budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/503/all en-US 8 Smart Money Moves to Make in the New Year http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_savings_545348368.jpg" alt="Piggy bank for making smart money moves in the new year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe your New Year's resolution is to budget more consistently, save more, or spend less. Maybe it's investing a portion of your disposable income wisely. Whatever your financial objectives are, setting money-minded goals is important to ensure a more prosperous 2017 and beyond. Here are a few ways to build and improve upon the foundation you've already laid.</p> <h2>1. Enlist Professional Help</h2> <p>Guess what? Everybody gets themselves into a financial pickle every now and then &mdash; myself included &mdash; and it's not the end of the world. Don't beat yourself up about it. You can fix this.</p> <p>If you overdid it during the holidays (or even all of last year), identify your missteps so you don't repeat them in the future, and you can formulate a plan of resolve. If finances aren't your forte (though you should make them your forte ASAP), consider consulting an expert.</p> <h2>2. Learn to Cook</h2> <p>I know a staggering number of people who can't cook. Like, if they tried to sauté a few shrimp, you'd probably walk away from the dinner table with hepatitis. I don't understand it &mdash; which is why I harp on those who avoid the kitchen to get in there and learn. Refusing to prepare yourself fresh, delicious meals is just plain lazy.</p> <p>The other problem with not being able to cook is that the alternative is expensive and very unhealthy. For starters, you're at the mercy of the microwave or what's already prepared at takeouts and restaurants &mdash; and more times than not, that food is loaded with fats and sodium. Second, you're paying about three-to-one for ready-to-eat dishes (unless you're buying the worst of the worst from the freezer section) versus what you could make in your own home using store-bought ingredients.</p> <p>Cooking shows on the Food Network and recipes off the Internet taught me a lot of kitchen basics (like how to make sure a chicken breast is thoroughly cooked so I don't poison myself). A friend of mine recently hired a cook from Craigslist to come into his home once a week to help him learn how to prepare standard meals, like pork chops, veggies, and rice. There are plenty of resources available to help you learn how to cook, too. Find them, graduate to adulthood by making your own dinner, and then count all the cash you're saving. Your mama will be so proud.</p> <h2>3. Cut the Fat From Your Expenses</h2> <p>Along with cutting the fat from your diet, you also should look for ways to trim it from your budget. End memberships and subscriptions you don't use, and call your service providers to renegotiate your deals. I shaved $15 per month off my mobile phone bill last year by calling to update my 12-year-old plan. Also, investigate your bank accounts for erroneous fees; you may be paying for something on a recurring basis that you totally forgot about. Commit to shopping less, and saving more when you do need or want to spend. I don't buy anything without a coupon or discount code. Positive personal finance is a way of life.</p> <h2>4. Increase Your Retirement Savings</h2> <p>If there's extra money in your budget at the end of the month, spend it on your future by increasing your retirement savings. If your employer matches 401K contributions, you should at least be maxing them out. If you don't have an employer-sponsored plan, look into a Roth IRA as an alternative.</p> <h2>5. Consider a Balance Transfer</h2> <p>If you're underwater on your credit cards, consolidating that debt onto a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">card that allows balance transfers</a> could save you a decent chunk of change. Just make sure you check the fees and pay it off during the promotional period, otherwise interest can revert much higher, making repayment even more expensive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-balance-transfer-credit-card-is-the-best-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Balance Transfer Credit Card Is Best for You?</a>)</p> <h2>6. Lower Your Investment Fees</h2> <p>If your finances are already fairly on track, there are still ways you can put more money back into your bank account &mdash; like lowering your investment fees if you play the stock market.</p> <p>Take a closer look at your portfolio, and re-evaluate to see how you can restructure so fees aren't costing you significant amounts in the long run. Now might also be a good time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?ref=internal">consider investing in index funds</a>, the benefits of which include broader market exposure, low operating expenses, and low portfolio turnover.</p> <h2>7. Research How the Trump Administration Will Affect Your Finances</h2> <p>Things are going to change, perhaps significantly, once Trump takes office. The new tax code overhaul alone could affect your finances one way or another. But there are other effects to consider, like rising interest rates, which may reduce the pool of potential buyers of a home sale if you're planning to sell in the near future. The repeal of Obamacare may also alter your budget, depending on what health care alternatives you have. Nonetheless, I recommend researching how the new administration's fiscal plans will trickle down to your own pocket. Hopefully you'll come out ahead, but you should prepare yourself, either way.</p> <h2>8. Just Say No</h2> <p>Make 2017 the year that less is more. Buy fewer retail items, dine out less frequently, limit your alcohol consumption, and learn how to say no to recreational activities that aren't in your budget. You don't have to do or have it all to feel satisfied. Rather, you'll start to experience satisfaction in other ways, like not living paycheck to paycheck because of frivolous spending. You deserve better; give it to yourself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-money-moves-to-make-in-the-new-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-your-finances-a-year-end-review">How to Give Your Finances a Year-End Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-to-keep-new-years-resolutions-that-really-pay-off">15 Easy to Keep New Year&#039;s Resolutions That Really Pay Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living advice balance transfers budgeting fees financial help investments learning to cook New Year resolutions retirement Mon, 16 Jan 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1873728 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-597659170.jpg" alt="your kids will love these books about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Chances are, you want your child to be financially wise, but every time you start to talk about money management or smart spending, your kid conveniently tunes out. Fun books are the perfect way to get your children thinking about money.</p> <p>You don't necessarily need to force your kids to read heavy economic books. Instead, allow them to enjoy and be inspired by these books about saving, giving, and starting businesses.</p> <h2>1. <em>The Berenstain Bears' Dollars and Sense</em> by Stan and Jan Berenstain</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2i7aviQ" target="_blank">The Berenstain Bears' Dollars and Sense</a> helps teach kids about allowance management. The book has tear-out checks so that kids can practice writing their own. While most of the population uses <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards-vs-debit-cards-a-comprehensive-comparison" target="_blank">debit cards and credit cards</a>, writing checks is still something that should be learned.</p> <h2>2.<em> The Berenstain Bears' Money Trouble</em> by Stan and Jan Berenstain</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j1dwBl" target="_blank">The Berenstain Bears' Money Trouble</a> features the same lovable bears as they start several businesses to earn money. Starting a business isn't easy, even when it's just a lemonade stand. This book goes through those initial obstacles in a fun way.</p> <h2>3. <em>The Berenstain Bears' Piggy Bank Blessings</em> by Stan and Jan Berenstain</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j1fFwW" target="_blank">The Berenstain Bears' Piggy Bank Blessings</a> has an overall religious tone, quoting verses, but the story follows the bears as they save money for a surprise birthday present for their mom. My four-year-old enjoys this one, and I enjoy that the book shows the main characters thinking of others.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></p> <h2>4. <em>If You Made a Million</em> by David M. Schwartz</h2> <p>Kids throw around &quot;million&quot; without really knowing what it represents. <a href="http://amzn.to/2iw7QSV" target="_blank">If You Made a Million</a> helps children ages seven and older understand the complexity of big numbers in a fun way. While the book was published over two decades ago, it remains a classic, having won the ALA Notable Book and a Reading Rainbow Feature Selection.</p> <h2>5. <em>Prices! Prices! Prices!: Why They Go Up and Down</em> by David Adler</h2> <p>The well-loved author of the Cam Jansen series, David Adler, also happens to be a former math teacher. His book,<a href="http://amzn.to/2iAlvqd" target="_blank"> Prices! Prices! Prices!: Why They Go Up and Down</a> has such fun illustrations and tackles the concepts of supply and demand.</p> <h2>6. <em>Amelia Bedelia Means Business</em> by Herman Parish</h2> <p>Amelia Bedelia is a lovable and quirky character who takes everything literally. There have been many times I have laughed out loud while reading the original Amelia Bedelia series to my daughter, especially when she is told to &quot;dress the turkey&quot; and makes a little suit for the turkey dinner.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2iAnk6j" target="_blank">Amelia Bedelia Means Business</a> is not written by the original author, but the story still follows the same theme. This one follows a young Amelia Bedelia as she tries to make money, even getting in trouble with the local police.</p> <h2>7. <em>American Girl Library: A Smart Girl's Guide: Money</em> by Nancy Holyoke and Sarah Hunt</h2> <p>American Girl non-fiction titles are both engaging and useful for young girls. <a href="http://amzn.to/2hMVXnq" target="_blank">A Smart Girl's Guide: Money</a> is written in an engaging, magazine-type format. Topics covered are smart shopping tips, making money, and investing. The book includes fun graphics and easy-to-use quizzes.</p> <h2>8. <em>The</em> <em>Babysitter's Club Series</em> by Ann Martin</h2> <p>There might not be any set money lessons in the <a href="http://amzn.to/2iAhDW9" target="_blank">Babysitter's Club Series</a>, but I remember clearly that it helped spark an entrepreneurial spirit in me during my tween years. The idea that a group of teen girls start their own babysitting club had me planning and thinking about doing that myself. While I never started a babysitting club, I still have that entrepreneurial spirit that has allowed me to creatively earn money without a 9-to-5 position. The book series has been redone as a graphic novel, so it will appeal to today's generations.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</a></p> <h2>9. <em>Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock</em> by Sheila Bair</h2> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j1rmUr" target="_blank">Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock</a> follows twins whose grandpa offers them a 10-week savings plan. Every dollar they save will be matched. One twin saves his money and has over $500 after 10 weeks, while the other twin spends the money foolishly. Tons of great money lessons in here.</p> <h2>10. <em>Isabel's Car Wash</em> by Sheila Bair</h2> <p>From the same author as the title above,<a href="http://amzn.to/2j1rvqX" target="_blank"> Isabel's Car Wash</a> is about a girl who wanted a doll that cost $10. She decides to start a car washing business, but first needs money for supplies. The book follows her adventure of starting a small business so that she can buy her doll.</p> <p>There are so many wonderful books out there that teach kids important money skills. Look for books that teach children the money basics in a fun way, and also look for books that features the main character acting as an entrepreneur.