Budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4804/all en-US The Real Reason We Still Spend to Impress http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_80217451_LARGE.jpg" alt="spending to impress" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money and relationships have always gone hand in hand. From the practice of paying wedding dowries, to the formal class system, which kept layers of wealth strictly separate. But we're over that now, right?</p> <p>Maybe not.</p> <p>In some ways, society never really moved on. And the amplifying effect of social media and easy communication can actually make us more likely than ever to be tempted to spend to impress. Here's why.</p> <h2>Herd Behavior</h2> <p>As sophisticated as our modern lifestyle might be, we're all still powered by brains that evolved more to keep us out of the way of wild animals than to encourage us to develop prudent retirement plans. The primal part of the brain is hardwired to take over when there is a threat or pressure &mdash; making it responsible for much of the reflex action that drives the sort of &quot;keeping up with the Joneses&quot; conspicuous consumption.</p> <p>While our more rational mind might recognize that we risk spending money we don't have, buying things we don't need to impress people we don't like (to paraphrase Dave Ramsey), the instinct to keep up takes over. Faced with the perceived threat of being left behind by the herd, our instinctive responses make it far more likely we will spend to maintain or improve our place in the pecking order. And before we know it, our brains can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">trick us into spending</a> on an impulse, no matter what our more rational intentions might be.</p> <h2>Old Habits Die Hard</h2> <p>Conspicuous consumption is a concept over a century old &mdash; appearing in the 1899 economics book, <em>The Theory of the Leisure Class</em>. At the time, it was intended to describe the habits of the emerging upper class, made rich by the industrial revolution. While wealth had been condensed in the hands of very few, this up and coming class felt the need to cement their worth in the eyes of their peers &mdash; and spent to an outrageous degree to do so.</p> <p>A more modern term for this practice is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-youre-suffering-from-lifestyle-inflation">lifestyle inflation</a>, in which the basic building blocks of our lifestyle start to cost more than we can afford. As we live beyond our means, the costs can snowball quickly, and spending becomes a defining part of our identity.</p> <p>Stuff can define us. While the &quot;greed is good&quot; years might have passed, the brands we identify with, the places we choose to spend our leisure time, and the districts we live in still form the backbone of the persona we present to the world. We tend to be drawn to others who make the same choices, and the whole circle becomes self-fulfilling. Spending to impress never went away, it just got a new name.</p> <h2>Social Media Amplification</h2> <p>Possibly the biggest challenge today is that when it comes to lifestyle, everybody is faking it. Social media promotes unrealistic ideals when it come to the perfect beach body, but it is responsible for projecting a lot of unrealistic lifestyle images, too.</p> <p>It's not malicious. Most of us use social media primarily to share good things and celebrate successes &mdash; keeping life's challenges out of the unrestricted sharing of the Internet. But naturally, you then see a social media feed full of only glamorous vacation pictures, new purchases, and awesome parties. It's easy to think that this is how everyone else lives their life. But when the truth is that nearly half of all Americans would struggle to find the ready cash to cover an <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/">unexpected bill of only $400</a>, the reality seems a little less glitzy.</p> <h2>How to Break the Cycle</h2> <p>So doing poorly thought-out things on an impulse, to impress the crowd and retain our place in the social pecking order, might have been with us since our cavemen days. Despite our sophisticated outlook and lifestyle, our basic instincts have not evolved beyond this stage &mdash; and won't any time soon. With aspirational images of lifestyles we can't afford popping right into our phones by the minute, it's no wonder that the boundaries of what is realistic are blurred.</p> <p>Even though we can't change our brains, and are unlikely to be able to step away from the social media feed for very long, we can take a look around us. We can actively learn to appreciate the things we already have, rather than looking for the next thing to provide temporary fulfillment. It isn't easy, but practice makes perfect.</p> <p><em>How do you make sure that you're not getting sucked into lifestyle inflation? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-tricks-you-into-spending">4 Ways Your Brain Tricks You Into Spending</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-retail-therapy-good-for-you">5 Ways to Make Retail Therapy Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping bad habits debt impress impress others keeping up with the joneses shopping habit Spending Money Wed, 29 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Claire Millard 1740967 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Clever Ways to Keep Cool When It's Stupid Hot Out http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_fan_hot_17666765.jpg" alt="Man finding clever ways to keep cool when it&#039;s stupid hot out" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know what it's like where you live, but where I am, it's hot. And if my weather app is at all accurate, it's going to stay that way for a good long while.</p> <p>While I am lucky to have air conditioning in my house, I like to use it as little as possible. Those bills add up, and every dollar I spend on air conditioning is a dollar that I can't spend on something else I'd rather have, like a trip or a comfortable retirement.</p> <p>So I'm finding other ways to keep cool this summer. Sure, I'll use the A/C sometimes. But the rest of the time, I'll be doing these things to stay cool, and you can, too! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer?ref=seealso">9 Dumb Ways You're Going to Waste Money This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Your Hair Wet</h2> <p>I'm always amazed at how much cooler I am when my hair is wet. Even just damp, it changes my perception of how warm I am by a significant factor. So when I get hot this summer, I'll dump some water on my head or take a quick (and cool!) shower, or even hose my head down outside.</p> <p>I'm lucky in that I can wear my hair air-dried and it looks fine. If you can't do that, you can still use this technique. Get your hair wet, let it air dry to damp, then style it as usual. Or wear it air dried around your house, because no one there cares how you look!!</p> <h2>2. Wear Cotton</h2> <p>Because it is light and breathable, you will stay cooler in cotton than you will if you wear most synthetics. So if you're trying to beat the heat, make sure you have as many cotton-based clothing items as possible. This goes for undergarments as well as outer ones.</p> <h2>3. Mist Your Clothes</h2> <p>I've had people tell me to freeze my clothes, but that sounds miserable no matter how hot I am. Instead, I keep a spray bottle of water in my fridge and I spray myself down when I start to get warm. Because the clothes dry slower than my skin, this keeps me cooler longer than just spraying my arms and legs (though I usually do that, too!). Fortunately, cotton clothing tends to handle water just fine, so you can spray it down as many times as you need to.</p> <h2>4. Wash Your Hands (and Feet!) In Cold Water</h2> <p>I learned this from a college roommate who swore by it. When it gets hot, run your hands and feet under cold water for 30-60 seconds and you will feel cooler. You can repeat this as needed.</p> <p>My friend claimed that this works because your veins are close to the surface in your hands and your feet, so the water cools off the blood as it runs through them back to your heart. I don't know if this is true, but I do know that this trick got me through some seriously hot nights in an LA apartment when the A/C broke.</p> <h2>5. Sit on an Ice Pack</h2> <p>Stuck in an office chair all day? I know a lot of buildings don't give you any control over either AC or heat, so you can end up pretty warm all summer. Instead of suffering, take an ice pack to work with you. One of the flat ones most often used for injuries is best. Get it cold, stick it under a towel, and sit on it or put it behind your back to cool off.</p> <h2>6. Don't Cook &hellip; Grill</h2> <p>Anytime you cook in your house, it heats things up. Since you still need to eat, try using a grill instead. This keeps the hot air outside, and it lets you get even more mileage out of what is often an underutilized major purchase. I know a family who grills four or five times a week in the summer, and they swear that it keeps their house significantly cooler.</p> <h2>7. Suck on an Ice Cube</h2> <p>Need to cool down quickly? Suck on an ice cube. Smaller is better, since the large ones can trigger ice cream headaches if they cool your mouth too quickly. Try to suck and not chew the ice, so the coolness can slide down your throat and into your belly, chilling you as it goes. This doesn't offer long-lasting cooling, but it can give you the break you need on a hot day.</p> <h2>8. Make Your Own A/C</h2> <p>If you like to tinker and/or you have a lot of time on your hands, there are about a billion ways to <a href="http://www.instructables.com/howto/air+conditioning/">make your own A/C</a>. My favorite is super easy. Fill a large-ish bowl with ice cubes. Set the bowl somewhere near you, with a portable fan on the opposite side. Make the fan blow toward you, and make sure the air passes over the ice cubes. It will blow that delicious frozenness toward you, too, cooling the air around you.</p> <p>There are more complicated versions of this with coolers and dry ice, so you can get as fancy as you want. Do make sure, though, that you aren't spending more money doing this than you would just running the A/C!</p> <h2>9. Close the Blinds</h2> <p>About <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/energy-saving-tips/how-to-save-energy-and-cut-cooling-costs/view-all">30%&nbsp;of the heat</a> you don't want in your home comes in through the windows. Thus, it's worth investing in some heat-blocking film, blinds, or curtains to keep your home cooler.</p> <p>I've done this in my homes over the years and it's amazing the difference it makes! Sometimes, I pull back the curtains to open my sliding glass door and get a blast of heat, because there's so much of it trapped between the curtain and the door. But hey, it's not getting into my house, so I'm good with that!</p> <h2>10. Freeze Your Hat</h2> <p>So, we established earlier that freezing clothing sounds at least a little miserable. But what about freezing your hat? If you want to cool your head and getting your hair wet won't work, for whatever reason, try putting a hat in the freezer for a couple of hours before you want to wear it. This will cool your head and your temples, which will help your whole body feel cooler.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to stay cool this summer without your A/C? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-70-brilliant-ways-to-beat-the-heat-this-summer">Flashback Friday: 70 Brilliant Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-places-to-go-to-beat-the-summer-heat">9 Places to Go to Beat the Summer Heat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle air conditioning frugal living hot day life hacks summer summer heat summer sun Tue, 28 Jun 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1740225 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easiest Ways to Score Free eBooks http://www.wisebread.com/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_72457041_XLARGE.jpg" alt="reading free ebooks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a bookworm. But the life of a bookworm can be an expensive one. Popular novels tend to be priced anywhere from $6 to $20. That's a pricey prospect for readers who tend to power through five, ten or more books every month.</p> <p>Throughout elementary school and college, I controlled the costs of books primarily by utilizing my public library. I haven't stepped foot in a library in three years, yet I still tend to pay less than $10 every month buying books. The large majority of my reading time is spent downloading and reading free ebooks. Here are five smart reading hacks that can eliminate your monthly book expenses entirely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-on-audio-books?ref=seealso">8 Smart Ways to Save on Audio Books</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sign Up for Kindle Family Library</h2> <p>Kindle Family Library is a handy feature that allows you to link up to two adult and four child Amazon accounts. Once the accounts are linked, you have access to all the eBooks that the individual has purchased in the past. This can provide months of free reading.</p> <p>Once you have read all of the books in your shared library, you can then separate your accounts, wait 180 days, and then sync up with another family member or friend for access to <em>their </em>library.</p> <p>The only downside of linking accounts is that you will need to authorize the other individual to utilize the credit and debit cards you have on file. You need to trust the individual not to go on a wild shopping spree on your Amazon account.</p> <h2>2. Borrow ebooks From Strangers and Friends</h2> <p>Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble allow individuals to lend the books they bought for 14 days. This can allow you access to more books without directly linking up your accounts.</p> <p>You can supercharge your ability to borrow books by signing up for an online book lending community. Websites like <a href="http://booklending.com/">booklending.com</a> (Kindle), <a href="http://lendle.me/">Lendle</a> (Kindle), and <a href="http://ebookfling.com/f">eBookFling</a> (Kindle and Nook), all allow you to borrow and lend books to strangers.