budgeting http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/503/all en-US 8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them) http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_69330627_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="don&#039;t get sucked into these weekend money traps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even though weekends are only a small portion of the week, it seems like I spend a lot more money on those two days than I do on the other five days. Why? I think having unstructured time and wanting to do things with my family makes it easy to go off the rails of my budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend?ref=seealso">40+ Cheap or Free Ways to Make the Most of the Weekend</a>)</p> <p>Here are some of the worst weekend money traps &mdash; and how to avoid them.</p> <h2>1. The Movie Theater</h2> <p>Even if there is nothing great to watch, people like going to the movies to have something to do for a few hours. This can be especially tempting if you have lots of time on your hands and your family is bored. But the cost of movie tickets plus popcorn and other expensive snacks will quickly deplete the funds you work so hard during the week to earn.</p> <p><strong>How to avoid:</strong> Watch a movie at home via streaming or rent from Redbox instead of going to the movie theater.</p> <h2>2. The Car Lot</h2> <p>A weekend activity that seems like free entertainment is going to the car lot just to look. The problem is, looking is how the car buying cycle starts. You see newer, nicer cars than the car you have with cool new features and this gets you to start thinking about upgrading. You could even get talked into taking a test drive with a skilled salesperson and end up buying a car that you weren't planning to buy, resulting in thousands of dollars of unplanned spending.</p> <p><strong>How to avoid:</strong> Wait until you are ready to buy a car and set a budget to go car shopping. And instead of looking at cars, spend some time working on the car you already have. Wash it, vacuum it, check the air pressure in the tires, check the fluid levels, and even change the oil and oil filter if you are mechanically inclined.</p> <h2>3. The Mall</h2> <p>I fell into this weekend money trap last weekend. I wanted to take the family for a walk in the mall since it was hot and humid outside. By the time we headed home, I was carrying a bag filled with video games that erased most of the money I earned working on Friday.</p> <p><strong>How to avoid:</strong> Go grocery shopping instead of shopping at a mall or sporting goods store. You can have a shopping experience, but you will be buying things you need. Plus, having a fresh supply of groceries to kick off the weekend can help you avoid another money trap &mdash; dining out.</p> <h2>4. Restaurants</h2> <p>With all of the free time that people have on weekends, there are many opportunities to go out to eat. It's easy to spend $10 per person for breakfast or lunch, or $15 per person for dinner. You could easily buy enough groceries to last all weekend and then some for the cost of going out to eat just once.</p> <p><strong>How to avoid:</strong> Have a plan for what meals you will make at home Saturday and Sunday, and try not to be out and about at mealtime, or on an empty stomach.</p> <h2>5. Open Houses</h2> <p>Another example of a weekend activity that seems like free entertainment is to go look at houses for sale. Chances are, you won't be inspired to run out and buy a house. But you might get ideas for upgrades and expensive projects for your current house that you didn't even know you needed until you checked out new house.</p> <p><strong>How to avoid:</strong> Don't go house shopping unless you need to move.</p> <h2>6. The Furniture Store</h2> <p>Furniture stores make it so easy to buy furniture. If you don't have money or credit, this is not a problem &mdash; you can get store credit on the spot. If the furniture won't fit in your vehicle, you can get free delivery. If you don't like the color of the floor model, you can order whatever color you like. Also, it seems like the furniture store is always having some sort of major sale to make you feel like you should buy now to get the best price. But do you really want to spend a month's salary on a new couch?</p> <p><strong>How to avoid:</strong> If you need furniture, check out used furniture at a consignment shop, thrift shop, and Craigslist instead of looking at new furniture. Used furniture can cost 90% less than new furniture.</p> <h2>7. Big Ticket Events</h2> <p>Every few years, my wife gets me tickets to go to a college football game. It's incredible how expensive it is to go to a big event like this! The tickets are expensive. The food and refreshments are expensive. Even getting to the stadium is expensive &mdash; you can pay to park near the stadium, or you can park for free and pay for transportation from the parking area to the stadium. And there are lots of opportunities to buy jerseys, posters, footballs, and other souvenirs. In addition to college or professional sports, other expensive weekend events include rock concerts and theater productions.</p> <p><strong>How to avoid:</strong> I try to go to big events only a few times a year, at the most. It's a lot cheaper to catch the big game or other events on TV at home, and you get a better view of the action as well.</p> <h2>8. The Weekend Roadtrip</h2> <p>Taking a road trip can be an expensive way to spend the weekend. It costs about $5 per hour to cruise down the highway in a car, just for gas. The cost of gas and wear and tear on your vehicle is often just the beginning. You'll likely eat most or all of your meals at gas station convenience stores or fast food places while you are on the road, taking a toll on both your bank account and your waistline. If you are on an overnight trip, a hotel stay can easily cost $75 or more.</p> <p><strong>How to avoid:</strong> Take a fuel efficient vehicle, bring food from home with you, and stay with friends or family instead of staying at a hotel to reduce the cost of taking a road trip.</p> <p><em>What are your weekend money traps? How do you avoid them? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">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/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</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/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</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-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment activities budgeting entertainment money traps saving money weekend fun weekend plans Fri, 22 Jul 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1756948 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Waste Your Money on These 6 Workout Snacks http://www.wisebread.com/dont-waste-your-money-on-these-6-workout-snacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-waste-your-money-on-these-6-workout-snacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_91874357_LARGE.jpg" alt="don&#039;t waste money on these workout snacks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The fitness industry tends to insist that you need all kinds of &quot;fuel&quot; in order to build muscle and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-avoid-workout-burnout">get through your workouts</a>. But a lot of workout snacks on the market are processed, pricey, and totally unnecessary. So rather than wasting your money on expensive workout snacks, know which ones to skip, and how to make quality versions at home using real ingredients.</p> <h2>1. Protein Powder Shakes</h2> <p>For the average joe, protein supplements &mdash; most often sold as powders that consumers can add to smoothies and shakes &mdash; are <a href="http://www.livescience.com/8086-protein-supplement-myth-revealed-body-work.html">a royal waste of money</a>. There's mounting evidence that you don't need protein supplementation unless you are a professional-level athlete, or suffering from starvation. All told, these powders offer the average person's body very little benefit.</p> <p>You do need protein when you exercise, especially if you're trying to build muscle, but the average diet provides all the protein you need. If you're looking for a little extra fuel, try edamame. This soybean is packed with protein, magnesium, fiber, and B vitamins that help the body power up to its full potential.</p> <h2>2. Boxed Coconut Water</h2> <p>Despite claims of &quot;100% coconut water&quot; or &quot;all natural,&quot; even the best of boxed coconut water is made from a reconstituted concentrate. To make the product shelf-stable, boxed coconut water makers heat up fresh, raw coconut water and reduce it to a syrup, which they later add water to before packaging. The heating process denatures the beneficial enzymes, stripping not only the beverage's nutritional content, but also much of the flavor.</p> <p>Instead of the boxed brands, drink real raw coconut water straight from the nut. Low in calories and high in electrolytes, coconut water &mdash; the real stuff &mdash; is <a href="http://healthandwellness.kaplan.edu/articles/nutrition/Coconut%20water%20-%20Is%20it%20really%20natures%20sport%20drink.html">nature's sports drink</a>. It will keep you hydrated and fueled during and after your workout.</p> <h2>3. Individually Packaged Snacks</h2> <p>One-serving snacks, such as pre-packaged health bars, mixed nut assortments, and dried fruit, will often <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/waste-money-grocery-store/story?id=39206951">cost you double</a> for the convenient size. Is it really worth paying twice as much money for a bunch of nuts just to get the tidy, but environmentally wasteful packaging? Energy bars in particular are rife with calories &mdash; as many as some candy bars. And you can make your own trail mix for far cheaper than the pre-made varieties.</p> <p>Instead, buy in bulk and use reusable tupperware to cart around one serving at a time.</p> <h2>4. Peanut Butter</h2> <p>Even the &quot;natural&quot; stuff contains add-ins such as glycerin to keep the oil from pooling at the top of the jar, hydrogenated oil for creaminess, or sugar for taste. Very rarely are you getting <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/06/natural-peanut-butter/488237/">pure peanut butter</a> &mdash; just nuts with, perhaps, a touch of salt &mdash; no matter what the label tells you.</p> <p>Instead of betting on the jarred stuff for your dose of good fats and protein, stick with raw nuts. This way, you know for sure what you're getting. Nuts are high in calories that can help you rev up your energy level when you don't have time for a more substantial meal. A cup of almonds, for example, contains enough fuel to power your body through a five-mile run. It's also a power snack with presidential approval. President Barack Obama reportedly eats exactly seven almonds each night.</p> <h2>5. Gel Packs</h2> <p>Unless you're putting in more than 90 minutes of cardiovascular training each day, you don't need to be slurping up those tiny energy gel packets while you bench press or jog an eight-miler. These <a href="http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/09/24/raisins-vs-energy-gels-for-athletic-performance/">sugar-saturated snacks</a> are made to restore depleted glycogen stores. But your glycogen stores aren't actually getting depleted unless you're very athletic.</p> <p>Instead, go for a fistful of raisins. Research shows that this dried fruit is just as effective at enhancing athletic performance. But, unlike the numerous brands of energy gel packets on the market, they don't run the risk of throwing your blood sugar levels off-balance.</p> <h2>6. Store-Bought Fruit Smoothies</h2> <p>Don't get me wrong, smoothies can be the ultimate workout snack. Just not the kind that's made to be shelf-stable at your local market. These pre-made smoothies are often chock full of added sugars, fats, and preservatives, which means you're getting much less nutritional content as you would if the smoothie were freshly made.</p> <p>Instead, opt for a homemade fruit smoothie, or simply grab a piece or two of fresh, whole fruit. Citrus fruits such as oranges are chock full of natural sugars capable of boosting your energy to keep you moving. And <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/419220-why-do-athletes-eat-bananas/">bananas will give you energy</a> as well as endurance. Studies show that eating a banana before and during prolonged periods of exercise will help your body maintain its peak performance level throughout the workout. This potassium-rich fruit also prevents bone density loss, fights off cramping, and helps keep your muscles functioning normally. And it makes for a great base ingredient in any smoothie.</p> <p><em>Any other workout snacks that are a total waste of money? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-waste-your-money-on-these-6-workout-snacks">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/the-ultimate-green-workout">The Ultimate &quot;Green&quot; Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-no-sweat-workouts-perfect-for-the-workplace">10 No-Sweat Workouts Perfect for the Workplace</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/if-youre-eating-these-6-things-your-diet-is-doing-nothing">If You&#039;re Eating These 6 Things, Your &quot;Diet&quot; Is Doing Nothing</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/12-foods-nutritionists-say-you-should-splurge-on">12 Foods Nutritionists Say You Should Splurge On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty budgeting coconut water drinks fitness pre-workout protein powder snacks workout workout snacks Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1754844 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_62926796_LARGE.jpg" alt="saving thousands from taking one vacation day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all have a list of financial tasks we keep meaning to get to, but between work, family, everyday obligations, and the need for sleep, we just keep putting them off. Whether it's rolling over an old employer 401K or finding cheaper car insurance, you can end up costing yourself hundreds, or even thousands of dollars by procrastinating.</p> <p>However, there is a solution: Use a vacation or personal day as an annual &quot;Money Day&quot; to catch up on all those finance to-dos you keep putting off. You'll have the time to stay on the line with customer service, fill out forms, and get organized &mdash; setting yourself up for a more secure financial future. Here are all the financial boxes you can check off on your annual Money Day.</p> <h2>Negotiate Bills</h2> <p>Phone bills, cable subscriptions, and car insurance can be expensive, eating up a huge part of your budget. However, rather than just gritting your teeth and bearing it, you can negotiate your bill and bring down your cost. Make a list of all of the services and subscriptions you currently pay for, and contact each one. For the introverts who get nervous negotiating over the phone, most companies have an online chat option that will work just as well.</p> <h3>Tell Them You Want to Cancel</h3> <p>Whether you are on the phone or chatting online, be as polite and kind as possible, but firmly let them know you want to cancel because the cost is just too high.