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-new-toys-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use New Toys to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Family budgeting family kids money parenting saving money Spending Money teenagers tweens Mon, 09 Jan 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1869549 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Smart Ways to Prepare for a Job Leave http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-prepare-for-a-job-leave <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-smart-ways-to-prepare-for-a-job-leave" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_son_baby_505122600.jpg" alt="Man finding smart ways to prepare for a job leave" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may be looking to take some time off from work to stay home with your children. Or perhaps you have a new business venture you'd like to get after.</p> <p>Leaving the traditional workforce is something people do for a variety of reasons. I left my 9-to-5 a little over five years ago to stay home with my daughter. It was a big transition, both personally and professionally. I can tell you firsthand, though, that if you're smart about it &mdash; it may be one of the best moves of your life.</p> <h2>1. Make a Budget</h2> <p>If you don't already have a budget, make one &mdash; today. It's incredibly important before you take a job leave to understand how much money you have, where it's going, and how you'll deal once you don't have a steady paycheck coming in. Making a budget can be an enlightening or frightening process, but you definitely want to look before you leap into the financial unknown.</p> <p>To start, write out exactly how much money will be coming in after you leave your job. Then write out how much money goes out between fixed expenses (housing, student loans, car payments, etc.) and variable expenses (groceries, entertainment, clothing, travel). Don't forget big items like health care, either. After that, you can look for opportunities to cut your budget for the big change. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso">Build Your First Budget in Five Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>While you're at it, try saving as much as you can and building an emergency fund. My husband and I actually spent a good part of the year before I left my job trying to live within the budget we'd need after the baby. Any money we saved in the meantime went directly into our bank account.</p> <h2>2. Get Introspective and Creative</h2> <p>Leaving your job may mean making some pretty tough sacrifices. Maybe you won't be able to buy new cars or go on vacation. Maybe you'll need to stop eating out or even downsize your home. There will likely be days when you will ask yourself: &quot;Why am I doing this again?&quot;</p> <p>Having a long, hard talk with yourself (or several) will help you solidify the motivations for your leave. They will become stronger and stronger in your mind. Sure, you may hit some difficult or tricky times, but if you are passionate about the reason, you'll have the perseverance to continue on and figure out solutions.</p> <p>If you're feeling on the fence about it all, you may want to get creative. Meet with your HR department to explore other opportunities. Maybe you could scale back to working part-time. Maybe your department offers a more flexible schedule. Or maybe there are other jobs in your community that would afford you the time you're looking to gain.</p> <h2>3. Practice, Practice, Practice</h2> <p>After chatting with HR, I discovered that the university where I used to work offered up to eight months of unpaid child care leave. Before I decided to quit my job for good, I let my boss know that I wanted to take the maximum amount of leave. During this time off, our family continued to practice what life would be like &mdash; and what our budget would be like &mdash; without my paycheck. It wasn't a totally easy transition.</p> <p>For example, within the first month of my leave, our furnace died. It was the dead of winter, so we had to dip deep into the emergency fund earlier than expected. A few months after that we had a major roof leak. This is where our savings and budgeting really came into play.</p> <p>In the end, we realized that we would be fine because we had planned for these types of minor disasters. I had moments of doubt, though, and I was thankful to know that I had a job waiting for me if I needed it. Find out what type of temporary leave options are available to you. A trial run is a wonderful opportunity to see if your plans will work out in real life. Think of it as a pair of training wheels.</p> <h2>4. Leave on Good Terms</h2> <p>Even if you hate your job, you don't exactly want to leave burning all your bridges in the process. Of course, you may find yourself with a boss who doesn't completely understand or support your decision. And that's okay. What you can do, though, is to ease the transition for everyone involved as much as possible. That will help you leave on the best of terms.</p> <p>Give your boss plenty of notice before your leave. You may even want to, as I did, ask if you might return to your workplace in the future. Though my boss wasn't thrilled to be losing a dependable worker, he ultimately understood and respected my reasons for leaving.</p> <p>I left scrupulous notes for my replacement, organized all my digital and paper files, and even offered to be available for a short while if anyone had questions. On my last day, we shook hands and I felt confident &mdash; and still do &mdash; that I could apply for future positions.</p> <h2>5. Keep Your Toes Dipped</h2> <p>When I left my job, I wasn't totally sure how long it would work out. On paper, things were looking good. In practice, well, we kept hitting some financial roadblocks. I knew I wanted to stay home with my daughter, but I also knew that bringing in some money would be helpful. Keeping my resume and skills relevant was another important thing to me.</p> <p>That's when I started looking around for freelance writing work. Some of my friends were working on different gigs, so I reached out to them. Networked. I asked tons of questions and even got some leads on jobs. In the years since, I've worked at home anywhere between five and 30 hours a week. I've had a lot of situations in my life where I've needed to scale back or almost entirely from freelancing. Still, I have these jobs on my resume.</p> <p>I'm keeping current. (And I'm enjoying it, too!) Even if you don't want to actually work during your time off, you can volunteer. You can absolutely include volunteer work on your resume. Experience is experience. And the great thing about volunteering is that you can often put it on your own schedule.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-prepare-for-a-job-leave">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-go-from-two-incomes-to-one">How to Go From Two Incomes to One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-great-reasons-to-quit-your-job">13 Great Reasons to Quit Your Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Family budgeting emergency funds extended leave job leave one income family quitting stay at home parent workforce Wed, 04 Jan 2017 10:30:33 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1867991 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Give Your Finances a Year-End Review http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-your-finances-a-year-end-review <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-give-your-finances-a-year-end-review" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_paying_bills_168362659_0.jpg" alt="Couple giving their finances a year-end review" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As one year ends and another begins, it's a natural time for reflection &mdash; financial and otherwise. Here are some suggestions for evaluating your financial progress in 2016, with the hopes of planning an even better 2017.</p> <h2>Net Worth</h2> <p>This is your financial big picture and it makes for a great starting point. In essence, the net worth calculation asks, &quot;How much are you worth?&quot; And the more important question for our purposes: Has your net worth increased or decreased over the past year?</p> <p>Assets minus liabilities (debts) equals your net worth. Calculate the value of all your assets (home, vehicles, retirement accounts, savings, investments, belongings, etc.) minus any liabilities or debt (mortgage balance owed, car note balance, student loans, credit card debt, medical bills, etc.). The difference between your assets and liabilities is your net worth.</p> <p>If you did this exercise last year, how has your net worth changed over the last 12 months? And what contributed to the changes?</p> <h2>Cash Flow</h2> <p>When it comes to using a budget, there are various tools &mdash; from a paper and pencil budget to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a>, and from software to online tools. When trying to motivate people to use a budget for the first time, I often say that the best budget tool is the one you'll actually use. However, for the purpose of a year-end analysis, there's nothing like an electronic tool, whether that means budget software or an online service such as <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint.</a></p> <p>For your cash flow analysis, start with the big picture &mdash; total income versus total expenses. Did you live within your means this year?</p> <p>Then do a category-by-category analysis. If you overspent in a certain category, was your budgeted amount unrealistic, or do you simply need to do a better job of managing your spending in that category?</p> <p>Use what you learn from this analysis in crafting your 2017 budget.</p> <h2>Experiential Net Worth</h2> <p>Traditional net worth statements have one big shortcoming, though &mdash; failing to account for investments you've made in positive experiences. <em>Experiential </em>net worth includes things like charitable donations, investments in your or your child's education, or even a memorable family vacation.</p> <p>Sure, these are expenses. However, research shows that spending money on positive experiences tends to make us happier than material things, so it's appropriate to recognize the experiences we <em>invest</em> in each year.</p> <p>To analyze your experiential net worth, focus on some of the ways you've spent money in the past year that led to some of your most positive experiences. This doesn't need to be a highly detailed account. If you gave to charity, for example, you might just list the organization(s) that you donated to as your experience, and maybe include a few details about the organization or how much money you contributed.</p> <p>Keeping tabs on your experiential investments can help you be strategic in planning future spending.</p> <h2>Emotional Net Worth</h2> <p>Emotional net worth is an assessment of how you <em>feel</em> about your current financial situation. While highly subjective, it can still help you analyze your overall financial wellbeing. Are you stressed about debt &mdash; and if so, how much? Do you feel you're making positive progress toward financial goals?</p> <p>Give your emotional net worth an overall rating. Next, jot down some ideas that could help you improve in this area, such as debt reduction, better communication about money with your spouse, or building an emergency fund.</p> <p>Now, take a good look at your year-end financial review. Are you content with what you see? Imagine it's this time next year. What changes will you need to make in 2017 to end up where you want to be?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-give-your-finances-a-year-end-review">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/plan-for-your-wants">Plan for your wants</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-13-numbers-are-the-keys-to-understanding-your-finances">These 13 Numbers Are the Keys to Understanding Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-quiet-millionaire-part-2-major-obstacles-to-financial-success">The Quiet Millionaire: Part 2 – Major Obstacles to Financial Success</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-10-pm-do-you-know-where-your-net-worth-is">It&#039;s 10 pm: Do You Know Where Your Net Worth Is?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance analyzing budgeting cash flow experiences financial review investments net worth year end review Tue, 03 Jan 2017 10:00:12 +0000 Matt Bell 1865739 at http://www.wisebread.com These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_time_485081278.jpg" alt="Woman learning money hacks are a waste of time" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the many reasons you read Wise Bread articles is to live large on a small budget. That means deals, strategies, and money-saving hacks. However, although most money-saving hacks are well worth your time, some are red herrings. They appear to be great ways to save, but in reality, they can end up costing you a lot of time and trouble for very little reward. Here are five you should avoid. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-time-is-worth-more-than-money?ref=seealso">8 Reasons Time Is Worth More Than Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Changing Your Own Oil</h2> <p>No doubt many people are shouting, &quot;Hey, that is totally worth it!&quot; at the screen right now, but let's look at the time, effort, and costs involved and see what kind of saving you're looking at. First of all, you have to purchase the initial equipment. This is a one-off expense, but you're looking at a good jack with jack stands, a drain pan, a filter wrench, a good flashlight, and maybe a creeper, a set of gloves, and coveralls.</p> <p>Depending on the quality of those items, you're looking at a minimum of $300. Then, you have the parts you need for every oil change: the oil, and the filter. Again, quality here can dictate cost. You can pay anywhere from $4-$60 for a filter, depending on the make and model of your car. But let's just say $5 for a filter. Oil is also a variable, depending on your climate, your car, and your budget. You can go for regular, blend, or full synthetic. You'll need at least four quarts, and even if you get the cheapest regular oil, you're in the hole for about $20. So there you have it &mdash; $25 for materials.</p> <p>Then there's your time. Mechanics with access to pneumatic tools and lifts can easily get under the car and do this in 15 minutes. You probably don't have those though. You'll spend around 30 minutes changing the oil, or longer if it's your first time. You also need to purchase a container for the old oil, and dispose of it safely. Consider all of that, and then look around for deals in your area. Many garages will offer oil changes at a loss, so that they can inspect your car, and find problems that they can work on for a profit. You can get an oil change for $20 or less, most of the time with a synthetic blend oil, plus a top off your fluids. Just don't take it to the dealership, where an oil change can set you back $50 or more.</p> <h2>2. Making Your Own Detergents, Soaps, and Cleaning Supplies</h2> <p>You will often hear people (frugal experts especially), talking about the great value of making cleaning supplies. But before you dive into this process, take a look at the basic costs involved, and the time it takes to make them. Most of the time, you will have to buy ingredients that cost as much as, or even more than, the actual cleaning products themselves.</p> <p>These days, stores like Target and Walmart carry store-brand products that are so cheap it boggles the mind. And empty squeeze bottles can actually cost more than cleaning products that come in squeeze bottles! So while it may be fun to turn your kitchen or garage into a chemistry lab, purchasing bora, baking soda, lemons, bleaches, lye, essential oils, aloe vera gel, clay, oatmeal, and all the tools needed to make your own products, just remember you're not saving much money. When you can pick up laundry detergent for a few bucks, and window cleaner for 99 cents, you are literally spending a lot of time for a few cents.</p> <h2>3. Cutting Coupons</h2> <p>When you see these shows about people who clip coupons and get two carts full of groceries for under $10, you might think cutting coupons is an excellent use of your time. This, in most cases, is not actually true. Professional &quot;couponers&quot; go to great lengths to get these deals, and usually fill their garages and basements with hundreds of bottles and cans that they may never use. It's a lengthy investment. For the average shopper, cutting coupons involves sitting at the kitchen table with a pair of scissors and a pile of circulars, spending a good 30-60 minutes looking for deals that apply. It's 25 cents off here, and 30 cents off there.</p> <p>Then, when it comes time to shop, many of us simply forget to use them, or they sit at home in a drawer waiting to expire. When you do see deals that are great, they're for products you usually don't buy, so you're actually spending money to save money. If you spend an hour cutting coupons and save $7, congratulations&hellip; you're earning less than minimum wage.</p> <h2>4. Searching Endlessly for a Slightly Better Deal</h2> <p>The Internet, deal apps, and a plethora of other price comparison tools have turned us all into deal hounds. However, we can often get sucked into the trap of refusing to buy something until we get the absolute best deal we possibly can. We go to Amazon, then eBay, then do a bunch of searches looking for promo codes and special offers. In fact, many websites experience something called &quot;cart abandonment&quot; because they have a box for a promo code or discount. When we see that, we start the long, drawn out search for coupons and codes that are often only sent out to former customers in an email blast. Sites like RetailMeNot have certainly helped, but even then, we can waste hours trying code after code, eventually hitting pay dirt with that $2 off coupon.</p> <p>Was it worth it? We may feel like it, but in reality, so many stores price-match and offer competitive values. In the end, we could have just bought the deal we found in the first five minutes. Don't accept the first price you see, but after five minutes, when you notice the lowest prices aren't changing, it's time to throw in the towel.</p> <h2>5. Driving Miles to Save a Few Bucks</h2> <p>We're all guilty of this. Some people swear by apps that promise to find them the cheapest gas in the state, and then drive miles to save 10 cents a gallon. Other people will drive halfway across town to save 50% on the price of a toy or game, which saves them $5&ndash;$10, but costs them gas, mileage, and their time. What's even more bizarre is that often, people look at the percentages involved in deals, not the money. The same person who drives across town to save $10 on a game costing $20 will not bother doing the same on a TV that costs $1000 versus $990. Keep in mind that $10 is $10, regardless of the original purchase price. But all that aside, really consider how far you're driving, and the money you're spending, to see if it's really worth it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-when-youre-rich-dream-buys-that-arent-that-great">5 &quot;When You&#039;re Rich&quot; Dream Buys That Aren&#039;t That Great</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting frugal living money hacks saving money Spending Money time management waste of time Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:01:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1863675 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_new_years_498059820.jpg" alt="Friends making personal finance resolutions they can master" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working on your New Year's resolutions? Unfortunately, an incredible <a href="https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-new-years-resolutions-why-88-fail-and-how-to-make-them-work">88% of New Year's resolutions fail</a>. The big problem is that most people's resolutions aren't specific enough, or they're too ambitious.</p> <p>Ready to get 2017 off to a good money start? Try out these eight financial resolutions. They're simple enough so that anyone can accomplish them in the new year.</p> <h2>1. Build a Household Budget</h2> <p>We know it doesn't sound like fun, but crafting a household budget is the best financial move that you can make in 2017. Why? A budget tells you how much money you should be spending each month on everything from groceries to eating out to streaming movies on Amazon. Without a budget, your odds of overspending will soar. Fortunately, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps">making a budget</a> isn't nearly as challenging as you might think.</p> <h2>2. Pay Down Your Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Your credit card debt might look overwhelming, but paying down this expensive debt in 2017 is actually a fairly easy task &mdash; if you commit. There are several different ways you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies">attack your credit card debt</a>, from paying off the cards with the lowest balance first to prioritizing those with the highest interest rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">The Fastest Way to Pay Down $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Build an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>What happens if your home furnace conks out? What if your car's transmission dies? Can you cover these unexpected expenses with cash? Or would you have to charge the repairs? If you have an emergency fund, you'll always have cash on hand to cover life's unexpected disasters. Financial experts say you should have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. That might sound like a difficult goal, but you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">build this fund</a> as slowly as you'd like.</p> <h2>4. Cut Out One Unnecessary Expense</h2> <p>Vowing to cut your spending isn't the easiest New Year's resolution to keep; it's simply too vague. Instead, vow to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unnecessary-household-expenses-you-can-cut-today">cut one unnecessary expense</a> from your routine. For instance, you might vow to stop buying coffee on the way to work, and instead brew your own java at home.</p> <h2>5. Boost Your Life Insurance Coverage</h2> <p>If you were to unexpectedly die, would you have enough of a life insurance payout to provide financial protection for your loved ones? If not, it might be time to boost your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">life insurance coverage</a>. Fortunately, this is an especially easy New Year's resolution to keep: Just call an insurance agent.</p> <h2>6. Protect Your Things</h2> <p>Whether you're a renter or a homeowner, you need to make sure that you have enough insurance to replace the items in your home, should they be stolen or destroyed. Resolve in 2017 to meet with an insurance agent to discuss either homeowners' or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">renters' insurance</a>.</p> <h2>7. Pay Your Bills on Time Every Month</h2> <p>Want a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">sky-high credit score</a>? Then pay your bills on time every month. Doing this will slowly, but steadily, cause your FICO credit score to rise. And a higher credit score will mean lower interest rates when you're borrowing money later.</p> <h2>8. Find a Better Savings Account</h2> <p>You might think savings accounts are a fairly boring place to stash your dollars. The truth, though, is that some savings accounts are better than others, and some provide far better interest. Make a resolution this year to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-types-of-savings-accounts-which-is-right-for-you">find a savings account</a> that will help you build your savings at a faster clip.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">You&#039;ve Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here&#039;s Why</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting debt emergency funds goals life insurance money resolutions new year's resolutions saving money savings accounts Wed, 28 Dec 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1863676 at http://www.wisebread.com You're Missing Out on These 5 Easy Fixes for FOMO http://www.wisebread.com/youre-missing-out-on-these-5-easy-fixes-for-fomo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youre-missing-out-on-these-5-easy-fixes-for-fomo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-584791208.jpg" alt="beat fomo for good" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Before I wised up and turned off the notifications, the Facebook app on my phone used to ping every time someone liked or responded to one of my posts. I generally charge my smartphone on the other side of my office while I work, but the sudden and unexpected <em>ping</em> of a Facebook notification would prompt me to get up, walk across the room, and discover that my mother had liked a photo of my kids that I had posted. This was not exactly a model of efficiency in terms of getting work done.</p> <p>Trying to ignore those pings was even worse, though. After hearing one go off, I would sit at my desk, trying to focus on my work but agonizing over what I might be missing on Facebook. Yes, it might be a family member liking a picture of my kids. But&hellip; what if it were Stephen King commenting on my pithy (and oh-so-timely) post about <em>The Shining</em> and offering me a chance to collaborate on a novel together? How could I work while fearing that I might be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime?</p> <p>My experience is hardly unique. In fact, according to a study by JWT, out of 900 Millennials in China surveyed, 72% of them said they <a href="https://www.jwtintelligence.com/2012/05/data-point-our-unhappy-addiction-to-social-media/" target="_blank">experience some form of FOMO</a>. We're suffering from the nagging social anxiety that we might miss out on something more awesome that what we are already doing &mdash; and social media just fans the flames of our FOMO.</p> <p>The problem is that our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-letting-fomo-ruin-your-finances">fear of missing out</a> keeps us from being present in our own lives. We bring phones to the dinner table rather than talk to our significant others, we waste time at work rather than commit to our careers, and we abandon last month's hobbies and projects in favor of new fads that will in turn be abandoned next month.</p> <p>Ultimately, living with a heightened sense of FOMO is a good way to make yourself crazy, lonely, broke, and overwhelmed.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are steps you can take to cure your FOMO without cutting yourself off from the world. Here are five ways to overcome FOMO for good.</p> <h2>1. Set Hard Limits on Your Social Media Use</h2> <p>The problem with social media is that it's always available, which means you can indulge your FOMO by checking in 24/7. So it's up to you to set hard limits on your social media use. Specifically, download a blocker that keeps you from checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other site that you check over and over again due to FOMO. Blockers like <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/stayfocusd/laankejkbhbdhmipfmgcngdelahlfoji?hl=en" target="_blank">StayFocused</a> give you a specific number of minutes per day that you may surf the verboten sites, at which point you will not be able to access those sites again until the next day.</p> <p>This kind of hard limit will not only help you to better focus when you are trying to work or study, but the shortened amount of time you can visit the sites puts a major wrench in any sense of envy you might feel while browsing your friends' postings. If you know you have 15 minutes of Facebook time all day, you're much less likely to spend 10 of them sighing over the pictures of your cousin's roommate's trip to New York City.</p> <h2>2. Include the Boring in Your Mental Images of Other People</h2> <p>We have a tendency to forget that other people's lives are just as full of boring, frustrating, and tedious details as our own. When we look at the beautiful images of the sun rising over Tuscany posted by a friend of a friend, we envy the Italian vacation, and forget about the long slog she had saving up for the trip, the hour she spent in line at the post office getting her passport updated, and the terrible air sickness she suffered on the plane trip there.</p> <p>The best way to deal with the disconnect between the boring parts of our lives and the exciting parts of other people's lives is to remember that everyone has boring moments. No matter how exciting a person's life is, they will have to spend a portion of it washing the dishes, filing taxes, and waiting in lines. Just as nervous public speakers are told to imagine their audience in their underwear, FOMO sufferers should imagine that the objects of their envy are stuck in line somewhere. It will remind you that no wondrous moment ever came about without a lot of boring moments beforehand.</p> <h2>3. Cultivate Mindfulness</h2> <p>Mindfulness is the practice of being present in our lives and providing ourselves with non-judgmental awareness of our experiences as we experience them. Cultivating mindfulness is a sure antidote to FOMO, because once you are fully aware of what and how you feel, you have a better sense of what makes you feel good, and you are much less tempted to chase after opportunities that don't promise happiness.</p> <p>Meditation is a common way to practice mindfulness, but you can choose any number of methods for being more present in your life. In particular, paying closer attention to your body during meals is an excellent way to learn mindfulness and practice healthy eating habits at the same time. Listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues, take the time to truly taste and savor your food, and take in all of the sensory input of your meal. Starting your mindfulness practice with food can help you learn to be more present in every part of your life.</p> <h2>4. Make <em>No</em> Your Default Answer</h2> <p>Self-help gurus may often tout the importance of saying <em>yes</em> to life, but there's a limit to the amount of things any one person can do. If you suffer from consistent FOMO and waffle on decisions, then it's a good idea to start getting in the habit of making <em>no</em> your default. This way, if you say no to an opportunity but keep thinking about it, you'll know that it's one you truly don't want to miss out on. Making no your default answer allows you to get in touch with what you really want to do, rather than continuing to chase every opportunity you see.</p> <h2>5. Take Time to Be Grateful</h2> <p>At its heart, FOMO is the sense that there is something better out there than what you already have. But what you already have is pretty darn wonderful, if you take the time to appreciate it.</p> <p>According to Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, regularly expressing gratitude for the things in your life can help you feel more optimistic and happier. The increase happiness you feel at recognizing the bounty in your life will make you less susceptible to FOMO, since you know no vacation, gadget, party, or relationship can greatly improve on a life that's already full. Emmons recommends keeping a gratitude journal, in which you regularly record the things for which you are grateful. This could not only help improve your mood, but such journals have also been shown to improve your physical and social well-being, as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-a-mindfulness-journal-can-fix-your-life?ref=seealso">7 Ways Mindfulness Journal Can Fix Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>The End of FOMO</h2> <p>There will always be something out there that you are missing out on. But creating a satisfying life free from FOMO is possible. You just need to be willing to live mindfully and actively enjoy what you already have.</p> <p>It also doesn't hurt to turn off those Facebook notifications.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-missing-out-on-these-5-easy-fixes-for-fomo">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-letting-fomo-ruin-your-finances">Are You Letting FOMO Ruin Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-82-best-spring-cleaning-hacks-we-ve-ever-shared">Flashback Friday: The 82 Best Spring Cleaning Hacks We’ve Ever Shared</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Organization budgeting fear of missing out FOMO frugal living organization Spending Money Tue, 20 Dec 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1858108 at http://www.wisebread.com You've Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here's Why http://www.wisebread.com/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_514781336.jpg" alt="Woman learning she&#039;s been saving money all wrong" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If your savings account is not as big as you'd like it to be, it turns out that you're not alone. Americans are notoriously bad at saving for retirement &mdash; and one in three have nothing saved for retirement at all.</p> <p>While Social Security may still factor into your savings, it's not enough to cover the cost of retirement, let alone the other expenses you're trying to save for before even reaching retirement.</p> <p>But don't let the statistics get you down. There are some easy ways to change your savings habits. You'll be surprised by how quickly little tweaks can make a big difference in your accounts.</p> <h2>1. Wrong: An All or Nothing Attitude to Saving</h2> <p>When you come up with a savings plan, you may be tempted to cut out <em>all </em>of your discretionary expenditures. On paper, this looks reasonable enough. You can eliminate all of your nonessential costs and put that money right into your savings account. Perfect, right? However, an all or nothing approach is going to set you up for failure down the road.</p> <p>Just as with dieting, if the adjustments you make are not sustainable, you're not going to make real change in the long run. Instead, you're likely to get frustrated and give up altogether. When you deny yourself any and all expenses, whether it's getting a coffee at your favorite cafe or going out for drinks with friends, you're likely to feel deprived. Plus, this mentality doesn't allow for you to slip up or make exceptions.</p> <h3>Right: Be Reasonable</h3> <p>It's better to consistently save a dollar every day and be successful at it than to aim to save $100 a week, realize that's impossible, and then give up. Set a goal that is realistic and stick to it. Write down your plan and check in consistently to see how you are doing.</p> <p>The name of the game is moderation. Your savings isn't all or nothing. Don't get discouraged if you slip up. If you spend more on Wednesday, spend less on Thursday, but keep it realistic. Take another look at your budget and see if you can make up for the slip somewhere else.</p> <h2>2. Wrong: Cutting Out Activities or Socializing</h2> <p>You may think an easy way to save money is by cutting out activities entirely. Since there can be a hefty price tag that comes along with social activities, like going out for drinks or other entertainment, you may conclude that cutting out socializing completely is another way to save. However, these strategies are going to leave you feeling isolated and lacking the supportive environment you need to achieve your savings goals.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today?ref=seealso">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></p> <h3>Right: Find Inexpensive Ways to Keep in Touch</h3> <p>Instead of cutting out social activities entirely, why not find free or inexpensive alternatives?</p> <p>Rather than meeting friends at a pricey restaurant, invite them over for a home-cooked meal or a pot luck. Plan a game or movie night, or look up free events in your town to attend together.</p> <p>Exercise is also a great, inexpensive way to spend time with friends. Organize a game of Frisbee or flag football, or go for a run with friends. Do it often enough, and you could save on an expensive gym membership, too.</p> <p>In fact, your friends can be great allies in your fitness and savings endeavors. You don't have to choose between your relationships and your budget. Let your friends and family know what your goals are and ask them to help you stay on track. That way they can be a support system, instead of a roadblock.</p> <h2>3. Wrong: Focusing All of Your Attention on Cutting Costs</h2> <p>It seems foolproof to focus on decreasing your expenses so that you can save more money. But rather than putting all your energy into cutting your expenses to the bone, spend some of that energy <em>earning </em>extra income.</p> <p>If you're spending too much time calculating your budget, you'll end up feeling too limited. Your mindset will always be &quot;I don't have enough.&quot;</p> <p>The budget mindset is restrictive &mdash; and taxing on your stores of energy. Maintaining discipline is hard. Instead, use that energy to help you earn more money to put toward your savings goals.</p> <h3>Right: Work More, Spend Less</h3> <p>Taking on a second job can make a huge difference to your savings account, mostly because you're earning more &mdash; and, hopefully, saving more.</p> <p>Plus, since you're spending more time at work, you'll have less time to spend on frivolous things &mdash; or to worry about sticking to your budget.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year?ref=seealso2">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></p> <h2>4. Wrong: You Never Carry Cash, So You Don't Spend It</h2> <p>You may be under the impression that if you don't have cash with you, you will automatically spend less money. However, if you're mindlessly putting little expenditures on your credit or debit card, you're actually much less likely to be keeping track of how you are spending money.</p> <p>Cash can be your best friend when you're trying to save money, especially for those of us who are a bit less disciplined and aware of our spending habits.