Lifestyle http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4806/all en-US 20 Ways Amazon's Alexa Can Make Your Life Easier http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-577940288.jpg" alt="Learning ways Amazon&#039;s Alexa makes life easier" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>World, meet Amazon's Alexa. Alexa is a personal assistant that comes with the <a href="http://amzn.to/2lDJtCe" target="_blank">Amazon Echo Dot</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2mlm34q" target="_blank">Echo Tap</a>, and <a href="http://amzn.to/2li4vWa" target="_blank">Echo devices</a>. It works similarly to Siri and can be the assistant you never knew you needed.</p> <h2>What Can Alexa Do?</h2> <p>The smart wireless speaker offers a number of valuable services through Alexa that can really make your life easier. By simplifying daily tasks with Alexa, you can get out the door faster and focus on more important things.</p> <p>With more than <a href="http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&amp;p=RssLanding&amp;cat=news&amp;id=2201509&amp;utm_source=Triggermail&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=Post%20Blast%20%28bii-iot%29:%20Google%27s%20self-driving%20car%20project%20is%20losing%20out%20to%20competito" target="_blank">3,000 available skills</a>, it can take some time to determine which skills are right for your needs. That's why we've highlighted some of the best ways to use Alexa to streamline your life.</p> <h3>1. Check the Traffic and Weather</h3> <p>By being able to check the traffic and weather with ease, you can better prepare for the day ahead.</p> <h3>2. Manage Your Calendar</h3> <p>You can edit your calendar and get reminders of upcoming events with voice commands. You can also create tasks on your favorite to-do app.</p> <h3>3. Find Your Phone</h3> <p>If you've lost your phone, <a href="http://amzn.to/2l81dnv" target="_blank">TrackR</a> will help you find it. Simply instruct Alexa to find your phone or ring your phone so you can quickly determine its location.</p> <h3>4. Set a Timer or Alarm</h3> <p>Along with quickly checking the time, you can also set a timer or alarm on the device. You can also set your phone to ring anytime the alarm goes off.</p> <h3>5. Play Music</h3> <p>You can play a song through Alexa or connect to a paid music service like Spotify. You can even instruct it to play certain types of music (such as, &quot;Alexa, play Christmas music&quot;) to perfectly set the mood.</p> <h3>6. Get the News</h3> <p>Alexa can read the news or your favorite audiobook to you. She can also answer questions so you can always stay informed.</p> <h3>7. Find Local Hotspots</h3> <p>Alexa can help you find local businesses or restaurants based on Yelp reviews. This can help you get more acquainted with your new neighborhood in no time.</p> <h3>8. Control the Lights</h3> <p>If you have smart lights, you can use Alexa to turn them on and off with your voice.</p> <h3>9. Control the Thermostat</h3> <p>If you have a smart thermostat (like a <a href="http://amzn.to/2l81Jlo" target="_blank">Nest thermostat</a>), Alexa can adjust the temperature via voice command.</p> <h3>10. Control Your GE Appliances</h3> <p>Once you've connected your GE appliances, you can tell Alexa to do things like preheat the oven when you're ready to cook a meal.</p> <h3>11. Control Your Smart Devices</h3> <p>Once you connect your smart devices (like your TV), you can start controlling them with Alexa. You can turn on the TV, launch Netflix, change the channel, and more. Companies like Ford, Hyundai, and LG have also released smart home appliances, cars, phones, and other electronics that can connect with Alexa to further simplify your life. With the <a href="http://amzn.to/2lLGlGu" target="_blank">Automatic car adapter</a> addition, you can even track information on your car, such as how much you drove and when you'll need gas.</p> <h3>12. Improve Home Safety</h3> <p>With Alexa, you can lock your doors or turn your home security system on.</p> <h3>13. Update Your Shopping List</h3> <p>By being able to verbally edit your shopping list, you'll never have to worry about forgetting anything again.</p> <h3>14. Buy Something</h3> <p>Of course, you can instruct Alexa to purchase something and she will complete the order on Amazon for you.</p> <h3>15. Order a Ride</h3> <p>You can connect your device with apps like Uber or Lyft to request a ride.</p> <h3>16. Plan a Trip</h3> <p>You can quickly plan and track a trip through the Kayak skill. Who needs a personal assistant when Alexa can do the hard work for you?</p> <h3>17. Find Recipes</h3> <p>Alexa connects to Food Network, My Chef, and All Recipes to help you find the perfect recipes for food or cocktails, so you can plan a tasty meal on the fly.</p> <h3>18. Order Food</h3> <p>Some food companies, like Domino's, have partnered with the Amazon Echo, allowing you to do things like reorder your most recent order, send a new order, or track your current order. You'll always know where your pizza is.</p> <h3>19. Get Fit</h3> <p>Simply instruct Alexa to start a seven-minute workout and she will walk you through the routine. Now, you'll never have an excuse to skip a workout again. You can also connect your Fitbit to better monitor your fitness. And you can get detailed nutritional information from the Food Tracker skill to more efficiently monitor your calorie intake.</p> <h3>20. Connect With Amazon Prime</h3> <p>If you have Amazon Prime, then Alexa makes it seamless for you to take advantage of all the services you are paying for with your subscription, so you get the best value for the money with Prime music, two-day shipping, and a lot more.</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/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier">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/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay">Bots, Chips, and Selfies: How Safe Are the New Ways to Pay?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</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-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon">9 Skills That Will Be Obsolete Soon</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-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant">9 Ways Siri Can Be Your Personal Finance Assistant</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/watch-all-the-documentary-movies-you-can-handle-free-online-and-yes-its-legal">Watch All The Documentary Movies You Can Handle, Free Online - And Yes, It&#039;s Legal.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology AI Amazon Amazon Alexa personal assistant robot butler robots Siri tech gadgets tech news Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:31:29 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1900048 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Fun Ways to Spend a Snow Day Indoors http://www.wisebread.com/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-492188694.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to spend a snow day indoors" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm what you would describe as the &quot;indoorsy type.&quot; Not only is my skin capable of burning within five minutes on sunny days, but I am also a complete and utter wuss about any and all inclement weather, and my teeth tend to chatter when the temperature dips below 60 degrees F.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, I prefer to spend the long winter months holed up inside, particularly now that I have moved to the wintry tundra that is Wisconsin. Thankfully, staying indoors over the winter doesn't have to be a drag. In fact, all the frugal and fun indoor activities can make winter the best season of all.</p> <p>Here are 14 fun indoor activities you can enjoy while the wind is howling and the snow is falling outside.</p> <h2>1. Enjoy a Movie Marathon</h2> <p>There's no better time to watch movies at home than on a cold winter day. While you could just pop in your favorite DVD or pick something to stream on Netflix, it's even more fun to create a themed movie marathon. Some movie themes to consider:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>Watch every film in a franchise. Maybe you've always wanted to see all of Freddie's <em>Nightmare on Elm Street</em> adventures or watch every single movie in the <em>The Fast and The Furious </em>franchise.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Watch several films by a specific director. Check out early, midcareer, and recent films by a director you love to see how their talents have grown and changed over the years.</li> </ul> </ul> <ul> <li>Watch a remake back-to-back with the original.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Watch films from a best-of list.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Watch several of the most popular films from the year you were born.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Have a Spa Day at Home</h2> <p>A luxurious bath is a staple of indoor winter relaxation, but you can do much more than just stretch out in a hot tub with a book. Why not treat yourself to a mani/pedi, deep condition your hair, exfoliate your skin, and give yourself a facial while you're at it? These are all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-spa-treatments-you-can-do-at-home" target="_blank">spa treatments you can easily give yourself</a> at home without breaking the bank. You'll feel refreshed, and you'll be helping to protect your skin and hair from winter dryness.</p> <h2>3. Teach Yourself to Draw</h2> <p>You can probably remember spending hours at a time drawing when you were a child, but it's likely you haven't done so in a while. Pull out some pencils and paper, and you'll soon remember just how fun drawing is. Whether you simply find pictures online that you'd like to copy (which is how art students learn, after all), or you take the time to learn the <a href="https://design.tutsplus.com/articles/i-want-to-draw-simple-exercises-for-complete-beginners--vector-20583" target="_blank">fundamentals of drawing</a>, your reintroduction to being an artist can be a thrilling way to spend your indoor hours during winter. The key is to let go of any perfectionist tendencies and draw the things that feel the most fun to you, whether that's unicorns, chain saws, or chainsaw-wielding unicorns.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-cheap-ways-to-beat-stress?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Cheap Ways to Beat Stress</a></p> <h2>4. Bake Some Treats</h2> <p>Nothing is more homey than the smell of fresh-baked cookies. Even if you have never made anything more complex than slice-and-bake cookies, following the recipe on the back of the bag of chocolate chips or oatmeal canister is an easy way to get started as a from-scratch baker.</p> <p>If you're willing to try other types of baking, the time you spend indoors on a long winter day is perfect for allowing bread dough or pizza dough to rise. There is something very satisfying about spending the day working on something you can eat and share with others.</p> <h2>5. Put Your Photos in Albums</h2> <p>Whether you have physical photos stored in old shoe boxes, or a computer full of photo files, a winter day spent indoors is the perfect time to organize your pictures into albums. It will be fun to walk down memory lane looking at your old photos, and you'll end the day with an enviable sense of accomplishment.</p> <h2>6. Have a Dance Party</h2> <p>You may be cooped up inside, but that doesn't mean you can't get some exercise in. Move your couch out of the way, turn on your favorite station on Spotify, and get down in your own private dance club. This is also the perfect time to learn how to do all of your favorite dance moves. Find some tutorials on YouTube and hone your moves at home.</p> <p>Finally, you probably still have that old Dance Dance Revolution video game and mat stashed somewhere. Dust them off and make your dance party an actual game challenge.</p> <h2>7. Break Out a Jigsaw Puzzle or Board Game</h2> <p>Whether you're rocking the snow day solo or with the whole family, you can have a lot of old-fashioned fun by dusting off a puzzle or board game.</p> <h2>8. Read by the Fire</h2> <p>One of my most cherished memories from my first house with my husband was the day I spent rereading <em>Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows</em> in the living room while snow fell just outside the windows beside me. There is something so cozy about curling up with a book on a cold day, especially if you are lucky enough to have a roaring fireplace next to you (not to mention a cup of hot chocolate).</p> <h2>9. Write a Letter</h2> <p>Receiving an actual letter in the mail is such a rare occurrence these days that we rarely think to sit down and write one ourselves. Taking the time to think of someone special you could write to and putting your thoughts into a handwritten note will make you (and them) feel great.</p> <h2>10. Take a Nap</h2> <p>Napping is one of life's pleasures, and adults don't often get to indulge. The only problem with napping is that it can sometimes leave you feeling groggier than you did beforehand. If you need to get anything done on your winter day inside (even if it's just making dinner later), then plan on following these <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323932604579050990895301888#project%3DSLEEP0902%26articleTabs%3Darticle" target="_blank">scientifically approved</a> tips:</p> <ul> <li>Aim for a nap during your natural energy slump in the afternoon. This is usually between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Thirty- to 60 minutes is the length of naps most likely to make you groggy after you wake up. Try to sleep either longer or shorter than 30-60 minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you don't have more than an hour, plan on a quick 10-20-minute snooze, which will leave you feeling awake and alert afterward.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you've got plenty of time to nap, a 90-minute siesta lets you go through a full sleep cycle, which will allow you to wake up easily and feel refreshed.</li> </ul> <h2>11. Catch Up With Friends and Family</h2> <p>Extroverts who might otherwise be climbing the walls on days they are stuck indoors now have many different ways to stay in touch with their nearest and dearest, no matter how frightful the weather might be. Phone calls, Skype, and FaceTime all give you the opportunity to connect, as do Facebook and Twitter. A day of nowhere-to-be is a great time to reach out to those you may have been thinking about but haven't had the time to connect with.</p> <h2>12. Rearrange Your Furniture</h2> <p>Not only does swapping your couch with that chair and moving your TV into a different corner help your home feel new and improved, it also gives you a chance to clean some neglected spots. It's likely that you'll unearth some stale Cheetos and pet hair tumbleweeds from beneath the couch, which you can easily sweep up when the couch is pulled away.</p> <p>While cleaning is no one's idea of fun, rearranging furniture can bring new life to a tired room &mdash; and you can't help but clean while you go. It's immensely satisfying to throw yourself down on your newly moved chair and enjoy the new layout in your much cleaner living room.