</p> <p>However, many of these lending sites (Lendle and eBookFling in particular) do expect you to lend books to other members in order to continue to borrow books yourself. If you don't already have a library of lendable books, or you don't plan on slowly expanding your library, you might not be able to utilize many of the online lending communities.</p> <h2>3. Read Non-Professional Stories Online</h2> <p>There are hundreds of solid stories self-published online for free on a variety of websites. Budding writers flock to sites like <a href="https://www.fictionpress.com/">FictionPress</a> to in order to practice the craft of writing. In exchange for an occasional review of a chapter or story, readers have the ability to dive into a potentially good book for free.</p> <p>Another non-professional option for the more geek-inclined is to start reading fanfiction. Fanfiction, for those who don't know, are stories that utilize the characters and setting of already existing television shows, movies, comics, or books. If you do delve into the world of free reading by devouring fanfiction, I would suggest starting with either <a href="https://www.fanfiction.net/">Fanfiction.net</a> or <a href="https://archiveofourown.org/">Archive of Our Own</a>.</p> <p>But there are a couple potential downsides of utilizing sites like FictionPress or Fanfiction.com to find good books.</p> <ul> <li>You can expect to find some sub-par writing due in part, to the fact that individuals of various skill levels publish on these types of sites. Try to choose more popular novels based on how many reviews, favorites, or follows they have.</li> <li>The majority of writers publish in these forums as chapters are completed. This process often leads to many writers abandoning stories mid-way. So search for completed stories when doing searches for potential novels.</li> </ul> <p>If fanfiction is for you, utilize an application within Calibre (a free eBook organizer) called&nbsp;<a href="https://github.com/JimmXinu/FanFicFare/wiki/SupportedSites">FanFicFare</a> to download the books onto your computer as either an ePub (Nook), a Mobi (Old Kindle), or an AZW3 (New Kindle) file.</p> <h2>4. Read Public Domain Books</h2> <p>You can keep your electronic bookshelf well stocked by simply sticking to reading books that are within the public domain. This means that anyone is free to use or re-use the book. You can find older classics like <em>Pride and Prejudice</em> by Jane Austen or <em>Oliver Twist</em> by Charles Dickens as part of public domain.</p> <p>Some of these books you can find for free on major eBook publishing sites. Others, you can locate on one of these 25 different&nbsp;<a href="http://ebookfriendly.com/free-public-domain-books-sources/">free public domain publication</a> websites. Many of the free-to-use websites allow you to choose which format (ePub, mobi, HTML) you would like to download the novel in.</p> <p>If you're unsatisfied with the file option available on the site you choose, you can always upload the file to Calibre and convert that file to one of your choice.</p> <h2>5. Check Author Websites for Free Short Stories and Novels</h2> <p>You might want to scope out your favorite author's websites for free novels or short stories. Many authors publish their older novels or short stories online as a gift to fans or in an attempt to attract new readers.</p> <p>And you can either read their stories online or utilize Internet applications like&nbsp;<a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/send-to-kindle-for-google/cgdjpilhipecahhcilnafpblkieebhea">Send to Kindle</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://ebookfriendly.com/how-to-send-any-web-page-to-ibooks-nook-or-kobo-app/">Readability</a> to send the chapters or short stories on the author's website to your ereader.</p> <p><em>How do you save money on ebooks? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/8-smart-ways-to-save-on-audio-books">8 Smart Ways to Save on Audio Books</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-choose-traditional-books-over-e-books">5 Reasons to Choose Traditional Books Over E-Books</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/another-one-for-the-readers-0">Another one for the readers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-reasons-to-visit-your-local-library-today">7 Modern Reasons to Visit Your Local Library Today</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/hard-copy-or-ebook-amazons-new-service-allows-you-to-buy-ebook-versions-of-hard-copies-you-own-for-c">Hard Copy or Ebook? Amazon&#039;s New Service Allows You to Buy Ebook Versions of Hard Copies You Own for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Shopping books bookworm eBooks entertainment ereader free books reading tablet Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1738461 at http://www.wisebread.com Buy These 9 Christmas Gifts Now and Save http://www.wisebread.com/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_71995217_XLARGE.jpg" alt="christmas shopping early to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving money when shopping for Christmas gifts is often about timing. Timing your purchases so you can buy when the price is the lowest, and not be stuck buying when demand, and thus the price tag, is at its peak. If you can plan ahead and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping">cross names off your Christmas list</a> now, not only can you save money, but you'll often enjoy a more peaceful holiday season knowing you have a good chunk of your shopping done. Here are the items worth considering.</p> <h2>1. Cold Weather Apparel</h2> <p>With the higher temperatures that most of the country is experiencing, it has many retailers trying to quickly get rid of their outdoor jackets, boots, and related gear. Take advantage of these clearance deals and stock up now on Christmas gift ideas. In particular, keep an eye out for <a href="http://www.news-press.com/story/money/2016/05/29/shopping-expert-how-take-advantage-sports-authority-close-out-tips/85127626/">Sports Authority liquidation deals</a> as they try to sell all of their inventory as they're shuttering all stores later this summer. The apparel deals might not be that spectacular right at the beginning of the liquidation sale &mdash; as the liquidators are trying to make as much money as possible on the inventory &mdash; but the last couple weeks should see some screaming deals on outdoor gear. Also, keep an eye out for deals in the 40%-50% off range from Dick's, REI, and Eddie Bauer.</p> <h2>2. Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>According to Consumer Reports, by far the best time of the year to <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/best-time-to-buy-things/index.htm">buy a new elliptical machine</a> or treadmill is in June. This is because the nice weather has more people exercising outdoors, so the demand naturally falls for exercise equipment. Because of this, retailers will start to mark equipment down to try and capture more sales. In the end, you win if you can buy now and have a place to store the exercise equipment until Christmas morning.</p> <h2>3. Running Shoes</h2> <p>'Tis the season for fun runs and charity 5k races in many communities across the country. Because of this, athletic shoe retailers start offering some attractive incentives for these less serious runners in the hopes they'll buy some new running or training shoes. Use this to your advantage and stock up now for yourself, or someone on your shopping list. Key retailers to check include: Road Runner Sports, Kohl's, Amazon, Famous Footwear, and even the liquidation sale at your local Sports Authority. Not only will you find savings in the 40%-50% off range, but you'll also see BOGO events, which help you save if you're buying multiple pairs.</p> <h2>4. Laptops</h2> <p>If you have someone on your shopping list who's in need of a new laptop, right now is a pretty good time to shop. It's potentially a better time to shop than during the back-to-school season at the end of the summer. If you're an Apple person, they're kick starting their&nbsp;<a href="http://www.apple.com/us-hed/shop">online education page</a> with up to a $200 discount on a new laptop. If you're shopping for a PC user, Dell has savings in the 45% range on an Inspiron laptop.</p> <h2>5. Lingerie</h2> <p>Every June, Victoria's Secret kicks off their Semi-Annual sale and slashes the price of many products to a cool 70% off. In an effort to keep up with the competition, many other retailers will also slash their prices this time of year. Look for significant savings from Soma, Aerie by American Eagle, and even Sears. And yes, before you ask, Sears has a fairly popular<a href="http://www.sears.com/clothing-shoes-jewelry-clothing-women-s-clothing-intimates-sleepwear/b-1279794998"> lingerie and sleepwear section</a>. The bottom line is that's a great time to stock up and put away lingerie gift ideas until December. Plus, you'll have the added benefit of making your shopping that much easier come Christmas, and what guy doesn't love that?</p> <h2>6. Dishware</h2> <p>As we enter the peak of the wedding season, right now is a great time to shop and save on new dishware for your kitchen. This includes not only dishes, but also cups, flatware, and glassware. The good news is, you don't have to be getting married and registered to take advantage of the savings. Look for deals in the 35%-45% off range at stores like Macy's, Mikasa, Pfaltzgraff, Bed Bath &amp; Beyond, and Crate &amp; Barrel.</p> <h2>7. Baseball Gear</h2> <p>As little league season across the country starts to wind down, it has many families moving onto soccer in the fall. The result is very little demand for baseball gear like bats, gloves, apparel, helmets, and various accessories. So if you know your son or daughter plans to play again next year, right now is a great time to stock up on the cheap as sporting goods retailers try to clear out this season's baseball inventory. While buying pants and socks might be tricky because of color and sizing requirements, items like bats, gloves, and training aids can be found at a steep discount at local sporting goods retailers. Plus, check online on eBay for really good deals on <a href="http://www.ebay.com/sch/Sporting-Goods/888/i.html?_from=R40&amp;_nkw=baseball+gear">gently used equipment</a>.</p> <h2>8. Luggage</h2> <p>Online luggage sellers like eBags, LuggageOnline.com, Irv's Luggage are offering some great coupons and deals right now. Each seller has deals that include up to 70% off brands like Samsonite, Tumi, Victorinox, and American Tourister. When shopping in-store, you'll also find luggage deals at TJ Maxx, Ross, Marshalls, and even a 20% off coupon for Macy's and JCPenney.</p> <h2>9. Vacuum Cleaner</h2> <p>Nothing says a romantic, thoughtful gift, like a new vacuum cleaner. Although I must say, my wife would love a new vacuum for Christmas as ours has been on its last leg for months. It still works well enough to not replace, but it takes several passes to get all the dirt sucked up. In any case, right now is an excellent time to purchase a new vacuum as most new models are released in late May, early June &mdash; making it a great time pick up last season's clearance vacuum for cheap. Look for discounts in the 30%-40% off range on brands like Dyson, Shark, Oreck, Hoover, and even the Roomba.</p> <p><em>Do you look for opportunities to save money on Christmas gifts throughout the year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-rules-for-planning-your-most-affordable-christmas-ever">5 Rules for Planning Your Most Affordable Christmas Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spend-almost-nothing-on-gifts-this-year">10 Gift Ideas That Cost Almost Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping Christmas Christmas gifts Christmas in July christmas shopping saving money Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Kyle James 1738462 at http://www.wisebread.com These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_92636795_XLARGE.jpg" alt="saving money this summer on cheaper buys" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Once summer is in full swing, it can feel like you're paying a lot of money for air conditioning, and other necessities. However, there are several things that are actually cheaper during the summer months. In the summer of 2015, many factors caused huge price increases in food and fuel. However, this summer, these problems seem to be lessened, and our budgets will benefit for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer?ref=seealso">9 Dumb Ways You're Going to Waste Money This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Beef and Dairy</h2> <p>Last year's big drought did a number on beef and dairy prices. While the drought is not officially over in some places, like California, the price of beef and dairy has decreased drastically for 2016. In fact, there's actually an oversupply of dairy and cheese right now, so stock up when prices are cheap. Most grated cheeses, feta cheese, and Parmesan cheese freeze well.</p> <p>While you will see a significant decrease in savings in the meat section at your local grocery store, you will also see a bigger savings at fast food restaurants. The cheaper beef prices allow some fast food chains to offer aggressive deals, such as Taco Bell's $1 Beefy Crunch Burrito and the Cheesy Double Beef Burrito.</p> <h2>2. Eggs</h2> <p>Last May, a bird flu outbreak caused egg prices to soar in the Midwest. Thankfully that crisis has passed, and egg prices are now at a record low. However, chicken prices are trending higher due to heat waves. So choose egg salad over chicken salad this summer to enjoy the savings.</p> <h2>3. Gas</h2> <p>Usually gas prices seem higher during the summer, since many people use the hotter months to travel and vacation. This year, however, gas prices will remain low.&nbsp;<a href="https://blog.gasbuddy.com/posts/Gasoline-Prices-Little-Changed-Best-Summer-to-Hit-the-Road-In-Years-Lies-Ahead/1715-645069-3695.aspx">Gasbuddy</a> reported that the average gas prices were $2.23 per gallon in May, which is almost $0.50 cheaper than it was in May 2015.