketing materials you would like to receive &mdash; and which you don't want.</p> <h3>Catalog Choice</h3> <p>If you are plagued by too many catalogs filling your mailbox, <a href="https://www.catalogchoice.org/" target="_blank">Catalog Choice</a> is another resource to opt out of unwanted mailings. They will send opt out requests to merchants on your behalf for specific catalogs that you no longer want to get.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520Does%2520Your%2520Junk%2520Mail%2520Say%2520About%2520You-.jpg&amp;description=What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20Does%20Your%20Junk%20Mail%20Say%20About%20You-.jpg" alt="What Does Your Junk Mail Say About You?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-junk-mail-say-about-you">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-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for">5 After the Holidays Moves Your Credit Score Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</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-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Consumer Affairs bills credit score junk mail mail paperwork shopping habits spending habits Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2030769 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Feel Better About Your Financial Situation http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-feel-better-about-your-financial-situation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-feel-better-about-your-financial-situation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_young_african_woman_smiling_and_thinking.jpg" alt="Beautiful young African woman smiling and thinking" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When your bank account balance is looking dismal and you're digging through your pockets hoping for some forgotten cash, it's reasonable to be pessimistic about your financial situation. Don't despair. Instead, let's look at the piggy bank half-full, because there are plenty of positives in your financial situation that might be hard to see.</p> <h2>1. Count your blessings</h2> <p>While you may be on a tighter budget from time to time, you're not broke &mdash; not as long as you have clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and food in your belly, anyway. And if you still have a job? That's a blessing you can count each time a paycheck arrives.</p> <p>It's not ideal to have no savings, nor an emergency fund, nor a well stocked retirement account. But when you take a step back, you might see that your situation is manageable, and <em>changeable</em>. Start with a tally of what you have in terms of time, money, skills, and social connections. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a>)</p> <h2>2. Come up with a plan</h2> <p>Not having enough money isn't fun, but if you let that problem fester for too long, it will wear you down. Your confidence and motivation will suffer as a result, and you run the significant risk of relegating yourself to being someone who's always struggling financially.</p> <p>Focus on small ways you can change your financial situation immediately, such as selling stuff you no longer need, or looking for a side gig to bring in extra income. You don't even need a &quot;second job&quot; these days to bring in extra cash. You can pet sit in your neighborhood, rent out space in your home, drive for a ride-sharing service, plus dozens more moneymaking opportunities. I take on several of these tasks regularly, in addition to my job as a full-time journalist, because I like to have &quot;enough&quot; for the things I want. I live by the financial motto, 'If I'm not making money, I'm spending it' &ndash; which is why I have to spend more time doing the former than the latter to get ahead in life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <h2>3. Find a support group</h2> <p>Financial conversations can be extremely awkward, but it's important to seek out sources of support from people who understand what you're going through, and can provide advice. There's nothing wrong with setting boundaries when friends ask you to do something you can't afford. Politely say no and then lean on your supportive network. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-stay-on-budget-even-with-your-spendy-friends?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Stay on Budget &mdash; Even With Your Spendy Friends</a>)</p> <h2>4. Never feel guilty about saving money</h2> <p>Sometimes committing to living within your means, saving for an emergency fund, and reaching for financial independence means saying no to certain purchases and activities. It could mean letting your friends and family know that you won't be buying holiday gifts this year. Achieving your financial goals might require sacrifices here or there, but will be worth it when your purchases no longer come with a cost of credit card interest or future security.</p> <h2>5. Demolish that negative mindset</h2> <p>You know how when people start telling lies, they sometimes convince themselves that the lie they told is true? That's what happens when you're constantly saying you're broke. Eventually you'll begin to believe that, and being &quot;broke&quot; will become a way of life. Head that self-fulfilling prophecy off at the pass by removing that word from your lexicon altogether.</p> <p>Change your narrative about your situation. Believe that you have the ability to rise above &mdash; and tell yourself so.</p> <h2>6. Look ahead, not behind</h2> <p>If you're in your current financial situation due to bad money decisions in the past (been there, done that), it's no use to beat yourself up about it. Recognize what you've done, decide that you're going to learn from it, and then move forward. Make each day another opportunity to improve and make better decisions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-but-no-one-talks-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">20 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes But No One Talks About</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-feel-better-about-your-financial-situation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Feel%2520Better%2520About%2520Your%2520Financial%2520Situation.png&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Feel%20Better%20About%20Your%20Financial%20Situation"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Feel%20Better%20About%20Your%20Financial%20Situation.png" alt="6 Ways to Feel Better About Your Financial Situation" width="250" height="374" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</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/6-ways-to-feel-better-about-your-financial-situation">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/6-ways-sloth-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Sloth Is Keeping You Poor</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-think-like-a-billionaire-when-you-re-broke">How to Think Like a Billionaire When You’re Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-cutting-your-losses-can-save-you-more-than-money">How Cutting Your Losses Can Save You More Than 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/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</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/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle broke figure of speech mental bias money habits no money out of money poor poverty saving money Tue, 03 Oct 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 2029864 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Affordable Destinations If You Wanna Get Spooked This Halloween http://www.wisebread.com/8-affordable-destinations-if-you-wanna-get-spooked-this-halloween <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-affordable-destinations-if-you-wanna-get-spooked-this-halloween" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woods_mist_grave_520040735.jpg" alt="Finding affordable destinations if you wanna get spooked" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Halloween is just around the corner. If you're thinking of doing something a little more adventurous this year, but are watching the pennies, then check out these great vacation ideas. You'll find there's a lot about these destinations that is scary &hellip; except the price tag.</p> <h2>1. Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</h2> <p>There's nothing quite like a cold, creepy, rundown prison to get your Halloween juices flowing. The Travel Channel calls it, &quot;one of America's scariest Halloween attractions,&quot; and it is literally a <a href="https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/" target="_blank">haunted house inside a real prison</a>. The prison itself was at one time the most famous and expensive prisons in the world, housing criminals like Al Capone and William Francis Sutton, aka &quot;Slick Willie.&quot; Now, the building is filled with echoing cell blocks, cold damp air, and the feeling that the ghosts of prisoners are walking the halls. If that's not enough, Steve Buscemi narrates the audio tour. Tickets are very reasonable indeed, costing $45-$50 on the Saturday before Halloween, and just $25-$30 on the actual night. And accommodations close by are also very affordable, with hotels nearby starting at just $125 a night during Halloween weekend.</p> <h2>2. The French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana</h2> <p>If you like your Halloween with a little Voodoo flair, get yourself down to the French Quarter this year. There are plenty of options when you arrive, from the <a href="https://ghostcitytours.com/new-orleans/ghost-tours/ghost-hunts/" target="_blank">Dead of Night Ghost Hunt</a> (under $50 per person) to <a href="http://bloodymarystours.com/tours-html/tours-undead-html/" target="_blank">Bloody Mary's Moonlight Graveyard Tours</a> ($30 per person). As you would expect with any New Orleans event, it's a fun, almost carnival-type atmosphere, with a lot of booze flowing and plenty of pub crawls and wedding parties in the vicinity. And if you're really feeling brave, try the St. Louis Cemetery at night. Hotels and motels within five miles of the French Quarter are well under $100 a night, and are just minutes away from the tours in a cab. Or you could get yourself right in the heart of the action for upward of $250 a night.