Lifestyle http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4806/all en-US 6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dwayne_johnson_000018755909.jpg" alt="Learning money lessons from The Rock" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whatever Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson is cooking, you better get a hold of his recipe for success! According to Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid celebrities, Johnson earned a cool <a href="http://www.forbes.com/profile/dwayne-johnson/">$64.5 million in 2016</a>, more than double of what he earned the previous year ($31.5 million).</p> <p>He came from very humble beginnings, hustled his way through professional wrestling, and developed a successful career in the entertainment industry. The Rock never took himself too seriously (remember his role as thug Elliot on <a href="https://youtu.be/y2trL80lJPQ">Be Cool</a>?), and is still quite humble. Here are the six money lessons we could all learn from Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson.</p> <h2>Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket</h2> <p>This is one of the most well-known investing maxims. Johnson is a true believer on this mantra and he has diversified his sources of income, including wrestling, acting, and producing a number of reality shows and the HBO series <em>Ballers</em>. While the bulk of his net worth (estimated to be somewhere between <a href="http://okmagazine.com/photos/dwayne-the-rock-johnson-by-the-numbers-his-nine-figure-net-worth-and-more/photo/1001096506/">$150 millio</a>n and <a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-athletes/wrestlers/the-rock-net-worth/">$190 million</a>) comes from his movie roles, Johnson still applies the don't-put-all-your-eggs-in-one-basket concept by working in more roles than his fellow actors.</p> <p>And this strategy has rewarded him handsomely. In 2013, actor Robert Downey Jr. was the king of the box office for his role as Tony Stark in the film <em>Iron Man 3</em>, which earned $1.2 billion worldwide. However, The Rock was able to earn $100 million more than Downey Jr. by working in more movie roles. While Downey Jr. only worked on <em>Iron Man 3</em>, Johnson worked on four movies, including <em>Fast &amp; Furious 6</em> and <em>G.I. Joe: Retaliation</em>. &quot;Success isn't always about greatness. It's about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come,&quot; says Johnson.</p> <h3>Money Lesson #1: Get a Side Gig</h3> <p>&quot;I never wanted to stay in one genre; I never wanted to be pigeonholed or defined as the actor who only worked in one genre,&quot; claims Johnson. Just like him, capitalize on your other talents and participate in the &quot;gig economy&quot; to get some extra cash on top of your regular salary. From driving with Uber to online tutoring to assembling furniture, you have a wide range of options to choose from. Who knows, if you're able to make more for doing what you truly love, you'll might even be able to bid goodbye to the good old 9-to-5 and long-commute! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams?ref=seealso">13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren't Scams</a>)</p> <h3>Money Lesson #2: Diversify Your Investments</h3> <p>Like Johnson, generate multiplies streams of income to hedge against the risk of one of them drying up. By using different kinds of investments, you'll achieve, on average, higher returns and lower risk than any individual investment found within the portfolio. While socking away in a savings account is a source of guaranteed income, it'll never allow you to reach your financial goals. So, you need to invest in stocks. Still, don't put all of it on stocks: Experts suggest young savers allocate 10% to bonds and 90% to stocks.</p> <h2>Set Up Sources of Passive Income</h2> <p>While Johnson is able to command up to $20 million for a movie role, his most impressive source of income is his bonus and royalty contract with the World Wresting Entertainment (WWE). In 2016, wrestler John Cena is without a doubt the star of the WWE, with a star caliber <a href="http://www.totalsportek.com/money/wwe-wrestlers-salaries/">$2.75 million five-year contract</a>, including 7% on merchandise sales and hefty share of Pay-Per-View earnings.</p> <p>However, Cena has to make extensive appearances and really work for that paycheck. On the other hand, Johnson has a $3.5 million contract that only requires him to appear on selected WWE dates and earns a 7% bonus for high merchandise sales. Between 2014 and 2015, he only appeared a handful of times at WWE events. Show up, raise an eyebrow, drop a &quot;People's Elbow,&quot; and get paid a couple hundred thousand dollars (before bonuses!). Not a bad deal, at all.</p> <h3>Money Lesson #3: Negotiate More Than Just Salary</h3> <p>Like The Rock, don't just focus on salary when negotiating your employment contract. Think about other ways that you can get paid extra for the same amount of work. Some examples to consider are:</p> <ul> <li>A bump in your employee match to your retirement account;</li> <li>A subsidy to your commuting expenses;</li> <li>A reduction in your health plan monthly fees;</li> <li>A refund on professional fees or certifications; or</li> <li>A bonus in company shares.</li> </ul> <h3>Money Lesson #4: Consider Income-Focused Investments</h3> <p>While The Rock isn't sure whether or not he'll be able to secure $20 million for his next acting role for the big screen, he can always count on that $3.5 million paycheck from the WWE. Having a secure stream of income is key for better budgeting. It's great to invest your money in equities, but it's even better to have a portion in stocks that pay dividends on a regular basis. Whether you're closer to retirement and need to focus on income, or just need to stabilize your portfolio, look for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-11-dividend-stocks">dividend stocks</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-top-mutual-funds-for-income-investors">low-fee mutual funds</a> focusing on income.</p> <h2>Protect the Engine That Powers You</h2> <p>From being evicted from his home during his childhood, to having several run-ins with the law during his adolescence, to only having seven bucks to his name at the end of his football career, Johnson admits that he has had a messy life. So, how was he able to turn things around and achieve success? Johnson admits that the best advice he ever got was &quot;Around every corner always protect the engine that powers you.&quot;</p> <p>For Johnson, his support team consists of his mom Ata Johnson, his girlfriend Lauren Hashian, his ex-wife Dany Garcia, and his ex-wife's husband Dave Rienzi. While the first two make perfect sense, the latter two could leave you scratching your head. Turns out that Johnson and Garcia are co-founders of 7 Bucks Productions (named after the $7 that Johnson had left after his football career, the company is in charge of managing his projects) and Rienzi is Johnson's conditioning and strength coach. &quot;I'm happy to say we're all together working nicely, but it took a lot of work. With Danny, it was going through the sludge of divorce and then having the clarity to say, 'We're still friends, we respect each other, let's do business. And let's do big business,'&quot; says Johnson about his support team.</p> <h3>Money Lesson #5: Buy Life Insurance</h3> <p>When you're the main breadwinner of your household like Johnson, you have to establish a rock-solid plan in case you pass away or are no longer able to provide for your loved ones. Nobody likes to think about their own mortality but you need to realize that right now is when your life insurance is at its cheapest. If you're covering the biggest portion or all of the monthly mortgage payment, who will cover those moneys in your absence? Are you comfortable with the idea that your retired parents or that your children have to take over a debt? That's why you need to protect the &quot;engine&quot; that powers you.</p> <h3>Money Lesson #6: Listen to More Professionals</h3> <p>From executing a will to preparing the taxes of your small business to pulling out a tree, there are many times that you're better off hiring a professional. Not only will you get the job done right, but you'll also &mdash; and more importantly &mdash; prevent any financial damage. Just like in the case of The Rock, you'll have to cede control to somebody who you may not necessarily be too happy with but does an outstanding job, anyway. Two places that you can start with are your investment account and your retirement account. Depending on your accounts, you may already be paying or have access to a financial professional. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <p><em>What are other money lessons you've learned from Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths">6 Celebrities With Shockingly Low Net Worths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-think-like-an-olympian-to-master-your-money">How to Think Like an Olympian to Master Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entertainment Lifestyle advice celebrities dwayne johnson inspiration money lessons net worth role models the rock Tue, 16 Aug 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1773240 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_using_laptop_94437549.jpg" alt="Friends finding alternative housing options they can afford" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Keeping your housing costs low is key to achieving financial freedom. Minimizing your expenses frees up more money for investments, savings, and pursuing your passions. While renting an apartment or a house is still the mainstream approach, there are other alternatives available that are more cost effective. By pursuing one of these nontraditional housing options, you can cut your expenses and break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.</p> <h2>1. Co-Living Spaces</h2> <p>Co-living spaces, which often resemble college dorms, are increasingly popular in places with a high cost of living, such as San Francisco. The tech capital is booming, and as a result, it is unaffordable for many; a one-bedroom can cost <a href="https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-san-francisco-rent-trends/">nearly $3500 a month.</a></p> <p>More and more people are turning to co-living spaces as a cost-effective way to get living situations they can afford. In Silicon Valley, co-living spaces can be <a href="http://www.coliving.club/">had for $1,000</a>, less than half what a regular apartment would cost. In these dorm-style spaces, renters usually have a small bedroom of their own, but share the kitchen and common areas with up to a dozen other residents. Besides cost savings, these arrangements also provide people new to the area with great social opportunities and allows them to meet others in their industries.</p> <h2>2. Housing Co-Ops</h2> <p>While housing co-ops are fairly common overseas, they are just starting to gain traction in the United States. In a co-op, residents pool resources to own and manage housing together. The property can be a cluster of homes or an apartment-style building. Dwellers use their joint contributions to purchase the facilities and pay for community amenities like utilities, Wi-Fi, and lawn maintenance. The community approach cuts down costs dramatically, allowing you to save a significant amount of money compared to traditional housing.</p> <p>The <a href="http://coophousing.org/resources/living-in-a-cooperative/how-to-find-a-housing-cooperative/">National Association of Housing Cooperatives</a> has comprehensive information on how to locate a co-op, how to start one yourself, and questions to ask before handing over your hard earned money.</p> <h2>3. Work-Trade</h2> <p>Many people find success with work-trade agreements. Most common in rural areas, people can get free or cheap housing in return for a set number of labor hours, such as weeding, yard maintenance, or gardening. However, this approach is also getting more common in suburban and city areas, as even regular apartment complexes are willing to offer rent subsidies for men and women with repair or maintenance skills. You can find work-trade arrangements by searching for &quot;work trade housing&quot; or &quot;rent-free exchange&quot; on community job boards.</p> <h2>4. Tiny Homes</h2> <p>While <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny homes</a> are increasingly popular for those looking for a cheap alternative to homeownership, these micro living spaces can also be a great avenue for renters. Many tiny home communities offer select units for rent. This approach can be a great option to cut down your costs while you save up a down payment for a home of your own, or to test out if small living is for you. Housing can cost as little as $300 a month.</p> <h2>5. House-Sitting</h2> <p>Another option is to act as a serial housesitter. When people are selling their homes, the structures often go vacant for months, leaving them vulnerable to thieves and squatters. Many sellers hire housesitters to live in the home rent-free to keep the home occupied and safe while it's on the market. This idea is a great strategy to get free housing without requiring a lot of work or time. You can often find housesitting opportunities on Craigslist, <a href="https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/us/">Trusted Housesitters</a>, community classifieds, or by connecting with local realtors.