</p> <p>To save even more at the gas tank, try planning your road trip during the cooler part of the day to save on gas.</p> <h2>4. Air Travel</h2> <p>When gas prices are down, flight prices are also down. In February, the<a href="http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/press_releases/bts008_16"> Department of Transportation</a> announced that the average cost of airfare was the cheapest it has been since 2010. Now with lower fuel costs, cheaper airfare will be able to stay until the end of summer. Airfare can eat up so much of your vacation budget, so don't miss out on the opportunity to travel with the low prices this summer.</p> <p>Try booking your airfare on a Tuesday morning and follow the airline's social media accounts to take advantage of the best flight prices. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>5. Foreign Travel</h2> <p>Get your passports ready. Not only is air travel cheaper, but traveling abroad might make your dollar stretch further. A recent GOBankingRates survey found that the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-travel-while-the-dollar-is-strong">U.S. dollar was strongest</a> in Argentina, Australia, and Europe. If you do travel, make sure to use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">credit card that does not have foreign transaction fees</a>.</p> <h2>6. Whole Foods</h2> <p>Whether you have been to a Whole Foods store or not, you already know that their prices are generally outrageous. Many people associate this chain with overpriced and overrated items. Luckily, Whole Foods is now opening a cheaper version of itself with a store called 365. The store is targeted towards millennial shoppers, with Teabot machines and lower prices. The first 365 store opened in Los Angeles at the end of May. Two more 365 stores will open this year in Oregon and Washington.</p> <h2>7. Cars</h2> <p>Generally, cars are cheaper during the summer because it is the end of the peak selling season. Look for special promotions and score a vehicle while interest rates are still low. Many car buyers wait until Labor Day to start looking at cars, but some dealerships will offer hard-to-beat incentives to move their old inventory.</p> <h2>8. Winter Wear and Gear</h2> <p>You don't want to think about snuggling up in a jacket when it's hot and humid out, but early summer is a great time to get the lowest prices for winter gear before the store gets rid of their inventory altogether.</p> <p><em>What deals are you taking advantage of this summer?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</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/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save">Buy These 9 Christmas Gifts Now and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping grocery shopping sales saving money summer summer activities summer costs summer fun Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:30:03 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1737544 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/backyard_party_78624345.jpg" alt="Family creating a dream backyard on a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer has arrived, and your number one priority might be giving your backyard or other outdoor space a party-perfect makeover.&nbsp;We chatted with DIY and design experts Ben and Erin Napier, who are currently working with <a href="http://promo.bankofamerica.com/ccsearchlp6/">Bank of America</a> to provide brilliant tips on how to make a dreamy outdoor space on the cheap. Ben and Erin approach their projects with a realistic and relatable point of view, because they want you to succeed without having to sacrifice. All of their projects are attainable &mdash; even by the newbiest of newbies. And what's better than that?</p> <p>Here are some of their best pearls of outdoor DIY wisdom.</p> <h2>Start With Seating and Lighting</h2> <p>If you're planning on hosting a summer soiree, you need the right seating and the right ambience to make it memorable. Erin Napier told us that she and Ben prefer to entertain at night, since it gets so hot during the day where they live. She also suggested stringing party lights around the yard to create a magical setting. For additional seating and decor, &quot;pull things from inside the house into the backyard. Bring rugs and lamps and the dinner table outside, and it makes great d├ęcor. Just make sure to bring them back inside before it rains!&quot; Erin said.</p> <p>Unfortunately, since mosquitoes and summer typically go hand in hand, do what you can to keep those pests away. Erin suggests going with citronella plants over the typical candles and sprays.&quot; If you can find citronella plants, buy all they have! Put them in pots and they keep away mosquitoes and bugs. Plants do an awesome job keeping bugs away naturally, and they are just as good as candles. You just need to have them strategically placed around your yard,&quot; she said. You can find these at Home Depot, or any major garden center.</p> <p>Just be careful if you're a dog owner, as they can be <a href="https://bonnieplants.com/growing/growing-mosquito-plants/">toxic to dogs</a>.</p> <h2>3 Yard Decor Choices Even the Pros Worry About</h2> <p>When it comes to DIYing, mistakes are part of the journey. But to avoid any missteps that can easily destroy your budget, Ben and Erin recommend being cautious in three areas: Lawn furniture, paint for your porch, and flowers.</p> <p>When asked what people typically overspend on, Ben told us, &quot;Lawn furniture that&rsquo;s not going to hold up and be durable. Be sure to look for metal that can be used year after year with a metal-bonding paint.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>Speaking of paint, don't waste your money on latex paint for your porch. Erin said, &quot;Painting a porch with latex paint is a bad idea. You'll need to redo it because it doesn't hide scratches. Only use old-ace enamel paint because will hold up for a few years.&quot;</p> <p>As for flowers, Erin is all about perennials. &quot;They bloom all year long, even in colder months, whereas annuals need to be replanted.&quot;</p> <p>When it comes to lawn care, Ben reminds us that timing is everything. &quot;It gets so hot in Mississippi, people water and mow their yards in brutal heat during the afternoon, which does more harm than good. Do the mowing and watering in the early morning, and cut your yard a little taller in order to create shade for the roots and allow for more water to be absorbed.&quot;</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WaYqp0rHhBA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>So in terms of staying on budget, Ben says you need to set a budget, choose priorities, and make a plan. Once you're ready to shop, you can earn cash back with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bankamericard-cash-rewards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_campaign=napier" target="_blank">BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card</a>. Or really, anytime you shop, this card should be in your wallet. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. Knowing what to buy for the backyard, you can get cash back on your DIY buys, which can help extend your budget.</p> <h2>Must-Have Tools</h2> <p>Not all tools are created equal, so make sure you have the right ones in your toolbox before you start redecorating. Ben's three must-haves are a drill, a hammer, and a pair of pliers. Erin added, &quot;And a caulk gun. That's worth spending money on. Tape measures are a must, too. We seem to have thousands of them.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>And in terms of splurging on the right tools, if you have a little wiggle room in your budget, and plan to do more DIY projects in the future, Ben recommends getting a skill saw, a miter saw, and a table saw.</p> <p>For more of Ben and Erin's home improvement tips, and some brilliant how-to videos, head over to <a href="http://promo.bankofamerica.com/ccsearchlp6/" target="_blank">Bank of America</a>. Also, be sure to check out their blog at <a href="https://erinandben.co/">https://erinandben.co/</a>. They update it every day with more fun and creative ideas.</p> <p><em>Do you have any additional outdoor DIY tips you'd like to share? Leave them in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ideas-for-cheap-festive-fall-decor">12 Ideas for Cheap, Festive, Fall Decor</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/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting DIY Home credit cards decor design DIY diy projects gardening home improvement interview lifestyle outdoor decor party tips Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1737243 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Useful Items Hotels Usually Provide for Free http://www.wisebread.com/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/33142202.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all been there. You're in that pre-trip rush, and you forget to pack an essential travel item, or just need a little something extra when you arrive at the hotel. Before you make that trip to the gift shop or convenience store, swing by the front desk. Many hotels are well-stocked with freebies and extras for road-weary travelers. Here are 14 useful items hotels usually provide free of charge.</p> <h2>1. Extra Pillows and Blankets</h2> <p>I'm man enough to admit it &mdash; I need at least five pillows (two on each side and one under my head) to get a good night's sleep. In recent years, hotels have begun to appreciate how important pillows are to the guest experience. Besides offering an extra pillow or two upon request, major chains such as Holiday Inn now offer quests pillow menus &mdash; just pick your pillows based on the preferred firmness level.</p> <h2>2. Roll-Away Beds</h2> <p>Many hotels will provide a rollaway bed for an unexpected guest or to accommodate an unusually large group. It may not be the most comfortable way to sleep, but it beats the floor.</p> <h2>3. Nightlights</h2> <p>Nightlights can help small children and the elderly navigate unfamiliar spaces. Higher-end chains provide nightlights to guests upon request.</p> <h2>4. Earplugs</h2> <p>Though providing guests with free earplugs may imply a less-than-ideal location, they're part of the standard offerings at La Quinta and DoubleTree hotels. These chains have realized an important truth: Cities (and guests!) can be noisy &mdash; especially during big events. Often, a disposable pair of foam earplugs can mean the difference between a decent sleep and a fitful night of tossing and turning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-sounder-sleep-at-hotels?ref=seealso">Tips for Sounder Sleep at Hotels</a>)</p> <h2>5. Sewing Kits</h2> <p>Have a loose button or split seam? Don't come unraveled. Many large hotel chains have complementary sewing kits on-hand for just such wardrobe malfunctions.</p> <h2>6. Activities for Kids</h2> <p>An occupied kid is a happy kid. If you forgot to pack your little one's favorite toy, ask the hotel staff to help. Many chains offer coloring books and crayons, word search books, and other age-appropriate material that promotes nearby attractions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-must-do-if-youre-traveling-with-kids?ref=seealso">9 Things You Must Do If You're Traveling With Kids</a>)</p> <h2>7. Board Games</h2> <p>Snowed in? Rained out? Many hotels will deliver board games to guests' rooms or provide them as part of the amenities in the lobby.</p> <h2>8. Books</h2> <p><a href="https://www.countryinns.com/feature.do?feature=riar">Country Inn &amp; Suites' Read It &amp; Return It Lending Library</a> lets guests borrow a book free of charge. It's pressure-free. Readers who haven't finished the book by the end of their stay can just return it next time. How's that for service?</p> <h2>9. Phone Chargers</h2> <p>Who hasn't left for vacation and completely forgotten their cellphone charger? When (not if) this happens to you, your friendly hotel staff can help. Most hotels have a respectable collection of chargers left behind by previous guests and are happy to pass one on.</p> <h2>10. Toothpaste and Toothbrushes</h2> <p>Got a wicked case of morning breath? Basic oral hygiene products like toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, and even toothbrushes are available at the front desk.</p> <h2>11. Razors</h2> <p>Have an important meeting but forgot to pack a razor? Never fear. Savvy hotels &mdash; especially those that cater to business travelers &mdash; usually keep a stash of extras at the front desk.</p> <h2>12. Curling Irons and Straightening Irons</h2> <p>Ladies, if you've forgotten your curling or straightening iron, don't despair. Many top hotels chains such as Kimpton and Hyatt have loaners on-hand. Check with the front desk staff and don't miss a beat in your morning routine.</p> <h2>13. Snacks</h2> <p>We're all familiar with the complementary coffee and cookies available in most hotel lobbies. But some of the more accommodating hotel staff members will raid the continental breakfast bar after hours to help a guest in need. Yogurt, fruit, energy bars, and bottles of juice are the standard fare and will work in a pinch.</p> <h2>14. Dog Treats</h2> <p>Pets are family and pet owners are loyal to hotels that don't forget Fido. Many pet-friendly hotels provide free dog treats and even loan out food and water bowls for their four-legged guests.</p> <p><em>What's the most surprising thing you've received for no charge at a hotel? What do you wish more hotels offered their guests? Share with us!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/14%20Useful%20Items%20Hotels%20Usually%20Provide%20for%20Free_0.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-useful-items-hotels-usually-provide-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-accommodations-online">8 Ways to Save on Accommodations Online</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/8-ways-to-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-save-and-make-money-while-traveling">12 Ways to Save and Make Money While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-hotel-hiding-these-5-fees-in-your-bill">Is Your Hotel Hiding These 5 Fees in Your Bill?