safety http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6787/all en-US Don't Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-469932560.jpg" alt="Asking questions before buying a house with a pool" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a built-in pool on your property comes with plenty of perks &mdash; like providing respite from the summer heat and elevating your kids' social status. But this luxury isn't all splash battles and cannonballs. Pools, among other things, require costly maintenance while also introducing a laundry list of liability and safety concerns into your life. Keep your head above water when considering buying a house with a pool by asking these eight important questions.</p> <h2>1. Does everyone in the family know how to swim?</h2> <p>This may seem like a silly question to ask yourself before buying a house with a pool, but you might be surprised at how many pool-owners either can't swim themselves, or have children who can't swim. Both of these scenarios could end in tragedy. And if you can't swim, there's <a href="http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1796" target="_blank">only a 13 percent chance</a> your child will learn how to swim. Not the best odds to have when a life is on the line.</p> <h2>2. Does everyone in your family know CPR?</h2> <p>If you're planning to own a pool, it's a wise decision to be trained in CPR. The few minutes' time between on-the-scene CPR and that which is administered by EMTs, who may take several minutes to arrive, is literally life and death.</p> <h2>3. How old is the pool?</h2> <p>Keller Williams Real Estate agent Jen Teague provides a few important construction questions to ask, including:</p> <ul> <li>What company installed the pool and is it still in business?</li> <li>Is it under warranty?</li> <li>Has there been any major work done to the pool over the last year?</li> <li>Are there any consistent issues (leaks, etc.) the owner has had with it?</li> </ul> <p>You're specifically looking to find out how much longer the pump life is, as well as any maintenance that may be needed for the liner or granite. After a while the chlorine wears down the liner and it will be more prone to tearing. Granite cracks over time as well.</p> <p>Three-decade pool industry veteran Michael Kern of MGK Pool Service in Lowell, Massachusetts adds, &quot;Cement pools need to be replastered every six to nine years; above ground pools need the liner replaced every four to eight years; and in-ground pools need the liner replaced every 15 to 20 years.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Is the pool surrounded by a fence?</h2> <p>A fence around your pool isn't to keep your kids in, but rather other people out &mdash; like wandering toddlers and even pets. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) Pool Safely campaign, which focuses on drowning prevention and water safety (a <a href="https://www.poolsafely.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Safety-Barrier-Guidelines-for-Residential-Pools.pdf" target="_blank">must read</a> if you're planning to become a pool owner!), suggests that the fence stands at least four feet high, surrounds the pool on all four sides, and includes a self-closing, self-latching gate. Adding an alarm to the door is an extra layer of protection so you're alerted to unauthorized visitors.</p> <h2>5. Does the pool have a safe drain cover?</h2> <p>The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool &amp; Spa Safety Act, named after a little girl who died in 2002 when the suction from a spa drain trapped her under water, mandates drain covers for public spas and pools &mdash; but homeowners also should practice this safety measure. A pool technician can tell you whether or not your drain cover needs updating, which is generally about every five years. The ZAC Foundation, an organization working to strengthen pool safety legislation and educate children on water safety, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CULPxBSa_10" target="_blank">explains the difference in drain covers</a> and why having a compliant drain cover is important.</p> <h2>6. How much will maintenance cost?</h2> <p>Most homeowners have a general budget in place for day-to-day home expenses, plus a little extra to cover emergencies. But those who have never owned a pool may not be prepared for the added expense. Be sure to ask your agent about how much annual maintenance the pool will need so you can get a good idea of whether or not you can afford its upkeep.</p> <p>This is also a good time to ask the previous owners what pool necessities will be left behind and what you may need to buy when you assume ownership.</p> <h2>7. How much will your homeowners insurance increase?</h2> <p>Your swimming pool is a liability, for sure, and your insurer will consider that when pricing your policy. Before you jump in head first, hammer out the details of the policy and its cost. Additional umbrella insurance is always recommended for homeowners with a pool.</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/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">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/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter</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-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</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-college-expenses-you-arent-saving-for">9 College Expenses You Aren&#039;t Saving For</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/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</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/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing drowning expenses home buying homeowners insurance kids maintenance pools safety swimming Wed, 05 Apr 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1917660 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay with a Selfie: How Safe Are the New Ways to Pay? http://www.wisebread.com/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-512291874.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2016, more than half of all <a href="https://consumerist.com/2016/06/08/ups-survey-online-shopping-has-surpassed-in-store-buying-for-the-first-time/" target="_blank">purchases in the U.S.</a> were made online instead of at a brick-and-mortar store. From selfie-payments to Facebook Messenger bots, there is now a long list of unusual ways that you can pay the water bill or complete your grocery run for the week.</p> <p>But how safe are these new ways to pay? Let's take a closer look at how some of these new payment methods work, and what you can do to make them even safer.</p> <h2>1. Facebook Messenger Bots</h2> <p>Colorado-based <em>fintech </em>company BillHero was the first to leverage a Facebook Messenger chat bot to pay bills via chat commands. Later on in September 2016, Facebook enabled all of the 34,000 plus developers on the platform to support payments. The social media giant is working with several players in the credit card industry and fintech, including Visa and Braintree, to process all types of payment options.</p> <p>By opening the gates, Facebook allowed U.S. customers to complete a wide range of other transactions and purchases on Facebook Messenger. In a nutshell: The chat bot lets you know about a product that you might be interested in, and provides a &quot;buy now&quot; button. When you click it, it takes you to a checkout screen with your shipping information and payment method for you to review. Boom! Just like that, you're ready to pay.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Well, Facebook Messenger payment bots are covered by the same level of security as all other Facebook products. All transactions using a Facebook chat bot are encrypted or processed through a trusted third-party payment processor, such as PayPal or Stripe, to protect your payment information, such as your card number or CVV. Also, transaction confirmations from a bot will restrict your information, such as only showing the last four digits of your credit card number.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Your first line of defense starts with your Facebook password. Facebook recommends building a password that has at least six characters and is a complex combination of numbers, letters, and punctuation marks. When a password isn't strong enough, the app will let you know. Also, make your Facebook password different from those you use for your online banking, investing, or retirement savings accounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a>)</p> <p>A second tactic is to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/162968940433354?helpref=faq_content" target="_blank">turn on login alerts</a> so that you receive an automated alert when someone tries logging in to your Facebook account from an unrecognized device or browser. A third is to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/610199629080802?helpref=faq_content" target="_blank">require a password or PIN</a> whenever sending money or making payments in Facebook Messenger.