</p> <h3>Right: Use Cash and Cards Wisely</h3> <p>Allocate yourself a daily budget and leave home with that amount of cash in your wallet. This makes money feel real in a way that mindlessly swiping your card can't. It can help you to stay accountable to yourself. Once you run out of cash for the day, you are done spending.</p> <p>Of course, using a credit card does still hold advantages for people with more self control. You may want to consider applying for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">best rewards credit card</a> for your lifestyle, and then strategically using that card so you can earn points or miles on your purchases. Plus, you'll have a digital record of your expenses to look back on at the end of the month and see how you did. You can set up email or phone alerts, too, to help remind you of just how much you're spending on a daily basis.</p> <h2>5. Wrong: Ignoring Budgeting or Not Making a Budget at All</h2> <p>Unfortunately, saving doesn't just happen without making a real, concerted effort. It is crucial to your success that you have a concrete plan in place to make sure you're spending where you need to and saving where you can. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h3>Right: Make a Comprehensive Budget</h3> <p>Make a clear and realistic plan. Write it down and revise it every month or so to check if you're staying on track. After paying your expenses for the month, put the rest of your money into savings. It may be a small amount at first, but you can increase it later, once your new habits have settled in.</p> <p>Even if you're just saving a little bit, if you're committed to putting it away every month, it will add up &mdash; and faster than you expect.</p> <h2>6. Wrong: Setting up a Traditional Savings Account at Your Local Bank</h2> <p>Traditional savings accounts do not offer the interest rates they used to. If you're keeping all of your money in a regular savings account, you're basically giving away money that you could be earning in interest.</p> <h3>Right: Open an Online Account</h3> <p>By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates?ref=internal">moving your savings to an online account</a>, you can earn 1%&ndash;2%. That's not much, but it's more than a traditional bank and enough to add a few additional dollars a year to your savings, depending on how much money you have in your account. Other options, like CDs, pay a bit more interest, but don't offer easy access to your funds.</p> <p>Decide how much you want to put into your savings account, and set up an automatic transfer so you're committed to saving that money every month.</p> <p>Saving money doesn't have to be a drudge, and the good news is that a few small changes can make a big difference. You may even find that you are quickly becoming the exception to the discouraging savings trends nationwide.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyouve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYouve%20Been%20Saving%20Money%20All%20Wrong.%20Heres%20Why.jpg&amp;description=Youve%20Been%20Saving%20Money%20All%20Wrong.%20Heres%20Why" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Youve%20Been%20Saving%20Money%20All%20Wrong.%20Heres%20Why.jpg" alt="You've Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here's Why" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bank accounts budgeting cash cutting costs expenses Mistakes saving money savings accounts Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:30:28 +0000 Nick Wharton 1853984 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_women_jogging_538947995.jpg" alt="Friends keeping anxiety from ruining their budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life gets tough sometimes. When work is overwhelming, you are fighting with your parents, and the news seems to get grimmer every day, you might find yourself shopping your way into a better mood or pulling the covers over your head and ignoring all of your responsibilities.</p> <p>Stress, anxiety, and depression affect all of us at some time or another. And whether you are dealing with occasional and momentary periods of stress, or you are in the grips of a long-term and serious depressive episode, your mental state can often wreak havoc on your finances. It's not easy to protect your budget from your anxiety's destructive impulses, but the following types of self-care will not only help you to feel better when stress strikes, but they will also protect your bottom line.</p> <h2>1. Recruit an Accountability Partner</h2> <p>Accountability partners are an important strategy for improving your finances. Not only does having a partner motivate you to stay on the straight-and-narrow while you pay down debt or increase your savings, but working with someone else can offer you encouragement when you are feeling down and add some fun to a long process.</p> <p>All of these benefits are also crucial if you are trying to keep your budget looking healthy while you're dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression. In the case of trying to keep your mental state from hurting your finances, your accountability partner may act a little bit more like a sponsor from a 12-step program. You can call that person when you are overwhelmed and count on her to remind you of why a shopping binge will not actually help you feel better.</p> <p>Obviously, you and your accountability partner need to be able to offer each other the emotional support you both need. In times of widespread anxiety, it can be a little more difficult to find a partner when everyone is feeling overwhelmed. However, leaning on each other is often a great way for two friends to both feel better and make the best financial choices for themselves.</p> <h2>2. Meditate</h2> <p>Mindfulness meditation has been proven to <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/01/07/260470831/mindfulness-meditation-can-help-relieve-anxiety-and-depression">alleviate the symptoms</a> of both anxiety and depression. The focus of such meditation is to train your brain to remain in the moment, rather than obsess over the past or worry about the future. Such mindfulness will not only help you to put worries in perspective, but it can also help you to recognize the link between your emotions and your financially-destructive behavior.</p> <p>For instance, let's say that after a day of bingeing on news online, you badly want to put a lavish vacation on credit, just so you have something to look forward to. If you take 10 minutes to meditate instead, it can help you to see that your anxiety will not be helped by a vacation you can't afford. It will also allow you to feel your anxiety, rather than push it away, which is a much more productive method of getting past the negative feelings.</p> <p>If you have never meditated before, there are many <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/well/guides/how-to-meditate">beginner's guides</a> out there to teach you the practice of mindfulness.</p> <h2>3. Go for a Run</h2> <p>Exercise is the closest thing we have to a no-fail antidepressant. Research has shown that people are <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2000/09/exercise922.html">happier after breaking a sweat</a> than they were beforehand, even if they had to force themselves to go to the gym.</p> <p>In addition, an exercise habit can help you to avoid budget-destroying habits you might otherwise engage in, like retail therapy or a weekend-long Netflix marathon that keeps you from taking care of your grocery shopping and laundry.</p> <p>Of course, when you are in the midst of a deep funk, the idea of lacing up your sneakers and going out for a life-affirming run sounds about as enticing as getting a root canal. This is another place where your accountability partner can help you do what's best for you both. Set up a regular date to exercise together, and you will both get to enjoy the endorphins and the good company.</p> <h2>4. Volunteer</h2> <p>Depression, anxiety, and stress are often side effects of feeling helpless. When it feels as if you have little power over your circumstances, it's easy to retreat into bad and expensive habits to help yourself feel better.</p> <p>But there is always meaningful work that we can do to improve lives &mdash; even if we can't improve our own. That is why volunteering for a cause you believe in can be such an important tool in improving your outlook on the world. According to a 2008 study by the London School of Economics, people who volunteer <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18321629">experience greater happiness</a> than those who do not.</p> <p>The researchers theorize that volunteering makes you happier because it helps to put your situation in perspective. In addition, volunteering your time helps alleviate depression because it allows you to feel like you are a part of something important that is doing good in the world.</p> <h2>5. Engage in Productive Self-Care</h2> <p>Sometimes things feel so bleak that you really do need to retreat and take care of yourself. There is nothing wrong an occasional &quot;Stop the world, I want to get off!&quot; day for yourself. But there can be a fine line between healthy and productive self-care, and self-destructive wallowing. For instance, buying a bottle of nail polish might make you feel good, which could prompt you to keep buying to keep that good feeling going. Instead, you might be better served by inviting a friend over to paint your nails together.</p> <p>To make sure your self-care is helpful rather than harmful, start with your needs. Ask yourself what needs are not being met right now, and listen carefully to the answer that bubbles to the surface. Wallowing is often a passive reaction, whereas productive self-care is when you engage in fulfilling your unmet needs. Taking the time to think through what you need may help you realize that you don't actually want to go out drinking, but instead you need to talk with a good friend.</p> <h2>Don't Let Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Hurt Your Finances</h2> <p>When your thoughts get stuck in a hamster wheel of anxiety or depression, the easy method of handling your distress can often cause you financial stress. Being intentional and mindful about how you handle your negative mental states can help to alleviate your feelings of helplessness and keep your finances healthy.</p> <p>If you are experiencing severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-frugal-ways-to-eliminate-stress">Flashback Friday: 84 Frugal Ways to Eliminate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-ways-to-get-more-sleep-tonight">Flashback Friday: 38 Ways to Get More Sleep Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-ways-fitness-can-improve-your-finances">Flashback Friday: 34 Ways Fitness Can Improve Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Health and Beauty Lifestyle anxiety bingeing budgeting depression exercise Help mental health overspending self care stress volunteering Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1843967 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Unique Holiday Gifts for Teachers That They'll Actually Like http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-for-teachers-that-theyll-actually-like <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-unique-holiday-gifts-for-teachers-that-theyll-actually-like" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-483199046.jpg" alt="teachers will love these gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holiday season is upon us, and I've been starting my gift shopping in the hopes of finishing early so I can relax. On the list this year are my daughter's preschool teachers (three of them!) who have been tremendously helpful, nurturing, and caring.</p> <p>Out of respect for allergies in the classroom (as well as New Year's diet resolutions), I'm planning to give nonfood gifts this year. As a former teacher myself, I accumulated a good amount of impractical tchotchkes, so I assembled this list of practical gifts that teachers will actually like and use.</p> <h2>1. Personalized Tote Bag</h2> <p>As a former teacher, I spent many days lugging assignments back and forth in reusable shopping bags. Why not help a teacher out by giving him/her a sturdy, personalized tote bag? You can make it yourself by printing an iron-on transfer and decorating a plain canvas tote bag from the craft store, monogram a bag with fabric paint, or you can purchase one ready-made on Etsy. Either way, it's sure to send a message that an educator's hard work is appreciated.