Lifestyle http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4806/all en-US 9 Things That Cost More in 2016 http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bottled_wine_000023538266.jpg" alt="Learning which things that cost more in 2016" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your New Year's resolutions included trimming the fat from your budget, you'll want to avoid these nine purchases that will see a price hike this year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-necessities-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2016?ref=seealso">8 Necessities That Will Be Cheaper in 2016</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cable and Satellite TV</h2> <p>NBC recently reported that DirecTV and AT&amp;T's U-verse packages, channel bundles, and premium channels will see increases ranging from <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/cable-satellite-tv-costs-will-climb-again-2016-n484531">$2 to $8 per month</a>, a change that went into effect Jan. 28. Dish Network customers also will experience a similar pricing increase on its bundles, which started on Jan. 14.</p> <p>Cable industry watchdog Chris Brantner (Mr. Cable Cutter) says these increases are not limited to just a couple companies. In fact, most of the big national names in the cable and satellite TV game will be jacking up prices.</p> <p>&quot;Comcast is raising its broadcast fee to $5 from $1.75, and its sports programming fee to $3 from $2,&quot; he says. &quot;Time Warner is raising both broadcasting and sports fees as well &mdash; from $1 to $3.75 and $2.25 to $5, respectively. This seems to be a yearly trend, as pay-TV prices have skyrocketed over the last few years, with average bills breaking $100 a month.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Medicare Premiums</h2> <p>If you're retired and new to Medicare Part B, beware. <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2015/11/20/some-retirees-pay-higher-medicare-premiums-in-2016">Double-digit price hikes</a> &mdash; about 16% over last year &mdash; went into effect at the beginning of the year. Previously enrolled Part B recipients aren't faced with the increase because Social Security didn't see a cost-of-living adjustment in 2016, and Medicare payments, by law, are prevented from increasing faster than SS payments. Thus, just consider the $16.90 more you have to pay per month than older retirees your dues for being the new kid on the block.</p> <h2>3. Netflix</h2> <p>Remember back in 2011 when Netflix announced it would increase its then $10 dual streaming-plus-DVD-by-mail combo plan to $16, and the Internet lost its collective mind? Netflix stock dropped 40% after the announcement, and some called on CEO/co-founder Reed Hastings to resign. Because unlimited DVDs, y'all!</p> <p>Well, Netflix has learned several lessons since then, and while it abandoned all those 2011 plans (including an ill-fated breakaway brand called Qwikster), it raised prices $1 to $8.99 in 2014, and it plans to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/08/media/netflix-raising-price-standard-plan/">increase the price of its streaming service</a> by another dollar to $9.99 this May for new customers. If you're already a Netflix subscriber, however, you won't get hit until 2017.</p> <h2>4. Chocolate</h2> <p>If you can't trust Forbes, who can you trust? Its 2016 consumer predictions include higher prices for chocolate. According to the publication, &quot;the Ivory Coast, center of world cocoa production, is under strain from drought &mdash; putting the world's chocolate industry at risk.&quot;</p> <p>Better start rationing those leftover Kisses from Christmas.</p> <h2>5. Domestic Wine</h2> <p>If you fancy a nice glass of wine, you may have to switch up what you're drinking &mdash; at least from domestic bottlers.</p> <p>The blog SVB on Wine reports that according to its annual State of the Industry report, 41.74% percent of winemakers plan to <a href="http://svbwine.blogspot.com/2015/10/bottle-prices-are-going-up-in-2016.html">implement a small price increase</a>, while another 16.12% are planning a moderate increase in 2016. Another 2.07% are really going for the jugular with a strong increase. Alas, at least 34.71% of respondents will have pity on your pocket when you're at the liquor store: They'll hold prices steady they said, while an additional 5.37% will decrease prices slightly.</p> <h2>6. Postage</h2> <p>A summary of postage rate increases show prices for First Class Mail Letters, metered mail for First Class Mail Letter, and First Class Mail Flats will remain constant into 2016, but <a href="http://www.stamps.com/usps/postage-rate-increase/">most other services</a> will see an increase.</p> <p>Priority Mail Express recently saw an average rate increase of 15.6%, while traditional Priority Mail has increased 9.4%, as of Jan. 17. Other hikes include 11.6% for Priority Mail Express International, 10.2% for Priority Mail International, and 21.6% for First Class Package International Service.</p> <h2>7. Girl Scout Cookies</h2> <p>Your undying love for the Girl Scouts' Thin Mints will make your wallet a little thinner now that boxes of the good stuff are <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/katiesola/2015/11/05/girl-scout-cookie-price-increases-spark-outrage-but-experts-say-its-good-business/#16819fbf4deb">$5 in some areas</a> like Massachusetts and California, up from $4 last year. Pricing is set based on factors like ingredient costs, market size and availability, and shipping costs. From the new fee structure, troops would receive about $.90 per box sold opposed to the $.62 they made on the $4 box. Expect more troops across the country to adopt the new pricing in 2016.</p> <h2>8. Hotels</h2> <p>MarketWatch reports that according to the 2016 Global Travel Price Outlook, hotel prices around the globe are expected to rise this year, with North America taking the lead with a 4.3% increase. Hotel prices are estimated to increase 1.8% in Europe, 3% in Asia Pacific, and 3.7% in Latin America. Luckily, there are plenty of deals to cash in on &mdash; if you're a savvy shopper &mdash; and you can also save some dough by booking private short-term accommodations from services like Airbnb and Roomorama.</p> <h2>9. Prescription Medication</h2> <p>Drug companies aren't relenting on seemingly never-ending price increases. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Pharma players like Pfizer, Amgen, Allergan, and Horizon Pharma &quot;have raised U.S. prices for dozens of branded drugs since late December, with many increases between 9% and 10%, according to equity analysts.&quot; Vanda Pharmaceuticals increased by 10% the price of its new drug Hetlioz, which treats a sleep disorder in blind people, resulting in a 76% hike from when it was introduced in 2014.</p> <p><em>Has &quot;Pharma Bro&quot; Martin Shkreli started offering classes on how to rip people off that we don't know about? What are you spending more for this year?</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/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016">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/are-your-five-senses-tricking-you-to-spend-more">Are Your Five Senses Tricking You to Spend More?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/16-everyday-things-you-shouldnt-be-paying-for">16 Everyday Things You Shouldn&#039;t Be Paying For</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-free-things-that-arent">8 &quot;Free&quot; Things That Aren&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping cable chocolate expenses medicare postage price increases wine Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1650372 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 of the World's Most Expensive Restaurants http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurants <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/CN_newithaarestaurant_5.jpg" alt="Couple eating at the world&#039;s most expensive restaurants" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to restaurants, most of us make a decision based on several factors: quality and style of the food, the location, and of course, the menu prices. But what if one of those factors was never an issue? What if money was no object, and you could eat absolutely anywhere, regardless of cost?</p> <p>Here are 10 of the most expensive restaurants in the world. When you consider the price for a meal can be more than a mortgage payment (or two), that's a whole lot of dough for a few hours of bread and wine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-get-these-8-expensive-indulgences">Cheap Ways to Get These 8 Expensive Indulgences</a>)</p> <h2>1. SubliMotion, Spain &mdash; $2,173 Per Person</h2> <p>Topping the list is <a href="http://nypost.com/2015/08/10/inside-the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurant/">SubliMotion</a>, a restaurant located inside the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza. At over two grand per person, for just a few hours of dining, you know this is an experience only the very wealthy can afford. If you somehow want to blow your savings on the experience, you can expect a 15&ndash;20 course meal, based in the art of molecular gastronomy. Not only that, but this sensory experience marries the meal with music, visual stimulation, art, and hi-tech headsets. The reviews are stunning, but of course, for that kind of money, they should be.</p> <h2>2. Aragawa, Japan &mdash; From $370 Per Person</h2> <p>If you like the finest steak, <a href="http://www.aragawa.jp/english.html">Aragawa</a> could be one to put on your bucket list &mdash; if, of course, you happen to be in the Shinbashi district of Tokyo. You would think the price alone would make it relatively easy to get a table, but think again. It can take months, or longer, to get a reservation. The reason is the Wagyu beef (more commonly known in the U.S. as Kobe), which comes from just one local farm. The process to raise the Tajima cattle is long and painstaking, resulting in the high prices. But one thing is for certain &mdash; no one who has ever tried it has said it wasn't worth the price.</p> <h2>3. Maison Pic, France &mdash; $442 Per Person</h2> <p>Following in the footsteps of her famous chef father and grandfather, <a href="https://www.relaischateaux.com/us/france/pic-drome-valence">Anne-Sophie Pic</a> is continuing the tradition of high-quality, multi-course dining in the heart of Drôme, France. As you can expect from a three-star Michelin restaurant, the menu is mouth-watering. From squab and candied turnips, to Banon goat cheese Berlingots, and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate desserts, it's an experience you'll never forget. And neither will your bank balance.</p> <h2>4. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London &mdash; $178 Per Person</h2> <p>Compared to the first restaurant on the list, a meal at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay seems like a bargain. But of course, when you factor in wine, tip, and other additions, you're still looking at around $500 for a meal for two. One of the many restaurants of the infamous chef Gordon Ramsay, <a href="https://www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com/restaurant-gordon-ramsay/">this is his signature location</a>. Your three course meal will consist of modern French cuisine, including pan-fried sea scallops, sautéed foie gras with roasted veal, and Cotswold lamb. Oh, and don't worry about Ramsay's temper. With so many restaurants around the world, and all of his TV shows, it's doubtful you'd ever see him make an appearance.</p> <h2>5. Masa, New York City &mdash; $600 Per Person</h2> <p>Masa is not just expensive; it's <a href="http://nypost.com/2015/03/23/why-a-listers-are-flocking-to-the-most-overpriced-restaurant-in-nyc/">often considered overpriced</a>, and simply a chic hangout for Hollywood A-Listers and fat cat businessmen. It's a Japanese sushi restaurant opened by renowned chef Masa Takayama in 2004. Expect to pay $45 for a single scoop of ice cream, $240 for maki rolls, and $60 for grilled scampi. What's the draw? The food is good, but really, it's the company. People come here to rub shoulders with the elite, and to prove a point. This is the restaurant for the 1% of the 1%, and while it may be a luxury you and I can afford once, this is a regular hangout for the rich and famous.</p> <h2>6. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives &mdash; $320 Per Person</h2> <p>For a dining experience that is a feast for the eyes, as well as the palette, you could try <a href="http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/hotels/maldives/conrad-maldives-rangali-island-MLEHICI/amenities/restaurants-ithaa.html">Ithaa</a> in the Maldives. Sitting 10 feet below the surface of the Indian Ocean, surrounded by sea life and coral, this small venue accommodates just 14 guests for lunch, dinner, or cocktails. Expect mascarpone and truffle dumplings, lobster Carpaccio, and agnolotti of duck. Considered one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, you won't have an easy time getting a reservation. But when you finally do, it is considered an experience unlike any other.</p> <h2>7. Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London &mdash; $343 Per Person</h2> <p>Back to London again, and more modern French cuisine. But this is double the price of a meal at Ramsay's eatery. Located in London's famous Dorchester hotel, <a href="http://www.alainducasse-dorchester.com/">Alain Ducasse</a> is a three Michelin star restaurant serving exquisite food to diners with deep pockets. The Black Truffle Menu is a seven-course meal costing $343 a head, but if you want to &quot;slum it&quot; you could try the A La Carte menu. For $136 each, you get a starter, main course, and dessert (service charge not included).</p> <h2>8. Restaurant Crissier, Switzerland &mdash; $375 Per Person</h2> <p>The fine dining establishment of the late chef Benôit Violier and his wife Brigitte, <a href="http://www.restaurantcrissier.com/uk/restaurant-hotel-ville-crissier-official-site.php">Crissier</a> is highly rated by all who eat there. Located in a gorgeous setting, and staffed by a team that makes everyone feel like royalty, Crissier offers a wide array of dishes to suit many palates. Roast saddle of suckling lamb, purple sea urchin, duck foie gras, and wild turbot are all in the $375 menu. If you're in a hurry, you can get a quick lunch for just under $200 per person.</p> <h2>9. Misoguigawa, Kyoto &mdash; $168 Per Person</h2> <p>The least expensive restaurant on the list, but still incredibly expensive by the average American's standards, Misoguigawa blends two styles of cuisine &mdash; French and Japanese Kaiseki. The result is a truly original and exhilarating experience for lovers of either cuisine, and the rave reviews across multiple food blogging sites back that up. If you're feeling extravagant, you can try the more expensive $270 per person menu; but you must call and reserve this at least five days in advance. On the menu, beef filet with potato soufflés, buttered French beans, and roasted pumpkin.</p> <h2>10. Plaza Athénéé, Paris &mdash; $550 Per Person</h2> <p>Another restaurant of esteemed chef Alain Ducasse, Plaza Athénéé is located in the city of romance; but you are not going to love the price. Seated below chandeliers comprised of 10,000 glimmering crystals, the dining room itself is a work of art. The menu consists of rare ingredients, and a plate of steamed langoustines with caviar costs over $260 alone. One of the most expensive restaurants on the list, but as it's set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it's also one of the most desirable.</p> <p><em>What's the most you've ever paid for nice dinner out?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-restaurants">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/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</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/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</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/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes">14 (Mostly) Frugal Valentine’s Day Recipes</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-avoid-putting-on-recession-pounds">How to Avoid Putting on Recession Pounds</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/frugal-gluten-free-living-easy-pizza-crust">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Easy Pizza Crust</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Lifestyle expensive restaurants Fine Dining menu prices rich Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1649874 at http://www.wisebread.com Learn Something New With These 9 Cheap Apps http://www.wisebread.com/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000062778500_Large.jpg" alt="learning something new with a cheap educational app" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With so many new things in the world to learn and so little time in your hectic schedule to spare, the learning part should be easy and accessible. For those who don't have the patience to sit down with a book, and who also are extremely attached to their smartphones, apps are a great way to turn a potential distraction into a powerful and portable medium for learning.</p> <p>Here are nine cheap or free apps to help you learn something new.</p> <h2>1. Couch to 5K</h2> <p>Right now, many Americans are trying to keep their New Year's Resolutions. Among the top resolutions is to &quot;get fit&quot; and one of the most common ways to achieve that is to get off the couch and train for a 5K race.</p> <p>Recommended by Shape Magazine as the best app for new runners, Couch to 5K provides you a training schedule of three 30-minute sessions a week for nine weeks to achieve your goal of running your first 5K race. It costs $2.99 to download and it's available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/couch-to-5k-running-app-training/id448474423?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.active.aps.c25k">Google Play</a>.</p> <p>Ready for the next level? There are also <a href="http://www.activenetwork.com/mobile-apps/5k-to-10k-app">5K to 10K</a> and half-marathon (<a href="http://www.activenetwork.com/mobile-apps/13-1-half-marathon-app">13.One</a>) training apps. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-that-pay-you-to-exercise?ref=seealso">5 Apps That Pay You to Exercise</a>)</p> <h2>2. Dictionary</h2> <p>Want to become a &quot;logophile&quot; or discover what that word even means? Then download the Dictionary.com mobile apps for free (available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dictionary.com-dictionary/id308750436?mt=8&amp;at=1l3vsk3&amp;ct=mobileappspage_iphonefree">iPhone</a>, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dictionary.com-dictionary/id364740856?mt=8">iPad</a>, Apple Watch, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dictionary&amp;hl=en">Android</a>, Android Wear, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-com-Dictionary-and-Thesaurus-Android/dp/B004GMT14Y">Amazon</a> devices). With over 100 million app downloads and 5.5 billion word searches per year, Dictionary.com is the world's leading digital English dictionary.</p> <p>Through its Word of the Day feature, you'll learn a new word every day, including its definition, pronunciation, origin, and example of use. This dictionary app also allows you to keep track of your favorite words so that you can bring them up when the time is right &mdash; and impress the pants off everyone you know with your massive vocabulary.</p> <h2>3. Duolingo</h2> <p>Speaking more than one language may enable you for higher pay in certain jobs and help you <a href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/journals/pspi/bilingual-minds.html">fight against Alzheimer's disease</a>. By gamifying the language learning process, Duolingo (available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/duolingo-learn-spanish-french/id570060128?mt=8">iTunes</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.duolingo">Google Play</a>, and <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/duolingo-learn-languages-for-free/9wzdncrcv5xn">Windows Store</a>) makes your lessons fun and provides immediate gratification. Duolingo grants you points for completing tasks so you can see how you stack up against your friends.</p> <p>Chosen as 2013's App of the Year by Apple and available for free download, Duolingo is a top choice for learning Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Irish, Danish, and English.</p> <h2>4. Fooducate</h2> <p>With an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from a total of 11,200 ratings, Fooducate is another useful app to keep your resolution for a healthier and fitter 2016. This app, available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fooducate/id398436747?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fooducate.nutritionapp&amp;referrer=utm_source%3Dfdct-redirect%26utm_campaign%3DFdct-Web-footer-button%26utm_medium%3Dna">Google Play</a>, grades food items from A down to D based on the item's nutrition facts panel and ingredient list.</p> <p>By scanning the UPC of many food items, you'll be able to spot information that may be hard to identify, including tricky trans fats, added sugars, and controversial food colorings. The rating isn't arbitrary. In 2012, the <a href="http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/news/2012/02/sg_healthy_app_challenge-winners.html">U.S. Surgeon General's Healthy App Challenge</a> awarded Fooducate first place in the category of nutrition and healthy eating.</p> <h2>5. Khan Academy</h2> <p>Use it or lose it. Spreadsheet software and modern calculators hinder many math skills, including performing long division, factoring a quadratic equation, finding the least common multiple, or solving a system of linear equations. While you may have thought that you would never have to perform these math operations ever again, you would run into them if you were to take a standardized test, such as the GMAT, GRE, or ASVAB.</p> <p>Without ads and subscription fees, the Khan Academy app, available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/khan-academy/id469863705?mt=8&amp;uo=4">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.khanacademy.android&amp;hl=en">Google Play</a>, allows you to review those key math skills. You can also find plenty of free online classes on science, computer programming, history, art, economics, and other topics.</p> <h2>6. Mint</h2> <p>Available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mint-personal-finance/id300238550?mt=8">iTunes</a>, <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mint&amp;hl=en">Google Play</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Intuit-Mint-com-Personal-Finance/dp/B004T2P7MQ">Amazon</a>, the free Mint app helps you track all your financial accounts, cards, and investments in one place so you can improve your financial wellbeing. While you could try to keep track of all of your finances from statements, you could benefit greatly from Mint's visual dashboard. And since 65% of individuals are <a href="http://www.uab.edu/uasomume/fd2/visuals/page1.htm">visual learners</a>, the app's bar charts, pie charts, and colorful alerts allow you to spend smarter and save more.</p> <p>One of the best features of the app is the ability to create a detailed budget so you can keep track of how much money you have left for the month in specific categories, such as dining, clothing, and transportation.</p> <h2>7. Poems By Heart</h2> <p>Another way to keep your mind sharp is to improve your memory. The Poems By Heart app helps you memorize and recite poems from several genres, including the &quot;Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day&quot; sonnet by Shakespeare and &quot;Eldorado&quot; by Edgar Allan Poe.</p> <p>The app is only available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/poems-by-heart-from-penguin/id577789325?mt=8">iPhone and iPad</a> and comes with four free poems. You can buy additional poem packages that feature the works of iconic poets like Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats, and James Weldon Johnson. Apple featured Poems by Heart as one of &quot;Apple's App Store Best of 2013&quot; because it's highly engaging (and addictive!) user design.</p> <h2>8. Photomath</h2> <p>One of the hardest things about solving mathematical problems is to understand all of the steps involved in the process. Even worse, it's hard enough trying to write down a complicated arithmetic operation or lengthy linear equation.</p> <p>The Photomath app allows you to snap a photo of a wide variety of mathematical expressions, including basic arithmetic, fractions, decimal numbers, linear equations and several functions, with the camera of your <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photomath/id919087726">iPhone</a> or <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microblink.photomath">Android device</a> and show you a step-by-step answer. This is a very useful app for math students of all levels and parents of those young students willing to help out.</p> <h2>9. Quizlet</h2> <p>Flashcards are an excellent study tool because they allow for a self-directed personalized study experience that help us gauge our progress. Available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quizlet-flashcards-study-tools/id546473125?mt=8">iTunes</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quizlet.quizletandroid&amp;hl=en&amp;referrer=utm_source%3Dmobilepage">Google Play</a>, the Quizlet app allows you to build your own set of digital flashcards on any subject that you're trying to master. From learning new words in Spanish to memorizing kitchen recipes to preparing for a driving permit practice test, use Quizlet to unlock the learning power of flashcards in six study modes.</p> <p><em>What are other cheap or free apps to help you learn something? Share with us 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/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps">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-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">10 More Hobbies You Can Start for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring">5 Ways to Restart Your Resolutions This Spring</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/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Lifestyle cheap apps education free apps iPhone learning new skills resolutions Wed, 03 Feb 2016 18:19:00 +0000 Damian Davila 1647754 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Great Side Jobs for Extroverts http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-side-jobs-for-extroverts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-great-side-jobs-for-extroverts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000028310364_Large.jpg" alt="yoga is a great side job for an extrovert" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Throughout my entire life, I've always had a second job, and all of them have included direct interaction with other people. And I thoroughly enjoy human interaction. Not only is it additional income, but it also provides me an ongoing opportunity to observe and understand human nature. This is an extrovert's paradise.