</p> <p>With the national rent average increasing for yet another year, many people are feeling pressure regarding their budgets. Housing eats up a huge part of their income, making it difficult to meet their other obligations or pursue their goals. Alternative housing solutions offer cost effective ways to keep a roof over your head while minimizing your expenses.</p> <p><em>Have you considered these &mdash; or other &mdash; alternative housing arrangements?</em></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/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</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-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">Can Tiny House Living Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing alternative housing co-living co-ops cost of living house sitting mortgages rent tiny homes work-trade agreements Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Kat Tretina 1770724 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-lose-weight-without-counting-calories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-lose-weight-without-counting-calories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_food_72063475.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to lose weight without counting calories" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is the another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>One yucky, unintended side effect of my 2016 Budget Challenge is that both Mr. Spendypants and I have chubbed out in the last six months. Since most of our methods of saving and earning extra money this year involve sitting down, we aren't burning our usual number of calories to balance our power snacking. So now, in addition to finding an extra $31,000 by December 31st, we've added Lose 10 Pounds to our To Do list. Boo.</p> <p>There's a reason why Asians dominate at eating competitions. Asian metabolism is real. The biblical plague of locusts looks positively junior varsity when compared to my Chinese family nibbling its way through the Beef Jerky Store in Las Vegas. In my family, eating through the pain is a mark of character. And don't even think about skipping Second Breakfast. Didn't your mother tell you that Second Breakfast in one of the eight most important meals of the day? No?</p> <p>I'm just going to blame my poor food habits on my cultural norms.</p> <h2>What Is Hara Hachi Bun Me?</h2> <p>Luckily food sport isn't the only famous Asian eating habit. <a href="http://okinawa-diet.com/okinawa_diet/hara_hachi_bu.html">Hara hachi bun me</a>, which translates roughly as &quot;belly 80% full,&quot; is the Confucian practice of purposeful eating. The hara hachi bun me eating practice is based on a very simple idea: Stop eating when you are 80% full. Since it takes about 20 minutes for the stretch receptors in your stomach to tell your brain that your gut is at capacity, it's easy to overeat. So, if you put down your chopsticks while you still feel a little hungry, chances are that 20 minutes later you will actually feel full.</p> <h2>Why Did We Choose Hara Hachi Bun Me Over Other Diets?</h2> <p>Mr. Spendypants and I decided to try this method of weight loss for several reasons.</p> <h3>Budgeting Is No Fun</h3> <p>Counting calories is basically making a budget about food. What an unappetizing thought. With hara hachi bun me, we don't have to do any math. We just have to stop eating the moment we stop feeling hungry instead of the moment we start feeling full. It's super easy.</p> <h3>You Don't Need Special Equipment</h3> <p>Although I am sure hara hachi bun me tools exist, practicing hara hachi bun me does not require special equipment. We don't have to download an app, pulverize our food in a $700 Veggisaurus Rex blender, or <a href="https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1236978/breathalyzer-for-ketosis-check">use a Breathalyzer</a> to tell us that our diet is working. (I know that my diet is working because my favorite dress no longer fits me like a sausage casing).</p> <h3>You Don't Need Special Food</h3> <p>We don't have to buy special food, either. We don't have to live for weeks on <a href="http://themastercleanse.org/">maple syrup and laxatives</a> harvested by endangered Canadian squirrels. We don't have to ingest a choco-malt meal replacement &mdash; that smells like burned rubber and tastes like sadness &mdash; twice a day, along with a sensible dinner.</p> <h3>You Won't Become a Diet Humblebragger</h3> <p>Lastly, our friends won't hate us. Okay, let me elaborate about how not to lose friends when you lose weight.</p> <p>Since I live in Los Angeles, the epicenter of every food-denying trend, I don't want to hear your opinion on what I should stop eating. I follow you on Instagram and already know about the unsweetened twigs you ate for breakfast today. People who tell me about their juice fasts are the worst. Really, stop talking about your diarrhea. Also, if you are a vegan who does CrossFit, how do you decide which lifestyle to talk about first? (Answer: neither). Because hara hachi bun me is based on portion control, we can eat out with friends, anywhere, without making the meal all about us.</p> <h2>So How Does This Save Money?</h2> <p>We went out to lunch with friends last weekend and split two entrees, two large salads, and two appetizers between five people, and we still had food left over. American restaurant portions are huge. So, when we go out to eat, we save around 40% by splitting meals. At home we immediately cut 20% off our grocery budget by eating 20% less food at every meal.</p> <h2>Progress Report</h2> <p>July was fun, but fun costs money. We just spent the weekend in Napa Valley commemorating my in-laws' 60th wedding anniversary. Although their six-decade marriage is a marvelous achievement, the dress code for the family portrait was not. &quot;The color palette for the reunion photograph is gold, navy, and white, with touches of red,&quot; read the email from a relative who will go unnamed. Because I apparently don't know how to dress appropriately for important family events, a helpful reference photograph &mdash; of Mitt Romney's family &mdash; was included.</p> <p>Since my closet is tiny, pretty much everything I wear is black, so I was forced to find something suitably Ann Romney meets the Naval Academy for the picture. I resigned myself to doing a little <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-keep-your-clothes-looking-new">catch and release shopping</a>. I went to the nearest consignment store to buy the first navy blue dress that fit me and looked moderately Republican. My plan was to wear the dress for the portrait and then sell the dress back to the store the following week to recoup 40% of the cost. As luck would have it, I found a brand-new, super cute (as in <a href="http://wwzdw.com/z/2545/">Zooey Deschanel owns this</a>) dress for $28. Shockingly, the dress fits me so perfectly that I'm going to use it as a sewing pattern for future dresses. It's a keeper, but I'm out $28.</p> <p>We also spent a few days at the beginning of the month in San Francisco for the baptism of Mr. Spendypants' godson. Luckily, we didn't have to purchase Catholic apparel for that event.</p> <p>Although we lucked out with free housing from family and friends, the cost of everything from haircuts to food to airfare for those two trips cost $1500. When Mr. Spendypants finally got a chance to balance his books we discovered that we had a whopping $8 to add to the savings challenge. Uhn. At least we didn't have to dip into savings to pay for anything.</p> <p>Better luck in August, maybe?</p> <p><strong>Goal: </strong>$31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised</strong>: $21,506.41</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $12,153.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $21,647.25</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-lose-weight-without-counting-calories">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/eat-less-sugar-with-these-10-simple-tricks">Eat Less Sugar With These 10 Simple Tricks</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/imagine-eating-to-lose-weight-and-save-money">Imagine Eating to Lose Weight (and 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/making-a-good-and-memorable-first-impression">Making a good and memorable first impression.</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/need-to-lose-some-weight-put-some-money-on-it">Need To Lose Some Weight? Put Some Money On It!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-finding-food">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Finding Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Lifestyle budget challenge dieting eating food costs hara hachi bun me losing weight max wongs budget overspending Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Max Wong 1770722 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/post_it_smiley_88426573.jpg" alt="Learning reasons you&#039;re more than your credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you read Wise Bread frequently, you'll know that we place a lot of emphasis on obtaining a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-a-good-credit-score-range" target="_blank">good credit score</a> and building net worth. There's no question that we want people to follow a path that takes them to financial security. But it's important to understand that while money and good credit can help you lead the life you want, it doesn't define you as a person or even guarantee happiness.</p> <p>It's often the case that we get so wrapped up in making and saving money that we lose sight of how little we need to actually be content. And we beat ourselves up for being poor, having bad credit, or being in debt.</p> <p>Here's a look at all of the ways your net worth and credit score don't define you.</p> <h2>1. You're Investing in Your Future</h2> <p>You may have some debt and a low net worth right now. But that's because you're taking steps to improve your situation. Maybe you're in college and have taken out some loans to pay for it. Perhaps you took out a loan to start your own company. Maybe you took on some debt to move to a new community so you could accept a good job. You are making steps to build a good life for yourself, and they will pay off in the long run. Don't worry about what the numbers say about you now.</p> <h2>2. You're Frugal, and Proud of It</h2> <p>You've decided against using credit cards because you want to avoid the possibility of high-interest debt. You've chosen to live with your parents for a while to save money on rent. You've never even asked for a loan. All of these things may mean you have a low credit score because you haven't established much of a credit history. But don't fret. You're still being financially sensible and taking steps to save money and avoid the debt spiral. A credit bureau may give you a low score, but you're getting top marks for being smart with your money.</p> <h2>3. You're Rich in Other Ways</h2> <p>You have many great friends. You have your family. Your faith. Good health. You're pretty good at playing the guitar and you make very tasty French toast. These are the things that define you and make your life what it is. Your credit score doesn't know you, and neither does your bank account.</p> <h2>4. You Are Happy</h2> <p>We're all aware of the adage that money can't buy happiness. And have you ever met anyone who said, &quot;I'm so content with my life because my credit score is 820?&quot; Your happiness is based on how you live your life, the quality of your relationships, and what you do to find fulfillment. We've all met wealthy people who are downright miserable, and poor people who live life with a smile on their face.</p> <h2>5. Numbers Are Relative</h2> <p>So maybe your credit score is considered poor. And maybe your net worth places you close to the poverty line. But are you better off than you were six months ago? Or a year ago? If so, then be happy that you're making progress. Credit scores and net worth are only numbers, and numbers should not be analyzed in a vacuum. A person who emerged from extreme poverty is going to be happy to have any credit score at all. Someone who spent years working to pay off massive debts will be thrilled to have positive net worth after being in negative territory for years.</p> <h2>6. You're Fine With Living Small</h2> <p>You can be content living in a modest home with few possessions. In fact, the Tiny House Movement underscores that there is a segment of the population that is eager to reduce its overall living footprint due to lower costs, lower impact on the environment, and a basic lifestyle. If you're happy downsizing and living simply, then don't worry about what your credit score and net worth say.</p> <h2>7. No One Else Cares</h2> <p>Think of your closest friends. How often do you ask about their credit score or their net worth? Do you judge them based on the balances in their bank accounts or their stock holdings? One would hope not. Likewise, your closest friends and relatives couldn't care less what your numbers say about you. Your relationships are based not on credit scores, but real bonds that have nothing to do with money.</p> <p><em>How do you value yourself?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-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/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-saying-thanks-more-make-you-rich">Can Saying Thanks More Make You Rich?