entertainment http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5993/all en-US Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-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_74523869_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="these items help you live longer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life has its ups and downs. Despite the problems we face, most of us would give anything to maximize longevity. Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to have a long, fulfilling life. Some things are fairly obvious, such as quitting a bad habit like smoking, and avoiding life-threatening behaviors. What you might not realize, however, is that certain purchases also have a hand in extending your lifespan. Here are eight things you can buy to help you live longer.</p> <h2>1. Books</h2> <p>After finishing high school or college, maybe you vowed never to pick up another book again. Reading was no doubt a grueling chore while you were cramming for an exam, but there are benefits to making reading a regular routine. According to a new study, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/08/book-up-for-a-longer-life-readers-die-later-study-finds">reading can boost cognitive function</a>, and people who read for at least 30 minutes a day can extend their lives and live two years longer than those who don't read.</p> <h2>2. A Cat</h2> <p>If you're thinking about getting a pet, don't automatically assume a dog is the better choice. Some cats aren't as social or playful as dogs. Nonetheless, owning a cat can be good for your heart and have a positive effect on your life. The National Health and Nutrition Examination study followed 4,500 men and women over a 20-year period. More than half of the <a href="http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20080221/owning-a-cat-good-for-the-heart">participants owned a cat</a> during their lives. The study found that people who never had a cat were 30% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who had owned a cat.</p> <h2>3. Floss</h2> <p>Brushing your teeth at least two times a day contributes to oral health. But if you're looking to add years to your life, don't forget to <a href="http://amzn.to/2cf5qo2">floss</a>. The American Dental Association recommends daily flossing, and for good reason. Flossing &mdash; which helps remove particles of food from places a toothbrush can't reach &mdash; can add as much as six years to your life. The <a href="http://www.today.com/health/there-s-little-proof-flossing-protects-your-teeth-or-gums-t101389">benefits of flossing</a> have recently been hotly debated, but not flossing increases the risk of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Gingivitis can lead to heart disease, stroke, and infection.</p> <h2>4. Sunscreen</h2> <p>Whether you're at the beach, an amusement park, driving in the car, or working in your garden, it's important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays with <a href="http://amzn.to/2cf4K2j">sunscreen</a>. Sunshine is an excellent source of vitamin D, but too much exposure can be deadly. Having more than five sunburns can double your risk for melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Therefore,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sunburn/five-ways-to-treat-a-sunburn">always apply sunscreen</a> before exposing your skin to the sun, and reapply as directed.</p> <h2>5. Coffee</h2> <p>You don't have to feel guilty about starting your morning with a cup of Joe. Coffee can provide a much-needed energy boost to get through the day, and it can help you live longer. Researchers found that <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-your-coffee-habit-help-you-live-longer-201601068938">coffee has antioxidants that protect our bodies</a> from damage. The beverage can reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and type 2 diabetes. But it's important to drink in moderation. Too much caffeine also increases blood pressure and can cause sleep problems.</p> <h2>6. Bike</h2> <p>One or more days a week, ride your bike to work or while running errands. And if you have a regular exercise routine, incorporate cycling a few days a week. Researchers have found a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uu.nl/en/news/dutch-bikers-live-six-months-longer">link between riding a bike and living longer</a>. For every hour you bike, you can add one hour to your life.</p> <h2>7. Blood Pressure Monitor</h2> <p>You probably don't give your blood pressure a second thought &mdash; but you should. High blood pressure is a silent killer because it increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Rather than wait for a health crisis to learn you have high blood pressure, invest in a <a href="http://amzn.to/2cIGCXS">blood pressure monitor</a> and regularly check your levels to ensure they remain within a healthy range (less than 120/80 mm Hg).</p> <p>Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, and you may have higher than normal readings after exercising or eating. If your numbers are consistently high, talk to your doctor. With lifestyle changes or medication you can lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of early death.</p> <h2>8. A Wedding Ring</h2> <p>Maybe you're happy living a bachelor or bachelorette life. Even so, there are benefits to tying the knot. Not only can you enjoy companionship, a study conducted by Duke University Medical Center found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/marriage-research_n_2450639.html">people who never marry</a> were &quot;more than twice as likely to die early in life than those people in long-term, stable relationships.&quot; The study followed 4,800 people born in the 1940s. These findings support other studies, which found that married people had a lower risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.</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/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-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-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/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</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/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</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/ready-to-buy-some-exercise-equipment-read-this-first">Ready To Buy Some Exercise Equipment? Read This First.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-videos">The 5 Best Exercise Videos</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-ways-to-get-fit-with-your-dog">7 Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Shopping entertainment exercise extend your life green living health care Live Longer longevity marriage pets Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1794518 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</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-best-money-saving-channels-on-youtube">9 Best Money Saving Channels on YouTube</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 Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20 http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_cash_20_39629376.jpg" alt="Finding brilliant ways to stretch $20" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Few great things in this life are free. Even the most frugal folks have trouble staying under $20 doing any particular activity. The world is quite the pricey place now. But if $20 is all you have left to spend on weekend fun, here are 72 ways to drop that Harriet Tubman.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_diy_painting_000017057578.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less?ref=fbf">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a> &mdash; Is that $20 burning a hole in your pocket? Put it to good use with some simple and frugal home improvement projects. Because you really don't need to throw away big bucks on every repair or piece of decor.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-baltimore-the-20-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in Baltimore: The 20 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; If you find yourself in Baltimore, check out one of the last remaining drive-in theaters, visit the grave of John Wilkes Booth, or take in the city from the water in the Baltimore water taxi.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_applying_makeup_000060162238.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-brand-name-beauty-buys-under-20?ref=fbf">10 Great Brand Name Beauty Buys Under $20</a> &mdash; You don't need to settle for store brand beauty products to score good deals. These brand name beauty products are top notch, and will fit right into your limited budget.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-new-york-city-the-15-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in New York City: The 15 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; Strolling around the Big Apple wondering if a gourmet coffee and a slice will deplete your funds? Never fear! You can check out the Brooklyn Bridge, see an off-Broadway play, or grab a bite from a food truck. The options are endless in this beautiful city.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/los-angeles-5224486542_688f23ce34_z.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-in-los-angeles-the-16-best-ways-to-spend-it?ref=fbf">$20 in Los Angeles: The 16 Best Ways to Spend It</a> &mdash; And on the other coast is sunny LA, where the people are gorgeous and the pressed juice is in abundance. But don't waste your $20 on just one pricey juice, when you can be an audience member at a live show and still eat all the tacos.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-dinner-party-for-6-feed-em-for-under-20?ref=fbf">A Dinner Party for 6: Feed 'Em for Under $20</a> &mdash; Hosting a dinner party is stressful, especially if you only have $20 to feed everyone! But here are some brilliant tricks to fill the bellies of your guests without going over your $20 limit.</p> <p><em>What other brilliant ways can you stretch $20? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-50-money-moves-you-need-to-make-when-big-changes-happen">Flashback Friday: 50 Money Moves You Need to Make When Big Changes Happen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-45-life-lessons-youd-give-to-your-younger-self">Flashback Friday: 45 Life Lessons You&#039;d Give to Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-63-best-cooking-hacks-for-busy-people">Flashback Friday: 63 Best Cooking Hacks for Busy People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-59-skills-frugal-people-need-to-master">Flashback Friday: 59 Skills Frugal People Need to 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/flashback-friday-the-81-best-tips-for-saving-big-at-the-grocery-store">Flashback Friday: The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting $20 beauty entertainment fbf flashback friday frugal living money management Spending Money weekend activities Fri, 22 Jul 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1757097 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_17015005_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="frugal families love board games" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My siblings and I spent our childhood playing popular, mainstream board games. <a href="http://amzn.to/29V2gS0">Monopoly</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auGmXZ">The Game of Life</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auI4bu">Clue</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2auHwm6">Chinese Checkers</a>, and <a href="http://amzn.to/2auHrPy">Pictionary</a> granted us hours of family fun, interrupted occasionally by a temper tantrum. Monopoly, as many people know, can be dull and brutal.</p> <p>Playing board games died off in my high school years. Once I hit college, I was introduced to a wider variety of games &mdash; and the spark was rekindled. Instead of vegging in front of the TV or spending money to go see a movie, we began to sit down to play board games once again. Here are eight reasons why you should pick up boardgaming as a family activity, too.</p> <h2>1. So Many Game Options</h2> <p>Dozens of new games are introduced every year by major board game companies and individuals through Kickstarter campaigns. You don't need, nor should you, limit your family to the games you can find on Walmart's shelves.</p> <p>A local game store, or Amazon, will all have a broader collection of board games that range anywhere from $5-$100. This large collection of potential games will increase the chance of finding a game your family will love at the right price range.</p> <h2>2. Game Guidance From the Pros</h2> <p>Don't be intimidated by a new game. No one expects you to fork over the money for a game without a little guidance on how to play. There are a number of YouTube channels dedicated to reviewing and recommending games to help individuals find good games.