</p> <p>If you're looking for a 5-9 to help pay the bills, that also allows you to tap into your social side, consider the options below. Oh, and make sure you pick a second job that is in no way related to your first job, or you might get burnt out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-must-know-about-money-before-you-take-a-side-job?Ref=seealso">10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before You Take a Side Job</a>)</p> <h2>1. Airbnb Host</h2> <p>Being a great Airbnb host is an art form. Not only do you need to vet every person who will share your home, but you should also be hospitable by greeting them and telling them about the best local places to go. That being said, make sure you understand when to give a guest their space, as an overzealous Airbnb host can prompt bad ratings.</p> <h2>2. Tour Guide</h2> <p>Tour guides not only get to meet out-of-towners, but also get to show their personality while talking about fascinating local subjects. Your town might have a ghost tour, historical tour, bike tour, or walking tour that you could check out. It's a fun job and stress-free once you know what you're talking about.</p> <h2>3. Yoga Teacher</h2> <p>Becoming a certified yoga instructor will not only give you peace of mind, but will also give you a chance to help others become healthier or more peaceful. I have some friends who are yoga instructors and create their own schedules, essentially. You will need to guide a room full of people into poses that might be foreign to them &mdash; so excellent communication skills are a must. The upfront fee to become a yoga instructor can be pricey, but once you do, the benefits can far outweigh the cost.</p> <h2>4. Uber Driver</h2> <p>Much like Airbnb, being a good Uber driver is contingent on your ability to deal with people. Having bottles of water in the car, greeting your customers with a smile, and reading the room on how much you should be talking are all essential elements of a good Uber rating. We had an Uber driver in New Orleans that made us late for a reservation because she took the long way to show us famous houses. She was great and thoughtful, but we were in a hurry, so make sure you keep that in mind if you start driving for hire.</p> <h2>5. Tutor</h2> <p>Having a day job that ends at 5 p.m. tends to coincide with school schedules, so if you have some time on your hands at night and are especially good at a certain subject, consider tutoring. You could tutor children or adults in GED prep, math, reading, science, and more. Not only will this be rewarding for you, but other people will benefit from what you are offering, and you will using your knowledge to teach someone else very important skills or information. Research established programs or reach out to schools to see what might be available.</p> <h2>6. Outdoor Guide</h2> <p>If you love the outdoors, being an outdoor guide might be right up your alley. I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where we're known for our outdoor activities. From hiking to rock climbing to kayaking &mdash; there's something for everyone. You could be a guide on hunting trips, trail tours, or boat excursions. If you're especially good at an outdoor sport and want to show and guide others on how to do it, consider looking into outdoor programs in your area. Don't forget there might be some upfront costs such as CPR training or first aid certification.</p> <h2>7. Photographer</h2> <p>Since the invention of Instagram, everyone thinks they're a photographer. But if you have real photography skills, consider being a wedding or family photographer on the side. You can make a lot of money if you're good, and the more, the better. You might think that you're mostly hiding behind a camera, but this job requires supreme social skills. You'll be capturing people's most important life moments, and you want them to be happy with the results. A nice camera and editing chops come with the job, so only those qualified or with a real passion for photography should consider this choice.</p> <h2>8. Event Planner</h2> <p>I love planning events. I love the stress and exhilaration of doing a good job, and planning and running events is the perfect avenue for that. If you are organized, thoughtful, and can deal with the attitude of whomever you are planning the event for, you should consider doing this. It takes patience, tact, a little bit of grace, and <em>a lot</em> of talking, but it's definitely worth it.</p> <h2>9. ESL Teacher</h2> <p>As the U.S. population continues to become more and more diverse, every town across America is in need of great ESL teachers. You do have to have a bachelor's degree typically for this program, and <a href="http://study.com/how_to_become_an_esl_teacher.html">there are upfront costs</a>, but every single ESL teacher I know absolutely loves it! Plus, you'll be constantly practicing your communication skills as an ESL teacher, which will make you a better communicator in all situations.</p> <h2>10. Customer Service Representative</h2> <p>The sky's the limit on this one. You could work at a coffee shop, bar, music venue, theater, or anything else that might be open for a 5-9 position. There are plenty of options, so choose what you love. That way you have an authentic interest in what you'll be discussing with customers.</p> <p>Theaters and music venues often give discounts on shows, but it's probably not a good idea to ask that in the interview.</p> <p><em>What other second jobs would be perfect for an extrovert? Share with us 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/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-side-jobs-for-extroverts">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/you-can-earn-more-money-heres-how">You CAN Earn More Money — Here&#039;s How</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-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">12 Legit Ways for Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads to Earn Some Extra Cash</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-new-income-streams-anyone-can-create">5 New Income Streams Anyone Can Create</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-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">9 Ways to Earn Extra Cash When Money Is Tight</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-truths-from-a-mystery-shopper-you-must-read-before-you-get-started">8 Truths From a Mystery Shopper You Must Read Before You Get Started</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Lifestyle extra income extrovert people person side jobs social skills Tue, 02 Feb 2016 12:00:14 +0000 Jennifer Holder 1647762 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways the Sandwich Generation Can Get Ahead http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_mom_grandmother_000065344773.jpg" alt="Young woman learning how the sandwich generation can get ahead" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Sandwich Generation &mdash; those caught caring for aging parents while still supporting children &mdash; face daunting financial challenges. How can they live up to their responsibilities, while still reaching their own financial goals? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have?ref=seealso">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a>)</p> <h2>1. Set Boundaries</h2> <p>Simultaneously caring for a minor and parent is taxing on your &quot;me time.&quot; All told, 42% of Gen Xers and 33% of Baby Boomers are <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/01/Sandwich_Generation_Report_FINAL_1-29.pdf">living this scenario</a> &mdash; and feeling the squeeze in places other than just their wallets. So, how to make time and energy for oneself when so many others are depending on you?</p> <p>One way is to set boundaries. Maybe you need one or two days away from catering to the needs of others. Set up a schedule with other members of your family so that a spouse or brother or cousin is available to relieve you from in-home care duties on certain days. Perhaps common errands like lawn mowing and grocery shopping are becoming difficult to juggle. If you have a mature and capable child, consider delegating out some of these chores.</p> <p>Setting boundaries might be as simple as carving out a two-hour block each day during which you engage in whatever activities &mdash; napping, exercising, reading &mdash; benefit you. The key, of course, is sticking to it. Honor that time you've created for yourself and know that it's helping not only you, but those who depend on you, too.</p> <h2>2. Consider Long-Term Care Insurance</h2> <p>If you're caring for an ailing parent, you may want to mandate that Mom or Dad invest in long-term care insurance. If they're resistant, explain that it's for you as much as it is for them. After all, you don't want to go bankrupt, and your parent doesn't want that for you either. Long-term care insurance policies reimburse policyholders a daily amount for services to assist with the cost of daily activities such as bathing, dressing, or eating. The cost of a long-term care policy is determined by factors such as how old the policyholder is when he or she buys in, and the predetermined maximum amount that the policy will pay per day.</p> <h2>3. Invite Mom and Dad to Move In</h2> <p>If your parents move in with you, you can all save money in property taxes &mdash; up to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on where you reside. Not to mention, the average annual cost of a <a href="https://www.metlife.com/mmi/research/2012-market-survey-long-term-care-costs.html#keyfindings">private nursing home</a> room is about $91,000, while the the cost of assisted living falls around $43,000.</p> <p>Multigenerational housing eliminates such expenses and grants you the peace of mind that Mom and Dad are being well-cared for by yourself and other members of the family. Establishing a multigenerational household may seem daunting, but don't discount the many social benefits. Your children will have a better shot at developing a meaningful relationship with their grandparents if they're all living under one roof. Same goes for you and your parents.</p> <h2>4. Collect Rent From Grown Kids Who Move Back Home</h2> <p>At one time, it was embarrassing for a young adult to move back in with his or her parents. But today, that simply isn't so. In fact, thanks to The Great Recession, there are so many young adults moving back in with Mom and Dad that the stigma is practically non-existent.</p> <p>Living at home eases the burden of student debt while helping young adults save for their education, a car, and a place of their own. But remember that all of these benefits are still well in play when you charge your son or daughter a fair rent. And you should. Young adults who pay to live at home are more likely to feel motivated to get a good job, establish a career, improve their education, and put their degree to good use. You needn't charge the amount it would cost to rent an apartment in your city or town. A couple hundred dollars a month is typically enough to keep your son or daughter edging to better themselves.</p> <h2>5. Claim a Parent as a Dependent</h2> <p>If you're caring for a parent who has a gross income of no more than $3,950 &mdash; this number excludes Social Security and disability &mdash; you can <a href="http://www.elderlawanswers.com/claiming-a-parent-as-a-dependent-3657">claim them as a dependent</a> when you file your taxes.</p> <h2>6. Write Off Your Parent's Medical Expenses</h2> <p>The IRS understands the strain of paying for a parent's medical tab. If you footed the bill for a parent's medical care, you may be able to <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_2015_publink1000178856">deduct those expenses</a> when you file your taxes. To quality, total medical expenses, including the cost of prescription drugs, hospital care, and doctor's visits, must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income.</p> <p><em>Are you part of the Sandwich Generation? How are you coping?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</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-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</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/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">How to Save on Babysitting Without Ending Up on the Local News</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle baby boomers dependents gen x insurance parents sandwich generation taxes Mon, 01 Feb 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1646408 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_out_000079795535.jpg" alt="Woman learning to not let peer pressure ruin her finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter your confidence level, you probably don't want to be known as the poor one in your group of friends. When they're going out to dinner and planning vacations together, it can be hard to turn down invitations or resist pressure to join in on the fun.