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</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-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle credit score debt happiness Living net worth relationships reminder struggling Thu, 04 Aug 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1765529 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Improve Yourself for $100 or Less http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_51778846_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="reinvent yourself for less than $100" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,&quot; wrote Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. While it may be true that opportunity doesn't knock on your door that often, it's true that you'll only make the most of the good times when you're truly prepared.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are many ways to reinvent yourself for under one Benjamin! Ranging from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-career-moves-youll-never-regret">career growth</a> to personal finance to personal growth, here's a list of 10 inexpensive investments in one's own self.</p> <h2>Career Growth</h2> <p>Franklin said it best, &quot;An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.&quot; Put that $100 (or even less!) toward improving your chances of landing a promotion.</p> <h3>1. Invest in a Lynda.com Membership</h3> <p>One of the secrets to getting ahead in any career is to become familiar with the requirements of the job you want, and determine what skills you need to develop in order to thrive in that dream job.</p> <p>For example, I wanted to land more social media management projects, but kept getting turned down because I didn't know basic Adobe Photoshop skills. Most clients look for a freelancer who can create or edit images with this software. That's why I set aside about $75 for a three-month subscription to <a href="http://www.lynda.com">Lynda.com</a> and learned not only the basics of Photoshop, but also picked up some intermediate skills. You can pay from $24.99 (unlimited access to the subscription library of courses) or $34.99 (unlimited access to the subscription library of courses plus ability to download project files) on a month-to-month basis until you're able to become proficient in the skills you need.</p> <h3>2. Buy Your Name as a Domain</h3> <p>Give yourself a professional look by directing your potential clients or employers to YourName.com instead of wix.com/xY7893b40. Not only are domains that use names easier to share and remember, but they also allow you to keep a consistent look. Your email and URL will share the same domain name. If your name is already taken, then try sensible alternatives. Most basic domain packages start at $10 per year.</p> <h3>3. Get a Professional Headshot</h3> <p>The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clearly states that &quot;<a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/">employers should not ask for a photograph</a> of an applicant.&quot; However, the reality is that you'll run into plenty of instances that you will need a professional headshot. Ranging from social media presences to promotion announcements in the local newspaper to opportunities to contribute to a trade journal, a great headshot will positively contribute to your career. Prices vary per city, so do your homework. Don't forget to check with your HR department if they provide such a service and contact your photography friends for some references.</p> <h3>4. Enroll in a Non-Credit Program at Local College</h3> <p>If learning online isn't your cup of tea, a great alternative is to enroll in a non-credit course at your local university or community college. For example, the University of Hawaii at Manoa Outreach College offers non-credit workshops <a href="http://www.outreach.hawaii.edu/noncredit/courses/parent/34#Social%20Media">starting at $50</a>. By enrolling in such a course, you become eligible for the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8863.pdf">Lifetime Learning Credit</a>, allowing you to deduct up to 20% of your first $10,000 in qualified education expenses, up to $2,000 per taxpayer. Depending on your income, you could complete college-level courses for free through this tax credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students?ref=seealso">Don't Skip These 8 Tax Breaks for Students</a>)</p> <h2>Personal Finance</h2> <p>&quot;Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship,&quot; warned Franklin. Here are three ways to spot some of those little expenses (and debts!) that can truly add up over time.</p> <h3>5. Set a $100 Food Budget for One Week</h3> <p>If you're constantly wondering &quot;where did my paycheck go?&quot; it's time to start taking control of your expenses. One great way to start this task is to limit yourself to only $100 for food for one week and see what happens. Writer Hillary Hoffower took on this challenge and she ended up surprising herself by spending only <a href="http://www.careercontessa.com/conversations/100-dollar-weekly-budget/">$99.88 in one week</a>! By keeping track of your food expenses, you'll spot opportunities for saving, such as those daily $4 Starbucks lattes, and improve your budgeting skills.</p> <h3>6. Allocate Some Investments to Index Funds</h3> <p>One way to improve the performance of your investment or retirement saving accounts is to allocate a portion of your actively managed accounts, such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-top-mutual-funds-for-income-investors">mutual funds</a> or target-date funds, into index funds. Here's why: The average expense ratio across all funds was <a href="https://news.morningstar.com/pdfs/2015_fee_study.pdf">0.64% in 2014</a>. That means that you would pay $64 per year for every $10,000 you were to invest.</p> <p>On the other hand, the average expense ratio for exchange-traded index funds was closer to <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/032715/when-expense-ratio-considered-high-and-when-it-considered-low.asp">0.25%</a>! That means a nice 60% drop on average investment fees. There are some index funds, such as those from Vanguard, that have even lower expense ratios. Those investment cost savings can mean the difference between reaching and missing your target investment.</p> <h3>7. Order Your Free Annual Credit Report</h3> <p>To prevent identity theft and have a full picture of your credit history, request your credit report every 12 months at <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. Federal law requires each of three consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to provide you a free credit report. Order your free credit report every 12 months so that you can double check that only the accounts and loans that you applied for are there. If you find an issue with your credit report, you can submit a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/#credit-report">online</a> or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).</p> <h2>Personal Growth</h2> <p>Personal development is a lifelong process. Here are some frugal ideas to help you maximize your potential.</p> <h3>8. Improve Your Public Speaking With Toastmasters International</h3> <p>Becoming a more effective communicator and finding your own voice are both important parts of personal growth. First established in 1924, non-profit educational organization Toastmasters helps its members improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. Total annual fees generally range from <a href="https://www.toastmasters.org/Membership/Facts-for-First-Timers">$74 to $92</a> per year.</p> <h3>9. Develop a Hobby</h3> <p>There are many theories about self-actualization, and many of them share a common belief in the need to remain enthusiastic about the future. One way to become enthused and energize your body is to develop a hobby. Choose an activity that provides you an opportunity to break a sweat, improve a skill, or strengthen bonds with family or friends. From a pair of dumbbells to a chessboard, there are plenty of hobbies that are under $100.</p> <h3>10. Slow Down Through Meditation</h3> <p>While stress is a natural part of life, it's important to keep it in check. It has been estimated that <a href="http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/effects-of-stress-on-your-body">43% of all adults</a> suffer adverse health effects from stress and that 75% to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. You need to slow down, and one easy way to achieve this is through meditation. Skip the yoga pants and incense candles and use <a href="http://www.calm.com">Calm.com</a> site and app (available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/calm-meditate-relax-guided/id571800810?mt=8">iOS</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.calm.android&amp;hl=en">Android</a>) to guide you. This free service teaches you the skill of meditation so that you can reduce stress and improve your sleeping.</p> <p><em>What are other ways to reinvent yourself under $100? Share with us!</em><br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less">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/flashback-friday-47-best-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-ever">Flashback Friday: 47 Best Back-to-School Shopping Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-use-google-alerts-to-save-money">6 Ways to Use Google Alerts to 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/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-underwater-watches">The 5 Best Underwater Watches</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping budgeting career building frugal living improve yourself makeover personal finance shopping Wed, 03 Aug 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1764815 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Sell Your Kid's Stuff at a Consignment Sale http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hanging_baby_clothes_61959774.jpg" alt="Learning to sell your kid&#039;s stuff at a consignment sale" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you have kids, clothing and toys seem to multiply by the minute. One way I like to stay on top of decluttering is to sell my kids' outgrown items at consignment sales. Here are my top tips to cash in on your kid items through local sales.</p> <h2>How to Find a Local Consignment Sale</h2> <p>I have sold my kid items at an actual consignment shop and a semiannual consignment sale. The latter is better. With a consignment shop, you are limited and do not tend to make as much as you'd hoped. However, with a semiannual consignment sale, you are able to set your own prices, drop off your items, and then pick up what does not sell at the end of the week.</p> <p>Find a local consignment sale by doing a web search of &quot;(your city) + consignment sale&quot; to see if there are any in your area. You can also go to the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.jbfsale.com/home.jsp">Just Between Friends</a> website and search local consignment sales. It will cost $10&ndash;$20 to sign up to be a <em>consignor</em>, and most sales happen at the beginning of spring and fall.</p> <h2>Make Your Items Shine</h2> <p>There are several volunteers who will look over your items for sale, and they can be picky. Make sure your items are in the best shape possible. Spot treat and wash clothing and shoes. Wipe down toys and books. The better your items look, the quicker they will sell.</p> <p>Try using a <a href="http://amzn.to/2ad1S3m">Magic Eraser</a> for spots or scribbles on dolls or plastic toys. I also like to use fabric softener and a laundry brightener when washing the kid clothing to make it look even better. All battery-operated toys will also need to include batteries, so be sure to stock up on packs from the .99 Cent Store or Dollar Tree.</p> <h2>The Brand Name Sweet Spot</h2> <p>More common brand names like Cherokee, Circo, or Carters will sell, but at lower prices. For example, a cute outfit from Target might have cost you $20 and would sell for $3&ndash;$5. Higher end brand names like Gap and Gymboree will sell for more, especially if it is a recent style. Specialty brands such as Naartjie, TEA, or Isobella &amp; Chloe might be better sold online, since many shoppers are not familiar with these brands.</p> <h2>Group Like Items Together</h2> <p>Grouping similar items together for one price helps you to sell more of your stuff and earn more money. I try to group same-sized outfits or pieces together to increase my chance of selling. At these consignment events, there are generally a lot of baby clothes, and there is a good chance no one wants to buy a single onesie for $2. However, if you put together five onesies and five pairs of baby pants for $10, there is a better chance that a shopper will buy it.</p> <p>I also like to group together books to make a better profit. I have found that the books should be related to make the most money. For example, putting an early reader book with some baby books will probably not sell. However, if I put several of the Magic Treehouse series together or several board books together in a bag, then its salability increases dramatically.