</p> <p>Frugal families might want to check out any of these YouTube shows to watch reviews of games before purchasing the game:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9QtdiRJYro&amp;list=PL0Y9n5uBJuXxjSe6lJEHRZICCHym3e-aS">TableTop</a> with Wil Wheaton</li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/WatchItPlayed">Watch It Played</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/thedicetower">The Dice Tower</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/MoonratMedia/videos">Board With Life</a></li> </ul> <h2>3. Access to Simple and Clear Game Rules</h2> <p>Board games can be complicated. I have a game that has around 30 pages of rules. Even as an experienced gamer, I find that a tad intimidating. There are a variety of different interactive and visual means to help families deal with learning these complicated rules for more enjoyable game play.</p> <ul> <li>Check out free board game rules introduction videos (as mentioned above) and game playthroughs on YouTube.</li> <li>Search the Android or iTunes app store for free or cheap digital versions of the game. Ascension and Coup are both complicated games that have free app versions that provide interactive walkthroughs.</li> <li>Look for free game aids that can help you understand the rules, set the game's difficulty level, and randomize board setup. Settlers of Catan, Legendary, and Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game all have free player aids.</li> </ul> <h2>4. You Can Shop Bigger, for Lower Prices</h2> <p>Support your local TableTop store when you can, but don't feel bad if you occasionally need to turn to bigger retailers like Toys 'R Us, Target, Amazon, or Walmart for lower prices. Even better, if you find a game at a store you can't in good conscious shop from, you can utilize price matching to get that lower price on either an in-store or online purchase.</p> <h2>5. Try Board Game Rental Services</h2> <p>An alternative option to creating your own version of popular games is to rent board games rather than buy them. This has the bonus of being fairly cheap, allows you to explore different types of games, and allows you to play games that might be out of your price range.</p> <p>You can either rent games by seeing if your local board game store has a rental service, or checking out an online board game rental store. In rare cases, you might even find that your local library has added board games to their rental collection.</p> <h2>6. DIY Board Games</h2> <p>Not ready to spend $60 for a game? Here's a bit of good news: With a little creativity and work, you can easily create <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">DIY board games to save money</a>.</p> <p>Don't stop there though. There are a number of fun games you can easily DIY.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8-XTMbszPk">Telestrations</a> &mdash; A mix of telephone and Pictionary, requires you to cut out 30+ medium-sized pieces of paper and give everyone a pen.</li> <li><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0hX47QFtGI">Superfight</a> &mdash; A game where you present a case over which person, object, or animal in a match-up would win. It only requires you to cut out card-sized pieces of paper. On 1/3 of the pieces of paper, you will write any sentient object, person, or creature. On the rest of the cards, in a different color pen or a different color paper, you'll write an object, personality trait, or physical trait.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Fan-Made DIY Board Games</h2> <p>There are tons of dedicated fans that have already done all the hard work of creating original fan games or expansions of already-made board games. All you need to do is download the PDF versions of their work and print it off at home.</p> <p>Here are a few free fan-made versions of board games:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1416104/printer-studio-ready-templates">Legendary: A Star Wars Deckbuilding Game</a></li> <li><a href="http://bangcardgame.blogspot.com/p/bang-custom-expansions.html">Bang!</a></li> <li><a href="http://enter-there.com/">Game of Thrones: The Board Game</a></li> </ul> <h2>8. Choose Games With High Replay Value</h2> <p>Board games can be expensive. Games tend to run anywhere from $10-$60. Yes, a $60 game might be expensive, but you can make that price worth it by carefully choosing games that grant high replay value. These are games that often come with extra boards, scenarios, or cards that offer a slightly fresh gaming experience each time you play. These are also games where it isn't easy for players to pinpoint a set strategy to win.</p> <p>Here are a few games with high replay value:</p> <ul> <li>Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game</li> <li>Betrayal at the House on the Hill</li> <li>Robo Rally</li> <li>Cosmic Encounter</li> </ul> <p>If you need a new pastime, board games can be a fun, cost-effective activity that offer hours of family fun. Between the vast number of games and the rapidly growing TableTop community &mdash; on and off-line &mdash; now is the time to adopt board gaming as a new family pastime.</p> <p><em>Do you have family game nights? Which board games do you play? 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/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-kids-activities">How to Save Money on Kids&#039; Activities</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-best-sites-to-help-your-kids-learn-about-money">8 Best Sites to Help Your Kids Learn About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Entertainment Family board game board games entertainment family time fun things to do game night games kids quality time things to do on the weekend Thu, 21 Jul 2016 09:30:27 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1756345 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Little Things That Make — and Keep — America Great http://www.wisebread.com/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_american_flag_39580462.jpg" alt="Woman counting things that make and keep America great" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Donald Trump has built his entire presidential campaign on the motto &quot;Make America Great Again,&quot; but many people are wondering, when did it stop being great? The truth is, despite all our issues, we're still a pretty awesome country &mdash; and there's no sign of that stopping anytime soon. Thus, this Independence Day, put politics aside to appreciate all the freedoms, freebies, and fun stuff this country has to offer &mdash; without asking for too much in return.</p> <h2>1. Take a Penny, Leave a Penny</h2> <p>We've all been a cent or two short at the convenience store, and the little take a penny, leave a penny dish by the cash register helps keep us from breaking another bill or having to put everything back because we don't have the extra few cents. If you've ever taken advantage of this uniquely American concept (they were common in Canada, too, until the country eliminated the penny from their currency in 2013), be sure to do you part by leaving a Lincoln or two the next time you see one.</p> <h2>2. Paying It Forward</h2> <p>You've heard tales on social media about somebody who started a trend at, say, a coffee shop or tollbooth to pay for the person behind them. Sometimes these random acts of kindness stop after a few customers, but every once in a while, Americans let their generous spirit really shine, like the time over 700 people <a href="http://www.eater.com/2014/8/22/6167041/over-700-people-paid-it-forward-at-a-starbucks-this-week">paid it forward</a> at a Starbucks in Florida. Paying it forward doesn't always have to be in a financial capacity. You can pay acts of kind forward any way you see fit, so long as you're doing something nice for somebody &mdash; which the world needs much more of.</p> <h2>3. Our Commitment to Global Health Initiatives in Developing Countries</h2> <p>The American government isn't just concerned that you're healthy at home. It has a stake in the health of the world's people, too &mdash; especially those in developing countries that are more prone to diseases. It recognizes the importance of providing those in need a better quality of life and lessening the ripple effects within our own borders by reducing the chance of devastating epidemics and pandemics. Hallmarks of U.S. leadership in global health include The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, The President's Malaria Initiative, and Feed the Future.</p> <h2>4. Free Dry Cleaning for Job Interviews</h2> <p>Not every dry cleaner offers free cleaning services to those in need, but there are a few good men and women out there who happily open their doors to the homeless and unemployed to have their interview garments professionally cleaned and pressed.</p> <h2>5. Free Soft Drink Refills</h2> <p>As a general courtesy to patrons, most restaurants in the United States offer free refills, as do other establishments, like movie theaters. They don't have to, but they do &mdash; because they appreciate your business.</p> <h2>6. Free Breakfast and Lunch Programs in Public Schools</h2> <p>There is room for improvement in our school's lunches &mdash; especially compared to other countries like France and Italy (have you seen the gourmet meals those kids eat!?) &mdash; but we at least get an A grade for offering students in need free meals when they may otherwise not eat anything healthy (or at all) at home. In some places, those free meals are extended throughout the summer (in my neighborhood in New York City they're available), which makes this program above average in my book.</p> <h2>7. Holding Doors for Each Other</h2> <p>Holding the door for someone behind you is a custom in many places around the world, granted, but it's still worth recognizing because it's an important aspect of our own social culture. We've passed the habit down through generations, and it's still alive and well today.</p> <h2>8. Letting Someone With Fewer Items Go Ahead of You at the Grocery Store</h2> <p>I'm particularly impressed when there's someone in front of me at the grocery store with a cart full of items who invites me to go ahead of them since I'll be quick with the five or so items I have. Thanks to those who do this; if you haven't, try it the next time you're out.</p> <h2>9. Stopping Your Vehicle at Crosswalks to Let People Pass</h2> <p>I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore where you waited for the walk sign to change or you didn't go. When I moved to southwest Virginia for college, I remember being at a crosswalk once that didn't have a walk sign and the traffic stopped completely to allow me to cross. I was hesitant at first &mdash; I thought it was some kind of joke &mdash; but it turned out to be one of those totally mundane experiences that I'll never forget.</p> <h2>10. Asking Strangers to Watch Your Stuff When You Run to the Bathroom</h2> <p>Have to potty while you're working at a café or hanging out on the beach? Because Americans are pretty great, all you have to do is ask your neighbor to watch your personal items for a few minutes while you're gone and they'll usually oblige. Just don't try this at airport; it's a &quot;see something, say something&quot; culture around those parts, and asking a stranger to watch your luggage will make them feel very uncomfortable.</p> <h2>11. Safe Havens Where Minority Groups Can Feel Comfortable Among Their Own</h2> <p>While I wholly condemn segregation, I do think it's important for minority groups who feel oppressed by another group (whether that assessment is accurate or not) to have places they can go to be themselves. I speak from experience as a gay man who has found solace, security, and friendship in establishments primarily frequented by other LGBT people. In other parts of the world, these places don't exist, and that's a real shame, but here at home they're abundant and well attended.</p> <h2>12. Neighborly Courtesies, Like Bringing in Your Garbage Cans</h2> <p>One of my neighbors is always super helpful, especially when I'm away from home, by taking out my garbage and returning the cans, shoveling my sidewalk if he gets out there first, and mowing my front lawn when he's feeling particularly energetic. That kind of neighborly attitude makes the neighborhood &mdash; and my own experience in it &mdash; better, and I try to return those favors whenever I can.</p> <h2>13. Interracial and Same-Sex Marriages</h2> <p>Yeah, we have a long history of denying rights to minority groups, but we're blazing trails this century to end all that. We've come a long way, even though we have a ways to go for full equality for all, and that alone makes this a good time to be alive in America.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; font-weight: normal; line-height: 1.4em;">14. America's Public Libraries</span></p> <p>Attendance at libraries has dwindled over the past two decades, thanks in large part to the Internet, but America's free library system is still thriving and striving to provide those without access to technology the means to continue educating themselves.</p> <h2>15. Free STD Testing</h2> <p>If you can't afford to visit your doctor to get an STD test &mdash; or you're just embarrassed &mdash; there's likely a clinic in your area that provides anonymous, free testing so you stay up-to-date on your health status. As my own little PSA, if you haven't been tested lately, do so; you owe it to yourself.