</p> <h2>13. Create Music Playlists for Your Every Mood</h2> <p>Putting together mix tapes is getting to be a lost art, but you can recreate the fun by creating playlists of tunes you love on your favorite digital music provider.</p> <h2>14. Channel Your Inner Bartender or Barista</h2> <p>Being stuck at home doesn't mean you have to miss out on happy hour or your favorite elaborate coffee drink. Use your indoor time to learn how to mix your favorite cocktails or brew your favorite coffee treats. You can find recipes and video tutorials online.</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/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors">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/50-fun-things-to-do-when-youre-stuck-inside-during-winter">50 Fun Things to Do When You&#039;re Stuck Inside During Winter</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/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</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-to-love-winter-with-some-simple-self-deception">Learn to Love Winter With Some Simple Self-Deception</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle frugal fun fun activities rainy day rainy day activities SAD snow day stuck inside winter Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1898664 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-528577668.jpg" alt="Freelancers learning how to make friends and telecommute" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working from home can be a great thing. It allows you to work where you want, when you want, and has a number of other perks. However, it can be a bit lonely. Luckily, with the power of the Internet (and some motivation to get out and socialize), even those without an office water cooler to mill around can network and make new friends.</p> <h2>Networking Resources</h2> <p>Working off-site can take a toll on your professional network. To build your reputation, find mentors and collaborators, and connect with people in your industry, take advantage of some of the following networking resources. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-simple-networking-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Simple Networking Tricks</a>)</p> <h3>1. LinkedIn</h3> <p>LinkedIn is one of those most common, popular ways to build and maintain professional relationships. It makes it so easy to network online with other professionals in your field. You can also use LinkedIn to find networking events and opportunities in your area, or connect you with organizations you are interested in.</p> <h3>2. Shapr</h3> <p><a href="http://www.shapr.co/" target="_blank">Shapr</a> is an app that can connect you with like-minded people, allowing you to swipe left (pass) or right (interested) on your connections. You can set your favorite ways to meet, your passions and interests, and what you're looking for (collaborators, job opportunities, inspiration, potential investments, or new friends).</p> <h3>3. Work Your Existing Connections<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Ask friends, past and current co-workers, or even your employer for recommendations on local networking events or seminars. Most cities have their own organizations that specialize in these types of events for working professionals of all kinds. If you can't find any from asking around, try a Google search, LinkedIn, or social media.</p> <h3>4. Take Classes</h3> <p>Consider taking a night class. In addition to growing your skills or teaching you something brand-new, you might befriend some fellow classmates along the way. Even online classes can connect you with new people with similar interests or background in your field.</p> <h3>5. Volunteer</h3> <p>Research some local organizations that could use a hand, and offer your time. Not only will you be contributing to a worthy cause, but you'll also be gaining experience (which looks great on a resume), expanding on your skill set, and of course, meeting new people. Volunteering allows you to become part of a community, which is a great way to expand your network.</p> <h2>Friendship Resources</h2> <p>If you don't get out much, maybe you should start! In the meantime, your smartphone or computer can also be the perfect friendly matchmaker.</p> <h3>6. Bumble BFF</h3> <p><a href="https://bumble.com/en-us/about" target="_blank">Bumble</a> was originally a dating app, but has expanded to include a &quot;Bumble BFF&quot; feature. Instead of swiping left or right on potential dates, you'll do the same for potential friends. Once you're paired with a new friend, you have only 24 hours to start a chat, so procrastinators and fair-weather friends aren't welcome.</p> <h3>7. Atleto</h3> <p>If you're looking for a workout buddy, then <a href="http://www.atletosports.com/#what" target="_blank">Atleto</a> can help you find local sports activities and fellow fitness enthusiasts. The app can connect you with friends from your existing social media accounts, or you can find new friends in your area. This is a fun way to find an accountability buddy to help you reach your fitness goal.</p> <h3>8. Friender</h3> <p><a href="https://frienderapp.com/" target="_blank">Friender</a> allows you to swipe left or right on potential connections. You'll create a profile based on personal interests and activities you enjoy, and Friender will recommend a few folks with mutual interests. This app is only for making friends, however, so you won't have to waste time with people who are looking for more.</p> <h3>9. Meetup</h3> <p><a href="https://www.meetup.com/" target="_blank">Meetup</a> is an online organization with nearly 30 million members that hosts endless gatherings and social functions. You can meet people based on your occupation, personal interests (like hiking or cooking), location, and other factors that are important to you. Join a local club, take up a brand-new hobby, or explore somewhere new, all while making new like-minded friends along the way.</p> <h3>10. Social Media<strong> </strong></h3> <p>There can be more to interacting with your Facebook friends than a simple &quot;like&quot; or the occasional comment. Reach out to those friends and old co-workers through Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Invite them out for lunch or drinks, and simply catch up. It'll feel great to get out and sit with people face to face.</p> <h3>11. Get Out More</h3> <p>Once you are no longer in school or working from an office, it can be challenging to meet new people in person. The best thing to do is visit places where connections naturally occur. Maybe find a book club through your local library, or sign up for that fitness class or 5K you've been aspiring to run. Try a local arts or cooking class, or even take your kids on a playdate where you can mingle with fellow parents. There are countless ways to meet new people if you just get out there!</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/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">8 Life Skills Every Freelancer Needs</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/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</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-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon">9 Skills That Will Be Obsolete Soon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-stay-productive-while-working-from-home">5 Ways to Stay Productive While Working From Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">6 Gadgets Every Work at Home Professional Needs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Lifestyle apps events freelance friends networking relationships social media telecommute work from home Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:30:36 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1896807 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 42 Ways the 7 Deadly Sins Are Keeping You Poor http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-42-ways-the-7-deadly-sins-are-keeping-you-poor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-42-ways-the-7-deadly-sins-are-keeping-you-poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_wallet_empty_174761394.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways 7 deadly sins keep her poor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It turns out, most of us are a bunch of sinners. And those sins we commit regularly might be the sole reason for our financial struggles. Whether it's feelings of lust, greed, gluttony, or the others, those feelings lead to making terrible financial choices. How, exactly? Let's find out.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_56582268_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=fbf">6 Ways Gluttony Is Keeping You Poor</a> &mdash; Of course it's okay to overindulge on food and drink every once in awhile, but that can lead to celebrating with food and drink, and then commiserating with food and drink, and then eventually you're overindulging all the time and your wallet is empty. That's not great.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-sloth-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=fbf">6 Ways Sloth Is Keeping You Poor</a> &mdash; When you're feeling lazy, your motivation to do pretty much anything is nonexistent. As with any of these sins, a little is fine. But consistent instances of slothlike behavior can ruin your career, and your earning potential.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_000057148896_Large.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-pride-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=fbf">7 Ways Pride Is Keeping You Poor</a> &mdash; Pride is a tough sin to beat. We all want to put our best face forward. Isn't that why we're all on social media? But when you're putting all your energy into maintaining a certain lifestyle, your finances can take a serious hit.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-lust-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=fbf">6 Ways Lust Is Keeping You Poor</a> &mdash; When you're lusting after someone or something, it's hard to think straight. You might be sober, but your decision-making ability is drunk and needs to go home. You'll make impulse decisions that won't make any sense, and could ruin your budget, and your life.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-envy-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=fbf">6 Ways Envy Is Keeping You Poor</a> &mdash; Similar to pride, envy is all about comparing yourself to others in an unhealthy way. Who cares what other people have though? Envy will never lead to happiness, so keeping up with the Joneses will only make you miserable in the end &mdash; and broke.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_99971945_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-wrath-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=fbf">5 Ways Wrath Is Keeping You Poor</a> &mdash; There's nothing wrong with being a deep-feeling, passionate person. But wrath is the extreme and destructive end of that spectrum, and it will ruin you, as much as it will the object of your wrath.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-greed-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=fbf">6 Ways Greed Is Keeping You Poor</a> &mdash; For people suffering with greed, less is never more. This sin can lead you to a life of excess, extreme debt, and becoming the kind of person who lies so much that the truth becomes &quot;fake news.&quot; And who wants to be that person?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-42-ways-the-7-deadly-sins-are-keeping-you-poor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-consumerism-and-the-frugal-redemption">The seven deadly sins of consumerism (and the frugal redemption).</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-lust-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Lust Is Keeping You Poor</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/why-scientists-say-you-should-be-committing-the-7-deadly-sins">Why Scientists Say You Should Be Committing the 7 Deadly Sins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save 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/6-ways-greed-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Greed Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping 7 deadly sins envy fbf flashback friday gluttony greed lust poor pride seven deadly sins sloth wrath Fri, 17 Feb 2017 10:31:32 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1894197 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10 http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-489243814.jpg" alt="Woman finding hobby she can start for under $10" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Exploring new hobbies and pastimes is a great way to feel better about yourself, develop new skills, and meet new people. Don't want to break the bank? You don't have to! Here's a long list of engaging, satisfying activities you can begin this year without spending much money. Most will set you back a mere $5 to $10. Better yet, a good majority of these activities are absolutely free.</p> <h2>1. Exercise</h2> <p>Getting fit is a common resolution each year. Make it your new go-to hobby to keep yourself more accountable. You can walk or run today for free. All you really need is to dust off that pair of athletic shoes in the back of your closet.</p> <p>Not the running type? Head over to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fitnessblender.com/" target="_blank">Fitness Blender</a> for a wealth of free online workouts you can do in the comfort of your own living room.</p> <h2>2. Join a Sports Team</h2> <p>Working out solo might not be your style. Check around to find out what local sports leagues or teams meet in your area. My neighbor spends her summers running the fields with an adult soccer team that costs very little to join. I used to attempt to spike in the sand in a free beach volleyball group a few years ago.</p> <p>You can browse sites like <a href="http://sportsvite.com/cities" target="_blank">Sportsvite</a> to find teams in your area.</p> <h2>3. Write</h2> <p>Do you have a story you're just waiting to tell the world? Try writing it down instead of running it over in your head. You can get into a writing habit by taking as little as 10 minutes each day to peck out a few sentences on your keyboard or in a notebook.</p> <p>Need more motivation? Check your local calendar to see if there are any nearby writing groups that meet on a regular basis. Or create your own!</p> <h2>4. Blog</h2> <p>I've been blogging for over 10 years now. It's my main hobby, and it even turned into a part-time career. All you need is access to a computer and a free account at a site like <a href="http://www.blogger.com" target="_blank">Blogger</a>. If you're having trouble getting started, try first brainstorming a few topics you'd like to cover. Do you want to share recipes? Your thoughts on current events? Experiment to see what gets your creative juices flowing, then push &quot;Publish,&quot; even if it's only for your friends to read.</p> <h2>5. Try Vlogging</h2> <p>Similar to blogging, vlogging lets you share with the world in a very personal way. You can sign up on YouTube for a free account before you film yourself. You don't need fancy recording equipment, either. Many phones have built-in video &nbsp;these days. YouTube features very basic editing tools as well.