Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US 7 Ways to Help Protect Your Financial Future From Unexpected Medical Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/injured-woman-605.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In life, anything can happen. Injuries and illnesses cannot always be prevented. But there are things you can do now to help protect your financial future from unexpected medical expenses, and keep yourself happy and healthy in the process.</p> <h2>1. Start a Medical Emergency Fund</h2> <p>The time to set money aside for just-in-case scenarios is now. You never know what can happen and having savings set aside will give you comfort and peace of mind. Surprisingly, very few Americans save enough money for emergencies, unexpected job loss or long-term disability. Of the people ages 18 to 29 that <a href="http://www.newsmax.com/Finance/StreetTalk/Bankrate-saving-5income/2015/03/30/id/635308/">Bankrate.com recently surveyed</a>, nearly half said they save 5% or less. Nearly one in five don't save anything at all. In a Cigna&nbsp;<a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/weathering-unforeseen-financial-storms">survey</a>, individuals were asked how long their finances would last without a paycheck. 59% said they would exhaust their resources in 12 weeks or less. Almost a third (29%) said their finances would only last a month or less.</p> <h2>2. Keep That Emergency Fund for Emergencies Only</h2> <p>Okay, so you've created a cushion in your bank account. That's great! Almost as difficult as creating an emergency fund is keeping the money until you absolutely need it. Do not dip into it for frivolous purchases.</p> <p>Think about what might happen if you come down with a serious illness or an injury. You need enough money in that account to cover your living expenses while you heal and recover, especially if you're unable to work.</p> <h2>3. Consider Disability Benefits</h2> <p>You might think this is an expense you can't afford, but protecting your income when you are sick or hurt and cannot work can be <a href="http://www.disabilitycanhappen.org/diam/CDA_Infographic.pdf">worth the cost</a>. According to the National Safety Council, one in eight Americans seek medical treatment for an accidental injury each year.<sup><a href="#i">[i]</a></sup> And one in four twenty-somethings will become disabled before they retire.<sup><a href="#ii">[ii]</a></sup>&nbsp;These numbers are quite sobering. The median American salary is $53,000,<sup><a href="#iii">[iii]</a></sup>&nbsp;and a disability plan would typically cover 50%-60% of that income. And, don&rsquo;t forget to look for value-added benefits available with many disability plans such as discounts on memberships to a local gym.</p> <h2>4. Understand Your Body's Signals</h2> <p>It's crucial to pay attention to how your body feels and reacts to things. You are the only person who can tell if something is off and when that's the case, call your doctor. Catching something in the early stages can save your life, and your budget. Some health plans offer access to telemedicine services. These services allow you to connect with a doctor remotely at any time of day. Emergency room visits can also cost a lot out of pocket, even with medical coverage. Before you get sick, scout out urgent care offices near you and save yourself a surprise medical expense later on. Of course, if you&rsquo;re in a serious medical situation, don&rsquo;t hesitate to call for an ambulance.</p> <h2>5. Lose the &quot;I'm Invincible&quot; Mentality</h2> <p>Just because you're young doesn't mean you're immune to health problems. A happy, successful future starts with taking care of yourself now. According to <a href="http://www.cigna.com/KnowYourBenefits">a recent study</a>, sacrificing care for other household needs (food, rent, etc.) is especially prevalent among younger consumers. One-third of younger consumers make these types of tradeoff decisions occasionally, while one in four make them at least once per month. Anything can happen, so make your health a priority. Poor health can be more difficult to fix as you get older.</p> <h2>6. Learn More About Preventive Medicine</h2> <p>When it comes to overall health, there are always improvements to be made. And even if you've been diagnosed with a certain condition or disease, there are things you can do to keep your health from worsening. The key is to educate yourself. Talk to your doctor about proactive ways you can improve your health. Check out available resources, professional organizations and support groups through your health plan carrier or in your community. Don't be afraid to reach out. Each group has a vested interest is helping you with your health.</p> <h2>7. Live a Healthier Lifestyle</h2> <p>Good health and bad health are cyclical. A <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">2014 health study</a> indicated that those in very good to excellent health tend to focus on exercise. Those in fair or poor health are more likely to establish bad habits like smoking. Bad habits cost more because they are gateways to other conditions. For example, obesity can lead to back and knee problems and even diabetes. So if you're obese or overweight, losing weight, eating healthy, and exercising consistently will help you stay on a healthy track. Staying healthy makes you happier now and in the future, and can help you keep more money in your wallet.</p> <p><i>What steps have you taken to prevent a life altering illness or injury from harming your financial future?</i></p> <p><i>This article is sponsored by Cigna. Visit <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">Cigna.com</a> for more great information on the <a href="http://newsroom.cigna.com/knowyourbenefits/good-health-financial-security/">link between health and financial security</a>. This article is for educational purposes only and is intended to promote consumer health. It is not intended as financial or medical advice and you should always consult a professional for financial or medical advice.&nbsp;</i></p> <p><sup><a name="i"></a>[i]</sup> National Safety Council, Industry Facts Summary, 2011.<br /> <sup><a name="ii"></a>[ii]&nbsp;</sup>U.S. Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet February 7, 2013.<br /> <sup><a name="iii"></a>[iii]</sup> Household Income: American Community Survey Briefs; United States Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commercial, Economics and Statistics Administrations; September 2014.</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/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses">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-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-freedom-of-a-debt-free-life">The Freedom of a Debt-Free Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-get-your-toiletries-for-cheap-or-even-free">6 Ways to Get your Toiletries for Cheap or Even Free!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-new-car">How Much Should You Spend on a New Car?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Health and Beauty Cigna disability health care medical expenses Fri, 22 May 2015 18:15:12 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1432682 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_000015641889.jpg" alt="Mother saving big by being stay-at-home parent" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a stay-at-home parent? Or are you perhaps considering becoming one? It's a scary jump &mdash; and that's something I understand personally. There are a number of factors I considered before leaving the full-time working world to stay home with my daughter almost four years ago. But thankfully, there are ways to find unexpected savings just by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">staying home</a>. Here are an important few to consider as you prepare your new budget:</p> <h2>1. Work Wardrobe</h2> <p>Of course, we all want to look nice and be fashionable. But when you stay home, there's less pressure to maintain up-to-date work clothing and other sets of wardrobes. Not only that, you can also experiment with second-hand shops for your family's clothing. I'll admit, it feels strange to see my closet shift from workwear to mostly casual duds. At the same time, I've been able to adopt a more minimalist approach with my apparel. It's saved us lots of money, at least several hundred dollars a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <h2>2. Meals Out</h2> <p>When I worked my last job at a local university, I would often grab lunch in the union or elsewhere around campus. Little by little, the dollars added up. I'd spend $25 a week (okay, probably more) when I had plenty of food spoiling at home. Dinners, too, would present challenges. All too often, I'd find myself getting out of work late and browsing a takeout menu.</p> <p>Staying at home leaves more hours open for meal planning and cooking. Not only that, you can try out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a>, which saves time and money. You'll also have more motivation to survey your grocery store choices. I love budget stores like Aldi, where I can usually pack a whole cart full of food for less than $100. Every bit counts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-from-aldi?ref=seealso">10 Things You Should Never Buy From Aldi</a>)</p> <h2>3. Daily Commute</h2> <p>I left my 9-to-5 when gas prices were at their absolute highest. Though my commute wasn't terribly far, I have friends who travel an hour or more to their jobs. All that money on transportation and upkeep is blown away like so much exhaust. Parents who stay home can work to schedule activities and errands to maximize efficiency. In fact, you may even find the opportunity to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-a-one-car-family-5-points-to-consider">become a one-car family</a> in the process. We've been living this way for the past year. It was challenging at first, but the money back in our pockets (gas, car insurance, maintenance costs, etc.) has made it worthwhile.</p> <h2>4. Daycare Costs</h2> <p>Obviously, if you stay home with your kids, you won't need much or any childcare. Since I do work part-time from home, I have my daughter in a preschool class a few mornings a week to give us both a breather. It's a fraction of the cost of full-time daycare. And I can write-off this expense during tax season. For those of you on the fence, try calculating how much you might spend on full-time childcare. How would this expense impact your monthly budget? My old salary, for example, would have been cut in half or worse, making staying at home a more viable option.</p> <h2>5. Basic Living</h2> <p>I've also found that staying home allows me to return to those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money">old fashioned ways of living</a> and, therefore, saving money. When I was working outside the home, I didn't have the time or desire to make my own cleaning supplies. Now I mix up batches of all-purpose cleaner, homemade <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">laundry detergent</a>, and other scrubs like it's my job. Well, I guess it <em>is</em> my job. You get the idea. Staying home allows me to take better stock of what we're spending and how we might less expensively run our household from the inside out.</p> <h2>6. Free Stuff</h2> <p>During nap times or other breaks, you can take a look around at local calendars to find free activities in your area. I've collected coupons, vouchers, loyalty bonuses, and all other sorts of stuff in a binder. That way, when we're looking for entertainment, I can find fun on a budget. And you'll be surprised by the number of free or low-cost things you'll discover when you have the time to seek them out. We have saved a huge amount of money this way and often spend less than $25 on a weekend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a>)</p> <h2>7. Sound Budget</h2> <p>After I left my job, I had more brain cells to focus on our operating budget. As a result, I have an extremely good handle on how much money goes in and out of our home. I'm able to adjust our budget accordingly. This keen attention to detail has been invaluable to us. It's also an action that's allowed me to stay home without feeling as much financial pressure. We no longer waste money on extras, like magazine subscriptions and gym memberships. Overall, we're just more mindful in our spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money?ref=seealso">10 Mindless Ways You're Spending Money</a>)</p> <p><em>In what ways has being a stay-at-home parent boosted your budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">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/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</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-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care kids saving money stay-at-home parents Tue, 19 May 2015 23:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1423350 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Questions You Must Answer Before Going Freelance http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Woman_working_000045281724.jpg" alt="Woman answering financial questions before going freelance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning to quit your day job to become a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">full-time freelancer</a> can be the most exciting transition in your career. You gain control over your own schedule, and have the freedom to choose the type of projects you work on.