</p> <h2>16. Little Free Library</h2> <p>I love this idea of these little boxes, most of the time shaped like tiny houses, erected in neighborhoods where bookworms can add a book or take a book without charge. The program was popularized in Wisconsin in 2009, and today it includes more than 15,000 locations worldwide.</p> <h2>17. The Honor System</h2> <p>The honor system applies to many things &mdash; like Halloween candy left on porches by folks who are out for the night, and in my neighborhood, a free garden where residents can pick an amount of veggies that they'll eat. Even as we get more and more disconnected, it's nice that we still have values and morals and a small, neighborly trade system that helps hold ourselves and each other accountable without much effort.</p> <h2>18. Free Outdoor Movies</h2> <p>I'm always talking up free outdoor movies. I think it's one of the best summer date nights ever, and I'm so excited that the concept has spread like wildfire across the country. You'll likely find outdoor screenings near the place you call home during the warmer months &mdash; seriously, it's like every town in America is doing it these days (and that's awesome!) &mdash; and all you have to do is show up with a blanket or chair and a few snacks and settle in for an evening under the stars in the greatest country on earth.</p> <p><em>What are some of the little things that you think help make and keep America great? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-get-even-more-freebies-in-exchange-for-a-review">How to Get Even More Freebies in Exchange for a Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-risks-and-5-other-secrets-barcodes-can-tell-you">Health Risks and 5 Other Secrets Barcodes Can Tell You</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/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle community donald trump entertainment Fourth of July freebies make america great again morals united states Mon, 04 Jul 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1743312 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easiest Ways to Score Free eBooks http://www.wisebread.com/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_72457041_XLARGE.jpg" alt="reading free ebooks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm a bookworm. But the life of a bookworm can be an expensive one. Popular novels tend to be priced anywhere from $6 to $20. That's a pricey prospect for readers who tend to power through five, ten or more books every month.</p> <p>Throughout elementary school and college, I controlled the costs of books primarily by utilizing my public library. I haven't stepped foot in a library in three years, yet I still tend to pay less than $10 every month buying books. The large majority of my reading time is spent downloading and reading free ebooks. Here are five smart reading hacks that can eliminate your monthly book expenses entirely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-ways-to-save-on-audio-books?ref=seealso">8 Smart Ways to Save on Audio Books</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sign Up for Kindle Family Library</h2> <p>Kindle Family Library is a handy feature that allows you to link up to two adult and four child Amazon accounts. Once the accounts are linked, you have access to all the eBooks that the individual has purchased in the past. This can provide months of free reading.</p> <p>Once you have read all of the books in your shared library, you can then separate your accounts, wait 180 days, and then sync up with another family member or friend for access to <em>their </em>library.</p> <p>The only downside of linking accounts is that you will need to authorize the other individual to utilize the credit and debit cards you have on file. You need to trust the individual not to go on a wild shopping spree on your Amazon account.</p> <h2>2. Borrow ebooks From Strangers and Friends</h2> <p>Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble allow individuals to lend the books they bought for 14 days. This can allow you access to more books without directly linking up your accounts.</p> <p>You can supercharge your ability to borrow books by signing up for an online book lending community. Websites like <a href="http://booklending.com/">booklending.com</a> (Kindle), <a href="http://lendle.me/">Lendle</a> (Kindle), and <a href="http://ebookfling.com/f">eBookFling</a> (Kindle and Nook), all allow you to borrow and lend books to strangers.</p> <p>However, many of these lending sites (Lendle and eBookFling in particular) do expect you to lend books to other members in order to continue to borrow books yourself. If you don't already have a library of lendable books, or you don't plan on slowly expanding your library, you might not be able to utilize many of the online lending communities.</p> <h2>3. Read Non-Professional Stories Online</h2> <p>There are hundreds of solid stories self-published online for free on a variety of websites. Budding writers flock to sites like <a href="https://www.fictionpress.com/">FictionPress</a> to in order to practice the craft of writing. In exchange for an occasional review of a chapter or story, readers have the ability to dive into a potentially good book for free.</p> <p>Another non-professional option for the more geek-inclined is to start reading fanfiction. Fanfiction, for those who don't know, are stories that utilize the characters and setting of already existing television shows, movies, comics, or books. If you do delve into the world of free reading by devouring fanfiction, I would suggest starting with either <a href="https://www.fanfiction.net/">Fanfiction.net</a> or <a href="https://archiveofourown.org/">Archive of Our Own</a>.</p> <p>But there are a couple potential downsides of utilizing sites like FictionPress or Fanfiction.com to find good books.</p> <ul> <li>You can expect to find some sub-par writing due in part, to the fact that individuals of various skill levels publish on these types of sites. Try to choose more popular novels based on how many reviews, favorites, or follows they have.</li> <li>The majority of writers publish in these forums as chapters are completed. This process often leads to many writers abandoning stories mid-way. So search for completed stories when doing searches for potential novels.</li> </ul> <p>If fanfiction is for you, utilize an application within Calibre (a free eBook organizer) called&nbsp;<a href="https://github.com/JimmXinu/FanFicFare/wiki/SupportedSites">FanFicFare</a> to download the books onto your computer as either an ePub (Nook), a Mobi (Old Kindle), or an AZW3 (New Kindle) file.</p> <h2>4. Read Public Domain Books</h2> <p>You can keep your electronic bookshelf well stocked by simply sticking to reading books that are within the public domain. This means that anyone is free to use or re-use the book. You can find older classics like <em>Pride and Prejudice</em> by Jane Austen or <em>Oliver Twist</em> by Charles Dickens as part of public domain.</p> <p>Some of these books you can find for free on major eBook publishing sites. Others, you can locate on one of these 25 different&nbsp;<a href="http://ebookfriendly.com/free-public-domain-books-sources/">free public domain publication</a> websites. Many of the free-to-use websites allow you to choose which format (ePub, mobi, HTML) you would like to download the novel in.</p> <p>If you're unsatisfied with the file option available on the site you choose, you can always upload the file to Calibre and convert that file to one of your choice.</p> <h2>5. Check Author Websites for Free Short Stories and Novels</h2> <p>You might want to scope out your favorite author's websites for free novels or short stories. Many authors publish their older novels or short stories online as a gift to fans or in an attempt to attract new readers.</p> <p>And you can either read their stories online or utilize Internet applications like&nbsp;<a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/send-to-kindle-for-google/cgdjpilhipecahhcilnafpblkieebhea">Send to Kindle</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://ebookfriendly.com/how-to-send-any-web-page-to-ibooks-nook-or-kobo-app/">Readability</a> to send the chapters or short stories on the author's website to your ereader.</p> <p><em>How do you save money on ebooks? 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/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks">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-11"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-choose-traditional-books-over-e-books">5 Reasons to Choose Traditional Books Over E-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/another-one-for-the-readers-0">Another one for the readers</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/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass">Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass.</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/can-you-really-make-a-living-as-an-ebook-writer">Can You Really Make a Living as an Ebook Writer?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Shopping books bookworm eBooks entertainment ereader free books reading tablet Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1738461 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Great Apps for Book Lovers http://www.wisebread.com/11-great-apps-for-book-lovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-great-apps-for-book-lovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000052824962_Large.jpg" alt="she&#039;s checking out great apps for book lovers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you love books. I mean, you really love books. Join the party. As a fellow book lover, I welcome you into our ranks.</p> <p>While nothing beats curling up with a good book, sometimes you just can't. Even when your physical books are far away, though, you will usually have your phone on you. Fortunately, there are some great apps for book lovers that will help you make it through until you can find your favorite tome again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cool-jobs-for-book-lovers?ref=seealso">17 Cool Jobs for Book Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>1. Goodreads</h2> <p>Many book lovers already know about Goodreads, but I'm always surprised by how many of my book-loving friends don't use it. When it comes to social apps for book lovers, this is by far the best. Store your library, list books you've read and books you want to read, rate books, leave reviews, connect with friends, and join discussion groups about nearly any book you can think of. It's a one-stop-shop for your bookish needs. Available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/id355833469?mt=8">Apple</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goodreads&amp;hl=en">Android</a>.</p> <h2>2. OverDrive</h2> <p>If you belong to a library &mdash; and what book lover doesn't? &mdash; then <a href="https://app.overdrive.com/">OverDrive</a> can help you check out eBooks on your favorite device. As long as your library belongs to the system, you have access to a vast collection of free eBooks. You can read them on the OverDrive app itself, or download them straight to your Kindle app. Available for Apple, Android, and more.</p> <h2>3. SnapTell</h2> <p>So you're out and about and you pick up a book. After scanning the back cover, you realize that you have <em>got</em> to own this book. But where can you buy it? Enter SnapTell. Just take a picture of the book's cover or scan the barcode, and you will get a description of the book, reader ratings, and information on the best prices, both near you and online. Available for <a href="http://www.macworld.com/product/69045/snaptell.html">Apple</a> and <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2348467,00.asp">Android</a>.</p> <h2>4. InstantPoetry</h2> <p>If you love poetry, InstantPoetry is a great way to create your own poems and send them to friends and family. Remember those refrigerator magnets that you could shift around to form poems? This is just like that, except on your phone instead of your fridge. If you have a few minutes of down time and you don't have a book, this app could be the next best thing. Available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/instant-poetry-2/id925723441?mt=8">Apple</a>.</p> <h2>5. WattPad</h2> <p><a href="https://www.wattpad.com/getmobile?v=1&amp;utm_">WattPad</a> offers a new kind of reading experience. Writers who use the platform choose to release stories serially, offering a section or a chapter at a time. Readers can subscribe to a story, and then are notified when an update is available. As you read, you can write comments, which are then viewable by other readers, too. Over time, discussions pop up, and you come to recognize those readers whose taste and commentary you appreciate. Thus, reading becomes a social as well as a solitary activity. Available for Apple, Android, and more.