</p> <h2>3. Witch Trial Museums in Salem, Massachusetts</h2> <p>Salem is famous for the Salem Witch Trials, which took the lives of 19 innocent victims who were killed simply because of their beliefs and lifestyles. As you can imagine, this horrific event lead to a lot of speculation and rumors about hauntings, ghosts, and unusual activity. And if you <a href="https://hauntedhappenings.org/event-calendar/" target="_blank">visit Salem during Halloween</a>, that is really amped up. All through October you'll find fun family events, with a few things thrown in for the grown-ups, and it's all very reasonably priced.</p> <p>From horror movie screenings and ghost tours, to Jack the Ripper musicals and haunted cruises, you will be engulfed in horrifying happenings. Hotel rooms average around $200 per night during peak Halloween season, but as usual, you can find great deals if you stay outside of the downtown area. And don't forget to check out Airbnb for excellent deals on lodging. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-of-the-craziest-coolest-airbnb-listings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 of the Craziest, Coolest Airbnb Listings</a>)</p> <h2>4. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado</h2> <p>The horror of Stanley Kubrick's <em>The Shining</em> hits you full in the face at the Stanley Hotel. This is where Jack Nicholson's character went out of his mind, and it's a known hot spot for paranormal activity. Strangely enough, this all started after the publication of Stephen King's infamous novel of the same name. Coincidence? Well, you can decide for yourself.</p> <p>Every Halloween, the <a href="http://www.stanleyhotel.com/halloween2017.html" target="_blank">Stanley Hotel</a> puts on a series of events, and in 2017, those include a murder mystery dinner at $170 per person, or a masquerade ball for $5 a head more. That price also includes food and drink. On top of that, a standard room for a couple will set you back around $250, or you can find other hotels in the area for about $72 a night. And as you are in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States, so taking in the scenery is a must &hellip; and free.</p> <h2>5. Sleepy Hollow in Westchester, New York</h2> <p>If you don't know the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, where have you been hiding? If you're looking to immerse yourself in the legend of Sleepy Hollow, check out the <a href="http://visitsleepyhollow.com/things-to-do/great-jack-olantern-blaze/" target="_blank">Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze</a> for just $20 for adults, $16 for kids, and free for children under three. If you don't want to spend a dime, there are places of spooky historical interest that you can visit, including the chilling Old Dutch Church and Raven Rock. There are also plenty of plays, concerts, haunted tours, and many other events to keep the whole family entertained through your entire stay. And don't think that because this is New York, that it's going to cost an arm and a leg (or even a head in this case). There are myriad options for accommodation, with bed-and-breakfasts and motels starting at just $79 per night during Halloween. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-affordable-autumn-destinations-for-nature-lovers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Affordable Autumn Destinations for Nature Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>6. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia</h2> <p>Be warned, this one is not for the faint of heart. A former state hospital for the mentally insane, <a href="http://www.trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com/main/schedule.html" target="_blank">the asylum</a> was constructed in 1858 and originally held 250 patients. By the 1950s, that number had grown to over 2,000. It is said that the ghosts of Civil War soldiers roam the hallways, and many people who come to the tour have left feeling shaken and disturbed. But if you are built of stern stuff, and fancy spending the night in a cold, dark hell-scape, this is for you.</p> <p>There are events and tours going on throughout the year, with Halloween really amping up the scares. Basic tours start at just $10, but special events and photo tours range from $35-$150. Accommodation in the area if very affordable, starting at around $70 a night. However, it's a small place so these rooms get booked fast. Get your reservation in early to avoid sleeping in the car.</p> <h2>7. West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia</h2> <p>If you're already in West Virginia for the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, why not make it a double whammy with another terrifying tour? The <a href="http://www.wvpentours.com/" target="_blank">West Virginia Penitentiary</a> has been called one of the scariest places in the United States, and with good reason.</p> <p>First opened in 1876, the daunting gothic architecture was foreboding enough. But the history that followed turned it into a nightmare. Over 100 prisoners were hanged or electrocuted on the grounds. The prison saw multiple riots and countless escape attempts. And an actual phantom, <a href="http://www.wvpentours.com/greenbrier_ghost.htm" target="_blank">the Greenbrier Ghost</a>, gave testimony here (that's a long story). Tours range from one-hour explorations to three-hour investigations and overnight stays, if you dare. You can even partake in Zombie Paintball or an escape room. Prices range from $20, all the way up to $950 for private group sessions of around 20 people (that's about $50/head).</p> <h2>8. Bell Witch Cave in Adams, Tennessee</h2> <p>If you like your experiences cheap and haunting, try the <a href="http://www.bellwitchcave.com/ghost_hauntings/bell_witch.htm" target="_blank">Bell Witch Cave</a> tour. The tale of the Bell Witch makes the skin crawl. Back in 1817, John Bell and his family were physically and mentally tortured by the witch that would visit their farm. His daughter, Betsy, took the brunt of the attacks. And just three years after they started, John Bell died. It is said that the spirit of the witch resides inside the cave, and eerie things happen to people who visit it. Cameras refuse to work. Photographs come out looking odd. Some say you can hear the witch, or see her face in the rock. A tour of both the cave and a replica of the Bell cabin will set you back less than $20 per person. And local hotels and B&amp;Bs start at a very affordable $49 a night during Halloween season. Maybe you can use some of the money you save on some therapy afterward.</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-affordable-destinations-if-you-wanna-get-spooked-this-halloween">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/4-affordable-autumn-destinations-for-nature-lovers">4 Affordable Autumn Destinations for Nature Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-destinations-for-nature-lovers">7 Affordable Destinations for Nature Lovers</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-most-affordable-beach-towns-in-mexico">8 Most Affordable Beach Towns in Mexico</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-save-an-extra-109486-a-year">How to Save an Extra $1,166.49 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel affordable activities affordable travel Halloween Halloween getaways spooky tourist attractions travel destinations Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 2024300 at http://www.wisebread.com We Do the Math: When Is It Worth Hiring Household Help? http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-when-is-it-worth-hiring-household-help <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/we-do-the-math-when-is-it-worth-hiring-household-help" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/clean_home_is_a_happy_home.jpg" alt="Clean home is a happy home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How much is your happiness worth? Turns out, it may be available for a very reasonable hourly rate. A recent study shows that <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170724161258.htm" target="_blank">using money to buy yourself free time</a> &mdash; by outsourcing household chores, for example &mdash; can lead to higher life satisfaction. Here are six common household chores that might be worth the investment to have someone else handle.</p> <h2>1. House cleaning</h2> <p>What's the average amount of time you spend keeping your house clean? A small apartment might require only an hour of focused cleaning a week. However, if you live in a bigger home, or have multiple family members making messes around you, the time you save on hiring someone to do the cleaning can be significant.</p> <p>According to the American Time Use Survey, <a href="https://www.bls.gov/tus/charts/household.htm" target="_blank">women spend about 30 minutes daily</a> &mdash; or 3.5 hours weekly &mdash; on interior cleaning; men average spend about 10 minutes a day, or just over an hour per week. Think about where you fall in that time spectrum. I spend more time cleaning up on a daily basis, but my husband (and kids) all pitch in two to three hours to clean up on the weekends. The average cost of having a typical <a href="http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/cleaning-services/hire-a-maid-service/#" target="_blank">single-family home cleaned is $130</a>, or you can arrange it by the hour, typically from $25 to $35.