</p> <h2>6. Practice Photography</h2> <p>Speaking of phones &mdash; many of them also have built-in cameras that would put old point-and-shoots to shame. In other words: You don't need a DSLR to learn how to take gorgeous photos. The <a href="http://iphonephotographyschool.com/" target="_blank">iPhone Photography School</a> has tons of free videos with all sorts of tips and tricks.</p> <h2>7. Play a Musical Instrument or Sing</h2> <p>I resurrected my singing pipes a few years ago by joining the women's chorus in my neighborhood. A few years before that, I spent a few bucks getting my violin refurbished from my high school years to sit in the community orchestra.</p> <p>If you don't have an instrument at home already, consider asking a friend or relative if you can borrow theirs. My husband learned to play guitar last year by using my brother's spare guitar and watching tutorial videos he found online. You can also contact a local music shop to ask about rental prices.</p> <h2>8. Listen to Music</h2> <p>Don't have time to join a group? That's just fine and dandy. Why not listen to more music instead? I don't like to brag, but I can rap just like Daveed Diggs through <em>Hamilton</em>'s &quot;Guns and Ships.&quot; Switch on YouTube or Pandora or your radio to get free access to music right now.</p> <h2>9. Join Community Theater</h2> <p>Find out when your neighborhood's theater group is holding auditions for its next show. I just typed &quot;community theater in my area&quot; into Google and &mdash; within seconds &mdash; found the website for two local companies that cost nothing to join.</p> <p>Never acted in a play before? Don't fret. There are often lots of &quot;extras&quot; in shows, so you don't have to worry about the pressure of playing lead.</p> <h2>10. Take Up Gardening</h2> <p>It's never too early to plan for your garden. If you start now, it doesn't need to cost you a whole lot, either. Head to your local library or purchase your own copy of <a href="http://amzn.to/2lgYx7l" target="_blank">Square Foot Gardening</a>. Once you've drafted a loose plan, order seeds. <a href="http://dollarseed.com/" target="_blank">DollarSeed</a> boasts that you can order non-GMO and heirloom seeds for as little as $1 per pack.</p> <p>The bonus here is that you can hopefully enjoy the fruits of your labor with some cheap food once everything grows.</p> <h2>11. Practice Cooking and Baking</h2> <p>Even if you don't want to grow your own food, you can still cook and bake for a hobby (and for your everyday life). You don't need to spend more than you're already putting out for your groceries each week. Consult that cookbook that's been sitting on your bookshelf for several years or pick one up at the library.</p> <p>And if you don't want to buy specific ingredients, use what you have on hand! Sites like <a href="http://www.supercook.com/" target="_blank">SuperCook</a> give you tons of recipes you can search by the ingredients you already have in your pantry.</p> <h2>12. Become a Juggler</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kCt1bmSASCI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Join the other 2.4 million people who have watched this video on how to juggle on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCt1bmSASCI" target="_blank">YouTube</a>. You can snag an inexpensive set of&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/2lgWSiu" target="_blank">three juggling balls</a> for less than $6 on Amazon.</p> <h2>13. Enjoy Some Adult Coloring Books</h2> <p>De-stress and express yourself through coloring. By now, you may have seen all the awesome adult coloring books floating around everywhere. In fact, you can even get some cool ones on the cheap at the Dollar Store. Consider investing in some nice <a href="http://amzn.to/2kAHgHj" target="_blank">colored pencils</a> that give you a variety of shades from which to choose.</p> <h2>14. Try Drawing</h2> <p>Rather not color inside the lines? Drawing is another free activity you can try. Even kids can get in on the action. My five-year-old daughter loves following along with different projects on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/ArtforKidsHub" target="_blank">Art for Kids Hub</a>.</p> <h2>15. Try Knitting</h2> <p>If making a scarf sounds appealing to you, take a few bucks to your nearest craft store and pick up supplies to start knitting. A basic pair of knitting needles may cost you as little as $4. Yarn ranges in price depending on material, but acrylic is great to learn on and won't set you back more than a couple dollars. You can find many <a href="http://knitting.about.com/od/learntoknit/u/learntoknit.htm" target="_blank">tutorials and patterns</a> online for free.</p> <p>The same goes with many other crafts. Here's a tip: Before driving to the store to pick up supplies, check online to see if there are any coupons. Many chains, like Michael's and A.C. Moore offer regular coupons for 40% off.</p> <h2>16. Play Games</h2> <p>Like playing games? Grab your chess board or deck of cards from the closet and enjoy with a friend. It's that simple. If you cannot find someone to play with you, consider heading online to a site like <a href="http://www.addictinggames.com/" target="_blank">Addicting Games</a>, where you can engage in either solo or multiplayer games for free.</p> <h2>17. Go Hiking</h2> <p>The great outdoors is calling you. Slip on some sturdy shoes and go for a hike. This is another one of those hobbies that you can do with others in a club (just search your area calendar). The <a href="https://americanhiking.org/" target="_blank">American Hiking Society</a> has all sorts of information that can help you get started &mdash; including volunteer opportunities that may land you free vacations with like-minded naturalists.</p> <h2>18. Go Camping</h2> <p>Camping is a wonderful way to take a trip somewhere beautiful without going broke. Spend some time planning now for a great summer adventure. Staying a week is only $160 at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks" target="_blank"> various National Parks</a>&nbsp;throughout the United States.</p> <h2>19. Try Volunteering</h2> <p>You can also take up helping others for a new and rewarding hobby. Ask around to find good opportunities in your area. The church down the street from us has a soup kitchen every Friday, for example. Or check out sites like <a href="http://www.volunteermatch.org/" target="_blank">Volunteer Match</a> to find open spots online.</p> <h2>20. Get Couponing</h2> <p>Why not save money in the new year with a couponing habit? All it has to cost you is the price of a Sunday paper. Or maybe less! There are also several apps that show price-matching and price comparisons at multiple stores at once. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a>)</p> <h2>21. Practice Yoga or Meditation</h2> <p>One of my goals for the new year is to center myself. I run on a very nervous energy level. Yoga and meditation can help with that. Both involve deep breathing. And both are easy and free to begin at home. <a href="http://yogawithadriene.com/" target="_blank">Yoga with Adriene</a> is my favorite spot to find a variety of calming moves for zero dollars. The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has a good number of <a href="http://marc.ucla.edu/mindful-meditations" target="_blank">free guided meditations</a> and visualization exercises.</p> <h2>22. Become a History Buff</h2> <p>I've become obsessed with Broadway's <em>Hamilton</em>. Not just the musical, either. I've spent hours researching George Washington and the other founding fathers. The best part? I can do all this sleuthing around for free. Think of a historical figure, a period of time, or issue that interests you. Then search the Internet or your local library to find out more.</p> <p>For a more passive immersion, consider browsing documentaries on Netflix or Hulu and making a gigantic queue of the ones that interest you. Or check out <em>Drunk History</em>, also on Hulu.</p> <h2>23. Read More Books</h2> <p>Reading is free activity &mdash; at least if you have a library card &mdash; but it takes motivation. Consider writing out a list of a book to read each month to keep yourself in motion. You may even try starting a theme-based book club with your friends. Set a time to meet, write up the reading list, and read. Then rotate who hosts the book discussion each month (and be sure to involve lots of tasty treats and good beverages).</p> <h2>24. Try Some Upcycling DIY Projects</h2> <p>Click over to Pinterest and find an unlimited number of do-it-yourself projects you can finish by upcycling your old stuff. We have a great list of 18 awesome, practically free <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects" target="_blank">upcycled craft projects</a> to get you inspired.</p> <h2>25. Learn a New Language</h2> <p>A friend of mine spent last winter visiting her grandmother each week for Italian language lessons. She learned how to say hello, thank you, and a host of other practical phrases &mdash; and got some quality time with her beloved Nonna to boot.</p> <p>If you don't know anyone who speaks another language, you can also check out sites like <a href="https://www.duolingo.com/" target="_blank">Duolingo</a> to learn online for free.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-143-fun-and-frugal-ways-to-spend-your-weekend">Flashback Friday: 143 Fun and Frugal Ways to Spend Your Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beat-stress-with-these-28-inexpensive-pastimes">Beat Stress With These 28 Inexpensive Pastimes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-frugal-ways-to-battle-boredom">15 Frugal Ways to Battle Boredom</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/14-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors">14 Fun Ways to Spend a Snow Day Indoors</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-fun-and-cheap-things-to-do-during-the-weekday">8 Fun and Cheap Things to Do During the Weekday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle $10 or less frugal fun fun fun things to do hobbies pastimes things to do weekend activities Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1889318 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-497222532.jpg" alt="Couple having money conversations together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you know that the secret to a healthy relationship maybe hiding in your wallet? No, money can't buy you love, but talking about the dollars you have may make a lot of, well, sense. In a recent study, researchers discovered that <a href="http://krepublishers.com/02-Journals/JSS/JSS-46-0-000-16-Web/JSS-46-3-000-16-Abst-PDF/JSS-46-3-271-16-1655-Grobbelaar-C/JSS-46-3-271-16-1655-Grobbelaar-C-Tx%5B9%5D.pmd.pdf" target="_blank">lack of communication about money</a> leads younger couples to both arguments and added stress.</p> <p>Here are some financial discussions worth having, especially if you share the bulk of your expenses. Heck, they may even bring you closer together!</p> <h2>1. Where Is Our Money Going?</h2> <p>Have you sat down with your partner to really dig into your bank accounts lately? It may be a good idea, especially if you hope to spend many Valentine's Days together. A national survey conducted by Money Magazine revealed that 70% of couples <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/03/marriage-finances_n_5441012.html" target="_blank">fight about money matters</a> more than they do about chores, sex, snoring, and togetherness.</p> <p>What's high on their hot points? Frivolous spending.</p> <p>Take some time &mdash; over candlelight and wine, perhaps &mdash; to delve into your check registers and online accounts. Do you see any patterns? Were you both aware that all that money was going toward the groceries each week? Or what about those online magazine subscriptions? Unused gym memberships? You may be able to quickly spot some areas that need work before they turn into shouting matches.</p> <h2>2. How Do We Each Deal With Money?</h2> <p>Once you know what you're spending your money on, you can move on to what makes your partner tick &mdash; financially speaking. Is he a big spender? Is she a penny-pincher? Does he thrive on a cash system? Is she a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card rewards ninja</a>? Often, these habits are set in family history, internal motivations, or simple habit.</p> <p>In my marriage, I am the one who loves drafting up budgets, doing taxes, and planning for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying off debt faster</a>. My husband? He gets super stressed doing any of this stuff, even if it's just keeping track of the cable bill. We used to bicker about dividing everything &quot;fairly&quot; between us. In the end, and through many discussions, we decided that my strength with money matters made me a more natural choice for these duties.</p> <p>What we share is that we are both really bad with credit cards. So, we do cash for more of our variable expenses. The message here is to find your similarities and differences. Discover what makes one person thrive or the other person freak out. Avoid condemning certain behaviors or weak points. Instead, celebrate your differences, split up duties according to your strengths, and find common ground.</p> <h2>3. Should We Bank Together &mdash; Or Not?</h2> <p>A 2014 survey uncovered that 70% of Millennial couples <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/td-bank-survey-finds-many-couples-maintain-separate-bank-accounts-251917121.html" target="_blank">maintain separate bank accounts</a> until marriage. Not only that, another study uncovered that <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2011/01/13/is-your-partner-cheating-on-you-financially-31-admit-money-deception-infidelity-red-flags-money-lies/#35b7d3dc37bf" target="_blank">15% of partners</a> who do share accounts actually maintain a secret, uh, mistress account. If you share a lot of expenses, like the usual bills and household stuff, you may want to do a pooled account so all your money is in one handy place. But that probably also means coming clean about anything you may have been hiding.</p> <p>Some couples may actually benefit from or just enjoy the freedom of having separate accounts. And that's fine, too. Benefits here include not having to ask to spend money or having some privacy if you want to buy gifts for the other person. That said, don't financially cheat.</p> <p>If you wish to have separate accounts, be open and honest about it. If you want to pool everything into one bank account, go for that. You can also do a combination of approaches. For example, if you make $60,000 a year and your partner makes $40,000, you may keep separate accounts. You, then, may choose to pay 60% of your shared expenses while your partner pays 40%.</p> <p>The key to whatever you choose is communication, which is the cornerstone to many other aspects of your relationship.</p> <h2>4. How Can We Save for Something Big?</h2> <p>If you find money talks hard, maybe sweetening the deal a bit could help. Saving up for a mutual goal, like a vacation, can get you to join forces for good. Travel not your thing? Sit down with your partner and write out a list of five or 10 things you'd like to save for within a defined period of time, like a year, five years, etc. Bonus points if you've written down a few of the same goals.