</p> <h2>2. Water Bottle</h2> <p>Coffee mugs are so 2003. Hydration is where it's at these days! Help your teacher stay healthy by providing them with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-aluminum-and-stainless-steel-water-bottles">sturdy reusable water bottle</a> that can be sipped from all day. Bottles from Camelbak and Contigo are always well-received, but less expensive options can be found at big box stores if you're on a budget.</p> <h2>3. Lunchbox Accessories</h2> <p>Like your kids, teachers usually pack a lunch to eat at school. Make your teacher feel a little more pampered at lunch time by giving them a fancy insulated lunch bag, a Thermos, and/or a few ice packs and reusable containers (at the rate I lose them, you can never have too many). A cookbook full of lunch ideas is also a great idea.</p> <h2>4. Gift Cards</h2> <p>While not the most personal gift, gift cards are certainly practical and are more likely to be used than any other gift. Starbucks, iTunes, and Amazon <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">gift cards are always useful</a> and appreciated. Gift cards to local restaurants are also a great way to help a teacher relax. Many teachers spend their own money on school supplies for students, so a gift card to Target, Walmart, Staples, or a craft store can help them keep costs down. Pair it with a thoughtful note and your teacher will be a happy camper.</p> <h2>5. Organization Tools</h2> <p>When it comes to gifts, teachers may have tchotchkes a-plenty, but nary a place to store them. Give the gift of organization with a set of sturdy baskets, boxes, and drawer organizers. Alternatively, a gift card to The Container Store might do the trick.</p> <h2>6. Personalized Office Supplies and Stationery</h2> <p>Put a smile on a teacher's face every time they open their desk drawer by providing a set of personalized office supplies. A monogrammed notepad, a personalized stamp, fancy scissors and staplers, and cute paper clips can brighten a teacher's day while remaining super practical.</p> <h2>7. Travel Accessories</h2> <p>Gift-giving occasions for teachers often happen before the winter or summer holidays, and your teacher might be taking a much-needed vacation. Why not make traveling a little easier by gifting some travel accessories? An attractive travel pouch with small toiletry bottles, mesh suitcase organizers, or a tote with a beach towel and sunscreen, can all be used by a jet-setting teacher.</p> <h2>8. Quality Bath Products</h2> <p>I always feel a little ambiguous about giving bath products, because as a teacher, I received my fair share of cheap, dollar-store bubble baths and lotions. However, I was always happy to receive quality bath products from brands like Bath and Body Works, The Body Shop, or Philosophy. De-stressing in a hot bath with some aromatherapy bath salts really did wonders to lift my mood after a hard day.</p> <h2>9. Low-Maintenance Plants</h2> <p>The great thing about giving plants is that the teacher can leave them in the classroom to brighten up their work day, or take them home if they desire. And if they die, they can be thrown away and won't clutter up a junk drawer for years. Easy care plants such as succulents and air plants are good choices, or a pretty flower like an orchid or bromeliad that blooms for a long time.</p> <h2>10. Movie Night In</h2> <p>Give a teacher a relaxing night in by packing a basket with a cozy throw blanket, a gift card for an online movie rental (such as iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play), and a box of microwave popcorn. (Okay. Technically, this is a food gift, but popcorn makes every movie better!)</p> <h2>11. Classroom Supplies</h2> <p>If you're a teacher, you'll know that students are constantly asking to borrow pens, and somehow those pens rarely find themselves back onto your desk. Keep your child's teacher's costs down by giving him/her a jar full of pens that can be kept on their desk. Other useful items that teachers often buy themselves include highlighters, bandages, stickers, sticky notes, and sanitizing wipes.</p> <h2>12. Books for the Classroom</h2> <p>Most teachers get plenty of trinkets from students every year, but classroom supplies remain neglected. Age-appropriate books are great for kindergarten and lower-grade classrooms which may reuse the same small selection of books all year. You may want to ask the teacher what books are needed, or simply give them a gift card to a bookstore so they can make the best choice.</p> <h2>13. Activity Books</h2> <p>Adult coloring books are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They are incredibly relaxing. A coloring book with a set of nice colored pencils could be a thoughtful gift for a teacher, especially for someone who likes crafting. A sudoku or crossword puzzle book could be similarly fun to do when the teacher gets a little spare time.</p> <h2>14. Hobby Supplies</h2> <p>Have your child ask the teacher what hobbies they enjoy, and give them hobby supplies. Some ideas include: scrapbooking supplies, gardening supplies, baking tools and mixes, or a gift certificate to a hobby store.</p> <h2>15. Handmade Gifts</h2> <p>Nothing is as memorable or personal as a gift that was lovingly handmade by your child. Whether that's a personalized T-shirt or baseball cap, a classroom scrapbook, a planter, ornament, or picture frame, it's sure to send the message that you and your child appreciate the teacher's hard work and dedication to their job.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unique-holiday-gifts-for-teachers-that-theyll-actually-like">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-gifts-for-the-person-who-needs-a-nap">9 Frugal Gifts for the Person Who Needs a Nap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-gift-guide-gifts-that-save-money">25 Gifts That Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-halloween-this-year">Are You Spending Too Much on Halloween This Year?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Shopping budgeting gift guide gift ideas gifts for teachers holiday shopping Holidays nonfood gifts teachers Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:00:13 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1844263 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tips From "Playbook For Tough Times" That'll Help You Live Your Best Life http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_work_93573781.jpg" alt="Woman living her best life thanks to playbook" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to Cheryl, the winner of a copy of Donna Freedman's book, &quot;Playbook for Tough Times!&quot;</em></p> <p>When you're stuck in a financial rut, it can be difficult to summon the strength to pull yourself out. And it often requires way more than just strength. You need a plan, you need willpower, you need guidance, and you need the right tools. All of those things can be found in Donna Freedman's new book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2eLFRcE" target="_blank"><em>Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>Freedman doesn't just offer incredible advice, she shares her personal struggles. She understands what it's like to scrape by as a young single mom. She has had to find creative and frugal ways to shop for groceries on a very limited budget. She also knows what it's like to have a bank account emptied by a lengthy divorce &mdash; and while caring for a special-needs child and attending college later in life. Freedman doesn't sugarcoat her financial tips because she knows there's nothing sweet about being broke. Her book reads like a conversation with your savvy best friend &mdash; she understands you, and she wants to help you. Here are some of her best tips for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">weathering any financial storm</a>.</p> <h2>1. Don't Take It Personally</h2> <p>It's easy to look at your money woes and fixate on where it all went wrong, or at what point you screwed everything up. But if you obsess over what you specifically did wrong, you end up living inside that dark cloud of self-blame instead of seeking a solution. Freedman knows this cycle of negativity all too well.</p> <p>&quot;During my own difficult times I'd sometimes wonder, <em>Why me?</em> Ultimately I realized the answer: <em>Why </em><strong><em>not</em></strong><em> me?</em> Stuff happens. Life happens. It's not personal. So I worked to fix what I could and made my peace with the rest of it. No, life isn't fair. But unless your fairy godmother drops off a winning Powerball ticket, you have to play the hand you were dealt,&quot; Freedman writes.</p> <h2>2. Stay Frugal When Flush to Reach Financial Goals</h2> <p>It's no longer 2008, and we're inching our way out of the aftermath of the Great Recession. Back then, frugality meant survival, so there was no other way to live. Now that the economy is becoming more stable, people are starting to spend more, and save less. But living frugally doesn't need to be an emergency-only money strategy. The frugal lifestyle can help you reach your financial goals.</p> <p>Whether you're striving for an early retirement, paying off all your debt in the next few years, starting a family, or taking a much-needed vacation &mdash; as long as you make a conscious effort to save as often as possible, you'll be able to achieve the goals you want.</p> <h2>3. Understand That Frugality Is Fabulous</h2> <p>Freedman's mantra, &quot;Save where you can so you can spend where you want,&quot; is exactly what the world needs. You don't have to settle for eating ramen noodles for every meal for the rest of your life, but you also shouldn't overspend on everyday essentials that you can get for free or very cheap.</p> <p>Having the money to splurge occasionally, while also knowing how to get by when times get tough is a skill set that will make you financially invincible. And whenever the frugal life seems overwhelmingly tough to master, think about this bit of wisdom from Freedman:</p> <p>&quot;Ultimately I wanted more than rice and beans, thrift-store clothing, and part-time jobs that didn't pay well. But I was well aware that having those things made me luckier than a whole lot of people in this world. A rich life is not necessarily determined by the number of dollar signs in it.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Find All the Freebies</h2> <p>Why pay for something when you can get it for free? When a big chunk of your spending is entertainment-based &mdash; going to the movies, visiting museums, or embracing your bookworm side &mdash; Freedman shows you how to do all of that fun stuff for zero dollars.</p> <p>She also provides brilliant methods for slashing health expenses that can add up quickly, and lists foundations that provide free or reduced-price mammograms, dental work (including orthodontics), utility assistance, and eye exams and glasses. After all, there ain't no shame in the freebie game.</p> <h2>5. Embrace the Financial Fire Drill</h2> <p>The best tip, by far, is implementing what Freedman calls a &quot;financial fire drill.&quot; It's essentially a budget makeover that focuses on cutting down the number of bills you need to pay, and shifting into a smarter way to use your available funds. She breaks it down into three simple steps:</p> <ul> <li>On paper, build a baseline budget &mdash; which is the absolute minimum you need to survive.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Pretend that your household lost some or all of its income.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Subtract the baseline from the income that remains (including unemployment, if that's an option). If the answer is a negative number, time to take another look at those wants and needs.</li> </ul> <p>Doing this when your finances are stable gives you a head start into a better life, and also protects you from a major financial setback should tough times arise.</p> <p>Feeling motivated yet? For more of Freedman's honest brilliance, check out <a href="http://donnafreedman.com/">her blog</a>, or pick up your copy of <a href="http://amzn.to/2eLFRcE" target="_blank"><em>Playbook For Tough Times: Living Large On Small Change, For The Short Term Or The Long Haul</em></a>, on sale today!</p> <p><strong>Editor's Note</strong>: Donna has donated one paperback, Kindle or PDF copy to be given away to a Wise Bread reader. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. U.S. residents only, comment must be left before December 31, 11:59 am Pacific Time. Winner will be announced first week of January.</p> <p>In addition, Wise Bread has negotiated <strong>a short-term discount for the PDF version of the book</strong>: <a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?c=cart&amp;ejc=2&amp;cl=315870&amp;i=1507332">Go to this link</a> and enter WISEBREAD in the &quot;discount code&quot; box and receive 'Playbook' for just $5. The code will be good through December 31.