</p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> Worth it? My money says yes, if you have a house that takes you more than an hour per week to clean. Having a clean house is a morale booster, and not having to spend three or more hours cleaning it is an even bigger bump in life satisfaction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-outsourcing-chores-can-save-you-time-and-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways Outsourcing Chores Can Save You Time and Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Laundry service</h2> <p>I have four kids, so I spend a lot of time doing laundry. And I had no idea that laundry services are as available, or cheap, as they are. There are about 35,000 laundry service companies in the U.S. Laundry service is generally billed per pound (of laundry), ranging from <a href="https://www.angieslist.com/articles/home-laundry-service-dont-do-your-own-laundry.htm" target="_blank">about $1 to $3 per pound</a>. The variation in price is mostly due to regional location and the service.</p> <p>Some people love doing laundry. I do not understand these people. I do an average two loads of laundry (about 15 to 20 pounds) per day to keep up with my family's unreasonable clothes-wearing habits. It's about 20 minutes of my day to gather, wash, and dry that laundry, and another 15 to 20 minutes to fold and put it away. I'm spending over four hours a week taking care of clothes.</p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> Outsourcing the laundry for under $1 per pound sounds like a great trade for more time and happiness. If your local rates are over $1 per pound, however, the service costs would add up quickly. For an individual or couple, the price would probably still be worth the time saved. However, when you factor in a couple of kids who dirty clothes at an alarming rate, the volume of laundry would create a service cost too high to justify.</p> <h2>3. Food preparation</h2> <p>Food preparation may be one of the household chores that takes the most time. However, since it's typically handled in three separate tasks a day, you may not notice how much time you spend on it.</p> <p>Meal delivery services offer an alternative to spending all your time in the kitchen. With a meal prep service, you save the time you'd spend planning the meal, shopping for ingredients, and preparing the ingredients.</p> <p>These meal services often cater to specific dietary needs, and prices vary accordingly. Single meals cost anywhere from $6 for a kid's meal, to $16 each. Packages or subscriptions are the best value, but expect to pay anywhere from $70 for six meals to $152 for 10 meals delivered weekly.</p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> I'd love to justify this cost, but for my family, I can't. I'd need to pay the equivalent of what it costs us to eat at a restaurant for every single meal. I spend much less by buying what we like in bulk and cooking our favorites at home. However, for individuals or couples, or those with specific dietary requirements, a meal prep kit or ready-to-eat package could be a great value. Calculate what you spend on groceries each week, then compare with the cost of a meal service. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-meal-prep-subscription-boxes-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Meal Prep Subscription Boxes Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Yard work</h2> <p>The average American family spends 70 hours per year on yard work, according to the American Time Use Survey. Plus there's the cost of owning and maintaining the equipment needed to do the yard work. If you outsource, however, you don't need to worry about any of it: hire a service or an individual with their own equipment, and it's one less thing on your time/money cost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-will-an-electric-mower-trim-lawn-care-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">We Do the Math: Will an Electric Mower Trim Lawn Care Costs?</a>)</p> <p>The average cost of a yard care service varies, but a typical suburban lawn will run about $60 per mowing. Many services offer a monthly plan, which <a href="http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/lawn-and-garden/" target="_blank">average $100 to $200</a>. The bigger your yard, the more it will cost to have it maintained; of course, that's also more time you're saving when you don't do it yourself.</p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> For most people, a yard care service is a worthy investment. You save time on the yard work itself, save on the cost of owning and maintaining equipment; and, if you contract with a service for the whole season, you'll often get extra services (such as end-of-year leaf collection) included for little or no additional charge.</p> <h2>5. Odd jobs</h2> <p>What about the odd jobs, like cleaning the kitchen appliances (bleh!) or assembling that new desk you bought from IKEA? Organizing, deep cleaning, assembling, and installing stuff you've bought can take hours of your life. Fortunately, there are people who will do that for you. Faster. And probably better. Outsourcing services like <a href="https://www.taskrabbit.com/" target="_blank">TaskRabbit</a> make finding these amazing people much easier. Create an account, and scan for a service provider who has the skills you need. But first you need to know what you're willing to spend.</p> <p>Start by clearly defining the task that needs to be accomplished. &quot;Deep cleaning&quot; is too vague; instead, list the specific tasks that need to be done. Next, estimate the time you'd spend completing each task.</p> <p>Now you can compare your estimated time cost to the hourly or project cost of hiring someone to do the job for you. If you can pay someone an hourly rate of $35 to do in a couple hours what might've taken you a full day, you've made a wise investment.</p> <p>Expect to pay $15 to $35 an hour for basic jobs that don't require special skills. Odd jobs that require lots of muscle (moving) or a specialized skill (carpentry) will range from $75 to $150 per hour.</p> <p><strong>Verdict: </strong>Absolutely worth it for jobs you hate or aren't good at doing. I'll move into a new house before I clean the stove; hiring someone to do it for me at $20 per hour is a win.</p> <h2>6. Car washing</h2> <p>Having a clean, sparkling car is a great feeling. Doing it yourself, however, is not so great. It can take a good chunk of your Saturday afternoon to wash, wax, vacuum, and so on. The cheapest way to outsource the car washing errand is to hire a neighborhood kid (or your own kid) to do the work instead. While you can charge a small amount for this task to be completed, the work might not be all that thorough.</p> <p>A car wash service can provide a fabulous car wash, even detailing, for a fraction of the time required to do it yourself. Waterway, for example, provides a <a href="http://www.waterway.com/car-wash-services/" target="_blank">$35 car wash</a> that includes &quot;attention to detail, sparkle and shine, inside and out.&quot; That's not exactly detailing, but for $35, it's worth the two to three hours you'd save doing it yourself.</p> <p>Most car wash services offer subscriptions or packages which can lower the cost per wash, or give you unlimited washes per month for a single monthly cost (from <a href="http://mistercarwash.com/unlimited-wash-club/" target="_blank">$22.99 to $49.99</a>, for Mister Car Wash).</p> <p><strong>Verdict:</strong> With a monthly package or subscription, it's a good purchase. Find out what's available in your area. If you'd spend an afternoon cleaning your car, you can save that time &mdash; and wash your care more often &mdash; for a very reasonable price.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwe-do-the-math-when-is-it-worth-hiring-household-help&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWe%2520Do%2520the%2520Math-%2520When%2520Is%2520It%2520Worth%2520Hiring%2520Household%2520Help-.jpg&amp;description=We%20Do%20the%20Math%3A%20When%20Is%20It%20Worth%20Hiring%20Household%20Help%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/We%20Do%20the%20Math-%20When%20Is%20It%20Worth%20Hiring%20Household%20Help-.jpg" alt="We Do the Math: When Is It Worth Hiring Household Help?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-when-is-it-worth-hiring-household-help">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/household-cleaning-hacks-that-save-you-money">Household Cleaning Hacks That Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-money-doing-household-chores">4 Ways to Make Money Doing Household Chores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency">8 Signs You Aren&#039;t Prepared for an Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-winter-expenses-that-could-freeze-your-budget">5 Big Winter Expenses That Could Freeze Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-to-consider-before-hiring-household-help">4 Things to Consider Before Hiring Household Help</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Home chores cleaning cleaning the house cleaning tips housework laundry saving money yard work Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Annie Mueller 2023004 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Split the Bill Without Losing Friends http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-split-the-bill-without-losing-friends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-split-the-bill-without-losing-friends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pizza_break.jpg" alt="Pizza break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After a wonderful dinner with old friends, the check arrives and someone suggests splitting the bill equally. It's a simple solution, but not always a fair one. The price of a dinner salad with iced tea just doesn't compare to the cost of a cedar plank salmon with white wine. So how do you enjoy dinner out without jeopardizing the relationships you hold dear? Here are six ways to split the bill without losing friends. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paying-for-a-piece-of-the-pizza-techniques-for-splitting-the-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Paying for a Piece of the Pizza: Techniques for Splitting the Bill</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take control</h2> <p>In social situations, the person who speaks first speaks loudest. Rather than risk a conflict, people tend to agree with whatever payment strategy is initially proposed. With this truth in mind, anticipate those moments when the conversation will naturally turn to payment matters (usually when a group is ready to order or when the check arrives) and be prepared with your suggestion. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-painless-ways-to-split-the-check?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Painless Ways to Split the Check</a>)</p> <h2>2. Request separate checks</h2> <p>Though technically not <em>splitting</em> the bill, it's the cleanest method by far. Avoid sticky situations by simply requesting separate checks up front. Though it may be more work for your server, it's the most equitable approach. If necessary, justify your strategy with a little white lie like, &quot;I might have to leave a few minutes early.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Split it evenly &hellip; sometimes</h2> <p>On occasions when everyone has had a similar amount of items (drinks, appetizers, and dessert) or similarly priced items, splitting the bill evenly is the simplest way to go. To be sensitive to all diners, only suggest this option &mdash; don't declare it. Though you may not mind pitching in an extra two or three bucks to make this method work, it could be a big deal to someone else.</p> <h2>4. Use a bill splitting app</h2> <p>Yes, there's an app for that! Explore <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-modern-ways-to-split-the-bill?ref=internal" target="_blank">modern ways to split the bill</a> with apps like <a href="https://www.tabapp.co/" target="_blank">Tab</a>, and <a href="http://billr.me/" target="_blank">Billr</a>. These tools help calculate how much each person owes &mdash; including the divided cost of shared items, tax, and tip. Whether the gathering is large or small, it's the perfect way to divvy things up fairly and avoid those awkward moments.</p> <h2>5. Rotate payment</h2> <p>Again, while this approach isn't technically <em>splitting</em> the bill, it's designed to divide the burden of payment evenly. With close friends who get together often, consider taking turns paying the entire bill. It's a simple solution that makes the process clean and easy. Just remember, in order for this system to work, the restaurants you choose must be in the same general price range (no five-star establishment one week and a hot dog stand the next).</p> <h2>6. Keep things light</h2> <p>No matter what method you choose, use humor to diffuse tense bill-splitting moments. If you meet resistance when suggesting everyone pay for their own items, say something like, &quot;Hey guys, I'm on a budget. I'm not paying for Mark's filet mignon with black truffle butter and baby root vegetables.&quot; Though Mark may have only ordered a burger and a beer, your point is expertly made and folks will get a good chuckle.</p> <p>Wherever money is concerned, there's bound to be some awkwardness &mdash; even between friends. It's a side effect of a culture that's built on consumption, wealth, and keeping up with the Joneses. The truth is, most people are terrified of being perceived as cheap; we'll even risk logic and fairness to avoid it. The trick to splitting the check equitably is communicating your expectations clearly and not letting your voice be drowned out by the crowd. So the next time you're having drinks or dinner with friends, speak up when the bill arrives. Split the check, not your friendships.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-split-the-bill-without-losing-friends&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Split%2520the%2520Bill%2520Without%2520Losing%2520Friends.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Split%20the%20Bill%20Without%20Losing%20Friends"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Split%20the%20Bill%20Without%20Losing%20Friends.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Split the Bill Without Losing Friends" width="250" height="374" /></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/6-ways-to-split-the-bill-without-losing-friends">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/9-ways-restaurant-menus-are-designed-to-make-you-spend-more">9 Ways Restaurant Menus Are Designed to Make You Spend More</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/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out">A Cheapskate’s Guide to Eating Out</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/bridging-the-gap-from-dining-out-to-eating-in">Bridging The Gap From Dining Out To Eating In</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/crappy-service-great-food-what-to-do">Crappy service, great food...what to do?</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-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink bill etiquette dining out losing friends restaurant Spending Money split the bill venmo Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Kentin Waits 2020341 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Budget When You Rely on Cash Tips http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/waitress_preparing_bill_at_cash_register_in_restaurant.jpg" alt="Waitress Preparing Bill At Cash Register In Restaurant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you work in the service industry, the majority of your income likely comes from tips &mdash; and that can present difficulty when trying to budget your money responsibly. But just because it's not easy doesn't mean it's impossible. You can keep your cash flow in check if you have the right tools and systems in place.</p> <h2>Track every dollar you make</h2> <p>The first step to getting on track financially &mdash; even when your tips fluctuate from shift to shift &mdash; is to account for all of the cash you make over a period of time. You won't get a good idea of what to expect from month to month from just a couple weeks' worth of income, so it's best to monitor your tips over an extended period, ideally two to three months. This sampling should provide a decent basis on what you can expect to average throughout the year given that your place of employment is relatively consistent in terms of traffic. It may be a better idea to sample a slow period so you have a real bottom line as opposed to an inflated sense of income during a rush like the holidays.</p> <p>Natasha Rachel Smith, personal finance expert at TopCashBack.com, offers a suggestion to put this plan in place.</p> <p>&quot;Write down how much you make in a journal or spreadsheet after every shift for 10 weeks to get an idea of your average weekly income,&quot; she says. &quot;Although that amount will fluctuate depending on the economy, low or high seasons, and service quality, by averaging 10 weeks' worth of pay you can get a fairly reasonable and realistic idea of your typical earnings.&quot;</p> <h2>Create (and stick to) a budget based on goals</h2> <p>Once you have an idea of how much you can expect to bring home on average per month, it's time to budget your income so all your bills are paid on time &mdash; and so you're not stressed out and trying to scrounge up cash for a car payment at the last minute. To do this effectively, says finance expert Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network, create a budget based on goals.</p> <p>&quot;Whether your goal is to save on weekly grocery bills, have time to train for a marathon, save for retirement, or take a vacation to China, write down the goals and build your budget with the goals in mind.&quot;</p> <p>In the budget, be sure to include a line item for savings in the &quot;expenses&quot; area, and treat it as a mandatory item to be paid. But, it can also be a variable expense &mdash; establish a percentage of your take-home pay that you'd like to put toward your goal after every shift.</p> <p>&quot;Ten percent or more is ideal,&quot; Gallegos says, &quot;but if it's less than that, choose the number and stick to it.&quot;</p> <h2>Start a system for envelope budgeting</h2> <p>An easy way to delegate your funds to the bills you need to pay &mdash; especially if you don't want to make daily deposits to your checking account (which I don't recommend anyway because the only agency who will benefit from that paper trail is the IRS) &mdash; is to start a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=internal" target="_blank">system of envelope budgeting</a>. With this system, you add the regular cash you earn to envelopes designated for specific expenses, like rent, groceries, and student loans. By divvying up your cash after each shift, you can see in real-time how much you've saved and how much you still need to contribute to cover your general life expenses. This is also a good way to cut back on your &quot;extra&quot; expenses because live tracking will keep you informed on whether you can spare the money or not.</p> <h2>Separate your singles if you can afford it</h2> <p>If you can afford it, and provided you aren't only paid in this denomination, tuck away all one-dollar bills into a jar or container instead of spending them.</p> <p>&quot;Dollar bills will accumulate faster than change and it will give you a jar-fund to use when low on money or for the small, fun things in life,&quot; Smith says.</p> <h2>Look for patterns to keep your finances balanced</h2> <p>After a while, you'll be able to observe patterns in your income &mdash; a slump during the winter months or an uptick around a holiday, for instance &mdash; as well as determine a typical monthly minimum income level. By minding these patterns and building your budget around them, your finances should stay fairly balanced throughout the year so you're not stuck in the lurch because you were naive to expectation.</p> <p>Gallegos suggests holding on to receipts and keeping a spending log.</p> <p>&quot;Many people find it eye-opening to see how much they spend each day,&quot; he says. &quot;It's very similar to writing down everything you eat when trying to lose weight. Review carefully on a weekly basis to spot areas where you can cut back, and to become more familiar with your spending patterns.