</p> <p>But with this excitement comes a lot of financial questions and planning. In order to make the leap from your day job as smooth as possible, here are five questions to ask &mdash; and answer! &mdash; before becoming a full-time freelancer.</p> <h2>1. How Much Should You Save?</h2> <p>If you have no other sources of income to pay the bills after you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-should-quit-your-job">quit your job</a>, how long would your savings last? Do you feel comfortable giving yourself three months to get your new freelancing career off the ground? Or is six months a more reasonable timeline? Obviously the more money you save up, the less risky your leap into freelancing will be.</p> <p>There are additional factors that need to be accounted for too, like whether or not you're the breadwinner for your family. It's likely you'll have to pay for your own health insurance, taxes, and fund your own retirement account. All of these things need to be calculated before you can accurately estimate how much money you should save.</p> <p>Most experts suggest that you keep at least three to six months' worth of expenses in a separate savings account to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">cover any emergencies</a> or losses of income (some even suggest as much as twelve months' worth). As a freelancer you might as well double this amount to account for the added risk of being self-employed.</p> <h2>2. What's Your Bare Minimum Budget?</h2> <p>What's the bare minimum amount of money you need to make in order to pay your bills each month? Make sure you add in all of your household bills (utilities, insurance, groceries,) as well as the cost of doing business as a freelancer.</p> <p>When I was in the process of quitting my day job, I calculated my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">bare minimum budget</a> to be $3,000 a month. This meant that I needed at least $18,000 saved up ($<em>3,000 a month X six month savings cushion = $18,000</em>) in order to cover my bare expenses for six months while I built my freelancing business.</p> <p>Calculate how much money you need to adequately pay your bills every month, then multiply this figure by six to eight months. This is the amount you'll need to save in a separate account to make the transition from a day job to freelancing a successful one.</p> <h2>3. Do You Have Passive Income Streams?</h2> <p>One other way to make this process much easier is creating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-freelance-gigs-anyone-can-do-to-make-extra-money">multiple streams of income</a>. Aside from your core freelance duties, do you have other options for creating passive income? What other assets can you leverage to bring in more money each month?</p> <p>Maybe you can branch out and offer business consulting, or create an online course that teaches a specific skill based on your background and experience. Do you have investments that earn small dividends or interest?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-a-side-hustle-can-further-your-career">Every little bit of income</a> can help you save up money faster, while easing the transition of quitting your job and steady paycheck.</p> <h2>4. Are You Willing to Do What it Takes?</h2> <p>How much time do you have available to dedicate to finding work? Are you prepared to spend nights and weekends building your business? In the beginning, clients won't come to you, so you'll have to actively seek them out and build a solid network from scratch.</p> <p>How much time you spend in the beginning will determine how quickly you're able to replace your day job's income. There will likely be a lot of sleepless nights and stressful days, but in the end you have to determine if the reward is worth all the effort.</p> <p>Freedom is never free, and this includes financial freedom. You have to figure out if the cost is worth it.</p> <h2>5. Do You Have a Financial Backup Plan?</h2> <p>What happens if Plan A doesn't work out? Do you have a Plan B in place? In the event that you blow through all of your savings, and are still not where you can fully pay your monthly expenses, how are you going to cope?</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-money-for-a-week-here-s-what-to-do">Create a backup plan</a> of action for this specific event. List out the possible solutions and scenarios for how you and your family will deal with this. Are you going to find another full-time job? Will you be able to move back in with your parents?</p> <p>This is another reason that having a large chunk of money stashed away in savings can really help you during the process of quitting your job to freelance full time. Calculate at least six months' worth of your minimum budget expenses and then save money like crazy.</p> <p><em>Are you in the process of quitting your job? How are you preparing yourself financially?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-questions-you-must-answer-before-going-freelance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</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-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</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-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">6 Signs It&#039;s Time to Make Your Side Gig Your Career</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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entrepreneurship emergency funds freelance income self employment Mon, 18 May 2015 21:00:09 +0000 Carrie Smith 1424770 at http://www.wisebread.com 40+ Cheap or Free Ways to Make the Most of the Weekend http://www.wisebread.com/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_relaxing_weekend_000006121440.jpg" alt="Woman finding free way to make the most of the weekend" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The weekend is the perfect time to catch up on things you're behind on, get started on tasks you've been putting off, and recharge your body and mind. To make the most of your two-day break, why not start planning for the upcoming week to take the edge off of those Monday morning blues? Here are some ideas for how to be productive over the weekend, and all of them are super cheap or even free!</p> <p>1. Go grocery shopping.</p> <p>2. Try out new recipes, and plan lunch for the week.</p> <p>3. Get all of your laundry done.</p> <p>4. Get rid of <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/30-Day-Declutter-Challenge-34947493">clutter</a> that's been getting in your way.</p> <p>5. Watch an inspirational movie that will get you pumped for new challenges.</p> <p>6. Organize your kitchen so everything is easy to find when you're in a rush.</p> <p>7. Check out a new book from the library.</p> <p>8. Research quicker or cheaper routes for your commute.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Productivity-Apps-35922167">Apps That'll Make You Feel Like There Are 40 Hours in a Day</a></p> <p>9. Pick out what you plan to wear on Monday &mdash; or for the whole week.</p> <p>10.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Projects-Weekend-34786814">DIY</a> a gift for an upcoming bridal shower or birthday so you don't have to go shopping after work.</p> <p>11. Wake up early.</p> <p>12. Get caught up on all of the major news.</p> <p>13. Sleep, so you'll be well-rested when Monday rolls around.</p> <p>14. Clean out your inbox to make room for more emails.</p> <p>15. Try <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Cool-Upcycling-Projects-24338804">upcycling items</a> that may be useful on your commute or at work.</p> <p>16. Meditate or practice yoga.</p> <p>17. Avoid overdoing it if you go out at night.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Stupid-Things-Make-Your-Life-Better-Reddit-37270312#photo-37270312">15 Stupid Things That Significantly Increase Your Quality of Life</a></p> <p>18. Catch up with friends you don't get to see during the week.</p> <p>19. Give your house a deep clean so you don't have to worry about it after work the next week.</p> <p>20. Start a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Books-Change-My-Life-21195577">motivational book</a> that inspires or challenges you.</p> <p>21. Get in some of the workouts you skipped over the past week.</p> <p>22. Practice new hair and makeup tricks so you don't waste time in the morning before work.</p> <p>23. Pay your bills.</p> <p>24. Make a to-do list for the upcoming week, month, or even year!</p> <p>25. Network and connect with other professionals in your area.</p> <p>26.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Take-Mind-Off-Work-18502206">Detox</a> from everything going on with your job.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Good-Bedtime-Habits-34564273">Life-Changing Daily Rituals For a Better Night's Sleep</a></p> <p>27. Spend quality time with your significant other.</p> <p>28. Sell some of your old things so that you have extra spending money for the week.</p> <p>29. Polish your jewelry with <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Jewelry-Cleaner-30499088">DIY cleaner</a>.</p> <p>30. Schedule or cancel any appointments.</p> <p>31. Call your friends or family that you've been meaning to catch up with.</p> <p>32. Update and refresh your <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Things-Remove-From-Your-Resume-28918668">résumé</a>.</p> <p>33. Search and apply for jobs.</p> <p>34. Download useful organizational apps.</p> <p>35. Do something you feel passionate about, like gardening, painting, or volunteering.</p> <p>36. File your paid bills and legal documents.</p> <p>37. Recharge your body and mind.</p> <p>38. Update your finances.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Tips-Saving-Money-Starbucks-3751741#photo-3751741">14 Starbucks Hacks That Will Save You Money</a></p> <p>39. Make a great <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Songs-Get-You-Pumped-Work-35126829">playlist</a> for your work week.</p> <p>40. Take out the garbage and recycling.</p> <p>41. Paint your nails and toe nails.</p> <p>42. Shop for any home supplies you might need during the week, like toilet paper, dish soap, or shampoo.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Productivity-Apps-35922167">Apps That'll Make You Feel Like There Are 40 Hours in a Day</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Stupid-Things-Make-Your-Life-Better-Reddit-37270312#photo-37270312">15 Stupid Things That Significantly Increase Your Quality of Life</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Good-Bedtime-Habits-34564273">Life-Changing Daily Rituals For a Better Night's Sleep</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Tips-Saving-Money-Starbucks-3751741#photo-3751741">14 Starbucks Hacks That Will Save You Money</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend</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-throw-a-fabulous-and-frugal-dinner-party">How to Throw a Fabulous (and Frugal!) Dinner Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-have-a-frugal-friday">15 Ways to Have a Frugal Friday</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/cheap-fun-and-libations-brewery-and-winery-tours">Cheap Fun and Libations: Brewery and Winery Tours</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-start-a-frugal-dinner-club">How to Start a Frugal Dinner Club</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Food and Drink productivity things to do weekend Fri, 15 May 2015 17:00:12 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1394046 at http://www.wisebread.com Teen Wins $100,000 Scholarship From the H&R Block Budget Challenge http://www.wisebread.com/teen-wins-100000-scholarship-from-the-hr-block-budget-challenge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/teen-wins-100000-scholarship-from-the-hr-block-budget-challenge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-teens.