</p> <h2>Discover What the Best and Worst Sellers Are</h2> <p>If you know of individuals who have consigned in the past, ask them what sells and what doesn't sell well for that particular sale. In my experience, maternity clothes and generic baby items do not sell well. Usually my local consignment sale is full of baby equipment and baby clothes, making it hard to compete.</p> <p>However, for the sale that happens right before Christmas, toys are hot sellers. Shoppers seem more inclined to splurge with the holiday season in mind. I have also found that attractive, brand name clothing in sizes 4-7 sell better than the smaller sizes. I also have good luck with my book lots.</p> <h2>Don't Be Afraid to Discount</h2> <p>Many consignment sales will offer a 50% off day at the end of the sale. Take advantage of this and mark your items for discount, unless you believe you can get a better price on eBay or Craigslist. For most of my items, I price them to sell. Usually my best items are gone before the discount day. The discount day then allows me to sell the rest of my stuff rather than having to take it home.</p> <h2>Get a Bigger Cut</h2> <p>If you volunteer to work the sale, you might get some benefits. For my local sale, volunteers get into the pre-sale early and receive an additional 5% back on their sold items. I will only volunteer if the 5% would equal a nice amount of money and if I want to get into the pre-sale.</p> <p><em>Have you ever sold in a consignment sale? How was your experience? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/downsizing-with-kids">Downsizing With Kids</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-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</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-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-year-s-hot-toy-is-next-year-s-trash">This Year’s Hot Toy is Next Year’s Trash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Family Lifestyle clothes consignment sales kids selling thrift stores toys used Mon, 25 Jul 2016 09:30:34 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1753336 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_hands_heart_29104258.jpg" alt="Couple making money moves when they decide to get married" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is nothing more romantic than the giddy days after you ask your sweetheart to marry you. But now is also the perfect time to start preparing for one of the most important aspects of a successful marriage: money.</p> <p>Before you groan that bringing money into the marriage equation is going to be the death of romance, remember that money problems are cited as one of the top reasons for divorce, just behind infidelity and communication issues. If promising fidelity and good communication aren't romance-killers, then preparing financially shouldn't be one, either. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity?ref=seealso">8 Signs You're Committing Financial Infidelity</a>)</p> <p>Here are the top five money moves you and your betrothed should make the moment you decide to get married:</p> <h2>1. Share Your Money Backgrounds</h2> <p>Just as you and your fiancé should know about each other's health, family, romantic, and work backgrounds, it's important that you share financial backgrounds with each other. This starts with the obvious, such as outstanding debts and current assets. It's not possible to move forward financially as a couple if you don't already know where you are &mdash; and keeping financial secrets from each other is an emotionally dangerous way to begin a marriage.</p> <p>But understanding each other's money background also includes knowing how you each think and feel about money. The way you view money is generally unconscious and tied to how you feel about everything from relationships to success. It's a good idea to recognize the way you and your spouse-to-be differ in those unconscious beliefs. In particular, start by answering the following questions, suggested by Terri Orbuch, marriage and family therapist and author of <a href="http://amzn.to/29GqG5o">5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great</a>:</p> <ul> <li>How did your parents deal with money growing up?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>What did money mean to you (and your parents) when you were growing up?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How have you dealt with money in previous relationships?</li> </ul> <p>Your answers can both illuminate attitudes you may not realize you carried, and help you understand where to expect (and prepare for) potential financial friction in your marriage.</p> <h2>2. Start a Wedding Fund</h2> <p>A wedding is a joyous event, but the finances can create some complications. This dynamic can get even more pronounced when the extended family is paying for some portion of the wedding.</p> <p>To minimize this friction, create a wedding fund, and transfer money to it regularly.</p> <p>This will help you create the financial freedom necessary to say no to those who attach strings to wedding money.</p> <p>In addition, it's easier to keep a saving habit than it is to start one. So once you're home from the honeymoon, you can just change the name of your wedding fund to your house fund (or start sending the money to your retirement accounts) and keep the regular saving habit in place.</p> <h2>3. Set Financial Ground Rules</h2> <p>There are few couples in the world who aren't driven a little crazy by each other's financial habits. For instance, my husband tends to splurge on himself with large purchases about once or twice a year, whereas I tend to make smaller purchases for myself two to three times a month. Even though he is spending several hundred dollars on a video game system and I am spending $15 here and $20 there on books or manicures, the amount we each spend is pretty equal. But when we first got married, each one of us thought the other was being frivolous with money.</p> <p>The thing is, neither one of us was wrong (even though we each took turns trying to prove the other one was completely misguided, which worked about as well as you could expect). We just had different expectations for fun money.</p> <p>What helped was for us to set up financial ground rules. We each have a certain amount of splurge money that is ours alone. As long as we are spending from that splurge money and not dipping into shared funds, then we can splurge on whatever we like.</p> <p>Financial ground rules allow you to both feel comfortable within the framework of your finances. You might also set rules on spending thresholds over which you have to discuss issues before spending the money, or how you might use joint accounts.</p> <h2>4. Think About Worst-Case Scenarios</h2> <p>Marriage is a common time for people to acquire or update their life insurance and wills. These are important to have in place in order to protect yourself and your spouse in case life takes a turn you don't expect. Whether you don't yet have life insurance or a will, or you need to change your beneficiary to your spouse. Taking the time to make sure these documents are thoroughly completed, updated, and signed can give you both some peace of mind.</p> <p>But there are other scenarios you might want to prepare for. Getting adequate renter's or homeowner's insurance is always a great idea. It's also worth talking with your spouse-to-be about a prenuptial agreement. Unless you're both hollering &quot;We want prenup!&quot; such conversations can be pretty difficult to broach. But the issues you would hammer out in a prenuptial are important to discuss before you get married, even if you are not couching them in terms of what would happen if you divorce. According to Mandi Woodruff, writing for Business Insider, there are typically <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/10-ways-to-bring-up-a-prenup-without-getting-dumped-2012-1?op=1">five pillars to every prenuptial</a>:</p> <p>&quot;How to handle the income each partner makes before marriage, how to handle your prior assets (businesses, homes, etc.) and liabilities (such as student loans), division of property acquired during the marriage, your retirement plans, and how you'll handle spousal support.&quot;</p> <p>Discussing these issues in terms of both an estate plan and a prenuptial agreement is an important part of planning the financial side of your marriage together.</p> <h2>5. Adopt a Team Mentality</h2> <p>One of the best ways to build a strong financial foundation for your marriage is to adopt a team mentality for your money. It can be very easy to see money as &quot;yours&quot; and &quot;mine,&quot; particularly if you have each been out on your own for a while. But keeping your money separate in your mind can be the first step toward bean counting and money fights. This is especially true if you have varying income levels or different money priorities.</p> <p>Getting on the same team financially means seeing money as something you share &mdash; which means that you also share your decisions about money.</p> <p>There are many ways to adopt a team mentality, from mingling all funds into a joint checking account to setting up a yours-mine-and-ours system. But the important thing is to recognize that you are in the same financial boat and to treat the majority of your money as shared.</p> <p>Marriage and money go hand-in-hand, and taking the time before you wed to discuss finance is an investment in your long and happy married life.</p> <p><em>What money moves did you make to prepare for marriage?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-married">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</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/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle agreements compromise ground rules marriage money matters saving spouse weddings Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:30:12 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1753206 at http://www.wisebread.com Why the Scarcity Mentality Is Keeping You Poor http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-scarcity-mentality-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="/why-the-scarcity-mentality-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/woman_concerned_work_81472073.jpg" alt="Woman learning why scarcity mentality is keeping her poor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I know how I feel when I start believing that there isn't enough. It doesn't matter what we're talking about &mdash; time, money, energy, appreciation. When I start to feel like there isn't enough, my heart starts to pound. My shoulders tense up, and I feel an odd combination of adrenaline rush and hopelessness.</p> <p>Why do I feel these things? Because I believe there isn't enough for me.</p> <p>I know that I'm not alone in feeling this &quot;not enough&quot; mentality. Through conversations and other interactions, I've discovered that many of us struggle with this, in one form or another. The popular term for this sort of thinking is the &quot;scarcity mentality,&quot; and, if you struggle with it, I can guarantee it is holding you back.</p> <h2>What Is Scarcity?</h2> <p>Scarcity is exactly what it sounds like: The belief that resources are scarce, that there's not really enough to go around. It is the idea that human desire and need goes on forever, but there isn't an infinite amount of resources to be spread around.</p> <p>Steven Covey, of <a href="http://amzn.to/2a634W6">The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People</a> fame, says that we think of resources like time, money, happiness, etc., as <a href="https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit4.php">belonging to one pie</a>. When the pie is gone, the resource is gone. And there's a limited amount of pie, so that if big chunks have already been dispensed, there's not much left for the rest of us.</p> <p>The scarcity mentality can come out in different ways. For some of us, it mostly comes out with other people, producing something of an &quot;us versus them&quot; mentality. We see someone with a lot of money, and we feel all sorts of negative emotions because we don't have that money and now less of it is available. Or, when we are going through a hard time in life, we look to others and wonder why they have all of the happiness and stability while we keep struggling.</p> <p>Scarcity can also come out in how we view ourselves, and how we think about our own lives. I know that I spend a lot of time, when things are going well, waiting for the other shoe to drop. It seems like good can't go on forever, so I start to feel anxious because I'm waiting for the moment when things go all wrong.</p> <h2>How Does the Scarcity Mentality Limit Us Financially?</h2> <p>There are a lot of ways we end up limited financially by scarcity. More than anything else, I think scarcity makes us hold ourselves back from pursuing opportunities that could make us rich. Maybe we don't believe there's enough money to support our particular opportunity, or we see other people in a similar niche and we think that there aren't enough customers for us to be there, too.</p> <p>The scarcity mentality also causes us to hedge our bets. We aren't willing to lay it all on the line in the hopes of financial success, so we take a route that feels safer. Maybe we get a degree in a field where jobs are plentiful, even if they don't pay well, or we launch a product that is cheaper because we are afraid no one will buy the one we really want to sell.