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-a-more-expensive-hotel-room-can-save-you-money">6 Ways a More Expensive Hotel Room Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel beauty products free stuff hotel hotel amenities travel travel accessories travel hacks travel tips Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Kentin Waits 1737238 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Hire a Broker to Buy a Car? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-hire-a-broker-to-buy-a-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-hire-a-broker-to-buy-a-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_60741810_XLARGE.jpg" alt="she hired a broker to find her car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After four years living car-free, a job change recently pushed my family to buy a vehicle. I dreaded going head-to-head with a car salesman and possibly failing to negotiate a good price.</p> <p>While researching how to get a good deal on a used car, I happened upon this quote in an Edmunds article: &quot;You're not a professional car buyer, so why go up against a professional car seller alone?&quot; The piece was about hiring an auto broker to locate a car and negotiate a good deal. It was a practice that I had scarcely heard of, but the one person I know who used a broker raved that it saved her both time and money. And a little online searching had showed me that the specific used car I wanted was going to be hard to track down at a good price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-used-car-without-getting-ripped-off?ref=seealso">How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Ripped Off</a>)</p> <p>So I decided to give it a whirl.</p> <h2>How to Hire a Broker</h2> <p>Car brokers tend to be solo or small-group operators, and each brokerage may operate slightly differently, but this is what the process was like for me.</p> <p>First, I emailed a local broker who had positive reviews on Yelp, and told him exactly what we were looking for: make, model, acceptable years and mileage range, colors, and trim level. He replied, explaining how his service works and the fee, which for used cars is $800. He would search online through publicly available sites, dealer-only wholesale sites &mdash; a good source for finding former rental cars, he said &mdash; and possibly through his network of other brokers. He'd check vehicle history reports, eliminating cars that had been in accidents or driven in rust-prone regions. Then he'd call sellers to verify availability and nail down the lowest price they'd be willing to sell it for. Finally, he'd send me a list of matching cars, so I could pick the one I wanted to buy.</p> <p>The process went pretty much as he said it would. When he sent the list, he also showed me how to judge how good a deal each car was, and gave his recommendations for the best bets.</p> <h3>Be Sure to Confirm Broker Services</h3> <p>One thing that I did not realize going into the experience was that my broker's work ended when I selected a vehicle. I had hoped that I would simply tell him which car I wanted, and he'd have the necessary documents sent to me, tell me where to wire the money, and the car would be delivered to my door without me ever having to speak to a dealership. Some services &mdash; more likely those that market themselves as car concierge services &mdash; do some of this for their clients, but in my case, the broker simply gave me the phone number of the dealership and the price they'd agreed to, and got a shipping quote for me from his preferred shipping service. I had to talk to the dealership, in a series of back-and-forth calls that ended up stretching over several days, sign the paperwork they FedExed me, and then call the shipper to schedule the delivery.</p> <p>In the end, I got the car I wanted at a good price, with less hassle than I would have gone through if I'd tried to do it all on my own. Because the car I wanted, a late-model Toyota Highlander Hybrid, is in high demand, my broker wasn't able to get the dealership to budge from its advertised price. But it was still a good deal &mdash; in fact, when I contacted a local dealer to see if they could match the price, they congratulated me on getting a steal. But the main advantages of the broker, for me, were saving time and peace of mind. If I'd done it on my own, I'd have felt uncertain as to whether I'd gotten a good deal or a bad one &mdash; and I also wouldn't have had the nerve to attempt an out-of-state transaction without someone to explain how it works.</p> <h2>Is It the Right Move for You?</h2> <p>Car brokers also help people buy new vehicles, but because my purchase was used, the tips here mostly pertain to pre-owned car purchases.</p> <p>You may want to work with a dealer if:</p> <h3>You Hate Negotiating</h3> <p>Even though I would have loved to save more, I liked knowing that when I contacted the dealer, we had already agreed on a price. I had considered avoiding negotiation by visiting a fixed-price outlet like CarMax, but I'm glad I didn't, because CarMax is selling an identical vehicle to the one I bought &mdash; for $3,000 more than I paid.</p> <h3>You Are Really Busy</h3> <p>In the past, I have bought cars through ads posted on Craigslist or even the classified section of the newspaper. It takes a lot of time to contact individual sellers and dealerships this way, not to mention checking Carfax reports. My broker made all these searches, phone calls, and background checks for me, earning his fee in the hours he saved me, alone.</p> <h3>You Want to Find a Vehicle Quickly</h3> <p>My broker located a car with everything on my wish list in under a week. If I were searching myself, I'm pretty sure I would have spent all summer searching Craigslist and other sites before I found a vehicle that matched my list so well.</p> <h3>You Don't Know Much About the Car-Buying Business</h3> <p>If I had been well-versed in how to compare prices based on the <a href="http://www.nadaguides.com/">NADAguides</a> trade-in price, and knew what to look for in a car's history, I might not have needed my broker's help. As it was, I learned so much from my broker that I would feel comfortable searching and negotiating on my own next time around.</p> <h3>You're on a Tight Budget</h3> <p>It may seem counterintuitive to be willing to shell out hundreds of dollars up front in order to get a good deal, but think of it this way: If you're not price sensitive, you don't need a broker, because you can save time and hassle by walking into a dealership and buying a new car at the advertised price.</p> <h2>Downsides of Working With a Broker</h2> <p>Although I'm glad I did it, the experience wasn't perfect.</p> <h3>Pressure to Work on the Broker's Timeline</h3> <p>My natural inclination would have been to only spend an hour or two a week working on my car search, and spread it out over a longer period. Understandably, my broker wanted to get the job over with and get paid. Because of that, I ended up fielding multiple phone calls and emails from him during that week, often at times when I was busy with work.</p> <h3>The Broker May Have Other Incentives</h3> <p>Some brokers are also compensated by dealers &mdash; which is something you should ask about in advance. My broker sold extended warranties, and while his warranties were less expensive than those sold by dealerships, I felt like he expected me to buy one. It would have been awkward for me to say no after working together all week. (In the end, I bought a car that came with a warranty, so the point was moot.)</p> <h3>It's Not Ideal for Introverts</h3> <p>On one hand, it was great to have someone available to answer my questions at every step of the car search process. On the other, I'm not much for talking on the phone, and it felt awkward to have to work on a team every day for a week. Sometimes we had communication issues that caused me stress, especially when my broker would sound irritated, because I didn't understand what he was talking about.</p> <p><em>Have you worked with a broker before? What was your experience like? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-hire-a-broker-to-buy-a-car">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-new-car">How Much Should You Spend on a New Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-buying-a-new-car-and-be-happy">How to Save Money Buying a New Car and Be Happy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save">Buy These 9 Christmas Gifts Now and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Cars and Transportation broker buying a car car financing car salesman car salesperson car shopping new car saving money selling a car Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:00:04 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1735466 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Dumb Ways You're Going to Waste Money This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_surfing_beach_91715903.jpg" alt="Woman wasting her money this summer in dumb ways" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of great things about summer: long days, warm weather, and vacation season for families to do things together. But summer presents some unique opportunities to waste money. How many of these summer money hazards will leave you wondering where all your cash went? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you?ref=seealso">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h2>1. Junk Food</h2> <p>It seems like summer is junk food season. Soda, chips, hot dogs, and ice cream are everywhere! If you go out for ice cream a few nights a week, this can quickly add up &mdash; as well as adding extra pounds. I remember when I was younger, I would get a 32 oz soda refill or other sugary drink at least once every day during the summer. Now I try to limit junk food for special treats instead of making it my regular summer diet plan. You'll be healthier and keep more of your money in your pocket by limiting your spending on junk this summer.</p> <h2>2. Air Conditioning</h2> <p>Sometimes on a pleasant evening or cool morning, I can hear the air conditioners running at many houses on my street. Once you get your windows closed and your A/C turned on, it is easy to leave it that way all summer. I try to leave the A/C off and windows open as much as I can. Using fans to move the fresh air around, I can often stay comfortable without running the air conditioning. It is expensive to keep your house like an icebox all summer, and keeping your windows closed isolates you from fresh air and the pleasant sound of birds chirping in the morning.</p> <h2>3. Driving Around</h2> <p>For some reason, people seem to spend a lot of time in their cars during summer. An air-conditioned car can be a comfortable place to be, but it costs a lot of money to drive around or even to run the A/C while parked. Sometimes going for a drive for something to do or to cool off ends up leading to a junk food purchase, adding to the expense of going for a drive. Instead of going for a drive to cool off, I like to relax in a lawn chair in a shady spot or sit outside after the sun goes down and the air cools down.</p> <h2>4. Movie Theaters</h2> <p>Another escape from summer heat and boredom is going to a cold movie theater for a few hours. This is even more expensive than going for a drive. The movie ticket price is often just the beginning of the cost of going to the movie theater. Many people buy popcorn and snacks, and it is easy to end up eating at a restaurant while you are out for a long activity like going to a movie.</p> <p>Movie theaters are often attached to shopping malls, making it easy to walk around the air-conditioned mall before or after the movie and spend even more money. I don't mind going to see a summer blockbuster if there is a good one, but going to a movie once or twice a week is going to make your money evaporate.</p> <h2>5. Vacation</h2> <p>It seems like so much time and money are spent to travel far away from home for a vacation. Is what you are looking to find on vacation really that far away from home? Sure, it's nice to see different places and experience new things, but the most important part of a vacation is to spend time with people you care about. Is hustling around airports and moving from one tourist trap to another at an expensive vacation spot the best way to spend quality time together? Instead of spending big bucks to travel somewhere, I would rather spend time with my family at home doing projects and working on things together.</p> <h2>6. Summer Living Gear</h2> <p>Stores are happy to offer you ways that you can buy a great summer experience. How about some new patio furniture, lawn chairs, a sun shade, or even a new grill or lawn mower? Don't forget some brightly colored new summer clothes to wear while you are using your new summer stuff. You don't want to miss out on summer fun, so you'd better buy the required summer gear to make sure you have a great summer...</p> <p>Think back to a great summer event or summer memory that you have. Now, can you even remember what kind of chair you sat in or what clothes you were wearing? Chances are that it doesn't matter. You can't buy a great summer experience by spending a lot of money at the store.</p> <h2>7. Pampered Lawn</h2> <p>I get a lot of flyers in the mail offering to make my lawn look great. With a little fertilizer and weed control, I'm sure my lawn could look more like green carpet. Not only do I get lawn improvement offers in the mail, but I even got one in person. My neighbor offered to let me use his giant lawn tractor and sprayer if I would buy chemicals to apply. It would be easy to spend hundreds &mdash; or even thousands &mdash; of dollars in pursuit of a more perfect lawn.</p> <p>I think my lawn looks fine as long as I keep it mowed neatly. I don't like the idea of spraying chemicals on it, and I don't really mind if my lawn is a bit more natural than the lawns you see on TV. My dogs do a great job of fertilizing my lawn for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally?ref=seealso">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block &mdash; Naturally</a>)</p> <h2>8. Big Summer Toys</h2> <p>It is easy to get swept up by the appeal of a fun summer toy that the entire family could enjoy. Wouldn't it be great to have an RV, camper, boat, jet ski, swimming pool, or new bikes? You could get the toys right now to enjoy this summer and make the payments later. Some of these toys might fit on a credit card you already have, but if not you can sign up for a new loan and make easy payments. Don't forget to pick up a truck with towing gear for some of these big toys.