</p> <p>From there, work together to see how you can turn them from dreams into realities. This activity can be quite romantic and exciting, depending on how you define your wants. For example, my husband and I have a shared dream of creating a first-floor laundry room in the next two years. Nothing gets me more in the mood than pinning design ideas. Swoon!</p> <h2>5. What Do We Want Our Future to Look Like?</h2> <p>One of the more common savings goals is retirement. A survey conducted by Fidelity discovered that many couples <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/individual-investing/fidelity-couples-study" target="_blank">nearing retirement age</a> weren't necessarily on the same page with their plans. A third of the respondents explained that they didn't know or couldn't agree on where they wanted to retire. And up to two-thirds didn't know at what age they wanted to retire.</p> <p>How you spend retirement has a lot to do with how you currently spend and save your money. So, yeah. Your retirement is definitely worth chatting about. After all, it's your future together. While you most definitely need to talk about the dollars and cents, you also need to focus on the lifestyle you want to lead in those later years.</p> <p>Consider writing out what you want your ideal retirement to look like. Maybe you'd like a second home near the grandchildren or to downsize and move abroad. You may even want to revisit this conversation regularly to make sure you're on the same page. Try updating your plan once a year. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>Tips for Talking About Money</h2> <p>If you still don't think money talk is sexy, you may just be worried about how to start the conversation. And, really, it can be hard. Take a deep breath and try these tips. Your relationship and financial situation will be much more stable for your efforts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-manage-money-with-your-partner?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Painless Ways to Manage Money With Your Partner</a>)</p> <ul> <li>Set up a regular time to chat about money. You may want to do it every week or month, but find a schedule that works for the both of you.</li> <li>Agree that sometimes you may disagree, and that's okay. Savings goals and spending habits are unique to each individual. Just like you may not be able to change personality traits about your partner, you may also not be able to change what motivates his or her spending style.</li> <li>Employ healthy discussion techniques into your talks. Stay away from blame and shame. Instead, start your thoughts with &quot;I feel&quot; or &quot;I need&quot; to work toward mutual understanding.</li> <li>If you cannot easily make a decision on something, work together to brainstorm solutions.</li> <li>If meeting over the dinner table is too stressful, try taking your financial talk on a walk. The fresh air and exercise will do you both some good.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</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/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</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/could-a-divorce-improve-your-finances">Could a Divorce Improve 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/6-things-to-never-do-when-sharing-finances">6 Things to Never Do When Sharing Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle couples discussions honesty marriage meetings money talks relationships Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1889317 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Lust Is Keeping You Poor http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-lust-is-keeping-you-poor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-lust-is-keeping-you-poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-471099734.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you hear the word lust, your mind naturally wanders to sexual desire. But lust goes way beyond that. At the heart of lust is an intense longing for something, be it sex, money, power, possessions, knowledge, war, experience, or as the song goes, life. Sometimes that intense longing is a great motivator, and can drive you to do great things. However, it can also be the root of some serious money problems. Here are seven such examples. How many do you recognize?</p> <h2>1. It Drives You to Buy More Than You Need</h2> <p>An insatiable lust to have the latest, greatest gadgets, clothing, shoes, and other possessions, can leave you in serious financial trouble. For some people, it's not enough to have a good phone. It needs to be the newest model, even if that means replacing a model that's barely six months old.</p> <p>Other people get a rush, and a release of endorphins, when buying new products. They feel a sense of great joy, a thrill, when they purchase items like jewelry, watches, cars, and purses. That thrill, much like the pleasure felt when drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette, can become addictive. You want to replicate it, and have to keep doing so over and over again. TV shows like <em>Hoarding: Buried Alive</em> have featured people that have rooms filled with clothing, shoes, coats, gadgets, and jewelry that have not only never been used&hellip; they were not even taken out of the shopping bags.</p> <h2>2. It Can Lead to Destructive Addictions</h2> <p>At a base level, lust for sex and sexual imagery has become an increasingly dangerous problem in the U.S., and around the world. Easy, instant access to X-rated materials on the Internet has led to thousands of cases of addiction to this highly stimulating resource. And while it is free on some levels, it can become expensive, especially with monthly subscription fees and webcam model charges. What's worse is that this addiction can spill over into other avenues of life. People become so obsessed that they look up materials at work, leading to disciplinary action and job losses. Relationships suffer, and the abuse of alcohol, marijuana, and even food, leads the addict into a spiraling cycle of defeat and depression.</p> <h2>3. It Can Severely Cloud Your Judgment</h2> <p>When engulfed by lust, your brain is not thinking clearly. And again, this is not just about sexual desire. A prime example of this can be found at any auction, when several people want the same item, and a bidding war breaks out. People who are normally of very sound mind, and who set a price they would not go over before the auction, lose their common sense. They want it. They have to have it. They will go over their limit by hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Some have described the experience as being in a euphoric fog, which clears and makes way for shame and regret once the furor has died down. You may have experienced something like this yourself, especially if you've done a little gambling in Las Vegas. Lust for money, sex, and power can all lead to some very muddy thinking.</p> <h2>4. It Consumes Your Valuable Time</h2> <p>Lust is one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/seven-deadly-sins?ref=internal" target="_blank">seven deadly sins</a> that can utterly consume your every waking moment. When you are gripped by lust, nothing else matters. Indeed, the very definition of lust contains words like &quot;uncontrollable desire&quot; and &quot;inordinate cravings,&quot; neither of which can be viewed as positive. People under the spell of lust will find themselves constantly performing actions that keep them highly focused on the object of their intense affections, be it a person, a possession, or a promotion. Nothing else matters. Your life, and your existence, bows down to this one overwhelming drive, and you can find it very easy to block out all other aspects of life. Bills don't get paid. Loved ones go ignored. Your performance at work suffers. Your time is being eaten up by one thing, and that can only lead to a loss&hellip; in more ways than one.</p> <h2>5. It Makes You Do Things That Are Out of Character</h2> <p>Someone obsessed by a deep desire for something will start to make decisions that are surprising, or even shocking to friends and family. You have no doubt witnessed it yourself. Perhaps a good friend became infatuated with someone at work, and started to do things that were way out of character; for instance, spending more money on items and pastimes that they would never have done a few months earlier. This is lust at its darkest and most dangerous. When you really want something; when nothing else matters; when the pursuit and possession of something is your only goal; that's when you can momentarily lose yourself and in the process, lose friends, money, opportunities &mdash; even your job.</p> <h2>6. It Can Literally Destroy Your Life</h2> <p>That may sound dramatic, but it's a sad fact. Every year, thousands of people around the world find their lives in ruins due to the domino effect of lust. For some people, they get embroiled in the highly addictive world of adult websites, forking over monthly fees and exposing their credit cards to some very sketchy businesses. Identity theft is common when the victim is engaging in an activity they would rather not let other people find out about. It can be embarrassing to report, and even harder to pursue a claim. Other people lust after things they just cannot have, and get into debt, gamble, take out payday loans, and find themselves in a world of financial hurt. And then there are those who lose friends and family, which can lead to substance abuse and other forms of hardship. At the end of the day, lust is dangerous because it controls you, way more than any other sin. If you don't spot the warning signs early enough, you could find yourself in serious trouble.</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/6-ways-lust-is-keeping-you-poor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-42-ways-the-7-deadly-sins-are-keeping-you-poor">Flashback Friday: 42 Ways the 7 Deadly Sins Are Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-104-sweet-ways-to-celebrate-valentines-day">Flashback Friday: 104 Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine&#039;s Day</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-sloth-is-keeping-you-poor">6 Ways Sloth Is Keeping You Poor</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/make-these-6-relationship-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 6 Relationship Moves Now or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-actually-be-spending-on-a-date">How Much Should You Actually Be Spending on a Date?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping Dating keeping you poor love lust relationships seven deadly sins sins Valentine's Day Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:01:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1889314 at http://www.wisebread.com Learn to Love Winter With Some Simple Self-Deception http://www.wisebread.com/learn-to-love-winter-with-some-simple-self-deception <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/learn-to-love-winter-with-some-simple-self-deception" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-505830120.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm no stranger to winter. Raised in Iowa, I'm all too familiar with the extreme whiteouts and wind chills that start in November and don't reliably end until early April. It's the kind of weather that makes my nose hair freeze and my face hurt. But over the years, those of us from colder climates develop creative ways to thrive in winter's grip. If you find yourself tiring of the season, take heart and take heed! Here are seven mental tricks that might help you learn to love winter &mdash; or at least hate it a little less.</p> <h2>1. Understand Winter's Benefits</h2> <p>The purpose of cold winter months isn't simply to drive us all crazy with cabin fever. The long deep-freeze kills disease-carrying insects, interrupts the migration of invasive species, and slows the growth of nuisance vegetation. Ice buildup along lake shorelines even helps reduce soil erosion and protect wetland areas. At those moments when you feel frustrated by the frigid temps, remember &mdash; there's a beneficial cycle at play in nature.</p> <h2>2. Embrace All Things Domestic</h2> <p>Tired of winter interrupting your normal routine with freezing temps, snow, and icy roads? Maybe it's time to dominate domestically. Make a list of projects you can tackle and easily complete each week. My own list includes pricing items for a summertime yard sale, shredding stacks of personal paperwork, scanning and saving old family photos, and finally learning how to bake something &mdash; <em>anything </em>&mdash; from scratch. After two or three months of projects, I'll be more organized, more capable in the kitchen, and a few steps closer to spring.</p> <h2>3. Hang Out With Winter Enthusiasts</h2> <p>Misery loves company. If you want to beat your cold weather woes, don't look for the like-minded. Instead, seek out those folks who flourish in winter. With a little coaxing, you may find yourself enjoying the season with friends who love snowboarding, ice-fishing, or whiling away entire afternoons playing giant Jenga at a local pub.</p> <h2>4. Get Oh So Cozy</h2> <p>Roughly translated from Norwegian, &quot;koselig&quot; means &quot;coziness.&quot; Instead of fighting winter, do what the Norwegians do: Shift your thinking and give in to the spirit of the season. On those cold winter nights, wrap yourself in a down comforter, enjoy a steaming mug of cider, and binge-watch a TV series or lose yourself a good book. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-fun-things-to-do-when-youre-stuck-inside-during-winter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">50 Fun Things to Do When You're Stuck Inside During Winter</a>)</p> <h2>5. Indulge in Little Luxuries</h2> <p>Acquiring more stuff isn't the path to happiness, but a few strategic luxuries can help take the frost off winter. Treat yourself to some scented candles, good wine, high-end chocolate, or a monthly massage. While you're at it, spring for a temporary subscription to a video on-demand service like Netflix or Hulu to pass the time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a>)</p> <h2>6. Let the Light Shine In</h2> <p>Though it's a commodity during winter months, natural light is an essential mood lifter. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, repaint dark or drab walls, clear clutter away from windows, and flood your space with as much natural light as possible.