Lifestyle en-US 5 Great Money Lessons I Learned From My Immigrant Parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-great-money-lessons-i-learned-from-my-immigrant-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href=""><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i></p> <p>My parents immigrated to the US, separately, in 1980 and &rsquo;81. They met, married, and started a family while they were still trying to navigate the unfamiliar waters of a brand new country.</p> <p>Their immigrant experience is an integral part of who they are &mdash; and because they raised me, it&rsquo;s a big part of who I am, too. I&rsquo;ve learned many valuable lessons from them, including a few that involve spending and saving.</p> <h2>Forget the Joneses. Spend on what&rsquo;s meaningful to you.</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>As a child, I envied my friends and classmates who, after a break from school, talked excitedly about their summer trips or Christmas loot. With no similar stories to share, I felt left out. I wondered, &ldquo;Why can&rsquo;t my family do that, too?&rdquo; I eventually realized that my parents weren&rsquo;t fundamentally opposed to fun; they simply had different priorities.</p> <p>Instead of lavish vacations, we took short day trips to San Diego or Disneyland when out-of-town friends and family came to visit. Instead of gifts for a holiday we didn&rsquo;t actually celebrate, the kiddos received cash to spend (or save!) as we liked for a holiday we <i>did</i> celebrate &mdash; Chinese New Year. And those memories of spending time with loved ones, no matter what we were doing or where, are among those I treasure most today because of what they meant to my family.</p> <h2>It takes a village &mdash; and sometimes the village lives under one roof.</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>For about eight years soon after immigrating, my parents lived with my dad&rsquo;s siblings&rsquo; families and my paternal grandmother in a two-bedroom home. At the point of highest occupancy, there were three families (13 people!) sharing the house. It was a tight fit, but the benefits outweighed the lack of space and privacy. Household expenses were spread across the families, everyone had a hand in childcare, and (for better or worse!) there was always someone to talk to.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s no denying that a multi-family, intergenerational household can be difficult to live with, and it will undoubtedly cause strife in some families. But if the families involved don&rsquo;t have any strong objections to each other, it&rsquo;s an excellent way for everyone to save money on housing, utilities, groceries, and childcare. The families in my first childhood home eventually moved out, but we couldn&rsquo;t have done so without living together &mdash; and saving together &mdash; first.</p> <h2>Always look for a bargain. They&rsquo;re out there!</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>When my parents were growing up, haggling was a part of their day-to-day life. From rice to fabric to rare and wonderful iced treats, they made sure to find that sweet spot in a purchase where they and the merchant both came away happy. For my parents, there&rsquo;s <i>always</i> some wriggle room on a price tag.</p> <p>Haggling isn&rsquo;t as common in the US &mdash; although it never hurts to try, especially in Chinatown or other markets where you&rsquo;re dealing directly with a vendor. But there&rsquo;s another term for it &mdash; negotiation &mdash; that works just as well when you want lower credit card rates or insurance premiums, or free delivery at your local furniture store. When there isn&rsquo;t someone you can speak to, watch for sales, deals, and coupons. And if you can&rsquo;t find a bargain for the exact product or service you want, look for more affordable alternatives, like Netflix or Hulu for your TV/movie fix. The bargains are out there &mdash; you just have to look for them!</p> <h2>Cultivate your network, for your sake and theirs.</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Every night, my dad takes a few minutes to call a friend or a distant relative, just to chat. They&rsquo;ll talk about what they&rsquo;ve been up to, mutual acquaintances, the good ol&rsquo; days, and new karaoke technologies on the market. This is how my dad stays connected to his roots, as these are often old neighbors and family from China.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s a great thing, too, because his connections have helped us save countless hours and dollars over the years.</p> <p>My dad knows a good deal about general mechanical things and my mom is the most resourceful person I know, but when a professional (or semi-professional) is required, there&rsquo;s sure to be someone in my parents&rsquo; extensive network that can help. We&rsquo;ve gotten free car repairs, discounted tax accounting, home renovation advice, and we regularly exchange home-grown produce with various aunties. Of course, my parents are always happy to offer up their own services, as well.</p> <p>It takes work to maintain relationships, but a little TLC goes a long way. Staying in touch with your friends and family doesn&rsquo;t have to cost a fortune. That is why I like the idea of <a href="">Skype Credit</a>, which allows you to call mobiles and landlines in the U.S. or across the world at extremely low rates. That&rsquo;s something my frugal parents can definitely appreciate.</p> <div style="text-align:center;" class="ggnoads" id="kamidarticle"> <div id="kamidarticle-middle-content"><center></p> <!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><div id="div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0" style="width:300px; height:250px;"> <script type='text/javascript'> googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0'); }); </script></div> <p></center></div> </div> <h2>Do it yourself &mdash; then pass it on.</h2> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Have I mentioned that my mother is the most resourceful person I know? Because she is. She&rsquo;s had to be, raising three kids on a shoestring budget. But this isn&rsquo;t something she developed on her own &mdash; in fact, the most resourceful person <i>she</i> knew was her own mother. They didn&rsquo;t have many of the conveniences we enjoy now, so they needed to be creative to make life easier &mdash; and more affordable.</p> <p>My grandmother could take a beat-up bucket that their neighbor has thrown out and turn it into a functional work of art. Every article of fabric and thread in the home &mdash; from clothes to curtains to a covering for their treasured radio&mdash;she sewed herself. My mom saw the magic that my grandmother worked with her hands, and sought to do the same. And while I&rsquo;m not as much of a DIY whiz as the women before me, I love making things from scratch and finding cool new ways to use old cast-offs.</p> <p>With raw materials often costing less than the finished product, every project you can do yourself translates to savings in your household budget. (Caveat: Some DIY projects can end up costing you more if you don&rsquo;t know what you&rsquo;re doing, so make sure it&rsquo;s something you can handle! Otherwise, call on your network for help. See above.) If the passion for DIY &mdash; or even just the know-how for specific projects &mdash; is something you can pass on to your kids, other family, or even friends&hellip;all the better, all around!</p> <p>The great thing about living with my parents (yes, I still do!) is that I learn something new from them every day. Of course, I like to think that they learn from me, as well. I&rsquo;ve already taught my dad how to send e-mail; pretty soon, my parents will be ready to tackle DVD remote controls!</p> <p><i>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use&nbsp;</i><a href=""><i>Skype Credit</i></a><i>&nbsp;to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</i><i><br /> </i></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Great Money Lessons I Learned From My Immigrant Parents" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Amy Lu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Lifestyle Skype Credit Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:47 +0000 Amy Lu 1134739 at Do You "Want" to Be Happy? Then Here's What You Need to Do. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-you-want-to-be-happy-then-heres-what-you-need-to-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman with umbrella" title="woman with umbrella" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking, &quot;I'll be happy when...&quot;</p> <p>You know, &quot;I'll be happy when I can own my own home,&quot; or &quot;I'll be happy when I can buy a new car/afford nicer clothes/replace this cludgy old desktop.&quot; Even people who aren't focused on gaining possessions tend to fall into this kind of thinking, only for them it can sound like, &quot;I'll be happy when I get a promotion,&quot; or &quot;I'll be happy when I have kids/feel better/have more free time.&quot; (See also: <a href="">Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier</a>)</p> <p>Whether the thinking focuses on possessions or more abstract desires, it all comes back to one thing: wanting more. Most of us live this way because it's the life we've been taught. Wanting more is endemic to our culture.</p> <p>However, <a href="">having more does not necessarily make us happier</a>. As it turns out, wanting less and happiness are connected in some interesting ways, and there are a few steps we can take that will help us achieve both goals.</p> <h2>Cultivate Gratitude</h2> <p>Gratitude leads us to want less because it <a href="">reduces our feelings of insecurity</a>. When we intentionally look around and see all of the good things in our lives, we feel more secure with who we are, what we've accomplished, and what we have. When we are secure in what we already have, we are happier.</p> <p>In fact, <a href="">gratefulness is tied to a higher sense of wellbeing</a>. When we take the time to notice and feel appreciation for the things in our life that we value, we feel better about who we are and how our lives are going. We feel a higher sense of achievement, and we realize that we have more of the things that are truly important to us than we might have thought before we took the time to be grateful.</p> <p>Put those two effects together &mdash; security in our achievements and overall wellbeing &mdash; and we lose some of that urge to want.</p> <h3>Steps to Take</h3> <p>You can write down the things you're thankful for or share them over dinner every night. Choose what works for you to get gratitude going. (See also: <a href="">20+ Ways to Say Thanks</a>)</p> <h2>Let Your Values Rule</h2> <p>In order to step back from the cultural drive for more, you need to know what your life is about and then set your goals accordingly.</p> <p>Start by spending some time pondering your answers to the following questions:</p> <ul> <li> <p>What do you value?</p> </li> <li> <p>What do you want out of life?</p> </li> <li> <p>What are your overarching goals?</p> </li> </ul> <p>Once you have your answers, take some time to let them guide your goals. For instance, if you discovered that you value new experiences, you can begin saving for a trip rather than for a new vehicle. When I went through this process, I realized that truth and honesty are driving forces in my life. These values helped me make it a goal to only take jobs that allow me to keep my integrity, even when they don't pay as well or aren't as plentiful.