</p> <h2>2. MasterCard Selfie Payments</h2> <p>Speaking of passwords, MasterCard believes that they cause too much hassle and presents the option to pay with a selfie. The &quot;selfie pay&quot; technology was first tested in the Netherlands, the U.S., and Canada and will be rolled out gradually across the world throughout 2017.</p> <p>Through a smartphone app, shoppers can confirm a purchase by taking a selfie and letting the facial recognition software verify their identity. According to MasterCard, 71% of users rated &quot;selfie pay&quot; highly during trials.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>To prevent somebody from just holding up a picture of you and getting away with a $1,000 shopping spree, the app requires you to snap the picture after you blink or shake your head. Then, the app compares the selfie with stored algorithms of your face to identify you. During the trials, 73% of users believed that &quot;selfie pay&quot; will reduce fraud and 90% of them would use it in the future.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Since &quot;selfie pay&quot; is still in the process of being rolled out, there's little that we can do as of right now. If taking selfies isn't your cup of tea, MasterCard also plans to provide a fingerprint confirmation option with the app and is currently testing voice and cardiac rhythm recognition.</p> <h2>3. Amazon Dash Buttons</h2> <p>Connected to your home's Wi-Fi, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2iTpixh" target="_blank">Amazon Dash Button</a> allows you to reorder many of your favorite products with a simple click. To set up each Amazon Dash Button, you'll need to download the Amazon app on your Android or Apple device, connect the Dash Button to Bluetooth, and also enter your Wi-Fi information. Some Dash Buttons don't support Bluetooth connection, and use your smartphone's Wi-Fi connection or speakers instead.</p> <p>Currently, the button is only available for Amazon Prime members, costs $4.99, and provides you with a $4.99 credit after your first order. There are hundreds of products to choose from including Charmin, Doritos, Greenies Dog Treats, and Red Bull! Once you click the button, an indicator light will turn green when your order is successfully placed, or red if there was a problem.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>A device that connects seamlessly to your Wi-Fi, smartphone, and Amazon account &mdash; what could go wrong? While there are plenty of folks that have hacked their own button to do anything from <a href="https://medium.com/@ecaron/why-i-stopped-hacking-the-amazon-dash-button-and-learned-to-solder-84386a38bbd1#.wmcfdj5do" target="_blank">turning on lamps remotely</a> to <a href="https://medium.com/@brody_berson/hacking-amazon-s-5-dash-button-to-order-domino-s-pizza-9d19c9d04646#.j6d2iycep" target="_blank">ordering pizza</a> with one click, there are currently no reports of malicious hackers tapping into another person's Amazon Dash Buttons.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Turn on the &quot;order protection&quot; feature on your Dash Button to prevent a new order from being placed until your prior order is delivered. This way you can prevent your spouse or son from tripling an order of detergent on the same day.</p> <p>Consider turning on the email notifications of your Amazon orders so that you can cancel any orders that you don't recognize.</p> <p>And it should go without saying, but set a strong password for your Wi-Fi and update that password at least once a year.</p> <h2>4. Chip Cards</h2> <p>No other new form of payment has generated more discontent from American consumers. From the confusion about swiping or inserting, to the awkward conversation with cashiers while waiting for your card to be processed, there is a list of reasons these metallic chips are considered an annoyance by many.</p> <p>However, the reality is that chip cards are far from being a new way to pay. They have been reducing fraud in over 130 nations around the world for several years. So, the U.S. is just playing catch-up. As of April 2016, Visa had issued <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/04/19/some-major-merchants-see-dip-counterfeit-fraud-thanks-chip-cards-visa-says/83194722/" target="_blank">roughly 265 million</a> U.S. chip-enabled credit and debit cards, and MasterCard had upgraded about 70% of its U.S. debit and credit cards to the chip format.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>The evidence clearly indicates that chip-enabled cards reduce fraud. Visa has reported that among the U.S. merchants who were suffering the most instances of card fraud at the end of 2014, those that began accepting chip debit and credit cards saw instances of card fraud fall 18.3% as of the fourth quarter of 2015. On the other hand, some of the U.S. merchants who opted not to upgrade payment terminals to process chip cards experienced an increase in instances of card fraud of 11.4% for the same period. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-chip-credit-cards-make-life-easier?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways Chip Credit Cards Make Life Easier</a>)</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Simple: Opt to use your chip-enabled cards over those without a chip, and choose merchants with chip-enabled payment terminals over those who are still holding out. As with everything else, strength comes in numbers. Only when chip cards have become the norm across the nation can we all reap the enhanced security benefits of chip technology.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay">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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apple-watch-apps-thatll-save-you-money">8 Apple Watch Apps That&#039;ll Save You 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/6-surprising-ways-your-smartphone-can-keep-you-and-your-family-safe">6 Surprising Ways Your Smartphone Can Keep You and Your Family Safe</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/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology Amazon apps bots buying chip cards Facebook fraud payment methods safety selfie Fri, 17 Feb 2017 10:31:16 +0000 Damian Davila 1890386 at http://www.wisebread.com Solving the World's Problems Could Win You Millions http://www.wisebread.com/solving-the-worlds-problems-could-win-you-millions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/solving-the-worlds-problems-could-win-you-millions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-492846156.jpg" alt="Woman solving the world&#039;s problems and winning millions" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How are your problem-solving abilities? Do you regularly come up with ingenious ways to make life better? Are you and your close friends the kind of people who, when they put their minds together, can accomplish anything?</p> <p>If you're nodding yes to all these questions, you could well bag a huge prize (some are $1 million or more) for solving one of these super hard problems.</p> <h2>1. The Water Abundance Challenge ($1.5 Million Grand Prize)</h2> <p>Can you create water from thin air? That's the problem put before you on this challenge, which has a massive jackpot prize of $1.5 million. The reasons behind the competition are scary. Half of the global population lives in areas where water tables are rapidly falling, and by 2025, it is estimated that 1.8 billion people will live in areas affected by water scarcity.</p> <p>However, there is a solution. Well, a possible one. There are over three quadrillion gallons of untapped water in the Earth's atmosphere. That's enough water to meet the needs of every person on the planet for a whole year, <em>if </em>someone can figure out a way to extract the water from the air in an energy efficient way. And that's the real challenge. The solution must extract a minimum of 2,000 liters of water from the atmosphere per day, using 100% renewable energy, at a cost of no more that two cents per liter.</p> <p>Clean water, from the atmosphere, using renewable energy, with minimal costs. That's quite the challenge, and the reason the prize pot is so big. Registration closes on March 15, 2017, so if you have the chops to take this problem on, <a href="http://water.xprize.org/about/overview" target="_blank">get your entry in</a> as soon as possible.</p> <h2>2. NASA 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge ($1.1 Million and $1.4 Million Prizes)</h2> <p>This problem centers around making a 3D printed habitat for a NASA astronaut. If you've seen the movie <em>The Martian</em>, you'll know how important a dependable, lightweight living environment is to a NASA crew member. The advent of 3D printing has led to a whole new direction for innovation in this area. And now you could be a part of it.</p> <p>The big hurdle you will have to get over is raw materials. Rather than bringing them on the mission (which adds weight and cost to the project), the idea here is to &quot;print&quot; a habitat using the local indigenous materials, or recycled materials. As you can imagine, if the habitat is to be based on the moon, or Mars, that does not leave you with a lot of options.