</p> <h3>Be Prepared to Deal With the Retention Department</h3> <p>Customer service is likely to transfer you to their sales department or retention department, whose sole goal is to keep you on board. Again, be as friendly as possible, but explain that the monthly bill is more than you can afford. You do not have to give a long script or even say you are looking at other competitors; just noting you cannot afford the price will trigger the next steps.</p> <h3>Continue to Negotiate</h3> <p>They will likely offer you a temporary adjustment, like a promotional three-month offer. Be firm, saying something like, &quot;I'm sorry, I just can't afford this rate. I would need something more permanent.&quot; More than likely, they will come back with a more generous offer, saying they are authorized to give it to you that day. That language indicates it's the best they can do. Ask them to send you an email confirmation with the new agreement and then repeat the process with each service provider you have.</p> <h3>Research Alternatives</h3> <p>In some cases, companies just won't budge, particularly if you have only been a customer for a year or two. If that's the case, use some time during your money day to look up alternatives and get quotes. For instance, services like <a href="https://www.thezebra.com/">The Zebra</a> help you compare rates from multiple car insurers so you can get the most competitive price.</p> <h2>Find and Rollover Retirement Funds</h2> <p>Nearly three million people <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm">quit their jobs each month</a>, with many of those individuals leaving old 401Ks behind, either intending to get to it later or thinking the amount is too small to matter. Then they end up forgetting about it, and the money disappears. Take the time to hunt down old plans and come up with a strategy for them:</p> <h3>Find Old 401Ks</h3> <p>You may have to call each of your former employers' human resources departments to determine where your old 401Ks are currently held. If that's not an option, you can also check with the <a href="https://www.unclaimedretirementbenefits.com/">National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefit</a>.</p> <h3>Take Action</h3> <p>Once you've found your old accounts, you can keep them where they are, but keep their log-in information in a safe place. However, it might also make more financial sense to roll them into one place, like in a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">traditional IRA</a>. Vanguard and Fidelity offer IRA options that are cheaper regarding fees you will pay in most 401Ks, so rolling the account over can save you money and prevent any penalties.</p> <h2>Search for Unclaimed Money</h2> <p>There are millions of dollars in unclaimed money sitting around. Whether it's an old savings account, an insurance credit or, other windfall, state laws require that unclaimed funds be turned over to the state for safekeeping until the owner claims them. Most people don't even realize that hundreds of dollars belong to them, and it goes unclaimed for years.</p> <p>To find lost money, visit <a href="http://www.unclaimed.org">Unclaimed.org</a>. Check each state that you have lived in and enter your full name and any other names you may have gone by in the past. The site will list any money that belongs to you. You can file a claim, following the process outlined on the site, to get the money returned to you.</p> <h2>Automate Savings</h2> <p>If you have been putting off building up your emergency fund or retirement savings, your money day is a very good time to get them started. Set up automatic contributions for the start of each month to go into your savings and retirement accounts, so you do not even miss the money from your paycheck.</p> <p>Setting aside an annual vacation day to manage your finances can be an excellent way to stay on top of essential money tasks, trim your budget, maximize your dollars, and find you hundreds of dollars that may have gone missing. By dedicating a day to money management, you can end up savings thousands of dollars in just 24 hours.</p> <p><em>What else should be done on your annual Money Day? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations">6 Budget-Friendly Beach Destinations</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-save-money-at-the-post-office">How to Save Money at the Post Office</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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/9-money-lessons-to-take-from-the-great-depression">9 Money Lessons to Take From the Great Depression</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Travel budgeting career frugal living personal finance saving money travel vacation day Tue, 19 Jul 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Kat Tretina 1754845 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Awkward Money Moments Everyone Has at Work http://www.wisebread.com/8-awkward-money-moments-everyone-has-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-awkward-money-moments-everyone-has-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_4640750_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="everyone has an awkward money moment or two at work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money and work go together like peanut butter and jelly. We go to work to make money, and we spend money while we're at work. But it's not always as simple as that. People and situations can make some money moments more than a little awkward, and you are left feeling all sorts of emotions. Here are eight of those occasions we'd all prefer to be stricken from the workplace.</p> <h2>1. Contributing to Gifts for People You Don't Like</h2> <p>It's fair to say, wherever you work, there will be people you like, and people you don't. There will also be the usual birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, and layoffs. That's when Janice from accounting pops around with a collection tub and asks for money to buy a gift. You are faced with the dilemma &mdash; do you chip in and say nothing, or refuse and look like a real villain? It's hard to come out and say, &quot;Nah, not putting money in, I hate that guy.&quot; You can try and act poor, or claim you don't have any money on you. However, that's usually met with, &quot;No worries, I'll put $10 in for you, pay me back later.&quot; Perhaps the only option you have left is to just avoid the collection using ninja-like skills.</p> <h2>2. Splitting the Check on a Pricey Night Out</h2> <p>The boss decides that after-work drinks are going to happen, and everyone is invited. But this is not a company-sponsored event, despite the fact that people are ordering food and drinks like everything is &quot;on the boss.&quot; After an evening of revelry, the check comes, and that's when most people say it's easier to just split the check equally among everyone. Great. Except John and Jane were knocking back $15 cocktails all night, and you were taking advantage of the 2-for-1 well drinks. So you tell everyone you want the check split based on what everyone had, making you about as popular as a cold sore&hellip; especially with your server. Is it better to pay up, and chalk it up to experience? Oof, it's very hard to win this one.</p> <h2>3. Asking for a Raise</h2> <p>You've been doing your homework on your salary, and realize you are being underpaid. Whether it's by a little, or a lot, the next move is not easy. It's time to have that awkward conversation with the boss, and you know it will not be easy. If there have been layoffs recently, it makes it even harder. Maybe you'll be met with the old &quot;you're lucky you still have a job!&quot; retort. Whatever has happened though, if you are doing the work and should be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">getting paid more</a>, you deserve the money.</p> <h2>4. Calling in a Loan You Gave to a Coworker</h2> <p>It may only be $20, but it's been months since you forked over the cash for a coworker in need. A sad realization has dawned on you. Either they totally forgot about the money you loaned them, or they are hoping you have forgotten about it, and are doing nothing to remind you. It's time to get your money back. From the furtive glances in the office kitchen, to steering the conversations back to money, nothing is working. You have to come out and ask &mdash; which somehow makes you look like a tightwad who cares only about money. And worse still&hellip; they may tell you you'll get it back, but forget, and you have to go through it all again!</p> <h2>5. Saying No When Someone Asks to Borrow Money</h2> <p>If you don't want to get into the situation outlined above, you can simply say no when someone asks for money. But it's not as easy as that, is it? It's hard enough to pluck up the courage to ask a coworker for money, but that person is almost always going to be greeted with a &quot;Sure, how much do you need?&quot; in reply. Now, you have to drop the hammer and say no. But what good reason do you have? If it's a significant amount of money, then declining based on that is not a problem. But if it's $10&ndash;$50, and you feel sure you'll have a horrible time trying to get it back, what do you do? Saying &quot;Sorry, I'd like to, but I don't trust you to ever pay that back&quot; is not going to give you the best reputation in the office. This could be a great time to suddenly make an urgent call, and hope he or she never comes back and asks again.</p> <h2>6. Watching in Horror as Your Card Is Declined</h2> <p>It's been a fun lunch. The server comes back to the table with a mountain of receipts for people to sign. Well, except you. They have to whisper in your ear &quot;I'm sorry&hellip; this card was declined.&quot; Aaaarrgghhhhhh! If you could grow a shell and crawl inside it, you would. It may be a technical error, or it could be that the card was canceled due to a fraud alert, but it doesn't really matter right now. All you know is that a bunch of coworkers are looking at you with a mixture of pity and confusion on their collective faces. Will rumors surface that you're having money problems? Will people start offering to pay for things because they know you're having a hard time? Eek, there's no way to come out of this one without a perma-cringe on your face.</p> <h2>7. Saying No to a Charity Collection</h2> <p>Coworkers may be actively involved in fundraising for charities, or may even know someone who benefited from that charity. But let's face it, if we all contributed to every charity, we'd go broke. What's more, you may simply not agree with giving money to some charities, and that's your right. However, the fact of the matter is, when you say no to a charity collection, you are instantly seen as some kind of Scrooge figure who hoards money and hates the poor, the sick, and the disabled. And what if you say no, but then go out later to the office happy hour and drop a bunch of money on drinks? Your best bet here is to make up an excellent excuse (you gave money already to the charity last week), or offer support in another way. Your time, your skills, or something non-monetary.</p> <h2>8. Finding Out What People Earn</h2> <p>There is a reason most companies keep salary information a secret. It can lead to a lot of griping, demands for raises, or even job losses and people quitting. So when you find out what someone else in the company makes, it can really lead to some stunningly awkward moments. They may make way less than you assumed, and your reaction can make them feel awful. &quot;Really&hellip; you're only earning that? Wow!&quot; On the other hand, you could think they're overpaid, especially if they do the job you do, but for more money.</p> <p>And then there's the moment people discover what you earn. If you earn more than they expected, you can get daggers shooting at you. They expect you to pick up the check at lunch. They feel like you owe them. If it's less, suddenly you're pitied. Or laughed at for taking such a low salary. In any of these situations, red faces, long silences, and hasty exits are the norm.</p> <p><em>What was your most awkward money moment at work, and how did you deal with it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-awkward-money-moments-everyone-has-at-work">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/8-times-you-should-never-feel-guilty-at-work">8 Times You Should Never Feel Guilty at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-coworkers-think-youre-a-slacker">6 Reasons Your Coworkers Think You&#039;re a Slacker</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moments-that-are-awkward-for-everyone">10 Money Moments That Are Awkward for Everyone</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Budgeting awkward budgeting coworkers money moments office etiquette work work conversations work etiquette work talk Wed, 13 Jul 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1750532 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Money at the Post Office http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_15385326_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="saving money at the post offie" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Visiting the post office can get very expensive, very quickly. Fortunately, there are several ways to save money at the post office, without sacrificing any of the quality or services you've come to expect.</p> <h2>Buy Forever Stamps</h2> <p>The benefit of forever stamps is that the value never &quot;expires.&quot; This means that if the cost of stamps increases again, your forever stamps will still be just as valuable as they were when the price was lower. On the other hand, if you have a bunch of $0.47 stamps lying around and the price of stamps increases again, you will need to purchase supplemental stamps to make up the difference in cost. Forever stamps aren't any more expensive than normal stamps, so there's no reason not to purchase them.</p> <h2>Buy Stamps Elsewhere</h2> <p>Making a trip to the post office just for stamps can be a waste of time, money, and effort. Instead, consider purchasing stamps at your local grocery store, ATM, or even ordering them online and <a href="https://store.usps.com/store/browse/category.jsp?categoryId=buy-stamps">printing them out at home</a>.</p> <h2>Go With Postcards</h2> <p>If you're sending a lot of holiday cards or making an announcement, consider sending postcards instead of traditional cards. When it comes to sending cards, saving money with the postcard stamp of $0.34 on all those cards can really add up. That's because for every postcard you send (rather than a traditional card), you will save $0.13.</p> <h2>Weigh Your Items First</h2> <p>You can often choose your shipping options and print out the shipping label at home using services like PayPal. However, if you need to go into the post office to arrange shipment, then make sure to weigh your items beforehand and do some research on the USPS site to find which option will be the most affordable, so that you're prepared when you get there.</p> <h2>Use Media Mail</h2> <p>Use Media Mail whenever possible to save on shipping costs. Media mail service is for shipping things like books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, educational media, and computer-related media at a low cost. Visit the USPS.com for more information on what you can send using <a href="http://about.usps.com/notices/not121/not121.htm">Media Mail services</a>.