</p> <p>Answering these questions and forming your goals based upon them will help you gain the self-understanding necessary to step back from &quot;more&quot; as a way of life and to cultivate a life that better aligns with your values. When our lives and our values don't align, we can feel empty and then we often try to fill that emptiness with more stuff.</p> <p>When our values and our lives do align, we stop trying to fill those empty places with stuff and ambitions, because we are already full to overflowing. (See also: <a href="">Trading Goals for Values</a>)</p> <p>Defining what our lives are about also gives us the chance to define what happiness looks like in our lives and to pursue it. When we do this, we turn happiness into something measurable and achievable, rather than abstract and kinda hazy, and then we can work step-by-step to become happier.</p> <h3>Steps to Take</h3> <p>It takes time and intention to figure out what you want out of life. Give yourself regular chances to journal about it and to talk with like-minded people, and you may discover values you didn't even know you had.</p> <h2>Focus on the Present</h2> <p>Focusing in the present means paying attention to what is in front of you, instead of running from one thing to the next on the hamster wheel of life until exhaustion sets in. You can do this no matter what your daily tasks include. If you need to wash your dishes, just wash the dishes. Notice how the light refracts through the suds and the way the warm water feels on your hands. If you are entering data on a spreadsheet, you can focus on the way your hands feel on the keyboard or what your work means &mdash; for you and for everybody else on your team.</p> <p>When we take the time to focus on the present, we learn to see when things go right instead of focusing on when they go wrong. When we are stressed and acting without thinking, <a href="">daily events often only stand out when they are negative</a>. Being present, then, allows us to not only see and celebrate the small times when life is good, but also allows us to acknowledge our baby steps and value them, no matter how small. Sometimes, the distance between where we are and where we want to be seems insurmountable, but focusing on these small steps in the present helps us see that we are moving forward, even when the goal line isn't quite in sight. This <a href="">makes us happier</a>.</p> <p>Seeing life as it is &mdash; with both the good and the bad &mdash; gives us a tool to evaluate our lives based on what we value. We won't simply do things because they are there or because we usually do them. Instead, we will be able to determine which of our actions bring good, even if that good feels small. This aids us in evaluating which of the things we do helps us achieve our overarching goals, and which ones are extraneous to those purposes.</p> <p>This can lead us to wanting less, because we will no longer want the things that don't fall into our overall view of life. We will be living in closer alignment with our values, so our daily actions will be valuable and we won't need extraneous things.</p> <p>Focusing on the present also helps us to see that we already have many of the things that we want, especially when it comes to things like relationships with family and friends and neighbors and colleagues.</p> <h3>Steps to Take</h3> <p>Many people find it easier to focus on the present when they practice regular meditation, or when they take some time to sit in nature every day. This sort of practice often allows people to better focus on the present through the whole day. If that feels intimidating or difficult, start by simply stepping away from your electronic devices for a few minutes. Just disconnect and be where you are. (See also: <a href="">The Joy of Disconnecting</a>)</p> <p>And if you don't have the time or energy to add something new, start focusing on what is in front of you, whatever it is. Focus on the physical sensations and the reasons behind your actions. Even the most mundane tasks &mdash; like cleaning the kitchen &mdash; are rich with sensation and meaning, if we allow ourselves to sense them and to consider them.</p> <p><em>Have you found that wanting less and happiness are tied together in your own life? I'd love to hear more about your journey!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Do You &quot;Want&quot; to Be Happy? Then Here&#039;s What You Need to Do." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Personal Development happiness living simply more wanting less Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:36:23 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1135140 at Best Money Tips: Raise Money-Smart Kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-raise-money-smart-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="kid and piggy bank" title="kid and piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on rearing money-smart kids, cultivating your X-factor, and making life insurance more affordable.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">How to rear money-smart kids</a> &mdash; Teaching kids the difference between wants and needs can help them become money-smart. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="">Cultivate your X-factor before it's too late</a> &mdash; To cultivate your x-factor, moonlight until you gain momentum. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="">5 Ways to Make Life Insurance More Affordable</a> &mdash; Buying young and living healthy can make life insurance more affordable. [Cash the Checks]</p> <p><a href="">Money Hiding Spots From The Great Depression</a> &mdash; Hiding money in cabinets or the attic are just a couple places people hid their money during The Great Depression. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="">Grocery Tips: Stock Up on Staples to Spend Less</a> &mdash; Basing your recipes around staple ingredients can help you save money. [Money Saving Enthusiast]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How I Made My Peace With Hiring a Housekeeper</a> &mdash; When hiring a housekeeper, remember that everyone outsources. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">Three Simple and Proven Methods to Save ENOUGH for Retirement</a> &mdash; Maxing out a Roth IRA can help you save enough for retirement. [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="">How to Be Smart, Savvy, and On a Budget</a> &mdash; Be smart, savvy, and on a budget by dressing for less and chopping your grocery budget. [Young Finances]</p> <p><a href="">5 Free Apps You Won't Stop Talking About</a> &mdash; Pocket and eBay are just a couple free apps you will love! [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="">5 Throw-Together Dinners That Are Perfect for Nights When You're Too Tired to Cook</a> &mdash; On nights when you are too tired to cook, make crispy fish or shrimp tacos. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Raise Money-Smart Kids" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle best money tips kids money-smart raising Fri, 11 Apr 2014 09:00:29 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1135058 at Dryer Sheets, Shampoo, and 15 Other Everyday Things You Can Make at Home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dryer-sheets-shampoo-and-15-other-everyday-things-you-can-make-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="laundry" title="laundry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, my daughter and I have been reading the &quot;Little House on the Prairie&quot; series, and I've been reminded of how life used to be. As we've experienced these books together, we've begun to explore what it would mean to make some of the everyday things we usually buy. (See also: <a href="">Grocery Items You Should Make at Home</a>)</p> <p>For the most part, we've found recipes readily available and fairly easy to make, and that the finished products work at least as well as their counterparts in the grocery store. You can dive as deeply as you want into making things on your own. I'd suggest that you pick one or two of the recipes to try and see how you like them. Once making and using them becomes routine, add more recipes to your repertoire.</p> <h2>For the Body</h2> <p>Most of that stuff in those bottles of personal care products that you lather on every day is probably safe, but not very frugal. These homemade body products are all-natural, and all are affordable. (See also: <a href="">4 DIY Facial Products</a>)</p> <h3>1. Body Wash</h3> <p>An infusion of oats and rosemary adds depth to this <a href="">body wash recipe</a> that has its base in liquid castile soap. In doing so, it avoids many of the scary ingredients, like sodium laureth sulfate. Some people worry that the castile soap will be too harsh, but I've found that the other ingredients temper it enough that I don't experience any difficulty there.</p> <h3>2. Lotion Bars</h3> <p>These <a href="">lotion bars</a> are not only great for personal use, but they make great gifts as well. Who doesn't like a sweet-smelling, useful gift? Some of the ingredients may sound intimidating, but if you can't find them at Whole Foods or your local natural food store, you can always buy them on Amazon. I recommend adding the vitamin E oil for preservation, as the recipe makes quite a few lotion bars, and they each take a while to use.</p> <h3>3. Lip Balm</h3> <p>I have been a lip balm addict for most of my life. It started with Lip Smackers in grade school, progressed through all sorts of specialty balms later on, and now most often manifests itself in plain old Chapstick. Or, it did until I found this recipe for <a href="">basic lip balm</a>. The recipe itself is very basic, and it can be made with any flavor you want. Again, this is not only good for you, but makes a good gift, as well.</p> <h3>4. Body Butter</h3> <p>Pretty much all I have to say about this <a href="">body butter recipe</a> is YUM! It can seem just a little oily going on, but I love the way my skin feels after I rub it in. I've never loved either the texture or the scent of most lotions, but I could use this stuff several times a day. In our dry Colorado winter, it has helped keep my skin summer smooth.</p> <h3>5. PH Balanced Shampoo</h3> <p>I've been a fan of the &quot;no 'poo&quot; movement for several years, but every time I tried to wash my hair with a baking soda rinse, it got coarse and unruly. For my fine, light hair, that's saying something. So when I found a <a href="">shampoo recipe I liked</a> (and the accompanying article, which talks about why the baking soda may not work for some people), I felt relief. I will say that this shampoo takes some getting used to &mdash; it doesn't foam, and sometimes it feels like it leaves a bit of residue on the hair. But it has also kept my hair soft and manageable, and it hasn't caused any oil problems. (See also: <a href="">DIY Hair Conditioners</a>)</p> <h3>6. Baby Wipes</h3> <p>It really wasn't until baby #3 that I realized just how much I spent on wipes, and I also noticed that they seem to irritate the skin of at least one of my kids. Both of those things motivated me to try these <a href="">homemade baby wipes</a>, and I've been pretty happy with them. Even the thickest paper towels don't hold up like regular wipes, though, which can be annoying. Also, I usually add a couple of drops of essential oil, because I hate the smell of baby oil.