</p> <p>Phase 1 of this contest is already over, but you can still register for Phases 2 and 3 of the challenge. Each brings a substantial prize to the winning design.</p> <p>Phase 2, known as the Structural Member Competition, focuses on material technologies needed to create and build the habitat. Phase 3 is the actual printing and building of the scaled habitat design. Both offer over $1 million to the winner, so if this kind of engineering problem is your thing, <a href="http://www.bradley.edu/sites/challenge/description/" target="_blank">you should get started ASAP</a>.</p> <h2>3. Wearable Alcohol Biosensor ($200,000 First Prize)</h2> <p>Alcoholism, and alcohol-related problems, are a major cause for concern in the United States. A report published in 2014 showed that the top 10% of alcohol drinkers consume an average of <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/25/think-you-drink-a-lot-this-chart-will-tell-you/?utm_term=.de52bf918239" target="_blank">74 drinks every week</a> (that's more than 10 drinks per day). That's over two bottles of wine every day, or three 24-can cases of beer per week.</p> <p>Knowing the severity of the problem, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism wants to help Americans get off their booze addiction. So, they have issued a challenge, with a top prize of $200,000.</p> <p>You are being tasked to create the prototype of a sleek, unobtrusive, noninvasive, wearable, real-time blood alcohol monitor. Imagine a smartwatch that gives you an instant read of your blood alcohol content, or perhaps some kind of digital patch or piece of jewelry. This would become a self-monitoring device that people can use to chart their alcohol use, and something the local doctor can use as a reliable indicator of alcohol use (and abuse).</p> <p>If you have something in mind, get over to this site <a href="https://niaaa.nih.gov/challenge-prize" target="_blank">before May 15, 2017</a> and submit your prototype. You could win a lot of money, and save a lot of lives.</p> <h2>4. Women's Safety Challenge ($1 Million Grand Prize)</h2> <p>The statistics behind this challenge are terrifying. Globally, one in three women have faced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Geographically, it can be much worse in some areas. In New Delhi, a 2012 study revealed that 92% of women experience some form of sexual violence in public spaces. And despite the growth of technology, including smartphones and wearables, the statistics are not changing. Although most of us carry a communication device, it's not helping the problem.</p> <p>The challenge here is to use modern technology that will help keep women and communities safe. How can devices like smartphones, coupled with a community of people ready to help, create a network that protects women from the dangers of society? The winning solution will autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert, transmitting information to a network of responders, all within 90 seconds and at an annual cost of U.S. $40 or less.</p> <p>This is something that can have a real impact on your own community, and the world. You can <a href="http://safety.xprize.org/about/overview" target="_blank">read more about the challenge</a>, and the prize.</p> <h2>5. The Medical Treatment Free Time Challenge ($20,000 Top Prize)</h2> <p>Hopefully, you never have to be the beneficiary of the solution to this challenge. It is based around the amount of time that some people have to spend basically sitting idle while they receive medical treatments. A typical example of this would be kidney dialysis, which requires patients to sit still for around four hours, three times per week. But as the challenge states, this is for anyone receiving medical treatment that has free time to spare while undergoing the procedure.</p> <p>Instead of reading a book, listening to music, or watching TV, what could the patient do that is more beneficial to his or her recovery? Could this time be better spent doing something that actively helps in the treatment itself, or something that works to better the attitude and outlook of the patient?</p> <p>If these questions are already getting your mind to work overtime, <a href="https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933817" target="_blank">take a look at the details</a>. You will have to register for free, but it could be well worth it for you, and the people your solution helps.</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/solving-the-worlds-problems-could-win-you-millions">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-surprising-ways-a-3d-printer-can-save-you-money">5 Surprising Ways a 3D Printer Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</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/6-ways-to-sell-your-body-to-science">6 Ways to Sell Your Body to Science</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-ultimate-list-of-hangover-cures">The Ultimate List of Hangover Cures</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/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay">Pay with a Selfie: How Safe Are the New Ways to Pay?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology 3d printing alcohol engineering grand prizes medicine problem solving safety science water Thu, 02 Feb 2017 10:30:35 +0000 Paul Michael 1878110 at http://www.wisebread.com Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-509629604.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's 2017. Most people aren't really thinking of filing taxes just yet, but they are starting to collect the information needed to file by the April deadline. That means the scammers are out in force again, ready to trick millions into submitting personal information, or to make payments that will go into the pockets of thieves.</p> <p>These six scams are the biggest offenders, and once again, they'll be used widely this year. Watch out for them.</p> <h2>1. The &quot;You've Got a Refund&quot; Email</h2> <p>Who doesn't love getting money back from the IRS? When you get this one in your inbox, you could certainly be fooled into thinking it's legitimate. Unlike many of the phishing emails, it appears to have decent grammar, it's well formatted, and it has something of an official look to it. What's more, the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/phishing_email.pdf" target="_blank">refund isn't huge</a>. If it had stated you were getting many thousands back, you may pause for thought. But a small sum, under $100, is less likely to trigger alarm bells. It all seems legit. But, it's not. And by clicking the link in the email, you are going to a fraudulent site designed to collect personal and banking information.</p> <p>As the IRS clearly states on its website, it will never initiate contact with taxpayers over email, text messages, or social media channels. The main contact is snail mail, and while you may get actual calls, they will be easy to verify (more on that later).</p> <p>Do not look at the &quot;from&quot; email address, either. These can be simulated to look like they have come from an official agency. Look at the link address in the email; this will definitely be going to a site that tries to look official, but isn't, such as <a href="http://www.irs-gov.com/refund" title="www.irs-gov.com/refund">www.irs-gov.com/refund</a>. The bottom line: Any kind of &quot;you've got a refund&quot; email from the IRS is a scam, and should be <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/report-phishing" target="_blank">reported to them immediately</a>.</p> <h2>2. The &quot;The Bill Was Lost in the Mail&quot; Call</h2> <p>If you receive a call from the IRS saying you owe money, it's a scam. That's just a hard fact. The IRS clearly states on its website that it will never call you if you owe taxes, without first sending you a bill in the mail. Of course, thieves are getting wise to this being common knowledge, and are now saying that the bill must have gotten lost in the mail.</p> <p>At this point, you may well be put into a world of self-doubt; and that's when the scammer jumps on the opportunity. They hear the hesitation in your voice, and start alarming you. They will say that as the bill has been long overdue, you are now in serious trouble. You have to pay the back taxes immediately or risk going to jail. It's at this point that many people become so scared that they pay up. This is all a con, and you can easily verify this.</p> <p>For starters, a real IRS agent will not ask for money over the phone. If this is the request, hang up. They also will not threaten you with arrest or deportation. You can also ask for their IRS badge number and call back number. The scammer will hang up on you.</p> <h2>3. The &quot;Affordable Care Act&quot; Email</h2> <p>One of the downsides of the Affordable Care Act is that it is still quite new, and therefore, has many unknowns. There is even a page on the IRS website dedicated to the intricacies surrounding the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-act/individuals-and-families/the-affordable-care-act-whats-trending" target="_blank">new health care law</a>; and that is perfect fodder for a scammer. Where there is doubt, there is a chance to profit.