</p> <p>Keep in mind that the post office has the right to examine what's inside your Media Mail package to ensure it fits within their guidelines, so make sure you're only shipping the approved items. If you attempt to ship items that are not approved via Media Mail, it can be considered a postal crime, which is a federal offense, and definitely not worth the savings.</p> <h2>Use First-Class Mail for Small Packages</h2> <p>If you have a package that weighs less than 13 oz, you likely won't find a cheaper, faster option than <a href="https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class-mail.htm">First-Class mail</a>. Your item will arrive in 1-3 business days and won't cost much.</p> <h2>Use Priority Mail</h2> <p><a href="https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail.htm?gclid=Cj0KEQjwte27BRCM6vjIidHvnKQBEiQAC4MzrYN9UliUVadm95HsBtVAVegmUsWfgGpJZnjPo0voPp4aApGT8P8HAQ">Priority Mail flat rate shipping</a> offers a flat rate to any state, for shipments up to 70 lbs. It includes free package pickup, online tracking, and up to $50 of insurance with most shipments. For small, heavy items, this is usually the way to go. Best of all, if you print your label from home and have the package picked up for free, you won't have to visit the post office at all.</p> <p>You can pick up the appropriate Priority Mail envelopes or boxes from your local post office. You can also order free <a href="https://store.usps.com/store/browse/subcategory.jsp?categoryId=free-shipping-supplies">Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express supplies</a> online with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered">free home delivery</a>.</p> <h2>Go Minimal</h2> <p>Shipping an item is expensive enough as it is. Adding services like insurance, tracking, receipt confirmation, and other add-ons can really rack up the cost. When possible, choose the slowest shipping option with minimal add-ons to save the most.</p> <h2>Recycle Shipping Supplies</h2> <p>Whenever possible, save your packaging materials from previous shipments so that you don't have to buy new ones later. When you receive a package, consider saving the bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and even the box. If you have old newspapers, you may want to save those for your next shipment, as well.</p> <h2>Choose the Right Shipping Service</h2> <p>USPS is typically the most affordable shipping service provider, but that's not always the case, particularly when you have larger items to ship. If you aren't set on using USPS, sites like <a href="https://shipgooder.com/#/">ShipGooder</a> can help you choose the best shipping service for your items.</p> <h2>Go With UPS Instead</h2> <p>Sometimes, the best way to save money with USPS is to choose a different service provider altogether. For instance, if you need insurance on your package, it may be a better idea to go with UPS. UPS offers $100 in insurance for free, so it may be a better option if you're shipping a large or valuable package.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for saving money at the post office? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-uber-saving-or-costing-you-money">Is Uber Saving or Costing You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping budgeting frugal living mail Post Office saving money shipping shipping costs Tue, 12 Jul 2016 09:00:14 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1749748 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs You're Committing Financial Infidelity http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_sad_face_90980753.jpg" alt="Man committing financial infidelity and how to stop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's often said that honesty is the key to a good relationship. But are you totally honest with your spouse or partner when it comes to money?</p> <p>Lies about finances can be some of the most damaging in any relationship, but they are surprisingly common. Two out of every five Americans have admitted to committing financial infidelity in the past, according to a February survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education. That's up from one-third just a couple of years ago, even though 75% of survey respondents admitted the dishonesty had a negative impact on their relationship.</p> <p>Here are some clear ways you are being dishonest about your finances with your partners &mdash; and tips on how to get back on the right track.</p> <h2>1. You Have Secret Bank Accounts/Credit Cards</h2> <p>There are different trains of thought about whether couples should combine their finances or keep separate accounts. But one thing that's definitely not okay is having bank accounts or credit cards that your partner isn't aware of. Depending on where you live, your spouse could be held liable for debts you incur during your marriage, even if they are only in your name.</p> <p>It's best to be honest about the accounts and credit cards that you have. Literally lay them out on the table for your partner to see. Come up with a plan to pay off those with the highest interest rates. Then, together, decide on which credit cards you plan to use.</p> <h2>2. You're Using Cash and Not Recording the Purchases</h2> <p>I will admit to being guilty of this. Cash has its advantages, but when you use cash to pay for things, there's no easy way to track your spending. Your partner may know you withdrew cash from an ATM, but is probably not going to interrogate you on how you plan to spend the cash. So you're more or less free to buy lunch, drinks, or any other sundry items you wish.</p> <p>To break this habit, use a debit card or credit card for most purchases, so it's easy for you and your partner to track your spending, budget appropriately, and keep each other in line. As long as you're honest about what is being spent, it's even okay to give each other a small amount of &quot;fun money&quot; on a monthly basis that you can spend on anything you want.</p> <h2>3. You Have a Gambling Problem</h2> <p>It may have started with a couple of horse races, or a fantasy baseball league or two. Then it expanded to big bucks bets on games, with money in offshore accounts and bookies calling your cell phone. Soon, checks are bouncing and your spouse can't figure out why.</p> <p>Time to 'fess up. Your partner will want to know about your gambling problem, but more importantly, they'll want to know that you have a plan to stop. Gamblers Anonymous is one major resource that's been proven to help people stop. It may also be worth talking to a mental health professional to learn how to deal with compulsive behavior.</p> <h2>4. You're Investing Without Talking It Over With Your Partner</h2> <p>Your partner may be vaguely aware that you have an investment account, but do they know what you are invested in? If you are buying and selling stocks frequently, is it part of an overall strategy that you discussed together? If not, this is a form of financial infidelity. While it may be common for one spouse to be more investment-savvy than the other, it's not wise to place money in the markets without discussing your goals.</p> <p>Are you saving for retirement, or for something in the nearer future? Are you placing money in a college savings account? Do you have the same tolerance for risk? All of these questions should be answered and discussed with your partner before you invest.</p> <h2>5. You're Hiding a Job Loss</h2> <p>It's understandable. You're hurt, maybe even humiliated, that you've found yourself unemployed. But continuing to act as if you still have a job is not going to make things better. For one thing, your partner will eventually wonder where all of your income went. And they'll be furious when they learn that you've lied.</p> <p>If you find yourself jobless, remember that even the best of people lose their jobs for reasons beyond their control. And any respectful partner will understand this, and will want to play a role in ensuring your family remains financially stable while you look for a new job.</p> <p>To keep this situation from occurring, establish a pattern of talking to your partner about your career. If your company is in trouble, or if you are at risk of being downsized, that's information you should share. This communication will make it less of a shock when the hammer drops.</p> <h2>6. You've Kept Outstanding Debt a Secret</h2> <p>This can really be a relationship killer. Imagine entering a relationship believing that your finances are in good order, only to find that your partner has thousands of dollars in debt you didn't know about. This could impact everything from your ability to pay for a mortgage, get a decent rate on an auto loan, and invest and save for the future.</p> <p>If you're guilty of this, it's time to 'fess up. It's also time to recognize that your partner can play a supportive role, both financially and emotionally, in helping you pay off the debt. Having debt doesn't make you a bad person, so there's no reason to hide it.</p> <h2>7. You're Not Being Honest When You Rationalize Purchases</h2> <p>You say you bought tickets to the basketball game to &quot;entertain clients&quot; when that client is really just an old buddy of yours. You convince your partner that your smartphone desperately needs to be replaced, when it fact it's working perfectly fine and you just felt like buying the newest version. Even if you aren't hiding purchases from the ones you love, you're committing financial infidelity if you're making up reasons to buy things you don't need.</p> <p>To remedy this problem, start being more honest with yourself when you have the urge to buy things. Before any purchase, ask yourself: Do I need this item? More often than not, the answer will be no.</p> <h2>8. Your Partner Has No Idea What You Earn</h2> <p>You may like the idea of having separate accounts, but when one person in a household doesn't know what the other is earning, it makes budgeting impossible. What if your spouse assumes you earn more than you do and then makes a big purchase? If you are planning for things like buying a home or cars, financing children's education or your own retirement, it's imperative that both partners know what the net household income is.</p> <p>The easiest way to avoid this problem is to operate using joint accounts. But if you decide to keep money separate, at least share account statements, paystubs, and tax information.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been victimized by these &mdash; or other &mdash; acts of financial infidelity?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-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-married">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Married</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-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting infidelity lying marriage planning shared finances spouses Fri, 01 Jul 2016 10:00:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1738701 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys http://www.wisebread.com/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_33629166_XLARGE.jpg" alt="saving money on everyday buys" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are some payments and purchases you make because you have to, like gas, insurance, and a mortgage &mdash; but there are others that you make because they make you feel good. By saving money on your favorite purchases, you'll likely purchase them more often and thus, have a happier and more fulfilling life.</p> <p>Here's how you can save money on your favorite everyday things.</p> <h2>1. Restaurants</h2> <p>We all love dining out for a meal. But dinner at a nice restaurant can quickly eat up your budget, especially if you're going out two or three times a week. If you're a person who loves to go out for food, there are three things you should explore:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-12562208-1462979854000">Groupon</a>: With restaurant discounts of up to 75%, you could essentially go out three times as often as you do now, for the same price.</li> <li><a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10849242-1415311741000">Restaurant.com</a>: Get $25 certificates for as low as $4. Note that they have a new batch of certificates at the beginning of each month, and costs will keep going down as the month progresses, but it also might mean that the certificates for the restaurants you want will be sold out. No matter when you buy them, you'll still get a nice discount on your meal.</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">Rewards Credit Cards for Dining Out</a>: Use the best credit card that offers rewards at restaurants, for example the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">Chase Sapphire Preferred Card</a> offers 2x points for dining. Or a general <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">cash back credit card</a> like the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unlimited-cash-back-the-quicksilver-cash-rewards-credit-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card</a>, which offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Travel</h2> <p>Once you become a Groupon member, you can get discounts on vacation packages, but once you're in the country, you should also look for local discount cards. Simply run a Google search with your planned destination and &quot;discount card.&quot; It should be something like this: &quot;Venice Discount Card.&quot;</p> <p>The Venice discount card has excellent discounts on transport, sights, and cultural events. You can find similar discount cards in Bangkok, <a href="http://www.cancun-discounts.com/cancun-discount-card.htm">Cancun</a>, <a href="https://www.parispass.com/">Paris</a>, <a href="https://www.londonpass.com/">London</a> and pretty much every major tourist town.</p> <p>You may be surprised how often there's a discount card on offer and these things can save you a lot of money! In Malta for example, the Malta Discount Card saves 50% off at dozens of restaurants, as well as discounts on tours, attractions, and water sports. You're likely to pay off the cost of the card within a day, so I recommend always searching for them before going anywhere.</p> <h2>3. Alcohol</h2> <p>Costco, Costco, Costco. You probably already have a number of Kirkland products in your house, but did you know that Kirkland alcohol was compared in a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oei8K2TYg9s">blind taste test</a> and the tasters couldn't decide if the expensive brands were better than Kirkland?</p> <p>They weren't drinking the liquor with mixers, either. Straight up, these people couldn't agree on the better booze. The Kirkland brand alcohol is as much as 75% cheaper, and if the experts can't tell the difference, you should probably get your buzz on for a bit less with the Costco brand. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-costco-anywhere-visa-card-by-citi-is-good-news-for-costco-shoppers">Get Cash Back on Your Costco Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>4. Movies</h2> <p>Head to the library. You remember that stuffy, quiet place where you had to go to get information in the '80s? As libraries are becoming more and more obsolete, they've made some efforts to bring in new clientele. One of the ways they've done this is by adding DVDs to their inventory.