</p> <p>Financial peer pressure is a real problem that can affect people of all ages. According to a study conducted by the American Institute of CPAs, about &quot;78% of young adults look at the <a href="http://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2013/pages/millennials-rely-on-friends-financial-habits-to-determine-their-own.aspx">financial habits of their friends</a> to determine their own habits.&quot; Another 66% admitted that they strived to keep up with their peers in terms of living conditions, and two-thirds of consumers feel some level of financial peer pressure.</p> <p>If you don't think friends influence your spending habits, consider this: Have you ever charged something you couldn't afford to a credit card to keep up appearances? Have you ever spent outside your budget so you wouldn't feel left out? Most of us have been in these types of situations. Luckily, we also grow and learn how to make better choices with our money, and one of the best decisions you can make is learning how not to give in to financial peer pressure.</p> <h2>1. Shop Alone</h2> <p>To resist financial peer pressure, you have to know what you can handle. You can't control what your friends do or buy, but you can control who you shop with. If hitting the mall with friends results in you burning through more cash than you have, you need to shop alone.</p> <p>Your friends may not have ill intentions, but if they see you drooling over an item, they could unknowingly put pressure on you to purchase something you can't afford. You have to remember one important fact: You're the one who has to deal with the repercussions of a purchase. Your friends aren't getting the credit card statement in the mail; you are. Likewise, they're not the ones who'll worry about making ends meet if you spend outside your budget. Learn how to become your own shopping buddy.</p> <p>Personally, I only shop alone, and I love it. I'm not tryin' to wait for you to try on six different outfits just to pick the first one you had on. No, thank you. I'll meet you back in the food court in an hour.</p> <h2>2. Don't Be Ashamed of Your Limitations</h2> <p>The fact that you have some financial limitations doesn't make you a loser or mean you're inferior to anyone. Maybe you have more expenses or responsibilities than your friends. Some of your friends might be single with no kids, have roommates, or live with their folks, whereas you're the breadwinner of your household. Everyone has unique circumstances. So if you have to pass on a costly night out or a fancy excursion, it's okay.</p> <h2>3. Don't Be Fooled by Social Media</h2> <p>Even if your friends seem to have it together financially, it could very well all be an act. With that said, stop coveting the lifestyles you see on Facebook or Tumblr. Remember, most people don't use social media to broadcast their problems. What they will do, however, is showcase the good in their lives, such as vacations, new cars, new homes, and other achievements. There isn't anything wrong with people sharing good or exciting news &mdash; just realize that what you see online isn't always the truth, and it definitely shouldn't be the standard you live by. Some of the people you envy are up to their eyeballs in debt &mdash; all because they're trying to portray a certain lifestyle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=seealso">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a>)</p> <h2>4. Don't Forget Your Goals</h2> <p>Adopting a frugal mindset is one of the best ways to reach your goals, such as saving up to buy a house or finally taking a European vacation. This involves pinching your pennies and making sacrifices for the betterment of your personal money. But you won't reach these goals if you're giving into financial peer pressure. The next time a friend ups the pressure or tries to make you feel bad for not spending money, think about your goals and decide whether saving face is worth derailing your plans.</p> <h2>5. Don't Let Braggarts Get in Your Head</h2> <p>Some people will brag about anything, and you might feel tempted to outshine them &mdash; but you shouldn't do this at the expense of your finances. The braggart is the one with the problem, not you. This person wants to stir competition and outdo his friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. You have a choice. You can either ignore this person (at which point he'll take his annoying self elsewhere), or you can fall for the bait and get trapped in a game of one-up. Just know that in this game, there are no winners. You might come out on top, but it'll cost you.</p> <p><em>Have you let financial peer pressure get the best of you? How have you dealt with it? Let's discuss 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/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</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/can-i-conquer-my-vanity-for-the-sake-of-my-sanity">Can I Conquer My Vanity for the Sake of My Sanity?</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/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money">11 Ways Cycling Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle friends jealousy keeping up with the joneses peer pressure saving money shopping Thu, 28 Jan 2016 16:01:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1645271 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 "Free" Things That Aren't http://www.wisebread.com/8-free-things-that-arent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-free-things-that-arent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_free_breakfast_000018935533.jpg" alt="Couple learning which free things aren&#039;t really free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Free has to be one of the most abused words in the English language. It's become so bad that we are always skeptical, and look for asterisks or legal copy to see what the catch is. But, even when there doesn't appear to be one, free is not always what it's cracked up to be.</p> <p>Here are eight instances when something free may end up costing you in the long run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a>)</p> <h2>1. Free Shipping</h2> <p>As an occasional eBay seller, I know the power of free shipping. In fact, one of the most popular ways to sort products on eBay is to click the box that says &quot;free shipping.&quot;</p> <p>When researching this, I discovered that it was better to charge $19.95 for a product and offer free shipping than it was to charge $14.95 and $3.95 shipping. As you can see, the latter is actually the better deal &mdash; but people don't see it that way. So the next time you are looking at deals online, do some comparison shopping &mdash; especially on eBay. You will find that on many occasions, identical products work out cheaper when you actually opt to pay separate shipping.</p> <h2>2. Free Checking</h2> <p>Many banks will lure you in with free checking, but don't sign on the dotted line until you really understand what's being offered. For instance, my &quot;free&quot; business checking account comes with a $15 monthly service charge if I don't pay at least three bills each month using the bill-pay service. That one was news to me.</p> <p>You can also find a whole host of fees that you will have to pay to handle your money, ranging from wire transfer fees and checkbook costs to ATM fees, minimum balance fees, and others. Oh, and the second you go into the red, expect to be hit with a whopping fee (usually around $35), even if it was only by a few bucks for a few hours.</p> <h2>3. Free Big Prizes</h2> <p>We're not talking about winning a couple of tickets to a show or an mp3 player. If you are lucky enough to win something <em>big</em>, like a home, fancy vacation, or a car, be prepared for the cost implications that will follow. The big problem being taxes.</p> <p>For instance, many people on the show Extreme Home Makeover were thrilled to see their old home become an extravagant mansion. But once the cameras had gone, they were left with massive property taxes, big energy bills, and steep insurance hikes. Their financial circumstances didn't change to cover those costs, and they either had to sell, take out a home equity loan, or in some cases, declare bankruptcy. If you win a big car, or dream vacation, you will have to declare this to the IRS. So, be careful before saying yes to anything like this. It may be a dream come true, but can you afford it?</p> <h2>4. Free Pets</h2> <p>You see them advertised on Craigslist, local ads, and even in the break room at work. Someone's pet has a litter, and they want the kittens or puppies gone quickly. Hey, a free puppy, that's great! Well... yes and no.</p> <p>Your new addition will need a lifetime of food, care, and veterinary visits. Right off the bat, you'll have to pay to have your &quot;free&quot; pet vaccinated and spayed or neutered. If you choose a puppy that will grow into a large breed, you can expect to pay hundreds each month for food. And if your pet gets sick, the vet bills can be insanely expensive. If you want to avoid that, pet insurance is another hefty monthly cost. The big question is, do you have the financial stability to accept a free pet?</p> <h2>5. Free Hotel Breakfasts</h2> <p>&quot;Hey look, it says here we get a complimentary breakfast every morning!&quot; Actually, you've already paid for it. No hotel would stay in business by giving away tens of thousands of dollars in food and beverages every single day.</p> <p>The simple fact is, the cost of that breakfast is incorporated into the price of your hotel room. For example, instead of charging you $135 per night, the hotel charges $150 per night and includes &quot;free&quot; breakfast. Of course, if you're smart and book the hotel with a price comparison website like Hotels.com, you may get the room for way less than the advertised price. In that case, the other guests are paying for your free breakfast.</p> <h2>6. Free Meals/Tickets for Listening to a Pitch</h2> <p>You know the saying, &quot;There's no such thing as a free lunch?&quot; Well, sometimes it's spot on. In this instance, you're asked to listen to a sales pitch in exchange for a free meal, tickets to a show, or even a free vacation. Sounds like a good deal, but it isn't.</p> <p>It turns out you have to spend at least 45 minutes of your time listening to a pitch about timeshares, or investment opportunities, or new baby products (yes, this happened to me once). And once the presentation is over, you will be given the hard sell &mdash; the <em>super</em> hard sell. These people don't like to give away free meals or show tickets without converting enough people into customers to make it worth their while. So ask yourself, is your time free? Because you are paying for your &quot;free&quot; gifts with it.</p> <h2>7. Free Extra Gadget &mdash; Just Pay Shipping and Handling</h2> <p>You can already see the conflict in that statement. Many times on TV you will see those very sales-y infomercial products. After being blasted for 90 seconds about all the amazing things it can do, you are suddenly surprised with the fact that the order will be doubled if you call now. And, very quickly, a voice says, &quot;Just pay shipping and handling.&quot;</p> <p>Well, guess what. You're actually paying for that extra gadget. In fact, the whole pricing model is based on the cost of selling two items to you, not just one. The additional shipping and handling fee is a nice little bonus on top, as the cost of shipping was already calculated in the original cost of the product. It's all smoke and mirrors, but it's a very effective way to get people to buy. And, if you want to test the theory, call and ask to buy just one of the product at half the cost. You won't get very far.</p> <h2>8. Free Stuff on Craigslist</h2> <p>Many people I know like to browse through the &quot;free&quot; section on Craigslist in the hope of snagging a real bargain. Most of the time, what's being offered are items that are either too difficult or too costly for the owners to dispose of themselves.</p> <p>From time to time, you will find something decent on there. But before you say yes, remember it's not actually free. You have to go and pick up the item, which means you're spending money on fuel, putting miles on your car, and of course, using your own time (which is valuable). You may also need to repair the item in question. A good example I saw recently was a movie projector. Offered free, because it needed a new bulb that cost almost $100. So, do your research, ask questions, and see if the free item is actually worth your time and money.</p> <p><em>What free things have you picked up only to regret the actual cost later?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-free-things-that-arent">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/16-everyday-things-you-shouldnt-be-paying-for">16 Everyday Things You Shouldn&#039;t Be Paying For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-little-known-amazon-shopping-hacks">5 Little Known Amazon Shopping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-that-cost-more-in-2016">9 Things That Cost More in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-buy-used">8 Things You Should Always Buy Used</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping checking accounts craigslist freebies no such thing as a free lunch pets shipping Tue, 26 Jan 2016 18:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 1642635 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Restart Your Resolutions This Spring http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000076065413_Large.jpg" alt="restarting her resolution in spring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sure, I resolved to &quot;be better about flossing&quot; and &quot;do more crunches&quot; in my list of resolutions for 2016. I even spoke my resolutions aloud in my work wellness group to reinforce ethem. And then, upon re-reading them, I wondered how long those goals would last. A little research told me that only 8% of people who make resolutions actually achieve them.