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-from-playbook-for-tough-times-thatll-help-you-live-your-best-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-money-saving-hacks-are-a-huge-waste-of-time">These 5 Money-Saving Hacks Are a Huge Waste of Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-celebrities">Flashback Friday: 38 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Celebrities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting donna freedman finances frugal living money master playbook for tough times Mon, 28 Nov 2016 23:39:47 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1819952 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Decide if It's a "Fund-Worthy" Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/emergency_fund_piggy_bank_605778350.jpg" alt="Deciding if it&#039;s a fund-worthy emergency" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One crucial component of a sound financial plan is to have a solid emergency fund to protect yourself against unexpected expenses. This fund should cover at least three months' worth of living expenses, and enable you to get through any crisis without too much financial hardship.</p> <p>But how do you to determine when to use your emergency fund? What kinds of expenses qualify as actual &quot;emergencies?&quot; Before you tap into your fund, ask yourself these questions first.</p> <h2>1. Is It a Want or a Need?</h2> <p>This should be common sense, but it's amazing how many people can't discern between something they desire versus something they require. Money to help pay for an important medical procedure is likely a need; it's not a good idea to risk your health just because you don't want to raid your emergency fund. Money to pay the rent or avoid default on a loan would also fall in the &quot;need&quot; category. On the flip side, a new cellphone when your current one is working just fine is probably not what the fund is for. In reality, there are very few needs in life, and they should all generally center on your basic survival.</p> <h2>2. Is It Unexpected?</h2> <p>Christmas is an expensive time. But you have an entire year to prepare for the gift-giving bonanza. A new baby is costly, but you had a nine months to save up and get ready for the new arrival. If you've had time to anticipate an event happening and save accordingly, it's best to avoid dipping into your emergency fund to pay for it. Save your emergency fund for things such as layoffs, broken appliances, medical emergencies, and other things that you truly didn't see coming.</p> <h2>3. Is It Urgent?</h2> <p>A refrigerator that no longer works is something you probably want to replace right away. A car that breaks down is something you'll want to get fixed immediately if you rely on it to get to work. But there are many bad events that aren't &quot;emergencies&quot; in the sense of requiring immediate action.</p> <h2>4. Can You Defer Payments?</h2> <p>Let's say your heat pump is busted and needs to be replaced. Price tag is in the thousands. But it's wintertime, so this seems like an emergency, right? Perhaps, but it's worth finding out if you can pay for the new heat pump in installments, or even avoid paying anything immediately. It may be possible to pay for this pricey item over time and even avoid interest payments. This doesn't get you off the hook in paying for the item, but it may buy you some time to save a little extra or earn extra income so you don't have to raid your emergency fund. Just be sure to read the fine print of any agreement.</p> <h2>5. What Are the Financial Consequences if You Don't Pay?</h2> <p>It's often tempting to use a credit card or loan to borrow funds when an emergency happens. But when you borrow, you're likely to pay interest, so you'll end up paying more in the long run. High-interest credit cards, in particular, can have a severe impact on your overall financial well-being, and payday loans are even worse. There may be times when borrowing may be necessary in order to maintain some cash reserves (you never want to tap out an emergency fund completely), but it's important to look at the broader, long-term impact on your finances. And don't even think about not paying at all, as that could negatively impact your credit score.</p> <h2>6. Are You Legally Obligated to Pay?</h2> <p>If your car breaks down, you may want tap your emergency fund to get it fixed, but no one is requiring you to do so. Things are different, however, when you are faced with a situation where you are required, by law, to pay up. Perhaps it's a tax bill, or a legal judgment against you. In these cases, it's almost always best to pay &mdash; there could fines, or even jail time. If dipping into your emergency fund helps you avoid trouble with the law, it's worth it.</p> <h2>7. Have You Exhausted All Your Saving Options?</h2> <p>Let's say you have a roof that's leaky and in need of big repairs. Before you shell out thousands of dollars to a major contractor, examine first whether you can find money by cutting everyday expenses. It's possible that you could do a small repair now, aggressively save for a few months, then take care of the bigger job. It's amazing how much money you can &quot;find&quot; by taking a knife to your spending.</p> <h2>8. Is the Emergency for Yourself, or Another Person?</h2> <p>There may be times when a friend or loved one comes to you in desperate need of money. You may be tempted to raid your emergency fund to address their problem. This is a very tricky situation, as it's generally in our nature to want to help those close to us. But remember that your emergency fund is designed to address emergencies that might impact you, not other people. It's fine to give loved ones a hand, but it gets dangerous when you put your own financial health at risk to make it happen.</p> <p>This doesn't mean you should be a straight-up coldhearted person, however. If you believe that you may encounter instances when friends or family members will be in need, consider making your emergency fund larger to take that possibility into account. Even better, open a separate sub-account, so that your own emergency fund remains untouched.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-purchases-you-should-make-by-30-40-and-50">Big Purchases You Should Make by 30, 40, and 50</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance appliances budgeting Cars emergencies emergency fund saving unexpected urgent Mon, 28 Nov 2016 11:31:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1835353 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things a Thanksgiving Turkey Teaches Us About Money http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-a-thanksgiving-turkey-teaches-us-about-money-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-a-thanksgiving-turkey-teaches-us-about-money-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-493115518.jpg" alt="we can learn a lot about money from the thanksgiving turkey" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's that time of year again, and many of us will indulge in the traditional Thanksgiving turkey feast with all the trimmings. As you're prepping the bird, and basting it, you may not consider that the humble Thanksgiving turkey has a few lessons to teach us about money. But, there are a number of ways this tasty bird can give us insights into the economy, and our own financial situations.</p> <h2>1. Your Chances of Winning the Lottery Are Very Slim</h2> <p>According to the National Turkey Federation, <a href="http://www.eatturkey.com/why-turkey/history">233.1 million turkeys were raised</a> in the USA in 2015. Roughly 46 million of those are eaten at Thanksgiving, with another 22 million at Christmas. And as you may be aware, once a year (since 1947) the President pardons one of these turkeys destined for the dinner table. The simple math there is that, as a turkey, you have a roughly one in 233 million chance to win the turkey lottery, and live a long, happy life. The lottery humans often partake in has similar odds. Actually, they're a little worse. If you play the <a href="http://www.lotteryusa.com/powerball/">Powerball</a>, the odds of winning the jackpot are approximately one in 292 million. Longer odds than the average turkey has of being spared. Remember that the next time you buy your ticket&hellip; your chances of winning are worse than being chosen as the turkey to be pardoned by the President.</p> <h2>2. You Can Lose Everything in an Instant</h2> <p>The Thanksgiving turkey is fed and housed from day one. Perhaps not in ideal conditions, but from the day it is born, it's given everything it needs to grow and become the plump turkey that most of us look forward to on Thanksgiving. Of course, for the turkey, it's not a happy ending. After months of daily feedings, just when it is at its biggest, the blade drops and it's all over.</p> <p>This is much like the stock market, the housing crash, our careers, and many other aspects of our lives. All too often, our assets are steadily rising, and when we are at our most confident, the rug is pulled out from under us. Stocks crash. House prices plummet. Jobs are eliminated, and people are left with a bleak future when it was looking very rosy just the day before. And in the blink of an eye, our fortunes have reversed, and we're in serious trouble. Like the Thanksgiving turkey, we can very easily spend most of the year blissfully unaware that doom is just around the corner.</p> <h2>3. Keep a Close Eye on Things</h2> <p>You know the story. You put the juicy bird in the oven, forget about it for a few hours, and then realize it's been way too long. You go back to the oven, and pull out a turkey with all the tenderness of a piece of stale beef jerky. The same rule applies to money. Watch it&hellip;carefully. Or pay a professional to do it for you. Check in on your bank accounts daily. You want to look not only at the balances, and any bills coming out, but also for any unusual debits. Quite often, compromised bank accounts will be tested with very small charges; usually under one dollar. If they go unnoticed, a large amount will be taken at a later date. You also need to keep an eye on your stocks and bonds, your savings, and your other assets and liabilities.</p> <h2>4. Preparation Is a Must</h2> <p>A few days before Thanksgiving, if you're smart, you'll brine your turkey. It's a simple enough procedure, and involves soaking the turkey for at least 24 hours in a solution of broth, salt, herbs, spices, and ice water. This preparation ensures a moist, tasty turkey after all those hours in the oven or the fryer.</p> <p>Just like the turkey, you need to prepare for the future. In the short term, look at your emergency fund. Is it enough? Do you even have one? Can you cut a few expenses out of your budget now to start building up that safety net? The more distant future, that requires preparation as well. What are you doing to plan for retirement? Do you have a 401K or IRA? Are you setting aside enough money now to grow? Preparing your finances for both short and long-term goals is something we all have to do.</p> <h2>5. When Supply Outpaces Demand, Prices Drop</h2> <p>You may think that the prices of turkeys go up in November, as this is the time most families want to buy one. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth. As the <em>NYTimes</em> illustrates, <a href="http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/turkey-economics-annotated/?_r=0">prices for turkeys nosedive in November</a> by a staggering amount. In fact, a Thanksgiving turkey is about 20% cheaper than a turkey sold in January. Why is that? The simple answer is that <a href="http://www.marottaonmoney.com/the-economics-of-a-thanksgiving-turkey/">supply during November is plentiful</a>. Turkeys can be frozen and kept in storage for up to two years. This stockpile of turkeys flood the market in November, and when you have a glut of anything, the prices drop. Not only that, but customers expect to pay less for turkey during Thanksgiving, and many stores sell turkeys at a loss (known as a loss leader) to bring you into the store and shop for other goods that have a decent profit margin.</p> <h2>6. You Can't Grow Your Future on a Weak Foundation</h2> <p>Modern turkeys have been bred and modified to create the &quot;perfect&quot; Thanksgiving turkey. But sadly, what is good for us as consumers is not good for the turkeys. They grow way too quickly, and as they have been bred to have large breasts, their flimsy legs often get crippled under the weight. This rather depressing fact is just as gloomy for your finances. You need a solid foundation, with slow, steady growth to succeed. You cannot create a healthy financial future if you are being crippled by debt, or are looking into &quot;get rich quick&quot; schemes that never, ever work the way they say they will.