</p> <h2>6. BookCrawler</h2> <p><a href="http://www.chiisai.com/j25/">BookCrawler</a> is similar to Goodreads, without the social aspect. If you want a robust catalog for your books, this is a great app for you. It also allows you to categorize your books as to whether you've read them, who you've loaned them to, and more. The search feature is among the most robust that I've seen in an app like this, and the app works fast, so you can determine, while standing in a bookstore, whether you already own a book or not. Available for Apple.</p> <h2>7. Scribd</h2> <p><a href="https://www.scribd.com/get-app">Scribd</a> is kind of like Netflix, but for books. For $8.99/month, you get access to every book that Scribd has the rights to. While many of the most popular books aren't available, the overall selection across genres is very good. If you like to read on your mobile device and you love to hunt down your next favorite read, or if your favorite authors happen to be among Scribd's offerings, this app can ensure that you always have something new to read. Available for Apple, Android, and more.</p> <h2>8. Shelfie</h2> <p>More than anything else, <a href="http://www.shelfie.com/">Shelfie</a> is a lot of fun. Snap a photo of your bookshelf, upload it, and the app will automatically catalog your books for you. If you own a print edition of certain books, you'll be able to get discounted (and sometimes free!) audio and eBook versions. You'll be able to see pics that other people uploaded, and connect with them. Whether you're reading the same book or you're interested in each other's past reads, it's always fun to connect with other readers. Available for Apple and Android.</p> <h2>9. The Pickle Index</h2> <p>Take reading to a whole new level with <a href="http://www.thepickleindex.com/">The Pickle Index</a>. This novel was released not only in hard and soft cover editions, but also in an app edition. Read the story as it is released to you, and participate in various games and more along the way. You will get the story over 10 days, along with interactive maps, relevant recipes, and more. It's a completely unique experience, and one that many book lovers find they can fully embrace. Available for Apple.</p> <h2>10. Gerty</h2> <p><a href="http://appstafarian.com/gerty.html">Gerty</a> combines journaling and reading to create something completely different. It's an eReader, but it also allows you to comment on your reading as you go. However, your comments are more like a journal than like notes you take in other eReaders. You can create links to outside sources, too (with the paid version), like Facebook, Wikipedia, and more. It also has a feature that sends you information on a book in exchange for a barcode scan. And if you want to journal without a book, you can do that, too! Available for Apple.</p> <h2>11. British Library 19th Century Collection</h2> <p>There are a lot of ways to get free classic eBooks, but this is one of the most elegant. You get books from the time period across all genres, including fiction, theology, philosophy, and more. While the free collection is enough for most people, you can buy the total collection for $89. Sure, that's a chunk of change, but if you love the app and the time period, and you'd like to support the British Library, it's not bad. Available for <a href="http://appcrawlr.com/ipad/british-library-19th-century-co">Apple</a>.</p> <p><em>Are you a book lover? What are your favorite apps? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-great-apps-for-book-lovers">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-clever-ways-people-are-making-money-from-pok-mon-go">8 Clever Ways People Are Making Money From Pokémon GO</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/17-cool-jobs-for-book-lovers">17 Cool Jobs for Book Lovers</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-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</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-holiday-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-cheer">8 Holiday Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Cheer</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-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment apps book apps book lovers bookworms entertainment reading apps Tue, 08 Mar 2016 10:30:42 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1666775 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Modern Reasons to Visit Your Local Library Today http://www.wisebread.com/7-modern-reasons-to-visit-your-local-library-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-modern-reasons-to-visit-your-local-library-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016065203_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="woman after visiting her local library" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The library is filled with adventure and wonder for kids and adults of all ages. Going to the library is a rewarding pastime that many of us already enjoy. So rather than twiddle your thumbs and wonder what you're going to do on your day off, here's why you should head over to the library.</p> <h2>1. Personal Development</h2> <p>Visiting the library can encourage reading and exploration in children. Children can learn at every turn. Even being responsible for returning books on time can teach some basics of responsibility.</p> <p>Studies have shown that students who visit the library tend to <a href="http://www.islma.org/pdf/ILStudy2.pdf">have better test scores</a> than those who don't. Studies have also shown that <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2807801/">reading can aid in brain development</a> in young children, so it's important to read to them and encourage them to read and visit the library from a very young age.</p> <h2>2. Free Stuff</h2> <p>The library is home to a wealth of free items, such as:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Free newspaper, magazine, audiobook, CD, DVD, and video rentals</strong>: You'll have access to much more than just books. It would cost a fortune to try purchasing all of these sources of reading, music, and videos, but fortunately, the library has access to much more than your home library and entertainment center could ever store.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Free eBooks</strong>: Thanks to <a href="http://amzn.to/1Kxu0bx">Amazon's library lending program</a>, you can now check out a Kindle eBook for two weeks before it is deleted from your digital library. It doesn't get much better than that.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Free Wi-Fi</strong>: Who isn't looking for free Wi-Fi every once in awhile?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Free computer and Internet access</strong>: You can research whatever you need and have access to a computer whenever you need it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Free adult classes</strong>: These can range from academic training like GED classes, to creative ventures like art and poetry classes.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Library Events and Programs</h2> <p>Libraries offer all types of events and programs for bookworms. You can enjoy everything from author readings to health workshops. Every library is different, so you can't expect anything in particular, but some activities commonly provided at the library include:</p> <ul> <li>Author readings for adults and kids</li> <li>Poetry circles</li> <li>Story circles for kids</li> <li>Puppet shows</li> <li>Family films</li> <li>Special programs for children</li> <li>Book discussions</li> <li>Reading programs and summer events</li> <li>Used book sales</li> <li>Workshops like knitting and parenting skills</li> </ul> <h2>4. Unusual Discoveries</h2> <p>You can find rare, out-of-print material at your local library that you won't be able to find elsewhere. You'll also be able to find old and used books for sale at a great price, so make sure to keep your eyes open for any of their cheap book sales.</p> <p>If you haven't been to your local library, you may be shocked to find what kind of food and shopping options they have. For instance, the Los Angeles Public Library has a gift shop, restaurant, and café inside, but it could all be easily missed if you don't know what you're looking for and don't take the time to really map out your library and find out what they offer.</p> <h2>5. Opportunities to Bond With Like-Minded People</h2> <p>The library is full of other bookworms. You can bond over your favorite books and love of literature. Libraries often promote local businesses, so you can also find out more about local artists, businesses, and even book clubs.</p> <p>And the librarian probably has an abundance of useful information and recommendations. Just let them know what you're looking for and they can help you find the right book or answer any questions you may have. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cool-jobs-for-book-lovers?ref=seealso">17 Cool Jobs for Book Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>6. Quiet Personal Space</h2> <p>We all need a bit of personal space, and the library can provide the quiet reprieve you need. It's a great place for reading, working, researching, or just relaxing. There are always comfy chairs and corners at the library where you can enjoy a great new book and expand your mind.</p> <p>The library is brightly lit, so you won't have to squint your eyes to see the words on the page. Add that to the cool environment, quiet atmosphere, and endless rows of books, and you've got a very calming way to relieve stress and relax.</p> <h2>7. Book Rentals</h2> <p>Most importantly, once you become a member of your local library, you can rent all the books your heart desires. When there's a book that everyone's buzzing about, or a novel you want to read before it's turned into a film, you can borrow the books for free from your library. Knowing that you need to return the book can also encourage you to finish the book by the return date.</p> <p>Be honest, after reading a book once, you probably won't read it again. So, it will just take up space on your bookshelf and gather dust. Instead, you can rent a book in any genre, read it, and return it for free. Imagine all the money you'll save.</p> <p><em>Do you have other great reasons for visiting the library? 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/7-modern-reasons-to-visit-your-local-library-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easiest-ways-to-score-free-ebooks">5 Easiest Ways to Score Free eBooks</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/5-reasons-librarian-is-still-a-great-career-choice">5 Reasons Librarian Is Still a Great Career Choice</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-reasons-to-choose-traditional-books-over-e-books">5 Reasons to Choose Traditional Books Over E-Books</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-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment book rental entertainment library new books reading Fri, 12 Feb 2016 11:30:04 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1653861 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Paid to Watch Your Favorite TV Show Live http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-to-watch-your-favorite-tv-show-live <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-paid-to-watch-your-favorite-tv-show-live" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_on_tv_000021453219.jpg" alt="Woman getting paid to be on TV" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Lights! Cameras! Cue audience applause! You know those TV shows? The ones taped in front of a live studio audience? The ones that air daily and seem to be on all of the time with no reruns? Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes or how people get to be in the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-people-to-listen-when-you-talk">audience</a>? How do they fill their seats every single day? Especially the, well, not so good shows. The answer is surprisingly simple.</p> <p>TV shows pay people to attend. No, not all of them, but many, and some are very well-known shows at that. Take <em>The People's Court</em> for instance. You could earn $70 for sitting in their courtroom. How about the <em>Beat Bobby Flay</em> cooking competition? Folks can earn $54 just for attending, and probably get a tasty sample to boot. Interested? It's not hard to do. Here's what you need to know.</p> <h2>1. Pay Rates Vary by Show</h2> <p>As you can see from the examples above, the amount that you can earn as a paid audience member can vary. Some shows pay a set fee and others pay an hourly rate. The amount of time involved can differ too. Some shows will pay for one taping, and for other shows audience members participate in two, three, or more tapings in a day. Payment is received on the same day and is almost always in cash.</p> <h2>2. Some Shows Provide Transportation</h2> <p>For example, a number of shows that used to tape in New York City moved to Stamford, Connecticut, presumably to save money on production costs. Since it's easier to find public transportation to NYC than Connecticut, these shows offer transportation to keep the seats full. In this case, audience members meet at a location pre-determined by the show. A bus picks everyone up, takes them to the show, and returns them to the original location.