</p> <p>One problem with big summer toys is that you can only use them during the summer, but you will be paying for them all year long for many years. Plus, you may need to find somewhere to store your big toys when the summer season is over. What seemed like a great idea on a nice July day might seem like a dumb move only a few months later.</p> <h2>9. Expensive Summer Activities</h2> <p>Taking on expensive summer projects is a weakness for me. I would rather do something productive than relax, but it usually costs a lot of money to do projects. Projects such as landscaping or building a storage shed or playhouse are expensive and do not usually provide a good return on investment. A good way to work on an interesting project for free is to help someone else do a project at their house.</p> <p>Some people like to relax during the summer, but this can still be expensive. Golf comes to mind as an expensive summer activity with all of the gear and membership fees that are required to play. Other expensive activities include some summer camps, sports camps, amusement parks, and horse riding lessons. If you check around, you might be able to find some affordable activities that are conveniently located close to home to keep your family entertained instead of spending a lot on more expensive activities.</p> <p><em>What are some dumb ways that you waste money in the summer? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</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/survivor-island-meal-plans-use-it-or-lose-it-in-5-easy-steps">Survivor Island Meal Plans: Use it or Lose It in 5 Easy Steps</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-healthy-ways-to-have-ice-cream-for-breakfast">10 Healthy Ways to Have Ice Cream for Breakfast</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/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out">10 Clever Ways to Keep Cool When It&#039;s Stupid Hot Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting Food frugal living save money seasonal spending spending summer summer activities waste money Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1733676 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don't Ever Stop http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_happy_work_91823869.jpg" alt="Man never stopping with his debt reduction plan" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is part five of a five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see the rest of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>The harsh truth about debt reduction is that many people don't stick with their plan long enough to see real results. They start off motivated and excited, but they lose steam after a while and never cross the finish line. Paying bills isn't super fun, after all. But if you want to get back in the black, it's important that you think long term without false expectations of overnight success. Luckily, there are plenty of tricks to stay on track, or get back on track if you've lost your way. Here are a few to consider.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-youre-debt-free?ref=5dayplan">6 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You're Debt-Free</a></p> <h2>1. Switch Up Your Strategy</h2> <p>As I mentioned in the previous entry of this series, you can pay off balances successfully using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you?ref=5dayplan">avalanche or snowball debt methods</a> or a combination of both; you have to decide which method works best with your psyche. Just because you start off using one method doesn't mean you can't change it up. If you start the avalanche method and notice your motivation dwindling after a few week or months, give the snowball method a try, or vice versa. It's a matter of trial and error and finding the method that builds momentum.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>2. Track Your Progress</h2> <p>It's hard to stay motivated if you don't track your progress. If you're carrying a large amount of debt, it can feel like you're spinning your wheels and getting nowhere. It can take awhile to make a noticeable dent in your balances, and if you don't think you're making progress, you're likely to give up. Although you don't have to obsess about your balances or check statements on a daily basis, it doesn't hurt to recalculate what you owe every couple of months and post your updated balances. Sometimes, we need a visual reminder of our progress to stay motivated.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-love-saving-money?ref=5dayplan">10 Smart Ways To Make Yourself Love Saving Money</a></p> <h2>3. Celebrate Milestones &mdash; You Deserve It</h2> <p>Paying off debt is hard work, so it's okay to reward yourself for a job well done. This doesn't suggest going on a small spending spree every time you make a payment, but you can (and should) reward yourself with an inexpensive treat for hitting milestones.</p> <p>&quot;Humans are emotional not logical creatures. Even though logically you don't need to splurge to pay off a debt faster, this small reward triggers the need you have for emotional fulfillment,&quot; says investing blogger Trey Henninger. &quot;It's important to have these small rewards in order to be successful in a hard task like paying off credit card debt.&quot;</p> <p>If you're on a spending freeze and haven't seen a movie outside the house in months, take yourself to a movie after paying off the first $250 of debt, and then plan another low-cost activity after paying off the next $250. Just make sure you pay with cash and not credit; that'll defeat the purpose, and I don't want to come to your house and wag my finger at you.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-and-fun-ways-to-reward-yourself?ref=5dayplan">20 Free and Fun Ways to Reward Yourself</a></p> <h2>4. Find an Accountability Partner</h2> <p>Sometimes, we do better when we're accountable to somebody else. Not that you should go around announcing your debt to everyone, but a trusted friend or relative can be the right person to help you stay on track. This person can check in with you from time to time, help you gauge your progress, and offer support when you're on the verge of burnout or resisting an impulse buy.</p> <p>Getting an accountability partner means you'll always have someone in your corner encouraging you. At the same time, stay away from those in your life who <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-peer-pressure-keeping-you-poor?ref=5dayplan">encourage or trigger spending</a>. If you have a friend who always wants to shop or go out to dinner, let them know up front that you're on a spending hiatus so they'll give you the space you need to work on your finances. Or, better yet, invite this person to join your debt-eliminating crusade as well; they could probably benefit from it.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-dodge-peer-pressure-to-spend">5 Ways to Dodge Peer Pressure to Spend</a></p> <h2>5. Remember Why You're Paying Off Debt</h2> <p>Since it can take months or years to pay off debt, you might forget why you started this journey in the first place. Whenever you feel like giving up, or if you feel that your efforts aren't paying off, think back to the day you decided to work on eliminating your debt. What was your motivation? Did you want to improve your credit so you could buy a house, or were you tired of stressing about high balances? Whatever the reason, focus on the big picture and imagine how amazing your life will be once you are debt-free.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-1-rule-and-other-ways-to-make-goals-manageable?ref=5dayplan">The 1% Rule and Other Ways to Make Goals Manageable</a></p> <h2>The Debt Is Gone &mdash; Now What?</h2> <p>Finally, you've paid off your debt and you can breathe a sigh of relief. It was a rough road and at times you didn't think you would succeed, but you did and it's an indescribable feeling.</p> <p>For the first time you know what it feels like to have no debt and disposable income, and your mind might start thinking of uses for the extra cash. One of the worst things you can do, however, is to take your disposable income and go on spending binges. Yeah, you can have a little fun, but now that your debt has dwindled, it's the perfect opportunity to fix other areas of your personal finance.</p> <p>Building a solid financial foundation isn't only about getting rid of debt. Saving should also be a priority, and now that you're debt-free, you can focus on saving your money.</p> <p>You've already done the hard part, which was to search and destroy unnecessary expenses. Rather than add these expenses back into your budget, take the money you were using for debt repayment and start paying yourself. With an adequate savings, you're less likely to end up in debt again. If you were giving a creditor $300 a month, think of your savings account as another expense and deposit this amount into your account every month.</p> <p>You can slowly build a three to six-month cushion, start a down payment fund for a house, or if you haven't already, open a retirement account or increase your retirement contributions. Whatever you do, never stop saving.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-yourself-accountable?ref=5dayplan">5 Ways to Make Yourself Accountable</a></p> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>Bad debt can rob you blind. It can take your joy, your motivation, and your options. But once you start on the path to being debt-free, the dark cloud hanging over you becomes lighter and lighter. You can fight back against debt, but you have to take it one small step at a time.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn't Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks -- And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <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-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-search-and-destroy">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Search and Destroy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</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/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan accountability expenses progress repayment plan saving money strategy tracking Fri, 10 Jun 2016 10:30:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1727862 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_creative_artist_94781499.jpg" alt="Woman paying off debt as part of debt reduction plan" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is part four of a five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see the rest of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>You've combed through your budget and you've found extra money to direct toward debt repayment &mdash; which means the time has finally arrived to pay it off.</p> <p>Getting rid of debt isn't only about improving your budget and having the right tools &mdash; you also need the right strategy to succeed. Although there isn't necessarily a &quot;best&quot; way to pay off debt, some strategies can get you to the finish line quicker. You need to understand different pay off methods and do what works best for you.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <p>There are two popular ways to attack your credit card debt. The first is to pay the minimum on each card except the card with the <em>smallest balance</em>. That card you'll throw all the money you can at it. This is called the Snowball method.</p> <p>The other method is to pay the minimum on each card except the card with the <em>highest interest rate</em>. You'd put in all the money you can into that card. This is called the Avalanche method. Which one is best for you depends on your personality.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-which-credit-card-to-pay-off-first?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">The Simple Way to Decide Which Credit Card to Pay Off First </a></p> <p>Here are the details of the debt example we're using in this series:</p> <p>&nbsp;<img width="605" height="298" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-06-08%20at%2011.47.55%20AM.png" /></p> <h2>Debt Avalanche</h2> <p>There are two factors to consider when paying off debt: the amount you owe and your interest rate. When you <em>avalanche </em>your debt, you focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first, regardless of the balance. This approach prioritizes debt according to costs. The higher your interest rate, the more it'll cost to carry the balance. So the idea is to get rid of your most expensive debt as early as possible.</p> <p>If you've been following this series, you've (hopefully) already written down your debts including amounts and interest rates. The next step is taking your &quot;found&quot; money and making higher payments on the debt with the highest rate, while only making minimum payments on your other debts. Once you've paid off this debt, move on to the balance with the next highest interest rate and continue the cycle until you're debt-free.</p> <p>Using the debts in the example from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up?ref=5dayplan">Day 2</a>, you'd target Credit Card #3 first, then Credit Card #2 and so on until Credit Card #1 is paid off.</p> <p><strong>Total Debt</strong>: $10,000</p> <p><strong>Monthly Payment</strong>: $200 minimum + $300 &quot;found&quot; money = $500</p> <p><strong>Months to Payoff</strong>: 25</p> <p><strong>Interest Paid</strong>: $1,811</p> <p>This method will result in you paying the least amount of interest possible.</p> <h2>Debt Snowball</h2> <p>This method is similar to the Avalanche, but instead of concentrating your efforts on the debt with the highest interest rate, you focus on the debt with the smallest <em>balance</em>. You'll make higher payments on this debt and minimum payments on all other debts. And once you've paid off this balance, you'll funnel the money to the debt with the next smallest balance, and so on. Using the debts in our list, you'd start at Credit Card #4, move to Credit Card #1, and so on until you paid off Credit Card #3.