</p> <p>When we don't believe that there's enough money, success, goodness, customer support, or whatever, we tend to get stingy. We don't want to invest ourselves and our money in something, because it might not work out. We don't want to try for something better, because we wonder what bad thing might happen to us in another part of our lives if that thing did work out.</p> <h2>Fighting Scarcity</h2> <p>One antidote to scarcity is safety. When we feel safe, like the world isn't out to get us and our place in it is secure, we are often more willing to risk. I think the same thing can be said for our financial lives, too.</p> <p>When we know that we have enough money to cover most contingencies, when we feel like there is enough good in the world to cover both them and us, we will be more likely to take the sorts of risks that lead to wealth.</p> <p>For some of us, beating scarcity might mean coming up with a good plan and following through. Getting a job with a steady paycheck and amassing some savings isn't sexy, but it makes us feel financially safer. And when we have a safety net, it's easier to start that business, get that new training, apply for jobs out of the comfort zone, and more.</p> <p>That might not be possible for all of us, though, and I don't think it's the whole answer even if it is. Beyond making smart financial decisions, we need to decide that scarcity is false and embrace abundance, instead. Sure, many of the resources we feel to be scarce are not infinite (like money), but there is enough. There's plenty of money out there for you and me and all of us not to be poor.</p> <p>When we believe this, when we tell ourselves this truth over and over, we will begin to live by it. We will start to believe there's enough money for my product and yours, too; enough goodness for my love life and my work life and my financial life to all go well at the same time; and enough time to work a good job and pursue a passion in the evenings.</p> <p>When we believe there is enough, we will act as if there is enough, and then we will see that there is, actually, enough.</p> <p><em>In what areas do you struggle with the mentality of scarcity? How does it keep you poor?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-scarcity-mentality-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-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/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</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-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle being poor frame of mind hopelessness mentality never enough scarce resources scarcity Fri, 15 Jul 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1752348 at http://www.wisebread.com Does Your Money Management Reflect Who You Truly Are? http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-money-management-reflect-who-truly-you-are <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-your-money-management-reflect-who-truly-you-are" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_76449071_LARGE (1).jpg" alt="does your money management reflect who you are?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever thought about what is driving your spending decisions?</p> <p>While some of us might choose frugality out of necessity, for many people who choose to live beneath their means, the decision is not about money at all. Perhaps you're pretty wealthy, but choose to drive an old car. Or maybe you would rather learn to do your own plumbing than call someone out to fix that dripping pipe.</p> <p>While there are many different reasons for people to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dead-simple-reasons-why-people-are-frugal">adopt a frugal lifestyle</a>, for some people, the decision is all about their core purpose. And when that's the case, living by your own brand of frugality isn't a chore; it's just who you are.</p> <p>Do these driving factors resonate with you?</p> <h2>Faith</h2> <p>A sense of social justice can drive attitudes about finance and consumerism. Frugality is not a optional quirk people who have a strong sense of faith can take or leave &mdash; it's a core purpose that keeps them grounded.</p> <p>Actively working to help others and encourage a more equal distribution of resources results in a frugal lifestyle. Maybe by living beneath your means, you have more disposable income to donate to causes you care about, or maybe by working less you have more time to support others through your actions. Either way, learning to live well on less becomes second nature.</p> <h2>Environmental Concerns</h2> <p>Sustainability (or the lack thereof) is a driving factor to many people who choose a frugal lifestyle. Making decisions with some thought about the world we might leave our children with means that many of the worst excesses of consumerism are dropped.</p> <p>Shopping for clothes at a thrift store, for example, means consuming fewer resources, sending less to landfills, and reducing pollution. The same logic means avoiding new gadgets, flying less frequently, and trying to eat local and seasonal produce. The simpler life that results is not only better for the environment, it is also less costly.</p> <h2>Rejection of Consumerism</h2> <p>In everyday life, we are bombarded with ways to spend our hard earned cash. Advertising is everywhere &mdash; and for some of us, ignoring it and rejecting consumerism as a whole can be thoroughly liberating.</p> <p>Many people who reject consumerism in this wholehearted way were actually massive spenders themselves in the past. Because this can lead to debt and financial stress, it is not unusual for a moment to come along and leave the spendthrift reformed. The revelation hits that this lifestyle is not sustainable, and excessive spending in the present is sacrificing future happiness. And a new core purpose of frugality emerges.</p> <h2>Inspiring Self-Reliance</h2> <p>Being frugal requires a good degree of self-reliance and creativity &mdash; whether it's coming up with great homemade gifts, or learning to fix your own furnace. There's a certain sense of satisfaction from learning these skills, and being able to manage whatever life throws at you.</p> <p>If you're raising a family, being frugal takes on a whole new dimension. Not only are you teaching your kids to live within their means, and place value on the right things, you're also likely teaching them great life skills, too. If part of your core purpose is to inspire this self-reliance for your kids, then being frugal is not about saving money so much as learning &mdash; and sharing &mdash; skills.</p> <p>When you're driven by a core purpose, living well on a budget ceases to be a punishment and becomes a part of who you are. If you're struggling to stick to your financial goals, then try to figure out how saving cash aligns with your core purpose. Identifying this can make it a whole lot easier to keep moving towards a frugal lifestyle.</p> <p><em>What drives your attitudes towards spending? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-money-management-reflect-who-truly-you-are">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-audacity-to-waste-money-for-better-finances">The Audacity to Waste Money for Better Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle money habits money management personality personality traits religion shopping shopping habits Fri, 08 Jul 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Claire Millard 1747537 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Little Things That Make — and Keep — America Great http://www.wisebread.com/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_american_flag_39580462.jpg" alt="Woman counting things that make and keep America great" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Donald Trump has built his entire presidential campaign on the motto &quot;Make America Great Again,&quot; but many people are wondering, when did it stop being great? The truth is, despite all our issues, we're still a pretty awesome country &mdash; and there's no sign of that stopping anytime soon. Thus, this Independence Day, put politics aside to appreciate all the freedoms, freebies, and fun stuff this country has to offer &mdash; without asking for too much in return.</p> <h2>1. Take a Penny, Leave a Penny</h2> <p>We've all been a cent or two short at the convenience store, and the little take a penny, leave a penny dish by the cash register helps keep us from breaking another bill or having to put everything back because we don't have the extra few cents. If you've ever taken advantage of this uniquely American concept (they were common in Canada, too, until the country eliminated the penny from their currency in 2013), be sure to do you part by leaving a Lincoln or two the next time you see one.</p> <h2>2. Paying It Forward</h2> <p>You've heard tales on social media about somebody who started a trend at, say, a coffee shop or tollbooth to pay for the person behind them. Sometimes these random acts of kindness stop after a few customers, but every once in a while, Americans let their generous spirit really shine, like the time over 700 people <a href="http://www.eater.com/2014/8/22/6167041/over-700-people-paid-it-forward-at-a-starbucks-this-week">paid it forward</a> at a Starbucks in Florida. Paying it forward doesn't always have to be in a financial capacity. You can pay acts of kind forward any way you see fit, so long as you're doing something nice for somebody &mdash; which the world needs much more of.</p> <h2>3. Our Commitment to Global Health Initiatives in Developing Countries</h2> <p>The American government isn't just concerned that you're healthy at home. It has a stake in the health of the world's people, too &mdash; especially those in developing countries that are more prone to diseases. It recognizes the importance of providing those in need a better quality of life and lessening the ripple effects within our own borders by reducing the chance of devastating epidemics and pandemics. Hallmarks of U.S. leadership in global health include The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, The President's Malaria Initiative, and Feed the Future.</p> <h2>4. Free Dry Cleaning for Job Interviews</h2> <p>Not every dry cleaner offers free cleaning services to those in need, but there are a few good men and women out there who happily open their doors to the homeless and unemployed to have their interview garments professionally cleaned and pressed.</p> <h2>5. Free Soft Drink Refills</h2> <p>As a general courtesy to patrons, most restaurants in the United States offer free refills, as do other establishments, like movie theaters. They don't have to, but they do &mdash; because they appreciate your business.</p> <h2>6. Free Breakfast and Lunch Programs in Public Schools</h2> <p>There is room for improvement in our school's lunches &mdash; especially compared to other countries like France and Italy (have you seen the gourmet meals those kids eat!?) &mdash; but we at least get an A grade for offering students in need free meals when they may otherwise not eat anything healthy (or at all) at home. In some places, those free meals are extended throughout the summer (in my neighborhood in New York City they're available), which makes this program above average in my book.</p> <h2>7. Holding Doors for Each Other</h2> <p>Holding the door for someone behind you is a custom in many places around the world, granted, but it's still worth recognizing because it's an important aspect of our own social culture. We've passed the habit down through generations, and it's still alive and well today.</p> <h2>8. Letting Someone With Fewer Items Go Ahead of You at the Grocery Store</h2> <p>I'm particularly impressed when there's someone in front of me at the grocery store with a cart full of items who invites me to go ahead of them since I'll be quick with the five or so items I have. Thanks to those who do this; if you haven't, try it the next time you're out.</p> <h2>9. Stopping Your Vehicle at Crosswalks to Let People Pass</h2> <p>I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore where you waited for the walk sign to change or you didn't go. When I moved to southwest Virginia for college, I remember being at a crosswalk once that didn't have a walk sign and the traffic stopped completely to allow me to cross. I was hesitant at first &mdash; I thought it was some kind of joke &mdash; but it turned out to be one of those totally mundane experiences that I'll never forget.</p> <h2>10. Asking Strangers to Watch Your Stuff When You Run to the Bathroom</h2> <p>Have to potty while you're working at a café or hanging out on the beach? Because Americans are pretty great, all you have to do is ask your neighbor to watch your personal items for a few minutes while you're gone and they'll usually oblige. Just don't try this at airport; it's a &quot;see something, say something&quot; culture around those parts, and asking a stranger to watch your luggage will make them feel very uncomfortable.</p> <h2>11. Safe Havens Where Minority Groups Can Feel Comfortable Among Their Own</h2> <p>While I wholly condemn segregation, I do think it's important for minority groups who feel oppressed by another group (whether that assessment is accurate or not) to have places they can go to be themselves. I speak from experience as a gay man who has found solace, security, and friendship in establishments primarily frequented by other LGBT people. In other parts of the world, these places don't exist, and that's a real shame, but here at home they're abundant and well attended.