</p> <p>Go to the library, apply for a library card, and take out as many DVDs as you want. They even stock some TV series box sets, so you can save a few bucks of your cable bill as well.</p> <h2>5. Coffee</h2> <p>Stop going to Starbucks! That $3 Americano that you're buying could be made at home for much less.</p> <p>Pick up a <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P0ZMWEC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00P0ZMWEC&amp;linkId=8bd38a03a49d9f429ee6f94b039d1276">2.2 pound bag of delicious Lavazza Espresso</a> on Amazon for under $20, then buy yourself a <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H2BQATK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;creativeASIN=B00H2BQATK&amp;linkId=51aa792433c4a0820c782f0aaf0ed330">Handpresso machine</a>. This thing can make the perfect cup of espresso every time, plus it's compact, and you don't need electricity to use it so you can take it anywhere.</p> <p>That 2.2 pound bag of coffee will make 120 cups of Americano coffee, meaning that each cup will cost you less than 17 cents, rather than $3. By the time you finish that bag, you'll have saved $340 on coffee, which pays off the cost of the Handpresso machine two times over!</p> <h2>6. Yoga</h2> <p>Your yoga instructor may not be happy that I'm telling you this, but you can get free Yoga classes on YouTube every day. There are some excellent channels like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/FreeYogaTV">Free Yoga TV</a>, that have professional yogis giving quality classes online for zero dollars.</p> <p>The best part of YouTube yoga, is that you can play it from your smartphone and turn pretty much anywhere into your own personal yoga studio. No more having to head to the gym or yoga center. Lock the door in your office, lay down a mat, and stretch to your heart's content.</p> <h2>7. Groceries</h2> <p>If you're not a foodie who loves to cook at home, maybe groceries aren't one of your favorite purchases. But even so, they're a costly budget item that everyone has to purchase every week. With <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/grocery-pal/id339684652?mt=8">Grocery Pal</a>, <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/mobile-coupons/">Coupon Sherpa</a>, and the right credit cards, you can save a lot of money on your groceries.</p> <p>Grocery Pal helps you find weekly sales at your local supermarkets, like Safeway, Whole Foods, Smart&amp;Final, Walmart, Target, and more. Coupon Sherpa helps you find all the right coupons for the stuff in your cart, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">credit cards that reward grocery purchases</a> will put more money back into your wallet. For example, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cashing-in-at-the-supermarket-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express-review?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express</a> will give you 6% cash back on your supermarket purchases! Terms and limitations apply.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite purchases, and how do you save money on them? Share with everyone in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</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-smart-ways-to-save-on-audio-books">8 Smart Ways to Save on Audio Books</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/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</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/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">3 Smart Ways to Save on Father&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Entertainment Shopping budgeting coffee credit cards groceries restaurants saving money shopping travel vacation Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Nick Wharton 1735240 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Dumb Ways You're Going to Waste Money This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_surfing_beach_91715903.jpg" alt="Woman wasting her money this summer in dumb ways" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of great things about summer: long days, warm weather, and vacation season for families to do things together. But summer presents some unique opportunities to waste money. How many of these summer money hazards will leave you wondering where all your cash went? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you?ref=seealso">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h2>1. Junk Food</h2> <p>It seems like summer is junk food season. Soda, chips, hot dogs, and ice cream are everywhere! If you go out for ice cream a few nights a week, this can quickly add up &mdash; as well as adding extra pounds. I remember when I was younger, I would get a 32 oz soda refill or other sugary drink at least once every day during the summer. Now I try to limit junk food for special treats instead of making it my regular summer diet plan. You'll be healthier and keep more of your money in your pocket by limiting your spending on junk this summer.</p> <h2>2. Air Conditioning</h2> <p>Sometimes on a pleasant evening or cool morning, I can hear the air conditioners running at many houses on my street. Once you get your windows closed and your A/C turned on, it is easy to leave it that way all summer. I try to leave the A/C off and windows open as much as I can. Using fans to move the fresh air around, I can often stay comfortable without running the air conditioning. It is expensive to keep your house like an icebox all summer, and keeping your windows closed isolates you from fresh air and the pleasant sound of birds chirping in the morning.</p> <h2>3. Driving Around</h2> <p>For some reason, people seem to spend a lot of time in their cars during summer. An air-conditioned car can be a comfortable place to be, but it costs a lot of money to drive around or even to run the A/C while parked. Sometimes going for a drive for something to do or to cool off ends up leading to a junk food purchase, adding to the expense of going for a drive. Instead of going for a drive to cool off, I like to relax in a lawn chair in a shady spot or sit outside after the sun goes down and the air cools down.</p> <h2>4. Movie Theaters</h2> <p>Another escape from summer heat and boredom is going to a cold movie theater for a few hours. This is even more expensive than going for a drive. The movie ticket price is often just the beginning of the cost of going to the movie theater. Many people buy popcorn and snacks, and it is easy to end up eating at a restaurant while you are out for a long activity like going to a movie.</p> <p>Movie theaters are often attached to shopping malls, making it easy to walk around the air-conditioned mall before or after the movie and spend even more money. I don't mind going to see a summer blockbuster if there is a good one, but going to a movie once or twice a week is going to make your money evaporate.</p> <h2>5. Vacation</h2> <p>It seems like so much time and money are spent to travel far away from home for a vacation. Is what you are looking to find on vacation really that far away from home? Sure, it's nice to see different places and experience new things, but the most important part of a vacation is to spend time with people you care about. Is hustling around airports and moving from one tourist trap to another at an expensive vacation spot the best way to spend quality time together? Instead of spending big bucks to travel somewhere, I would rather spend time with my family at home doing projects and working on things together.</p> <h2>6. Summer Living Gear</h2> <p>Stores are happy to offer you ways that you can buy a great summer experience. How about some new patio furniture, lawn chairs, a sun shade, or even a new grill or lawn mower? Don't forget some brightly colored new summer clothes to wear while you are using your new summer stuff. You don't want to miss out on summer fun, so you'd better buy the required summer gear to make sure you have a great summer...</p> <p>Think back to a great summer event or summer memory that you have. Now, can you even remember what kind of chair you sat in or what clothes you were wearing? Chances are that it doesn't matter. You can't buy a great summer experience by spending a lot of money at the store.</p> <h2>7. Pampered Lawn</h2> <p>I get a lot of flyers in the mail offering to make my lawn look great. With a little fertilizer and weed control, I'm sure my lawn could look more like green carpet. Not only do I get lawn improvement offers in the mail, but I even got one in person. My neighbor offered to let me use his giant lawn tractor and sprayer if I would buy chemicals to apply. It would be easy to spend hundreds &mdash; or even thousands &mdash; of dollars in pursuit of a more perfect lawn.</p> <p>I think my lawn looks fine as long as I keep it mowed neatly. I don't like the idea of spraying chemicals on it, and I don't really mind if my lawn is a bit more natural than the lawns you see on TV. My dogs do a great job of fertilizing my lawn for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally?ref=seealso">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block &mdash; Naturally</a>)</p> <h2>8. Big Summer Toys</h2> <p>It is easy to get swept up by the appeal of a fun summer toy that the entire family could enjoy. Wouldn't it be great to have an RV, camper, boat, jet ski, swimming pool, or new bikes? You could get the toys right now to enjoy this summer and make the payments later. Some of these toys might fit on a credit card you already have, but if not you can sign up for a new loan and make easy payments. Don't forget to pick up a truck with towing gear for some of these big toys.</p> <p>One problem with big summer toys is that you can only use them during the summer, but you will be paying for them all year long for many years. Plus, you may need to find somewhere to store your big toys when the summer season is over. What seemed like a great idea on a nice July day might seem like a dumb move only a few months later.</p> <h2>9. Expensive Summer Activities</h2> <p>Taking on expensive summer projects is a weakness for me. I would rather do something productive than relax, but it usually costs a lot of money to do projects. Projects such as landscaping or building a storage shed or playhouse are expensive and do not usually provide a good return on investment. A good way to work on an interesting project for free is to help someone else do a project at their house.</p> <p>Some people like to relax during the summer, but this can still be expensive. Golf comes to mind as an expensive summer activity with all of the gear and membership fees that are required to play. Other expensive activities include some summer camps, sports camps, amusement parks, and horse riding lessons. If you check around, you might be able to find some affordable activities that are conveniently located close to home to keep your family entertained instead of spending a lot on more expensive activities.</p> <p><em>What are some dumb ways that you waste money in the summer? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/survivor-island-meal-plans-use-it-or-lose-it-in-5-easy-steps">Survivor Island Meal Plans: Use it or Lose It in 5 Easy Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office">How to Save Money at the Post Office</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting budgeting Food frugal living save money seasonal spending spending summer summer activities waste money Mon, 20 Jun 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1733676 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Best Money Saving Channels on YouTube http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-money-saving-channels-on-youtube <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-best-money-saving-channels-on-youtube" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tablet_youtube_19991493.jpg" alt="Finding great money saving channels on YouTube" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What don't you use YouTube for? From learning how to reseal your kitchen sink to entertaining yourself with weird cat videos, YouTube has it all. YouTube can also help you save money, and I'm not just talking about saving money on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/36-workouts-you-can-do-in-your-living-room-while-its-cold-out">free workout videos</a> or cooking lessons, though those are also great ways to save big.</p> <p>There are several money-saving gurus on YouTube, and their channels are full of moneymaking tips and advice and hacks on how to live frugally. Here are just a few of my favorites. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new?ref=seealso">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <h2>1. Do It On a Dime</h2> <p>If you love organizational tips, Dollar Tree hacks, and affordable home d├ęcor DIYs, then this is the channel for you. Kathryn from&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/DoItOnaDime">Do It On a Dime</a> has hundreds of videos that are fun to watch and provide practical, everyday tips to save money and organize on a budget, as well as recipes and crafts that are inexpensive. She also has a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.doitonadimeblog.com/">complementary blog</a> where she uploads free printables for budgeting and organizing.</p> <h2>2. Fun Cheap or Free</h2> <p>If you ever watched TLC's <em>Extreme Cheapskates</em>, you might have seen Jordan Page as one of the first guests on the show. Jordan Page has a huge personality and her YouTube channel&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/funcheaporfree">FunCheapOrFree</a> has great saving tips for all areas of your life. Jordan also posts money-saving videos on a collab channel,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOkj-s4rIxaomMRNAnA3aQuZlNCJS5XAF">Millennial Moms</a>. From how to cut boys' hair yourself, to making money with chicken, to taking pictures of all of your receipts so you are never without it when you make a return, you will be entertained thoroughly by all of Jordan's frugal hacks and ideas.</p> <h2>3. The Encouraging Homeschool Mom</h2> <p>Jamerrill Stewart is a mom of seven children and used Dave Ramsey's book to get her family out of debt many years ago. Now, she posts videos on her channel&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Nurs4jc">The Encouraging Homeschool Mom</a>, on how she clothes her whole family with thrift store finds and feeds them all for under $200 a week through once-a-month shopping. She also has many videos on home schooling and encouragement. She is a sweet soul who will resonate with many mom viewers.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theencouraginghomeschoolmom.com/">Her blog</a> is also full of free or affordable home schooling deals.</p> <h2>4. The Krazy Coupon Lady</h2> <p>You will find fun and engaging videos on how to save from best-selling authors and bloggers, Heather Wheeler and Joanie Demer. They are the two women behin&nbsp;<a href="http://thekrazycouponlady.com/">The Krazy Coupon Lady</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/TheKrazyCouponLady">Their YouTube channel</a> is also full of specific money-saving strategies for certain stores and websites.