</p> <p>The scam will come as an email (and in some rare cases, a letter) alerting you to something called a CP2000 notice. It's worth noting that this is, in fact, a real type of notice. But in this case, it's completely fake. The big giveaway is that it is issued from an Austin, Texas address, with a phony payment voucher number called a 105C.</p> <p>The scam uses language designed to scare you into paying the bill, and here's another huge red flag &mdash; the check should be made payable to &quot;I.R.S.&quot; at an Austin Processing Center address. If you receive anything like this via email, forward it to the IRS. They are currently <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-and-security-summit-partners-warn-of-fake-tax-bill-emails" target="_blank">investigating this nasty scam</a>.</p> <h2>4. The &quot;Please Verify Your Tax Information&quot; Call</h2> <p>Not all IRS scams are designed for immediate profit. This one is designed to harvest your personal information, which can then be used for identity theft, or to actually grab a refund owed to you before you even claim it. In 2013, the IRS paid out over <a href="http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-119" target="_blank">$5.8 billion in stolen tax refunds</a>, and the problem is not going away.</p> <p>As the scammer is not asking you to pay a bill, it can feel much less threatening. The fake agent will be very polite, and will say that the IRS needs to verify some information on a tax return you previously filed. They may even have some personal information that makes it sound like they have your file right there in front of them. But, the information they really want, like your SSN or bank details, will not be available.</p> <p>Questions will start out simple: &quot;I have your name as John S. Doe, could you spell that please?&quot; But this will quickly lead to &quot;And could you verify your social security number for me?&quot; At this point, the scammer won't have anything to work with, and is hoping you simply parrot back the response.</p> <p>Remember, the IRS will not call you asking for this kind of information. If you do have an issue with a former return, you will get an official notice in the mail, asking for the information to be verified. And if you doubt that, call the IRS directly.</p> <h2>5. The &quot;IRS Taxpayer Advocate&quot; Email</h2> <p>In 2014, the IRS warned of a new scam that was designed to solicit personal information, leading to identity theft and stolen tax refunds. This is known as the &quot;<a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-warns-of-new-email-phishing-scheme-falsely-claiming-to-be-from-the-taxpayer-advocate-service" target="_blank">IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service</a>,&quot; and comes complete with a legitimate-looking case number, and language designed to grab sensitive personal and financial information.</p> <p>The email, which comes with a &quot;from&quot; address designed to look real, tells you that a former tax return you filed was flagged for review due to a document processing error. Once again, you will always be notified of any problems like this via regular mail, not email.</p> <p>The email will then say that you must click on a link to submit the missing or erroneous information, which will expedite the filing of the return to avoid any fees or charges. Of course, that link leads to a page hosted by the scammer, designed to collect and abuse your information.</p> <h2>6. The &quot;Federal Student Tax&quot; Call</h2> <p>A new tax scam surfaced last year, and it sadly tricked a few unsuspecting people into handing over iTunes gift cards, W-2 information, or tax return data. If that sounds a bit obvious, it's all done in a way that makes it feel legitimate.</p> <p>The scammer will call a student and tell them that they owe &quot;Federal Student Tax,&quot; which must be paid immediately. There's no such thing as the Federal Student Tax. It's a complete fabrication.</p> <p>However, the scammers have become much more sophisticated. For example, they are using caller ID spoofing to make the call look like it is coming from an official government line. Plus, information made available on the dark web can give them all sorts of information about the student's background. Together with a very professional sounding &quot;agent,&quot; this can all work to convince the student the tax must be paid. And often, they request the money in the form of gift cards, which is another huge red flag. Again, the IRS won't call and ask for money. If this is happening to you, or someone you know, tell them to hang up and <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/report-phishing" target="_blank">report the incident to the IRS</a>.</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/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails">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/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</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/most-popular-ways-americans-spend-their-tax-refunds">Most Popular Ways Americans Spend Their Tax Refunds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away">How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away</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/top-three-tax-facts-to-know-for-2016">Top Three Tax Facts to Know for 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-the-best-tax-preparer">How to Choose the Best Tax Preparer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes emails fraud IRS phishing scams safety scams tax refunds theft Wed, 25 Jan 2017 11:00:08 +0000 Paul Michael 1878111 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid Theft While Traveling http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-theft-while-traveling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-theft-while-traveling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_wallet_theft_187934619_0.jpg" alt="Woman avoiding theft while traveling" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Travel can be a beautiful and life-changing experience, however, it does come with its own set of risks. By setting out in a prepared way, you can reduce the chance of having a horror story to bring back home with you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling</a>)</p> <p>While some destinations have reputations for being dangerous, petty crime like pickpocketing and theft can occur in pretty much any major city in the world. It exists in Paris, just as it does in New York. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-your-belongings-get-stolen-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do When Your Belongings Get Stolen Abroad</a>.)</p> <p>You may want to research your destination before you leave home to get an idea for the major concerns that you will face on arrival, and to develop the strategies you might follow once you're there. It helps to have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?ref=internal">credit card that offers purchase protection</a> insurance against theft or accidental damage. While it doesn't help to be suspicious of everyone, you do need to be aware of some basic procedures and guidelines for safety. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>Be Aware, Not Afraid</h2> <p>While you're traveling, you may find yourself at times out of your comfort zone. This is a completely normal part of traveling and it can arise from something as simple as not speaking the local language. Your discomfort does not mean that you're in a particularly risky situation.</p> <p>However, regardless of how you're feeling, it's important to project an attitude of confidence. If you do find yourself in a situation that you're uncomfortable with, confidently take action to get yourself out of that situation.</p> <p>If you appear to be frightened, you may make yourself seem like an easier mark for petty crime. Instead, you should focus on having a good time while always being aware of your surroundings.</p> <p>Be especially alert when taking public transportation as this is a common place for pickpockets to strike. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-carrying-decoy-wallets?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use a Decoy Wallet When Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>Keeping Your Stuff Safe</h2> <p>What kind of bag did you choose to bring with you? The most secure bags for traveling always close securely. This means they have a zipper or a front flap that closes tightly so that pickpockets can't get their hands into them easily (or at all!).</p> <p>Avoid walking around with valuables or money in your back pockets. Instead, put your stuff in your front pockets where you'll notice if anyone's trying to grab it.</p> <p>Sometimes pickpockets work in groups, so there may be someone chatting with you as a distraction. This doesn't mean you need to be wary of every person that comes your way to talk to you, but if the situation doesn't feel comfortable, listen to your intuition and find a way to get out of it quickly &mdash; and confidently. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-how-to-get-and-carry-cash-safely-and-securely?