</p> <h3>7. Dry Shampoo</h3> <p>For those days when you don't want to wash your hair, or when your scalp is adjusting to the &quot;no 'poo&quot; shampoo above, dry shampoo can be a lifesaver. Just sprinkle it on and any minor oil problems will seem to disappear almost immediately. To avoid looking like you have some serious dandruff problems, there are separate formulas for <a href="">dark hair</a> and <a href="">light hair</a>.</p> <h3>8. Deodorant</h3> <p>I'm gonna tell you the truth: I've been a little wary of trying this <a href="">all-natural deodorant formula</a>. I've heard wonderful things about it from a couple of different people, though, so I include it here so that you can let me know how it goes! Just kidding. I'm including it because I have heard such good things about it, and because it's <a href="">still unclear</a> as to whether the ingredients in regular antiperspirant/deodorant are harmful.</p> <h3>9. Bubble Bath</h3> <p>My kids love bubbles in their bath, but the stuff you can buy at the store is expensive and it has a ton of ingredients I can't pronounce, which always makes me a little nervous. This <a href="">bubble bath formula</a>, on the other hand, has ingredients I'm familiar with and seems to work just as well. The bubbles don't always last quite as long as with the stuff from the store (I'm not sure why), but I love being able to make it whatever scent I want.</p> <h2>For General Cleaning</h2> <p>You probably buy lots of different cleaning products for general cleaning inside and outside. Now you can make your own. (See also: <a href="">Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <h3>10. Glass Cleaner Wipes</h3> <p>These <a href="">homemade glass cleaner wipes</a> aren't quite Windex, but they're the next best thing, and they are all natural. I have found that they clean as well or better than Windex, actually, though occasionally they leave streaks and, even when they don't, I have to work harder to achieve that than I do with the blue stuff. Since nearly all chemical cleaning products cause me to have breathing problems, though, I've been happy to work a little harder in exchange for clean windows.</p> <h3>11. Window Cleaner</h3> <p>Although this <a href="">DIY window cleaner fluid</a> doesn't produce wipes and has slightly different ingredients than the recipe above, it does clean your windows. I prefer the above formula (whether I make the wipes or not), but another all-natural friend likes this one. You can try them both and choose the one that works best for you.</p> <h3>12. Bleach Wipes</h3> <p>These <a href="">bleach disinfecting wipes</a> aren't all-natural, but they're cheap, super easy to make, and great to have around for spills and stains that just need bleach. I go through a batch of these so slowly that I sometimes have to re-moisten whatever I'm using for wipes before I can use them. I actually like that, though, because it means I don't have the bleach mixture sloshing around in my cupboard, but I still have wipes to use when I need them.</p> <h2>For Laundry</h2> <p>Wise Bread recently covered a bunch of <a href="">DIY laundry detergent recipes</a>, so I'll focus instead on those not-quite detergent products we use in the laundry room. (See also: <a href="">8 Ways to Make Your Clothes Last Longer</a>)</p> <h3>13. Fabric Softener</h3> <p>This <a href="">fabric softener formula</a> is so easy and works so well that I can't believe people use anything else to soften their clothes in the washing machine. It doesn't hurt your clothes or your machine, and you have your choice when it comes to scents (so you can avoid some of those awful floral mixtures they sell in the store). Some people worry about a vinegar odor on their clothes, but I've never noticed it.</p> <h3>14. Bleach Gel</h3> <p>Again, this recipe is not all-natural. But this <a href="">bleach gel</a> <em>is </em>a lot cheaper than buying those bleach pens over and over and over again, and seems to work just as well. I'm a little hesitant to leave it on clothes for too long, because I worry about bleach stains, but I feel the same way about the commercial products. I will say that you should probably make this in a well-ventilated kitchen, if you don't want to smell bleach for the rest of the day.</p> <h3>15. Dryer Sheets</h3> <p>I've never made my own <a href="">dryer sheets</a>&nbsp;because I'm trying a set of <a href="">homemade dryer balls</a> right now, but this recipe intrigues me. I don't know that these would function very well to keep down static, like commercial dryer sheets do, but I think they'd do a great job of leaving your clothes smelling fresh and I like that you can use them more than once before you have to wash them, and change the scent every time you do wash them. If you try them, let me know how it goes!</p> <h2>Other Useful Recipes</h2> <p>And here are a couple of bonus recipes, just because they are cool &mdash; one for outdoors and one for the kid's playroom.</p> <h3>16. Insecticidal Spray (for Plants)</h3> <p>This <a href="">all natural plant spray</a> is supposed to ward off insects, as well as keep other animals away from your plants. I haven't started my garden yet this year, so I haven't used the spray, but I have heard raving reviews, and you can bet I'll be whipping up a batch here in the next month or so. (See also: <a href="">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow</a>)</p> <h3>17. Polymer Clay</h3> <p>My kids are still in the Play-Doh phase, so we haven't graduated to making clay yet. But I saw this <a href="">homemade modeling clay formula</a>, and now I can't wait until we do! I loved modeling clay as a kid, and I remember feeling like I had to ration it because it was too expensive to just play with. Who knows&hellip; if I could have made my own, maybe I would have been a famous sculptor by now!</p> <p><em>Do you make your own of anything that most people buy? I'd love to hear about your experience. </em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Dryer Sheets, Shampoo, and 15 Other Everyday Things You Can Make at Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle cleaning supplies DIY Homemade homesteading personal care Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:36:33 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1134468 at How to Improve Your Life by Becoming a Better Quitter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-improve-your-life-by-becoming-a-better-quitter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="I quit!!!" title="I quit!!!" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Quitter.&quot;</p> <p>If you're at all like me, that word brings up all sorts of negative childhood memories. I was a particularly tenacious kid, but I remember cringing when kids used that word to describe each other. I even remember a friend getting chewed out by her dad when she wanted to stop playing soccer mid season.</p> <p>With all of these negative associations, it's no wonder Americans are working longer hours with <a href="">less vacation than ever before</a>. Add to this the pressure to make more money so we can consume more stuff, and our busy, busy behavior makes a lot of sense. (See also: <a href="">You're Too Busy: Stop!</a>)</p> <p>In recent years, though, some people have begun to see the value of doing less, of quitting some of the nonessential activities in their lives so that they can focus on what really matters. There are lots of reasons why this might make for a better life, even if the idea seems counterintuitive at first.</p> <h2>Why Quit?</h2> <p>Whether the idea of doing less resonates deeply within you or you're still skeptical, there are several compelling reasons to consider applying these ideas to your life.</p> <h3>1. You're Not as Important as You Think You Are</h3> <p>When you quit some things so that you can do less, you will see that your presence isn't absolutely <em>necessary</em> for everything. In fact, you may even come to realize that many of the tasks you thought you had to do can easily be done by someone else. (See also: <a href="">How to Delegate in 4 Steps</a>)</p> <p>While this may seem threatening at first, the truth is that it opens the door for you to take better care of yourself and your family. If you aren't essential for every single project, there's more motivation to delegate the ones that aren't close to your passions or your heart, and instead focus on the people and the things that matter more to you.</p> <h3>2. Quitting Helps You Focus on Quality</h3> <p>It's easy to focus on producing as much as you can, as fast as you can. However, higher quality work has a greater impact, gives you the time and space to enter a state of <a href="">Flow</a> as you work, and produces a greater sense of pride, which motivates you to do more good work in the future.</p> <p>Quality is often harder to measure than quantity, which is why we take on so much and try to produce so much, so that, at the end of the day, we feel like we have done a lot. However, quitting things that aren't essential will give us the space to determine what, exactly, determines quality in our line of work, and then allows us to pursue that. (See also: <a href="">Work Smarter, Not Harder</a>)</p> <h3>3. You Need the Rest</h3> <p>When we feel like quitting, when we are tired and strung out and anxious, it usually means that we need to rest. Instead of shutting this down, we can listen to our bodies and our hearts and give ourselves what we need, but we can only do that if we are willing to quit some of the things we're doing. (See also: <a href="">Simple Ways to Fight Burnout</a>)</p> <p>So many people right now struggle to rest. We struggle because we know that there are emails to answer, texts to respond to, and items that desperately need checking off on our to-do lists. If we quit many of the projects that are producing those tasks, then we will find ourselves much more disposed towards rest. In addition, if we know that we work better when we are rested and we feel passionate about everything we're doing, we'll have more motivation to figure this rest thing out.</p> <h2>How to Become a Quitter</h2> <p>If quitting some of what you're doing sounds like a good idea, here are a few steps you can start implementing today to get more space in your life.</p> <h3>1. Single-Task</h3> <p>Multitasking is almost ubiquitous in our work culture, and many people find that trying to walk away from it feels like trying to break an addiction. However, <a href="">our brains aren't good at multitasking</a>. They aren't good at focusing on more than one thing at a time, and when we do that we aren't doing the hard work of training ourselves to focus well.</p> <p>Quitting our multitasking ways is hard because it means breaking habits. However, focusing on mindfulness can help. Being mindful means keeping your mind centered in the present. When you do this, you are more likely to focus on one task at a time. You are also likely to notice when you fall back into your multitasking ways. (See also: <a href="">How to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a>)</p> <h3>2. Savor Everything You Do</h3> <p>Mindfulness is also central to this step. When you are doing a task, be all there. Be present with the things you love about the task and the things you hate. Pay attention to the way your body feels when you do the task and to the ways your mind is (or is not) working.