</p> <p>As it turns out, maybe New Year's just isn't the best time to make resolutions. Maybe we should all be waiting until the snow melts and the flowers start to bloom. Isn't that a better setting to tap into your motivated self anyway? Here are five ways to restart your resolutions this spring, so you actually achieve them.</p> <h2>1. Remember That Goals Can Be Made Anytime</h2> <p>We like to make resolutions in January, because it's the traditional time to do so, and that &quot;new year, fresh start&quot; feeling is palpable and contagious. By breaking free of that January tradition, you might be able to actually achieve success. According to StatisticBrain, the top <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/">New Year's Resolutions in 2015</a> were:</p> <ul> <li>Lose weight</li> <li>Spend less, save more</li> <li>Enjoy life to the fullest</li> <li>Stay fit and healthy</li> <li>Learn something exciting</li> <li>Quit smoking</li> <li>Help others</li> <li>Fall in love</li> <li>Spend more time with family</li> </ul> <p>Sure, it's easy to hop on the scale January 1 and resolve to move more and consume less, but when the days are short and your energy is at an all-time low, it can be tough to get motivated. Why not start that new fitness chapter of your life once the snow melts and when being outdoors is actually bearable?</p> <p>And for &quot;spend less, save more,&quot; wouldn't reviewing your financial goals <em>after </em>your taxes are done make more sense? That's a very natural time to review what you've done, and see where you need to work harder. April, then, could be a month to <em>begin</em> setting financial goals.</p> <p>Many of these resolutions can be implemented at any point during the year. There is nothing magical about starting them in January.</p> <h2>2. Learn to Exercise Because You Want to, Not Because You Have To</h2> <p>A soon-to-be-published Duke University study found that <a href="http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/news_events/news-releases/jordan-etkin-tracking/">measurement of exercise</a> &quot;Has these pernicious effects. Enjoyable activities can become almost like a job, by forcing out the outcomes of things that used to be fun,&quot; said Professor Etkin, of the results.</p> <p>I'm guilty of that. I like to write tasks down, and then cross them off. In doing those crunches, I'm not focusing on whether I'm doing them well, and using good form. I'm just counting them. I see a lot of this on Twitter, in tweets about how far a person has walked, or the amount of exercise performed. Instead, find something that's actually enjoyable, and it will feel less like a chore and more like a treat. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money?ref=seealso">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a>)</p> <h2>3. Get Focused on Being Frugal</h2> <p>What do many of us do in January? We pay, or begin to pay, our credit card bills. Christmas was merry, but the Macy's bill isn't. And yet, what do we do? Join gyms. Buy exercise equipment. We pile debt upon debt in the name of self-improvement. And then tax season hits and we're back to suffering through another financial stress period.</p> <p>Once Tax Day passes, look at springtime as a fresh start for your finances. Banish the urge to buy a new spring wardrobe and focused on becoming more frugally-minded instead.</p> <h2>4. Use Winter as a Recovery Period</h2> <p>After the delightful fun vibe of the holiday season, we put away our decorations and gear up for the new year. Many of us have put off big work projects until the holidays are over, since it's frustrating trying to coordinate meetings or meet deadlines at the end of the year. So, work in the winter becomes one long day after another. If you have resolved to go to the gym before or after work, that's just one more thing you need to get done each day. If you are already stressed about bills, work, family pressures, or other areas of your life, this is the wrong time to try to &quot;better yourself.&quot;</p> <p>What's best is to get your life in a calmer place, first. Think of winter as a recovery time for every aspect of your life, and use the dewy beauty of spring for rejuvenation and goal achievement.</p> <h2>5. Go Slow and Steady Toward Your Goals</h2> <p>Would you like to make a lot of self-improvements? First, remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Next, try making a list. Pick the <em>one </em>thing on that list that is the most important to you. Make sure it's realistic. When you feel you are ready to try to achieve this goal (meaning not stressed out about other parts of your life), give it a while. If, after a month or two, you are sticking with it, <em>then</em> add another. Be like the tortoise, and you'll get there way before the hare.</p> <p><em>Will you restart your resolutions this spring? Let us know 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/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring">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/checking-in-with-old-goals-for-the-new-year">Checking in With Old Goals for the New Year</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-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</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/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps">Learn Something New With These 9 Cheap Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</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/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do">Spice Up the Conversation by Skipping &quot;What Do You Do?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Lifestyle focus goals new year's resolutions resolutions spring Fri, 22 Jan 2016 12:00:04 +0000 Marla Walters 1642418 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_city_view_000064735719.jpg" alt="Man deciding if he should move to a new city to reduce costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving to a big or popular city is often associated with higher housing costs. But even so, it may be worth it when you're able to change your lifestyle for the better &mdash; while reducing overall costs elsewhere.</p> <p>This is the exact decision that my husband and I faced a few months ago when we decided to move across the country to be closer to family.</p> <p>If you're considering whether or not you should move to pursue a better career or lifestyle, here's why you may want to move to a new city <em>even</em> if rent or housing costs more. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mid-sized-cities-for-millennials">The 5 Best Mid-Sized Cities for Millennials</a>)</p> <h2>Why I Chose to Pay Double the Cost of Rent</h2> <p>Compared to our previous apartment near Dallas, TX our Boulder, CO rent is nearly double the price. Basically, the <a href="http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&amp;country2=United+States&amp;city1=Boulder%2C+CO&amp;city2=Tyler%2C+TX&amp;tracking=getDispatchComparison">average price per square foot</a>&nbsp;to buy an apartment in Texas is $100, while Colorado is as much as $383 per square foot.</p> <p>Our one bedroom rented apartment in Texas only cost $900, whereas here in Boulder it's $1,660 &mdash; not including utilities. But we looked at our budget and took <em>all</em> our lifestyle costs into account before deciding that moving was the best option. Here are four reasons we decided to move to a new city despite the higher housing costs.</p> <h3>1. Lower Utility Charges</h3> <p>One of the biggest factors to your budget, aside from rent and housing costs, are your utility costs. This can include your water, electricity, gas, Internet, TV, and other small things like trash and sewer maintenance.</p> <p>Depending on whether you live inside or outside the city limits, these costs could be quite high. Added together, my husband and I used to pay close to $400 per month towards our utility bills. But now that we live in a more cost efficient city, we're able to save nearly <em>half </em>of that each month.</p> <p>Check your utility costs against those of your potential new city by making a list of your current bills. Compare those utility costs to your potential new place. (You can compare the costs online via the utility company's website, or calling the local phone number.) Be sure to check:</p> <ul> <li>Internet</li> <li>Phone</li> <li>TV/Cable</li> <li>Electricity</li> <li>Gas</li> <li>Water/Sewer</li> <li>Trash/Recycling</li> </ul> <p>Even though we may pay a lot more in rent, the amount we save every month by having low-flow faucets and more cost effective heating/cooling is definitely worth the move to us.</p> <h3>2. Food Costs and Waste</h3> <p>Groceries are a non-fixed expense that can eat into your budget if you're not careful. In our previous city, we had limited options of grocery stores to choose from, which left us little choice of saving money on food. We could either spend a fortune at a small boutique grocery store, or sacrifice the quality by going to a big chain store. We chose to spend a bit more for organic food and had a grocery bill upwards of $800+ per month &mdash; just for the two of us!</p> <p>Since moving to Colorado, we have access to 10 different grocery stores (seriously, we counted!) and can find what we need at a <em>much</em> lower price. In the past several months we've knocked an average of $230 off our grocery bill, and it keeps declining.</p> <p>Better quality organic food at one-fourth the cost has been well worth the move to a new city. In addition, we're able to buy less food and avoid so much going to waste. Having more options has allowed us to save money while still getting the organic and healthy food we want.</p> <h3>3. Environmental Impact</h3> <p>One of the main reasons my husband and I wanted to move from Texas to Colorado was to be more environmentally aware of the impact we were making. This city has a built-in recycling program so we no longer have to take weekend trips to the recycling center.</p> <p>And because of the climate, there's no air conditioning unit in our apartment. During the cold months, we simply use a gas-powered furnace. When you compare the cost of a electric heater versus a gas furnace, prices for gas <a href="https://www.mge.com/images/PDF/Brochures/residential/RentersGasVsElec.pdf">typically cost much less</a> to operate than electric ones.</p> <p>According to the EPA, the fuel from a gas furnace comes from natural gas production, which burns much cleaner and poses less of an environmental threat. It's important to evaluate your impact on the environment, as well as your overall lifestyle costs. Consider how this change could save you money and help better the local community.</p> <h3>4. Transportation Costs</h3> <p>Since settling into our life here in Boulder, my husband and I have only filled up the car with gas twice in the past three months. Our gas and car maintenance budget used to be $250 per month, but now it's down to around $40&ndash;$50 for all our transportation costs.</p> <p>Because this new city has <a href="https://bouldercolorado.gov/goboulder/other-great-options">several different transportation choices</a>, including a bus system, carpooling, and car sharing options, we've stopped using our car as much. We now bike or walk to work or while running errands.</p> <p>This allows us to save <em>over $200 a month</em> on gas and maintenance costs for our car. In addition it allows us to put less emissions into the environment.</p> <p>All-in-all, we increased our housing costs by $760 but are currently saving $610+ in lower utility, transportation, and food costs. For us, this was definitely worth it.</p> <p><em>Are you thinking of moving to reduce lifestyle costs? What are some other things that impact your decision?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">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/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates</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/book-review-off-the-grid">Book Review: Off the Grid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</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-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent</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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing environmental impact food costs housing costs rent transportation utilities Thu, 21 Jan 2016 12:01:03 +0000 Carrie Smith 1642415 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_riding_bikes_000063700085.jpg" alt="Couple finding ways the government pays them to live green" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you care about the planet? Do you care about saving money? Those ideas are not mutually exclusive.</p> <p>If you are environmentally conscious, it's worth knowing that you can &quot;live green&quot; and get help from the government to do so. Federal, state, and local governments offer tax breaks, credits, and straight cash payments to people who keep an eye on their carbon footprints.