</p> <h2>7. Plan a Spring Fling</h2> <p>Having something to look forward to can make cold winter months seem like a mere blip on the calendar. Schedule a warm weather trip and countdown your departure date with an app like <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/days-until/id297804039?mt=8" target="_blank">Days Until</a> or <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/countdown+-lite-social-calendar/id566237798?mt=8" target="_blank">Countdown+</a>. Then, spend those snowy afternoons planning your itinerary, reserving a hotel, refining your vacation wardrobe, and finding new ways to squirrel away extra fun money. Spring will be here before you know it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-to-love-winter-with-some-simple-self-deception">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-fun-ways-to-spend-a-snow-day-indoors">14 Fun Ways to Spend a Snow Day Indoors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul">9 Reasons Alone Time Is Good For Your Soul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-costa-rica-lesson-awwwwwww-they-got-me">The Costa Rica Lesson: Awwwwwww They Got Me</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/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</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/solve-problems-study-and-brainstorm-using-mind-maps">Solve Problems, Study, and Brainstorm using Mind Maps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Lifestyle mental health mental tricks SAD seasonal affective disorder self-care tips winter winter madness Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 1889189 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Great Reasons to Choose a Secondhand Engagement Ring (and Where to Find One) http://www.wisebread.com/3-great-reasons-to-choose-a-secondhand-engagement-ring-and-where-to-find-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-great-reasons-to-choose-a-secondhand-engagement-ring-and-where-to-find-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-532817131.jpg" alt="Couple getting engaged with secondhand engagement ring" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With Valentine's Day just around the corner, many couples will probably be getting engaged. But with the <a href="http://www.weddingstats.org/average-cost-of-an-engagement-ring.html" target="_blank">average engagement ring costing $5,273 </a>as of 2015, the price of a ring can be a huge expense for couples managing debt or saving for the future.</p> <p>However, that doesn't mean frugal couples have to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-fabulous-alternatives-to-the-diamond-engagement-ring?ref=internal" target="_blank">forgo a diamond</a> altogether; if you're willing to shop for a secondhand ring, you can get a beautiful diamond for a fraction of the price. Here are three reasons you should consider buying a used ring. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-engagement-ring-can-you-actually-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Engagement Ring Can You Actually Afford?</a>)</p> <h2>Depreciation</h2> <p>Just like a new car, when you buy a diamond, it loses value the minute you walk out of the jewelry store. According to Diamond Cutters International, the depreciation level is steep. Your <a href="http://diamondcuttersintl.com/qa/mrs-4/" target="_blank">diamond is worth about 19.7%</a> of the original price you paid once you leave the store.</p> <p>For example, if you purchased a $10,000 ring, and then a few weeks later tried to sell it, you could expect to get about $2,000 for it. That's a dramatic loss for any purchase.</p> <h2>Limited Resale Opportunities</h2> <p>Because diamonds depreciate so dramatically, it can be difficult to find buyers for an engagement ring. Jewelers will typically pass on used diamonds, because customers are often insulted by how low the ring is valued. And because jewelers only have to purchase rings they actually sell from wholesalers, they hesitate to put out capital upfront on a secondhand ring.</p> <p>Instead, many people looking to sell their rings end up turning to pawn stores, where they get a fraction of the resale cost, or online venues. Because of limited selling options for sellers, it's a buyer's market. You can get a high-quality ring for a budget price.</p> <h2>The Salary Myth</h2> <p>People still buy into the belief that an engagement ring should cost a month's salary or more. But that &quot;rule&quot; actually came from advertising campaigns <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27371208" target="_blank">by diamond seller De Beers</a>. In the 1930s, the rule was to spend one month's salary. In the 1980s they updated it to say, &quot;Two month's salary showed the future Mrs. Smith what the future will be like.&quot;</p> <p>The salary myth causes people to spend <em>way </em>more than they can afford, and makes them feel ashamed or embarrassed about looking at secondhand rings. But the &quot;rule&quot; is an arbitrary number designed to make you spend more. You should spend what you can comfortably afford. And by purchasing a used ring, your money can go much further.</p> <h2>Where to Shop</h2> <p>If you are willing to purchase a secondhand ring, there are several sites that have wide selections of pre-owned engagement rings.</p> <h3>IDoNowIDont.com</h3> <p>With <a href="http://idonowidont.com" target="_blank">I Do Now I Don't</a>, you can shop with peace of mind. Once you've found your dream ring and purchased it, the seller ships it to I Do Now I Don't. The company's jewelry experts and gemologists examine the ring and authenticate it to ensure it meets the item's description. If you're purchasing a name brand like Cartier or Tiffany, their team will identify if it's authentic or a knockoff. If they find any inconsistencies, you get a full refund.</p> <p>Many rings sell for 50% or lower than their appraised value.</p> <h3>Helzberg Diamonds</h3> <p><a href="https://www.helzberg.com/category/clearance/pre-owned.do?c=2455.3763&amp;sortby=newArrivalsDescend&amp;sortType=1" target="_blank">Helzberg Diamonds</a> is a traditional jewelry store, but they have a large pre-owned diamond ring section online. All pieces listed have been hand-inspected to ensure their quality and description accuracy. You can find beautiful, high-quality rings with discounts as high as 30% off normal retail prices.</p> <h3>HaveYouSeenTheRing.com</h3> <p><a href="https://www.haveyouseenthering.com/pre-owned-engagement-rings/" target="_blank">HYSTR</a> is another option where people can buy or sell used diamond rings. The buying process is simple in that you can interact with sellers directly to ask questions about the item and make offers. Once you're ready to buy, you go through HYSTR's secure checkout system, and your money is held in escrow while their gemologists verify that your item matches the seller's description. Then you receive it via FedEx Next Day Fully Insured shipping.</p> <h3>ZALES Outlet</h3> <p><a href="http://www.zales.com/previously-owned/family.jsp?categoryId=4218967&amp;fg=Jewelry+Type&amp;ff=PAD&amp;fv=Style%2FRing&amp;fd=Ring&amp;fg=Gender&amp;ff=PAD&amp;fv=Gender%2FLadies%27&amp;fd=Ladies%27" target="_blank">ZALES</a> has an outlet section of their online store that offers a vast selection of previously owned jewelry. They acquire this selection through store returns and trade-ins. All items are cleaned and restored to their original sparkle, and the prices are typically 60% off retail prices.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-great-reasons-to-choose-a-secondhand-engagement-ring-and-where-to-find-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-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/12-money-saving-tricks-to-know-before-buying-an-engagement-ring">12 Money-Saving Tricks to Know Before Buying an Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-engagement-ring-can-you-actually-afford">How Much Engagement Ring Can You Actually Afford?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-guests-guide-to-surviving-wedding-season">The Frugal Guest&#039;s Guide to Surviving Wedding Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-fabulous-alternatives-to-the-diamond-engagement-ring">7 Frugal, Fabulous Alternatives to the Diamond Engagement Ring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-42-ways-the-7-deadly-sins-are-keeping-you-poor">Flashback Friday: 42 Ways the 7 Deadly Sins Are Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping diamonds engagement ring jewelry proposals used engagement ring wedding wedding costs wedding expenses Thu, 09 Feb 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Kat Tretina 1888423 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack Following a Financial Setback http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback" 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_posture_532326842.jpg" alt="Woman learning to cut herself slack for a financial setback" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you fell off your financial wagon. It's particularly easy to do this time of year, though financial mistakes aren't necessarily seasonal.</p> <p>It's easy to beat yourself up over these things, even if you understand why your mistake happened. But what purpose does that serve? Does making yourself feel bad about a mistake actually make it less likely to happen again, or help you fix it?</p> <p>Whether you messed up because you are stressed, going through a difficult time personally, or wanted to give your kids an extra-special Christmas, stop berating yourself. Still prone to indulging your shame and guilt? Here are some good reasons to let it go.</p> <h2>Failure Almost Always Precedes Success</h2> <p>While true overnight success does occasionally happen, it's often more fluke than anything else. True success &mdash; even when it looks like it comes quickly &mdash; usually happens after many rounds of failure. In fact, ultimate success may be more about perseverance than it is about talent.</p> <p>Even well-known people, like Steve Jobs and Bob Dylan, faced setbacks and failures before they became successful. So, rather than being frustrated with yourself, see yourself as normal. Then, when you're ready, get up and try again and again and again until you find a way to meet your goals.</p> <h2>Failure Helps You Become Resilient</h2> <p>Being resilient means that life can knock you down, but you always get back up stronger than before. It means surviving and thriving in a world that often doesn't give you what you need or want. Some people seem to have this characteristic in spades, but the rest of us have to develop it.</p> <p>Failure is one way to become more resilient. As you weather failures, you learn how to deal with them and with yourself. You will learn how to let life's disappointments wash over you, and then how to step out again once they're done.</p> <p>If you've failed financially, whether your fall was spectacular or quiet, remember that each failure makes you a little more resilient, and then determine to get yourself back on your feet, no matter what.</p> <h2>Failure Invites Creativity</h2> <p>When we fail, it means that the solution we used to try to solve whatever problem stands before us didn't work, and so we have to figure something else out and try again. When we do this, we are exercising our creative muscles, because we are coming up with multiple ways to solve the same problem.</p> <p>Look at your financial failure as the problem to be solved. Whether you want to save more, spend less, pay off a debt faster, or something else, failure means that the plan you're currently using is not one that is working for you. So take a deep breath and start brainstorming. Think of other ways to achieve your goals, even if they seem a little crazy right now.</p> <p>Once you have a list of ideas, pick one to try next. For instance, if you struggle to save an emergency fund, consider using an app that saves for you automatically. If you want to spend less on drinks after work, come up with alternate activities to try with your coworkers. Most problems have a solution; you just have to find the one that works best for you.</p> <h2>Failure Teaches Us</h2> <p>If nothing else, failure often teaches us. Not only does it show us what does not work to solve a problem, but it also teaches us about ourselves. Failure can show us our limitations, it can reveal our resiliency, and it can tell us a lot regarding how we feel about ourselves.</p> <p>There is a lot of focus on learning from failure as part of the pathway to success and, while that can definitely be true, learning from failure can also redefine success. Let's say you want to save up enough money for a luxury car. You're diligent about putting away what you can, until Christmas comes around. Then, you see all sorts of awesome gifts you want to give to the people in your life. To buy them, you will have to dip into your savings&hellip; and you do it without a second thought.</p> <p>Sure, you may feel like you failed. After all, you didn't reach your goal. And you may have learned that you need to make your savings less accessible, so you can't dip into them so easily. But you also may have learned that you care more about people than you do about cars, and so you may choose to redefine success from &quot;saving enough for a luxury car&quot; to &quot;having plenty saved to buy luxurious Christmas gifts.&quot;</p> <p>Whatever failure has to teach you, stop beating yourself up and learn it!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-to-cut-yourself-some-slack-following-a-financial-setback">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer">5 Mental Habits That Make the Rich Richer</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-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-you-have-a-serious-spending-addiction">7 Signs You Have a Serious Spending Addiction</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-lizard-brain-derail-your-finances">Don&#039;t Let &quot;Lizard Brain&quot; Derail Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle emotional failures financial mistakes overspending psychology resilient saving money setbacks Mon, 23 Jan 2017 10:00:17 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1876849 at http://www.wisebread.com 23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/charity_fund_coins_495493374.jpg" alt="Finding frugal living resolutions anyone can master" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ooooooooh! I love a good challenge, don't you?</p> <p>Every year, 50% of Americans make a New Year's resolution. But each year, 88% of New Year resolvers fail to meet their goals. How is that possible? And how can we beat that disheartening statistic?</p> <h2>Do Less, More Often</h2> <p>The problem with most resolutions isn't too little willpower, but too much abstraction. Most people choose a gigantic, but vaguely defined, goal to achieve. Too many moving parts, mission creep, a steep learning curve; these things are obstacles to attaining goals. The key to success is to make the goal a small, but achievable habit. To quote Tim, my yoga teacher: &quot;Do less, more often.&quot;</p> <p>For example, I am currently trying to lose the 15 pounds I packed on this past year while recovering from an ankle injury. If I want to be successful in my goal to lose weight, my New Year's resolutions should not be, &quot;Get back in shape.&quot; That's a huge and amorphous mandate. Instead, my New Year's resolution should be a tiny daily habit like, &quot;Jump rope for 20 minutes every morning before breakfast.&quot;</p> <p>Plot twist: My New Year's resolution isn't actually about losing weight. My resolution this year, as it is every year, is to save more money.</p> <h2>Choose a Resolution That Requires No Talent</h2> <p>&quot;Save more money&quot; is about as undefined and unwieldy as you can get with a New Year's resolution. There are so many things that can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks" target="_blank">throw a wrench into your plans</a> and destroy your motivation to save in the course of 12 months. Trust me, this resolution is dumb.</p> <p>If you want to grow your savings, simplify your life, or just live a little lighter on the planet, here's a list of simple, frugal living resolutions that require no talent.