</p> <h2>5. Hip2Save</h2> <p>Love coupon deals and breakdowns but have a hard time keeping up with them? The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/hip2save">Hip 2 Save</a> channel with Collin Morgan uploads the best deals of the week, as well as how to save money at Target. Her DIY videos will also inspire you to make your own Larabars and gift closet.</p> <h2>6. Exploring Alternatives</h2> <p>Mat and Danielle are minimalist nomads who enjoy long-term travel and living in their camper van. Their channel,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/explorealternatives">Exploring Alternatives</a>, offers interesting videos on the extreme side. You will find stories of individuals ditching their mortgage payment to pursue a house on wheels and even a family of five living in a one-bedroom apartment to save money. Along with other people's extreme stories, Mat and Danielle post their tips for downsizing and living minimally. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists?ref=seealso">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</a>)</p> <h2>7. Thriving Minimalist</h2> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRIrEykNPOnNIEovgYnvLg">Thriving Minimalist</a> is another channel for those who love a good, extreme money-saving story. Conor McMillen quit his job and found his passion and health after his wife left him. This channel is more interesting than anything, although you might glean some helpful tips on how to become more minimalist minded in your life.</p> <h2>8. ClutterBug</h2> <p>Cas is a stay-at-home mom that turned her clutter into a clean home (and a profitable YouTube channel). Her channel&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/OrganizedClutterbug/videos">ClutterBug</a> offers cleaning and organizational tips, along with ways to save money. She even has Pottery Barn and other easy DIY hacks.</p> <h2>9. Brian Tracy</h2> <p>It is no secret that I love&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/BrianTracySpeaker">Brian Tracy</a> and his uplifting personal and career advice. You can find his advice on many financial and personal matters on YouTube. I am especially a fan of his time management and goal setting advice. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pearls-of-career-wisdom-from-brian-tracy?ref=seealso">6 Pearls of Career Wisdom From Brian Tracy</a>)</p> <p>Sure, you can use YouTube for entertainment, but why not take advantage of the great money-saving vloggers, too? YouTube is a great resource for learning almost anything for free.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite channels or vloggers on YouTube?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-money-saving-channels-on-youtube">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-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should 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/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment advice budgeting experts gurus money-saving videos YouTube Mon, 20 Jun 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1728417 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_dad_000071538069.jpg" alt="Little girl learning personal finance skills everyone should master" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was happy to see that my son signed up to take a personal finance class in high school next year. I think mastering basic personal finance skills is one of the most important things you can do to improve your happiness and quality of life. But you're a full-fledged adult. If you haven't already, the earlier you start developing and using personal finance skills, the more time you have to reap the benefits.</p> <p>Here is my list of personal finance skills every frugal person should master.</p> <h2>1. Budgeting</h2> <p>Setting and following a budget is probably the most basic personal finance skill, yet only about one-third of people actually have a detailed budget. I went for years without an accurate budget, using my checking account balance as a rough gauge of how much money I had available to spend. Eventually, I realized this was a terrible way to run my personal finances. A detailed budget is necessary to get a handle on where your money is going and to start deciding where you <em>want </em>your money to go &mdash; instead of just watching it go away!</p> <p>Writing out a list of all of your income and expenses is only the first step toward becoming skilled at budgeting. You need to monitor spending and work to stay on track every month. Sometimes unexpected expenses will pop up, and it takes skill to find ways to spend less in other areas to recover and stay on budget.</p> <p>You can get a real budget started by looking at your bank statements and credit card bills from last month and adding up spending by category. I used colored highlighters to mark up my spending into categories such as food, clothing, pets, entertainment, transportation, housing, utilities, etc.</p> <p>Food expenses are especially challenging for me, since food cost varies so much depending on what you decide to eat. In my household, we use a money envelope as a tool to help us stay on our food budget. Every payday, I take out cash for the budgeted amount for food spending, both groceries and dining out. All food spending comes out of the money envelope, so we always know how much is left to spend on food.</p> <h2>2. Negotiation</h2> <p>Negotiation is a key skill to master to get the best deal when buying or selling something, or even getting the best salary and benefits when accepting a job offer. Most people do not like to negotiate. It is easiest to pay the asking price, or accept the amount offered from a buyer or employer. But if you become skilled at negotiation, you can end up with lots more dollars in your pocket instead of in the other guy's pocket!</p> <p>Here are some skills that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">successful negotiators master</a>:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Be willing to walk</strong>. Successful negotiators are willing to walk away if they can't get a good deal. Willingness to walk away gives you the confidence to ask for what you really want and drive a hard bargain. Often, you'll learn things in deals that don't work out that help you get a better deal in the future.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Be reasonable.</strong> Good negotiators understand the market value of what they are negotiating and can understand the deal from the other party's perspective. If you seek an unreasonable deal, you are likely wasting everyone's time and won't end up with anything.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Be perceptive</strong>. They pick up clues from the other party to determine what kind of offer they would accept and use this information to negotiate the best deal possible.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Separating Needs vs. Wants</h2> <p>Do I need a new computer? My kids say that I do. I am using the same computer they used to play games on way back when George W. Bush was in office. I sometimes use my cellphone to look things up while my computer slowly loads a webpage. But I don't need new computer. I can still get everything done with my old computer, including paying bills, updating my budget spreadsheet, and even writing books and articles for extra income.</p> <p>Separating needs from wants is a key personal finance skill. There is almost no limit to bigger, better, and newer stuff that you could decide to buy. The best way to make spending decisions is to become disciplined at distinguishing needs from wants.</p> <p>I like to think about the consequences of not buying something as a tool to distinguish needs from wants. For example, if I don't buy the new shoes I am considering, will I not be able to go to work? Will I miss events for my kids because I don't have any shoes that are acceptable to wear? Will I not be able to exercise safely? At some point new shoes can become a need, but if your old shoes are still doing everything you need your shoes to do, then new shoes are a want.</p> <h2>4. Driving Down Interest Rates</h2> <p>A lot of people carry debt &mdash; the total credit card debt for Americans is set to hit $1 trillion dollars this year. Of course, your best move is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">pay off debt as quickly as possible</a> to reduce your interest payments and to free up your money to invest or pursue other opportunities. But while you are paying off debt, it is worth putting in some effort to keep your interest rates as low as possible.</p> <p>The average credit card interest rate is nearly 15%. If you have credit card debt and don't keep an eye on the interest rate, you could easily end up paying 15% or more. Shopping around can almost always result in a better deal. If you have a good credit rating, you can likely find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-balance-transfer-credit-card-is-the-best-for-you?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">a balance transfer offer</a> that will allow you to pay a balance transfer fee of about 3% and 0% interest for a year or more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>I count maintaining favorable interest rates as a personal finance skill because you have to keep track of interest rates on your accounts and continuously find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-balance-transfer-offer-a-good-deal?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">good deals on balance transfers</a>. This skill can save you thousands of dollars per year on interest.</p> <h2>5. Continuous Investment</h2> <p>People who are financially successful do more than reduce spending and save money. They take the next step and invest money that they free up through smart spending decisions.</p> <p>This investment mentality is what allows the small amount of money you avoid spending to grow into real wealth that can change your lifestyle and allow you the freedom to pursue your interests. Regular saving over time adds up &mdash; even with small investment amounts.</p> <p>Continuous investment requires discipline to keep investing money for the future rather than spending it now. Savvy investors assess what kind of investments to buy and manage their investment portfolio based on economic trends and the performance of their investments.</p> <p>The most important factor in being a successful investor is to make regular investments over the long term and let your wealth grow.</p> <h2>6. Bargain Hunting</h2> <p>Frugal people are known for having good bargain hunting skills. Making a purchase is a challenge to find the way to spend the least amount of money to get what is needed. Bargain hunting usually involves using coupons and shopping around to find the best price.</p> <p>Sometimes buying a used item rather than a new item is the best bargain &mdash; you can save 50% or more buying used instead of new. Items such as tools or vehicles that are useful for years make good used purchases, but technology products often become obsolete so fast that buying new can be the best deal.</p> <p>Buying at the right time can be a key to finding bargains. I am always shocked at how cheap winter clothes and coats sell for in March at clearance sales. I bought most of my winter clothes for 90% off! Keep an eye out for bargains at store closing sales and clearance sales for items you know you will use later.</p> <p>An important part of bargain hunting is deciding on the best item to buy. If you can figure out the least expensive item that meets your needs, and then find the best price on that item, you are on your way to mastering bargain hunting skills.</p> <h2>7. Reuse</h2> <p>There is an old saying &quot;Waste not, want not&quot; that summarizes the personal finance skill of reuse well. If you don't waste anything, you will have plenty and not want for anything. I recently got into a conversation with my father about the oldest clothing item that we are still wearing. I mentioned that I still wear a lot of my 20-year-old clothes I got back in college. My father mentioned that he was currently wearing a shirt that is nearly 40 years old!</p> <p>Reusing things that most people would throw away is a key skill to save money and live well with less. When I was younger, I would always prefer to have new clothes rather than wear old clothes. Now I find comfort from the familiarity of wearing clothes with lots of memories attached to them. It seems like older stuff was constructed better than newer items, anyway.</p> <p>I think a lot of people are in the habit of throwing old things away just because they are old. Learn to keep reusing items until they no longer work, and then use them for something else. When my t-shirts start wearing out, I get sunburned through the holes in the fabric. Is it time to throw the shirt away? No! I use it for a rag.</p> <h2>8. Food Preparation</h2> <p>It is amazing how much restaurant food, fast food, and prepared food items from the grocery store people are buying these days. It does take some planning and work to prepare your own food at home, but you can save a ton of money and eat healthier, too.</p> <p>In addition to having basic cooking skills and equipment, having a plan is key to mastering the skill of preparing your own food at home. I know it works best at my house when we make a list of meals and the buy groceries with these meals in mind. Sometimes we even write on the calendar what is for dinner to avoid not coming up with something and ending up with expensive restaurant food.</p> <h2>9. Do It Yourself (DIY)</h2> <p>It seems like everyone that comes to my house to do something charges about $60 to $100 per hour. I try to minimize paying people to come over and try to take care of maintenance and repairs myself instead to save money. I learned to do basic plumbing repairs and installation, including sweating copper pipes with a torch. I can do basic electrical wiring and repairs. Some people in my neighborhood have landscaping companies take care of mowing and weed control, but not me. The more things you can do for yourself, the more money you can save.</p> <p>Develop skills to do work for yourself instead of paying others to do it for you. You'll save money and get a great feeling of satisfaction when you can do the work yourself.</p> <h2>10. Saying No</h2> <p>Saying &quot;no&quot; is often the key to saving time and money. Would you like to subscribe to a magazine you don't want in order to help your neighbor's kid meet a fundraising goal? How about &quot;no.&quot; Would you like to volunteer to drive 20 miles each way to participate in a committee meeting on your day off? Again, &quot;no&quot; works well here. There are times when you might want to contribute your time and money to a worthy cause, but there are many times you feel pressured into taking on something you don't really want to do.</p> <p>Learning to say &quot;no&quot; and not feel bad about it can save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation.</p> <h2>11. Efficiency</h2> <p>Efficiency is the skill of doing as much as possible with the least amount of resources. Efficiency can mean making a single trip to do all of your shopping instead of taking multiple trips. Efficiency can mean driving a smaller vehicle that costs less and uses less fuel every day.</p> <p>Often, efficiency keeps paying back over time. For example, the efficient choice to live in a smaller house results in a lower mortgage payment and lower utility bills year after year.