&quot;</p> <h2>Establish a &quot;floating fund&quot;</h2> <p>Another idea of Gallegos' that you may not have heard is the &quot;floating fund,&quot; which establishes an absolute baseline of sufficient savings to cover expenses such as quarterly estimated self-employment taxes and an emergency fund.</p> <p>&quot;Common wisdom suggests keeping six to nine months' living expenses in an emergency fund at all times,&quot; he explains. &quot;This fund then can also serve as a 'floating' fund to pull from during leaner times, for replenishment as income increases. It's key to think of the funds in this way &mdash; not just to pull from, but to replenish.&quot;</p> <p>You will need to train yourself to pull from &mdash; and replenish (the hard part!) &mdash; these funds on a regular basis to make this work.</p> <h2>Send financial windfalls directly to savings</h2> <p>When you earn or receive extra money &mdash; from a large event you work, a gift, or even a yard sale that you host &mdash; get in the habit of saving rather than spending that extra money. If you make this standard protocol whenever you come into unexpected cash, your savings will increase quicker.</p> <h2>Don't make any major financial commitments</h2> <p>The last thing you want to do if your income fluctuates is overextend yourself unnecessarily. Business can decline unexpectedly or you could lose your job altogether. These unfortunate circumstances can put you in a precarious predicament financially &mdash; perhaps even driving you into a deep debt situation that could impair your life for many years into the future.</p> <p>&quot;Stay away from accruing debts or taking out loans if you're living on a tip-based income,&quot; Smith advises. &quot;This is because your earnings are unpredictable and you could find one bad week creates a financial avalanche, simply because you didn't make enough money to cover a car payment or a credit card's minimum repayment.&quot;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Budget%2520When%2520You%2520Rely%2520on%2520Cash%2520Tips.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You%20Rely%20on%20Cash%20Tips"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Budget%20When%20You%20Rely%20on%20Cash%20Tips.jpg" alt="How to Budget When You Rely on Cash Tips" width="250" height="374" /></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/how-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips">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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle</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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term 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-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</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/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances">This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting cash emergency fund Envelope system expenses floating fund goals paying bills service industry tips windfalls Wed, 13 Sep 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 2019306 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Relieve Your Money Stress http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-relieve-your-money-stress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-relieve-your-money-stress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_grass_music_471950448.jpg" alt="Woman relieving her money stress" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money is a big part of our lives. It's involved in almost all of our daily interactions, in one way or another. But money is also a big cause of stress. In fact, it's the <a href="http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/02/money-stress.aspx" target="_blank">leading cause of stress</a>, according to a 2015 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association. You can't avoid dealing with money, but you can learn how to de-stress with these doable methods.</p> <h2>Where is this financial stress coming from?</h2> <p>Stress about money is greater if you're facing a financial crisis or living in a lower-income household. However, you may have plenty of money and still feel significant stress. That's because the <a href="http://view.ceros.com/ubs/investor-watch-treadmill/p/3" target="_blank">underlying cause of financial stress</a>, even for millionaires, is fear: either fear of not having enough money, or of doing the wrong thing with the money you do have and losing it all. Fear affects all of us, which means that no one is immune to financial stress.</p> <h2>What is stress doing to you?</h2> <p>While stress can have some <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161114115346.htm" target="_blank">unexpected positive effects</a>, such as motivating you to save more money, the overall impact is negative. Financial stress is associated with&nbsp;<a href="https://search.proquest.com/openview/56c30fe9789aea1d19e18d668beb19ea/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&amp;cbl=38873" target="_blank">absenteeism at work</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://theses.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-4198-155242/" target="_blank">and lowered productivity</a> and performance at work. In addition, financial stress could actually be&nbsp;<a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/financial-stress-hurts-literally/" target="_blank">causing you physical pain</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-stress-is-killing-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways Stress Is Killing Your Finances</a>)</p> <h2>How to effectively de-stress</h2> <p>Financial stress is basically an unavoidable part of life. That's the bad news. The good news, however, is that you can learn how to reduce and manage the stress you experience with these easy methods. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-stay-calm-in-stressful-moments?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Stay Calm in Stressful Moments</a>)</p> <h3>1. Talk it out</h3> <p>One of the easiest, fastest, and best ways to reduce the stress you feel is simply to <a href="http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/02/money-stress.aspx" target="_blank">get emotional support from someone</a> you know and trust. It can be as simple as a text or phone call to talk about what's stressing you out. Opening up with trusted friends or family leads to reduced stress and helps you feel like you're not alone. Bonus: you may also benefit from tips and good advice you receive.</p> <h3>2. Create art</h3> <p>Break out the paint, the markers, or just write. Really, the kind of art you make doesn't matter. It's the time and attention spent making art that does. Making art has been shown to significantly reduce cortisol, which is a hormone associated with stress. In various studies, <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07421656.2016.1166832" target="_blank">45 minutes to an hour of art making</a> left people feeling more relaxed, stress-free, and able to concentrate.</p> <h3>3. Meditate</h3> <p>Mindfulness in any form is good for reducing stress, and meditation may be the most powerful method for improving mindfulness in your life. There are many different types of meditation you can do, and any of them can help you focus on the present, reduce negative emotions, gain perspective, and manage symptoms of depression and tension headaches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</a>)</p> <h3>4. Exercise</h3> <p>Exercise &mdash; in particular aerobic exercise such as walking or jogging &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax" target="_blank">reduces stress hormones</a> adrenaline and cortisol in the body. Exercise also helps your body produce endorphins, which lessen pain and elevate your mood. Of course, a bonus is that you'll be in better physical shape and increase your overall energy and stamina. Those benefits, along with feeling more powerful and in control, will also help reduce stress, so exercise becomes a positive stress-reduction cycle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-non-physical-benefits-of-exercise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Surprising, Non-Physical Benefits of Exercise</a>)</p> <h3>5. Replace your thoughts</h3> <p>An approach from the Cognitive Behavior Therapy playbook referred to as&nbsp;<a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-therapy/201606/talking-about-money" target="_blank">Negative Thought Replacement</a> can help you deal with those nagging money worries that turn into a never-ending mental monologue. Start to notice the negative phrases and beliefs that run through your head; you can even write them down to &quot;see&quot; them more clearly. Then, come up with phrases and statements that are positive and say those instead. For example, &quot;I don't know what I'm doing with money,&quot; could become, &quot;I'm learning how to manage my money.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways Your Mind Can Make You Rich</a>)</p> <h3>6. Get off social media</h3> <p>Social media isn't a cause of stress for everyone; however, for some people, it can be. Research shows that when social media leads to an increased awareness of stress or crisis in the lives of others, that awareness can trigger more stress in some people. It's referred to as &quot;<a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07421656.2016.1166832" target="_blank">the cost of caring</a>;&quot; it's as if stress becomes contagious and is transferred through these social media connections. If you find yourself feeling more worried and upset after being on social media, try taking a break. Piling other people's stress on top of your own isn't healthy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-break-your-social-media-habit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <h3>7. Listen to music</h3> <p>Music is therapy. There's plenty of research showing that listening to music can help lower your stress levels. In some cases, having background music, like Pachelbel's Canon, helped <a href="https://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-stress-busting-power-music" target="_blank">reduce anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure</a>. In other situations, music can decrease pain and anxiety, and help improve moods. So find your favorite soothing or upbeat tunes and listen while you work, play, or just sit and breathe.