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think back to your days as a high school graduate. Chances are, you didn&rsquo;t know much about personal finance. Could you stick to a budget? Could you pay a bill on time? Did you even <em>know </em>what a 401(k) was? I&rsquo;d wager that most of us learned about managing money the hard way, ending up making costly mistakes that followed us for years into our 20s &mdash; or possibly later.</p> <p>And there lies the problem. Our teens are graduating high school and expected to enter young adulthood without a clue how real world finance works. With 57% of teenagers spending their own money on purchases, only 17% <a href="http://hrblockdollarsandsense.com/ideas-info-for/parents/teens-and-personal-finance-surprising-survey-results/">keep a budget</a>. H&amp;R Block is ready to change that.</p> <h2><b>What Is the Budget Challenge?</b></h2> <p>Quite simply, the H&amp;R Block Budget Challenge is a brand new classroom tool designed to teach high schoolers personal finance. This isn&rsquo;t done through textbooks or blase reading materials &mdash; this is done through real-life simulation, giving kids the reins to control their imaginary finances. In other words, it&rsquo;s a game! Participating teachers are given lesson plans (in accordance with Common Core standards), learning videos, and other resources to help make this project a hit in their classroom.</p> <p>Teens are asked to look at the life of a recent high school grad who&rsquo;s been working for six months. They are given a &ldquo;virtual salary,&rdquo; and sent on a mission to pay their bills on time (rent, cable, cell phones, etc.), balance their paycheck, and contribute to a 401(k) plan. The game throws real life curveballs at the students, such as late fees, overdraft fees, and surprise expenses. At the end of the simulation, students are scored based on how much money is socked into savings or a 401(k), and if they&rsquo;ve paid their bills in a timely manner.</p> <p>The most important takeaway of the program? The Budget Challenge lets kids make mistakes, suffer financial losses, and understand penalties &mdash; virtually. They can see the consequences of costly missteps without actually suffering for it. Don&rsquo;t you wish you had that option?</p> <p>&ldquo;The H&amp;R Block Budget Challenge is unique because it allows students to learn by doing,&rdquo; explains H&amp;R Block president and CEO Bill Cobb. &ldquo;But unlike the real world, all they have to lose is points &mdash; not their credit or hard-earned money.&rdquo;</p> <h2><b>Are There Rewards?</b></h2> <p>There sure are! Throughout the Budget Challenge, H&amp;R Block will dole out $3 million in grants, college scholarships, and cash prizes. The top five classrooms in each simulation are eligible for up to $5,000 in grants. The top 22 students in each simulation will each be awarded a $20,000 scholarship to put toward their college or higher education. With six simulations in a school year, that&rsquo;s 132 scholarships total! At the end of the program, the highest performing student will score an additional $100,000 grand prize scholarship &mdash; on top of the $20,000 he or she already won.</p> <h2><b>Success Story</b></h2> <p>So who was the lucky grand prize winner of the 2014-2015 Budget Challenge? Enter Sean Lawrence, 17-year-old high school senior at St. Clair High School in St. Clair, Michigan. Sean scored among the top students of his simulation (earning him a $20,000 scholarship) before going on to rank highest in the challenge overall. His achievements deemed him the most &ldquo;real world ready&rdquo; of the 93,980 participants, and he took home an additional $100,000 for his success.</p> <p>&ldquo;The H&amp;R Budget Challenge gave us a chance to experience paying bills and managing money in a similar way to being adults,&rdquo; Lawrence explains. &ldquo;The Budget Challenge made us realize that balancing a budget while saving for retirement is not always easy to accomplish &mdash; since unexpected expenses arise &mdash; but something we have to take on as adults.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sean plans on using his scholarship money to earn a degree in Chemical Engineering, given his love for science and math. He has his eye on studying two years at Macomb Community College before transferring to finish at Western Michigan University. And for his financial goals? Work hard, land a high-paying job, invest in retirement, and save for a house and car. Real world ready, indeed.</p> <p>&ldquo;Learning about money management before going into the real world allows for teens to make the right choices, or have the correct knowledge so they don&rsquo;t end up as the typical American with mountains of debt,&rdquo; Lawrence adds.</p> <h2><b>How Do I Sign Up?</b></h2> <p>The H&amp;R Block Budget Challenge is available free to high school teachers and accredited homeschool educators. Parents, you can do your part too &mdash; be sure to share this information with your teen&rsquo;s teacher! Head on over to the <a href="http://www.hrblockdollarsandsense.com/">Dollars &amp; Sense Blog</a> to stay up to date with news on the program. Sign up for the newsletter to be notified when enrollment begins for the next challenge.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>This post is made possible by financial support from </em><em><a href="http://www.hrblockdollarsandsense.com/">Dollar &amp; Sense</a>&nbsp;&mdash; a charitable program from H&amp;R Block committed to increasing the financial fitness of America's teens.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-bellucco">Amanda Bellucco</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teen-wins-100000-scholarship-from-the-hr-block-budget-challenge">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24">How One Young Entrepreneur Paid Off $40,000 in Student Debt By Age 24</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-grocery-budgeting-a-game-the-price-is-right-style">Make Grocery Budgeting A Game, The Price Is Right Style</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/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</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-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck">How often do you get your paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting Mon, 11 May 2015 15:30:11 +0000 Amanda Bellucco 1417871 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Rich You'd Be If You Stopped Drinking http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guys_beer_cheers_000035827748.jpg" alt="Guys learning how much they spend on alcohol each year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like most working adults in America, you like to let off steam at the bar. And, the economy is certainly showing that trend. In 2012, the U.S. bar, tavern, and nightclub industry took in over <a href="http://www.statista.com/statistics/281711/us-bars-taverns-und-nightclubs-industry-revenue/">$23.4 billion in revenue</a>. It's projected to reach $24.35 billion this year, and that doesn't include the alcohol we buy from liquor stores.</p> <p>And while that's good for those businesses, it means that we the consumers are literally drinking away our savings. Depending on what kind of drinker you are, you could be spending way more than you think on your little stress reliever. But, knowledge is power, so here we examine the costs involved, and just how easy it is to cut back.</p> <h2>How Much Do You Drink?</h2> <p>If you enjoy just one beer or glass of wine every night with dinner, then guess what &mdash; you are in the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/25/think-you-drink-a-lot-this-chart-will-tell-you/">top 30% of alcohol drinkers</a> in the U.S. If that shocks you, you're probably not alone. Two drinks? Then you're in the top 20%.</p> <p>However, to get into the top 10%, you'd have to up your drinking considerably. How much? Over 10 alcohol drinks each and every day. That's right, according to the U.S. Department of Health &amp; Human Services, the top 10% of drinkers in the U.S. consume an average of 74 alcoholic beverages per week. That equates to 18 bottles of wine, or over six 12-packs of beer.</p> <p>But even if you're just having a few drinks a week in the local bar or pub, the costs can really add up.</p> <h2>What is it Costing You?</h2> <p>If you're a heavy drinker, you probably aren't getting your alcohol from a bar; that would be crippling to your monthly budget. With most people spending $10 on a bottle of wine, it would come to over $200 per week including taxes, or over $800 per month. That's two or three car payments right there. Annually, that's almost $10,000.</p> <p>Let's look at the budget of someone who goes out twice per week. Once during the work week, and once on a Friday or Saturday night.</p> <p>When you go out to a bar during the week, you will usually order food with your drink. And with most people ordering two drinks, plus tip, you are looking at around $40-$50 for the evening. This, of course, doesn't include the costs for cab fare, babysitting, and other expenses.</p> <p>On the weekend, a typical night out at a bar is a little different. You will most likely take advantage of the fact that there's no work the next day, and order several drinks over the course of the evening, along with food and snacks. You may also order cocktails, shots, or other specialty items to make it a good night. You will be looking at around $100 for the evening, depending on where you live. And keep in mind, that's per person. As a couple, you will spend at least half that again.</p> <p>Do the math. $160 per week, or roughly $650 per month, can easily be spent by someone who enjoys six or seven drinks a week when they go out to bars or restaurants. It is, in fact, very similar to the amount of money that would be spent on alcohol by a hardcore drinker. By going out just a couple of nights a week, and drinking moderately, you're spending over $7000 a year.</p> <h2>The Big Question: How Can You Cut Back?</h2> <p>It's actually quite easy to make a few small adjustments to your weekly bar tab. In fact, you may not even notice the difference, depending on how strictly you follow the guidelines.</p> <h3>1. Only Bring Cash Out</h3> <p>By far the easiest way to stick to your booze budget is to hit the town with your plastic left at home. It's easy to rack up money on a credit or debit card, but cash is finite and you can see it going down throughout the evening. You can also preload a debit card and use that. Either way, once the cash is gone, it's time to go home.</p> <h3>2. Take Advantage of Happy Hours</h3> <p>Do you have to go out when everyone else is hitting the town? If you have your friends with you, why not do something a little earlier than usual? You'll get great specials, including two-for-one drinks, free appetizers, and even free shots. You can always head back to a friend's house later and finish the evening there.</p> <h3>3. Eat (and Drink) at Home Before Hitting the Bars</h3> <p>Food costs can really add up quickly in the bars, and the food may not even be that good. If you go out with a full stomach, you will not only save money on overpriced food and snacks, but avoid getting tipsy too quickly. As a student, my friends and I would usually have a few cheap beers at home with our food, too. Then we took the bus down to the bar, and were already quite happy before we'd ordered one drink.</p> <h3>4. Order Water Between Drinks</h3> <p>This is great for several reasons. First, a glass of tap water with ice and lemon is free at every bar. You can drink this and stretch your money over time. Second, and perhaps more important, it stops you getting drunk, and makes hangovers much less severe.</p> <h3>5. Pitch in for Pitchers</h3> <p>Bars and restaurants often offer pitchers of beer at a discount. Combine that with happy hour, and you can get enough beer for four or five people for just $5-$7. Also, consider domestic beers instead of imports and craft beers. They may not be as tasty, but they are usually much less expensive.</p> <h3>6. Look for Freebies</h3> <p>Bars know the importance of deals and coupons. They will often have specials on their websites, and in local papers and flyers. Save them, and bring them out the next time you visit. They can take a nice little sum off the final total.