</p> <p>Finding the richness in the tasks that you do will help you determine which ones you want to quit. If there's a nonessential task that doesn't make you feel good, that causes stress in your body and anxiety in your mind, then don't do it anymore. If, on the other hand, you find yourself engaging with a task on a deep level, try to do more of that.</p> <p>Once you've chosen the tasks to keep in your schedule, the practice of savoring will help you focus on those tasks and relish every moment that you spend doing them.</p> <h3>3. Put Boundaries on Communication</h3> <p>With communication as easy as sending an email or a text message, it's usually necessary to put boundaries on the ways that people communicate with you and the times that they do it, if you want to do less. Quitting constant communication often opens up a lot of space for you to do quality work that you love.</p> <p>This is an area where the boundaries you set will be determined by your job, the ways in which you prefer to be contacted, and the logistics of your situation. Some people choose not to use email, while others reserve texts for their friends. Some only answer email a couple of times a day, while others reserve particular email addresses for particular types of communications. Figure out what works for you, and then communicate that to the relevant people.</p> <p><em>Have you found freedom and rest in quitting? What was the most important step you've taken towards doing less?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Improve Your Life by Becoming a Better Quitter" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Personal Development productivity quitting simplifying Tue, 08 Apr 2014 09:24:28 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1134346 at 12 Things You're Doing Wrong Before Noon (and How to Fix Them) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-youre-doing-wrong-before-noon-and-how-to-fix-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="breakfast" title="breakfast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you know that what you may be doing during the hours from the time you wake to noon could be sabotaging your whole day? Turns out this time of day can set the tone for how productive, happy, and satisfied you feel overall. Learn about some common missteps that may be derailing your day and what moves you can make to fix them right now. (See also: <a href="">What Successful People Do Every Morning</a>)</p> <h2>1. Hitting Snooze</h2> <p>It may seem like hitting the snooze button lets you sneak in that extra 10 minutes of vital sleep, but think again. According to <a href="">sleep experts</a>, snoozing only provides fragmented, low-quality sleep and starts another sleep cycle that you can't complete. This leaves you feeling groggier and with less energy later on. Cut the habit, and be diligent about getting up when your initial alarm goes off. This will actually help you feel more awake later in the morning than if you snooze.</p> <h2>2. Not Investing in Personal Appearance and Hygiene</h2> <p>Taking pride in your personal appearance can pay dividends throughout your day. First of all, when you look put together and enjoy what you're wearing, you feel more confident and in control. Secondly, an orderly and clean appearance projects positively on you when dealing with others. Even for those at home all day, getting out of the jammies or sweats (at least on some days) can greatly improve your productivity and make you feel more alert.</p> <h2>3. Eating No Breakfast or a Bad Breakfast</h2> <p>You've probably heard it a thousand times by now, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Skipping breakfast, or fueling yourself with a bad one, can set you up for disaster in terms of low energy, headaches, and overeating later on. Similar to mid-morning snack options, <a href="">choose wisely for breakfast</a>, with high protein, low sugar, and good carbs (like oatmeal) that will help you feel good until noon and beyond.</p> <h2>4. Rushing Out the Door</h2> <p>A hectic morning routine can zap your energy and leave you feeling frazzled before the day even starts. Reduce morning stress by being prepared the night before with clothing choices, lunches, and other plan-ahead items. If your mornings are always a rush, it's definitely time to budget in extra time by getting up slightly earlier, which will benefit you more in the long run. (See also: <a href="">Change Your Life With a Better Nighttime Routine</a>)</p> <h2>5. Squandering Your Alert Time</h2> <p>It's been said that working memory, alertness, and concentration tend to peak before noon, which means this a great time for <a href="">cognitive work</a>. But many of us waste this precious time with our least pressing items or let distractions in. So skip the office gossip session, stop responding to non-essential emails, and don't get sucked into social media during this productive time. Save these less crucial items for later on when you need a break or have lower energy, and instead, take advantage of your morning brain clarity to knock out some of your analytical work or most energy-demanding tasks.</p> <h2>6. Failing to Reward Yourself</h2> <p>The morning is tough enough, and feeling deprived can only add to grumpiness and lack of motivation. It's important, therefore, to have that little something to look forward to, which can boost your day and improve mood. Whether it's 10 minutes of your favorite morning show, a delicious coffee, favorite music, or a few minutes of reading the paper in quiet, do it and enjoy it, so that you can start your day on a good note. (See also: <a href="">21 Frugal Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>7. Never Stretching</h2> <p>The <a href="">benefits of regular morning stretching</a> have been lauded for many reasons. Stretching helps increase blood flow and energy, improves posture, reduces pain, and can stave off injury. It also can be easily incorporated into a morning routine with a small time commitment.</p> <h2>8. Setting Yourself Up For a Crash</h2> <p>A mid-morning pick-me-up is key to keeping your energy levels high, but snacking on a candy bar or a fourth cup of coffee can wreak havoc on your body. Sugary snacks will set you up for a blood sugar crash later on, not to mention can run up calorie counts. Hitting the caffeine too hard also runs you the risk of big time jitters, followed by withdrawal and headaches come afternoon. Aim for <a href="">beneficial mid-morning snacks</a>, which have some protein, fiber, or other nutritional benefits to keep your energy and mood going strong.</p> <h2>9. Procrastinating</h2> <p>If you hit noon and feel like there is still a mountain of work to do, you're likely to feel overwhelmed and less productive for the rest of the day. Procrastinating during the morning means a harder workload later in the day when your energy is lower. Completing at least one main task in the morning can give you a sense of accomplishment and allow you to feel like you are making progress. (See also: <a href="">How to Stop Procrastinating</a>)</p> <h2>10. Failing to Hydrate</h2> <p>By now, we all have heard that drinking <a href="">plenty of water is part of good health</a>. But most of us don't realize that we go off track early in the day when we miss out on hydrating during the critical morning hours. It's been shown that <a href="">drinking water after waking up</a> can help boost metabolism and digestion. Also, be sure not to skimp during the course of the morning, in order to make hitting your eight-glass goal for the day a lot easier.</p> <h2>11. Not Planning</h2> <p>You don't need to micromanage your schedule, but having a plan of attack for the morning hours can align your focus, give you more control, and help get more done. Spend a few minutes the night before organizing your schedule or to-do list for what you will be doing before noon, so that you can easily hit the ground running and not feel scattered in the morning. (See also: <a href="">Change Your Bedtime Routine, Change Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>12. Putting Off Exercise</h2> <p>Some folks have a good afternoon or evening exercise routine going for them. But if you find yourself skipping exercise or, like many people, just feel exhausted at the end of the day, then doing your exercise routine in the morning is key. Even 20 minutes is beneficial in the morning, not to mention a morning commitment guarantees exercise always gets done.</p> <p><em>Tell us about some of your helpful a.m. actions that make for a better day.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Things You&#039;re Doing Wrong Before Noon (and How to Fix Them)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Personal Development mornings routine Wed, 02 Apr 2014 09:36:18 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1133533 at 7 Ways to Help Your Parents Save Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-help-your-parents-save-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use </em><a href=""><em>Skype Credit</em></a><em> to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</em></p> <p>It can be difficult to have financial conversations with your parents as they get older. Maybe your family never really talked about money, or maybe your parents don&rsquo;t want to discuss their financial life because they feel like they&rsquo;d be giving up part of their independence. Whatever the reason, it can make talking about money &mdash; and offering financial help &mdash; difficult.</p> <p>One thing that can make offering assistance easier is helping in ways that don&rsquo;t involve giving your parents money, housing, or other big things they might feel uncomfortable accepting. From helping them find discounts to offering technical assistance, here are seven easy ways you can help your parents save money.</p> <h3>1. Educate Them About Financial Scams</h3> <p>Many scammers target senior citizens &mdash; and older people can have a difficult time recognizing scams, even if they aren&rsquo;t suffering from dementia. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, there are several <a href="">scams that target the elderly</a>, from fake work-at-home training to scammers claiming to be grandchildren in trouble.</p> <p>Educate your parents about the different types of financial scams out there &mdash; <a href="">the government&rsquo;s Stop Fraud website</a> has some great resources. And let your parents know that they can always come to you if they&rsquo;re unsure whether something is real or not &mdash; even if the person who might be scamming them specifically tells them not to talk to anyone else.</p> <h3>2. Review Their Service Contracts With Them</h3> <p>There are a few reasons to look over your parents&rsquo; internet, cell phone, and TV service contracts with them. First of all, they might be on expensive plans that provide more than they need, but not realize it. Look over their usage, and see if they can get by with a less-expensive plan. Secondly, many service providers offer senior discounts. For example, <a href="">in Seattle</a>, cable providers like Comcast and WAVE offer $5 discounts to qualified seniors. Lastly, if your parents are on an Internet or cable plan that used to have an introductory price but is now more expensive, encourage them to call and ask if there are any discounts currently available. Just asking can usually get you back onto promotional pricing.