</p> <h3>8. Breathe deep</h3> <p>Deep breathing works anytime, anywhere. On a bus? In a car? On a plane? In a house? With a mouse? Dr. Seuss-isms aside, deep breathing works and is always available &mdash; no equipment required, other than your own lungs. <a href="https://www.stress.org/take-a-deep-breath/" target="_blank">Deep breathing triggers relaxation</a> in your body and, as a result, your heart rate slows, your muscles relax, and your blood pressure and metabolism decrease; all these physiological changes bring about a state of calmness. Try taking a deep breath in as you count to seven; then slowly exhale to a count of eight. Do five deep breaths for a full set. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-might-be-breathing-wrong-heres-what-you-should-do-instead?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You Might Be Breathing Wrong &mdash; Here's What You Should Do Instead</a>)</p> <h3>9. Laugh it off</h3> <p>Laughter is the best medicine, as it turns out; at least for stress. Laughter soothes tension, induces muscle relaxation, and enhances your intake of oxygen. Basically, you get the benefits of deep breathing, while also kicking up the endorphin production in your brain. Reducing your stress could be as simple as turning on a sitcom you love, playing a funny game, or getting together with that one friend that always makes you laugh. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-serious-health-benefits-of-laughter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Serious Health Benefits of Laughter</a>)</p> <h3>10. Pet an animal</h3> <p>Having a pet is great, but if you can't have your own, no problem; borrow one. Go to a friend's house and snuggle their cat, walk a neighbor's dog, or volunteer at the local animal shelter. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19185195" target="_blank">Animal interaction comes with physical health benefits</a>, like lowered blood pressure, and improved psychological wellbeing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-your-dog-can-save-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Surprising Ways Your Dog Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>Develop a handful of your favorite methods</h2> <p>A recent research study designed specifically to help participants reduce Acute Financial Stress (AFS) found that <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-therapy/201606/talking-about-money" target="_blank">having a variety of stress-reduction methods</a> to use seems to be most effective. That way, you can apply the method that seems to be most appropriate for the kind of stress you're feeling. For example, if you feel a headache and muscle tension coming on after paying the bills, it's time for some exercise. Or, if you're struggling with a nagging money monologue, meditation or talking it out might be the best method at the moment. Listen to your body, and do what works best for you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-ways-to-relieve-your-money-stress&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Ways%2520to%2520Relieve%2520Your%2520Money%2520Stress.jpg&amp;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Relieve%20Your%20Money%20Stress"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Ways%20to%20Relieve%20Your%20Money%20Stress.jpg" alt="10 Ways to Relieve Your Money Stress" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-relieve-your-money-stress">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-ways-self-care-can-actually-save-you-money">5 Ways Self Care Can Actually Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/time-to-get-down-with-your-inner-zen">Time to Get Down With Your Inner Zen</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/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan 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/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Health and Beauty financial stress Health meditation money stress saving money self care stress relief yoga Wed, 13 Sep 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 2020059 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Affordable Autumn Destinations for Nature Lovers http://www.wisebread.com/4-affordable-autumn-destinations-for-nature-lovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-affordable-autumn-destinations-for-nature-lovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fall_foliage_scenic_484270482.jpg" alt="Finding affordable fall destinations" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I live for the fall. It is hands-down my absolute favorite time of year. I'm already brewing pumpkin spice coffee and roasting up root vegetables.</p> <p>If you're looking to take in the spectacular vistas, the tastes of autumn, and the feel of that crisp fall air without breaking the bank, here is are some destinations across the country to celebrate the season at an affordable price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-destinations-for-nature-lovers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Affordable Destinations for Nature Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>Hudson Valley, New York</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/hudson_valley_autumn_177528566.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>To be honest, I grew up in the Hudson Valley, so I think this is far and away the best place to enjoy all that fall has to offer. You can pick pumpkins and apples, dine al fresco in the harvest fields, go for a hike in the gorgeous Catskill Mountains, or hop on a hayride. There is a place and an activity for everyone, at a price that's too good to pass up. And it's only a quick two-hour drive or train ride from New York City.</p> <p>While you could spend $800 per night at some of the area's pricey resorts, nearly all of the chain hotels are under $100 per night and some are as low as $60 per night. While you're in town, treat yourself to a meal at <a href="https://www.mohonk.com/a-day-at-mohonk/dining/" target="_blank">Mohonk Mountain House</a>, priced between $42.50 and $72 per adult, and in addition to the meal made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients from nearby farms, you receive access to the Mountain House, grounds, and hiking trails for the whole day. Pack a lunch or afternoon snack for your hike and save money on the additional meal.</p> <h2>Minneapolis, Minnesota</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Minneapolis_autumn_scenic_616879840.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you want your autumn fun in a big city, I highly recommend checking out Minneapolis. One of the most underrated cities in America, Minneapolis has a fall that rivals that of the quintessential northeast. This destination is especially good for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Use one of the many long and winding bike paths around the city. Or take your kayak out onto one of the 13 lakes. If you are a water adventurer, Minneapolis also has wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks and waterfalls, and connected parkways in the Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. You'll also find some of the best food, music, and art all at an insanely affordable price.</p> <p>To take full advantage of the colors on the water, I highly recommend booking a fall sightseeing tour with <a href="http://www.riverrides.com/pages/public/fallsightseeing.html" target="_blank">Padleford Riverboats</a>. The tours cruise down the Mississippi and the explosion of color is breathtaking. <a href="http://stcroixrivercruises.com/public-cruises/fall-colors-cruise/" target="_blank">St. Croix River Scenic Cruises</a> offers a similar experience on the St. Croix River. And the best part? The tours are priced at $20 and $22 per adult, respectively. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-cities-for-frugal-lovers-of-the-outdoors?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Best Cities for Frugal Lovers of the Outdoors</a>)</p> <h2>Shenandoah National Park, Virginia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Shenandoah_autumn_scenic_524051647.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>I went to graduate school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. One of the main attractions was Shenandoah National Park. For people who love hiking and want a college town feel, this is the perfect combination. You feel like you're stepping back in time and getting away from it all, but it's only a scenic two-hour drive from Washington, D.C. and an hour drive from Richmond, Virginia. The area is also loaded with history that is best explored with a visit to Monticello (the home of Thomas Jefferson), Highland (the home of James Monroe), and the surrounding wineries.</p> <p>Like the Hudson Valley, there are resorts that cost a pretty penny but the chain hotels can be as low as $60 per night. You can also explore the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/camping-in-shenandoah.htm" target="_blank">local campgrounds and cabins</a> to save some money on lodging. The Downtown Mall (a pedestrian mall that runs right through the heart of downtown) is loaded with affordable restaurants, bars, and shops. All of the wineries offer inexpensive tastings and flights. I highly recommend <a href="https://delfossewine.com/visit.php" target="_blank">Delfosse Vineyards &amp; Winery</a> for their excellent food and a wine tasting that includes 10 wines for $10. <a href="https://www.wisdomoakwinery.com/Visit-Us/Tasting-Room" target="_blank">Wisdom Oak Winery</a> is another wonderful spot and a steal at $8 per person.</p> <h2>Columbia River Gorge, Oregon</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Columbia_River_Gorge_187730621.