</p> <h2>12. Neighborly Courtesies, Like Bringing in Your Garbage Cans</h2> <p>One of my neighbors is always super helpful, especially when I'm away from home, by taking out my garbage and returning the cans, shoveling my sidewalk if he gets out there first, and mowing my front lawn when he's feeling particularly energetic. That kind of neighborly attitude makes the neighborhood &mdash; and my own experience in it &mdash; better, and I try to return those favors whenever I can.</p> <h2>13. Interracial and Same-Sex Marriages</h2> <p>Yeah, we have a long history of denying rights to minority groups, but we're blazing trails this century to end all that. We've come a long way, even though we have a ways to go for full equality for all, and that alone makes this a good time to be alive in America.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; font-weight: normal; line-height: 1.4em;">14. America's Public Libraries</span></p> <p>Attendance at libraries has dwindled over the past two decades, thanks in large part to the Internet, but America's free library system is still thriving and striving to provide those without access to technology the means to continue educating themselves.</p> <h2>15. Free STD Testing</h2> <p>If you can't afford to visit your doctor to get an STD test &mdash; or you're just embarrassed &mdash; there's likely a clinic in your area that provides anonymous, free testing so you stay up-to-date on your health status. As my own little PSA, if you haven't been tested lately, do so; you owe it to yourself.</p> <h2>16. Little Free Library</h2> <p>I love this idea of these little boxes, most of the time shaped like tiny houses, erected in neighborhoods where bookworms can add a book or take a book without charge. The program was popularized in Wisconsin in 2009, and today it includes more than 15,000 locations worldwide.</p> <h2>17. The Honor System</h2> <p>The honor system applies to many things &mdash; like Halloween candy left on porches by folks who are out for the night, and in my neighborhood, a free garden where residents can pick an amount of veggies that they'll eat. Even as we get more and more disconnected, it's nice that we still have values and morals and a small, neighborly trade system that helps hold ourselves and each other accountable without much effort.</p> <h2>18. Free Outdoor Movies</h2> <p>I'm always talking up free outdoor movies. I think it's one of the best summer date nights ever, and I'm so excited that the concept has spread like wildfire across the country. You'll likely find outdoor screenings near the place you call home during the warmer months &mdash; seriously, it's like every town in America is doing it these days (and that's awesome!) &mdash; and all you have to do is show up with a blanket or chair and a few snacks and settle in for an evening under the stars in the greatest country on earth.</p> <p><em>What are some of the little things that you think help make and keep America great? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-even-more-freebies-in-exchange-for-a-review">How to Get Even More Freebies in Exchange for a Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</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/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</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/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle community donald trump entertainment Fourth of July freebies make america great again morals united states Mon, 04 Jul 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1743312 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Clever Ways to Keep Cool When It's Stupid Hot Out http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_fan_hot_17666765.jpg" alt="Man finding clever ways to keep cool when it&#039;s stupid hot out" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't know what it's like where you live, but where I am, it's hot. And if my weather app is at all accurate, it's going to stay that way for a good long while.</p> <p>While I am lucky to have air conditioning in my house, I like to use it as little as possible. Those bills add up, and every dollar I spend on air conditioning is a dollar that I can't spend on something else I'd rather have, like a trip or a comfortable retirement.</p> <p>So I'm finding other ways to keep cool this summer. Sure, I'll use the A/C sometimes. But the rest of the time, I'll be doing these things to stay cool, and you can, too! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer?ref=seealso">9 Dumb Ways You're Going to Waste Money This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Your Hair Wet</h2> <p>I'm always amazed at how much cooler I am when my hair is wet. Even just damp, it changes my perception of how warm I am by a significant factor. So when I get hot this summer, I'll dump some water on my head or take a quick (and cool!) shower, or even hose my head down outside.</p> <p>I'm lucky in that I can wear my hair air-dried and it looks fine. If you can't do that, you can still use this technique. Get your hair wet, let it air dry to damp, then style it as usual. Or wear it air dried around your house, because no one there cares how you look!!</p> <h2>2. Wear Cotton</h2> <p>Because it is light and breathable, you will stay cooler in cotton than you will if you wear most synthetics. So if you're trying to beat the heat, make sure you have as many cotton-based clothing items as possible. This goes for undergarments as well as outer ones.</p> <h2>3. Mist Your Clothes</h2> <p>I've had people tell me to freeze my clothes, but that sounds miserable no matter how hot I am. Instead, I keep a spray bottle of water in my fridge and I spray myself down when I start to get warm. Because the clothes dry slower than my skin, this keeps me cooler longer than just spraying my arms and legs (though I usually do that, too!). Fortunately, cotton clothing tends to handle water just fine, so you can spray it down as many times as you need to.</p> <h2>4. Wash Your Hands (and Feet!) In Cold Water</h2> <p>I learned this from a college roommate who swore by it. When it gets hot, run your hands and feet under cold water for 30-60 seconds and you will feel cooler. You can repeat this as needed.</p> <p>My friend claimed that this works because your veins are close to the surface in your hands and your feet, so the water cools off the blood as it runs through them back to your heart. I don't know if this is true, but I do know that this trick got me through some seriously hot nights in an LA apartment when the A/C broke.</p> <h2>5. Sit on an Ice Pack</h2> <p>Stuck in an office chair all day? I know a lot of buildings don't give you any control over either AC or heat, so you can end up pretty warm all summer. Instead of suffering, take an ice pack to work with you. One of the flat ones most often used for injuries is best. Get it cold, stick it under a towel, and sit on it or put it behind your back to cool off.</p> <h2>6. Don't Cook &hellip; Grill</h2> <p>Anytime you cook in your house, it heats things up. Since you still need to eat, try using a grill instead. This keeps the hot air outside, and it lets you get even more mileage out of what is often an underutilized major purchase. I know a family who grills four or five times a week in the summer, and they swear that it keeps their house significantly cooler.</p> <h2>7. Suck on an Ice Cube</h2> <p>Need to cool down quickly? Suck on an ice cube. Smaller is better, since the large ones can trigger ice cream headaches if they cool your mouth too quickly. Try to suck and not chew the ice, so the coolness can slide down your throat and into your belly, chilling you as it goes. This doesn't offer long-lasting cooling, but it can give you the break you need on a hot day.</p> <h2>8. Make Your Own A/C</h2> <p>If you like to tinker and/or you have a lot of time on your hands, there are about a billion ways to <a href="http://www.instructables.com/howto/air+conditioning/">make your own A/C</a>. My favorite is super easy. Fill a large-ish bowl with ice cubes. Set the bowl somewhere near you, with a portable fan on the opposite side. Make the fan blow toward you, and make sure the air passes over the ice cubes. It will blow that delicious frozenness toward you, too, cooling the air around you.</p> <p>There are more complicated versions of this with coolers and dry ice, so you can get as fancy as you want. Do make sure, though, that you aren't spending more money doing this than you would just running the A/C!</p> <h2>9. Close the Blinds</h2> <p>About <a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/energy-saving-tips/how-to-save-energy-and-cut-cooling-costs/view-all">30%&nbsp;of the heat</a> you don't want in your home comes in through the windows. Thus, it's worth investing in some heat-blocking film, blinds, or curtains to keep your home cooler.</p> <p>I've done this in my homes over the years and it's amazing the difference it makes! Sometimes, I pull back the curtains to open my sliding glass door and get a blast of heat, because there's so much of it trapped between the curtain and the door. But hey, it's not getting into my house, so I'm good with that!</p> <h2>10. Freeze Your Hat</h2> <p>So, we established earlier that freezing clothing sounds at least a little miserable. But what about freezing your hat? If you want to cool your head and getting your hair wet won't work, for whatever reason, try putting a hat in the freezer for a couple of hours before you want to wear it. This will cool your head and your temples, which will help your whole body feel cooler.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to stay cool this summer without your A/C? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-clever-ways-to-keep-cool-when-its-stupid-hot-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/flashback-friday-70-brilliant-ways-to-beat-the-heat-this-summer">Flashback Friday: 70 Brilliant Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-places-to-go-to-beat-the-summer-heat">9 Places to Go to Beat the Summer Heat</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-yourself-for-100-or-less">10 Ways to Improve Yourself for $100 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle air conditioning frugal living hot day life hacks summer summer heat summer sun Tue, 28 Jun 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1740225 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 70 Brilliant Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-70-brilliant-ways-to-beat-the-heat-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-70-brilliant-ways-to-beat-the-heat-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hot_fan_55851106.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to beat the heat this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are few things worse than being uncomfortably hot in the summer, especially if you can't find a way to cool down. Outside of a gym or sauna, walking around drenched in sweat isn't all that cute. Luckily, it doesn't take a whole lot of time or money to regulate your temp and keep those pit stains at bay. You just need to get a little creative. Here are 70 brilliant ways to beat the summer heat.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/friends_summer_drive_000061858874.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-cheap-ways-to-keep-cool-during-the-hottest-month-of-the-year?ref=fbf">22 Cheap Ways to Keep Cool During the Hottest Month of the Year</a> &mdash; Rather than pour all your cash into a new air conditioner, get chilled on the cheap with a frozen treat, a cold washcloth draped over a fan, or a pair of underwear that's been in the freezer.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wear-frozen-clothes-and-9-other-ways-to-beat-the-heat?ref=fbf">Wear Frozen Clothes and 9 Other Ways to Beat the Heat</a> &mdash; Just by paying a little more attention to your surroundings, you can manage the summer hotness and keep yourself cool all summer. Know when to open the windows, cool your pulse point, and more!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman-cooling-down-472008353-small.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-affordable-ways-to-stay-cool-in-the-summer-heat?ref=fbf">11 Affordable Ways to Stay Cool in the Summer Heat</a> &mdash; The sun's main goal during summer is to suck out your energy and make you sweaty. Fight back! Put some fans on the floor, keep those shades pulled during peak sunniness, and do not let the sun win.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cold-frugal-drinks-to-keep-you-cool-in-the-heat?ref=fbf">Cold, Frugal Drinks to Keep You Cool in the Heat</a> &mdash; Sometimes all you need to cool off is an ice-cold beverage. And here are 10 that will give you the chill you need, while also keeping you within your budget.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_000065700299_Large.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-and-refreshing-popsicles-to-make-this-summer?ref=fbf">8 Frugal and Refreshing Popsicles to Make This Summer</a> &mdash; Until summer comes around, we tend to forget that just about any drink can be made into a popsicle. Cocktails, smoothies, juice &mdash; you name it! Just pour some into an ice tray, add popsicle sticks, then once they're set, chill out and enjoy.