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get and Carry Cash Safely and Securely</a>)</p> <h2>Understand Your Surroundings</h2> <p>Travel is amazing because it means you get to check out uncharted territory. However, it's always a good idea to either research online or talk to locals once you get there. If there are neighborhoods that they avoid, for example, it's better to know about them before you end up wandering there.</p> <p>Some places will be perfectly safe to walk around during the day, but are better off avoided at night. Know how and where to get a reliable taxi. You can ask the receptionist or concierge at your hotel and they will likely give you an informed answer. Just make sure you take the time to ask; then you can explore in a carefree and safe way.</p> <h2>Avoiding Theft at Your Hotel</h2> <p>If there is a safe in your hotel, it's a good idea to store your valuables (cash, passport, credit cards you won't be using) there. If you don't have a safe, consider another secure place. Remember, your wallet may not be the best choice since it's the most obvious place that a thief would check for cash.</p> <p>If you're staying in hostels, they will usually have a locker where you can put your belongings. Remember to travel with your own lock since sometimes a hostel won't provide them, and if they do provide them, you have no way of knowing who else has a copy of the key. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-laptop-safe-when-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Keep Your Laptop Safe When Traveling</a>.)</p> <h2>And During Transport</h2> <p>Airlines rightly recommend that you never check valuables. Tablets, cameras, and computers all need to be packed into your carry on bag. The reason for this is straightforward; a checked bag will be out of your eyesight and in the hands of strangers for the majority of your time in transit. Keep them close.</p> <p>For train and bus travel, be cautious especially during overnight trips. Again, the bag that you check under the bus or at the end of the aisle of a train car is the bag that's at a higher risk of going missing.</p> <p>For overnight buses or trains, consider a money belt that you can tuck into your pants while you sleep. This will give you peace of mind and a reasonable defense against pickpockets or thieves who will look to target you in your sleep. You are at a higher risk while traveling alone, so you may want to find a travel buddy, even if it's just for a few days.</p> <h2>To Money Belt or Not?</h2> <p>Outside of those overnight journeys, you may want to use a money belt for daily use, too. This is a personal choice and there are solid arguments on either side of it. Some people will never use a money belt because it feels clunky. You can argue that when you pull out or otherwise show the money belt, it will pinpoint you as a tourist and may make you a more likely pickpocketing target. If locals aren't using money belts, why should you?</p> <p>However, if you feel comfortable hiding money on your person in this way, there's nothing wrong with that either.</p> <p>If you're keeping money in a bag, be sure that it's in a zipped compartment. You may also want to consider separating your money, so maybe you have some in your pocket and some in your bag. This way if some of it does get stolen, chances are that not everything will get lifted. Also consider keeping some emergency cash or credit card with a list of contacts somewhere very safe, in case you do lose everything you're carrying. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards to Use While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-avoid-theft-while-traveling&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20to%20Avoid%20Theft%20While%20Traveling.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Avoid%20Theft%20While%20Traveling" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Avoid%20Theft%20While%20Traveling.jpg" alt="How to Avoid Theft While Traveling" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-theft-while-traveling">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling">7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-saving-travel-gadgets">5 Money Saving Travel Gadgets</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-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-pack-for-vacation">5 Things You Should Never Pack for Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel luggage money belts out of town pickpockets protection safety theft transportation vacation valuables Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:00:11 +0000 Nick Wharton 1870055 at http://www.wisebread.com Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_beach_credit_card_100441963.jpg" alt="Woman following credit card rules while traveling abroad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling around the world can be an exciting time. However, if you are not careful with your credit card use, your trip can dig you into deep money trouble. Keep your money safe and your budget on track with these five credit card rules.</p> <h2>1. Only Use Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees</h2> <p>Using the wrong credit card for your international shopping could cost you a lot more than you think. Most cards will charge a one to three percent foreign transaction fee for each purchase made overseas. This might not seem like a big deal, but it can add up quickly. If you end up charging your hotel, all of your food, shopping, transportation, and events internationally, that can easily add up to hundreds of dollars in foreign transaction fees alone. Bring a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation">card that has no foreign transaction fees</a>.</p> <h2>2. Avoid ATM Machines</h2> <p>Do not use your credit card for cash withdrawals at ATM machines. It will be processed as a cash advance. Cash advances come with higher APRs, and interest starts accruing immediately. It's not wise to use cash advances at home, and it's definitely not wise to use them abroad.</p> <p>The best way to get cash abroad is to sign up for a bank that provides ATM usage with no or low fees, or has a vast network of ATMs in the country you're traveling to. Keep in mind that while some banks offer zero fees for ATM usage, they may still charge you a foreign transaction fee for getting money in local currency. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review">Capital One 360 Checking</a> offers ATM usage with no fees and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <h2>3. Just Say &quot;No&quot; to Debit Cards</h2> <p>A credit card will be safer to use abroad than a debit card. It would be horrible to run your debit card at a small souvenir shop, only to have your bank funds drained from card theft. Even better, use a credit card with the new chip technology that reduces fraud and identity theft.</p> <p>Often a hotel or car rental agency will put a hold on your card, so if you are using a debit card, it may take time for your cash to be available to you again. And if you ever run into problems with the funds release, you'll be stuck without access to your money. With a credit card, however, you can talk with your credit card company about removing the hold or helping you resolve the issue, without having to actually pay for it and wait for the funds to be returned.</p> <h2>4. Bring Multiple Credit Cards</h2> <p>Don't rely on just one card for your trip. Bring two or three cards altogether, allowing yourself a backup. It is a good idea to vary your cards, too. For example, don't make them all Visas. Try to have another card that is a MasterCard or American Express. If you run into an issue using one of them, you'll have another to fall back on.</p> <h2>5. Set Up Spending Alerts</h2> <p>No one wants to think about fraud and identity theft while they are on vacation, but it is a good idea to check over your purchases and make sure you have all of your cards and identification daily. Sign up for spending alerts so you get an email or text for each purchase. It may seem excessive, but you don't want to take any chances while you're traveling. Also, it's better to get these alerts than to log into your credit card account through public Wi-Fi. You can also call your credit card company to review recent charges.</p> <p>Traveling abroad is an adventure, so don't ruin your trip with unwise money moves.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite card to use when traveling abroad? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad">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/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</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-avoid-credit-card-fraud-while-traveling">7 Ways to Avoid Credit Card Fraud While Traveling</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/what-to-do-when-your-belongings-get-stolen-abroad">What to Do When Your Belongings Get Stolen Abroad</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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</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/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel atm machines foreign transaction fees fraud protection identity theft overseas protecting money safety traveling abroad Fri, 19 Aug 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1775194 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_theft_wallet_50012006.jpg" alt="Man learning ways to protect himself from theft abroad" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Vacation is a time for rest and relaxation. But your good-time getaway can quickly turn into a living nightmare if you're the victim of theft while you're away from home. Lock down your loot and guard your identity <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling" target="_blank">when you travel abroad</a> with these helpful tips on how to protect yourself.