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Like Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland offer plenty of nature within a city setting. But if you really want to get out there to camp, hike, rock climb, mountain bike, and paddle your way through the vibrant foliage, I have to send you to the Columbia River Gorge.</p> <p>Lofty views, flowing waterfalls, and some of the friendliest communities you'll find, the Columbia River Gorge proudly wears the title of the largest designated National Scenic Area. Though it's beautiful year-round, fall is really the very best time to be there because the variety of colors all along the gorge provide the most colorful backdrop you can imagine. And like all of the destinations in this article, you won't have to empty your savings account to see it.</p> <p>Many of the hotels close to the gorge are under $150 per night. Some of the trailheads and recreation areas in the gorge require a day pass, but don't fret. <a href="https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/crgnsa/passes-permits/recreation" target="_blank">The day pass only costs $5</a>, a small price to pay for all that beauty.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-affordable-autumn-destinations-for-nature-lovers&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Affordable%2520Autumn%2520Destinations%2520for%2520Nature%2520Lovers.jpg&amp;description=4%20Affordable%20Autumn%20Destinations%20for%20Nature%20Lovers"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Affordable%20Autumn%20Destinations%20for%20Nature%20Lovers.jpg" alt="4 Affordable Autumn Destinations for Nature Lovers" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-affordable-autumn-destinations-for-nature-lovers">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-affordable-destinations-for-nature-lovers">7 Affordable Destinations for Nature Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-beautiful-ski-resorts-to-visit-this-fall">7 Beautiful Ski Resorts to Visit This Fall</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-most-affordable-beach-towns-in-mexico">8 Most Affordable Beach Towns in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-affordable-destinations-if-you-wanna-get-spooked-this-halloween">8 Affordable Destinations If You Wanna Get Spooked This Halloween</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/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free">14 Useful Items Hotels Usually Provide for Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel affordable travel autumn fall fall destinations fall foliage nature lovers travel tips Fri, 01 Sep 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 2013376 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Where Did You Learn to Budget? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-where-did-you-learn-to-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-where-did-you-learn-to-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mom_daughter_calculator_526424047.jpg" alt="Little girl learning how to budget with mom" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to Lorri, Karen, and Chrissy for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>It used to be that you learned about money management in school, but that hasn't been the case for a long while. The lucky ones had financially literate parents who taught them the basics from a young age, but many of us had to learn budgeting skills on our own, either from books, websites, or just plain experience.</p> <p><strong>Where did you learn to budget?</strong> What was the greatest challenge when you first learned to maintain budget? What advice would you give someone who is new to budgeting?</p> <p>Tell us where you learned to budget and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win:</p> <ul> <li>Follow us on Twitter</li> <li>Follow our Executive Editor Janet Alvarez on Twitter</li> <li>Tweet about our giveaway for an entry.</li> <li>Visit our Facebook page for an entry.</li> </ul> <p>Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards:</p> <p><a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa316/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="79857dfa316" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_svuqikq1">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, September 4th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after September 4th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook or Twitter.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and U.S. resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us where you learned to budget and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-where-did-you-learn-to-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/ask-the-readers-whats-the-biggest-item-in-your-budget">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s the Biggest Item in Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt-repayment-is-not-an-expense">Debt repayment is not an expense</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-that-dieting-and-budgeting-are-exactly-the-same">6 Ways that Dieting and Budgeting are Exactly the Same</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/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Giveaways Ask the Readers budget Tue, 29 Aug 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 2009636 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Enjoy Las Vegas Without Losing Your Shirt http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-enjoy-las-vegas-without-losing-your-shirt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-enjoy-las-vegas-without-losing-your-shirt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_playing_poker_483265753.jpg" alt="Man playing poker in Las Vegas" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We are planning a surprise trip to Las Vegas for my sister-in-law's birthday (if you see her, don't tell her!). Of course, this means that I am looking into ways to make the most of this experience for the least amount of money &hellip; or at least make sure that I don't end up blowing way more than I planned.</p> <p>Traveling to Las Vegas has a couple of unique budget hazards that can result in a lot of unplanned spending. Before you go, make sure you have a game plan for accommodations, gambling, and entertainment &quot;opportunities&quot; that you will encounter in Las Vegas, because these, in particular, can cause you to leave all your money behind in Sin City.</p> <h2>Book strategically</h2> <p>You can get great deals on accommodations in Las Vegas, especially if you avoid dates when major conventions are scheduled and a high proportion of rooms are booked. Check <a href="http://www.vegasmeansbusiness.com" target="_blank">Vegas Means Business</a> for details about conventions and try to pick dates with the smallest number of convention visitors scheduled for the best chance to find a cheap, high-quality room. Also avoid dates of major sporting events that bring out sports gamblers and can spike up hotel rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays</a>)</p> <h2>Gamble smarter</h2> <p>The smartest move is to simply decide not to gamble and avoid losing money. But I decided if I'm going all the way to Las Vegas, I would at least try gambling since it's such a core part of the Vegas experience. Going to Las Vegas without gambling would be like traveling to Napa Valley only to avoid anything that has to do with wine or vineyards.</p> <p>If you're going to gamble in Las Vegas, there are some things you can do to improve your chances, or at least reduce the amount you are likely to lose and how fast you are likely to lose it.</p> <h3>The math on slots</h3> <p>Slot machines are easy to play, but casinos make most of their money from these machines, not just because of their popularity, but because of the edge to the house on odds of winning. The payback from a slot machine typically ranges from 99 percent of the money that is put in down to 90 percent or less. Looking at this in terms of entertainment value, playing a 25-cent slot machine with a 90 percent payback costs the gambler about $12 per hour on average. Playing a $5 slot machine with the same odds <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/12/sit-and-spin/304392/" target="_blank">costs about $240 per hour</a>. Slot machines that cost more to play tend to have a better payback than less expensive machines, so you may be able to find a $5 machine that does better than 90 percent payback.</p> <h3>Tables odds</h3> <p>If you want a better chance to win than slot machines, table games have much better odds. If you learn to play, these games have a lower edge to the house of down to around 1 percent:</p> <ul> <li>Blackjack</li> <li>Craps</li> <li>Roulette</li> <li>Baccarat</li> <li>Video poker</li> </ul> <p>Looking again at cost per hour to play, let's say you are playing blackjack with $3 bets using a basic strategy with a 1 percent house advantage at 70 bets per hour. That would result in $210 wagered and a loss of $2.10 per hour, on average. This seems much less painful than playing slots!</p> <p>I plan to practice a little blackjack and try my luck since it has only about a 1 percent edge to the house and is easy to play. Even though I know I'm likely to lose money overall, I want to at least try it for entertainment value. If I win some money, I'll have some great Las Vegas stories to tell.</p> <h3>How to avoid losing your shirt</h3> <ul> <li>Practice at home first. Don't approach a table to bet if you are not familiar with the game. It is too expensive to &quot;learn on the job.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you decide to gamble, sign up for the player's club to get a card you can use to track your time and money spent gambling.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Wear a watch, or at least keep track of the time. Casinos look the same at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m., with no windows and no clocks. They want you to lose track of time and keep gambling.