</p> <h3>3. Look for Ways to Reduce Expenses</h3> <p>If your parents aren&rsquo;t sure about what expenses they can cut back on, and they don&rsquo;t have a budget, help them set one up. <a href="">Mint</a> is one of my favorite budgeting and expense monitoring tools &mdash; it automatically pulls in financial information from different financial accounts and tracks spending, so your parents can easily see where their money is going and where they can cut back.</p> <p>There are many ways your parents can reduce expenses without making any sacrifices. For example, if your parents enjoy calling their grandchildren regularly, consider using Skype. We are all familiar with Skype&rsquo;s free software, which allows you to talk to other Skype users for free. But Skype also offers an option called <a href="">Skype Credit</a>, which allows you to call any landline or mobile phone around the world at very low rates (<a href="">see rate information here</a>). The best part about Skype Credit is that there are no long term contracts. You can fill up Skype Credit in $10 increments, so your parents only have to pay for the minutes they need, instead of paying for a flat amount of minutes they might not use. This flexibility is great for older people on a fixed income.</p> <div id="kamidarticle" class="ggnoads" style="text-align:center;"> <div id="kamidarticle-middle-content"><center></p> <!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><!-- Skype_midarticle_300x250 --><div style="width:300px; height:250px;" id="div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0"> <script type='text/javascript'> googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1396271961711-0'); }); </script></div> <p></center></div> </div> <h3>4. Offer to Help Them Sell Possessions They Aren&rsquo;t Using</h3> <p>If your parents live in a house cluttered with things they no longer use, offer to help them sell the items. Have a yard sale together, or help them list items on eBay. You can even offer to do something special with the money you both earn, like taking a small trip together.</p> <h3>5. Make Sure They&rsquo;re Getting All of the Benefits They Can</h3> <p>There are many resources available to senior citizens, and they go beyond just Social Security and Medicare. A great place to start looking for additional benefits is <a href=""></a>. Run by the National Council on Aging, this site helps seniors (and their families) discover benefit programs they might not have known about for food assistance, health care, and more.</p> <h3>6. Make Sure They&rsquo;re Utilizing All the Discounts They Can</h3> <p>There are several discounts for senior citizens, available everywhere from grocery stores to movie theaters. Help your parents research additional opportunities they might not be aware of, and make sure they&rsquo;re signed up for AARP. Membership comes with benefits, information, and a <a href="">bevy of discounts</a> on everything from Kindle book purchases to travel to craft stores.</p> <h3>7. Help Them With Technology</h3> <p>Providing tech support to your parents can be a frustrating experience. But think of it this way &mdash; the few minutes that it takes you to help set up your parents&rsquo; printer could save them a $50 trip to the Geek Squad. If you don&rsquo;t live near your parents, you can still help them out by <a href="">sharing screens over Skype</a>, which allows you to view their computer screen and collaborate, so you can easily help them with things like running virus protection or installing new software without trying to explain it to them over the phone.</p> <p>What are your favorite ways to help your parents save money?</p> <p><em>Sponsored by Skype &mdash; Use </em><a href=""><em>Skype Credit</em></a><em> to call mobiles and landlines home and abroad at low rates.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Help Your Parents Save Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Meg Favreau</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Lifestyle Skype Credit Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:11:46 +0000 Meg Favreau 1131425 at Best Money Tips: Ways to Get a Cheap Gym Membership <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-get-a-cheap-gym-membership-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman at gym" title="woman at gym" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on getting a cheap gym membership, cutting your wedding bill, and things you should and shouldn't buy at Whole Foods.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">8 Ways to Get a Cheap Gym Membership</a> &mdash; To get a cheap gym membership, get a benefit from your benefits or buy from Costco. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="">26 Ways to Cut Your Wedding Bill</a> &mdash; Always negotiate the final package with suppliers face to face to cut your wedding bill. []</p> <p><a href="">10 Things You Should Buy at Whole Foods (and 7 to Avoid)</a> &mdash; Bread and cake are two things you should buy at Whole Foods. However, you should avoid buying meat. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">How to Strengthen Your Money-Management Muscles</a> &mdash; If you want to strengthen your money-management muscles, you have to commit to feeling the burn. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="">Approaching Fears</a> &mdash; When approaching your fears, remember that the best counterbalance to fear is action. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How to Stay Ahead on Your Taxes</a> &mdash; Stay ahead on your taxes by charting out a strategy. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="">Three Easy Ways to Save Money on Beauty Products</a> &mdash; Buying drugstore versions of high end products can help you save on beauty products. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="">Do You Have One of These 6 Money Sucking Habits?</a> &mdash; Do you tend to spend a lot of money on junk food or eating out? You may want to cut back on these money sucking habits. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="">Millenials - How Not to Be Part of the &quot;Lost Generation&quot;</a> &mdash; If you are a millenial who doesn't want to be part of the lost generation, consider self employment. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="">6 Tips to Help New Dads to Make Dad Friends</a> &mdash; To help new dads make dad friends, go on play dates with other couples who have kids. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Ways to Get a Cheap Gym Membership" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle best money tips gym membership Tue, 25 Feb 2014 11:00:48 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1127823 at 7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-sleep-better-in-fewer-hours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="stretching" title="stretching" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Though the National Sleep Foundation advises healthy adults to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, a recent study found that 30% of working Americans sleep less than six hours per night. According to the National Academy of Sciences, <a href="">sleep deprivation is bad for your health</a>; it elevates the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and it increases weight-gain and stress. In desperation, many people turn to sleep aids to make their sleep more effective. The pharmaceutical <a href="">sleep aid market</a> is estimated to be $4.5 billion annually. (See also: <a href="">Effective Sleep Tips You Haven't Tried</a>)</p> <p>There's got to be a better way to make sleep more effective, however many hours you are able to devote to it, right? In fact there are several, and they're mostly free. All you need is personal discipline and the commitment to trade unhealthy habits for healthy ones.</p> <h2>1. Practice Yoga Nidra</h2> <p>Yoga Nidra is a method of meditation that has been taught in India for centuries. There are currently many research studies underway to analyze the <a href="">health benefits of a regular Yoga Nidra</a> practice. Early results show that it improves our ability to reap the benefits of deep sleep in less time than normal sleep cycles.</p> <p>Here's how it works: In between our waking and dreaming cycles in normal sleep, there is a short window of time (roughly three to five minutes) called the &quot;<a href="">hypnagogic state</a>.&quot; In this state, tension is greatly reduced and our bodies are most at ease. Yoga Nidra, sometimes called &quot;dreamless sleep,&quot; teaches us how to consciously extend the hypnagogic state and gives our bodies more time to deeply relax. When we relax, our blood pressure and blood sugar levels decrease and we reduce muscular tension and fatigue. With reduced muscle tension, we are literally able breathe easier and we can get nourishing oxygen to our cells more efficiently. (See also: <a href="">Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax)</a></p> <h2>2. Stick to a Bedtime Routine</h2> <p>It's so simple, and yet most of us don't do it. We have to prepare the body for sleep to make our sleep effective. Power down the electronic devices, block outside light, turn down the thermostat, and do some very light exercise such as gentle stretching before hitting the hay. Otherwise you'll waste time powering down by lying awake in bed.</p> <h2>3. Watch What You Eat and Drink</h2> <p>When our digestive system is active, it disturbs our sleep. Eat earlier in the evening so your body has a few hours to digest before heading off to bed. Also, reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine because they throw off our natural circadian rhythms making sleep more difficult and less beneficial.</p> <h2>4. Consider Some Natural Supplements</h2> <p>Herbal teas such as <a href="">chamomile</a> and <a href="">valerian root</a> have the potential to help us naturally relax and enhance sleep. The warmth of a glass of <a href=";sid=1">warm milk</a> may help us relax, although there's really nothing in it that can make us feel drowsy or actually help us sleep. Always consult your physician before taking any supplements. (See also: <a href="">Foods That Can Help You Sleep</a>)</p> <h2>5. Exercise</h2> <p>Exercise has many health benefits, and one of those benefits is more effective sleep. One of the best pieces of news on the <a href="">link between exercise and sleep</a> comes via a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation that found the time of day we exercise doesn't matter. Additionally, any intensity of workout has a positive impact on sleep. So walk, jog, or sprint &mdash; day or night. All that matters is that we get our regular workouts in some form.</p> <h2>6. Apply Technology</h2> <p>Today we have incredible technology in the form of mobile apps that can track the quality and quantity of our sleep. If you have an iPhone, try <a href="">Sleep Cycle</a>. If you have an Android phone, try <a href="">SleepBot</a>. By tracking your sleep patterns, you'll discover the best time for you to fall asleep, and the best time to wake up. (See Also: <a href="">Great Sleep-Tracking Apps</a>)</p> <p>A <a href="">white noise machine</a> is another option. They've have been around for decades for one good reason: They work. There are many options on the market today at a variety of price points, so it's easy to find one that fits within your budget.