</p> <p><strong>Total Debt</strong>: $10,000</p> <p><strong>Monthly Payment</strong>: $200 minimum + $300 &quot;found&quot; money = $500</p> <p><strong>Months to Payoff</strong>: 26</p> <p><strong>Interest Paid</strong>: $2,092</p> <p>Although the Snowball takes a month longer than the Avalanche &mdash; and costs more in interest &mdash; it's still very popular. The Snowball lets you tackle easy balances first, and you see results of your efforts right away, which can give a psychological push to continue on the path. Even that small amount of encouragement will help you stay the course over the long term.</p> <h3>A Simple Debt Repayment Calculator to Try</h3> <p>You can use the same <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/restructuring-debt">debt repayment calculator</a> we used to crunch your own numbers and compare strategies. You'll find a payment plan, too, that tells you how much to send to each creditor every month of the plan until it is paid off. How easy is that?</p> <h2>Debt Repayment Tactics That Work</h2> <p>Whichever method you choose, remember that debt repayment isn't easy. But don't give up. I never promised this would be a walk in the park, but there are several tactics to keep you on the right track.</p> <h3>1. Don't Forget Your Budget</h3> <p>Finding extra money for repayment required revamping your budget and coming up with a monthly spending plan that prioritized expenses. For any repayment plan to work, you have to remember and stick with your budget, or else you'll revert to bad habits. Don't forget to revisit your budget every week and look back month-to-month to track your income and spending. You don't want frivolous spending to creep back into the picture and throw you off track.</p> <h3>2. Make a Payment Every Two Weeks</h3> <p>Some creditors accept partial payments and allow customers to make more than one payment a month. Rather than make one monthly payment, break up the payment over two weeks. Since credit cards typically charge interest on a daily basis, the sooner you get a payment to your creditors, the less interest you pay. Also, making bi-weekly payments allows you to get in one extra month of payment each year (you'll make 26 payments, the equivalent of 13 months). This is an important tip to remember! If you owe $3,000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 16% and you make a $100 payment each month, you can save $100 and pay off the balance four months sooner by switching from a monthly payment to a bi-weekly payment.</p> <h3>3. Redirect Money From &quot;Almost&quot; Impulse Buys</h3> <p>You're only human, so yeah, at times you'll be tempted to make an impulse buy. Like all vices, you have to learn ways to overcome these urges.</p> <p>&quot;If you feel the urge to buy a new pair of shoes or sunglasses, take a quick peek at your credit card debt by viewing your mobile app,&quot; recommends consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. &quot;This will remind you of your debt-free goals and every time you seriously avoid an impulse purchase, make a payment in the amount that you would've used on that item.&quot;</p> <h3>4. Implement a Spending Freeze</h3> <p>A spending freeze can jump-start debt elimination, and it doesn't have to be for an extended period. If you can't handle a six or 12-month freeze, shoot for one to three months. For this to work, you must commit to only buying necessities &mdash; no matter what. This means no eating out, no movies, no coffee runs, no hair and nail services, no eBay shopping, no extras of any kind. A spending freeze doesn't mean you can't have fun, but you'll have to get creative and look for ways to entertainment yourself for free. Keep track of how much you're saving and put this money toward debt. Always remember to &quot;bank your savings!&quot;</p> <h3>5. Automate Your Payments</h3> <p>If you don't think you're disciplined enough to increase monthly debt payments on your own, automate your finances. You can set up automatic payments between your creditor and bank. You choose the payment amount and the payment date. All you have to do is make sure there's enough funds in your account.</p> <h3>6. Inquire About a Cheaper Interest Rate</h3> <p>Remember when your mom told you that &quot;You'll never know unless you ask?&quot; Well, she was right (again!), and getting a cheaper credit card rate is often a matter of asking for it. Your creditors may not voluntarily lower your rate, but they might cut you some slack if you request one, especially if you have a good payment history and threaten to take your business elsewhere. If your credit card company won't budge on your rate, you can apply for another <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">credit card with a lower APR</a> and move your balance from a high-rate card to a low-rate credit card. You also can look into refinancing loans to see if you qualify for a lower interest rate. A lower rate reduces your monthly payment, but if you want to chip away at your debt faster, continue making the original payment.</p> <h3>7. Do a Balance Transfer</h3> <p>If you can commit to a certain repayment budget, you can look into getting a new credit card with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">0% APR for balance transfers</a> promotion. How this works is simple: transfer your existing debt from your old cards to your new one. During the promotional time period, you are charged <strong>zero interest</strong>.</p> <p>For example, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-slate-visa-review?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Chase Slate card</a> (our favorite for balance transfers) offers 15 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers. Let's say you transfer $10,000 to your new Slate card. (Most cards will charge a balance transfer fee between 3%-5% but Slate charges <strong>no intro fee</strong> for balance transfers made within the first 60 days of account opening.) After 15 months of $500 payments, your balance will be a mere $2500. After that, the interest rate kicks in (for Slate, it's a variable 13.24%-23.24%). At 13% interest, you'll pay off the rest of the balance in 6 months with $85 in interest. That means instead of 25-26 months and $2,000 in interest, the balance transfer option saved you $1,900 in interest and you're debt free four to five months earlier!</p> <p>There are several things to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">consider when doing a balance transfer</a>. The most important thing is that you don't deviate from your repayment budget just because you're no longer paying interest.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-things-you-should-know-about-balance-transfer-cards?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">7 Important Things You Should Know About Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></p> <p>Debt repayment is a process, but you'll finish strong as long as you keep your eye on the prize and remain on the right path. I'll share some tips about that &mdash; and what comes after you've eliminated your debt in the final installment of the series.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn't Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks -- And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <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-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-which-credit-card-to-pay-off-first">The Simple Way to Decide Which Credit Card to Pay Off First</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-search-and-destroy">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Search and Destroy</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-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Credit Cards Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan avalanche method expenses repayment plan saving money snowball method spending freeze strategies Thu, 09 Jun 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1727206 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Clever Ways to Control Your Spending -- and One That Will Shock You! http://www.wisebread.com/4-clever-ways-to-control-your-spending-and-one-that-will-shock-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-clever-ways-to-control-your-spending-and-one-that-will-shock-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_confused_electrocuted_000005307290.jpg" alt="Man finding extreme ways to zap his spending" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your spending is spiraling out of control, then it can be tempting to take extreme measures. After all, it will be worth it in the end, when you're debt free and living the high life &mdash; won't it?</p> <p>And if you're thinking that the extreme end of cutting spending might be simply staying home on Friday nights, or dabbling in a little light couponing, then you're simply not using your imagination enough. Taking the lead from other fields of behavior modification, tools, techniques &mdash; and even apps &mdash; are all available to help you to go all out on zapping that spending.</p> <p>Would you be tempted by any of these wacky approaches?</p> <h2>The Shocking Solution</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/1Vg0no5">Pavlok</a> is a bracelet style device that <a href="http://pavlok.com/hello.php">delivers a mild electric shock</a> when you take an action you have committed to quit. Read that again one more time. Yep &mdash; you can pay for a device to give you an electric shock every time you splurge online, splash the cash on coffee, or whatever else you're trying to quit.</p> <p>The basic theory is to train your brain into associating bad habits with mild pain, and therefore remove the temptation in the long run. The device's makers claim great successes, from people who have quit sugar, stopped biting their nails, or even stopped smoking. There are training guides to help you use the tool, and one of the suggested habits it can be used for is, indeed, overspending.</p> <h2>Try a Fast</h2> <p>If you thought that the Pavlok was a bit cruel and unusual, then maybe a spending fast will work better for you. This is a method that many people have employed to either quit spending on non essentials entirely, for a defined period of time, or to stop themselves from making purchases without a &quot;cooling off&quot; period to think more about the decision.</p> <p>If you're tempted by the total fast, the results can be dramatic &mdash; as this Wise Bread writer found, when she completed a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">year long spending fast</a> to tackle mounting debt. But if a year sounds like too much, you could still make a difference with a month or even a week &mdash; and might find that simply taking the time to consider your purchases more carefully establishes new habits which contribute to your financial wellness in the long run!</p> <p>For a slightly less dramatic way to curb your bad habits, think about freezing your credit cards in an ice block &mdash; an approach that forces a cooling off (or maybe warming up) period before you can make a purchase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money?ref=seealso">13 Creative Ways to Avoid Spending Money</a>)</p> <h2>5:2 Your Finances</h2> <p>You may have heard of the 5:2 diet in which you eat normally (but reasonably healthy) on five days of the week, but have two days of fasting, during which you have an extremely limited calorie intake. Well, why not try the same with your finances?</p> <p>It might sound a bit out there, because logically, cutting your spend for only a couple of days shouldn't have a massive impact on your overall spending. But psychologically, this can be a winner. If the barrier to saving is a fear of doing without, or you can't think of ways to restructure your life to cut out excesses that are hard wired into your routine, then the small adjustment of cutting back only a couple of days can be the trick you need to get moving.</p> <p>For example, if you feel bad for depriving yourself of something on a fast day, you can simply tell yourself you can pick it up tomorrow instead. In reality, this forces <em>thinking time</em>, during which you may well reevaluate the purchase and decide to do without. Similarly, if you have some expenses that you simply cannot think of losing &mdash; like buying a work day lunch out, or taking taxi cabs to appointments &mdash; then doing so only a couple of days a week could show how easy these small adjustments actually are. After all, how hard is it to pack a sandwich a couple of mornings? If you force yourself to notice the savings as they add up, the net result might actually be behavior change with relatively limited pain.</p> <h2>Commitment Contracts</h2> <p>Back in the world of dieting, making a public commitment to lose weight, by joining a slimming club and going to weigh-ins on a weekly basis, has long been a popular strategy. It works because we are far more likely to follow through with something when we tell others that we are committed to it.</p> <p>The act of making a public commitment works outside of the diet sphere, too &mdash; and thanks to new apps, you can leverage this power to get your spending back in order. You need to choose a platform that allows you to make a public commitment contract &mdash; usually with an agreed punishment if you fail to keep up your end of the bargain.</p> <p>There are many different options out there, but one of the best established is <a href="https://www.stickk.com">StickK</a>. Here you choose a goal and create a commitment contract. You set the stakes (the punishment), which could be a financial penalty, and choose a referee if you want an impartial verdict on your success. By sharing your goals with followers and friends, you can then get their support on the way as you work towards your goal.</p> <p>One interesting thing with StickK is that your money is then given to a charity (or &quot;anti-charity&quot;) if you forfeit it. So you can choose an organization you would be happy to donate to &mdash; or go the opposite and choose a cause (or sports fan club) that <em>you do not like</em>, to really up the odds. Would that be enough to motivate you to stick to your non-spending goals?