</p> <h2>3. Sometimes You'll Be Fed</h2> <p>One time I attended a show with my mom and we received pre-taping breakfast pastries, coffee and juice, and pizza for lunch after the taping. Many shows do this. Many do not. You most likely won't know in advance. Think of it as a welcome surprise if it does happen.</p> <h2>4. It's Easier to Get Paid Audience Gigs if You Reside on the Coasts</h2> <p>The reality is that most shows are taped on the East or West coast, so if you don't have easy access to the New York or Los Angeles areas, you won't have as many options. This could still work for you if you're visiting the area and plan for it in advance. It would be a fun and unique vacation experience.</p> <h2>5. Some People Audience-Sit as a Job</h2> <p>Not a formal job, mind you. But if you live in the vicinity of a lot of tapings like Los Angeles, you can earn as much as, or more than, minimum wage for a day's sitting. This is appealing to a variety of people like actors trying to break in, students, or anyone really who wants to earn some cash while keeping a flexible schedule. There is of course no guarantee that audience-sitting gigs will be available exactly when you want them, but there are a lot of opportunities available for folks who hustle.</p> <h2>6. So How Do I Find the Shows That Pay?</h2> <p>There are a variety of ways to find paid seat-filling gigs from checking the Craigslist &quot;talent,&quot; &quot;gigs,&quot; or &quot;TV&quot; sections, to subscribing to newsletters that typically target actors. The easiest way to find paid audience-sitting opportunities is to go to the companies that specialize in them. Below are two of the most well-known companies that fit the bill:</p> <h3>Onset Productions</h3> <p>Here you will find opportunities to be&nbsp;<a href="https://onsetproductions.com/">paid audience members</a>, get cast as a performer for product endorsements, or just score free tickets to TV shows like, <em>MTV Catfish Aftershow</em>, or the <em>Bridezilla's Reunion Aftershow</em>. The paid audience member opportunities are mostly lump sums, like $50&ndash;$70 (sometimes more, sometimes less). Some shows provide transportation to the tapings. Interested parties complete a free online profile which includes age, gender, and ethnicity. Once your profile is created, you can request tickets from the numerous shows available. You'll be notified if you've been chosen to receive tickets, and if it's a show that indicated that it is paying, you'll enjoy a show and walk out with some extra cash.</p> <h3>Standing Room Only</h3> <p>This process of finding paid seat-filling opportunities is similar to Onset Productions in that you fill out a profile before requesting tickets to a show. Though their game shows and political talk shows&nbsp;<a href="http://www.standingroomonly.tv/">pay an hourly rate</a> as opposed to a lump sum.</p> <p>There are other companies out there, like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.auditionsfree.com/">Auditions Free</a>, that primarily focus on casting extras and actors for movies, that occasionally offer paid audience-sitting gigs as well. But if experiencing a TV show from behind the camera while getting paid is your primary objective, it's easier to stick with the two companies above.</p> <p><em>Is audience-sitting something you'd try? Let me know below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kim-owens">Kim Owens</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-to-watch-your-favorite-tv-show-live">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/how-to-make-money-like-the-guys-on-american-pickers">How to Make Money Like the Guys on &quot;American Pickers&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/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</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-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</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/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">Clear Out That Clutter: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-old-knick-knacks-you-can-flip-for-easy-cash">10 Old Knick-Knacks You Can Flip for Easy Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income audience entertainment TV shows Mon, 01 Jun 2015 09:00:07 +0000 Kim Owens 1437236 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Smart Storage Solutions for Your TV Room http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-storage-solutions-for-your-tv-room <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-storage-solutions-for-your-tv-room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000020530150_Large.jpg" alt="man woman tv couch" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Need a media room makeover? I certainly do. There's a lot of stuff that goes into entertainment, even for those of us who like to keep life more minimal. So check out these amazingly easy ways to get your space organized in a flash so you can enjoy more movies, tunes, and fun. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-old-electronics?ref=seealso">How to Get Rid of Your Old Electronics</a>)</p> <h2>1. Fake Built-Ins</h2> <p>You don't need carpentry skills to enjoy the look and function of built-ins. This <a href="http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2011/03/built-in-beauty.html">organization blogger</a> collected five <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PIXVT9A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00PIXVT9A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YK5YA3KVGEN6MHEZ">Ikea Billy bookcases</a> and assembled them together using wood and moulding for a finishing touch. She then painted them and accented the faces with patterned wallpaper. So much storage!</p> <h2>2. Stacked Shelving</h2> <p>If you have lots of media items, like CDs, DVDs, and games, consider stacking them high with a system of simple shelving. A floor-to-ceiling installation can be both practical and eye-catching. You can find basic shelving at your local hardware store along with all the brackets you need to fasten it to the wall. If you cannot find the studs, use screws with anchors for staying power.</p> <h2>3. Disc Jockey</h2> <p>I used to work in libraries, so I'm all about this streamlined approach to disc storage. Take all your CDs and DVDs out of their plastic boxes and slip them into <a href="http://www.hisugarplumsblog.com/2013/09/organized-mountain-of-dvds-cds.html">slim paper sleeves</a>. Arrange in a cute bin alphabetically by creating clearly marked dividers.</p> <h2>4. Cord Wrangler</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but we have a gazillion cords laying on the ground in our entertainment room. Get them in line by using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=cable%20organizer&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=L7XDK7D5S5KNNFYQ">cable organizers</a> installed on the back of your TV stand. Though <a href="http://www.ikeahackers.net/2012/12/ocd-friendly-expedit-tv-bench.html">this project</a> is specific to the Ikea Expedit and Signum organizers, the same concept applies to any other piece of furniture your television lives on. Attach to the back and get your cords in line.</p> <h2>5. Thing Organizer</h2> <p>There are lots of, well, things that go along with TVs, DVD players, game stations, streaming devices, sound systems, and more. Tame all the extras &mdash; cords, chargers, etc. &mdash; in file or media boxes. You'll <a href="http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2012/03/you-asked-organizing-cords.html">cut out cardboard dividers</a> to create nooks to place all your stuff inside. Don't forget to wrap the cords using ties to keep them from getting tangled.</p> <h2>6. DIY Ottoman</h2> <p>For small rooms, a DIY ottoman is&nbsp;genius. I'd love to make one to store my child's toys or even my workout equipment (weights, bands, rollers, etc.) for all those exercise DVDs I do at home. All you need is a galvanized metal tub to start. Then you'll cut out a circular top out of wood and upholster with foam and fabric. You can choose to add swivel casters or not. The finished ottoman can double as a coffee table or seating in a pinch.</p> <h2>7. Hidden Storage</h2> <p>Not everything we store in our entertainment rooms is beautiful or display-worthy. Try hiding extra cords, remote controls, and other equipment with a couple <a href="http://www.bhg.com/rooms/living-room/room-arranging/multipurpose-living-room/#page=7">tension rods and short curtains</a>. Finding the exact size you need at the store might be difficult, so try making your own curtains out of fabric and iron-on hemming tape. Just cut to size, fold over edges, and leave room for the rod before heating.</p> <h2>8. Speaker Solution</h2> <p>Clunky speakers cramping your style? My husband and I are continually arguing about the best way to have surround sound without all the bulk and eyesores. A great idea is to slip them under a skirted table. That way, he gets his subwoofer and I get my tidy room.</p> <h2>9. Record Station</h2> <p>We have an impressive collection of vinyl that needs a place to live. This <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2011/09/diy-industrial-record-cabinet.html">DIY record cabinet</a> looks easy to assemble and has distinct industrial flair. Beyond that specific project, I like the general idea of using old crates &mdash; metal or wooden &mdash; as storage for records. If you can find several sturdy crates, you could stack them atop one another for a quick record shelf wherever you need one.</p> <h2>10. Television Cabinet</h2> <p>Pottery Barn has some amazing cabinets that hang over your television to hide it away in style. The problem is that they cost over $450 to purchase, depending on your TV size. Try making your own cabinet using <a href="http://www.soyouthinkyourecrafty.com/wall-mounted-tv-case-tutorial/">frames and a pallet</a>. You'll construct a box on the wall before mounting your TV and putting the frames on hinges to open and close.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your media room tidy?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-storage-solutions-for-your-tv-room">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/12-smart-ways-to-organize-old-photos">12 Smart Ways to Organize Old Photos</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-reasons-why-you-should-get-a-3d-printer">8 Reasons Why You Should Get a 3D Printer</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/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one">Miracle Device Coin Rolls All Your Credit Cards Into One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on Budget</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/mr-cheap-stuff-who-do-you-think-you-are">Mr. Cheap Stuff: Who do you think you are?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization entertainment gadgets media technology Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1299968 at http://www.wisebread.com Single Parent? Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget http://www.wisebread.com/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012820205_Double.jpg" alt="kid drawing crayon" title="kid drawing crayon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Single parents are challenged with finding ways to cut costs wherever they can, and that reaches into so many aspects of everyday life.</p> <p>Today, one of the trickiest challenges I am faced with is how to keep my kids entertained on a budget. Sure, the TV and Xbox could keep them amused for hours on end, but I don't want to have them zoning out in front of the tube. So, with very little money for entertaining, how do you keep the young ones happy and fulfilled? Here are some ideas that I use.</p> <h2>1. Get Baking</h2> <p>There are three reasons that this is a great way to pass the time with your kids.</p> <p>First, you're teaching them a practical skill that they can use later.</p> <p>Second, you're saving money. By baking your own breads, cookies, and cakes, you're not spending money on pre-packaged goods full of additives and preservatives.</p> <p>Most important of all, it's actually a lot of fun &mdash; kids love to help and get involved. They also like to see what their hard work has helped them achieve. When you taste those cookies, or a slice of warm banana bread, you'll enjoy their reactions as much as they enjoy the sweet treats.</p> <h2>2. Artwork Is a No Brainer</h2> <p>I don't just mean it's an obvious way to spend your time with the kids for next to nothing. It's also a chance to shut your brain off from all the hectic stresses of life, and be a kid again yourself.</p> <p>Set up the dining room table with paper, crayons, paints, markers, and anything else they need to be creative. Then, join in &mdash; don't just leave them to it. This is good bonding time, and you will enjoy yourself just as much as they do. I like to frame pieces of artwork that my kids have created (I only ever pay $1 for my frames at thrift stores) and have created a gallery we're all proud of.