</p> <h3>7. Ladies&hellip; You Can Get a Lot of Free Drinks</h3> <p>Sad, but true. Many bars and clubs make special offers to women in the hopes of attracting a larger crowd. Some will let women drink free, or for $1 per cocktail, all night. And of course, many men will offer to buy you a drink. Just be careful who you accept these from, and if in doubt, say no.</p> <p><em>How much do you spend on drinks per week? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alcohol-is-good-for-your-heart">Alcohol is good for your heart</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/21-great-uses-for-beer">21 great uses for beer</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/top-5-ways-to-hustle-free-drinks">Top 5 Ways to Hustle Free Drinks</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-great-reasons-to-drink-beer">10 Great Reasons to Drink Beer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-beers-to-keep-your-holiday-season-hoppin">13 Cheap Beers to Keep Your Holiday Season Hoppin’</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink alcohol bars beer nightclubs taverns wine Tue, 05 May 2015 13:00:26 +0000 Paul Michael 1407935 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_baby_000022503773.jpg" alt="Couple asking important questions before starting a family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Can we even afford one?&quot;</p> <p>This question was the first my husband and I asked ourselves when we had the big baby discussion. Romantic, right? But in reality, finances play an important role in moving from a two-person household to three (or more). So, while a lot of the baby-making process is fun and games, here are some items to consider and situations to plan for before making that jump into parenthood.</p> <h2>1. What Is Your Budget?</h2> <p>Before anything else, we took time to write out our budget in full. After every single last fixed and variable expense was accounted for, we compared that number to our take-home income. You'll find a wide range of figures for how much a <a href="http://www.parenting.com/article/the-cost-of-raising-a-baby">child costs per year</a> ranging from &quot;only your time and love&quot; to $12,000 or more, depending on a number of factors (location, lifestyle, etc.). When we saw what was left over, we got a good idea that adding a child would be doable. We also found areas of our budget that had room to change and free up money for diapers, food, baby gear, and much more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-actually-need-to-buy-for-your-new-baby-plus-5-you-must?ref=seealso">10 Things You Don't Actually Need to Buy For Your New Baby</a>)</p> <h2>2. Who Will Care for the Baby?</h2> <p>Wrapped up in those yearly costs for taking care of your child is daycare. You'll want to take many personal and practical factors into consideration when making the choice. We decided that much of my income would have been sucked up with childcare costs, so I opted to work part-time from home after calculating many scenarios from best to worst case. Some of you might have family willing to help out full or part-time. Others will rely on paid care exclusively.</p> <p>While you're thinking, it's also a good idea to get in touch with your workplace to see how much time off you get after birth, as well as how much of this time is paid versus unpaid. Same goes with your spouse.</p> <h2>3. What Does Insurance Cover?</h2> <p>Health insurance was the next big piece of the pie. How much of my prenatal care would be covered? What about the birth and delivery? And even before all that, what about possible infertility coverage? (We're dealing with this detail the second time around.)</p> <p>We are fortunate to have good insurance that paid for pretty much everything &mdash; ultrasounds (I needed many), blood tests, delivery, and follow-up. Beyond that, you'll be adding a dependent to your coverage, so your monthly premium might go up. Your child will also have well care visits often in the first year. Speak with your HR department or call your insurance company directly to get information on coverage, deductibles, copays, and any other concerns you might have.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have Space?</h2> <p>Take a look around your place. Some of you might be living in three to four bedroom houses. Others, studio apartments. The truth is, you can make most places work with one child using creative solutions from room sharing to compact closet bedrooms. If you don't think you have a good setup or &mdash; alternatively &mdash; would want to move anyway, you'll want to calculate a new rent or mortgage number into your budget to see how it shifts everything.</p> <h2>5. What About Other Stuff?</h2> <p>Beyond baby's first years, the costs can climb. Things like preschool tuition, extracurricular activities, college savings accounts, and even unexpected medical expenses.</p> <p>Our daughter had a medical issue that required major surgery in her second year of life, and no one could have expected or planned for that. Though insurance took care of the heaviest expenses, like a $100,000 hospital bill, we have paid deductibles for countless doctor appointments and follow-ups. (She's doing great now, by the way.) Most situations like these are unusual and likely not to be of concern. At the same time, if your budget or job is shaky, you might want to try and stabilize things before adding another variable to the equation.</p> <p><em>What other questions did you ask before adding to your family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going 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/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around</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-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family child care family planning having babies insurance kids Mon, 04 May 2015 15:00:27 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1406710 at http://www.wisebread.com Working on the Road: A Book Review for Professional Nomads http://www.wisebread.com/working-on-the-road-a-book-review-for-professional-nomads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/working-on-the-road-a-book-review-for-professional-nomads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/noradunn.jpg" alt="Nora Dunn author of Working on the Road" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nora Dunn's new <a href="http://unconventionalguides.com/cmd.php?af=1624698">Working on the Road</a> may not be the right choice for those looking for a vicarious thrill, fantasizing about a more free life. But for those looking for actionable information &mdash; who are ready to make the jump and are looking for practical tips for avoiding missteps as they change their lives &mdash; it's worth the read.</p> <p>And I should know: I took several different stabs at arranging my life to enable living as a digital nomad. (For more, see my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-paths-to-being-a-digital-nomad">Three Paths to Being a Digital Nomad</a>, which ought to provide some context as a reviewer of this book. See also the disclaimer at the bottom.)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://unconventionalguides.com/cmd.php?af=1624698"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/GumroadCover_605x340.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>The Guide to Working on the Road</h2> <p>The book is very much aimed exactly where the title suggests &mdash; at someone working on the road, or planning to. If your plans are for merely <em>going</em> on the road or <em>living</em> on the road, there will still be useful material here for you, but you'll be wasting more than half the book.</p> <p>On the other hand, the book's focus on work is by no means limited to any stereotype of the sort of work that's typical for the digital nomad. No kind of work is excluded, meaning that this book would be ideal for anyone whose goal is to be productive on the road. For example, I think it would be excellent for someone preparing to take a sabbatical (a sabbatical in the traditional sense &mdash; taking six to 12 months away from a regular job in order to undertake a significant piece of research or complete a major project). It would also be excellent for someone who thinks getting away for a year would help them finish a novel.</p> <p>With working on the road being the focus, you won't be surprised to learn that's where the book starts &mdash; with a look at two big categories of working on the road: location-independent work, like freelancing or writing, and then work that needs to happen in a particular place, but where the places are accepting of people who come from afar and plan to move on, such as teaching English or working in the many branches of the hospitality industry.</p> <p>There are sections on brainstorming for the sorts of things that you might need to do, and on how you might quickly develop a few extra skills that would enable working on the road (either as a complement to the skills you have, or as a whole new thing). There's also a good section on the sort of abilities, work habits, and self-knowledge you need to have if you're going to be successful.</p> <h2>Cost of Living on the Road</h2> <p>One of the few bits of the book that I have a beef with &mdash; and only because it's a personal peeve of my own &mdash; is the section on the cost of living on the road. Nora points out that, &quot;Traveling full-time can actually cost far less than it does to live in one place.&quot;</p> <p>This is true in the strictly technical sense that you can always find a more expensive way of life than the one you want to call less expensive. (It's exactly the same, except we buy three times as many toothbrushes.) It's also true in the deeper sense, that almost anyone can live a lot more cheaply if they're prepared to dramatically change how they live, and the shift to living on the road is going to be the sort of dramatic change that enables all sorts of economies.</p> <p>I just always bristle at the implication that you couldn't just as easily &mdash; in fact, more easily &mdash; find all those economies without going on the road if you're prepared to make the same sort of dramatic change in the way you live. Let your lease run out, sell your car, donate all your stuff beyond what fits in a suitcase, and then rent a cheap room a few miles from your old neighborhood.</p> <p>There are other savings besides those that come from choosing to make a dramatic change toward a cheaper lifestyle. One big one that is often a source of savings for people going on the road is that if you travel to a place where people are poor, things are going to be cheap.</p> <p>However: I'd be willing to bet that there are places where people are poor very close to where you live now.</p> <p>Most of the other sources of cost savings for being on the road are very specific as to time or place. For example, favorable exchange rates can make particular places very cheap, if your income (from your work on the road, or your savings and investments) is in a strong currency but your expenses are in a weak one. There can be some large tax savings, but they are highly dependent on exactly where you live and exactly how you earn your money.</p> <p>Finally, there's the fact that being someplace that's really different provides novelty that can substitute for entertainments that you'd otherwise spend money on.</p> <p>I've written about all this before, in an article called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-abroad-for-less-also-at-home">Live Abroad for Less (Also at Home)</a>. As I say, it's peeve of mine.</p> <p>But the fact that Nora manages to push this precise button of mine should not be held against the book, which actually has a great section on managing your expenses. It presents examples of several different households &mdash; single folks and families, people who travel a lot and those who have a home base for extended periods, all at a range of different income levels.</p> <h2>Work-Life Balance on the Road</h2> <p>The section on work-life balance while on the road is excellent. In fact, it takes exactly the tone I'd have liked to see Nora take for the section on how it can be cheaper to live on the road. Working on the road does not magically give you work-life balance. Whether you're on the road or not, work-life balance comes from the choices you make about what work you do and what you expect from yourself. Just like with living cheaper, choosing to work on the road is inevitably a dramatic change in your life, and making a dramatic change gives you space to choose a better work-life balance. But it still comes down to your choices.