</p> <h2>1. Keep Your Money Hidden</h2> <p>Listen, we all know you're a baller with the big bills on vacay, but let's keep that our little secret. The less money you flash around in public, the fewer chances a would-be thief has to target you.</p> <p>&quot;I always kept my money hidden, and never ever pulled money out,&quot; says frequent traveler and blogger Stephen Roe, who lived in Tijuana, Mexico for five years without becoming a victim of theft. &quot;Other Americans would pull out a wallet to pay. I would always choose to select the money in my pocket and only pull out the amount I needed. That way, potential criminals wouldn't know how much I had.&quot;</p> <p>Roe adds, &quot;In addition, it's best to pay in the local currency whenever possible. Whipping out American dollars, even if it is accepted, can mark you as a potential target.&quot;</p> <p>Travel author <a href="http://amzn.to/29WGmnO">Susan Schenck</a> suggests a similar strategy with your debit card.</p> <p>&quot;When going to an ATM, have the card in a money belt,&quot; she relays. &quot;Make sure there are no loiterers around the area, though often they are even across the street. Go into the bank to count the money. There is a security guard there, often with a gun. Then place it all in your money belt. This is critical. I have so many friends who stuck the money in a pocket only to find it was gone when they got home. Pros can pickpocket you without your feeling anything. Keep the money belt well hidden under your pants.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Use Credit Cards Wisely</h2> <p>First, never use a debit card abroad. If it gets stolen, your funds can get depleted and it will take time for the bank to release the funds, if they decide you weren't responsible. Trying to settle these types of matters while you're on vacation abroad is definitely not ideal.</p> <p>Travel expert Ferdinand Goetzen suggests avoiding using your card in questionable places. &quot;This is especially important when traveling in less developed nations,&quot; he says. &quot;Payment security infrastructure can often be lacking so it's best to avoid using your card unless it is a trusted venue or bank.&quot;</p> <p>But credit cards can be helpful when used in safe environments, and can be a better alternative to carrying cash around. It's better to lose a credit card than cash. Credit card companies typically don't hold you accountable for fraudulent charges, as long as you report it quickly. Keep track of your cards carefully so you know if you've lost one, and set up alerts to notify you of purchases so you can see right away if someone has stolen your card information.</p> <h2>3. Use Caution When Taking Taxis</h2> <p>Taxis and nefarious taxi drivers can cause unnecessary trouble if you don't keep your wits about you. Schenck advises to write down the cab number before you get in for reference if you accidentally leave something behind. When exiting a cab, if you have luggage in the trunk, <em>do not </em>get out of the cab until the driver does; they've been known to high-tail out of there with your valuable belongings in tow. And never ask a taxi to wait while you go to the ATM if you leave stuff in the cab. &quot;One friend lost her laptop that way,&quot; Schenck says.</p> <h2>4. Use a Dummy Wallet for Fake-Outs</h2> <p>Want to trick the trickster? Have a fake wallet with outdated credit cards and maybe $20 in it that you can hand to anyone who holds you up. They want a quick getaway and aren't going to sit there and check the dates on the cards, says Schenck.</p> <h2>5. Keep $20 Where the Sun Don't Shine</h2> <p>Well, maybe not in the sense that you're thinking of, but it's not a bad idea to keep a $20 bill in your socks, bra, or other safe, close-to-your-body area in a hidden garment in the event that you're robbed. Twenty dollars goes a long way in many countries, and you'll at least be able to get home or to the nearest police station.</p> <h2>6. Bring a Separate Small Backpack for Valuable Objects</h2> <p>&quot;One of the most common thefts occurs when people leave valuables in their main luggage and leave it in the hotel lobby or in the baggage compartment on buses or trains,&quot; Goetzen warns. &quot;I always bring a small backpack with all of my most important belongings because I don't like to let them out of my sight.&quot;</p> <p>Also, stop assuming that your belongings will be safe with the friendly, nice-looking people next to you at transportation hubs while you go to the bathroom. Even friendly, nice-looking people steal things, and you'll be quite S.O.L. (and super P.O.ed) if they gang the bag with your tickets, passports, and wallet while you're taking a whiz.</p> <h2>7. Use Common Sense</h2> <p>Don't travel to areas that aren't policed, stay out of dark alleys, and don't go anywhere with anybody you don't know. Don't drink so much when you're in unfamiliar territory either. It makes you do stupid things and make poor decisions, and you become a sitting duck for criminals. Your mom totally would've told you so.</p> <p><em>Do you have tips on how to protect yourself when traveling abroad? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling.jpg&amp;description=7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script><p></p> <script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Ways%20to%20Protect%20Yourself%20From%20Theft%20While%20Traveling.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling">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/dont-get-taken-how-to-evaluate-an-exchange-rate">Don&#039;t Get Taken: How to Evaluate an Exchange Rate</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-avoid-theft-while-traveling">How to Avoid Theft While Traveling</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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</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/vacation-safe-11-tips-for-hotel-safety">Vacation Safe: 11 Tips for Hotel Safety</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/3-subscription-services-every-traveler-needs">3 Subscription Services Every Traveler Needs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel abroad cash caution money pickpocket safety theft thief vacation Tue, 26 Jul 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Mikey Rox 1757847 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Expenses You Should Never Cut http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_heart_000071794005.jpg" alt="Woman learning which expenses she should never cut" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, I've come up with hundreds of ways to trim proverbial fat from nearly every aspect of your budget. And I stand by those tips, tricks, and strategies because most of us have areas where we can pull back on the spending a bit.</p> <p>But some things are nonnegotiable. There are necessities &mdash; sometimes rather costly ones &mdash; that are required for us to live decent, healthy, and satisfying lives. What are they? Take a look at these eight expenses you should never cut, and let me know some of the areas where you just can't or won't shake out savings in the comments below.</p> <h2>1. Health Care</h2> <p>First and foremost, it's critical to have health insurance. It's required in the United States, whether from a private provider or via Obamacare, and without it you run the risk of either being denied care or racking up serious medical bills that could put your finances in dire straits for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>Aside from that, when you're sick or need medical attention, you want the best care you can get. Some prescriptions are expensive, too, and health insurance can greatly reduce those costs. You should never let coverage lapse because you're generally healthy or you don't think you'll fall ill anytime soon. Murphy's Law dictates that it's in that scenario you'll need medical attention, and you'll want to have insurance on your side.</p> <h2>2. Personal Hygiene</h2> <p>Soap, shampoo, and toothpaste are essential &mdash; and readily available, like on nearly every corner of your neighborhood, for not much money. Which is weird, because I know plenty of people, perfectly well-off individuals at that, who don't seem to use any of it on a regular basis.