</p> <h2>1. Don't Drive Like a Jerk</h2> <p>It was a word problem on a 7th grade algebra exam that taught me that speeding wastes money. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) can lower your gas mileage by up to 33%. Stop speeding and practice hypermiling instead.</p> <h2>2. Carpool</h2> <p>My husband saves thousands of dollars each year by carpooling to work. But don't limit your carpooling to just your daily work commute. You can save a ton of money by using a rideshare service to carpool home for the holidays or to a cultural event in another city. My awesome neighbor Patria and I carpool our errands at least once a week. It saves time, money, wear and tear on the car, and makes boring trips to the post office way more fun.</p> <h2>3. Go Carless for Short Trips</h2> <p>I try to walk, bike, or take public transportation to all events within a three-mile radius of my house. This habit saves me on gas money and allows me to avoid a costly gym membership. The hardest part about this practice is the time management. I no longer have to schedule around my workout, but it takes me much longer to get to the grocery store.</p> <h2>4. Stop Paying to Park</h2> <p>The hardest thing about driving in Los Angeles is not the traffic, but the parking. The city makes up its budget shortfall by aggressively doling out parking tickets, which start at $35 and go up from there. Parking signs are notoriously difficult to parse, of course.</p> <p>The key to saving money on parking is to give yourself extra time to find a free or cheap parking spot, so schedule that into your day. Also, there have been manifestos written about how to park on a budget in LA. I am sure <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-parking-apps-for-your-city" target="_blank">parking apps and maps</a> exist in other cities, too.</p> <h2>5. Be on Time</h2> <p>It takes absolutely no talent to be on time. There's a reason why the saying, &quot;Time is money,&quot; is a thing. Even so, American CEOs are late to 80% of their meetings. According to a survey by Proudfoot Consulting, CEO tardiness costs the U.S. economy $90 billion in lost productivity every year.</p> <p>But, even if you aren't a captain of industry, lateness is a money loser. Worst case scenario, you could get fired. As the job market becomes more competitive, more companies have decided to take a zero tolerance stance against employee tardiness. Your boss might be able to show up late, but you could lose your job.</p> <p>Also, being chronically late says a lot about you, and none of it is good.</p> <h2>6. Get Rid of 10 Things a Day</h2> <p>Clutter will keep you poor and drive you crazy. My November 1, 2001 Resolution was <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever" target="_blank">Get Rid of 10 Things a Day</a>. I keep clutter at bay by removing 10 things from my home every day. That comes to 300 things per month, or 3,650 things per year, that leave my house. A thing can be as big as a car or as small as a safety pin. I can trash, donate, or recycle a thing. As long as the item physically leaves my house, I can count it as part of my 10 things.</p> <h2>7. Mari Kondo Your Home</h2> <p>Japanese organizing guru <a href="http://amzn.to/2ieBLPM" target="_blank">Mari Kondo</a> has taken the world by storm with her very simple method of managing clutter: Only keep the things that bring you a spark of joy. (Anything that doesn't bring you a spark of joy gets tossed.)</p> <h2>8. Downsize Your Storage</h2> <p>If your goal this year is to downsize, you should definitely start by emptying your storage.</p> <p>If you have ever watched <em>Storage Wars</em>, then you already know that most people pay a lot of money to store a lot of worthless crap. Personal storage is a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">huge money drain</a>. Do the math. It might actually be cheaper to buy and then sell seasonal items like sleds and garden tools each year rather than paying to store them during the offseason.</p> <h2>9. Join the Compact (Buy Nothing New for One Calendar Year)</h2> <p>I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-30000-and-helped-the-earth-at-the-same-time" target="_blank">joined The Compact</a> in 2007 out of green guilt. Almost 10 years later, I am still a subscriber to this conservation movement. In addition to helping me live a more environmentally sustainable life, it has also helped me save over $30,000. Also, it's a super fun challenge that has taught me so much about myself!</p> <p>The core idea behind The Compact is to lighten your environmental impact on the planet by reducing the number of virgin resources you take out of it. You achieve this by agreeing to step off the consumer grid and buy nothing new for one calendar year, save for necessities like food, medication, and safety supplies.</p> <p>While buying nothing new sounds like deprivation, it's really more like a treasure hunt, because you can buy anything you want used. Under Compact rules, you could buy vintage furniture, or used clothes, or even a classic automobile, because none of these items are new.</p> <p>It's a super simple idea that runs deceptively deep, as sourcing used goods upends modern life's push for instant gratification.</p> <h2>10. Create a Capsule Wardrobe</h2> <p>While fashion bloggers on Pinterest and Tumblr might lead you to believe that a capsule wardrobe is all about shopping for the perfect minimalist wardrobe, I would argue that those people are doing it wrong. A true capsule wardrobe is a tightly edited collection of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-work-wardrobe-for-any-job-on-a-budget" target="_blank">garments that fit your lifestyle</a>, year-round.</p> <p>A capsule wardrobe shouldn't be about perfection, but about creativity and practicality. How many outfits can you create out of the smallest number of garments?</p> <p>Since most people only wear a fraction of the clothes in their closets, downsize to the favorite items you wear over and over and get rid of everything else. Replace only your favorite garments when they wear out. Your new, smaller wardrobe will save you money and time.</p> <h2>11. Shop in Your Own Home First</h2> <p>Before you make a purchase, search your home first for an alternative that you can use instead. Can you make do with a navy blue dress instead of a little black dress? Can you learn how to cook on the stovetop instead of replacing your broken microwave with a new one? For the love of all that is good and beautiful, can you watch an instructional video to learn how to make your own fancy coffee at home for 10 cents versus buying it for $2.00?</p> <h2>12. Be a Part-Time Vegetarian</h2> <p>Meat costs a lot of money and is hard on the planet. The <a href="http://www.meatlessmonday.com/the-global-movement/" target="_blank">Meatless Monday Movement</a> found that by cutting meat consumption to just one day a week saved participating families $80 per month on their grocery bills. Save even more by going meatless several days a week.</p> <h2>13. Eat Your Leftovers!</h2> <p>My sister and I grew up eating last night's dinner leftovers for breakfast. In addition to cutting food waste, eating leftovers also sped up the morning schedule because on most days, we didn't even bother reheating the food. This weird, frugal hack has saved my sister and I a small fortune in food costs.</p> <p>A lot of people who hear about our dinner for breakfast habit are grossed out. Of course, these same people probably have no problem with eating dinner for breakfast as long as they pay a lot of money for steamed table food and call it brunch.</p> <p>If dinner for breakfast doesn't float your boat, make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-night-soup-delicious-soup-from-leftovers" target="_blank">Thursday Night Soup</a> out of your kitchen scraps to stretch your grocery budget and keep your fridge compost-free.</p> <h2>14. Bring Your Lunch to Work</h2> <p>My husband has saved over $2,500 this year just by bringing his lunch to work instead of going out to eat. My husband doesn't feel deprived or shamed by his brown bagging. A<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-non-sandwich-work-lunches" target="_blank"> brown bag lunch</a> doesn't have to be boring. My husband takes great pleasure in preparing elaborate meals for himself that cost pennies.</p> <p>Alternately, if you have a favorite food, eating the same lunch every day can be a comforting ritual that saves a lot of time. Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox famously ate the <a href="http://www.self.com/story/jennifer-aniston-and-the-friends-ladies-ate-this-salad-every-day-for-10-years" target="_blank">same salad</a> for lunch for 10 years. My mother, who is an excellent cook, loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so much, that she has special refillable tubes that allow her to take her favorite lunch ingredients with her when she goes camping. Eating the same lunch each day also makes it easy to save money on groceries. You can budget down to the penny what your lunch costs and buy the ingredients when they go on sale.</p> <h2>15. Use Less</h2> <p>This one is easy. Just use less. If you use half the amount of detergent, will your clothes still get clean? Can you split an entree at dinner with a friend and still feel full? What would happen if you just lathered and rinsed, but didn't repeat?</p> <h2>16. Save Water</h2> <p>Is your water bill sky high or would you just like to do your part to preserve the water table? It's time to plan out your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-save-water" target="_blank">water-saving plan</a>.</p> <h2>17. Save Electricity</h2> <p>Turn off those lights! Make these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it" target="_blank">energy-saving strategies</a> part of your daily life and save big.</p> <h2>18. Cut Down on Your Trash</h2> <p>The average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash per person, per day. You can do better! Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too" target="_blank">12 ways to cut down on garbage</a> and save money (and your sanity, too).</p> <h2>19. Recycle</h2> <p>Before I was old enough to legally work, I earned pocket money by collecting bottles and cans and recycling them for money. As an adult, I still make several hundred dollars a year recycling the bottles and cans that my wino neighbors throw onto the parkway. Yes. It might be embarrassing to cruise target-rich public areas like fraternity row or the trash cans outside your local concert venue for recyclables. But, if you are scrambling to make ends meet, consider the cost of your vanity. There's at least one Los Angeles family that <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=1787254&amp;page=1#.UU6Z1I73BdQ" target="_blank">sent their three kids to college</a> with the money they made collecting bottles and cans.</p> <p>Recycling is obviously good for the wallet. But, if you already recycle for the money, consider recycling items that don't offer a rebate for the sake of the planet. An increasing number of companies are now offering <a href="https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades" target="_blank">free recycling</a> for their packaging.</p> <h2>20. Keep Making Payments</h2> <p>My husband and I finally paid off our home equity line of credit! We've been making the $423 payments each month for over a year now, and we intend to continue paying the $423&hellip; but as extra principal payments on our home mortgage. Since we're used to covering the $423, we won't even notice a difference in our budget.</p> <h2>21. Collect the Change</h2> <p>Every time you get a $5 bill, put that money into your savings account. If your budget won't permit $5 increment savings, put your spare change into a piggy bank at the end of each day. Either way, your savings will pleasantly surprise you at the end of the year.</p> <h2>22. 52-Week Challenge</h2> <p>This savings strategy has a slow roll out, but strong payout. Every year is divided into 52 weeks. On week one, put $1 into your savings account. On week two, put $2 into your savings account. On week three, save $3. You get the idea. The largest weekly deposit you will have to make is $52. At the end of the year you will have saved $1,378!</p> <h2>23. Learn and Practice One New Skill</h2> <p>I didn't become a ninja saver overnight. Every year I try to master one new skill that will make or save me more money. One year, my friend Carol Ann taught me how to can my cranberry jam, and now I own an artisanal food company. This last year I learned how to forage for edible plants in my own backyard to save money on fresh produce. Years ago I taught myself how to sell online on Etsy and eBay. Each year I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash" target="_blank">make at least $1,000 </a>selling trash picked items that I have literally pulled out of the garbage, for cash.</p> <p>In 2017, I am going to learn how to refinish wood furniture like a pro. With the help of my friend Kirk, a retired painting contractor, I am currently refinishing an original Jens Risom coffee table that was purchased for $3 at a garage sale and hidden under layers of paint. Modern reproductions of this same table sell for over $3,000 and originals in pristine condition go for even more.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F23%20Frugal%20Living%20Resolutions%20Anyone%20Can%20Master.jpg&amp;description=23%20Frugal%20Living%20Resolutions%20Anyone%20Can%20Master" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/23%20Frugal%20Living%20Resolutions%20Anyone%20Can%20Master.jpg" alt="23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-times-in-life-when-less-is-more">18 Times in Life When Less Is More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-thing-that-will-help-you-actually-save-money">The One Thing That Will Help You Actually Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle budget challenges cleaning downsizing goals new year's resolutions resolutions saving money Thu, 29 Dec 2016 10:00:21 +0000 Max Wong 1864429 at http://www.wisebread.com Why a Mobile Home May Be Your Best Option for Affordable Housing http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-mobile-home-may-be-your-best-option-for-affordable-housing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-a-mobile-home-may-be-your-best-option-for-affordable-housing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mobile_homes_street_184625427.jpg" alt="Learning why a mobile home is the most affordable option" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Homeownership has long been part of the American dream. But if you want to become a homeowner, the average house in the U.S. these days <a href="http://www.zillow.com/home-values/">costs about $191,200</a>. If you have a lower salary or have student loan debt, finding a home you can afford, and convincing a lender to give you a mortgage, can be challenging. For many, homeownership is just not feasible &mdash; at least, homeownership as we traditionally think about it.</p> <p>But if you're willing to consider nontraditional approaches to housing, you can become a homeowner at a fraction of the cost.</p> <p>Manufactured homes, often derisively described as trailer homes, have come a long way from even 10 years ago. Today, modern manufactured homes are luxurious, well-made, and spacious. And, you can become a homeowner for less than you'd spend on a down payment on a traditional home.