</p> <p>Just as juice fasts and boot camps have become popular to give fitness and diet lifestyle changes a kick start, taking some dramatic action to tackle your spending habit could be a good plan. It all hinges on building momentum &mdash; once you get moving, it is easier to keep moving, whether that is in shedding some excess pounds from your waistline, or squirreling a few dollars away in your bank. By hitting it hard for a short period at first, you can build momentum that can keep you moving, until the changes you are trying to establish slip into habit. And if the end result is healthy finances, then maybe a few electric shocks along the way are all worthwhile.</p> <p><em>What do you think? Would you consider these extreme tactics to quit your excess spending habit? What's the most full-on approach you have ever heard about when it comes to cutting expenses?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-clever-ways-to-control-your-spending-and-one-that-will-shock-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/ponder-it-to-budget-or-not-to-budget">Ponder it: to budget or not to budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save">Buy These 9 Christmas Gifts Now and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-hire-a-broker-to-buy-a-car">Should You Hire a Broker to Buy a Car?</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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting dieting discipline electric shock extreme tactics fasting saving money Thu, 09 Jun 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Claire Millard 1723186 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Search and Destroy http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-search-and-destroy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-search-and-destroy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_52822932.jpg" alt="Woman searching and destroying her current debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is part three of a five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see the rest of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>Some people give up on the idea of paying off debt because they think they don't earn enough money. Yes, life can be expensive, especially when wages don't keep pace with the cost of living. We're all victims of the tough economy, but this doesn't mean we can't win the war against consumer debt.</p> <p>If you talk with anyone who's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">successfully paid off debt</a>, you'll likely notice a common thread: Commitment. While these folks may not be rich or have a ton of money, what they do have is an air-tight spending plan, and they know exactly where their money is going.</p> <h2>You Need a Budget</h2> <p>To get a handle on debt, you first have to get a handle on your budget and monitor your spending. Like adding up your debt, you'll need to write it all down rather than relying on your own estimates. There's a good chance that you're spending more than you think you are in many categories. In fact, &quot;financial advisers who press clients to tally their spending say the numbers are often at least 20% higher than the individuals had thought,&quot; according to the Wall Street Journal.</p> <p>Coming up with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=5dayplan">budget isn't hard</a>. It's simply a matter of identifying your fixed and variable expenses. The good news is that with modern technology, you don't have to budget the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper. There are plenty of apps and software programs that simplify budgeting, and many are free to download. For example:</p> <ul> <li>Mint</li> <li>Pocket Guard</li> <li>Good Budget</li> <li>Mvelopes</li> <li>Home Budget</li> <li>Level Money</li> <li>Spendee</li> <li>...and many more, including a simple spreadsheet.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget?ref=5dayplan">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</a></p> <p>These apps are effective because they allow you track income and expenses, and you're able to see what you're spending on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Some budgeting apps also include pie charts and graphs so you know the percentage of your income that's spent in different categories. When you see where your money goes, it's easier to identify areas where you need to cut back.</p> <h2>Tracking Your Expenses</h2> <p>It can be hard to account for every cent when you first begin, but if you're following along with the series, on Day Two you collected all of your recent credit card statements, which is a good place to start. If you're at a loss for spending details, go ahead and make estimates now, and create a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=5dayplan">spending book</a> and track every penny you spend (every one!) for a month. You can update the estimates you make today afterward.</p> <p>Group your expenses into two categories: Fixed and Variable. Fixed means you can't change it (immediately). For example, these might include your mortgage, car payments, and insurance. The other expenses are variable, which means that you can adjust them easily, for example groceries, dining, and even subscriptions like Hulu or Netflix (you can cancel them or lower the subscription level at any time).</p> <p>If you're overspending on a fixed monthly expense like a house or car, you can't get rid of those expenses overnight. But depending on how much debt you're in, how quickly you want to get out of it, and whether you've suddenly realized you've been living outside of your means, you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-downsize-your-home-and-start-living-a-better-life?ref=5dayplan">consider downsizing</a> or even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-americas-awesomest-cheap-cities">moving to a different city</a>.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of?ref=5dayplan">10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of</a></p> <p>But in the meantime, take a hard look at your variable expenses and start cutting.</p> <h2>Keep Your Goals Attainable</h2> <p>As we saw in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up?ref=5dayplan">Day 2: Add It Up</a>, if you want to get rid of your $10,000 in credit card debt in two years, you'll need to allocate $500 per month toward debt repayment. If you're currently paying $200 a month, rework your budget to free up an additional $300 every month. This breaks down to about $75 per week.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-ways-to-save-money-around-the-house?ref=5dayplan">101 Ways to Save Money Around the House</a></p> <p>Here are some ideas about how you can drum up that extra cash.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Reduce your weekly grocery budget</strong>. You can save money by skipping the brand names and buying generic and by planning meals based on the weekly sales. Use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">credit card that offers rewards for groceries</a> and always bring a list and stick to it!</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips?ref=5dayplan">Save $100 Next Month with These Grocery Shopping Tips</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Cut back on entertainment</strong>. If you're currently spending $40 a week on entertainment, which might include movies, dinner, and drinks with friends, scale back to $30 a week. Something as simple as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year?ref=5dayplan">ordering water</a> instead of a soda or iced tea can save you $5-$10 each week.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-eating-out-cheaply?ref=5dayplan">Tips for Eating Out Cheaply</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Travel mug and brown bag it</strong>. So what if you have to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-drinking-expensive-coffee">brew your own coffee</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-300000-on-lunch?ref=5dayplan">brown bag your lunch</a>? You'll be glad you made the sacrifice as your debt starts to disappear.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-save-money-on-your-cup-of-coffee?ref=5dayplan">9 Ways to Save Money on Your Cup of Coffee</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Cut your home entertainment spend</strong>. Instead of subscribing to Netflix <em>and </em>Hulu, pick one and cancel the other. Or keep both streaming services and get rid of cable.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans?ref=5dayplan">How to Cut Cable and Still Watch What You Love</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Cancel your gym membership</strong>. Instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-improve-your-home-gym?ref=5dayplan">work out at home</a> or at the park, or join a nearby recreation center, like the YMCA.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-home-workout-hacks-for-people-with-no-equipment-and-no-room?ref=5dayplan">12 Cheap Home Workout Hacks for People with No Equipment and No Room</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Cut car expenses</strong>. Carpool, walk, or bike to work a few days each week to save on gas and reduce your transportation costs. I did this for a couple years with a buddy and it saved us both thousands of dollars.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-cut-your-car-expenses?ref=5dayplan">5 Simple Ways to Cut Your Car Expenses</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Shop around for cheaper insurance</strong>. If you don't drive often, ask your provider about a low-mileage discount. You can also save by bundling insurances with the same company.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-to-save-on-car-insurance?ref=5dayplan">4 Tips to Save on Car Insurance</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Become an avid DIYer</strong>. Stop paying for stuff you can do yourself, such as washing your car, cutting your grass, and cleaning your house</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for?ref=5dayplan">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></p> <p>As you can see, improving your cashflow isn't hard or impossible, but it does require action. If you can cut $10, $20, or even $30 here and there, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-easy-ways-to-save-100-this-month?ref=5dayplan">savings can add up to hundreds</a> every month. Once you have a solid savings plan in place, you can finally begin redirecting found dollars toward debt repayment.</p> <h2>Increase Your Income</h2> <p>The other part of your budget includes the money you have coming in. The more you make, the more you can allocate to your debt reduction. Often it's easier to get a side gig to get the extra money than to cut costs. Here are ways you can increase your income (make sure you're putting in all that extra money into your credit card payments!).</p> <ul> <li><strong>Ask for a raise.</strong> Consider whether it's an appropriate time to ask for a raise. Has the company been doing well? Have you been with the company for a while and have gotten positive feedback regarding your performance? Don't be shy. The worse that can happen is your boss will say &quot;no.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise?ref=5dayplan">5 Times You Should Demand a Raise</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Get a side job.</strong> There's a whole <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams?ref=5dayplan">online gig economy</a> out there. Find something you can do. Do it.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=5dayplan">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Sell your stuff.</strong> We all have things sitting in our garage or the back of the closet that haven't seen the light of day in years. Go through them and see what you can sell. Better yet, if you're crafty, start <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-sites-to-sell-your-arts-and-crafts?ref=5dayplan">making stuff to sell</a>.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff?ref=5dayplan">15 Places to Sell Your Stuff</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Sell your services.</strong> Think about your skillset and consider whether <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way?ref=5dayplan">others may find it valuable</a>. Find places to showcase your skills and get some exposure.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies?ref=5dayplan">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Be a host.</strong> You don't have to have multiple homes lying around to make money <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-home-into-a-rental-in-9-easy-steps?ref=5dayplan">renting out your property</a>. You can rent out a room, a couch, even a parking space. You can also host a foreign exchange student.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-home-into-a-rental-in-9-easy-steps?ref=5dayplan">11 Best Sites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></p> <ul> <li><strong>Be creative.</strong> You don't have to have a lot of extra time or fancy skills to make some extra cash. Take <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-pays-more-online-surveys-or-the-gig-economy?ref=5dayplan">online surveys</a> or spend a few hours a week on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-a-side-gig-at-these-4-best-micro-jobs-sites?ref=5dayplan">micro job sites</a>. Look around for opportunities.</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight?ref=5dayplan">9 Creative Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight</a></p> <p>In part four, I'll discuss some strategies that will make the most of your hard-earned money and get you to financial independence faster.