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-places-to-go-to-beat-the-summer-heat?ref=fbf">9 Places to Go to Beat the Summer Heat</a> &mdash; Rather than changing your surroundings to keep you cool, change them entirely. Get out of the house and hit the local pool, movie theater, or any other air-conditioned location and give yourself a cool-down break.</p> <p><em>How else do you keep cool in the summer heat? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-70-brilliant-ways-to-beat-the-heat-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-45-life-lessons-youd-give-to-your-younger-self">Flashback Friday: 45 Life Lessons You&#039;d Give to Your Younger Self</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-41-coffee-hacks-that-will-instantly-improve-your-morning">Flashback Friday: 41 Coffee Hacks That Will Instantly Improve Your Morning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-55-brilliant-ways-to-turn-your-junk-into-cash">Flashback Friday: 55 Brilliant Ways to Turn Your Junk Into Cash</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-easy-ways-to-live-a-happier-life">Flashback Friday: 51 Easy Ways to Live a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle fbf flashback friday Food life hacks summer summer hacks summer heat summer treats Fri, 24 Jun 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1737975 at http://www.wisebread.com The Frugal Guest's Guide to Surviving Wedding Season http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-guests-guide-to-surviving-wedding-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-frugal-guests-guide-to-surviving-wedding-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_25341091_LARGE.jpg" alt="being a frugal wedding guest" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you're invited to a ton of weddings this summer. Yay for you &mdash; you're popular! But before you let your friends drag you onto the dance floor and do the Electric Slide as atonement, consider these tips on how to make it through wedding season without spending it in the poor house.</p> <h2>1. Redeem Credit Card Rewards Thoughtfully</h2> <p>If you've racked up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-biggest-mistakes-you-can-make-when-redeeming-credit-card-rewards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">credit card rewards</a> over the past year, or even since the holidays, now's the time to cash them in for travel if it's a destination wedding, lodging, or even gifts for the betrothed.</p> <p>&quot;Prepare ahead for travel expenses by stockpiling airline miles and credit card rewards which you can redeem toward a flight or hotel stay,&quot; suggests money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. &quot;You can even gift accrued miles to the couple for their honeymoon. Otherwise, you can redeem rewards toward gift cards for the bridal shower and wedding gift.&quot;</p> <p>While I don't always advise opening a credit card just to take advantage of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">sign-up perks</a>, depending on how many weddings you're attending, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-redeemed-a-12000-family-vacation-with-credit-card-rewards-in-2-months?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">how far you're traveling</a>, opening a new account may work in your favor &mdash; so long as you plan to pay off the balance right away and it won't adversely affect your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>2. Compare Lodging Rates Before Booking</h2> <p>Most of the weddings I've attended have suggested lodging for guests, either where the bride and groom are staying or other nearby establishments if the home base has reached capacity. But these aren't your only options. If you find the suggested lodging options out of your budget, search for better deals. Check the hotel's website for exclusive discounts, or even daily deal sites like LivingSocial or Groupon. Even if you have to stay 10 miles away from the venue, saving that extra $25 or $50 per night may be worth the short drive to you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-in-a-5-star-hotel-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-motel?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">How to Stay in a 5-Star Hotel for Less Than the Cost of a Motel</a>)</p> <h2>3. Rent a Private Home With a Group</h2> <p>Some people enjoy the privacy of hotel rooms, but personally I'd rather go in with friends on a home rental via Airbnb or another short-term rental site if several of us are invited to the same wedding. Not only will you typically save a substantial amount of money over a hotel by reserving private lodging, but you can split the total cost between the group, which could make the trip a real steal. You'll save even more money on meals if the place is equipped with a kitchen you can use to make food during your stay. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-get-a-vacation-rental-instead-of-a-hotel?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">When Should You Get a Vacation Rental Instead of a Hotel?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Offer a Service in Lieu of a Tangible Gift</h2> <p>Can't afford a gift from the bride and groom's registry? Put your thinking cap on and come up with creative ways you can honor their marriage by offering a service.</p> <p>&quot;Most couples financing their wedding welcome free or a discounted service in lieu of a gift,&quot; says Woroch. &quot;Some of the most common services provided by friends and family include photography, videography, day-of makeup and hair prep, and decorating help. You can even offer to bake the wedding treat or officiate the ceremony, if the couple hasn't made other arrangements.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Purchase Discount Gift Cards to Buy Gifts</h2> <p>Buying discount gift cards online is a smart tactic to save on gift purchases for any occasion. Use your saving savvy to stack deals, and you'll likely come in way under budget with plenty of cash to spare for the other wedding expenses.</p> <p>Personal finance expert Kevin Gallegos offers a smart tip with regards to wedding gifts: shop early!</p> <p>&quot;If invited to a wedding, find out where the couple has registered as soon as you can,&quot; he says. &quot;Go online or to the brick-and-mortar store and select a gift immediately. Shopping early assures the best selection &mdash; and one that fits your budget.&quot;</p> <p>Wait too long and all that will be left are the crystal candelabras and $60-a-piece Kate Spade dinner plates.</p> <h2>6. Opt Out of Rental Car Insurance</h2> <p>I have never purchased insurance for a rental car. Why? Because it's a fool's game. My own personal insurance will cover me if I'm in an accident, so why do I need extra? I don't, and you don't either if you have similar coverage. Check with your provider, of course, to make sure you're covered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-rentals-with-these-10-easy-hacks?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Save on Car Rentals With These 10 Easy Hacks</a>)</p> <p>Travel expert Katelyn O'Shaughnessy, founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tripscopeapp.com/">TripScope</a>, suggests another way of getting around the insurance car rental joints try to scare you into buying.</p> <p>&quot;Before you opt for the overpriced car insurance that rental companies offer, call your credit card company and see if car insurance is included. In my case, three of my credit card companies offer this little perk, which saved me $200,&quot; she says. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">What Does Car Rental Insurance Really Cover On Your Credit Card?</a>)</p> <h2>7. Avoid Mobile Data Charges By Planning Ahead</h2> <p>Recently I traveled to Canada and I turned off my mobile data two minutes too late and racked up $20 in extra charges by using navigation. O'Shaughnessy says you can nip that in the bud by using Google Maps offline by typing &quot;OK Maps,&quot; and the map will save for future, offline access. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When You Travel Abroad</a>)</p> <h2>8. Dress Plainly</h2> <p>Men have it easy when it comes to dressing for a wedding. Just throw on that one suit you own, swap out different ties for different events, and you're all set. Nobody will ever notice. Women, however, have it rough when dressing for a wedding. For starters, you can't show up the bride or the bridesmaid in a stunning ensemble or you'll be shunned. Secondly, if you show up in a memorable dress, you likely won't want to wear it to another wedding if it's attended by any of the same people. Frequent wedding guest Emily Taffel has a solution to that problem: Be boring. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-attend-a-wedding-for-cheap-without-actually-looking-cheap?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">How to Attend a Wedding for Cheap (Without Actually Looking Cheap)</a>)</p> <p>&quot;Never buy a printed dress to wear to a wedding; prints are remembered. Dresses aren't if they are boring enough,&quot; she says. &quot;I say that dearly, but every woman knows a navy shift dress in a perfect fit will take you everywhere. Accessories make <em>all</em> the difference &mdash; scarves, hats, the right handbag, shoes, and jewelry. That navy dress works day and night and saves you having to buy multiple outfits.</p> <h2>9. Work the System to Avoid Hotel Cancellation Fees</h2> <p>If you can't make the wedding for some reason, and your plans have changed less than 72 hours in advance, there's a way around forfeiting the deposit you put on the hotel, even if it is a bit shady.</p> <p>&quot;Just reschedule for a future date &mdash; usually there's no monetary penalty for that &mdash; then call the hotel back, get a different rep and cancel free of charge,&quot; O'Shaughnessy advises.</p> <p>My new hero.</p> <h2>10. Don't Overcommit Yourself</h2> <p>Listen, if you can't afford to attend all the weddings to which you're invited, it's okay to say no. I've already declined one wedding invitation for this summer in San Francisco because I recently came back from a three-week stay in California, and the timing wasn't right for my budget. If the bride and groom are reasonable, they'll understand. If not, well, it'll be two less jerks you'll have to worry about in the future, because you'll be dead to them from here or out.</p> <p>As an alternative, perhaps you can make it to one or more of the events leading up to the wedding to show your support.</p> <p><em>Do you attend a lot of weddings? What are some of your budget hacks? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-guests-guide-to-surviving-wedding-season">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/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</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/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</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/8-of-our-favorite-fitness-and-diet-smart-phone-apps-0">8 of our Favorite Fitness and Diet Smart Phone Apps</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> Frugal Living Lifestyle wedding wedding budget wedding costs wedding etiquette wedding season Thu, 16 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Mikey Rox 1731884 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_ice_cream_74904405.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways ice cream will cost her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that summer comes with expenses &mdash; higher-priced fuel fill-ups, increased electricity bills from running the A/C nonstop (mine doesn't get a rest from, like, March to October; thank you, first-world luxuries), and sky-high hotel rates. But there are other items that see an uptick during vacation season that you might not immediately recognize. Here's a list to watch with your wallet.</p> <h2>1. Bottled Water</h2> <p>We loooove to wag our fingers at others for buying bottled water &mdash; because get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-aluminum-and-stainless-steel-water-bottles">reusable bottle</a> already! &mdash; but we also understand that sometimes it's necessary. Like when it's hot as lava outside and you're about to have a heat stroke because you forgot your reusable bottle at home. While it may seem innocuous enough to pick up a bottle at your local convenience store now and then, that's not usually how it goes down &mdash; especially if you have kids.</p> <p>According to<a href="http://www.pennypinchingprincess.com"> money-saving expert Nedalee Thomas</a>, who also happens to be CEO of a water-filtration company, a family of four will spend a whopping $1,600 on bottled water a year. Uh, come again?</p> <p>&quot;Consumption is higher in the summer just because of heat and dehydration, but families tend to buy more bottled water when heading out for the day's activities, spending on average $12 a day for a family of four,&quot; Thomas says. &quot;Theme parks and many venues cost much more.&quot;</p> <p>The best way to save &mdash; if you haven't already heard it a <em>million</em> times &mdash; is to refill BPA-free bottles with your own good filtered water.&quot;</p> <p>Chanson Water USA provides a comparison chart of <a href="https://chansonalkalinewater.com/water-ionizer-vs-bottled-water-cost-comparison-chart/">annual costs of various types of bottled water</a> versus what it costs to filter your own water at home, and it's a doozy.