</p> <p>The stories Nora tells about her successes and failures along the way to work-life balance are instructive. She provides good tips on striving for a proper balance. (The tips are not much different than you'd come up with for someone who's not on the road, which is kind of my point, but they're good tips.)</p> <p>There's a section on dealing with the fact that you'd probably had great expectations for the magic improvement in work-life balance that was supposed to come from working on the road, and dealing with the disappointment you'll probably face. There are specific tips for people on the road with kids, covering things like education.</p> <p>There is some advice that's very specific to being on the road &mdash; for example, suggesting that housesitting can provide welcome relief for someone who's been staying in hotels or hostels or tents or RVs, and praising the advantages of slow travel.</p> <h2>Heading Out</h2> <p>There are two sections on things to do and how to do them, roughly divided into things to do when heading out and things to do <em>before</em> heading out.</p> <p>This one section alone may make the book worth buying, for a certain class of reader. If you know you want to hit the road, know what kind of work you're going to do, and know how to support yourself on the amount of money you're going to have available, there are still some practical issues to sort out, and this chapter provides a solid overview of a bunch of them:</p> <ul> <li>Dealing with official documents when you're halfway around the world from your file cabinet<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Deciding what kinds of insurance you need<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Managing your cash, and paying your bills when you don't have a local bank<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Managing your investments when you don't have a fixed address<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Figuring out visa rules as they apply to people who will be doing work of one sort or another</li> </ul> <p>The material is nicely organized with a good focus on the arrangements to be made before you head out.</p> <p>There's also a focus on things to do that will help enable a return to working at a fixed location, because you might want back into the world of working at a regular job for a regular paycheck. There are things you can do up front that will make this step easier, and this section mentions some. (I wrote an article with my own suggestions, aimed at people who were going to be working on the road for a specific length of time, who know they will want to option to return, called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fund-your-own-sabbatical">Fund Your Own Sabbatical</a>.)</p> <p>And there's a good list of things that are easier to do while you still have a day job, such as applying for credit cards.</p> <h2>Tools</h2> <p>There are two sections on tools, divided between regular tools and business tools.</p> <p>The first is about the tools you'll want for everyday stuff (such as a phone) and for work stuff (such as a computer). It's about figuring out what you need, pros and cons of various choices, practicalities (like cables), and so on.</p> <p>This section covers things like:</p> <ul> <li>Backups for people working on the road</li> <li>Information security</li> <li>Getting paid on the road</li> </ul> <p>The second section covers the broad category of things that working on the road make less predictable, more necessary, or more expensive than they'd be for someone working in a fixed location &mdash; internet fees, hiring an accountant, shipping and receiving, etc.</p> <h2>Expanding the Package</h2> <p>The review above covers just the book. There are additional resources that can be purchased with it, including some special-topic articles on things like dealing with your stuff, paying your bills, working on the road with a family, and dealing with property. There are a couple of interviews by Nora (one of someone who built up and then sold a personal finance blog, one of parents working on the road with kids), provided in both MP3 and transcript form. That material is all good. Whether it's worth the extra cost depends on whether it addresses something you personally really need to know.</p> <p>This book is perfect for someone who has gone beyond the stage of just thinking that working on the road sounds cool, but who has not yet figured out any of the details &mdash; what they might do, how they might live, and where they should start.</p> <p><a href="http://unconventionalguides.com/cmd.php?af=1624698">Buy your copy of <em>Working on the Road</em> today!</a></p> <h2>Disclaimers</h2> <p>Nora Dunn is a fellow Wise Bread writer, and a friend of mine. The publisher provided a review copy of the book, and Wise Bread paid me to write this article (same as they pay for other articles I write). Wise Bread policy does not allow writers to benefit from affiliate links (any payment from the affiliate link will go to Wise Bread, not to me), and I have no other financial interest in the success of the book.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/working-on-the-road-a-book-review-for-professional-nomads">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-people-without-debt-do">10 Things People Without Debt Do</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-business-travel-helps-your-wallet">11 Ways Business Travel Helps Your 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/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</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-budget-and-track-expenses-for-your-next-vacation">How to Budget and Track Expenses for Your Next Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Career Building Travel book review expenses lifestyle nora dunn working on the road Fri, 01 May 2015 17:00:25 +0000 Philip Brewer 1408868 at http://www.wisebread.com Who Pays For the Bridesmaid Dresses When . . . ? http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-for-the-bridesmaid-dresses-when <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who-pays-for-the-bridesmaid-dresses-when" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wedding_party_000011204768.jpg" alt="Women in bridesmaid dresses with bride at wedding" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you Google &quot;Who pays for bridesmaid dresses?&quot; hoping to walk away with answers, you're in for a massive disappointment. From experts at The Knot to <em>Say Yes to the Dress</em>, it seems that nobody can agree about whose responsibility it is to foot the bridal party's bill! Because every wedding is different, there is no &quot;right&quot; way to handle bridesmaid costs, but we can give suggestions based on unique situations. If you're a bride who's struggling to determine the proper etiquette for your big day, read on.</p> <h2>The Dresses Are Really Expensive</h2> <p>As a general rule, the bride should not require bridesmaids to pay for their dresses if her pick is astronomically pricey, say $300 or higher. Either cover the cost, pitch in to help pay for the expensive dress, or decide on something that's affordable for everybody!</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> Bride pays, or at least helps pay, when the chosen dress costs a lot.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Save-Money-Free-Apps-13358326?stream_view=1#photo-13358340" target="_blank">Try These 16 Apps For Free and Save Loads of Money</a></p> <h2>The Gowns Are Custom Made</h2> <p>Getting custom-made gowns is a great idea for wedding parties because each bridesmaid is sure to have a perfectly fitting dress. However, the cost of building a garment from scratch can escalate quickly! In this scenario, the bride should pay for the fabric and trimmings.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> The bride pays for the fabric, while her bridal party pays for garment construction.</p> <h2>The Only Restriction Is a Common Color Scheme</h2> <p>If you want to stick to a specific color palette for your nuptials but don't care about the bridesmaids' individual dress styles, your maids should be able to choose a dress that they'll wear again. Because of this, they can invest in the pieces themselves.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> Bridesmaids pay, because they chose the dresses and can wear them again.</p> <h2>The Bridesmaids Are All Young and Broke</h2> <p>If your bridal party is made up of broke college students, the odds are that you're in the same position. Because you might not have the funds to spare for helping your maids in their purchases, try to decide on extremely affordable dress options. Better yet, allow them to wear a dress that they already own!</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> Bridesmaids pay, but the dresses must be extremely inexpensive. Otherwise, the bride should cover their cost.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Free-Ways-Entertain-Yourself-Home-30926585" target="_blank">68 Mostly Free Ways to Entertain Yourself at Home</a></p> <h2>The Bridesmaids Are Making Major Changes or Sacrifices</h2> <p>For bridesmaids with unique personal styles, taking on such an important wedding role can be taxing. Some brides ask their maids to dye their hair, cover tattoos, take out piercings, and so on &mdash; if you're asking your bridesmaids to make these types of major changes for your big day, you should show appreciation by buying their dress.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> Bride pays, because she's asking the bridesmaid to make other (potentially costly) changes.</p> <h2>It's a Destination Wedding</h2> <p>Destination weddings are expensive for everybody involved. If you're asking your bridesmaids to travel to an exotic location and pay for lodging, you should cover the cost of their outfits.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> Bride pays, unless she's paying for airfare and lodging.</p> <h2>The Bridesmaids Have Total Freedom</h2> <p>If you're allowing your bridesmaids to choose any dress they want, they should foot the bill. They are able to choose a dress at any cost or skip paying altogether by bringing one from home!</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> The bridesmaids pay for their own dresses, just like regular outfit shopping.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Do-Instead-Spending-Money-34350539" target="_blank">121 Things to Do Instead of Spending Money</a></p> <h2>The Dresses Are Unwearable in the Real World</h2> <p>While we fully support your bridal right to enforce whichever aesthetic you desire for the wedding, you know when the bridesmaid dresses aren't ever going to be worn again. Whether it's a tulle skirt or an unflattering color that sets the dress apart from the norm, be sensitive to your bridesmaids' tastes &mdash; otherwise, you should be the one to pay for their one-time-wear dresses.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> If the dresses are something only a bride could love, she should consider paying or helping the maids pay.</p> <h2>The Bridal Party Is Gigantic</h2> <p>While it's a sweet gesture for the bride to cover the dress costs for her maids, it becomes a lot harder with a big bridal party. In this event, the bridesmaids should probably cover their own attire.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> The bridesmaids pay, unless the bride is expecting each maid to drop hundreds of dollars on a dress.</p> <h2>The Bridesmaids Are Covering Other Major Costs</h2> <p>Many brides like to treat their bridesmaids to spa services, mani-pedis, and hair appointments for the wedding. However, if the bridesmaids are covering these costs themselves, it might be nice to buy their dresses instead.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> Bride pays, because her maids are paying other large wedding costs.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-5000-Year-37102216" target="_blank">Money-Saving Strategies That Will Make You $5,000 Richer in Just 1 Year</a></p> <h2>The Wedding Is a Backyard, Low-Budget Affair</h2> <p>When funds are extremely tight, the couple likely hasn't designated funds to pay for their attendants' attire. In the event of a low-budget affair, the bridesmaids should pay for their own outfits.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> The bridesmaids pay.</p> <h2>The Uniform Is Cultural Garb</h2> <p>When a couple decides to marry in a traditional cultural ceremony, many members of the bridal party will be unsure of how to dress. In this scenario, the bride should not only guide her bridesmaids in the process of acquiring a proper outfit for the wedding, but also cover the cost.