</p> <p>Energy savings is another example of efficiency in action. I spent a few hours and a few dollars to upgrade most of my light bulbs to LED. Due to this efficiency, I save money every month since lighting my house now costs almost nothing.</p> <p>Another form of efficiency is simply having less stuff. Do you really need eight different kinds of cleaning products under your kitchen sink? Having less stuff not only costs less, but less stuff takes less space as well. With fewer things around, it is easier to keep things organized and find what you need.</p> <h2>12. Contentment</h2> <p>I am sure that you can live with less, but can you be happy with less?</p> <p>Contentment is living with a positive attitude and being satisfied for all of the things you have instead of wishing that you had blingy stuff. I drive an 11-year-old car that runs well. It even has leather seats and all wheel drive. What more do I need?</p> <p>People might not get a sense of status from the vehicle I drive, but I am clearly beyond worrying about that. Part of being content with what you have is to stop caring about what other people think. People who know me respect my work and my accomplishments, and I am not really concerned about what strangers think about my car.</p> <p>Contentment means setting your own standard for happiness. This can be difficult to achieve as you look at the photos of expensive vacations, recreational vehicles, and new cars that your friends post on Facebook. It is hard not to want expensive stuff when it seems like everyone else is buying it.</p> <p>But the problem with pursuing happiness by buying expensive stuff is that there is always something else you'll need to buy in order to be happy. As soon as you get back from vacation, it is time to start thinking about where to go for the next one. After your new car isn't the newest on the block anymore, the excitement is gone. Buying happiness is like chasing a mirage. You can't really reach happiness through buying things, but you can spend a lot of money trying!</p> <p>Contentment is about finding happiness in the life you have right now, not the life you could have if only you had more money.</p> <p><em>Which personal finance skills would you master to improve your life the most?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-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/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</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/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-dave-ramsey">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Dave Ramsey</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-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office">How to Save Money at the Post Office</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living advice budgeting investments needs negotiating saving money skills wants wisdom Wed, 15 Jun 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1731280 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_ice_cream_74904405.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways ice cream will cost her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that summer comes with expenses &mdash; higher-priced fuel fill-ups, increased electricity bills from running the A/C nonstop (mine doesn't get a rest from, like, March to October; thank you, first-world luxuries), and sky-high hotel rates. But there are other items that see an uptick during vacation season that you might not immediately recognize. Here's a list to watch with your wallet.</p> <h2>1. Bottled Water</h2> <p>We loooove to wag our fingers at others for buying bottled water &mdash; because get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-aluminum-and-stainless-steel-water-bottles">reusable bottle</a> already! &mdash; but we also understand that sometimes it's necessary. Like when it's hot as lava outside and you're about to have a heat stroke because you forgot your reusable bottle at home. While it may seem innocuous enough to pick up a bottle at your local convenience store now and then, that's not usually how it goes down &mdash; especially if you have kids.</p> <p>According to<a href="http://www.pennypinchingprincess.com"> money-saving expert Nedalee Thomas</a>, who also happens to be CEO of a water-filtration company, a family of four will spend a whopping $1,600 on bottled water a year. Uh, come again?</p> <p>&quot;Consumption is higher in the summer just because of heat and dehydration, but families tend to buy more bottled water when heading out for the day's activities, spending on average $12 a day for a family of four,&quot; Thomas says. &quot;Theme parks and many venues cost much more.&quot;</p> <p>The best way to save &mdash; if you haven't already heard it a <em>million</em> times &mdash; is to refill BPA-free bottles with your own good filtered water.&quot;</p> <p>Chanson Water USA provides a comparison chart of <a href="https://chansonalkalinewater.com/water-ionizer-vs-bottled-water-cost-comparison-chart/">annual costs of various types of bottled water</a> versus what it costs to filter your own water at home, and it's a doozy.</p> <h2>2. Iced Coffee</h2> <p>Drinking more iced coffee during the summer to give yourself a jolt <em>and</em> beat the heat? Well, it's gonna cost you.</p> <p>Grub Street did some digging a few years back to find out<a href="http://www.grubstreet.com/2012/03/why-does-iced-coffee-cost-more-than-hot.html"> why iced coffee costs more than hot coffee</a>, and their findings may make your temperature rise. Save yourself some gas on a trip to the java joint, and pocket the extra money you'd be spending on each cup of cold joe, by making your own watered-down pick-me-up at home.</p> <h2>3. Car Maintenance</h2> <p>Another unexpected way summer will cost you extra money is through car maintenance.</p> <p>&quot;Many dealers and mechanics want to service cars more frequently than the manufacturer recommends, especially during weather transitions, which is both unnecessary and costly,&quot; says car expert Richard Reina. &quot;While hot weather absolutely takes a toll on our vehicles, the best way to cut these costs is taking proper precautions and doing the simple repairs yourself.&quot;</p> <p>He offers a few DIY ways to avoid the mechanic this summer.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Replace wiper blades</strong>: A winter's worth of clearing slush and ice from the windshield takes its toll, resulting in streaking and chattering that you don't want in spring/summer downpours as it could severely hinder your vision and cause an accident.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Check coolant hoses and belts</strong>: It's also important to check coolant hoses and belts for deterioration and wear, and be sure to check all fluid levels. Just as you checked your antifreeze to make sure the freezing point was well below anticipated winter temperatures, check it now to ensure you won't have a boil over during hot summer driving. By performing this basic auto tuneup yourself, you would save $250, as it only costs $100 to DIY compared to a dealer cost of $350.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Test your battery</strong>: As much as the winter is harsh on batteries, summer is, too, with the constant running of the cooling fans and the pull on your alternator from driving with the windows down. Test the battery to make sure you don't get stranded with a no-start on a summer trip. Check the battery connections for tightness and clean away any dirt and corrosion. If it's time for a new battery, I suggest buying them at local &quot;buyer's club&quot; (Costco, Sam's Club) to save money, and change it yourself. You'll save $120, with DIY costing $80 versus dealer prices of $200.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Change your engine oil and filter</strong>: Cold weather is tough on engine oil because it doesn't get a chance to come to normal operating temperature necessary to get rid of moisture and contaminants, which can cause sludge. If you buy the oil yourself, make sure that you are certain that you are using a high-quality oil of the correct viscosity. Often, chain-store oil-change outfits may be using the same oil for different cars. If your car is older with high mileage, it can be very helpful to switch to a heavier oil with different detergent. Higher temps require higher oil weight/viscosity, and since the seals on the engine of an older car have likely started to wear, switching will help keep your engine protected. Also be sure to check the brake/steering/washer fluids while you're under the hood. This will save you $35, as DIY costs $25 compared to dealer cost of $60.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Dining and Drinking Al Fresco</h2> <p>Warmer weather means more opportunity for eating and drinking outdoors, and if you're not careful, it can get out of hand, financially. Nobody wants to cook indoors when it's hot out &mdash; I get it &mdash; so think of alternative ways to eat at home, like by using the outdoor grill more frequently or making meals that don't require a heat source, like salads, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-10-frugal-lunches-are-delicious-hot-or-cold">cold soups</a>, and slow-cooker meals. If you're drinking with your dinner, have a glass of water between adult bevies to reduce the risk of overspending, and tomorrow's pounding headache.</p> <h2>5. Home and Apartment Rentals</h2> <p>Rental season is at its busiest during the warmer months, from May to October, for several reasons. For starters, this period is a time when many people are in transition, especially students who are looking for housing after the school year ends or before it begins. Plus, this time of year is more conducive to moving, because who wants to haul furniture around during a blizzard? Nobody, including those begrudging friends you've enlisted to help you. Because of these factors, and the laws of supply and demand, rental prices may be at a premium during the summer. If you have a choice, wait until the weather gets a bit cooler to make your move.</p> <h2>6. New Cars</h2> <p>According to USAA via TrueCar, you can expect to experience more sticker shock on vehicles during the summer than you would while everybody's hibernating and generally steering clear of walking around car lots in a foot of snow. Prices increase as the weather warms because, again, of our old friend supply and demand. More people are out and about when things thaw out, and their tax refunds are burning holes in the pockets &mdash; an incentive that car dealerships fully take advantage of.</p> <h2>7. Ice Cream</h2> <p>You might think ice cream costs more during the summer because everybody is eating it, but that's not necessarily the case. I mean, it's sort of the reason why you may see higher prices this year, but it's mostly because there's a<a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/03/28/vanilla-shortage-threatens-ice-cream-prices-this-summer.html"> vanilla shortage in Madagascar because of poor harvest quality</a>, and that means less mint chocolate chip for you, me, and the rest of the cone-loving U.S. population. Hey, at least we still have freeze-pops.</p> <p><em>How do you stay on top of your summer budget? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-save-money-when-getting-your-drink-on">15 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Drink On</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-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment Lifestyle budgeting frugal summer ice cream saving money summer summer costs summer fun Tue, 14 Jun 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1730465 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Smart Ways to Save on Father's Day http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_66361267_LARGE.jpg" alt="save money this Father&#039;s Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Father's Day is fast approaching, and dads and grandpas alike deserve some appreciation on their special day. Most of the nation agrees, considering this year, consumers will spend a record-breaking amount on Father's Day. From gifts to meals out, Americans plan to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160607006685/en/Father%E2%80%99s-Day-Spending-Reach-Record-High-14.3-Billion">spend $14.3 billion on dads</a> in 2016. That averages to about $125.92 spent per person on this holiday. However, this huge amount looks subpar when compared to how much was spent on Mother's Day this year, which was $21.4 billion.</p> <p>While fathers deserve the best, you don't have to blow your budget to make your husband, dad, or a grandpa feel special this year.</p> <h2>What Dads Really Want</h2> <p>If you ask Dad what he really wants, he will probably give a frustrating answer of &quot;nothing.&quot; In fact, many dads just want a day of relaxation rather than expensive cuff links or a stressful dinner at a packed restaurant. Here are a few last-minute Father's Day gift ideas that are extra thoughtful and budget-friendly.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-frugal-fathers-day-gift-ideas?ref=seealso">Best Money Tips: Frugal Father's Day Gift Ideas</a></p> <h3>1. Crafts Worth Keeping</h3> <p>While the cute handmade necktie cards are a sweet gesture, try doing a craft with your kids that incorporates their handprint or footprint. This is not only cute, but it seals the memory of just how little your children's hands and feet were in their younger years. Pinterest is filled with many handprint/footprint ideas, including putting two feet together to make a heart, making a football out of a baby footprint, or making a <em>Star Wars</em> Yoda out of a footprint with the phrase, &quot;Yoda best, Dad!&quot;</p> <p>Another idea is to do a photo shoot with your kids holding up different words to a phrase, such as, &quot;I love you.&quot; Two years ago, I had my daughter pose with a letter &quot;D&quot; and &quot;A&quot; and then arranged the pictures to spell &quot;DAD&quot; on a photo card. The total cost was less than $5, and my husband still has the card on his desk at work. You can do this idea for Grandpa, too, and even older children or adult children can do this for their fathers.</p> <p>Last year, I found a printable dad survey on Pinterest and asked my three-year-old to answer questions about her daddy. The results were adorable and hilarious, and my husband asked if I would do that every year and save them.</p> <h3>2. Special Time Together</h3> <p>When's the last time you did something special just with you and your dad? Life can become so busy, and it is easy to put your relationship with your father on the back burner, especially since when we have our own families to manage. Try scheduling special one-on-one time with your father before or after Father's Day. Even if you just sit down and drink coffee together, it will be more meaningful to him then a generic card. Some other affordable ideas include hitting balls at a golfing range, going on a fishing trip (even if that is more your father's thing than yours), or seeing a local sports game together.