</p> <p>If you're one of those folks who likes to gripe at the cost of personal hygiene products and therefore use that as your excuse to skimp on washing yourself on a regular basis, you'll be happy to know that bargain brands, like Suave for example, do a bang-up job of keeping you clean. Not to mention that there are always coupons available for hygiene products, especially toothpaste, that can help reduce the cost of these items. Find the items on sale plus pair them with coupons and you'll spend oftentimes less than a dollar on what you need per item.</p> <h2>3. Personal Safety</h2> <p>Most of us practice personal safety consistently. We try to avoid automobile accidents, we look both ways when we cross the road, and we never run with scissors. Those are all subconscious decisions that don't cost a dime, which is why you might be asking yourself how personal safety costs you actual dollars and cents.</p> <p>For starters, the car that you drive should be rated for safety. When you're strapped for cash and need an inexpensive vehicle, choosing a cheap car that gets you from A to B may seem like an ideal option. Certainly there are times &mdash; and financial constraints &mdash; that call for this type of decision-making, but you'll almost always regret it in the long run. Instead, I recommend loosening the purse strings just a little more so you can buy a vehicle that will protect you if you're in an accident, opposed to one that's already falling apart.</p> <p>Another example is safety on the water. Life vests are cumbersome, and nobody likes to wear them. But you know what? They save lives, and there are millions of people in this world who will tell you that they regret not buying or renting life preservers during an outing that resulted in someone's harm or death. It could have been prevented if they had just sprung for the darn things. Thus, spring for the darn things.</p> <h2>4. Healthy Food</h2> <p>It's true, food is expensive, especially the healthy stuff &mdash; but you shouldn't be making cuts to your budget that include reducing the amount of healthy food you're eating by replacing it with less expensive, toxic food &mdash; like that microwaveable junk that comes from the freezer section or the stuff you grab at the drive-thru window.</p> <p>It's okay to indulge in it every now and then &mdash; who doesn't like to dive headfirst into a bag of Doritos from time to time? But most of your food should be fresh and nutritious. You owe it to yourself &mdash; and your longevity &mdash; to eat healthy, and there are lots of ways you can cut down on your healthy food bills if you put in the legwork before going grocery shopping. Wise Bread can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">save a substantial amount</a> on your supermarket bills if you do a little digging for advice.</p> <h2>5. Mental Health Care</h2> <p>Mental health is a hot topic of conversation nowadays, though we should have started talking about it seriously a long time ago. Personally I've suffered from depression and anxiety &mdash; and still do from time to time &mdash; and I've known too many people who have committed suicide because they weren't able to figure things out. Which is why it's my duty to tell you that your mental health is worth every extra penny you can afford. If you need medication, get the medication. If you need someone to talk to &mdash; which can help immensely when you're troubled &mdash; go see a therapist. If you have decent health insurance, prescriptions and therapy should be covered so you can afford to help yourself.</p> <p>And it goes without saying that if you feel like there's no hope left, please believe me when I tell you that there is. People care about you, and you can talk anonymously about whatever you're feeling by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255. You matter; whether you believe it right now or not &mdash; <em>you matter</em>.</p> <h2>6. Insurance</h2> <p>By law in most U.S. states you're required to have car insurance. So if you're thinking about cutting it because you don't drive very often or very far, you're in for a rude awakening if you have the unfortunate luck of being in an accident &mdash; and you'll probably go to jail on top of whatever expenses the crash racked up.</p> <p>Homeowners and renters insurance are also areas where it's not wise to be a miser. You don't have to have super-premium, platinum, Superman coverage, but you should have enough coverage to fully cover the things you own &mdash; so they can be replaced quickly and efficiently &mdash; in the event of an accident.</p> <h2>7. Debt Repayment</h2> <p>If you're already pinching pennies because you're in debt, it can be easy to brush it to the side and try to forget about it. You're in so deep that you'll never pay it off, so why worry about it, right? Wrong.</p> <p>In this case, you have few options to stay on track, but you may be able to cut something less important from your budget to continue making payments, or &mdash; and I know this is an offensive idea to some &mdash; pick up an extra job or side gig to start earning more income. The problem with debt is that it will never go away, and it's your responsibility to pay off what you've accumulated. You alone made those purchases, and you alone need to pay them off. There are assistance programs out there that can help, and I recommend researching your options in that regard, but whatever you do, don't act like it doesn't exist. It does, and it will follow you around like a black cloud for the rest of your life until you address it.</p> <h2>8. Things Your Kids Depend On</h2> <p>There's a buzzword that's being tossed around willy-nilly right now with regards to children and teenagers (and even 20-somethings). We hear it a lot: Entitlement.</p> <p>While I contend that American children tend to be somewhat entitled, there are some things to which they're <em>actually</em> entitled &mdash; like a proper education and health services. If your child needs a tutor, hire a tutor. If your child needs a therapist, seek therapy. Hopefully you had children for the right reasons, because you wanted to have a family to love and care for. If you're trying to be over-thrifty in these areas, you may not be doing the best job of holding up your end of the parenting bargain.</p> <p>Find areas in your own grown-up budget to eliminate &mdash; like one of your many memberships perhaps, or that adults-only vacation &mdash; and help your kid stay on the right path, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You owe them that much.</p> <p><em>What costs do you refuse to skimp on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-save-on-a-shoestring">25 Ways to Save on a Shoestring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frugal-living-skills-you-should-be-teaching-your-children">7 Frugal Living Skills You Should Be Teaching Your Children</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-easy-ways-to-start-taking-better-care-of-yourself-today">9 Easy Ways to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budgeting children expenses family Health healthy foods hygiene necessary costs safety Mon, 30 May 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1717320 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Being a Safe Driver Will Save You Big Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_driving_car_000052861520.jpg" alt="Woman learning how being a safe driver will save her big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That speeding ticket can cost you &mdash; to the tune of an initial fine of $100 or more. That's bad enough, but then comes the hit to your insurance premium. You can expect the cost of your auto insurance to jump by at least 20% if you're caught driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, according to a study by InsuranceQuotes.com.</p> <p>But if you follow the speed limit, you don't have to worry about this financial hit. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-car-costs-the-dealer-is-hiding-from-you">10 New Car Costs the Dealer Is Hiding From You</a>)</p> <p>That's just one of the ways that being a safe driver can save you a load of money. Here's a look at the financial benefits that a safe driving record will bring you.</p> <h2>Lower Insurance Rates and Discounts</h2> <p>A clean driving record &mdash; one free of auto accidents, speeding tickets, or other moving violations &mdash; can dramatically reduce the amount you pay to your auto insurer each month.</p> <p>Insurance Quotes and Quadrant Information Services studied the impact of traffic incidents on insurance rates, and discovered that driving under the influence increased auto insurance premiums by an average of 93%. Reckless driving boosted it upward by an average of 82%. For speeding, the average increase varied, but those drivers going up to 15 miles per hour over the limit generally saw their insurance premiums jump by 21%.</p> <p>Another study by InsuranceQuotes.com, released in early 2015, found that drivers who make one accident claim will see their auto insurance rates jump by an average of 41%. Those who make two claims in a year will see their auto insurance rates increase by 93%.