</p> <h2>7. Go Polyphasic</h2> <p>The experts are clear that we really should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night. But if you really want to get by on less sleep &mdash; significantly less &mdash; follow the lead of Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci. They were rumored to follow &quot;polyphasic&quot; or <a href="">alternate sleep cycles</a>. People who utilize this method sleep for a few consecutive hours several times per day. If you give this method a try, however, exercise caution. Don't drive, operate heavy machinery, or make any critical life decisions until you know how this kind of sleep schedule will affect you. It works for some people and not for others.</p> <p>Ideally, we want to have both good quality sleep and a sufficient amount of it. These remedies, or a combination of them, can help. Experiment with them and use the ones that work best for you.</p> <p><em>What helps you sleep better? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Sleep Better in Fewer Hours" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Lifestyle enough sleep sleep sleep aids Wed, 12 Feb 2014 10:36:13 +0000 Christa Avampato 1125163 at 7 Simple Ways to Trick Yourself Into Burning More Calories <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-simple-ways-to-trick-yourself-into-burning-more-calories" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman dancing" title="woman dancing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="174" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>January begins one of the busiest times of year for gyms. If you&#39;re planning on making a resolution to get in shape for 2014, it can be a hard habit to begin. If you&#39;re having trouble getting motivated to start a new fitness routine, you can get started by taking small steps to turn exercise into a long term habit. Here are some tips on ways to trick yourself into exercising. (See also: <a href="">Fitness for People Who Hate Exercising</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take the Long Way</h2> <p>Walking is one of the easiest ways to burn calories by doing things you&#39;d have to do anyhow. Leisurely paces can burn around 238 calories/hour (depending on your weight), so getting off a stop early on the bus or parking at the end of the lot and walking to your building in the mornings can help add cardio activity to your day. Remember, even a little cardio is better than none!</p> <h2>2. Shop Local Instead of Online</h2> <p>Another way to add easy cardio to your routine is by hitting the shops around town. Keeping a brisk pace while shopping the latest sales can help increase your heart rate to help you burn 150 calories an hour. Plus, hauling those heavy bags will help add strength workouts to your regimen. Look at you, helping your body <em>and</em> the economy!</p> <h2>3. Make an Upbeat Playlist</h2> <p>Create a playlist of upbeat or fast tempo music and add it to your phone, tablet, iPod, or any other device you keep close at hand. Get a few sets of earbuds, too, and leave a set at home and a set at work so that you&#39;ve never got an excuse not to listen. Listening to music has been shown to <a href="">increase physical output</a>, and it can make you <em>want</em> to move your body, increasing calorie output. (See also: <a href="">50 Ways to Make Exercise Fun</a>)</p> <h2>4. Have a Dance Party</h2> <p>Chalene Johnson is a nutrition and health mogul who is known for her high intensity (but fun) workouts. During most workouts, she incorporates a quick break that is essentially just her and her team shaking it. She&#39;s often said that dancing is one of the passions that brought her to a career in exercise &mdash; and with good reason! Dancing has been shown to help to <a href="">reduce stress and alleviate depression</a>. So on tough days, have a quick dance party...don&#39;t worry, no one&#39;s watching! You&#39;ll relieve stress, and you&#39;ll also add some cardio to your day.</p> <h2>5. Learn to Cook</h2> <p>If most of your eating habits involve quick snacks or takeout, it&#39;s time to step away from the prepackaged food and learn to cook. In addition to learning about ingredients in your meals, which can help both your body <em>and</em> your budget, the continual motions of mixing, lifting, moving back and forth, and preparing can account for burning around 136 calories an hour (depending on your weight), which can add up and help a decrease on the scale. (See also: <a href="">20 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a>)</p> <h2>6. Start &quot;Spring Cleaning&quot; Now</h2> <p>If your house has begun to look like a dusty bunny warzone during the winter, the time has come to clean! If you&#39;re like me, this is the very definition of &quot;chore,&quot; but the added benefits of cleaning your home can help your sinuses and your waistline. Light cleaning can add up to 160 calories an hour while more heavy duty cleaning can add up to burning over 200 calories an hour. (See also: <a href="">How to Clean Your House in a Day</a>)</p> <h2>7. Set Goals</h2> <p>Once you&#39;ve begun to add all of those calories together doing little things like cleaning and shopping, you might begin to want to take a more active approach to your exercise regimen. To keep it going, create a rewards system that motivates you to stick to your goals and gives you a sense of accomplishment at each milestone. Figure what increments work best for your ultimate goal and promise yourself not to get the awards until you&#39;ve actually earned them. Maybe 15 pounds lost means a new pair of jeans, while 25 pounds means you&#39;ll need probably need to update your hairstyle to show off those cheekbones. When you reach the final weight you want to be at, the reward should be as big as the accomplishment, like a new wardrobe (you&#39;re going to need it!). Good luck, and go get &lsquo;em.</p> <p><em>How do you trick yourself into exercising more?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Simple Ways to Trick Yourself Into Burning More Calories" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Megan Brame</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle exercise fitness motivation Thu, 02 Jan 2014 10:37:10 +0000 Megan Brame 1104928 at How to Resist Lifestyle Creep and Still Have Everything You Want <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-resist-lifestyle-creep-and-still-have-everything-you-want" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man " title="man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Levels of spending on some things seem to automatically go with levels of spending on other things. But there&#39;s no rule that says this has to be true. (See also: <a href="">Choosing a Luxury Eccentricity</a>)</p> <h2>Overcoming the Lifestyle Problem</h2> <p>This is what I call &quot;The Lifestyle Problem.&quot; It&#39;s expensive enough to support yourself and your family, but supporting all those people <em>and </em>a lifestyle? That&#39;s a problem.</p> <p>Fortunately, the solution is easy: Don&#39;t do it. There is no rule that says certain expenses automatically imply other expenses. You are free to choose luxury in one area while choosing frugality in another. (See also: <a href="">Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a>)</p> <p>For example, my wife and I have a set of linen sheets to put on our bed in the summertime. They&#39;re two or three times as expensive as cotton &mdash; but they&#39;re luxuriously more comfortable when it&#39;s hot, plus they&#39;re more durable. They might seem incongruous with our cheap apartment and our 23-year-old Honda Civic, but we&#39;re very pleased with the balance we&#39;ve struck.</p> <h3>Splurge Strategically</h3> <p>Probably everybody you know does this in a small way &mdash; think of all your friends with perfectly normal budgets, except this one won&#39;t pay more than $12 for a haircut, that one won&#39;t go to movies in the theater, another insists on doing his own yard work (even though he hates it), and so on.</p> <p>Not so many do this in a big way. In fact, the only place you&#39;re likely to see this idea expressed in full measure is in young bachelors. You can recognize the subtype easily because their apartment is furnished with a recliner chair, a king-sized bed, and no other furniture.</p> <p>Do you want a fancy sports car, but are perfectly happy living in a cheap apartment? That&#39;s fine. Similarly fine is the reverse: cheap car, but a luxury apartment. Also fine: a cheap car, a cheap apartment, and a glorious annual vacation. You can have a few nice things without having to have <em>all</em> nice things! (See also: <a href="">Why You Should Allow Yourself to Splurge</a>)</p> <h2>Resisting Lifestyle Creep</h2> <p>Everybody knows this. And yet, it&rsquo;s deceptively <a href="">easy to upscale all your expense categories</a> in tandem, without even noticing that you&#39;re doing it.</p> <p>And that&#39;s without considering the social pressures to do this. Just as soon as you start being thoughtful about this &mdash; and not upgrading this or that expense&mdash;you&#39;ll find that everybody and his brother has something to say about it: Why do you have such an old car/such crappy clothes/such a small TV? Why don&#39;t you live in a bigger house/better neighborhood? Why don&#39;t you buy nicer furniture/better wine/a fitness center membership? <em>You can afford it!</em></p> <p>The unstated assumption of that last sentence is that everyone should spend all their money. There are a lot of people out there who seem pretty determined that nobody subvert that assumption. (See also: <a href="">Is Peer Pressure Keeping You Poor?</a>)</p> <p>It is possible to resist that social pressure. You can do it just by determination &mdash; in fact, that&#39;s probably the best way &mdash; but here are two tricks that I&#39;ve found help me.</p> <h3>1. Have a Style</h3> <p>Just about any style will do. If you have a style, it&#39;s easy to turn down the upgrades that don&#39;t match because, &quot;They&#39;re just not my style.&quot;</p> <p>Even if you don&#39;t pick a nameable style (bohemian, yuppy, whatever) people will still quickly figure it out &mdash; and will quit suggesting things that don&#39;t match. People don&#39;t tell yuppies that they need to buy a Lincoln Towncar for their commute or bohemians that they need to get designer onesies for the twins, and they&#39;ll be a lot less likely to tell you that you need to spend money on something that doesn&#39;t &quot;go&quot; with the things you do spend money on.</p> <p>Just be careful not to let the causality go the other way. Just because you&#39;ve decided to go with &quot;preppy&quot; is no reason to upgrade your wardrobe by spending a fortune on Brooks Brothers. (Not that you can&#39;t spend money on Brooks Brothers if you want to, and can afford it.) (See also: <a href="">Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less</a>)</p> <h3>2. Embrace the Eccentricity</h3> <p>Anybody whose spending is different from typical is, in fact, eccentric. Embrace that. Own it. But make it about something that matters to you:</p> <ul> <li>You are the person who won&#39;t hire a yard service to get rid of their dandelions because you don&#39;t want herbicides sprayed on your lawn (not because you&#39;re too cheap to spend the money).