</p> <p>There is plenty of help available, and it's worth checking with the IRS and your state and local governments to see where you can save. Here are 11 big ways that governments will pay you to live green.</p> <h2>1. Cash for Burning Biomass</h2> <p>Forget the oil burner or electric heat pump. You can get government money by using a biomass stove, which burns things like wood, plants, grass, and even corn. There's a federal tax credit of up to $300 for stoves that use biomass, and some states have additional credits. (Maryland, for example, will rebate up to $700 for a new pellet burning stove.)</p> <h2>2. Tax Breaks for Electric Cars</h2> <p>Electric and hybrid vehicles are cool, but they often have a higher price tag than regular automobiles. So the federal government wants to help out by offering a tax credit of up to $7,500. Take that into account the next time you're eyeing a Tesla, Toyota Prius, or Nissan Leaf.</p> <h2>3. Incentives to Use Alternative Energy</h2> <p>There are are all kinds of incentives for you to electrify your home using something other than fossil fuels. There's a 30% federal tax credit for installing a geothermal heat pump, wind turbines, or solar panels, for example. There are also grant programs at the state and local level. The idea is that these credits will offset at least some of the relatively high cost of installing these systems, thus making it easier financially for homeowners to go green.</p> <h2>4. Money for a Home Energy Audit</h2> <p>There are some local governments that will give you cash just for an examination of how you use energy in your home. In most cases, you will get recommendations on ways to use less energy, but you can get the tax credit even if you don't make any changes. Takoma Park, MD offers $100 just to get the audit done.</p> <h2>5. Money for Windows, Doors, and Skylights</h2> <p>Sometimes getting new windows isn't just about making your house look pretty. If they exceed EnergyStar requirements for efficiency, you can get a tax credit of up to $500 on the cost. Good windows and doors can help keep out drafts and help heating and cooling systems work more efficiently. This credit also applies to new insulation and your roof.</p> <h2>6. Cash Back on Appliances</h2> <p>The federal government used to give credits for energy-efficient refrigerators and the like, but that's been phased out. However, there still may be localities that offer similar incentives for EnergyStar rated appliances. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-small-kitchen-appliances-that-arent-worth-the-money">13 Small Kitchen Appliances That Aren't Worth the Money</a>)</p> <h2>7. Public Transit Subsidies</h2> <p>The federal government and some state governments encourage employers to offer a pre-tax benefit for workers who use public transportation to commute. Under the federal tax break, workers can reduce their taxable income by as much as $255 per month. The federal benefit also works for parking, so it's not entirely a &quot;green&quot; incentive. Some states (including California) allow workers to &quot;cash-out&quot; the parking benefit if they bike, walk, or carpool to work.</p> <h2>8. Bike-to-Work Incentives</h2> <p>The IRS allows employers to reimburse workers for up to $20 a month for expenses related to biking to work.</p> <h2>9. Tax Incentives for Your Home Office</h2> <p>The federal and state government want to make it easier for you to work from home. Many expenses related to having a home office, including equipment, furniture, and some utilities, can be tax deductible. In 2013, the IRS announced a &quot;simplified&quot; deduction that allows for up to $5 per square foot of space used as a home office (up to 300 square feet.) To qualify, you must have a space that is used &quot;exclusively&quot; for work.</p> <h2>10. Tax Deductions for Supporting National Parks</h2> <p>The National Park Service operates 59 parks, most of which are known for their natural beauty and prized by conservationists. If you're the type of person who likes to camp, hike, and climb, your donation to the National Park Foundation is tax-deductible. Additionally, the Park Service will offer free admission to parks on 16 dates in 2016.</p> <h2>11. Cash for Reclaimed Water</h2> <p>In many states, businesses can reduce their taxable income by using reclaimed wastewater, or so-called &quot;greywater.&quot; And homeowners in states including Arizona can get a tax deduction on equipment to allow for recycled water usage. &quot;Greywater&quot; is generally not good to drink, but can be used for toilets, crop irrigation, and other non-potable uses.</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of any of these eco incentives?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green">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/is-the-courtesy-flush-dead">Is the courtesy flush dead?</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-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</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/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Lifestyle Taxes alternative energy deductions electric cars environment incentives Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:00:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1639403 at http://www.wisebread.com Americans Spend More Than Other Countries On These 10 Things http://www.wisebread.com/americans-spend-more-than-other-countries-on-these-10-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/americans-spend-more-than-other-countries-on-these-10-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/american_flags_000047277396.jpg" alt="Americans spending more than other countries do" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In America, we're known for our indulgences &mdash; home appliances, electronics, vacations, cars. So how does our spending stack up against Europeans, or folks in Asia? Read on for our analysis of the most uniquely American spendings habits out there.</p> <h2>1. The Lottery</h2> <p>Americans spend more money <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/05/lotteries-americas-70-billion-shame/392870/">playing the lotto</a> than on books, video games, and movie and sporting event tickets combined. In 2014, lottery spending in the U.S. totaled a whopping $70 billion. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-of-improving-your-lottery-odds">6 Ways of Improving Your Lottery Odds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Doctors and Dentists</h2> <p>The U.S. spends more <a href="http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2015/oct/us-health-care-from-a-global-perspective">public dollars on healthcare</a> than all but two countries. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, healthcare services are notably higher in the U.S. than in most other nations. And secondly, Americans are greater users of expensive medical treatments and technologies, such as MRI machines.</p> <h2>3. Housing</h2> <p>Americans spend more money on housing than people in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan. In a 2009 study, Americans funneled an average <a href="http://www.bls.gov/opub/focus/volume2_number16/cex_2_16.htm">26% of their expenditures</a> toward shelter.</p> <h2>4. Taxis, Planes, and Trains</h2> <p>The same study showed Americans also spend more on private transit, other than automobiles, than folks in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan.</p> <h2>5. Education</h2> <p>The U.S. <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/">spends more on education</a> than any other developed nation, and most of the funding comes from the pockets of parents and private foundations. Total spending per student in the U.S. tops $15,000. For perspective's sake, Switzerland spends nearly $15,000 and Mexico pays about $3,000. Despite big spending, American students still lag behind comparable nations on international tests.</p> <h2>6. Prescription Drugs</h2> <p>Americans spend far more on <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/americans-spend-much-pharmaceuticals/">prescription drugs</a> &mdash; almost $1,000 per person per year &mdash; than residents of any other country. For some perspective: Americans spend 40% more than the next highest spenders, Canadians.</p> <h2>7. Politics</h2> <p>Americans spend more on <a href="https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/11/10/u-s-political-finance-americans-spend-more-on-elections-but-they-lead-from-behind/">political campaigns</a> than any other country. To compare, India spent $5 billion in its last general election. That's one billion dollars less than Americans spent in the 2012 general election.</p> <h2>8. Tourism</h2> <p>When traveling abroad, Americans <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/tourists-from-these-countries-spend-the-most-when-traveling-abroad-2015-4">outspend vacationers</a> from most other countries. In 2014, Americans abroad spent $112 billion &mdash; more than Germany, the United Kingdom, and Russia. The big out-spender, however, was China. Chinese abroad spent $165 billion that same year.</p> <h2>9. Christmas</h2> <p>Americans are more likely than residents of any European nation to go into debt to pay for Christmas presents. One in five Americans used credit to <a href="http://www.ing.com/Newsroom/All-news/UK-and-Romania-top-international-Christmas-spending-league.htm">cover holiday spending</a> in 2014.</p> <h2>10. Chocolate Bars</h2> <p>The U.S. leads global spending on <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2015/jul/19/which-country-spends-the-most-on-chocolate-bars">chocolate bars</a>, topping out at nearly $3 billion per year. That shakes out to an average annual chocolate expenditure of $57 per American.</p> <p><em>Do any of these expenditures look familiar to you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/americans-spend-more-than-other-countries-on-these-10-things">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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-five-senses-tricking-you-to-spend-more">Are Your Five Senses Tricking You to Spend More?</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-things-that-cost-more-in-2016">9 Things That Cost More in 2016</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/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping americans Asia Europe habits spending united states Tue, 19 Jan 2016 18:00:04 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1638139 at http://www.wisebread.com Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/disagreeing_roomates.jpg" alt="disagreeing roommates who can&#039;t get along" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Until very recently, I've never lived alone. I went from my parents' house to a college dorm room to a fraternity house to various apartments, to a condo of my own &mdash; all of which were occupied by at least one other person. Considering that I'm OCD about everything &mdash; which is perhaps why I find myself currently living alone &mdash; and that I've lived with a couple crap-bag human beings in the past, I'm a bona fide expert in all the things you should never do when cohabitating with someone else.</p> <p>You've been warned.</p> <h2>1. Eat Other People's Food Without Permission</h2> <p>It's important for me to establish that while I've had many roommates over the years who have all done something I didn't like (as I'm sure I did for them, too), most of them weren't particularly offensive. A little annoyance here and there, yeah, but that's par for the course. And we're still friends. But there was one roommate who was so vile, so rude, so throw-up-in-my-mouth disgusting that most of the following anecdotes will be based on my short, six-month experience with him. Like the time he ate my food without permission.</p> <p>But he didn't <em>just</em> eat my food without permission. It's not like a pack of ramen was missing and I lost my ish. Oh, no. This dude and three of his drunken friends ravaged $50 worth of the groceries and snacks I had just purchased the night before. Straight-up murdered the fridge and cabinets. My cheese popcorn never stood a chance. Of course, the next day when I confronted him, he was all apologetic and offered to pay for the pilfered goods. But he never did. Because that's the kind of person he was &mdash; Satan's Spawn (SS), who, admittedly, I should've known was up to no good when he suspiciously smelled like both sweat and Cool Ranch Doritos simultaneously.</p> <h2>2. Fail to Pitch In on Common Household Items</h2> <p>There were three of us living in the Baltimore row house in which SS kept his lair, but only two of us pitched in on household items. Personally, I didn't mind buying cleaning products. I accept that not everyone lives as extreme-clean as I do, and they don't have to. But, when you don't throw in a few bucks for paper towels and toilet paper, and then use half the rolls yourself, you're some special kind of evil. As a result, my other roommate and I started rationing the paper products amongst ourselves and kept them in our respective bedrooms for our own use.</p> <p>And, nope, I'm not even a little bit remorseful about the first time SS discovered our new tactic right after doing his business. Bet he found the cleaning products that day.</p> <h2>3. Bring in a Revolving Door of Randos for Overnight Stays</h2> <p>Surprisingly, SS didn't bring in a bunch of randos. Frankly, we were shocked when anybody at all would stay the night in his bedroom &mdash; because Godspeed to that brave warrior princess and her penicillin prescription.