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> The bride pays &mdash; cultural garments are often expensive, and her maids will probably never wear them again.</p> <h2>The Bridal Party Is Tiny</h2> <p>When the bride only chooses one or two bridesmaids, it's a nice gesture for her to cover their costs. Understandably, this isn't always possible; sometimes the reason for the small bridal party is a tight budget! If it's a possibility, however, the bride should pay.</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> The bride pays if she's able.</p> <h2>You Were Her Bridesmaid</h2> <p>If you served as a bridesmaid to one of your chosen maids, simply mimic her wedding etiquette. If she asked you to pay, you should do the same . . . or vice versa!</p> <p><strong>The verdict:</strong> It all depends!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Figuring out who pays for the bridesmaids&#039; dresses is tough, but depending on the situation, the rules are clear. Try this cheatsheet and good luck! </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" style="height:95px; width:300px" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Save-Money-Free-Apps-13358326?stream_view=1#photo-31022797">Try These 16 Apps For Free and Save Loads of Money</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Free-Ways-Entertain-Yourself-Home-30926585">68 Mostly Free Ways to Entertain Yourself at Home</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Do-Instead-Spending-Money-34350539">121 Things to Do Instead of Spending Money</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-5000-Year-37102216">Money-Saving Strategies That Will Make You $5,000 Richer in Just 1 Year</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-for-the-bridesmaid-dresses-when">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-clothes-shopping-hacks-that-save-time-and-money">9 Clothes Shopping Hacks That Save Time and 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/7-style-secrets-for-women-that-flatter-every-shape">7 Style Secrets for Women That Flatter Every Shape</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-bridesmaid-dress-ideas-from-a-bridesmaid">5 Bridesmaid Dress Ideas From a Bridesmaid</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 Shopping Style bridesmaids dresses etiquette fashion weddings Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:00:05 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1372905 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times a Gym Membership Isn't Worth It http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_gym_000035868972.jpg" alt="Woman realizing her gym membership isn&#039;t worth the money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people swear by their gym sessions and feel joining a fitness club is the best and only way to lose weight or get into shape. However, there are no hard-and-fast weight loss rules, and what works for one person may not work for another.</p> <p>And the truth is, you don't need a gym membership to be physically fit. In fact, depending on your circumstances, joining a gym might be a complete waste of money (just don't tell my personal trainer that). A membership can easily run as much as $120 a month (I live in NYC, so it's a bit pricier than other places)</p> <p>No one's telling you to quit your gym if it's working for you, but if you're on the fence, here are five times when a gym membership isn't worth it.</p> <h2>1. You're Not Fully Committed</h2> <p>You may say that you want to lose weight or improve your health, but if you're not fully committed to the challenge that lies ahead, don't spend money on a gym membership.</p> <p>Losing weight or getting into shape takes more than desire &mdash; it requires action. You'll need to be physically active on a regular basis and you'll need to modify your eating habits. It's pointless to spend an hour at the gym only to go home and fill up on high-calorie, high-fat foods and undo all your hard work.</p> <p>This doesn't mean you should give up on physical activity altogether, but it doesn't make sense to spend $300 to $500 a year and not achieve any of your fitness goals. You're better off canceling the membership until you're ready to commit.</p> <h2>2. It's Too Crowded</h2> <p>If you're pumped and ready to exercise, there's nothing more frustrating than walking into a crowded gym and not being able to find a single piece of available equipment. You might spend more time waiting for equipment to become available than actually working out.</p> <p>Some people hit the gym in the early morning hours or late at night when it's less crowded. But if this routine doesn't work with your schedule, you may not be getting the most out of your membership. The gym isn't the only way to achieve health and fitness goals. You can take what you normally spend on a yearly gym membership and invest in equipment to use around the house, such as a bike, an exercise ball, weights, DVD workouts, etc. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free?ref=seealso">At-Home Exercises That Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free</a>)</p> <h2>3. You're Too Busy</h2> <p>I believe it's important for everyone to make time for exercise, but if you have a hectic schedule due to juggling work, family, and other personal obligations, it might be cost-effective to cancel your membership and squeeze in a workout whenever you have a few extra minutes throughout the day. You can walk on your lunch break or watch a workout video in the mornings before you get the kids ready for school.</p> <h2>4. You Have Access to a Free Fitness Center</h2> <p>Fitness rooms at a recreation center or apartment complex might be small and have limited options, but the equipment available might be exactly what you need to reach your fitness or weight loss goals. It's also a cheaper alternative to a gym membership and you'll probably deal with fewer people. Some community recreation centers only charge $15 or $20 for an annual membership, which gives you unlimited access to fitness room. And if you live in an apartment complex &mdash; or have a friend who lives in an apartment &mdash; you might have access to a fitness center 24 hours a day.</p> <h2>5. You Need to Save Money</h2> <p>Even if you like the idea of working out at the gym, sometimes we have to face reality and cut costs when living above our means. If you're struggling to pay your bills every month, the money spent on a gym membership can go toward paying a more important household expense. You can still enjoy workouts, but you'll need to find them for free.</p> <p>Some people think they can't get results without their gym or trainer, but many workouts like walking, running, biking, and playing sports can transform your body. Personally I prefer physical activities in which I'm having fun and improving my fitness &mdash; like kickball and dodgeball. There are even plenty of exercises using your own bodyweight to tone and shape, such as push-ups, squats, and lunges, which also are better with a friend. You also can find a fitness-focused Meetup group to join for free, or round up your pals to plan a meeting schedule to work out and support one another.</p> <p><em>Do you know any other times when a gym membership isn't worth it? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">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-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around</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/getting-started-in-indoor-cycle-class">Getting Started in Indoor Cycle Class</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/being-healthy-can-have-big-cash-rewards">Being Healthy Can Have Big Cash 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/is-the-wii-fit-a-cheap-workout">Is the Wii Fit a cheap workout?</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/7-ways-to-help-protect-your-financial-future-from-unexpected-medical-expenses">7 Ways to Help Protect Your Financial Future From Unexpected Medical Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Health and Beauty busy schedule fitness gym saving money working out Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1396603 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: What Is Your Biggest Monthly Expense? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-biggest-monthly-expense <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-biggest-monthly-expense" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_health_expense_000016162288.jpg" alt="Woman saving money for monthly health expense" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-biggest-monthly-expense#comment-771299">Jeff</a>, Kelli, and Christie for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>An important part of budgeting is figuring out how much we spend each month on various things &mdash; utilities, groceries, mortgages, credit card debt, etc. &mdash; and a popular tip for lowering our monthly expenses is to find a way to slash the biggest item on the list.</p> <p><strong>What is your biggest monthly expense?</strong> What percentage of your budget does it take up, approximately? Can you think of any way to lower this expense, and does it make sense for your situation to do so?</p> <p>Tell us what your biggest monthly expense is 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> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa178/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="79857dfa178" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_068865de">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, April 27th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 27th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us what your biggest monthly expense is 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-what-is-your-biggest-monthly-expense">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-11"> <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-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck">How often do you get your paycheck?</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/ask-the-readers-if-you-could-have-one-wish-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: If You Could Have One Wish (Chance to win $20!)</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/ask-the-readers-do-gift-cards-make-a-good-gift">Ask the Readers: Do Gift Cards Make a Good Gift?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-are-you-optimistic-about-2011">Ask the Readers: Are You Optimistic About 2011?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Giveaways Ask the Readers monthly expenses Tue, 21 Apr 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1393949 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Mobile Phone Upgrades That Aren't Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_phone_000039037532.jpg" alt="Girl realizing she has mobile phone plan she doesn&#039;t need" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The old adage says &quot;If you buy what you don't need, you'll need what you can't buy.&quot;</p> <p>When you have a mobile phone, you're already shelling out some serious coin every month. The average U.S. <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/6-reasons-your-phone-bill-keeps-rising/">monthly phone bill</a> ranges from $120 to $148. So, there's no need to pay for additional features you don't really need.</p> <p>Consider avoiding these four costly plan upgrades.</p> <h2>1. International Long Distance</h2> <p>Unless it's an absolute emergency, it just doesn't make sense to make international calls using your mobile phone's plan. For example, as an AT&amp;T subscriber, I would pay $2.19 per minute if I were to call to a landline in Ecuador, or $2.37 per minute if I were to call a wireless number.</p> <p>While paying $5 per line to upgrade to <a href="https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/international/long-distance.html?tab=1">AT&amp;T World Connect</a> lowers my calling rates to Ecuador ($0.35 per minute to landlines and $0.53 per minute to wireless), it is still not worthwhile. Without paying any additional fees, I can call any landline or mobile in Ecuador for $0.15 per minute, by signing up for a Skype subscription. I'd decrease my calling cost to landlines in Ecuador to as little as $0.075 per minute.