</p> <h2>3. Set Up a Home Spa</h2> <p>My girls are 10 and 8, and they love being pampered. I'm a guy, but I'm not afraid to get out the nail polish and curling irons. Put on some relaxing music, let them feel like the princesses they are, and get creative with it. You can make their nails look like bees, ladybugs, or chalkboards &mdash; it's all very easy after a while and tons of fun for everyone. And if you have little boys, don't think they don't deserve something similar. My toddler wanted his nails painted a boy-approved black and blue, and I obliged. He loved it. Older boys may not be interested, but spray-in hair colors and waxes can give you some punkish results.</p> <h2>4. The Library Is Your Friend</h2> <p>There is more to the library than just books and movies. Your library often has special events, including authors who will read aloud from their latest best sellers. They also have movie screenings, and host discussion groups and fun family activities afterwards.</p> <h2>5. Go to Museums and Parks on Free Days</h2> <p>Every museum and park will give out free passes on certain days of the year. Mark these days down on the calendar, and when they arrive, make sure you get the kids there to experience nature, or to learn about art, history, and geography.</p> <h2>6. Decorate a Bedroom</h2> <p>You can buy a few cans of &quot;oops paints&quot; for 70-80% off the regular price. Dig around whenever you're in a home improvement store, and if you find the perfect shade, you can repaint their bedrooms for under $20. But, do it with them &mdash; the older kids can do some of the big painting, while the younger kids love helping out with smaller areas. Just make sure they have on old clothes, and you have a drop cloth down. Let them have fun with it. They will love helping you paint their own room.</p> <h2>7. Volunteer</h2> <p>It's a great way to fill their time, and get them learning about life. A pet shelter is a good cause to start with. They will love seeing all the animals, and helping out with food, cuddles, and walks. You could also see if other local charities have space open for kid volunteers. It's wonderful to give back to the community, and it gives kids a sense of accomplishment and pride.</p> <h2>8. Visit a Cheap Movie Theater</h2> <p>Yes, these theaters get the movies long after the major chains have shown them. So what?! Kids shouldn't care about being the first to see it. Mine certainly don't. What they do love is the chance to go and see a new release (and it's way more affordable than seeing first-run flicks). On a recent visit to the movies, I saw <em>Big Hero 6</em> with my three kids. I bought them popcorn and slurpies, plus we shared a bag of Twizzlers. The entire outing cost a mere $29. Try doing that at a full price theater.</p> <h2>9. Get Out the Board Games</h2> <p>Sure, we live in an electronic world &mdash; but does that mean those great board games have to gather dust in the basement or garage? Dedicate one night a week to games. You can find used (and often new) board games at thrift stores for as little as $2; just check to see if they have all the pieces first. Your kids will enjoy spending time with you in a way that is more stimulating than just sitting in front of the TV.</p> <h2>10. Just&hellip; Play!</h2> <p>Hide and seek. Soccer. Tag. Charades. Twister. Name that tune. Your kids will not want to play with you forever, so cherish the times they want to be around you. You may often find yourself saying &quot;Oh, I'm too old for that.&quot; Shame on you. Sylvester Stallone is a senior citizen and he's jumping out of planes and fighting bad guys. It's just a bit of fun around the house. Who knows&hellip; you may actually enjoy yourself more than they do!</p> <p><em>Are you a single parent? In what creative, low-cost ways do you keep the kids entertained?</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/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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/11-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-from-thrift-stores">11 Ways to Earn Extra Cash From Thrift Stores</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-reasons-frugal-families-love-boardgame-night">8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night</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/free-ways-to-celebrate-mothers-day">Free Ways to Celebrate Mother&#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/30-signs-you-were-raised-by-healthy-parents">30 Signs You Were Raised by Healthy Parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family Lifestyle entertaining kids entertainment parenting single parents Wed, 11 Feb 2015 10:31:15 +0000 Paul Michael 1285774 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Ways to Spend Less Money on Valentine's Day http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-spend-less-money-on-valentines-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-ways-to-spend-less-money-on-valentines-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-valentines-day-breakfast-Dollarphotoclub_73459350_0.jpg" alt="couple valentines day" title="couple valentines day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're rolling your eyes at the fact that you have to loosen your wallet once again so soon after Christmas, you're not alone. Because while Valentine's Day is an excellent excuse to concentrate on reconnecting with our significant others, it's also a day that we've come to dread because of the anticipated cost of expressing such love.</p> <p>This year, however, you don't have to be a slave to the dollar sign if you're willing to put in a bit of thoughtfulness, creativity and time. Check out these 14 ways to celebrate your better half without going broke &mdash; then add your own low-cost ideas in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. Skip the Restaurant &mdash; Prepare a Home-Cooked Meal</h2> <p>My husband once tried to take me to dinner on Valentine's Day without a reservation. That's all I'll say about the situation since I'm pretty sure you can figure out how it went down after that. To avoid being frustrated and annoyed on Two-Fourteen, we now skip dining out altogether and opt to make a homemade meal instead &mdash; but one decidedly more fancy than an ordinary night's dinner.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">If you're not exactly a whiz in the kitchen, don't fret just yet. There are plenty of apps available to walk you through the cooking process. </span><a href="http://www.sidechef.com" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">SideChef</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">, in particular, is an ideal resource for step-by-step instructions on how to prepare wow-inducing meals like </span><a href="http://www.garlicandzest.com/bourbon-marinated-flank-steak" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">Bourbon-marinated flank steak</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">,</span><a href="http://hapanom.com/herb-roasted-cornish-game-hen/" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;"> herb-roasted Cornish game hen</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">, and </span><a href="http://www.expatcucina.com/2012/10/26/lemon-baked-cod-fish/" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">lemon-baked cod fish</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">.</span></p> <h2>2. Use Daily Deals for Discounts If You'd Like to Dine Out</h2> <p>If you're a gambler and want to roll the dice by dining out on Valentine's Day, at least hedge your bets by picking up a daily-deal discount, says Bakke.</p> <p>&quot;If you want to visit a restaurant, use the websites Groupon or LivingSocial to find 50% off vouchers to local eateries,&quot; he suggests.</p> <p>But buyer beware: Some of the vouchers make have blackout dates that include holidays like Valentine's Day, so be sure to read the fine print before purchasing the discount.</p> <h2>3. Make a Handcrafted Valentine From a Favorite Memory</h2> <p>I'd much rather receive a handmade gift &mdash; even if it looks like it was made by the three-year-old trapped inside my husband's body &mdash; than an arbitrary gift that equates cost to affection. And there are innumerable ways you can make something from the heart.</p> <p>&quot;Print out a photo of your favorite memory together and glue some embellishments to an inexpensive frame,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.krazyglue.com/product/details/krazy-glue-20g-craft-gel#.VL1TSEfF-mE%3E">suggests a rep at Krazy Glue</a>. &quot;This cost-effective gift is made with love and shows how thoughtful you can be.&quot;</p> <p>Alecsy Christensen, Miss Utah USA finalist and author of the blog <a href="http://www.glittergatsby.com">Glitter Gatsby</a>, offers another dynamic idea.</p> <p>&quot;Show your valentine how much you care by gifting something special anyone can make,&quot; she says. &quot;My Valentine's Day gift idea would be '52 Things I Love About You' on a deck of cards. Write something you love about your loved one on a piece of paper, glue it to a card, do this for all 52 cards, and hole punch all the cards together and secure the cards with binder rings.&quot;</p> <p>These are gifts that keep on giving for years to come, and they let your partner know that they're worth your time and effort.</p> <h2>4. Complete Unfinished Projects Around the House in the Name of Love</h2> <p>In lieu of a gift this year, get to work and earn your partner's affect instead of buying it. Revisit your &quot;Honey Do&quot; list to see what projects still need to be completed around the house &mdash; surely there's a thing or two that needs a little TLC. You can kill two birds with one stone by going this route, if your partner appreciates the man (or woman) hours you put in.</p> <h2>5. Plan a Romantic Movie Night in With Valentine's-Inspired Snacks</h2> <p>Movie nights are a staycation staple, but they're perfectly acceptable (even better, I think) on Valentine's Day. Let your partner pick the flicks &mdash; or share the title-choosing responsibility &mdash; and prepare a few easy-to-make snacks to enjoy during the screenings. Try this <a href="https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=8447">peanut butter and chocolate-drizzled popcorn recipe</a> with only 190 calories per one cup serving, these <a href="http://insidebrucrewlife.com/2012/01/cherry-marshmallow-rice-krispy-treats/">cherry-marshmallow Rice Krispies treats</a> (which also include M&amp;Ms!), or candy shop-quality <a href="http://mrsfoxssweets.blogspot.com/2012/01/chocolate-dipped-valentines-pretzels.html">chocolate-covered Valentine's pretzel sticks</a>.</p> <h2>6. Plan a Low-Cost &quot;Experience&quot; Date to Facilitate Interaction</h2> <p>Doing is much better than saying &mdash; which is why you two need to get out and about to show your affection instead of exchanging it verbally.</p> <p>Zina Kumok, author of the blog <a href="http://www.debtfreeafterthree.com/">Debt Free After Three</a>, agrees.</p> <p>&quot;Experiences are always more valuable than things so instead of buying gifts for Valentine's Day, we try to do things together,&quot; she says. &quot;Last year we went to an arcade together. We played lots of games together and it was so fun doing something silly for a couple hours. On the way back we stopped by a flea market and walked around. It should be more about celebrating your relationship than getting a gift.&quot;</p> <p>Josh Aaron, author of the blog <a href="http://www.tobuildmyown.com">To Build My Own</a>, feels similarly.</p> <p>&quot;Don't spend anything at all,&quot; he says. &quot;Instead, give your girl an experience. Take her to watch the sunset, cook her a light but tasty dinner, use candles and romantic music, and dance with her a little bit. The key is to make her feel special. Expensive gifts help, but they aren't better than meaningful experiences that show her you care.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Get Creative and Shake Things Up in the Bedroom</h2> <p>One of the best parts of Valentine's Day is the facilitation of intimacy that's often put on the back burner the rest of the year. This year, kick your bedroom antics up a notch and get creative. I can't go into too much detail in this regard (family blog and all), but I'm sure if you put your mind to it you can put together a night to remember.</p> <h2>8. Hold Off on Buying Jewelry Until After Valentine's Day</h2> <p>Offers.com savings expert Amber Sager says &quot;if you're planning to buy jewelry for your Valentine, hold off until <em>after</em> February 14. Right after Valentine's Day, the demand for jewelry goes way down, and retailers supply huge discounts to attract customers.&quot;</p> <p>This is a tricky tactic, because what's the point of giving a gift after Valentine's Day, right? But if your partner is flexible and understanding and loves to save a few dollars just like you do, waiting to buy jewelry until the holiday has passed may result in significant savings.