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set a maximum budget for gambling, keep track of your losses, and stop if you run out of gambling money. It may be tempting to try to win it back, but stop. Walk away.</li> </ul> <h2>Seek out free Vegas entertainment</h2> <p>Another big potential money pit in Las Vegas is the expensive shows and amusement park rides. Before you go to Las Vegas, spending $89.99 for a ticket to see the Criss Angel magic and illusion show may not be a priority. But this can seem like a cost-effective alternative to feeding money to the slot machines once you're there. Or looking at the $89.99 magic show ticket can make that $64.99 ticket to see Penn &amp; Teller can seem like a real bargain.</p> <p>With all of the expensive things to do in Las Vegas, it is refreshing to have some good options that are totally free:</p> <ul> <li>Free volcano eruption nightly at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. in front of the Mirage on the Strip.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Three trams provide free transportation on the west side of the strip between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio, Mirage to Treasure Island, and Excalibur to Luxor to Mandalay Bay.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Free craps, poker, roulette, and blackjack lessons at the Golden Nugget downtown.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Clark County Wetlands Park has 2,900 acres and 15 miles of paved multiuse trails, plus 18 miles of unpaved trails.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fremont Street Experience, nicknamed &quot;Glitter Gulch.&quot; Enjoy free music and Elvis impersonators, plus a light show on the hour from dusk to midnight.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Pinball Hall of Fame gives you a look at pinball history for free, and you can play for 25 cents to $1 per game.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Silverton Casino's Aquarium has tropical fish and stingrays, plus a mermaid show.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Marjorie Barrick Museum on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus has two art galleries with Latin American and pre-Columbian works.</li> </ul> <p>When you have your nightly entertainment planned ahead of time, and it doesn't cost a thing, you'll be less likely to be lured to an expensive show.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-enjoy-las-vegas-without-losing-your-shirt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Enjoy%2520Las%2520Vegas%2520Without%2520Losing%2520Your%2520Shirt.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Enjoy%20Las%20Vegas%20Without%20Losing%20Your%20Shirt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Enjoy%20Las%20Vegas%20Without%20Losing%20Your%20Shirt.jpg" alt="How to Enjoy Las Vegas Without Losing Your Shirt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-enjoy-las-vegas-without-losing-your-shirt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-affordable-autumn-destinations-for-nature-lovers">4 Affordable Autumn Destinations for Nature Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-affordable-destinations-if-you-wanna-get-spooked-this-halloween">8 Affordable Destinations If You Wanna Get Spooked This Halloween</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-save-an-extra-109486-a-year">How to Save an Extra $1,166.49 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel blackjack gambling las vegas losing money playing poker poker vegas vegas vacation what happens in vegas Thu, 24 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2008731 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/united_states_treasury_government_check.jpg" alt="United States Treasury government check" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average retired worker earns a monthly Social Security check of $1,360, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. And for most retirees, Social Security benefits are just one source of income, with many supplementing their checks with money that they've saved in 401(k) plans, IRAs, and other savings vehicles.</p> <p>This doesn't mean, though, that these Social Security dollars aren't important. The administration says that Social Security benefits represent about 34 percent of the income of the elderly. That's why it's so important for retirees to create a budget for their Social Security benefits and determine the best way to spend such a significant portion of their monthly earnings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>There's always a need for a budget</h2> <p>The first step in determining how to best spend Social Security benefits is to calculate your monthly income from all sources. Then, determine how much of this income comes from Social Security benefits alone. If Social Security accounts for 70 percent of your monthly income, you'll have to be especially careful how you spend it. If it accounts for just 20 percent, you'll have a bit more leeway.</p> <p>Once you determine how important your benefits are to your monthly income stream, it's time to calculate how much of your Social Security check you should devote to each of your main expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Ideally, you'll enter retirement without a mortgage payment. But that doesn't always happen. You might choose to rent during your retirement years. Or, maybe you'll spend your retirement years in assisted living.</p> <p>Housing often remains a significant expense for retirees, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting in March 2016 that seniors age 55 and older spend an average $16,219 a year on housing. Seniors from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $15,838.</p> <p>If you receive the average Social Security check of $1,360 a month, you'll receive $16,320 a year. This means that the average amount that retirees spend on housing would consume most of your Social Security income each year.</p> <p>It might make sense to devote a set percentage of every Social Security check to help cover your housing expenses. How much that percentage is will depend on how much you are spending on housing. If you live in a home with a mortgage that's been paid off, you obviously won't need to spend as much of your checks on housing as you would if you were still paying a mortgage. If housing is a significant expense, though, you might consider devoting 60 percent or more of your Social Security check to covering it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <h2>Food</h2> <p>The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that seniors from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $6,303 a year on food. This makes sense: You have to eat, whether you're working or not. Make sure, then, to reserve part of your Social Security check for groceries and meals out.</p> <p>You do have control over this expense, of course. You can eat out less often and cook at home more, which would reduce your food expenses. But setting aside 20 percent or so of your monthly Social Security check for food should suffice.</p> <h2>Medical expenses</h2> <p>Depending on your health, medical costs could be a significant expense as you age. The numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics bear this out. According to the Bureau, adults from the ages of 65 to 74 spend an average $5,956 a year for medical care. The Bureau says that adults 74 and older spend an average $5,708 a year on health care. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Health expenses are one cost you have little control over. Sure, you can exercise and eat well. But you might still suffer health setbacks. It's important to reserve at least some of your Social Security check to cover these sometimes unexpected costs.</p> <p>Consider saving an additional 20 percent of your Social Security benefits for medical spending.</p> <h2>Other costs</h2> <p>If you've been keeping track, those three expenses might eat up your entire Social Security check. Again, this depends on how much Social Security income you receive each month and how much you actually spend on housing, health care, and food. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>If you find that these three big expenses do swallow most or all of your expenses, you'll have to dip into your retirement savings and other income vehicles to cover costs such as travel, transportation, entertainment, and any other monthly bills.</p> <p>Budgeting your Social Security check highlights just how important it is to have multiple income sources at your disposal after retirement. As you can see, Social Security doesn't go that far when it comes to covering the basic living expenses of many seniors.</p> <p>You do have options, of course. You can scale back your retirement plans, perhaps choosing to travel less and eat in more often. You can also take on a part-time job. That extra income could come in handy to cover the smaller, unexpected expenses that tend to come up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-retirees-can-earn-extra-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHeres%2520How%2520You%2520Should%2520Budget%2520Your%2520Social%2520Security%2520Checks.jpg&amp;description=Here's%20How%20You%20Should%20Budget%20Your%20Social%20Security%20Checks"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Heres%20How%20You%20Should%20Budget%20Your%20Social%20Security%20Checks.jpg" alt="Here's How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">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/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</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-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</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-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement">5 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Retirement beneficiaries benefits expenses food costs health care housing income medical costs social security Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 2007581 at http://www.wisebread.com