</p> <p>If you are a family of little ones, your husband might appreciate a day or weekend alone with you or just the guys. Eric Brantner, founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scribblrs.com/">Scribblrs</a> and father to a one-year-old daughter, said, &quot;What I really want for Father's Day is for a night alone with my wife. Having a one-year-old makes that next-to-impossible. But it's what I want more than anything.&quot;</p> <p>Even a trip out as a family can make a great Father's Day treat. Marcus Kusi, marriage blogger at&nbsp;<a href="http://ourpeacefulfamily.com/">Our Peaceful Family</a> and father to two toddler daughters, said, &quot;What I really want for Father's Day is to spend time with my kids, and to appreciate the opportunity they have given me to become a better person.&quot; Try a simple, stress-free outing, such as a trip to the beach or a picnic in the park.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-father-s-day-gifts-dads-actually-want-for-under-100">10 Father's Day Gifts Dads Actually Want for Under $100</a></p> <h2>3. Words Matter</h2> <p>So many times we can save the gushy stuff for Mother's Day and hand our dads a funny or generic card that we signed her name to. But Dad would also appreciate a handwritten note saying how much he is loved. Because who wouldn't want to know that all of their hard efforts and sacrifices have been noticed by their family?</p> <p>Save money by avoiding the generic and cheesy Father's Day cards and opt for a handwritten note instead. Pair it with his favorite chocolate bar, and you have a meaningful gift for under $2.</p> <p>Father's Day is a day to celebrate your day and show him that you appreciate him. Don't get tied up finding the perfect gift that will impress him.</p> <p><em>What are you giving your dad/husband/grandfather for Father's Day this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">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/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-medications">The 5 Best Pet Flea Medications</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office">How to Save Money at the Post Office</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-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Shopping budgeting father Father's Day gifts gifts for dad Holidays saving money shopping Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1730455 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Stop Waiting for Tomorrow http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_binoculars_000029643960.jpg" alt="Woman learning to stop waiting for tomorrow with debt " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is the first part of a five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>Debt sucks. It ties up your resources, robs you of the ability to save, and can cause stress, anxiety, and depression. Still, debt is a big part of our society &mdash; so big that many don't realize the impact it has on their personal finances, even when they're struggling to keep up with payments.</p> <p>Some people stick their heads in the sand because it's easier to ignore debt than take responsibility. The consequences of overcharging and overspending eventually catch up &mdash; and that burden can lead to other consequences, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-debt-is-killing-you-heres-the-cure?ref=5dayplan">physical and mental health issues</a> &mdash; but it doesn't have to.</p> <p>If your debt is out of control, <em>today </em>is the day to take control of your money.</p> <p>The good news is that you don't have to be a financial guru or have a ton of cash to succeed. Whether you have a little or a lot of disposable income, you can begin chipping away at your debt little by little each day when equipped with the correct set of tools and a handy guideline.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>Debt Reduction Starts With a Decision</h2> <p>Be honest, how long have you been talking about reducing debt? A few weeks? A few months? A few years?</p> <p>Now think back to the first time you expressed a desire to get rid of debt. Have you successfully paid off (or paid down) some of your balances? Or have your balances remained the same or increased?</p> <p>If you answered &quot;yes&quot; to the last question, you're not alone. Getting rid of debt has its challenges, and at times you might think it's impossible. The fact that you're reading this article demonstrates a desire to change your mindset and your situation. It doesn't matter what you've done (or haven't done) in the past; this can be a new beginning and the first day on your journey to eliminating debt.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today?ref=5dayplan">How to Start Fighting Debt &mdash;&nbsp;Today</a></p> <h2>You're Not the Only Person With Debt, But You Still Need to Address It</h2> <p>Some people say debt is a part of life and everyone should stop whining and accept debt for what it is. Don't let the naysayers get in your head.</p> <p>Yes, most of us have some sort of debt, but this doesn't mean we have to accept all types of debt. Student loans and mortgages are &quot;good&quot; debt. They are usually cheap (the interest rates are low), and both generally improve our financial lives (education helps us earn more; a home is a valuable asset).</p> <p>Credit card debt, on the other hand, can be a vicious monster. It's expensive and most of what we borrow for will not improve our financial lives. But the moment we confront the monster and say &quot;no more,&quot; the easier it is to break habits that keep us indebted.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today?ref=5dayplan">8 Signs You&rsquo;ve Crossed from &ldquo;Healthy&rdquo; Debt to &ldquo;Problem&rdquo; Debt</a></p> <h2>What Led to Your Debt?</h2> <p>There's not one particular bad habit, but rather several possible habits. Everyone has their own weakness &mdash; mine, for instance, is clothes shopping &mdash; and it's each person's responsibility to identify habits that keep them in a pattern of overspending.</p> <h3>Impulse Buying</h3> <p>Most of us are familiar with this type of buying. You go to the store with intentions of buying one item, but you walk out with three or four items &mdash; basically every trip to Target I've ever had; you know what I'm talking about. This behavior may seem innocent, but it can throw off your budget and increase the likelihood of debt.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money?ref=5dayplan">13 Creative Ways to Avoid Impulse Spending</a></p> <h3>Lack of a Budget</h3> <p>If you never budget, you probably have no idea where your money goes, which means you could be overspending on nonessentials and using credit cards as an extension of your income. Keeping a paper trail helps you visualize how much you're spending and where your money is going, and that alone can be a deterrent to spending more.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-thing-you-can-do-to-start-budgeting-today?ref=5dayplan">One Simple Thing You Can Do to Start Budgeting Today</a></p> <h3>Keeping Up With the Joneses</h3> <p>If your best friend or neighbor buys a new car, you may feel pressure to keep up and prove you can hang with the big spenders. But in reality, you're digging a financial hole for yourself.</p> <p>We're all guilty of at least one of these bad financial habits. We're human, so we're going to make mistakes. But regardless of the habit(s) you're guilty of, you <em>can </em>break the cycle.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances?ref=5dayplan">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></p> <h3>Lack of Income</h3> <p>This isn't a habit, exactly, but whenever our income falls short of our expenses, and we've cut as much as we can, it's time to find more money. Whatever side job or career shift you choose, keep your debt reduction goals in mind. The extra money you earn should go first toward your debt reduction plan.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year?ref=5dayplan">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></p> <h2>The High Cost of Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>If you need help overcoming bad habits and breaking out of debt, it helps to have an understanding of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-valuable-thing-debt-takes-from-you-isnt-money-its-this?ref=5dayplan">true cost of debt</a>.</p> <p>Take for example a $5,000 credit card balance. If you're making $100 payments every month, in your mind, you should be able to pay off this debt in roughly 50 months (4 years). It's simple mathematics, right? Well, not exactly. There's this &quot;little&quot; thing called interest, which is what you pay for the privilege of using credit.</p> <p>Let's say the interest rate on that $5,000 is 18%. Making $100 payments every month, it will take almost eight years to pay off the balance, and you'll have paid over $4,000 in interest, for borrowing that $5,000. Think of how much interest you could <em>earn</em> if you invested that money instead.</p> <p>When you get a credit card statement, the amount due is typically between 1%-3% of the total balance. It will take a staggering amount of time to pay off your debt if you only make minimum payments. If you're just making the minimum payments, to pay off $5,000, it would take <strong>more than 39 years</strong>. You would have paid over $8,000 in interest.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It will take a discouragingly long time to pay off a debt if you stick to only minimum payments,&quot; says Julie Ford, a financial planner in New York City. &quot;Creditors want you to only pay the minimum amount so they can collect interest from you for as long as possible.&quot;</p> <p>The more money you give creditors, the less money you have available for building a rainy day fund. And of course, if you don't have a reserve, it only takes one emergency to put you deeper in debt.</p> <p>According to the American Household Credit Card Debt Study, the &quot;average U.S. household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt,&quot; and a recent Google Consumer Survey found that &quot;approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, and 21% don't even have a savings account.&quot; As a personal finance expert who has experienced debt myself, these statistics are sobering to say the least.</p> <p>When debt prevents saving for a rainy day fund, it may also interfere with your ability to save for retirement. Even if you have a 401K or an individual retirement account, you might only contribute the bare minimum, if anything. As a result, the prospect of working until you're literally on your deathbed is a real possibility.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?ref=5dayplan">Everything You Didn&rsquo;t Understand About Credit Card Interest</a></p> <h2>Find Your Motivation &mdash; And Stay Motivated</h2> <p>The road to getting your bank accounts into the black can be rough. What's the motivating force driving your desire to reduce debt? If you don't have an end goal or a reason for eliminating debt, it's easy to give up as soon as you hit a bump in the road. I've seen it time and time again, especially from chronic spenders. To avoid this pitfall, brainstorm and write down what you hope to accomplish by reducing debt.</p> <ul> <li>Do you want to set a good example for your children?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are you tired of losing sleep and worrying about your debt?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do you want to buy a house, but fear debt will prevent qualifying for a mortgage?</li> </ul> <p>Of course, it isn't enough to know what motivates you, but rather you have to stay motivated. The best way to do this is to surround yourself with likeminded individuals &mdash; those who share your goal and can offer encouragement along the way &mdash; and avoid those people who encourage your negative spending habits, like your house-poor friends who spend all their disposable income on Thirsty Thursday shots and late-night tacos. (We all still have a few of 'em.)</p> <p>If your close friends and family are in debt and don't have a desire to reduce or eliminate their balances, don't expect these people to steer you in the right direction or provide the support you need. Look outside your inner circle and connect with people who share your mindset. For example, you can work with a financial planner, join a debt support group, or follow the debt success stories of personal finance bloggers.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt?ref=5dayplan">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</a></p> <h2>Stop Procrastinating</h2> <p>Procrastination is the avoidance of starting or completing a task. It's a natural human tendency and we procrastinate for different reasons. These reasons might include the fear of failure, lack of interest, and even the fear of success. But with regard to debt, procrastination might have everything to do with lack of knowledge. You know you need to deal with your debt, but you don't know how, so you put it off.</p> <p>If you want to overcome procrastination, you have to learn ways to make debt reduction a reality. It's a step-by-step process that can take months or years. But the process is easier than you think when you have realistic expectations and set small, manageable goals for yourself</p> <p>But before you can get to that point, you need to first find out how much you owe and learn strategies to monitor your debt. Check back tomorrow, and we'll take that first step by Adding It Up.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You&rsquo;re Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn&rsquo;t Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks -- And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow">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/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-add-it-up">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Add It Up</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-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-search-and-destroy">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Search and Destroy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan budgeting impulse spending income interest keeping up with the joneses Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1723444 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Brilliant Tips From "Smart Mom, Rich Mom" http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smart_mom_baby_000088665045.jpg" alt="Learning brilliant tips from Smart Mom Rich Mom" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's hard enough to save money and focus on building personal wealth when you're single and building your career. But while also raising a family? Forget it. It feels almost impossible. Your kids need to be clothed, fed, cared for, educated, socially stimulated, and financially supported, over and over again until the day they move out of the house and can live on their own. And all of those needs require money in order to be met. Oh, and also? You have needs, too. It's easy to toss those aside, but they are equally as important.</p> <p>It's overwhelming! However, you can create a deep and cozy financial cushion while raising your little ones.</p> <p>Personal finance expert Kimberly Palmer knows this feeling all too well. And in her new book, <em>Smart Mom, Rich Mom</em>, she examines the outdated misconception that women can't become savvy investors while also raising a family.