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You&#39;re the person who doesn&#39;t go to movies in the theater because they turn the sound up too darned loud (not because you&#39;re too cheap to buy tickets).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You&#39;re the person who doesn&#39;t eat out because you cook better food than you can get in a restaurant (not because you won&#39;t spring for the check).</li> </ul> <p>You can resist the tyranny of social rules to keep all your spending levels nicely lined up. Someone looking at my spending and trying to figure out what my &quot;lifestyle&quot; was would be utterly stymied &mdash; because the only rule my wife and I have is that we pay up for what we really want and spend as little as possible on the rest.</p> <p><em>How do you resist the temptation to overspend on lifestyle?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Resist Lifestyle Creep and Still Have Everything You Want" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle budget lifestyle Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:49:34 +0000 Philip Brewer 1104836 at 50 Ways to Make Exercise More Fun <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/50-ways-to-make-exercise-more-fun" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="swing" title="swing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&#39;s startling to consider but, according to the President&#39;s Council on Fitness, Sports &amp; Nutrition, <a href="">less than 5% of American adults get 30 minutes of exercise a day</a>. Could it be that most of us aren&#39;t associating &quot;exercise&quot; with &quot;fun?&quot; Even if you aren&#39;t an athlete, you can still have a good time while working up a sweat. In fact, here are 50 ways you can put the fun back in fitness. (See also: <a href="">Fitness for Those Who Hate Exercise</a>)</p> <h2>1. Challenge Yourself</h2> <p>Try <a href="">Tabata Training</a>. Developed in Japan by Dr. Izumi Tabata, this is a 4-minute routine consisting of eight work/rest cycles. (See also: <a href="">Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a>)</p> <h2>2. Dance</h2> <p>Many fitness centers offer dance classes specifically designed to sculpt and tone your body.</p> <h2>3. Bend With Friends</h2> <p>Take a yoga class with friends and share a healthy dinner together afterward.</p> <h2>4. Pump Up the Volume</h2> <p>Load your MP3 player with upbeat, fast-paced music for cardio sessions and add a slower playlist for cooling down and stretching. Shuffle your music to keep things interesting.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>5. Catch a Little TV</h2> <p>Watch from your exercise bike instead of your easy chair. Just starting out? Take a rest during the commercials and pedal through your favorite program. (See also: <a href="">Things to Do While Watching TV</a>)</p> <h2>6. Get Social</h2> <p>According to research conducted by the University of California&#39;s Department of Preventative Medicine, people who exercise with their spouse, friends, or <a href="">coworkers enjoy it more</a>.</p> <h2>7. Go Outside</h2> <p>Break out of the gym and go for a walk, hike, bike ride, or swim.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>8. Journal</h2> <p>Keep records of your workouts and take pictures along the way. Having proof of your progress will boost your motivation.</p> <h2>9. Dress for Success</h2> <p>You don&#39;t need to buy the most expensive athletic clothes for the gym, but wearing the wrong clothing can detract from your fun by trapping sweat, chafing skin, and causing blisters.</p> <h2>10. Avoid Overtraining</h2> <p>Your body needs recovery time between workouts in order to function efficiently. Include time for relaxing, reading, visiting friends, and other activities outside of the gym. (See also: <a href="">Natural Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles</a>)</p> <h2>11. Celebrate Small Victories</h2> <p>While you might start exercising with major change in mind, try challenging yourself to incremental goals that you can assess in a shorter period of time like losing one pound a week for a month.</p> <h2>12. Run (or Walk) for a Good Cause</h2> <p>Make your workout more enjoyable by setting a goal to train for your area&#39;s next breast cancer walk or similar event.</p> <h2>13. Add Some Variety</h2> <p>Change your routine frequently to avoid boredom and prevent the dreaded fitness plateau. (See also: <a href="">Benefits of Changing Your Routine</a>)</p> <h2>14. Get Pavlovian</h2> <p>Create a reward system for motivation, and you&#39;ll get into the fitness groove more quickly. Try a healthy treat like a post-workout smoothie.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>15. Ease Into It</h2> <p>Start your workout gradually by warming up with a little cardio. This will signal your brain to secrete the endorphins that produce a natural &quot;high.&quot;</p> <h2>16. Skip Rope</h2> <p>It&#39;s not just for kids. Did you know that <a href="">jumping rope will burn the same amount of calories as running</a>?</p> <h2>17. Bounce</h2> <p>Not ready to skip rope? Get hopping on a personal trampoline to build up your stamina and balance.</p> <h2>18. Jump on a Pogo Stick</h2> <p>If jumping is hard on your joints, try jumping on a pogo stick. It reduces stress and provides many of same benefits as jumping exercises.</p> <h2>19. Try &quot;Exergaming&quot;</h2> <p>Do you or your kids enjoy gaming? Try out some <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=exercise%20games&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps">video exercise games</a>.</p> <h2>20. Don&#39;t Save the Worst for Last</h2> <p>Work your hardest exercises in the middle of your routine as a way to mark the &quot;top of the hill.&quot; You&#39;ll be more motivated to finish knowing that the rest of your routine is all downhill. (See also: <a href="">9 Ways to Stay Motivated</a>)</p> <h2>21. Swing Some Kettlebells</h2> <p>With their origins Russia, these cannonballs-on-a-handle are all the rage. Try this <a href="">kettlebell workout for beginners</a>!</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>22. Stand-Up Paddleboard</h2> <p>This <a href="">combination of kayaking and surfing</a> is a challenging core workout.</p> <h2>23. Get Professional Help</h2> <p>Consider working out with a pro who can build a fun routine to suit your needs.</p> <h2>24. Use Fitness Apps</h2> <p>Integrate tech and fitness with one or more of these <a href="">popular fitness apps</a>. (See also: <a href="">Top 5 Strength Training Apps</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>25. Learn New Things</h2> <p>Get up to speed on the treadmill with your favorite <a href="">TED Talks</a> or podcasts. You can load learning on your MP3 player just as easily as music.</p> <h2>26. Push Yourself (Gently)</h2> <p>Challenge yourself to do just one more rep, minute, or mile the next time you feel like giving up on a routine. You&#39;ll feel a sense of accomplishment because you pushed yourself just a little further.</p> <h2>27. Get Mental</h2> <p>Psyche yourself up by creating an empowering mantra like &quot;I can do this.&quot; Repeat this phrase in your mind as you exercise &mdash; especially when the going gets rough.</p> <h2>28. Drop and Roll</h2> <p>Roll your way to better to a tighter tummy and great legs. Try <a href="">these eight exercises</a>.</p> <h2>29. Stand on Your Head</h2> <p>Get a new perspective while gaining balance and control. Start out by balancing against a wall and gradually move towards inverted independence!</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>30. Eat Right</h2> <p>Feeding your body the right fuel will give you more energy for better workouts. One important tip: eat more protein.</p> <h2>31. Suspend Yourself</h2> <p>You can get a total body workout with <a href="">this novel training technique</a>.</p> <h2>32. Get Inspired</h2> <p>Motivate yourself with these <a href="">fitness success stories</a>.</p> <h2>33. Use Your Body Weight</h2> <p>You&#39;ll never need gym equipment again with these <a href="">exercises you can do anywhere</a>. (See also: <a href="">20 Body Weight Exercises</a>)</p> <h2>34. Hula Hoop It</h2> <p>Revisit your childhood and use a hula hoop for serious abdominal-toning fun. (See also: <a href="">Fitness Gifts for $15 or Less</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>35. Get Some Doggone Company</h2> <p>Enjoy exercise by taking your dog for a walk, playing fetch, and meeting new people at the local dog park.</p> <h2>36. Swing</h2> <p>Get on a swing for dual action workout. When you push off, you&#39;re engaging your leg muscles; when you pull back, you&#39;re working your midsection.</p> <h2>37. Prancercise</h2> <p>You&#39;ve seen the <a href="">viral video</a>, now show off your most flamboyant moves as you groove your way to better fitness.</p> <h2>38. Do a Domestic Sprint</h2> <p>Feel the burn by challenging yourself to a five minute housework blitz. Better yet, get your kids to join you and multiply the effort! (See also: <a href="">How to Declutter Your Home in 10 Minutes</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>39. Pedal While Sitting</h2> <p>Maybe you&#39;re just starting out or can&#39;t stand for long periods; either way, try <a href="">using a foot peddler</a> while sitting.</p> <h2>40. Sit and Be Fit</h2> <p>Another option for exercise while sitting is the <a href="">Sit and Be Fit</a> chair exercise program.</p> <h2>41. Flex</h2> <p>Simply flexing your muscles counts as exercise. Play a game by flexing your abs, butt, or arms each time you get into your car or stop at a red light.</p> <h2>42. Multitask</h2> <p>Try doing squats while brushing your teeth. They won&#39;t interfere with your oral hygiene, and they&#39;re great for your legs.</p> <h2>43. Take the Stairs</h2> <p>Make a game out of taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Accumulate 10 points for each flight and give yourself a little reward when your score hits 100.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>44. Jump Up</h2> <p>Jumping jacks are an overall fun movement that burn lots of calories.</p> <h2>45. Arm Wrestle</h2> <p>Work out those biceps (not your back) and have a friendly contest with friends.</p> <h2>46. Have a Pillow fight</h2> <p>Get playful with your kids or partner and have a lively pillow fight &mdash; you&#39;ll definitely get your heart rate up and have a few laughs along the way.</p> <h2>47. Play Tag or Frisbee</h2> <p>Playing these classic outdoor games is good fun and great exercise.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h2>48. Laugh</h2> <p>Lighten up and get some health benefits at the same time. Here are <a href="">over 100 ways to laugh your way</a> into fitness.</p> <h2>49. Practice Martial Arts</h2> <p>From mild (tai-chi) to wild (karate) you&#39;re sure to find something you&#39;ll enjoy. Check for classes in your area.</p> <h2>50. Practice Gratitude</h2> <p>Be thankful that you can exercise. Research shows that <a href="">being grateful helps boost your overall mood</a> and that alone should make fitness more fun!</p> <p><em>Now that you have 50 different ideas, which ones will you choose to make your workout seem less like work?