</p> <p>I think this is something you two should discuss in advance, however &mdash; sure, it won't be a surprise, but it's much better than saying nothing and giving nothing on February 14; disappointment will abound &mdash; so you're both on the same page in terms of expectations and perhaps can plan an alternative activity in the meantime.</p> <h2>9. Compare Prices Before You Buy Your Valentine's Gifts</h2> <p>You compare prices on almost everything else you buy &mdash; or at least you should &mdash; so why wouldn't you do it when trying to find an ideal Valentine's gift?</p> <p>&quot;Just because you found one bouquet for $100 doesn't mean it costs that much everywhere,&quot; Sager points out. &quot;Offers.com has a <a href="http://www.offers.com/valentines-day/">Valentine's Day Savings Center</a> that allows you to compare the best deals and coupons for Valentine's Day, and we update it with the best offers daily.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Create a Coupon Book That Your Significant Other Can Redeem From You</h2> <p>This is another tried-and-true low-cost gift that puts more of an emphasis on doing rather than saying.</p> <p>About an action-inspired coupon book, Sarah Edison of <a href="http://www.theloveyourjobproject.com">The Love Your Job Project</a> says some of &quot;the best Valentines Day gifts are the least expensive. The best I had was a homemade book of 'coupons' (things that my significant other would do for me), such as one free hour-long massage, no laundry duty for a week, a homemade dinner, car wash and vacuum, breakfast in bed, and other romantic gestures that don't really cost anything. This can be a great gift because it is creative and unique to your relationship.&quot;</p> <h2>11. Satisfy His or Her Valentine's Sweet Tooth With From-Scratch Baked Goods</h2> <p>Take note, gentlemen: If you ever have the pleasure of dating me in the future, you'll always win my heart with freshly baked cookies, cakes, pies, and pastries. Hope you like 'em pudgy.</p> <p>Seriously though, if you're an aspiring baker, start with these decadent, easy-to-make <a href="http://recipeforperfection.com/ultimate-deep-dish-brownies-recipe/">Ultimate Deep Dish Brownies</a> from Katie Moseman, writer at Recipe for Perfection, to make the holiday all the more delicious.</p> <h2>12. Try the $1 Anti-Commercialism Valentine's Challenge</h2> <p>Valentine's Day for $1? Seems unlikely, but if you take your cue from Angela Reed-Fox and her husband, both directors of a<a href="http://www.foxcycling.com"> cycling center in the UK</a>, you can do it &mdash; and have some fun while you're at it.</p> <p>&quot;For several years, my husband and I have taken the $1 challenge. This is mainly because he thinks V-Day is a day for businesses to make guilt money out of men, and partly because being original says 'I love you' more than picking up flowers from the garage on your way home,&quot; she says. &quot;A couple of ideas we've done in the past is an 'I love you' box &mdash; an inexpensive wooden box filled with tiny little scrolls printed with 'I love you' reasons &mdash; some of them mainstream, some more bizarre. Or using sticky notes to plant 'I love you' messages everywhere. Seriously, everywhere! That sucker in the bottom of the hole punch took months to find &mdash; but having 'I love yous' popping up well after the day itself leaves you with a lovely, warm glow.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Spring for the Practical Household Gift That Was Already on Your List</h2> <p>Instead of buying a present that doesn't have a true function, decide together that this year's Valentine's gift will be something that you both want to make your lives more convenient or something that you need to replace an old, perhaps non-working household item.</p> <p>&quot;Don't waste your money on flowers that are perishable or a fancy box of chocolate that will probably be misinterpreted because of added pregnancy weight,&quot; advises Zaida Khaze, mother of two and inventor of the <a href="http://www.wiggletot.com">Wiggletot Diaper Changer</a>. &quot;Be economical, buy the gift you already intended to buy for the home that will help save you money.&quot;</p> <h2>14. Just Go With the Flow and Find the Extra in the Ordinary</h2> <p>This is by far the best solution to saving money on Valentine's Day that I've heard in a long time. It's cute, clever, and these two seem to embrace the irony of such a simple outing on a day that otherwise can be taken over the top.</p> <p>&quot;A few years back my girlfriend (now fiance) and I were shopping at Costco on Valentine's Day,&quot; recalls Brent C., founder of personal-finance site <a href="http://www.vosa.com">Vosa.com</a> and all around awesome boyfriend. &quot;After shopping we were talking about where to go for dinner. We mutually decided on getting hot dogs at Costco, which I think are $1.50. We sat there, talked and laughed while enjoying our $3 Valentine's dinner. This has now become a tradition that we do every year, although sometimes we do spring for the chicken fingers, which totally blows the $3 budget. We make it fun, and I often joke throughout the year and especially as Valentine's Day gets closer that I better call to reserve the 'best table by the tire section' before someone else does. This year we'll be in San Diego over Valentine's Day and we are already planning our Costco hot dog dinner date &mdash; and we're planning to get a $1 churro for desert!</p> <p>&quot;I think it's possible for anyone to find fun ways to share the sentiment without breaking the bank,&quot; he continues. &quot;It's all about making it about the experience rather than the price of the dinner and wine.&quot;</p> <p>Touché. Let's all take a page from Brent's playbook this year.</p> <p><em>Do you have low- or no-cost Valentine's ideas to add? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-spend-less-money-on-valentines-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-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-holiday-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-cheer">8 Holiday Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Cheer</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/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers">Flower Power - A Guide to Frugal Valentine&#039;s Flowers</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-cheapest-dates-that-dont-seem-so-cheap">9 Cheapest Dates That Don&#039;t Seem So Cheap</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/from-5-to-30-date-ideas-for-every-budget">From $5 to $30+, Date Ideas for Every Budget</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-ways-to-save-on-a-first-date-without-looking-cheap">8 Ways to Save on a First Date Without Looking Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle cheap dates entertainment Holidays romance Valentine's Day Fri, 06 Feb 2015 18:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1285755 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fun Hobbies You Can Take Up for Free http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-hobbies-you-can-take-up-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fun-hobbies-you-can-take-up-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000034444570_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="friends beach guitar" title="friends beach guitar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the new year, many of us choose to take up new hobbies to fill our free time and extend our skills. I recently looked into taking a pottery class, for example, but the $600 price tag sent me scrambling elsewhere to find some less expensive fun. Sure, a good number of fulfilling activities cost a pretty penny, but there are plenty of others you can start for free.</p> <h2>1. Exercise</h2> <p>Forget gym memberships. All you need for a great workout is yourself (and maybe a pair of shoes). You can walk or jog around your neighborhood. The web has a wealth of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap">free workouts</a> you can perform in your living room. Also investigate the gyms and fitness clubs around you to see if they run free weeks or classes you can try before you buy.</p> <h2>2. Read</h2> <p>All you need to become a frugal bookworm is a card to your local library. Even if your local stacks don't hold all the books you want to read, you can usually request to get most anything you want through interlibrary loans. So, sign up for <a href="https://www.goodreads.com">Goodreads</a>, research some books in whatever genre appeals to you, make a list, and slip into your reading glasses.</p> <h2>3. Write</h2> <p>If you'd rather write than read, look around the web for different <a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/">writing challenges</a> that &quot;push your boundaries&quot; and allow you to explore different topics and styles. You might also start a blog to share your words with the world (or keep it private, or for friends-only). Many regions also have writers' groups that allow you to meet up with like-minded people and get feedback on your work. Check your library, bookstore, or community calendar for details.</p> <h2>4. Play an Instrument</h2> <p>Venture into your attic and find your trumpet from high school marching band. Stop singing only in the confines of your car. There are a number of community groups &mdash; bands, orchestras, choruses, and other ensembles &mdash; that allow you to re-learn your instrument and perform in concerts. I was a member of a local philharmonic for years, and I loved having an excuse to play my violin after a 10-year hiatus.</p> <h2>5. Act</h2> <p>The same goes with community theater. Audition for lead roles or hang out with the extras in the chorus. Whatever part you play, acting allows you to meet new people, explore your creative side, and just have a lot of fun. You don't even need experience! Just search &quot;community theater&quot; and the name of the city where you live to find groups near you.</p> <h2>6. Learn a Language</h2> <p>Have you ever wanted to speak another language? I mean, beyond those few years of Italian you were required to take to graduate college? I sure have. A few years ago I taught myself French using an app and some <a href="http://livemocha.com">free online language resources</a>, and I was surprised how much fun it was (and useful, too!).</p> <h2>7. Listen to Podcast</h2> <p>Move over, TV and books, I've become seriously obsessed with podcasts since Sarah Koenig's <a href="http://serialpodcast.org">Serial</a> came out. Now I've moved on to This American Life and other free radio programs and podcasts I can stream or download. I love how these programs teach me things about myself and the world around me. I can listen to them while I lay in bed or go for a jog and change subjects to suit my mood.</p> <h2>8. Volunteer</h2> <p>Doing good feels good and is certainly a thoughtful hobby to take up and enjoy. You can serve food at your local soup kitchen, help build houses, or visit the elderly. The need is great and the opportunities are endless. To find volunteering gigs near you, try sites like <a href="http://www.volunteermatch.org">VolunteerMatch</a> that sort by location and interest.</p> <h2>9. Explore</h2> <p>Take a hike &mdash; literally. Pack yourself a lunch and head out on a local trail. A friend of mine in the Adirondacks tries to reach the summit of a new mountain every couple weeks. You can also <a href="http://www.geocaching.com/guide/">try geocaching</a>, which allows you to hunt for different objects or locations using GPS coordinates.</p> <h2>10. Begin Again</h2> <p>Then there are those hobbies of years past &mdash; you have all the stuff sitting in a box somewhere. For me, it's knitting. I have countless skeins of yarn and a few different sizes of needles, assorted books, and other supplies. All I need to do is use what I have and pick up where I left off. For you, this might mean dusting off a chess set, unearthing oil paints, or rolling out that old yoga mat.</p> <p><em>Do you pursue and free or frugal hobbies? What do you do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-hobbies-you-can-take-up-for-free">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-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)</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/14-ways-to-spend-less-money-on-valentines-day">14 Ways to Spend Less Money on Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</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/metal-detecting-for-beginners-patience-and-profit">Metal Detecting for Beginners: Patience and Profit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-143-fun-and-frugal-ways-to-spend-your-weekend">Flashback Friday: 143 Fun and Frugal Ways to Spend Your Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle cheap fun entertainment free fun hobbies pastimes Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:00:14 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1283628 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Holiday Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Cheer http://www.wisebread.com/8-holiday-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-cheer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-holiday-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-cheer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shocked-woman-christmas-164414294-small.jpg" alt="shocked woman christmas" title="shocked woman christmas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ahh, the holidays &mdash; those two-sided coins of celebration and resignation, relaxation and maddening stress. How did such a good idea (time off work spent with loved ones exchanging small tokens of our love) become an over-commercialized madhouse? I mean, when we need to take a holiday after our holidays, hasn't something gone terribly wrong? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-slow-down-and-actually-appreciate-the-holidays?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Slow Down and Actually Appreciate the Holidays</a>)</p> <p>If you're anticipating &quot;that most joyous time of year&quot; with a sense of deep foreboding (cue the Jaws theme music), maybe you're doing it wrong. Here are eight common mistakes people make during the holidays.</p> <h2>1. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Begin Shopping</h2> <p>No, no, no! Waiting until the last minute to begin your holiday shopping is like tossing your sanity straight into a woodchipper. Long lines, competition for merchandize, and traffic snarls are just a few of things you'll have to deal with. Instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/early-holiday-shopping-why-i-finish-by-thanksgiving">start shopping early</a> (like in April), employ new ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-beat-holiday-shopping-stress">beat holiday shopping stress</a>, and err on the side of simple and thoughtful gifts that won't break the bank.</p> <h2>2. Getting Caught Up in the Moment</h2> <p>The decorations, the music, the mistletoe&hellip; and the smell of smoking credit cards? Getting lost in the holiday vibe can bust your budget and leave you feeling Grinch-like for the rest of the year. Though it's easy to get caught up in the moment and overspend, set a budget for gifts and other incidentals during the holidays and stick to it. It'll help you be a little merrier all year round. And if you're still recovering from last year's Christmas splurge or have already maxed out this year, explore smart ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealing-with-post-holiday-credit-card-debt">manage post-holiday credit card debt</a>.</p> <h2>3. Overscheduling</h2> <p>Who doesn't feel pressure to over schedule during the holidays? It seems like everyone is throwing a party, flying in for a weekend, or hosting a dinner. Choose your events wisely and remember that it's okay to politely decline an invitation and opt for an evening that's more Silent Night and less Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.</p> <h2>4. Missing Out on Quality Time</h2> <p>Choose quality over quantity and avoid the inevitable result of over scheduling &mdash; dashing from event to event with very little time to relax and truly enjoy the company of those around you. Instead of viewing the holidays as a blank dance card that you have to fill up, slow down your holidays and look for opportunities to share some quality time with those you hold most dear. Though it might not be the most exciting option, it's quite possibly the most fulfilling.</p> <h2>5. Stiffing the Host or Hostess</h2> <p>No matter what your friends tell you, it's always proper etiquette to bring a small token of appreciation to the host or hostess of a gathering. A small box of chocolates, bottle of wine, pound of premium coffee, or small bouquet of flowers is the perfect way to acknowledge hospitality. Getting it right will get you noticed &mdash; especially when first impressions matter or when the event is work-related.</p> <h2>6. Overindulging</h2> <p>Who doesn't loosen their nutritional standards a little bit over the holidays? After all, how many times a year do we have the perfect excuse to act like kids in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory? But over indulging can really detract from all the other joys of the season and leave you feeling tired, irritable, and downright guilty. Try allowing yourself a single small treat each day during the holidays or build a calorie credit by having smaller meals or working out more.</p> <h2>7. Giving Plastic to Kids</h2> <p>Though giving gift cards is convenient and easy, aren't they really just credit card starter kits for kids? Instead of giving plastic, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-give-kids-cash-for-the-holidays">give kids cash</a> for the holidays or let them choose a gift for themselves online or in the store (within very clear budget parameters, of course).</p> <h2>8. Missing the Meaning</h2> <p>It's easy to approach everything like a task-master &mdash; even our holidays. Instead of slowing down and reconnecting with the more fundamental aspects of life, we shop, wrap, cook, clean, decorate&hellip; and maybe have a few minutes left over to down a glass of eggnog and drop into bed. This year, try something new: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/creating-a-memorable-christmas">create a more memorable Christmas</a> by simplifying your approach. Choose family over frenzy, time over stuff, and reflection over perfection. You'll not only enjoy the holidays more, you just might start a new tradition.</p> <p>Besides gifts, we wrap up a lot of emotions and expectations during the holiday season. But maybe it's time to embrace a much more reasonable and joyous philosophy. After all, combating over-commercialization, over-spending, over-scheduling, and over-the-top stress starts with each of us.</p> <p><em>What holiday mistakes have you made? How do you avoid stress and keep your holidays happy?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-holiday-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-cheer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</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/the-art-of-the-group-gift">The Art of the Group Gift</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/people-who-love-christmas-do-these-9-things-do-you">People Who Love Christmas Do These 9 Things — Do 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/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</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/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Shopping entertainment family gifts holiday parties Holidays the season Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:00:06 +0000 Kentin Waits 1250738 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways that Football Season Can Blitz Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-that-football-season-can-blitz-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-that-football-season-can-blitz-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/men-watching-football-74583673-small.jpg" alt="men watching football" title="men watching football" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being a football fan is all fun and games &mdash; until it starts making you broke. Cut the financial damage off at the pass by recognizing 10 money traps that the gridiron holds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans?ref=seealso">How Everyone Can Cut the Cable &mdash; Even Sports Fans</a>)</p> <h2>1. Fantasy Football Buy-Ins</h2> <p>If you're into playing fantasy football, you're probably familiar with the league buy-ins and fees that go towards a winner's prize at the end of the year. Although the cost is often low, it can fall anywhere between a few dollars to several hundred. Should you decide to join several leagues, that could really start to add up and cost you a big down payment. Not to mention, the odds of winning that money back are fairly poor. Try to limit yourself to just one league, or join a few leagues that don't require a buy-in.</p> <h2>2. Over-Priced Out-of-Market Games on TV</h2> <p>Satellite and cable companies will provide programs that allow you to <a href="http://www.nfl.com/nflsundayticket?ref=seealso">watch out-of-market football games</a> at an extra cost. Unfortunately, that cost is usually pretty high. In addition to your regular bill, you'll pay several hundred dollars for packages that allow you to watch out of market games. A good compromise is to settle for the games that are shown on prime time (Sunday and Monday nights), as well as the games that make it onto your local stations.</p> <h2>3. Junk Food</h2> <p>Hosting friends and family on a weekend where there's even the possibility that football will be on often carries with it the expectation of some kind of junk food or snacks available during the game. Avoiding this responsibility could save you a lot of money, so if you do host a watch party, try and cook ahead of time, perhaps by throwing together <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">Crock-Pot</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-terrific-freeze-ahead-casserole-recipes">freeze-ahead meal</a>, which are cheaper than snacks and will satisfy people's hunger during the game.</p> <h2>4. Impulse Buy Fan Gear and Memorabilia</h2> <p>It's always tempting to christen the new football season with a shiny new jersey or fancy piece of memorabilia for the TV room. If you have the extra money, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker, but I'd be willing to bet that most people haven't &quot;budgeted&quot; for a new football jersey. The best alternative is to abstain and wait until after the season is over when apparel and memorabilia will be a lot cheaper.</p> <h2>5. A Shiny New TV</h2> <p>Most major retailers will have huge promotions on TVs right around the time football season is starting, which does create the optimal buying time but tends to lure those who don't need a TV as much as those that do. Only buy a TV if you need one and don't let football season be the deciding factor when you make that call.</p> <h2>6. Alcohol</h2> <p>Of all the things on this list, alcohol might have the most power to separate you from your money because of its price, regular consumption, and easy access. Most people will just run to a gas station to pick up a case or two of beer because it's convenient. But that'll cost you. Instead, plan ahead and buy a more economical case at Costco or another bulk retailer. If you buy in bulk, it'll last longer and you'll pay much less per beer than you would almost anywhere else.</p> <h2>7. Tickets and Game Attendance (Gas, Food and Drink Costs)</h2> <p>The tickets themselves expensive, but then add in the parking at the stadium and over-priced drinks and food and it all adds up quickly, even if you just go to a few games. Think of attending games as a rare treat, as in once a year or every other year. Otherwise, you're better off to enjoy the games in the comfort of your own home.</p> <h2>8. Distractions at Work</h2> <p>Although they aren't likely to cost someone working hourly (unless you get fired because of low productivity), being distracted by checking your fantasy team, scores, or highlights while you could or should be working can cost those who get paid by work output. While there's no easy solution aside from consistent self-discipline, you can set your own computer and smartphone policies by committing to stay off the &quot;football grid&quot; during work hours.</p> <h2>9. Miscellaneous Betting</h2> <p>There is a lot of money going around in the world of NFL betting, but most who bet are more likely to lose money than come away with a profit. In almost all cases, the more frugal decision is to avoid getting into this habit completely. A good alternative is to stick to smaller bets among friends, perhaps by betting items you already own or paying for a lunch out.</p> <h2>10. Living Room Remodeling and Accessorizing</h2> <p>Much in the same way that many football fans are tempted to buy a new TV at the beginning of the season, a number of them will also use it as an excuse to spend money on their living room, man cave or whatever part of the house they'll be watching the games in. If you want to spiff up a room for football season, look for some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-cheap-home-decorating-projects-that-look-amazing">frugal home decor ideas</a> instead of going out and buying new things that you might not need.</p> <h2>Be a Responsible Football Fan</h2> <p>Football season is a lot of fun and we shouldn't feel guilty for enjoying it or even spending money on it. Just make certain that you're not sacrificing too much of what you earn for something that isn't really going to give anything back to you. In other words, football season expenses should always be limited and should always be in the &quot;entertainment&quot; category of our budgets.</p> <p><em>What do you find to be the most consuming and expensive aspect of football season? How do you cut down the costs? Let us know in comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-that-football-season-can-blitz-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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