</p> <p>You could also leverage smartphone apps, such as <a href="http://line.me/en/">Line</a>, <a href="http://www.tango.me">Tango</a>, or <a href="http://www.viber.com/en/">Viber</a>, that allow you to make international calls for free. Or, buy an international calling card with good rates for the country that you're trying to call. The point is that there are much more affordable options than upgrading for an international long distance feature.</p> <h2>2. Frequent Equipment Upgrades</h2> <p>T-Mobile Jump, AT&amp;T Next, and Verizon Edge offer variations of the same idea: Instead of committing to a single phone model for two years, you can upgrade to the latest model as soon as you want. No matter your phone carrier, if you have a frequent upgrade plan, you pay a monthly fee based on the full price of your selected phone (cost of service is separate).</p> <p>From a purely financial perspective, frequent equipment upgrade plans often aren't worth the money. For example, you could <a href="http://lifehacker.com/are-early-upgrade-plans-worth-it-1369868915#">save close to $650</a> by sticking to a two-year plan with AT&amp;T, instead of going with a frequent upgrade plan for two years. Similar savings scenarios happen with Verizon ($600) and T-Mobile ($340). (Note: Sprint retired its <a href="http://support.sprint.com/support/article/Learn_more_about_Sprint_One_Up/35e890a8-cbab-4cc4-99a7-91b0bc533e35?INTNAV=LP:Support:01102014:oneup&amp;ECID=vanity:oneup">One Up upgrade plan</a> on January 9, 2014). The premium that you pay for the &quot;convenience&quot; of having the latest model is too high and something that you don't really need.</p> <h2>3. International Data Plan</h2> <p>I get it, I really do.</p> <p>Just like many Millennial travelers, I believe that a trip isn't a trip without posting a few vacation pics for my friends to view. About 69% of Millennial travelers use some form of <a href="https://www.yahoo.com/travel/millennials-travel-survey-113198011097.html">social media during vacations</a>.</p> <p>Most service providers provide international data plans starting at 100MB. For example, <a href="http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/international/roaming.html">AT&amp;T's 120MB data plan</a> is $30, and <a href="http://www.verizonwireless.com/landingpages/global-roaming/">Verizon's 100MB data plan</a> is $25. The problem is that a 100MB allowance doesn't go very far. Consider how much data some common activities consume.</p> <ul> <li>Emailing a single high-resolution photo is 2MB to 5MB.</li> <li>Doing a 10-minute video call is about 24MB.</li> <li>Visiting 50 web pages equals about 10MB.</li> <li>Completing 30 social media posts with photos is roughly 10MB.</li> <li>Downloading 10 songs is 40MB.</li> </ul> <p>You could burn through 100MB of data in a single day. And that's assuming that you're keeping track of all of your data use. If you unintentionally left on the auto-push feature of your smartphone for all apps, you could easily burn through most of the data in just a couple of hours.</p> <p>Instead of buying an international data plan, take the following steps when traveling abroad (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad?ref=seealso">How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When Traveling Abroad</a>):</p> <ul> <li>Use the Wi-Fi from your hotel or from other reliable sources;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plan ahead with smartphone map apps, such as <a href="http://www.ulmon.com">Ulmon Maps</a> and <a href="http://osmand.net">OsmAnd</a>, which can work without an Internet connection;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Keep your phone in airplane mode as much as possible to prevent data use;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prevent automatic upload of media.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Tethering</h2> <p>Sharing your data connection with all your other devices sounds like an awesome deal. However, the reality is that mobile tethering has several drawbacks:</p> <ul> <li>Most cellular carriers will require you to pay an additional fee or upgrade to a minimum MB plan to be able to tether through your device.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There is no cellular carrier that will let you tether any device with an unlimited plan. You have to downgrade to a paid data plan, and figure out which one makes financial sense.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You have a data cap when tethering, often ranging from 2GB to 5GB. Depending on your data use, you may incur overages and their corresponding expensive fees.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Tethering is major drain to any mobile's battery life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Many users report that their Internet connection freezes when the phone receives a text or call.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You're always trading off something when you're tethering. Tether via Wi-Fi, and your phone's battery drains quickly. Tether via USB, and only your computer can connect to the Internet. Tether via Bluetooth, and your connection gets very slow.</li> </ul> <p>This is why that tethering fee is something that you don't really need. Imagine if your home Internet provider would try to charge you for plugging an additional device to your home connection. You would probably tell your Internet company that they're crazy. If you really need a hotspot on the go for work purposes, you're better off investing in a mobile hotspot. That way you won't have to compromise for subpar service.</p> <p><em>What are some mobile plan upgrades that aren't worth the money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money">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-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</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/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master">15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master</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-digital-detox-how-and-why-to-do-it">The Digital Detox: How and Why to Do It</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/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract">Buying a New Smartphone Without Extending Your Contract</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/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology data plans long distance mobile smartphones tethering upgrades Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1388408 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_trouble_000046605260.jpg" alt="Woman stressed about car trouble she didn&#039;t budget for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By now, we should all be sticking to a solid budget &mdash; one which definitely includes a savings category. But, even the most financially sophisticated of us make little mistakes, often forgetting to budget for minor, miscellaneous, or unexpected expenses.</p> <p>Making this mistake can throw you off course and undermine efforts to create financial stability, a setback that can lead to frustration with the budgeting process. Avoid the drama by reviewing your budget and ensuring you're planning for these common, but often overlooked expenses.</p> <h2>1. Insurance Deductibles, Co-Pays, and Medical Supplies</h2> <p>No one expects to get sick, but we almost all ultimately do. So, why is this common expense so often not planned for? The money that is being budgeted for medical expenditures should include everything from deductibles and co-pays, to cough medicine and bandages. It should take into account common illnesses for each member of your family, including the family pet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds?ref=seealso">8 Ways to Spend Your Last Minute FSA Funds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Taxes</h2> <p>There are one of two ways in which unexpected taxes might slip up and throw off your budgeting goals: unexpected taxes on extra income, and failing to find good use for tax refunds. Regular Wise Bread readers know how important it is to create extra income. The extra money you earn can help to pay off debt and boost your savings. But, we often forget to set aside taxes on the income. Tax refunds will gradually help you build a nice nest egg and should always be put into some sort of savings or retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-pay-your-taxes-heres-what-to-do?ref=seealso">Can't Pay Your Taxes? Here's What to Do</a>)</p> <h2>3. Miscellaneous Travel Expenses</h2> <p>Travel, planned or unplanned, occurs all the time &mdash; whether it's to attend a friend's destination wedding, tackle your bucket list, network for business, or a vacation. Though it's inevitable, it's one of the most mismanaged expenses in a typical budget. It's easy to forget to factor in additional costs like visas, tips, ground transportation, food and beverage, duty free buys, in-flight amenities, resort fees, and long-distance calling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-travel-expenses-you-forgot-to-budget-for?ref=seealso">9 Travel Expenses You Forgot to Budget For</a>)</p> <h2>4. Home and Auto Repairs</h2> <p>Inevitably, machines will break down. And when they do, it disrupts our everyday lives. That's why we're willing to run out and replace them regardless of the expense. We will often finance the purchase because we failed to budget for it, and now it's an unexpected expense. So, factor in household and automobile maintenance and repairs into your budget and plan accordingly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for?ref=seealso">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a>)</p> <h2>5. Networking</h2> <p>Everyone's agenda should include networking opportunities, because it aids in creating a healthier financial life. Set aside money to attend fundraisers, workshops, networking events, and paying membership fees and dues. This should include any contributions made to support causes you believe in, membership organizations, and annual conferences.</p> <h2>6. Adult Learning</h2> <p>Maintaining a focus on career development will also have significant financial rewards. Continued education is required for most professionals, but whether it's a requirement or not, we should be thinking about developing a competitive edge &mdash; as many of us simply will not take out the necessary time to work on acquiring new skill-sets. Do this while you're young and do it often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-continue-your-education-without-going-back-to-school?ref=seealso">8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School</a>)</p> <h2>7. Dressing for Success</h2> <p>Dressing for success is equally important as networking and adult learning. This, of course, pertains to budgeting for new clothes, but your budget should also include money for regular grooming, shoe and jewelry repairs, dry cleaners, staying fit, and any routine that is imperative to your personal and financial health. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-should-always-rent-clothes-instead-of-buy?ref=seealso">6 Times You Should Always Rent Clothes Instead of Buying</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you avoid budget mishaps?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">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-13"> <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-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</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/working-on-the-road-a-book-review-for-professional-nomads">Working on the Road: A Book Review for Professional Nomads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</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-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-spring-is-gonna-cost-you">10 Surprising Ways Spring Is Gonna Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting expenses hidden costs repairs saving money taxes Fri, 10 Apr 2015 09:00:07 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1381109 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Creative Ways to Save Money With Bulk Buying http://www.wisebread.com/6-creative-ways-to-save-money-with-bulk-buying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-creative-ways-to-save-money-with-bulk-buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/farmers_market_000038571134.jpg" alt="Woman buying food in bulk at farmers market" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips">buying in bulk</a>, warehouse clubs get all the publicity. But there's a lot of stuff they simply don't sell, or the amounts they do sell just aren't big enough. It's times like these when some out-of-the-box thinking on bulk buying comes in handy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-buy-in-bulk?ref=seealso">10 Things You Didn&rsquo;t Know You Could Buy in Bulk</a>)</p> <p>Below are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-food-items-to-always-buy-in-bulk">bulk buying ideas</a> that you've probably never considered, but could end up saving you significant money.