</p> <p>Still, it's never cool to have strangers in and out of the house all hours of the night. Be respectful of your roommates and recognize that perhaps they don't appreciate Tinder &quot;dates&quot; staying over all the time. My personal rule is that non-roommate stays should be limited to no more than 1/3 of the month, which applies to significant others just as much as it does bar-to-bedroom buddies, friends, and family. I didn't sign a lease with those people, so why are they here all the time?</p> <h2>4. Being Consistently Late on Rent and Other Payments</h2> <p>If SS didn't pay me back for the $50 worth of food he scarfed down, then it's probably not hard to believe that he rarely paid his rent. We lived in an equal-payment situation, and our landlord wanted us to help make up the difference. Pfft. Nerp. Hold up, bub. That's not my friend over there drinking top-of-the-line tequila, but who's too house-poor to buy toilet paper. I'm not picking up his slack. Likewise, nobody in your place should be covering for you if you can't make ends meet. In that case, you got to go. Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone?ref=seealso">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</a>)</p> <h2>5. Keep Untidy Spaces</h2> <p>This dude didn't pick up a broom the whole time he lived with us. Couldn't find the Ajax to scrub the tub, or replace the shower curtain when it got grimy. Nary a bottle of Windex or 409 ever touched his hands, and God forbid he wipe down the stove after his Spaghetti-Os splattered everywhere. But while he left his indelible mark on the common areas, it was his bedroom that should have been quarantined. After months of my dishes consistently disappearing, rarely to be seen again, I opened SS's bedroom door one day to take back what was mine. Except they were now science projects, like that time Stephen King touched a meteorite in <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rm7LwC">Creepshow</a> and starting growing alien vegetation all over himself. Thus, they became <em>his</em> dishes, that jerk.</p> <p>Of course everybody has a right to keep their room how they want it. Some people aren't as tidy as others, and that's okay, in your own personal area. But if you're downright filthy, it becomes a household issue, especially as pests and rodents can be problematic. Keep common areas tidy and at least try to keep your bedroom somewhat clean, as well.</p> <h2>6. Partake in &quot;Recreational Activities&quot; Indoors</h2> <p>I use to be a cigarette smoker, but I never smoked indoors in a roommate situation if they didn't like it. I also recognize that some people like to smoke weed, and since that was never my thing, I appreciated when my roommates would smoke elsewhere.</p> <p>If you drink or smoke and your roommate isn't cool with it, then you need to respect that and keep your recreational activities far away from them.</p> <h2>7. Borrow Clothing Without Asking</h2> <p>I didn't have to worry about SS borrowing my clothing without asking, but when I was in college I had a roommate &mdash; one of my fraternity brothers &mdash; who would borrow my clothes on the regular. In all fairness, we borrowed each other's clothing, since we were essentially the same size and build, but I didn't like when he would go into my closet without asking first. It's cool when you're both in the room getting ready for a party and can swap closets in person, but it's a little invasive if you're going through your roomie's wardrobe when they're not there. If this is something you enjoy with your roommates, just remember boundaries. If the other person doesn't know about it, it's stealing. And you better hope you don't get a stain on my shirt... lest you want to be buried in it.</p> <p><em>Tell me: What are some other things to never do when living with a roommate? I'd love to hear some of your roommate horror stories 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/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs?</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-benefits-of-having-a-roommate-besides-saving-on-rent">The Benefits of Having a Roommate (Besides Saving on Rent)</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-score-cheap-rent-without-annoying-roommates">5 Ways to Score Cheap Rent — Without Annoying Roommates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</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/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing apartment living etiquette life hacks living with roommates rent roommates Fri, 15 Jan 2016 12:00:02 +0000 Mikey Rox 1638028 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Go From Two Incomes to One http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-go-from-two-incomes-to-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-go-from-two-incomes-to-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_using_tablets_000081377523.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to go from two incomes to one" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you planning on taking some time off from work to raise a family &mdash; or has your spouse recently lost their job? Living on one income can be challenging, but it doesn't have to spell financial disaster. Consider the following ways to reduce the stress of a household income transition.</p> <h2>1. Plan a Trial Run</h2> <p>If possible, try giving a one-income lifestyle a trial run for at least a couple of months before making any sudden changes to your household. Act like the second income doesn't exist. This will help you determine if a one-income lifestyle is attainable, prepare you for any challenges ahead, and help you build up your savings in the meantime before transitioning to one income.</p> <h2>2. Make a Budget</h2> <p>If you aren't sure of how much you'll need to meet your monthly expenses on one income, then use a <a href="http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/considering-baby/financing-family/calculator/">stay-at-home calculator</a> for an accurate estimate. Once you understand your monthly needs, work on creating a budget and sticking to it.</p> <p>Your budget should factor for fixed expenses like rent, car payments, utilities, health and life insurance, credit cards and loan payments, cable and cell phone bills, taxes, and necessities like groceries. But you should also account for variable expenses, like eating out and entertainment, subscriptions, and other expenses that you can more easily limit.</p> <p>You may need to get aggressive in cutting some of these expenses, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-easy-ways-to-save-on-your-gym-membership">canceling your gym membership</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-great-hair-without-the-salon">visiting the salon less often</a>. And make sure you aren't living beyond your means when it comes to your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">rent or mortgage</a> and car payments.</p> <h2>3. Build Up a Savings Cushion</h2> <p>Building a savings cushion becomes doubly important now that your household will be subsisting on a single income. The average family should save a minimum of three to six months' worth of expenses &mdash; and ideally up to a year's worth, if possible. While you're at it, create a contingency plan to help manage any further changes in income, unexpected expenses, or other financial emergencies.</p> <h2>4. Pay Off Debt</h2> <p>One-income households are less able to handle debt, so try to reduce what you owe as much as possible <em>before</em> transitioning to once earnings stream. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt">Eliminate credit card debt</a> and pay down as much as possible early on, and by all means, try not to add any further debt to your plate so that you don't increase your monthly expenses.</p> <h2>5. Strive to Save More Every Month</h2> <p>A lower household income means it's even more important to do all you can to save money wherever possible. Some easy tips for cutting monthly expenses include:</p> <ul> <li>Shop sales and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">use coupons</a>, whenever and wherever possible.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Limit dining out. When you do dine out, look for deals from sites like Ebates and Restaurant.com, so you can save money at all your favorite restaurants.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take advantage of free activities with your family. Plan free date nights and family outings together.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Host swaps with your friends and family. You can swap food, clothes, books, or toys. You can clear clutter out of your home and receive items that feel like new from your friends and family.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Take advantage of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">personal finance apps</a> to stay on track and receive alerts when you risk going over budget.</li> </ul> <h2>Living on One Income &mdash; Even When You Don't Need To</h2> <p>The steps outlined above are wonderful for households downsizing their income, but they work just as well in a two-earner household. In fact, living on a single income and saving the other is an excellent way to strengthen your finances quickly. And if you do find yourself needing to live on one income, you'll be better prepared &mdash; financially and psychologically.</p> <p><em>What are your tips for going down to one income? Please share your thoughts 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/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-go-from-two-incomes-to-one">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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-living-on-one-income-a-status-symbol">Is living on one income a status symbol?</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/what-is-keeping-you-from-a-life-of-financial-independence">What is keeping you from a life of financial independence?</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/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle budgeting household job loss one income stay at home parent Tue, 12 Jan 2016 14:00:02 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1634309 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_classic_car_000028718312.jpg" alt="Woman in America spending her money in the 1950s" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans tend to think of the 1950s as an idyllic time when the babies were booming, the jobs were plentiful, and the country was flourishing.</p> <p>Our parents and grandparents had good reason to feel prosperous. The average yearly income rose from <a href="http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1950.html">$3,210 in 1950</a> to <a href="http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1959.html">$5,010 in 1959</a>, and post-war Americans were enjoying access to products and services that were scarce during World War II. Finding good uses for disposable income in the 1950s began the American love affair with consumerism. That love affair that continues to this day &mdash; although our spending priorities may have changed somewhat over the years.</p> <p>Here's how Americans spent their money in the post-war 1950s, and how their spending habits compare to ours in the 2010s.</p> <h2>White Picket Fences</h2> <p>The American dream of owning a home has deep roots the 1950s. Not only were many of the 16 million returning WWII veterans looking to buy homes, but the GI Bill offered them liberal home loans, and the end of the war saw the beginning of the baby boom, all of which drove demand for affordable houses.</p> <p>Large homebuilders met that demand. They began applying assembly-line methodology to home building &mdash; by using panelized construction and drywall rather than wet plaster &mdash; which allowed them to create &quot;cookie cutter&quot; tract housing, giving birth to the modern suburb. An amazing &quot;<a href="http://www.achrnews.com/articles/87033-the-1950s-pursuing-the-american-dream">three out of five families</a> became homeowners, and suburban living became a national phenomenon.&quot;</p> <p>There was a dark side to this housing boom, however. While favorable loans and newly built homes in suburbia were available to white veterans and families, African Americans and other minorities were actively excluded from communities, such as Levittown, and from access to home loans. These entrenched patterns of racial discrimination in housing continue to affect housing and home buying to this day.</p> <p>For those who could access the American Dream in the 1950s, homeownership looked very different from today. To start, the average size of a new single-family home in 1950 was a mere 983 square feet, whereas the average new home built in 2004 boasted 2,349 square feet. According to Margot Adler of NPR, &quot;Back in the 1950s and '60s, people thought it was normal for a <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5525283">family to have one bathroom</a>, or for two or three growing [kids] to share a bedroom.&quot;</p> <p>In addition, the time frame for purchasing a house has changed since the 1950s. Modern young adults consider buying a home an important step before having kids. According to Casey Shipley, a mortgage loan originator from Lafayette, Indiana, families in the 1950s saw home ownership as &quot;something you did when you were settled and done with babies. Most families had children in their early 20s, so looking for a home was something you did after that first big promotion, maybe when you were in your 30s.