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="50 Ways to Make Exercise More Fun" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle exercise fitness workout Fri, 27 Dec 2013 10:49:48 +0000 Kentin Waits 1102863 at 6 Ways to Have a Great Late-Night Workout <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-have-a-great-late-night-workout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="exercise" title="exercise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finding time to exercise can be a challenge for busy people.</p> <p>If you&#39;re like me, one of the few times I can find to workout is late at night, after the boss is happy, the kids are asleep, and the dishes are done. I&#39;ve found it to be a relaxing time to exercise because the gym is usually not crowded, and I don&#39;t feel rushed. And I must not be the only one; one of the largest fitness chains in America is now <a href="">24-Hour Fitness, boasting more than 400 locations</a> and 3.8 million members. (See also:<a href=""> 8 Ways to Use the Gym for Free</a>)</p> <p>The problem is that nighttime is not the ideal time to be exercising. Doctors and fitness experts agree that most people aren&#39;t operating with peak energy late at night, and such workouts can disrupt a person&#39;s sleep schedule. The National Sleep Foundation <a href="">says exercise can raise your body temperature</a>, which is not ideal for getting a good night&#39;s rest.</p> <p>But a late-night workout is better than getting no exercise at all. I&#39;ve personally had some success with exercising between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., but it has required some discipline to ensure I&#39;m also getting to bed at a decent hour. Here are six ways I&#39;ve made late-night gym sessions work for me. (See also: <a href="">Fitness for People Who Hate Exercise</a>)</p> <h2>1. Eat Dinner, but Don&#39;t Pig Out</h2> <p>Dinner is often the largest meal of the day, but you don&#39;t want to workout after loading yourself down with food. So be smart. A good-sized meal will give you the energy you need later, but you&#39;ll want to eat something that won&#39;t upset your stomach. Avoid things like potatoes or meat that take a long time to digest. I find that a modest plate of pasta with some vegetables works well, particularly if I wait a couple of hours before heading to the gym. (See also: <a href="">Using Portion Control to Lose Weight</a>)</p> <h2>2. Stay Hydrated</h2> <p>It always makes sense to drink fluids before and after a workout, but it&#39;s especially important when you workout at night. Remember that when you sleep, you&#39;re going six to eight hours without fluids, so you never want to go to bed thirsty. If you want to avoid feeling rotten in the morning, drink two glasses of water before your workout. After your workout, drink until you&#39;re no longer thirsty, and then drink a little bit more. And don&#39;t forget to hydrate well after waking up.</p> <p>Also consider drinking something with nutrients to restore much-needed minerals, protein, and carbs. I find that <a href="">chocolate milk works awesomely</a>.</p> <h2>3. Be Like the Pros, and Take a Nap</h2> <p>Think about the game schedule of most pro athletes. They&#39;re expected to be at peak performance at 7 p.m. or later. So it&#39;s <a href=";_r=0">common for them to take a nap earlier in the day</a>.</p> <p>&quot;Guys make more time for naps now,&quot; NBA trainer Greg Farnam told the New York Times. &quot;Before, they&#39;d just take a nap when they were really tired instead of building it into [their routine.]&quot;</p> <p>So consider sliding 20-minute siesta into your daily schedule if you can. It may come during the commute home on the train, or as a quick snooze before or after dinner. This will help supplement your nighttime sleep and give you more energy later in the day. If the pros do it, why not give it a try?</p> <h2>4. Take a Shower, and Keep It Cool</h2> <p>One hopes you plan to take a shower after working out anyway. The good news is that a shower will not only get you clean, <a href="">but will help lower your body temperature</a> and help you get ready for sleep. Make the water temperature lukewarm or even cool, and consider lowering the thermostat in your house to help aid the cooling process.</p> <p>Actively working to cool yourself down <a href="">will aid in the recovery process </a>and reduce inflammation, as well.</p> <h2>5. Take It Easy</h2> <p>The more intense the workout, the higher your heart rate will be. And the higher your heart rate, the longer it will take you to cool down and fall asleep. If you&#39;re having trouble winding down after a late-night gym session, consider easing off the pedal a bit and workout at 50% to 75% effort. You&#39;ll still benefit from the exercise, but will find it easier to get calm. You can always save your most intense workouts for the weekend. (See also: <a href="">Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a>)</p> <h2>6. Shut Off the Electronics</h2> <p>There&#39;s a lot of research that shows that <a href="">television, computers, and mobile devices can make sleep difficult</a> because they can rev up your brain when you should be trying to wind down. If you&#39;re already amped up following a workout, the last thing you want to do is get your brain overstimulated, too.</p> <p>I like to wind down by reading a good book or magazine, or even doing menial tasks like sweeping the kitchen floor or folding laundry. You may find your own ways to get calm after a workout to ensure a good night&#39;s rest. But you&#39;ll most likely want to put away the phone and shut off the TV.</p> <p><em>Do you workout late in the evening? How do you get to sleep afterward?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Have a Great Late-Night Workout " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tim Lemke</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle fitness late-night workout workout Tue, 17 Dec 2013 10:37:23 +0000 Tim Lemke 1098554 at Best Money Tips: Contributing to Charities Without Donating Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-contributing-to-charities-without-donating-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on contributing to charity without donating money, saving this holiday season, and risks happy people take every day.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">How Can I Contribute to Charities Without Donating Money?</a> &mdash; Using a charity credit card is a great way to contribute to charity without donating money. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="">Saving Money this Holiday Season</a> &mdash; Save money this holiday season by using voucher codes and cutting out the fluff. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="">10 Risks Happy People Take Every Day</a> &mdash; Happy people risk taking full responsibility for their happiness every day. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="">Halloween Cheap Treats and Time Saving Tricks</a> &mdash; Purchasing candy from a bulk candy supplier can help you save money this Halloween. []</p> <p><a href="">10 Time Management Tips from Personal Finance Bloggers: #FinCon13 Edition</a> &mdash; Scheduling 15 minutes a day to do some organizing can help you better manage your time. [Square Pennies]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Master These 14 Interview Questions</a> &mdash; Before you go in for an interview, know how to answer the question &quot;tell me about yourself.&quot; [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">10 Tips to Stop Worrying and Get More Done</a> &mdash; To stop worrying and get more done, put things in perspective and be early. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="">Short vs Long Term Disability: When It Rains It Pours</a> &mdash; Did you know you can buy a long term disability policy either on your own or through your employer? [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="">New Paparazzi Law is a Chance for All Parents to Rethink the Laws Surrounding Children</a> &mdash; Have you heard about the new paparazzi law that prohibits photographers from taking pictures of children of celebrities? [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">Work Smarter: 5 Productivity Hacks To Maximize Your Time In The Office</a> &mdash; To maximize your time in the office, stay hydrated and make a to-do list. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Contributing to Charities Without Donating Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle best money tips charities charity contributing donating money Thu, 24 Oct 2013 14:21:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1047155 at Best Money Tips: Cut the Cost of Raising Kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-cut-the-cost-of-raising-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family" title="family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on cutting the cost of raising kids, if seniors should get life insurance, and organizing your money and your mind.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">5 Ways to Cut the Cost of Raising Kids</a> &mdash; To cut the cost of raising kids, by in bulk and use coupons when shopping for food. [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="">Should a Senior Like Me Worry About Getting Life Insurance?</a> &mdash; It is a good idea for seniors to have life insurance so they can provide their spouse with a comfy retirement. [Deliver Away Debt]</p> <p><a href="">Organize Your Money, Organize Your Mind</a> &mdash; Organize your money and your mind by setting up automated payments. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="">Happiness Is a Choice, Not an Ultimate Goal</a> &mdash; Do you want to be happy? If so, think about what experiences you&#39;d like to have, then make having those experiences your goal. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <p><a href="">5 &#39;Holy Grails&#39; Of Personal Finance You Need To Stop Worrying About</a> &mdash; It&#39;s time to stop worrying about extreme couponing or how people perceive you if you are in debt. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How to Save Money on Flowers For Your Wedding</a> &mdash; Save money on flowers for your wedding by getting multiple quotes and using them against each other. [Thousandaire]</p> <p><a href="">5 Signs It&#39;s Time to Make the Switch From Employee to Freelancer</a> &mdash; It may be the time to make the switch to freelancer if you are bringing in a steady income. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="">7 Ways to Make Overnight Guests Feel Welcome</a> &mdash; To make your overnight guests feel welcome, put candles in their room. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">5 Best Websites For Online Coupons</a> &mdash; FatWallet and RetailMeNot are just a couple awesome websites to visit if you are looking for coupons. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="">Food Allergies: Much More Than an &quot;Inconvenience&quot;</a> &mdash; Did you know the most common food allergens include fish and soy? [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Cut the Cost of Raising Kids" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle best mone tips cutting costs kids raising Tue, 15 Oct 2013 09:48:03 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1022230 at