</p> <h2>1. Home Improvement Materials</h2> <p>If you're considering a significant home improvement project and want to tackle the work yourself, look into buying in bulk at the <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/c/Pro_VolumePricing"> Home Depot Pro Desk</a>. If you spend at least $2,500, you're eligible for exclusive savings and rewards when buying building supplies like lumber, masonry, nails, screws, and sheetrock.</p> <p>If you're doing landscape work at your house and the idea of hauling 25 bags of bark is overwhelming, consider buying landscaping materials in bulk from a local supplier. If you don't own a truck, borrow a friend's and haul things like bark, rock, and soil directly to your home and easily save 25% to 50%, depending on the material.</p> <h2>2. Online &quot;Subscribe &amp; Save&quot; Programs</h2> <p>It seems like every other person you see at Costco or Sam's Club pushes a cart around with a huge package of toilet paper or dog food hanging over the edge. While these are often good bulk buys, did you know that you can typically get the same products mailed directly to your home via online &quot;Subscribe &amp; Save&quot; programs? The two big players are <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/subscribe-and-save/details/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JBPXV7KSAISOFU6R"> Amazon</a> and<a href="http://goto.target.com/c/27771/81938/2092?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.target.com%2Fc%2Ftarget-subscriptions-ways-to-shop%2F-%2FN-55b84"> Target</a>, and their pricing is surprisingly competitive. They both offer free membership, free delivery, and Amazon even offers 15% off if you have at least three items mailed to your home on a regular schedule.</p> <p>If you are a busy parent, and love the idea of having certain items sent to your doorstep on a regular schedule, you should definitely look into it. Some of the popular items include diapers, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dog food, shampoo, soap, and paper towels. The best part of both programs is the flexibility. If, for example, you have enough toilet paper to last six months, you can easily postpone future deliveries with no penalty.</p> <h2>3. Meat</h2> <p>If you have the freezer space, consider teaming up with friends or family and buying half a hog or a quarter of a steer.</p> <p>First, consider purchasing a 4-H project animal from your local county fair. You'll pay more than market price in most cases, but you'll be supporting local 4-H kids and end up with very high quality, antibiotic-free meat.</p> <p>Second, check out your local butcher shop for bulk meat buys. For example, my local butcher shop has a &quot;beef deal&quot; for five pounds of each of the following: round steak, chuck steak, 7-bone chuck roast, short ribs, and ground beef. Total price = $89.99 or $3.60/pound. If you have the freezer space, it's a great way to stock up and save.</p> <h2>4. Gift Cards</h2> <p>I have two kids who play youth sports year-round, and we are constantly buying coach gifts. Gift cards make awesome presents, especially when you buy in bulk from Costco. I recently bought five $10 Jamba Juice gift cards for only $30. So the next time you are hard up for a gift for a coach, teacher, or friend, swing by Costco and stock up on the cheap. Another cool thing about buying gift cards from Costco is they often feature <em>local </em>restaurants and businesses in addition to the usual chains.</p> <h2>5. Gas</h2> <p>For a $30 annual membership fee, <a href="http://www.mygallons.com/">MyGallons</a> will allow you to buy a large portion of gas at the current price. The service basically protects against a gas price increase over the coming months or years. You fill up at the station of your choice, and get a credit to your checking account or MyGallons debit card whenever you buy gas for more than your &quot;buy-in&quot; price. If gas prices go down, you can hold your gallons indefinitely until prices go up again, which they undoubtedly will. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>6. Fruit and Veggies</h2> <p>If your family devours fruits and veggies like they are going out of style, you know just how expensive it can be to keep the fridge stocked. The absolute best way to stock up and save is by purchasing straight from the grower. Summer and fall are terrific times to hit up local farms, roadside stands, and farmer markets. I buy apples, apricots, peaches, and nectarines by the bushel basket from a local farm and typically negotiate a price 25%-40% cheaper than the grocery store.</p> <p>Also, ask local farmers if they have any &quot;seconds&quot; available to score a great deal on fruit and veggies that may not be perfectly shaped or colored, but still taste amazing. We are talking 50% off compared to the price of &quot;perfect&quot; varieties. By building a rapport with the farmer, they'll let you in on some great bulk buys.</p> <p><em>What is the most out-of-the-box bulk purchase you have ever made and how much did it save you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-creative-ways-to-save-money-with-bulk-buying">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-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</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/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</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-best-places-to-get-coupons-online">The Best Places to Get Coupons Online</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/a-supermarket-insider-reveals-5-ways-your-grocer-is-trying-to-upsell-you">A Supermarket Insider Reveals 5 Ways Your Grocer Is Trying to Upsell You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-grocery-store-secrets-only-the-pros-know">10 Grocery Store Secrets Only the Pros Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping building materials bulk Food gas groceries subscriber programs warehouse stores Tue, 07 Apr 2015 13:00:08 +0000 Kyle James 1370265 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How Rich You'd Be if You Stopped Drinking Expensive Coffee http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_coffee_000021560271.jpg" alt="Woman drinking expensive coffee and spending too much money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last week I was in Starbucks, and found they now have a list of enticing new lattes. One was <em>tiramisu</em>! Starbucks will be glad to know that the tiramisu latte did not disappoint. On taste, that is. The price tag for a tall tiramisu latte with coconut milk in my area is a staggering $5. That's right: <em>five dollars</em>. For what ultimately amounts to a small coffee with some flavors and milk substitute thrown in. Oh my.</p> <p>Fortunately for my pocketbook, I usually home brew. I have a very nice coffee maker that had an upfront cost the equivalent of 40 tall tiramisu lattes with coconut milk (after my 20% Bed Bath and Beyond coupon). Sure, it was expensive, but like I said; I'm a coffee lover, and the coffee it auto-grinds and brews is so delicious that I'm often disappointed when I'm out and have to buy from a coffee shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home?ref=seealso">12 Ways to Make Better Coffee at Home</a>)</p> <p>Before I get all annoying and tell you how much your five-dollar-a-day coffee habit is costing you, I want you to know that I'm not picking on Starbucks. You can run the same numbers by picking your favorite brew from Peet's or Caribou or Costa, or wherever you happen to frequent. Heck, skip the coffee analogy altogether and substitute cigarettes, a microbrew at your local hang-out, cable TV, or whatever daily vice you think is harmless to your pocketbook.</p> <p>What's most important is that, before you make even the smallest of financial decisions, you understand the big picture effect. Maybe you'll decide your daily latte is worth the long-term price. But, before you decide, you should understand the variables. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today?ref=seealso">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a>)</p> <h2>$5 a Day for 40 Years Could Buy a House (in Today's Dollars)</h2> <p>If you took $5 a day and put it in an 8% investment like a low-cost, well diversified index fund (I love Vanguard, if you're looking for one!) for 40 years, that daily foregone latte could compound to a staggering $510,600.40. Don't want to wait 40 years? The daily tiramisu latte habit adds up to $1,971 over a year, $11,563,07 over five, and $28,553.01 over 10. Just think about all the vacations you could take with that extra dough, or all the kids' college accounts you could fund, or all the debts you could pay off (and save yourself the interest payments!). The possibilities are endless. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-rich-youd-be-if-youd-saved-the-money-you-earned-in-high-school?ref=seealso">This is How Rich You'd Be if You'd Saved All the Money You Earned in High School</a>)</p> <h2>But I Don't Want to Give Up That Much Coffee</h2> <p>I love coffee, even the five dollar variety, even though I know how much it costs to my long-term bottom line.</p> <p>Drop just one froufrou cuppa from your weekly routine and you'll still see great investment results. Assume again you take that $5 per week and invest it in that low-cost index fund (which we'll assume returns 8% per year) and you'll earn $280.80 per year, $4,067.83 in 10, and $72,743.07 after 40 years. It's no McMansion in the burbs but $70k is still enough for a double wide in the country or a condo in the city. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-26000-in-5-years-or-less?ref=seealso">How to Save $26,000 in 5 Years or Less</a>)</p> <h2>No, Really, I Just Can't Give up My Coffee</h2> <p>I get it. Really, I do. Sometimes a daily habit means more than what we have to gain by giving it up. So, in my last ditch effort to show you that little changes lead to big results, let's see how much you have to gain by giving up just one fancy coffee per month.</p> <p>In one year (assuming an 8% annual return): $64.80. In 10: $938.73. In 40: $16,786.86. Even giving up just one $5 coffee per month can make a sizable difference over time. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-easy-ways-to-save-100-this-month?ref=seealso">16 Easy Ways to Save $100 This Month</a>)</p> <p>Just for fun, here's an expanded version of the numbers so you can choose your own timeframe and dollar savings.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/coffee%20savings%20chart%20-%20tweddale.jpg" width="605" height="389" alt="" /></p> <p>The next time you find yourself pulling a fiver out of your wallet for a seemingly inconsequential expense, I hope you'll think twice and consider the long-term cost of that impulse buy. Just plug the cost of that impulse buy into a <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/compound-savings-calculator-tool.aspx">compound savings calculator</a> and see how much you'll save &mdash; and earn. Over time, the decision could just fund your next home, vacation, or child's college tuition. Or, Howard Schultz's pocketbook. The choice is yours.</p> <p><em>What daily expense would you be willing to give up for a house in 40 years?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee">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-15"> <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/16-easy-ways-to-save-100-this-month">16 Easy Ways to Save $100 This Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-mindless-ways-youre-spending-money">10 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Spending 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/10-dumb-little-budgeting-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">10 Dumb Little Budgeting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-26000-in-5-years-or-less">How to Save $26,000 in 5 Years or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-save-hundreds-or-even-thousands-of-dollars-without-thinking">3 Ways to Save Hundreds (or Even Thousands) of Dollars Without Thinking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Investment coffee coffee drinkers compound interest money saving tips spending Tue, 07 Apr 2015 09:00:10 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1370567 at http://www.wisebread.com