</p> <h2>Modern Manufactured Homes</h2> <p>Unlike traditional houses, manufactured homes are usually built off-site, then pieced together on their new owner's lot. They can be built into the foundation, but most are able to be moved, if the owner decides to relocate.</p> <p>Today's models are sturdy and are meant to be full-time residences. While you can find tiny one-bedrooms, they also come in three and four-bedroom deluxe versions that can accommodate larger families.</p> <p>If you're looking for upgrades, modern manufactured homes have them. New models typically have large, open floor plans, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and giant soaking tubs. You can even get hardwood floors and screened-in porches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most?ref=seealso">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a>)</p> <h2>The Cost of a Manufactured Home</h2> <p>Manufactured homes can vary widely in cost, but they are much cheaper than traditional houses. As of 2013, the average cost of a new manufactured home, not including land, <a href="http://www.grissimguides.com/grrep13.htm">was $63,000</a>. But if you're willing to buy used, you can get a home for as little as $10,000.</p> <p>Today's manufactured homes are extremely energy-efficient. They often use less energy and water than other homes. In fact, the combined cost of electricity, gas, and water can be less than <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/08/03/money-quick-tips-mobile-homes-hosuing/2610469/">$1,000 a year</a> &mdash; a significant savings over traditional homes.</p> <p>However, one thing to keep in mind when buying a manufactured home is that the cost of the unit is only part of the overall price, since you also have to pay to keep it somewhere. Some people opt to buy land for their manufactured home; others pay rent in a community.</p> <p>Communities often offer amenities like pools, fitness centers, group activities, and more. But they can range in price and quality. Rent is often between <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/08/03/money-quick-tips-mobile-homes-hosuing/2610469/">$200 and $300,</a> but even combined with your payments for your purchase price, that's likely less than you'd spend on a mortgage for a regular home or rent on an apartment.</p> <h2>Downsides to Consider</h2> <p>Manufactured homes are dependent on their communities; where your house is can change your experience. Before deciding on a home, do your research on the park. Drive around on the weekends, on weeknights, and walk around in the evening to get a feel for the neighborhood. Try to attend community events, if possible, and talk to your neighbors about their experiences.</p> <p>And unlike regular houses, which can build equity, manufactured homes are more like cars: They're depreciating assets. If you buy new and decide to sell in a few years, you are unlikely to get what you paid for it. But that's why you can get such a great deal on a gently used unit if you are willing to buy from a previous owner.</p> <h2>Give Manufactured Homes Another Look</h2> <p>If you want to stop the rent cycle and become a homeowner, but cannot come up with the funds to buy a $200,000 home, give manufactured homes a serious look. They may be able to give you everything you're looking for &mdash; number of bedrooms, open floor plan, modern kitchen &mdash; at a much smaller price. By opening your mind to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">alternative housing ideas</a>, you can get what your family wants while saving money.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-mobile-home-may-be-your-best-option-for-affordable-housing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</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/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</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/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> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing affordable homes alternative housing homeownership manufactured homes mobile homes trailer parks Tue, 27 Dec 2016 11:00:06 +0000 Kat Tretina 1860479 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 New Year's Resolutions Your Pet Wants You to Make http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_dog_pet_499423418.jpg" alt="Woman making New Year&#039;s resolutions her pet wants" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making New Year's resolutions feels great, but let's face it &mdash; we are terrible at it. According to research by a University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology study, only 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/">actually achieve their goals</a>. If you're like most people, your plans to go to the gym four times a week, stop wasting time on Facebook, and organize your entire home are probably going to fizzle before the end of January.</p> <p>But there is someone in your life who can help you create achievable New Year's resolutions: your pet. What Fido and Fluffy want from you in 2017 are actually things that will help to make <em>your </em>life better. So forget the usual resolutions this year, and make some resolutions that will make your pet (and you!) happy:</p> <h2>1. Go On a Daily 30-Minute Walk</h2> <p>You know that Rover loves going on walks with you, but some days, it's all you can do to walk him around the block to his favorite fire hydrant. Especially in the winter, it can be very easy to hustle through a quick walk in the cold and head back inside to your laptop and Netflix.</p> <p>But your pooch loves the daily exercise and stimulation that a long walk can offer &mdash; even in cold weather &mdash; and he's not able to understand your enthusiasm for binge-watching The Crown. A nice long walk is just what he wants, even when you want to curl up with a hot chocolate.</p> <p>Of course, a daily 30-minute walk is literally just what the doctor ordered for <em>you</em>, too. Not only does a daily walk help you maintain (or lose) weight, but such moderate exercise helps to prevent and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/the-many-benefits-of-walking-30-minutes-a-day/2015/10/19/cf12c938-71e1-11e5-9cbb-790369643cf9_story.html?utm_term=.fdbd86286857">reduce the severity of chronic diseases</a> like high blood pressure and diabetes. In addition, the exercise and the time outside can both help to improve your mood.</p> <p>Rather than making a resolution to become a gym rat &mdash; and plunking down the gym's hefty joiner's fee and monthly membership fee &mdash; resolve to take Rover for a long walk every day, no matter the weather. You'll both be happier for it.</p> <h2>2. Take More Naps</h2> <p>Mittens may act aloof, but there is something she wishes you'd do more of: nap with her. Cats are notorious nappers (and cuddlers), and there is nothing more satisfying than taking a snooze with a purring kitty perched on your belly.</p> <p>Of course, such naps are going to do more than just make your cat happy. They will also improve your health, your mood, and your level of self-control. According to a 2011 study by the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm6008.pdf">suffering from sleep deprivation</a>. And being sleep deprived means that you are more vulnerable to chronic illnesses and more irritable, not to mention too mentally exhausted to avoid procrastination.</p> <p>So this year, commit to curling up with your cat and catching 40 winks a couple of times a week. She'll love the closeness, and you'll reap the benefits of being well-rested.</p> <h2>3. Do Less</h2> <p>Having a full social calendar can be tough on your pets. They miss you terribly when you go out in the evening, especially if you are already working long hours. They would love nothing more than to have you home and available for tug-of-war, fetch, or belly rubs most nights.</p> <p>It turns out that having a wall-to-wall schedule of events in your life isn't so great for you, either. According to Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan, authors of the book <a href="http://amzn.to/2i7M5VV">Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives</a>, you're likely to make bad decisions if you have too little free time. Here's why: Managing your time is something like packing a suitcase. If you have an empty suitcase (or an empty schedule), it's easy to add something new. But if your suitcase or schedule is full, then you have to decide what to remove in order to add a new commitment, and that can be stressful.</p> <p>The commitments that are most likely to come out of the &quot;time suitcase&quot; are the ones that don't feel urgent &mdash; like your commitment to spend time with your pets. But not only does spending time with your four-footed friends make them happier, it is also a great way to relieve your own stress. It is well documented that interaction with animals reduces tension and improves mood.</p> <p>That's not to say that you should completely clear your social calendar so you can spend every moment with Buddy and Boots. But if you resolve to do less in 2017, you can take the time to determine whether you really want to say yes to the invitations that come your way. Then you'll only agree to the ones that you really want to do &mdash; and make yourself and your pets happier.</p> <h2>4. Clean More</h2> <p>Bandit can't get on his favorite spot on the sofa because the laundry basket is in the way. Cleo's litter box has gotten so ripe she's leaving &quot;gifts&quot; on the floor beside it. They may not be able to tell you in words (although your cat's method of protest can be pretty eloquent), but your pets would love it if your house were a little cleaner.</p> <p>Tidying up would also offer a big benefit to you. According to Sherrie Bourg Carter, writing for Psychology Today, &quot;Messy homes and work spaces <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies">leave us feeling anxious</a>, helpless, and overwhelmed.&quot; Those piles of clothes and papers overwhelm our senses and make it difficult to truly relax. That can affect everything from your mood to your ability to sleep well at night.</p> <p>Getting on a cleaning routine this year will not only help your pets to feel comfortable in your home, but it will help you feel better, too. And knowing that you can have unexpected guests drop by without worrying about the pet hair tumbleweed in the living room or the freshness of the litter box is an incredibly freeing sensation.</p> <h2>Listen to Your Pets</h2> <p>Resolutions are often grand promises to ourselves, but making small promises to our pets will actually lead to a better, healthier, and happier year. For 2017, resolve to get more purring and tail wagging from your pets, and you'll also reap the rewards for yourself.</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/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make">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/7-ways-to-get-fit-with-your-dog">7 Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog</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/walk-walk-walk-walk-walk">Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don&#039;t Make You Look Silly</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-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Home Lifestyle cleaning disease reduction exercise getting outside napping New Year's pets relaxing resolutions walking Mon, 26 Dec 2016 11:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1860477 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Frugal Gifts for the Person Who Needs a Nap http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-gifts-for-the-person-who-needs-a-nap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-frugal-gifts-for-the-person-who-needs-a-nap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-535110735.jpg" alt="these are the perfect gifts for nap lovers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is anyone on your gift list cranky or stressed-out? Let's face it, this year has been pretty tiring. Maybe they need a nap. Heck, we all could probably use one.</p> <p>Napping can help you recharge, zap stress, and boost your mood. Who doesn't need that, especially during the holiday season? Let's encourage napping, and enjoy the benefits. Here are nine items that will make someone sleepy just by looking at them.</p> <h2>1. Cozy Blanket</h2> <p>I bought a super-soft <a href="http://amzn.to/2hM3Lq2" target="_blank">fleece throw</a> for my husband, and when I'm not stealing it, he's using it to nap. Tossing one over a chair looks homey.</p> <h2>2. Sleepy Tea</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2hM7u6X" target="_blank">Chamomile tea</a> is known for making people sleepy. According to the science, &quot;<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/" target="_blank">Sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid</a>, apigenin, that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain.&quot; Or, it could just be the relaxing ritual of making a cup of tea that makes the eyelids heavy.</p> <h2>3. Eye Mask</h2> <p>For the light sleeper in your life, consider getting them an <a href="http://amzn.to/2gH5vET" target="_blank">eye mask</a>. The added darkness can keep that pesky sun from ruining a napping mood.</p> <h2>4. Nap-on-the-Go Accessories</h2> <p>Slightly germaphobic, I don't like using the blankets or pillows provided by the airlines. Who touched that? Ewww. So if you know a frequent traveler who feels the same way, consider this <a href="http://amzn.to/2hMbBQC" target="_blank">handy blanket and pillow combo</a>, complete with handy carrying strap.</p> <h2>5. White Noise Machine</h2> <p>We took our pediatrician's advice and did not stop doing chores while baby napped. Now the kid can sleep through <em>anything. </em>&quot;White noise&quot; is simply a combination of different sounds and frequencies. But no need to run the vacuum cleaner &mdash; just flip the switch on one of these <a href="http://amzn.to/2gzrfhk" target="_blank">white noise machines</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-a-50-year-old-gadget-may-be-the-best-cure-for-insomnia?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why a 50 Year Old Gadget May Be the Best Cure for Insomnia</a>)</p> <h2>6. Hot Water Bottle</h2> <p>To take the chill off, there is just something about a <a href="http://amzn.to/2hM4XtA" target="_blank">hot-water bottle.</a> The product, patented in 1903, is the epitome of low-tech. It's also really nice to have one of these comforting bottles around when you don't feel well. Just add hot water and snooze.</p> <h2>7. A Little Lavender</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2gH30T0" target="_blank">Lavender</a> may be just thing thing to help you rest, as it has been <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22612017" target="_blank">shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure</a>. Spray a little spritz and see if it is sleep-inducing. If nothing else, it smells wonderful.</p> <h2>8. Fan</h2> <p>A <a href="http://amzn.to/2hMasbx" target="_blank">room fan</a> offers the combination of cooling the room &mdash; which <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/lets-cool-it-in-the-bedroom/?_r=0" target="_blank">signals the body that it is time to sleep</a> &mdash; plus a little white noise. I cannot sleep at night without my fan running. Any seasoned napper would love this extra snooze-boost.