</p> <h2>7. Know Your Limits</h2> <p>How many of us bite off way more than we can chew at Thanksgiving? We load up the plate with turkey and gravy, wash it down with a glass or two of wine or cider, and spend two hours in a food coma on the sofa. Overindulgence and the Thanksgiving turkey go hand in hand. And while recovering from that is simply a case of sleeping it off, when we overindulge with our money, the consequences are much greater. By refusing to acknowledge our limits, we can quickly and easily end up with serious debts. Gambling and other addictions can lead us into ruin. And the simple case of &quot;my eyes being bigger than my belly&quot; can lead to food shopping sprees that result in fridges and pantries full of food that will expire before we get the chance to use them. Like the Thanksgiving feast, we should all take caution with what we put onto our plates.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-a-thanksgiving-turkey-teaches-us-about-money-0">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youll-waste-money-on-this-thanksgiving">10 Things You&#039;ll Waste Money on This Thanksgiving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwback-thursday-58-best-thanksgiving-hacks-ever">Throwback Thursday: 58 Best Thanksgiving Hacks Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-creative-simple-frugal-recipes-for-leftover-turkey">5 Creative, Simple, and Frugal Recipes for Leftover Turkey</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-delicious-punch-recipes-for-holiday-parties">15 Cheap and Delicious Punch Recipes for Holiday Parties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-booze-teaches-us-about-money">What Booze Teaches Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Food and Drink budgeting Holidays money lessons Thanksgiving thanksgiving feast thanksgiving turkey turkey day Thu, 24 Nov 2016 11:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 1839208 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rope_cash_stretched_23510828.jpg" alt="Learning how to manage your money during a spousal separation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When your marriage isn't working out, a separation might be in order. While you might not be certain whether you'll reconcile or move forward with a divorce, there is still an important matter that needs to be addressed together &mdash; your finances.</p> <p>Dealing with finances in a separation can be messy and lead to a lot of arguments. Use these tips to help you and your spouse manage your money during a difficult time.</p> <h2>1. Don't Be Afraid to Get Help</h2> <p>If you and your spouse cannot sit down and talk about your finances without raising your voice, then seek help. A marriage counselor can help you hear each other out and keep the room calm.</p> <p>Talking with a family law attorney can help you understand how costly a divorce can be and give you both a better idea of where you would be financially if you made your split official.</p> <p>Finally, a financial adviser can provide insight on the ramifications of separation and divorce. The goal is to leave both of you in a stable financial situation if you do make your split final. Look for a financial adviser that has some experience dealing with separation or divorce cases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a>)</p> <h2>2. Establish a New Budget</h2> <p>It is important to establish a new budget together. For couples without children, this should be relatively easy. You should each be responsible for half of all shared bills, and agree to take care of your own food and shopping needs.</p> <p>When children are involved or when one spouse does not earn income, then establishing a new budget can be tricky. You have to both admit that you cannot enjoy the same luxuries during this time of separation. Basic bills need to be paid, and of course, all of your children's needs should be met.</p> <h2>3. Aim for Financial Independence</h2> <p>Close as many accounts possible that contain both of your names. If you pay off and cancel credit cards in both of your names, it can protect you from taking on further debt if you move forward with divorce.</p> <p>Having separate checking accounts can also make life easier. If both of you earn a paycheck, set up direct deposit into each of your own accounts.</p> <h2>4. Deal With Mutual Debt</h2> <p>If you decide to move forward with a divorce, know that your debt might be split down the middle along with your assets. Any debt, including student loan debt that was taken on after saying &quot;I do,&quot; is considered mutual property. This means you can get stuck paying off debt that your spouse essentially racked up.</p> <p>While you are still together, make it a goal to tackle your debt. Agree on an amount that each of you should pay toward the debt each month. If money is tight, try putting saving goals on hold for a few months.</p> <p>If managing mutual debt payments is becoming a hard task for you, both of you can apply for a free or low-fee <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal">balance transfer card</a> to split up the debt in your own name. You can do this with a personal loan, as well. The point is to split the debt and put it in each of your names so that you can eventually close out accounts that are in your shared name. This can prevent your spouse overusing a credit card for revenge purchases.</p> <h2>5. What About the House?</h2> <p>If your house is too expensive for either of you to keep separately, then you need to consider selling it. Taking your home into a divorce can be messy and complicated. A divorce can also put a tight deadline on both of you to sell your home, causing you to get less than the full value for it.</p> <p>If you cannot sell your home for the value of the property, try renting it out to pay the mortgage payments. This can take a huge burden off your shared financial situation and you can wait to sell at a better time. If you end up staying together, your home is still there for you to live in.</p> <p>If you both want to live in the house while separated, then you need to know your state's laws. When you file for a divorce, you will need to establish a point of separation. Some states count that point as when one spouse announces they want to pursue divorce, while other states require proof of living separately. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-to-a-mortgage-in-a-divorce?ref=seealso">Here's What Happens to a Mortgage in a Divorce</a>)</p> <p>Nothing about separation or divorce is ever simple. Every couple's situation will be different based on finances and personalities. Dealing with a hard spouse is not easy, but going through a divorce isn't always the quick fix that it appears to be, either.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-divorce-affect-your-student-loans">Does Divorce Affect Your Student Loans?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family advisers budgeting counselors debt divided assets divorce financial help loans marriage separation Fri, 11 Nov 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1830852 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_tsa_line_20741660.jpg" alt="Man making money moves in endless TSA line" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the airport closest to me, the TSA lines are legendary, especially during the holiday season. Last year, they were telling people to give themselves <em>an extra hour</em> before their flight, just to make sure they got through security on time. That's an extra hour on top of the usual hour or two recommended!</p> <p>I don't know about you, but I dread long lines. I spend the entire time thinking about what else I could be doing. Over the years, though, I've come up with ways to use my &quot;line time&quot; well. Here are a few things you can do to improve your financial life while waiting for TSA to get on the ball.</p> <h2>1. Start Using Mint</h2> <p><a href="http://mint.com">Mint</a> is a great way to track your finances. You sign up for an account, connect all of your bank, investment, and debt accounts, and it quietly tracks your overall financial situation. It allows you to look at spending, debt, and net worth automatically and with ease.</p> <p>This is a great thing to do if you're not really tracking your finances right now, or if you don't have a handle on your overall financial situation. Starting with the big picture is almost always a good idea, so that you know what is good and what is bad, right from the start.</p> <h2>2. Sign Up for Digit</h2> <p><a href="http://digit.co">Digit</a> is an online service that saves money for you. You connect the app to a bank account, and they track your spending. Based on what they find, they schedule automatic withdrawals to another account. They don't say much about their analysis algorithm, but people (myself included) claim that they don't notice or need the money that Digit removes from their accounts.</p> <p>If you're already saving, you probably don't need this tool. But if you forget to pay yourself first, this can be a great way to save without really thinking about it. And it's fun to watch your savings build up over time!</p> <h2>3. Check Your Credit</h2> <p>If you haven't looked at your free credit report in the last 12 months, you should. <a href="http://annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> is the place to start. From there, you can enter identification information and view a report from each of the three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Check for incorrect information or credit cards/lines of credit that may have been opened fraudulently.</p> <p>Do make sure that you have a secure Internet connection before you start sharing sensitive personal information. If you aren't sure, add this to your To Do list and work on something else while you're in line.</p> <h2>4. Set a Financial Goal</h2> <p>What would you like your money to do for you? Do you want to travel? Maybe you need to buy a new car. Think about your wants and needs, and choose one or two financial goals for the next few months. Having a goal will help you focus, and it will make you more likely to do things like curb spending or follow through on a savings plan.</p> <p>Don't set too many goals, though. Picking one or two things to save for &mdash; maybe one practical thing and one that's fun &mdash; will give you plenty of motivation without the stress of feeling like your money has to go in too many different directions.</p> <h2>5. Choose a Charity</h2> <p>If you're like me, giving often falls by the wayside. It's not that I don't want to do it, but that I want to be responsible with it. If you want to make sure that any charity that gets your money is actually using it for their stated purposes, do your research while you stand in line.</p> <p>Start by going to your intended charity's website. Most of them will offer some sort of fiscal documentation. If you want to give to a smaller charity, you may need to give them a call and ask for it, instead.</p> <p>If you don't even know where to start giving, start with a simple Google search. Pick an issue that is important to you, and look for charities that target it. You can even limit your search to charities in your local area, if you're interested in volunteering or getting more involved.</p> <h2>6. Check Your Bills</h2> <p>Not sure how long you'll be in line? Pull up your latest credit card bills and glance through them. Make sure that you recognize all the charges and that, to the best of your knowledge, they are for the right amount. Many people find mistakes on their credit card bills, and you can always contact the company to have them fixed. That usually means more money in your pocket.</p> <p>If you don't recognize a charge but you aren't sure, flag it for later, when you can go through your receipts and figure out if it's correct. If you find something very concerning, call your credit company from the line. The sooner you can get in touch with them, the sooner you'll have your money back where it belongs.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Can%20Make%20While%20Stuck%20in%20an%20Endless%20TSA%20Line.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Can%20Make%20While%20Stuck%20in%20an%20Endless%20TSA%20Line" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Can%20Make%20While%20Stuck%20in%20an%20Endless%20TSA%20Line.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Travel airports apps bills budgeting charity credit report digit free time mint money moves security tsa waiting in line Thu, 10 Nov 2016 10:30:29 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1830272 at http://www.wisebread.com