&quot;</p> <p>Part of that wait-to-buy-until-we're-settled mindset came from the fact that most families lived their entire lives in one home. Financing such a once-in-a-lifetime purchase with a 30-year mortgage allowed a family to have their home paid off by the time the breadwinner was ready to retire in his 60s.</p> <p>The median home price in the United States in 1950 was $7,354 (which is equivalent to $71,360 in today's dollars), rising to a median of $11,900 in 1960 ($93,830 in today's dollars), and housing represented about 22% of a 1950s household budget. For comparison, the median home price in October 2015 was $281,500, and the modern household spends about 43% of its budget on housing.</p> <h2>Cool Rides With Tail Fins</h2> <p>Of course, living in a new suburban home meant dependence on another big status purchase: a car. And Americans embraced the automobile with open arms, making it the center of our culture. Just look at the rise of American auto manufacturing (one out of every six working Americans were employed directly or indirectly by the auto industry), the creation of suburbs and interstates, and the introduction of the drive-in theater, fast food, and the classic car song.</p> <p>As much as Americans loved their cars, the standard was for each family to have just one automobile. Owning more than one car often indicated top-hat-and-monocle levels of wealth. The one-car family can seem pretty odd in retrospect, considering how inexpensive a new car was back in the day. At the beginning of the decade, the average sticker price for a new car was $1,510 ($14,650 in today's dollars), and rising to $2,200 ($17,350 in today's dollars) by the end of the 1950s. Modern new car prices average $33,560 in 2015.</p> <p>But it's important to remember that cars of the 1950s, as solid as they may look, had vastly shorter lifespans and required a great deal more maintenance than their modern counterparts. According to Craig Fitzgerald of BestRide, &quot;it was exceedingly common to carry a little envelope with flat ignition wrenches in the glove box, so that car owners could adjust ignition points and timing, which started going out of spec the moment you turned the car on.&quot; Additionally, cars were more likely to rust out from under you, which is why many families made do with cardboard-covered holes in the floors of their cars.</p> <p>This meant cars tended to last no more than 60,000 to 80,000 miles, between the ignition point issues and the overwhelming problem with rust. All-in-all, families in the 1950s and modern families spend a similar percentage of their household income on transportation &mdash; it was about 15% of a 1950s family budget, and is about 18% of a modern family budget. The difference is that we now own multiple cars that we keep for longer and have to maintain less.</p> <h2>TVs and Sugary Snacks</h2> <p>In addition to houses and cars, there was one more big purchase families in the 1950s scrimped and saved to make: the television. TV sets cost around $200 in the 1950s ($1,600-$1,950 in modern dollars), but that was not the end of their influence on American spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-much-a-rent-to-own-tv-really-costs">This Is How Much a &quot;Rent-to-Own&quot; TV Really Costs</a>)</p> <p>Changing the American downtime from radio-listening to television-watching meant that our grandparents suddenly had visual examples to imitate in real life. For instance, TV shows from the 1950s were all about families living in gorgeous, spotless houses. Watching television prompted American families to yearn for their own homes, and to spend more money on cleaning products to make their homes as squeaky-clean as the sets of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013FCLEIG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B013FCLEIG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=44G3NJ7SEW37PC5C">I Love Lucy</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038SUBDC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0038SUBDC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OIBYQW6BP6S26TWI">Leave It to Beaver</a>.</p> <p>Television also helped to create a brand new demographic: the teenager. While teenagers were already at work forming their own subculture, advertising agencies realized that teens were a potentially lucrative group to target since they had leisure time and spending power, unlike previous generations of adolescents. So television commercials were geared toward the new demographic. Teens responded by spending their money on <a href="https://youtu.be/bgAt4dMgwwU">Coca-Cola</a>, <a href="https://youtu.be/4gtM_mmvDww">M&amp;Ms</a>, and all the other products commercials sold to them &mdash; and by influencing their parents' spending habits.</p> <p>The financial power of the teenage demographic remains incredibly strong, but advertisers have had to change their tactics as our consumption of entertainment has changed.</p> <h2>Keeping Our Spending Habits, But Changing What We Buy</h2> <p>While the specifics of what Americans bought in the 1950s might look different from modern purchases (when's the last time you saw someone rock a coonskin cap?), the habits themselves were remarkably similar. Homes, cars, and the products advertised on your screen of choice are the items people most wanted to buy then, as now.</p> <p>That's because the spending habits we consider normal were born in the post-war 1950s. Prior to that decade, few households could boast discretionary spending, and before television, there were not as many large-scale outlets that allowed advertisers to tempt consumers into unnecessary spending.</p> <p>We may no longer consider a 983 square foot house or a car with a rusted-through hole in the floor to be normal, but our expectations for spending discretionary income remain mostly the same.</p> <p><em>Would you have preferred to live in the 1950s? Or another decade? Let us know 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/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</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-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping 1950s American spending shopping spending habits Spending Money Tue, 12 Jan 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1635539 at http://www.wisebread.com 16 Everyday Things You Shouldn't Be Paying For http://www.wisebread.com/16-everyday-things-you-shouldnt-be-paying-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-everyday-things-you-shouldnt-be-paying-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_computer_coffee_000071397399.jpg" alt="Woman finding everyday things she shouldn&#039;t be paying for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life costs money &mdash; a lot of money. But as savvy personal-finance gurus, we've learned how to cut back where we can. Consider this list of everyday things you shouldn't be paying for, and then let me know some of the basic freebies you live by in the comments below. Happy saving!</p> <h2>1. Wi-Fi Outside Your Home</h2> <p>Unless one of your neighbors is technologically inept and has left their Wi-Fi network unlocked, you probably have to pay for your own Internet connection at home. Okay &mdash; par for the course. But if you're paying for Wi-Fi outside of your home, you're giving into a system that takes advantage of impulse buyers.</p> <p>Plenty of places offer free Wi-Fi these days (Starbucks, Panera Bread, and even many McDonald's) as an incentive to come in and sit for a while. But then there are times when you <em>really</em> want to connect, and the only option is a paid connection (airplanes, anyone?). Don't fall for it. Load your devices up with everything you need to relax or read beforehand (like books, documents, movies, and TV shows), so you don't have to pay to get online. One day, in a perfect America, we'll never have to pay for public Wi-Fi. Consider your refusal to do so today a stand for the future.</p> <h2>2. Condiments</h2> <p>How much ketchup, mustard, and mayo do you use? I use very little, so the packets that I can harvest from my occasional take-outs and order-ins suit me just fine for when I need them at home. Even more expensive commodities like sugar, jams, and honey can be found if you're looking hard enough &mdash; like those packets and individual jars that are common at the resorts and hotels that you may visit on vacation.</p> <h2>3. Napkins</h2> <p>Free napkins are virtually everywhere you go, from rest stops to fast-food joints to the bars at your local restaurants. They're at your place of employment, the doctor's office, and even at your local theater. Pick up a few every time you go out and you'll never need to buy another napkin again.</p> <h2>4. Water</h2> <p>One of the most brilliant capitalism coups of the 20th century was convincing people to pay for water in bottles. Um, hello &mdash; we live in America, where we have some of the cleanest, tastiest water on the planet (which our taxes cover, by the way). Fill up a reusable bottle already. It's 2016, my friend.</p> <h2>5. Bank Fees</h2> <p>One, you shouldn't have a checking account that's charging you a monthly maintenance fee. If you're banking at an institution that's siphoning money from your account just for being part of its brand, change banks &mdash; stat! Also, stop visiting ATMs that charge fees. I've gone to ATMs whose fees were upwards of $5 before, and that's just not acceptable. If you know you'll need cash on a night out, take out how much you think you'll need. You're already paying inflated prices for drinks &mdash; do you really need to pay $5&ndash;$10 extra in bank fees when all is said and done?</p> <h2>6. Fitness</h2> <p>Nobody &mdash; and I do mean nobody &mdash; <em>needs</em> to pay for a gym membership. Exercise is free if you want it to be. There are plenty of workout and fitness videos available for free on YouTube and other resources to help folks who are pinching their pennies lose weight and get in shape.</p> <h2>7. Your Mobile Phone</h2> <p>Mobile phone companies are fighting so hard for your business these days that they're offering <em>free </em>phones to switch carriers, sign new two-year contracts early, and other incentives. Listen to me: You do not need to the latest and greatest phone as soon as it hits the market. Cool your jets, wait a bit, and upgrade when it's available to your for free as a result of your continued business with your carrier &mdash; or one to which you switch. They need you, not the other way around.</p> <h2>8. Books</h2> <p>Hello! Paperback or hardcover, your local library has a wealth of books for rent and for free. Oh, and did we forget about borrowing from friends? That's still totally legit, ya know. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cool-jobs-for-book-lovers">17 Cool Jobs for Book Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>9. Credit Reports</h2> <p>Every one of us is entitled to a free annual credit report by decree of the federal government. Never, ever pay for one. The credit report you get in January should be accepted by anyone who needs to see it until at least a year later.</p> <h2>10. Run-of-the-Mill Computer Programs</h2> <p>Google Drive, with all its components, pretty much replaces any need for the Microsoft suite of office software. If you can't afford Microsoft or other programs &mdash; and they're fairly pricey if you have to buy them yourself &mdash; there's no need to fret. Online resources have your back.</p> <h2>11. Ice</h2> <p>It's frozen water, ma'am and sir. Even though we weren't born magicians, we're all capable of turning water into ice, at home, for free. Stop buying it!</p> <h2>12. News</h2> <p>It's everywhere, and, frankly, print media can't keep up with the immediateness of the Internet and social media. If you're connected, there's no point in buying anything in print anymore.</p> <h2>13. Tax Prep</h2> <p>Unless your taxes are complicated &mdash; like, say, if you own a business, and you require an accountant &mdash; there are resources online that allow you to do your taxes efficiently and effectively, which, in turn, results in a quicker payday than if someone else were on the case for you.</p> <h2>14. Cable TV</h2> <p>Nearly every show you watch is available either for free online by its respective network or a streaming service that charges far less than the monthly cable bill you're paying.</p> <h2>15. Long-Distance Phone Calls</h2> <p>One word: Skype. Or, okay, two words: FaceTime. Either way, long-distance phone calls should be dead to you by now.</p> <h2>16. Museum Tickets</h2> <p>Almost every museum offers at least one day a month where admission is free. Even better, some museums are part of programs &mdash; like Bank of America's Museums on Us &mdash; where entire weekends are free. Before you fork over the cash to view and enjoy what, frankly, should belong to the American people and not private entities (especially those getting tax breaks for being &quot;not-for-profit&quot; organizations &mdash; but I digress), research the museum you'd like to visit and see how you can get in without paying a dime.</p> <p><em>What are some other everyday things you shouldn't be paying for? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-everyday-things-you-shouldnt-be-paying-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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