</p> <p>Building personal wealth has historically been a Boys Club, with women serving as mothers and arm candy &mdash; nothing more &mdash; to the powerful men who handle the family finances. Obviously this stereotype needs to be blasted to smithereens, because it's ridiculous and utterly incorrect, and Palmer's advice serves as the metaphorical grenade to do just that. From the very first page, she pulls the pin out and ultimately clears the path for you to become just what her title suggests: a smart mom, and a rich mom. It's a must-read for all aspiring financial lady bosses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-money-misconceptions-about-women?ref=seealso">4 Common Money Misconceptions About Women</a>)</p> <p>Here are four of her most brilliant tips.</p> <h2>1. Understand Your Power</h2> <p>Women have much more financial responsibility &mdash; and power &mdash; than they know. And that trend is increasing.</p> <ul> <li>By 2020, women will control two-thirds of the country's wealth, and 90% of us will handle our finances completely on our own at some point in our lives, due to death or divorce, according to Fidelity.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>In four out of 10 households with children, moms are the only or primary breadwinners, according to the Pew Research Center.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Yet, according to a report from Boston Consulting Group, most women are unhappy with the level of service from their financial services providers, and many feel as if they are &quot;talked down to&quot; by male advisers.</li> </ul> <p>Clearly, the industry has yet to recognize that our lack of male reproductive parts in no way inhibits our ability to be our household's money boss. And in fact, a lot of us are pretty good at it.</p> <p>So don't ever second-guess your power as a financially savvy investor. Don't ever allow your adviser or anyone else make you feel like a clueless housewife.</p> <h2>2. Focus on the Bigger Picture</h2> <p>In chapter one, &quot;Save (and Spend) Like a Mother,&quot; Palmer notes how the Great Recession made saving money cool again. It's no longer embarrassing to shop generics or clip coupons, because why should anyone spend more than they need to?</p> <p>But the practice of penny pinching and coupon clipping are methods of short-term saving, and because they can become time-consuming habits, they can lead to short-term financial planning, too.</p> <p>Not that we should nix the couponing altogether, but we need to leave room to focus on the bigger picture. Palmer suggests finding ways to save more on the grand scheme of things, like with a flex-spending account for childcare, or negotiating monthly bills to put that extra money into your savings account. In a perfect comparison, Palmer encourages becoming more of a &quot;skilled shopper&quot; and not just a &quot;discount chaser.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Embrace Your Ambition</h2> <p>In chapter four, &quot;Like a Boss,&quot; Palmer describes how exhausted she felt after the birth of her first child, and how that exhaustion led to concerns about not being able to contribute financially to the household while on maternity leave. Such a painfully relatable concern, I just wanted to leap onto the page and hug this woman for acknowledging it. You spend your early life building your career, becoming self-sufficient, and then you spend nine months growing a human in your middle, only to be left feeling rundown and dependent on your partner, in every possible way, during those first months of motherhood.</p> <p>Of course, as we all do, Palmer made it through the tough transition. And she did so by keeping that flame of ambition burning. She took on freelance work; she used her child's naptime as time to grow her Etsy shop. She had a moment of clarity early on that motivated her to create her own income stream, and ultimately ensure that her new baby would be given the best care, and the best life possible. So when those moments come, latch on and find ways to be your own boss.</p> <h2>4. Own Your Independence</h2> <p>In chapter five, &quot;Investing Mamas,&quot; Palmer talks about the importance of learning to manage your finances your own, as early on as possible. &quot;We are going to be on our own at some point,&quot;she writes,&quot; whether through choice, tragedy, or the simple fact that wives tend to outlive their husbands. That&rsquo;s why we need to know how to manage our investments with the same confidence we apply to paying bills or planning the week&rsquo;s meals.&quot;</p> <p>So while it's helpful for spouses to split household duties down the middle to make life easier, there shouldn't be a task that your partner does that you have no idea how to do, especially when it comes to managing money.</p> <p>Not only are Palmer's tips insightful and relatable, but she also provides clear, actionable steps at the end of each chapter to help you become the financially savvy, and independent woman you want to be. The book ends with a 12-month guide to creating a year of financial growth and brilliant organization so that in just a year's time, you can go from a stressed, overworked mama, to confident, money-savvy mom boss. Palmer is in your corner, and she's rooting for you to succeed.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/Palmer%2C%20Smart%20Mom.jpg" width="605" height="459" alt="" /></p> <p>Feeling inspired yet? Pick up your copy of <a href="http://www.kimberly-palmer.com/smartmomrichmom/"><em>Smart Mom, Rich Mom</em></a>, on sale today!</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/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-post-office">How to Save Money at the Post Office</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Entertainment book reviews budgeting building wealth frugal living investing frugal living hacks Kimberly Palmer new books parenting parenting on a budget saving money Wed, 01 Jun 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1718633 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Expenses You Should Never Cut http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut" 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_heart_000071794005.jpg" alt="Woman learning which expenses she should never cut" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, I've come up with hundreds of ways to trim proverbial fat from nearly every aspect of your budget. And I stand by those tips, tricks, and strategies because most of us have areas where we can pull back on the spending a bit.</p> <p>But some things are nonnegotiable. There are necessities &mdash; sometimes rather costly ones &mdash; that are required for us to live decent, healthy, and satisfying lives. What are they? Take a look at these eight expenses you should never cut, and let me know some of the areas where you just can't or won't shake out savings in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. Health Care</h2> <p>First and foremost, it's critical to have health insurance. It's required in the United States, whether from a private provider or via Obamacare, and without it you run the risk of either being denied care or racking up serious medical bills that could put your finances in dire straits for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>Aside from that, when you're sick or need medical attention, you want the best care you can get. Some prescriptions are expensive, too, and health insurance can greatly reduce those costs. You should never let coverage lapse because you're generally healthy or you don't think you'll fall ill anytime soon. Murphy's Law dictates that it's in that scenario you'll need medical attention, and you'll want to have insurance on your side.</p> <h2>2. Personal Hygiene</h2> <p>Soap, shampoo, and toothpaste are essential &mdash; and readily available, like on nearly every corner of your neighborhood, for not much money. Which is weird, because I know plenty of people, perfectly well-off individuals at that, who don't seem to use any of it on a regular basis.</p> <p>If you're one of those folks who likes to gripe at the cost of personal hygiene products and therefore use that as your excuse to skimp on washing yourself on a regular basis, you'll be happy to know that bargain brands, like Suave for example, do a bang-up job of keeping you clean. Not to mention that there are always coupons available for hygiene products, especially toothpaste, that can help reduce the cost of these items. Find the items on sale plus pair them with coupons and you'll spend oftentimes less than a dollar on what you need per item.</p> <h2>3. Personal Safety</h2> <p>Most of us practice personal safety consistently. We try to avoid automobile accidents, we look both ways when we cross the road, and we never run with scissors. Those are all subconscious decisions that don't cost a dime, which is why you might be asking yourself how personal safety costs you actual dollars and cents.</p> <p>For starters, the car that you drive should be rated for safety. When you're strapped for cash and need an inexpensive vehicle, choosing a cheap car that gets you from A to B may seem like an ideal option. Certainly there are times &mdash; and financial constraints &mdash; that call for this type of decision-making, but you'll almost always regret it in the long run. Instead, I recommend loosening the purse strings just a little more so you can buy a vehicle that will protect you if you're in an accident, opposed to one that's already falling apart.</p> <p>Another example is safety on the water. Life vests are cumbersome, and nobody likes to wear them. But you know what? They save lives, and there are millions of people in this world who will tell you that they regret not buying or renting life preservers during an outing that resulted in someone's harm or death. It could have been prevented if they had just sprung for the darn things. Thus, spring for the darn things.</p> <h2>4. Healthy Food</h2> <p>It's true, food is expensive, especially the healthy stuff &mdash; but you shouldn't be making cuts to your budget that include reducing the amount of healthy food you're eating by replacing it with less expensive, toxic food &mdash; like that microwaveable junk that comes from the freezer section or the stuff you grab at the drive-thru window.</p> <p>It's okay to indulge in it every now and then &mdash; who doesn't like to dive headfirst into a bag of Doritos from time to time? But most of your food should be fresh and nutritious. You owe it to yourself &mdash; and your longevity &mdash; to eat healthy, and there are lots of ways you can cut down on your healthy food bills if you put in the legwork before going grocery shopping. Wise Bread can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">save a substantial amount</a> on your supermarket bills if you do a little digging for advice.</p> <h2>5. Mental Health Care</h2> <p>Mental health is a hot topic of conversation nowadays, though we should have started talking about it seriously a long time ago. Personally I've suffered from depression and anxiety &mdash; and still do from time to time &mdash; and I've known too many people who have committed suicide because they weren't able to figure things out. Which is why it's my duty to tell you that your mental health is worth every extra penny you can afford. If you need medication, get the medication. If you need someone to talk to &mdash; which can help immensely when you're troubled &mdash; go see a therapist. If you have decent health insurance, prescriptions and therapy should be covered so you can afford to help yourself.</p> <p>And it goes without saying that if you feel like there's no hope left, please believe me when I tell you that there is. People care about you, and you can talk anonymously about whatever you're feeling by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255. You matter; whether you believe it right now or not &mdash; <em>you matter</em>.</p> <h2>6. Insurance</h2> <p>By law in most U.S. states you're required to have car insurance. So if you're thinking about cutting it because you don't drive very often or very far, you're in for a rude awakening if you have the unfortunate luck of being in an accident &mdash; and you'll probably go to jail on top of whatever expenses the crash racked up.</p> <p>Homeowners and renters insurance are also areas where it's not wise to be a miser. You don't have to have super-premium, platinum, Superman coverage, but you should have enough coverage to fully cover the things you own &mdash; so they can be replaced quickly and efficiently &mdash; in the event of an accident.</p> <h2>7. Debt Repayment</h2> <p>If you're already pinching pennies because you're in debt, it can be easy to brush it to the side and try to forget about it. You're in so deep that you'll never pay it off, so why worry about it, right? Wrong.</p> <p>In this case, you have few options to stay on track, but you may be able to cut something less important from your budget to continue making payments, or &mdash; and I know this is an offensive idea to some &mdash; pick up an extra job or side gig to start earning more income. The problem with debt is that it will never go away, and it's your responsibility to pay off what you've accumulated. You alone made those purchases, and you alone need to pay them off. There are assistance programs out there that can help, and I recommend researching your options in that regard, but whatever you do, don't act like it doesn't exist. It does, and it will follow you around like a black cloud for the rest of your life until you address it.</p> <h2>8. Things Your Kids Depend On</h2> <p>There's a buzzword that's being tossed around willy-nilly right now with regards to children and teenagers (and even 20-somethings). We hear it a lot: Entitlement.</p> <p>While I contend that American children tend to be somewhat entitled, there are some things to which they're <em>actually</em> entitled &mdash; like a proper education and health services. If your child needs a tutor, hire a tutor. If your child needs a therapist, seek therapy. Hopefully you had children for the right reasons, because you wanted to have a family to love and care for. If you're trying to be over-thrifty in these areas, you may not be doing the best job of holding up your end of the parenting bargain.</p> <p>Find areas in your own grown-up budget to eliminate &mdash; like one of your many memberships perhaps, or that adults-only vacation &mdash; and help your kid stay on the right path, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You owe them that much.</p> <p><em>What costs do you refuse to skimp on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut">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/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</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-easy-ways-to-start-taking-better-care-of-yourself-today">9 Easy Ways to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself Today</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-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budgeting children expenses family Health healthy foods hygiene necessary costs safety Mon, 30 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1717320 at http://www.wisebread.com