</p> <h2>2. Iced Coffee</h2> <p>Drinking more iced coffee during the summer to give yourself a jolt <em>and</em> beat the heat? Well, it's gonna cost you.</p> <p>Grub Street did some digging a few years back to find out<a href="http://www.grubstreet.com/2012/03/why-does-iced-coffee-cost-more-than-hot.html"> why iced coffee costs more than hot coffee</a>, and their findings may make your temperature rise. Save yourself some gas on a trip to the java joint, and pocket the extra money you'd be spending on each cup of cold joe, by making your own watered-down pick-me-up at home.</p> <h2>3. Car Maintenance</h2> <p>Another unexpected way summer will cost you extra money is through car maintenance.</p> <p>&quot;Many dealers and mechanics want to service cars more frequently than the manufacturer recommends, especially during weather transitions, which is both unnecessary and costly,&quot; says car expert Richard Reina. &quot;While hot weather absolutely takes a toll on our vehicles, the best way to cut these costs is taking proper precautions and doing the simple repairs yourself.&quot;</p> <p>He offers a few DIY ways to avoid the mechanic this summer.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Replace wiper blades</strong>: A winter's worth of clearing slush and ice from the windshield takes its toll, resulting in streaking and chattering that you don't want in spring/summer downpours as it could severely hinder your vision and cause an accident.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Check coolant hoses and belts</strong>: It's also important to check coolant hoses and belts for deterioration and wear, and be sure to check all fluid levels. Just as you checked your antifreeze to make sure the freezing point was well below anticipated winter temperatures, check it now to ensure you won't have a boil over during hot summer driving. By performing this basic auto tuneup yourself, you would save $250, as it only costs $100 to DIY compared to a dealer cost of $350.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Test your battery</strong>: As much as the winter is harsh on batteries, summer is, too, with the constant running of the cooling fans and the pull on your alternator from driving with the windows down. Test the battery to make sure you don't get stranded with a no-start on a summer trip. Check the battery connections for tightness and clean away any dirt and corrosion. If it's time for a new battery, I suggest buying them at local &quot;buyer's club&quot; (Costco, Sam's Club) to save money, and change it yourself. You'll save $120, with DIY costing $80 versus dealer prices of $200.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Change your engine oil and filter</strong>: Cold weather is tough on engine oil because it doesn't get a chance to come to normal operating temperature necessary to get rid of moisture and contaminants, which can cause sludge. If you buy the oil yourself, make sure that you are certain that you are using a high-quality oil of the correct viscosity. Often, chain-store oil-change outfits may be using the same oil for different cars. If your car is older with high mileage, it can be very helpful to switch to a heavier oil with different detergent. Higher temps require higher oil weight/viscosity, and since the seals on the engine of an older car have likely started to wear, switching will help keep your engine protected. Also be sure to check the brake/steering/washer fluids while you're under the hood. This will save you $35, as DIY costs $25 compared to dealer cost of $60.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Dining and Drinking Al Fresco</h2> <p>Warmer weather means more opportunity for eating and drinking outdoors, and if you're not careful, it can get out of hand, financially. Nobody wants to cook indoors when it's hot out &mdash; I get it &mdash; so think of alternative ways to eat at home, like by using the outdoor grill more frequently or making meals that don't require a heat source, like salads, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-10-frugal-lunches-are-delicious-hot-or-cold">cold soups</a>, and slow-cooker meals. If you're drinking with your dinner, have a glass of water between adult bevies to reduce the risk of overspending, and tomorrow's pounding headache.</p> <h2>5. Home and Apartment Rentals</h2> <p>Rental season is at its busiest during the warmer months, from May to October, for several reasons. For starters, this period is a time when many people are in transition, especially students who are looking for housing after the school year ends or before it begins. Plus, this time of year is more conducive to moving, because who wants to haul furniture around during a blizzard? Nobody, including those begrudging friends you've enlisted to help you. Because of these factors, and the laws of supply and demand, rental prices may be at a premium during the summer. If you have a choice, wait until the weather gets a bit cooler to make your move.</p> <h2>6. New Cars</h2> <p>According to USAA via TrueCar, you can expect to experience more sticker shock on vehicles during the summer than you would while everybody's hibernating and generally steering clear of walking around car lots in a foot of snow. Prices increase as the weather warms because, again, of our old friend supply and demand. More people are out and about when things thaw out, and their tax refunds are burning holes in the pockets &mdash; an incentive that car dealerships fully take advantage of.</p> <h2>7. Ice Cream</h2> <p>You might think ice cream costs more during the summer because everybody is eating it, but that's not necessarily the case. I mean, it's sort of the reason why you may see higher prices this year, but it's mostly because there's a<a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/28/vanilla-shortage-threatens-ice-cream-prices-this-summer.html"> vanilla shortage in Madagascar because of poor harvest quality</a>, and that means less mint chocolate chip for you, me, and the rest of the cone-loving U.S. population. Hey, at least we still have freeze-pops.</p> <p><em>How do you stay on top of your summer budget? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid 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/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment Lifestyle budgeting frugal summer ice cream saving money summer summer costs summer fun Tue, 14 Jun 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1730465 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Financial Reasons to Keep Your Political Views Private http://www.wisebread.com/4-financial-reasons-to-keep-your-political-views-private <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-financial-reasons-to-keep-your-political-views-private" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_yelling_megaphone_51049894.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons to keep her political views private" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We live in a world that makes it incredibly easy to share our views and opinions. Our phones are an instant connection to news outlets and social media sites, and the two can create a very polarizing look at the political horizon. With the Presidential election looming, it can be hard to bite your tongue. But if you don't, there are some financial risks that go along with freely spouting your political beliefs.&nbsp;</p> <h2>They Could Cost You a Job or Promotion</h2> <p>By far, the biggest impact political views can have on your life is work-related. Like it or not, your employer, boss, and clients can discover a lot about you through social media sites. Aside from making sure you don't appear as if you're doing anything inappropriate or illegal, you also have to be very careful about the political views you post or comment on.</p> <p>One day, you could be raging against a new bill introduced by a Republican, or ranting about an act signed into law by a Democrat. The next thing you know, that big promotion you were gunning for at work has gone to someone else. Your political views should not have any bearing on the work you're doing (unless you are actually <em>in</em> politics), but people are people. It's quite possible your views will rub someone important the wrong way, and they will respond in the most effective way they know; they'll hit you in the wallet, or the career.</p> <p>Perhaps the boss's wife works for a political party for which you have expressed extreme disdain. Maybe your CEO voted for Romney, and you have an Obama sticker on your car. It could even be as simple as liking a comment or story on Facebook that is in direct opposition to your employer's views. Yes, it's a free country, and yes, freedom of speech is one of the guiding principles of our nation. But do not underestimate the pettiness of regular people. If you are going to have opinions on political subjects, do not blast them far and wide. Talk them over with your friends and family. Keep your views away from anywhere that a boss or coworker can see, and worse, react to. You could even get fired or laid off, under the guise of a different reason.</p> <h2>They Could Cost You Customers</h2> <p>If you're a small business owner, you have to be very careful about the political views you take a stance on. And openly shouting about the things you believe in could cost you customers, income, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/donald-trumps-5-biggest-business-failures" target="_blank">even your business</a>. The news outlets have reported time and again about small business owners who have abjectly refused to back down from an opinion deeply-held by the political party they support.</p> <p>Simply by having a sticker for either the Republican or Democratic party in the store window could be enough to scare away people with opposing political beliefs. You've just lost a sale; one that could very easily have happened if it were not for the announcement.</p> <p>Online, a prospective client could do a quick search on your social activities, see a lot of blustering about certain political views, and choose someone else. Even if you're a freelancer doing writing, hair styling, or gardening, the kind of views you openly express can bite you, and that hits you in the wallet. Not only that, but word of mouth can spread, and suddenly you have not lost one customer, but five or six. Was the loss of income worth it to tell everyone something that was on your mind? Did it have to be said?</p> <h2>They Could Get You Sued</h2> <p>If you're a small business owner, or occasionally employ someone (even if it's just a guy who mows your lawn or cleans your windows), you have to be very careful about how you hire and fire people. Specific laws have been put in place to prevent employers from discriminating based on political beliefs. Not all states have these laws, but many do. And violating these laws could result in legal action.</p> <p>For example, a boss could notice a lot of Republican paraphernalia adorning an employee's car. Maybe there are party line stickers on there, including pro-gun control and pro-life statements. This could enrage him or her, especially if these views are the polar opposite of what he or she believes. So, the boss has a word with HR, and the employee is terminated. That is a clear case for a lawsuit, and could cost the business owner not only a great deal of money, but perhaps the whole business. And what's more, the news could spread, meaning clients and partners decide to take their business elsewhere.</p> <p>It's fine to have political views, but there are limits to the way you can act upon them. Even if you really, really hate the political opinions of an employee, you cannot terminate them just for that reason.</p> <h2>They Could Lead to a Costly Break-Up</h2> <p>This story comes from someone I used to work with. Christopher (not his real name) was known for being outspoken, especially on politics. He had very strong views, and was pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay marriage, and hated big government. He was also engaged to be married, to someone who was of a similar mindset, but nowhere near as passionate or outspoken.</p> <p>During the 2012 election cycle, his posts and rants on Facebook and other social media sites reached epic proportions. What he didn't know was that his fiancée's parents and siblings did not feel the same way about his views. They tolerated him, for the most part, until his rants crossed a line that triggered a family meeting. They did not want their daughter/sister marrying someone who was so politically opinionated.</p> <p>Of course, the tension was too much to overcome, and they split up. It was not a cheap break-up (they rarely are). So be warned. If you are in a relationship with someone, and know your views will be a serious cause for concern for his or her family, keep them to yourself for as long as you can.</p> <p><em>Have your political views ever cost you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-financial-reasons-to-keep-your-political-views-private">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/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</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-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle debates democrats opinions politics presidential election republicans things that cost you Fri, 10 Jun 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Paul Michael 1728080 at http://www.wisebread.com