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn't Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks -- And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <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-day-debt-reduction-plan-search-and-destroy">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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-debt-free-getting-by-in-the-new-economy">Beyond Debt-Free: Getting By in the New Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-you-arent-making-enough-money">6 Signs You Aren&#039;t Making Enough Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan apps cutting expenses payoff plans spending book Wed, 08 Jun 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1726483 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_bills_calculator_64784797.jpg" alt="Man adding up his debt during debt reduction plan" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is part two of our five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see the rest of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>Excuses and bad habits might have stopped you from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow?ref=5dayplan">achieving financial success</a> in the past, but now that you're ready to tackle debt like a boss, it's time to get down to business. Paying off debt is hard work. In fact, it's probably one of the hardest financial challenges you'll take on, aside from actually making the money you'll need to pay it off. Considering that then, you won't get far without provisions in place.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-toward-financial-independence?ref=5dayplan">5 Steps Toward Financial Independence</a></p> <p>To get to the finish line &mdash; or even come close to it &mdash; you'll need a certain amount of courage to attack your debt head on. It's a frightening prospect, for sure, and maybe you've tricked yourself into believing your debt problem isn't that bad. While this mindset might help you sleep better at night, it doesn't reduce balances. So before you can move forward in this process, you have to add up what you owe. Chances are, the final number will be a scary one.</p> <h2>1. Decide Which Debts to Include in Your Payoff Plan</h2> <p>Some people come up with a plan to pay off <em>all </em>of their debt, including student loans, auto loans, and mortgages, whereas others focus on unsecured debts like credit cards and personal loans. All debt isn't created equal. We're focusing this plan on credit card debt which can have more of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=5dayplan">negative impact on credit scores</a> and usually comes with higher, often much higher, interest rates.</p> <h2>2. Take a Few Minutes to Gather Your Statements</h2> <p>Since you're adding up what you owe, create a simple spreadsheet to record this information. It's important to get everything down. Some people have no idea of how much they owe. They might have an estimated number in their head, but it's not until they see their debt on paper that they're able to grasp the severity of a situation &mdash; and subsequently reach for a solution (or a drink).</p> <h2>3. Next, List All Your Debts</h2> <p>Include detailed information about your debt, such as your current balances for each account, minimum monthly payments, and interest rates.</p> <p>Your spreadsheet might look something like this:</p> <p>&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Screen%20Shot%202016-06-06%20at%201.56.13%20PM.png" width="605" height="299" alt="" /></p> <p>After writing down your debts, calculate the total balance and total minimum payment due. You'll see how much you owe down to the cent, as well as how much you're currently paying in minimum payments each month.</p> <h2>The Cost of Minimum Payments</h2> <p>Debt elimination works best when you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-1-rule-and-other-ways-to-make-goals-manageable?ref=5dayplan">set attainable goals</a> for yourself. I've harped on this practice in plenty of my Wise Bread posts before and I can't stress the importance of goal setting enough. It isn't enough to know your numbers; you need a plan that allows you to pay down balances sooner rather than later, or else you could carry debt for decades and pay thousands of dollars in interest. You also need to do it in a reasonable way so you'll stay on track.</p> <p>At $10,000, your total minimum payments due is $200 (credit cards usually charge between 1%-3% of the balance due as their monthly minimum payment). The following month, your minimum payment due will be lower, because your balance is (slightly) lower. But if you follow this course and only make the minimum due each month, it will take you <strong>50 years</strong> to pay that off, along with paying over $28,000 in interest. I'm sure you don't want to hold on to that debt for decades, nor pay tens of thousands in interest.</p> <p>If however, you kept your monthly payments at $200, you'd be debt free in eight years, and the interest you'd have paid would be $8,916. See the difference?</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Stop Paying Credit Card Interest with a Balance Transfer</a></p> <h2>Set Achievable Goals</h2> <p>Understandably, you want the balance gone within the next few weeks or months. But you have to be realistic. Unless you strike gold or get a windfall (or start being really <em>really</em> nice to the old rich person down the street), you probably won't be able to pay off $10,000 in credit card debt in three months. But you definitely can punch those numbers and get out of debt in less than eight years.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <p>Let's say that you are able to find an extra $300 a month in your budget to steer toward debt reduction, bringing your total debt payment to $500 per month (your current minimum due plus $300). Without interest to pay, you'd knock this down in just 20 months! Unfortunately, you actually do have to pay interest until your debt is cleared.</p> <p>The average interest rate on your $10,000 is a whopping 17.88%. (Ouch!) That means it'll actually take you two years and almost $2,000 in interest, (still a huge improvement over the eight years and almost $9,000 in interest if you just paid $200 per month).</p> <p>Every little bit you can add to your monthly debt reduction budget helps. For example, if you can increase your monthly payment by just another $50, your debt is gone in 22 months, and you'll have paid $1,600 in interest.</p> <p>The key to remember is that small amounts really do add up over time. The more of those small amounts you can find and put to work for you, the faster you will be able to eliminate your credit card balances. You won't get out of debt without making some sacrifices, however. Which leads us to the next step in this series: How to search for unnecessary costs and destroy these to improve your cashflow and free up more of your money to retire debt.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You're Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn't Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks &mdash; And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <p><em>Have you recently chipped away at a decent amount of debt? How did you do it? What tactics did you employ? I'd love to hear from you 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-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-search-and-destroy">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Search and Destroy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-spend-on-a-new-car">How Much Should You Spend on a New Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-of-personal-finance-credit-where-credit-is-due-edition">Best of Personal Finance: Credit Where Credit Is Due Edition</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan goals interest rates loans minimum payment payoff plans Tue, 07 Jun 2016 10:31:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1725700 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000045194140_Large.jpg" alt="kids can use new toys to learn about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last year, my daughter asked for a hamster, and I hatched a nefarious plan. Since I really didn't need another animal in the house, I told her she'd have to pay for it herself, hoping that this would lead her to drop the topic.</p> <p>We went to the pet store and looked at the hamsters, which (to my dismay) only cost a few dollars. Then we priced cages, food, bedding, chew toys, and a hamster wheel. Once we calculated it all, she understood that a hamster costs a lot more than the price of the rodent itself.</p> <p>Instead of giving up like I'd expected (and hoped!), she saved $75 over the next several months, and proudly brought home her new pet, along with all his little hamster accessories, and several months' worth of bedding and food.</p> <p>When my daughter proved me wrong, I realized that we often underestimate kids' capacity for understanding how money works. Here are more ways to harness children's wants to help them learn financial lessons that will last much longer than any toy (or hamster). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids?ref=seealso">4 Bad Money Habits You're Teaching Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>Don't Shy Away From Discussing Cost</h2> <p>You and your child are in the toy store, and they ask for a new Lego set. Don't just say, &quot;It's too expensive.&quot; Whether you are willing to buy it or not, have the child check the price of the item. Discuss how much time you would have to work to purchase that toy, and what other things you could pay for instead with that amount of money.</p> <h2>Let Them Earn to Learn</h2> <p>Your six-year-old probably won't find a lot of job opportunities on Monster.com, so his pay is probably going to come from you. Whether you choose to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-set-an-allowance-that-wont-ruin-your-kid">pay your child an allowance</a> that is inedependent of chores or jobs they do at home, the important thing is that they get a little cash of their own, so they begin to learn that spending $1 on gum means they no longer have a dollar to put toward a yo-yo.</p> <h2>Let Them Buy Stupid Toys</h2> <p>One of the most agonizing experiences of my life was following my daughters around Chicago's huge American Girl Store, watching them try to decide how to spend a little money I had given them. My older daughter bought something sensible, a folding seat that would allow her to strap her doll to her carryon luggage. My younger daughter wanted a hair-styling set, which included sponge curlers, curling papers, and a plastic spray bottle. It killed me to watch her lay down $20 for a box of small items that would have cost $1 elsewhere, knowing they would soon be scattered all over her bedroom floor.</p> <p>But I let her do it. Just as I expected, she played with the new set for about one day, but I spent years finding the curlers and papers in odd places around the house. Now, a few years later, this daughter does put a litte more thought into how long her toy purchases might last, so &mdash; even though I am still finding those curlers &mdash; it was worth it.</p> <h2>Show Them How to Get More for Their Money</h2> <p>If your child is saving for a specific toy, introduce them to ways they can get there faster, such as using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-teachable-money-moments-to-share-with-your-kids">coupons and sales</a>. Personally, I usually have my kids save enough to cover the full price, then if I have a coupon, I show it to them just before the purchase, and give them back the cash that the coupon saved. Getting cash back in their hands seems to make a big impact.</p> <h2>Practice at Yard Sales</h2> <p>Even if my kids don't have any of their own money on them, I am known to hand them each a dollar or two when we come across a garage sale, because the situation is rife with learning opportunities. It's great practice conducting sales transactions; kids often have to politely ask how much things cost. It's a safe place to make mistakes, because no matter how useless a toy they purchase might be, chances are they only blew a few bucks.</p> <p>And yard sales, of course, offer true bargains. My son recently purchased a toy space shuttle at a block sale using one week's allowance; he would have had to save for months to buy the same toy new. My 12-year-old is getting so confident shopping yard sales that she will actually negotiate with the seller.</p> <h2>Let Them Sell Their Own Used Toys</h2> <p>This tactic takes some supervision, because unfortunately, kids can seriously undervalue gifts adults have purchased for them. I cringed when my son wanted to sell a remote-control dinosaur that he had received for Christmas at our yard sale, where it might have fetched just $5 (it had cost his grandparents about $100).</p> <p>But with a little price research and some talk about the feelings of gifters, kids can resell toys and use the money for something new. Not only is this a way for them to fund their own purchases, it shows them how quickly most new items lose value.</p> <h2>Let Them Choose Gifts for Friends and Charities</h2> <p>Every time my kids are invited to a birthday party, I turn them loose in the toy shop or bookstore with instructions to choose any combination of items that totals $20 to $25. They've learned to check price tags and weigh the benefits of choosing two or three small items versus one big thing.</p> <p>At the holidays, my kids have conducted fundraisers with their service groups to buy gifts for local foster children. First, they raise the money via a bake sale or other fundraiser, then they use the earnings to buy gifts, using everything they've learned about maximizing their money to do the best they can for the kids they're helping.</p> <p><em>How do you teach your kids about money? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-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-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/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/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</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/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buy-these-9-christmas-gifts-now-and-save">Buy These 9 Christmas Gifts Now and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Shopping kids money money lessons money lessons for kids new toys saving money toys Mon, 06 Jun 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1723704 at http://www.wisebread.com