</p> <h2>9. Yoga Tunes</h2> <p>I'll admit that I have embarrassed myself by falling asleep in yoga class on, um, more than one occasion. Oh, well. Maybe the relaxing <a href="http://amzn.to/2hrZoUz" target="_blank">yoga music</a> will help your favorite napper, too.</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/9-frugal-gifts-for-the-person-who-needs-a-nap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-160-gift-ideas-for-everyone-you-know">Flashback Friday: 160 Gift Ideas for Everyone You Know</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/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save 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/15-unique-holiday-gifts-for-teachers-that-theyll-actually-like">15 Unique Holiday Gifts for Teachers That They&#039;ll Actually Like</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-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-you-should-start-your-holiday-shopping-now">10 Reasons You Should Start Your Holiday Shopping Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping Christmas gift guide gift ideas holiday shopping nap need a nap shopping hacks sleep Fri, 16 Dec 2016 11:30:08 +0000 Marla Walters 1855410 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_farm_carrots_519737980.jpg" alt="Woman learning going off the grid is hard" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The term &quot;off the grid&quot; has taken on an expanded meaning of late. It used to be used in a literal fashion, to refer to disconnection from the grids supplying power, gas, water, and telephone services. Lately it's come to mean something broader: disconnecting from what whatever parts of &quot;the system&quot; seem objectionable to you.</p> <p>Some people want to disconnect from the financial system. Some people want to disconnect from the surveillance state. Some people want to disconnect from the globalized economy or industrial agriculture or consumerism. Any of these choices have both costs and benefits.</p> <p>Take a look at some of your options.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the Low-Tech Path</h2> <p>To go fully off the grid is to become self-sufficient &mdash; to produce all the things you need for daily living. This is only sort-of possible. That is, the technology to produce everything you need to live is very low-tech indeed &mdash; pretty much everybody lived that way for the past 100,000 years &mdash; but there are two problems, one of which is insurmountable.</p> <h3>The Surmountable Problem: It's a Hard Way to Live</h3> <p>There are two historical routes along the low-tech path. The more recent is subsistence farmer.</p> <p>You can't just decide &quot;I'm going to be a subsistence farmer&quot; and expect to succeed at it. It takes capital (in the form of land and tools). It takes skills (that your grandfather may have had, but that you probably don't). And if you can acquire both of those things, it then takes long hours of year-round backbreaking work to eke out a meager existence.</p> <p>You can live at a much higher standard of living if you work for money (whether at a job or at your own small business) and then use that money to buy the things you need. Even if you don't make much money at all &mdash; part-time work at minimum wage, or whatever you can make as a freelancer at this or that &mdash; you're still going to be able to live as well as a subsistence farmer.</p> <p>Oh, the subsistence farmer will get better food. It doesn't get any fresher, more local, free-range, or organic than the stuff you grow yourself. The subsistence farmer also gets the huge satisfaction that comes from supplying your own needs with your own two hands. But if you really want to produce everything yourself, you're going to have to do without a lot.</p> <p>You have to make a lot of choices about how pure you want to be. Each thing you want to learn how to make yourself &mdash; nails, let's say &mdash; means another big investment in tools (forge, anvil) and skills, and another huge amount of work that you have to do to produce enough nails for a project. And each thing you decide not to make for yourself &mdash; cellphones, let's say &mdash; draws you into the money economy, meaning that you need to produce a surplus, so you have something to sell beyond what you need to live on.</p> <p>Although it would have been a lot easier in your grandfather's time (his parents had and could teach many of the skills that you're going to have to learn from YouTube videos), it's probably easier now than it was in the 1960s, when a lot of hippie types gave subsistence farming a serious try. At least you've got the YouTube videos.</p> <p>There is a lot of stuff out there to help, if you're serious about giving something like this a try. You might start with my review of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it">The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It</a> here on Wise Bread from a few years ago.</p> <p>Just for completeness, I should mention the even older low-tech path: The lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer.</p> <p>As a practical option, this one probably doesn't even exist. Virtually all the land that is suitable to support hunter-gatherers is more valuable for some other use, and so it has been taken for that use. (Hunter-gatherers couldn't win fights with farmers even before firearms were invented.)</p> <p>I suppose a wealthy person could buy a hunting preserve on a tract of land big enough to provide enough fish, game, and plants to support himself. If he did his hunting with primitive weapons and processed the carcasses with primitive tools (and kept to himself), he could probably get away with violating the rules on hunting seasons, fishing licenses, and the like. But it would just be a fantasy of living as a hunter-gatherer. As a landowner, he'd still be on the grid. (As a rich person, he'd no doubt be on the grid in all sorts of ways.)</p> <p>Having said all that, hunting and gathering are both useful as ways to improve whatever lifestyle choice you end up with. Anything you can take from the wild is something that you neither need to grow nor buy. I talk about that in my post <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foraging-not-insane-useless-or-impossible">Foraging: Not Insane, Useless, or Impossible</a> and Andrea Karim has posts looking at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hunt-fish-money-food">hunting and fishing for food</a> and at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">gathering edible weeds</a>. (Of course those barely scratch the surface of what hunting and gathering can do to supplement your diet in modern times.)</p> <h3>The Insurmountable Problem: You're Still on the Grid</h3> <p>A farmer needs to own land, and all kinds of grid attachments come along with that. You have to pay your property taxes, so you have to earn some money, so you're probably going to have to file an income tax return as well. If you need to earn money you're probably going to have to be able to market your products, so you need a truck, which means even more money, and even more grid attachments (license, plates, safety inspections, dependence on foreign oil).</p> <p>There are other ways you can't get off the grid. The state is going to check and make sure your kids are getting a proper education. You can teach them yourself, but you need to be on-the-grid enough to do the paperwork. You need to have health insurance even if you don't want to avail yourself of modern medical care. Zoning regulations will affect how you can use your land. Federal marketing orders and agreements affect what crops you can grow, and the EPA regulates what you can do with wetlands on your property.</p> <p>Because of these issues (and a hundred more like them), I've become enamored of late by the possibility of a different sort of path to off-the-grid living.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the High-Tech Path</h2> <p>If you accept the fact that there simply is no way to live completely off the grid &mdash; if you abandon the purity aspect of the notion &mdash; another option opens up: You can go off the grid <em>a la carte</em>, picking and choosing where connecting to the grid is worth the cost, and where disconnecting is the bigger win.</p> <p>The question you need to ask is &quot;<em>Why</em> do you want to live off the grid?&quot; If you understand the answer to that question, you can decide where to put your effort.</p> <h3>The Satisfaction of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>If this is what moves you, you can start right away. Think about what you need and start producing it.</p> <p>Food? An intensively worked suburban plot can provide a large fraction of all the food a family needs, but you can start with just a garden. If you can have chickens where you live, you can easily be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">self-sufficient in eggs</a>. You can certainly raise a few rabbits and substantially augment your household meat supply.</p> <p>Clothing? Learn to sew. Learn to knit. Learn to weave. Learn to spin.</p> <p>Shelter? Look into the &quot;tiny house&quot; movement. (There are several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny house articles</a> on Wise Bread.)</p> <p>Producing your own stuff is only sometimes cheaper than buying it, but stuff you produce yourself can also be better than what you can buy (once you get good at producing it).</p> <h3>The Safety and Security of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>One downside of &quot;the grid&quot; is that you're so terribly dependent on it. If the power goes out, you're sitting in the dark. If a backhoe takes out the wrong cable, you've got no landline (or no Internet, or no cable). If the water company starts piping in water that's contaminated with lead, you're drinking from bottles until they clean the system.</p> <p>You can replace most of these things in a grid-free fashion, although it often takes capital.</p> <p>You can put solar panels on your roof and produce your own electricity. If you live out in the country, you can drill your own well and pump up your own water. You can even set up a biodigester and produce your own methane gas (although it might be simpler to harvest the occasional tree and burn wood rather than gas).</p> <p>There's really no way to go grid-free for telephone and Internet, because the connection is the essence of the thing. But if you wanted to do it, the technical chops required to set up your own local network &mdash; one that covered your home or your neighborhood (or your walled compound) &mdash; is not beyond the capability of an ordinary person. Throw in some access points capable of establishing a meshing network and a server with ample disk space and you could offer folks very local networking that was completely independent of the larger grid, providing voice access to everyone within your local network and offering whatever you wanted to spin up on your server. (A local copy of Wikipedia wouldn't take up much room at all.)</p> <h3>The Morality of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>Things that you produce yourself can be produced in accordance with your own values.</p> <p>You can be confident that no produce from your own garden was harvested by poorly treated migrant labor. You can be confident that no garment that you sew yourself was made by slaves or prisoners. Eggs from your chickens can be cruelty-free, cage-free, free-range, and organic to exactly the extent that you choose &mdash; and will certainly be extremely local.</p> <p>Using power produced by your solar panels funds no overseas terrorist organization, drains no cash to money-center corporations, nor does it enrich the shareholders of the firms endangering our air and water with fracking, offshore drilling, or poorly maintained pipelines.</p> <p>Where morality is not implicated, you can choose to stay on the grid. I don't live in a tiny house: I live in a town house &mdash; but it's a town house owned by a cooperative that I'm a member of. In essence, I rent it from myself. It's on the grid, but it's very much in accordance with my values.</p> <p>Living large on a small budget makes it easy to live light on the planet, and that often goes hand-in-hand with high-tech, off-grid living.</p> <h3>The Flexibility of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>The technology of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-paths-to-being-a-digital-nomad">digital nomad</a> makes it possible to go off the grid in a very different way.</p> <p>On the one hand, the digital nomad needs regular (although not necessarily constant) access to the Internet. That's as grid-connected as can be.</p> <p>On the other hand, once you've arranged your life to allow you to be location-independent, you can be pretty indifferent to exactly which bits of the grid you choose to depend on, and you can shift around based on the circumstances of the moment.</p> <p>You can live out of a suitcase and laptop bag, using the power and Internet available wherever you happen to be.</p> <p>You can outfit an RV (or a van) with some solar panels and some batteries, add a few gigabytes of data to your cellular plan, and live and work anywhere you choose.</p> <p>You can connect to the grid, work for as long as seems appropriate, and then disconnect whenever you want.</p> <p>Being able to make these choices &mdash; and then make different choices when the circumstance (or your thinking) changes &mdash; is what I mean by the high-tech path to off-grid living.</p> <h2>High-tech or Low-tech, Capital Makes a Difference</h2> <p>There's a big trade off between <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">self-sufficiency and self-reliance</a>, and the more of what you need you can produce for yourself, the more options you have.</p> <p>The grid is part of this. Replacing it requires a lot of capital. Doing without means taking a hit to your standard of living. This means a lot of hard choices, but each additional chunk of capital can turn one more hard choice into an easy choice.</p> <p>I mentioned at the beginning that a subsistence farmer needs capital for land or tools. Many of the other strategies I've mentioned &mdash; such as getting your power from a solar array &mdash; involve substituting capital up front for monthly bills (and a reliance on the grid).</p> <p>There is the option of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-farewell-my-subaru">going big on capital</a>. If you've got enough money, you can be as local and off-grid as you want in sourcing your food, power, water, and so on.</p> <p>If you lack capital, you're going to have to pick and choose which aspects of grid you chose to unhook from. Or else, you're going to have to accept a very low standard of living indeed.</p> <p>In the end, it comes down to your values. Why do you want to live off the grid? What lifestyle choices support those reasons?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier">20 Ways Amazon&#039;s Alexa Can Make Your Life Easier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology alternative living disconnecting Economy farming independence Internet off the grid self sufficient sustainability Thu, 15 Dec 2016 11:30:12 +0000 Philip Brewer 1850791 at http://www.wisebread.com