</p> <p>If you're a safe driver, you can actually be rewarded and save money by way of discounts. Allstate offers savings of 22% on policies after three consecutive years without any violations or accidents. After five years without any violations or accidents, drivers can reduce their insurance rates by 35%. Allstate also offers a defensive-driver discount. Under this program, drivers who are 55 or older and who complete six or more hours of defensive-driving courses can save up to 10% on their auto insurance.</p> <p>Don't have Allstate? Geico offers a discount of 26% for drivers who have been accident-free for five years. American Family offers drivers without accidents, violations, or claims a discount of 5% to 10%. Contact your auto insurance provider and see what safe driver discounts are available.</p> <h2>No Speeding Tickets</h2> <p>Getting a speeding ticket isn't much fun. It's costly, too. Last year, NerdWallet took a look at what a speeding ticket can cost drivers in California. According to the site, those drivers who were ticketed for going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit paid an average of $234 when fees and surcharges were taken into account.</p> <p>In 2013, insurer Esurance reported that the average speeding ticket costs drivers throughout the United States $150. That's a lot of money. And it doesn't even take into account how much your insurance rate will jump after a speeding ticket. Speaking of which...</p> <h2>Gas Savings</h2> <p>You might not think that driving the speed limit will save you money at the fuel pump, but it will. According to the Department of Energy's FuelEconomy.gov, aggressive driving &mdash; which includes speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking &mdash; can lower your car's gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% when you're driving in town.</p> <p>By driving the speed limit, and by avoiding rapid acceleration and braking, you can save up to 21 cents per gallon in fuel costs.</p> <h2>Fewer Traffic Accidents</h2> <p>Car accidents are terrifying events. They're also expensive ones.</p> <p>Speeding, not paying attention, or driving under the influence can not only result in terrible injury or death, but tremendous economic impact. According to a 2010 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the overall cost of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. amounted to nearly $1 trillion. By being more aware, you can save yourself and others the costly financial burden of deductibles, auto and property repairs, rate hikes, and bodily injury.</p> <p>Driving safely and at the speed limit won't completely protect you from car accidents and their costs. But it will help.</p> <p><em>Do your driving habits help or hurt your wallet?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</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/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident">10 Steps You Must Take If You&#039;ve Been in a Car Accident</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/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-youre-in-a-car-accident">What to Do (and Not Do) When You&#039;re in a Car Accident</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/this-is-what-that-ticket-you-got-will-do-to-your-car-insurance-rate">This Is What That Ticket You Got Will Do to Your Car Insurance Rate</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/alternatives-to-drunk-driving">Alternatives to drunk driving</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation auto insurance discounts driving rates safety tickets Tue, 05 Jan 2016 18:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 1629243 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things You Should Never Buy Used http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-used <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-should-never-buy-used" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby_in_crib_000052779812.jpg" alt="Learning the 10 things you should never buy used" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The trick to getting your money's worth at a garage sale is knowing what to buy &mdash; and what not to buy. The next time you visit a thrift store or garage sale, you really need to skip these 10 things. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-deals-in-every-thrift-store?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Deals in Every Thrift Store</a>)</p> <h2>1. Helmets</h2> <p>By purchasing a bicycle or motorcycle helmet at a thrift store, you could be unintentionally putting your safety at risk. You have no idea who owned it before you, how old it is, or why they got rid of it. According to the Bike Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI), your <a href="http://www.bhsi.org/replace.htm">helmet should be replaced</a> after hitting your head in any crash. They recommend never buying a used helmet because it may have been involved in an accident. Instead, purchase a new helmet and feel confident that your head is protected.</p> <h2>2. Mattresses</h2> <p>In most cases, you should steer clear of old mattresses and box springs at the thrift store. Mattresses naturally gather things like allergens and dust mites from the previous owner, and you'll never know what caused a stain. The bed bug risk is also always a worry. Apart from being gross, mattresses also conform to the first owner's body and sleeping position. This will leave the bed lumpy and uncomfortable for you.</p> <h2>3. Cribs</h2> <p>Cribs and car seats are constantly being updated with new safety features, and recalled when other features fail. If you purchase a used one at a garage sale, you risk purchasing one of the millions of cribs that have been recalled for safety reasons. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) found that a crib <a href="http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/cribs/">more than 10 years old</a> will also have design flaws that put infants in danger. This is also true for many other used baby items, such as...</p> <h2>4. Child Car Seats</h2> <p>Car seats are only expected to last between <a href="http://www.parenting.com/article/car-seat-guidelines">five to nine years</a> (check your expiration date). If you buy one at a garage sale, you won't know if it was involved in a crash. Car seats are only meant to go through one accident, even if the child was <a href="http://thecarseatlady.com/aftercrash/">not in the seat</a> at the time. Go the smarter, safer route, and buy new.</p> <h2>5. Underwear and Bathing Suits</h2> <p>If they've touched someone's nether regions, you should take a pass. Bathing suits also wear out faster than regular clothing, so they may already be near the end. Instead of saving a few dollars on used underwear or bathing suits, just wait to purchase these essentials when they are on sale (such as during the winter, in the clearance bins, or during a semi-annual sale).</p> <h2>6. Cosmetics</h2> <p>If you don't know who's used it, you shouldn't be applying any cosmetic product to your face. In fact, in a study by LA Times, it was discovered that <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/18/image/la-ig-testers-20100418">100% of makeup testers</a> at a popular department store cosmetic counter were contaminated with E. coli, strep, staph, and other bacteria. If these issues run rampant in a department store, they are sure to be found in your local thrift store's makeup selection as well.</p> <h2>7. Bath and Beauty Products</h2> <p>You should stay away from bath and beauty products, including creams, lotions, and perfumes, because there is no guarantee that you will actually get what the bottle states. The seller could have replaced the contents with anything. Cosmetics don't last forever, so you may be buying something that's already expired and risk <a href="http://www.paulaschoice.com/expert-advice/skin-care-basics/_/When-to-Toss-Out-Beauty-Products">exposure to harmful bacteria</a>.</p> <h2>8. Running Shoes</h2> <p>If you buy used running shoes, the tread and cushioning are probably already worn out and you will end up injuring your feet, knees, legs, and/or back by running in them. Used shoes have already been molded to someone else's feet and it will be difficult to get them to re-mold to yours. As is the case with any used footwear, you are also at risk of <a href="http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/09/how-you-can-stop-foot-and-toe-fungus-in-its-tracks/">catching a foot fungus</a> or other bacterial infection from wearing someone else's shoes.</p> <h2>9. Electronics</h2> <p>You can already find a good deal on old or used items at most electronics stores &mdash; and these generally come with some sort of warranty. See what kind of deals you can get online or at your local electronics or home goods store before considering shopping at a thrift shop. You may also want to consider refurbished electronics, which have been professionally repaired by the manufacturer or an authorized dealer.</p> <h2>10. Puzzles and Games</h2> <p>Certain games (particularly vintage ones) can be a unique thrift store find at an affordable cost. On the other hand, puzzles and games with lots of pieces are never a good idea. If there's even one piece missing, you won't be able to play. Where's the fun in that?</p> <p><em>What are some of your favorite things to buy at a thrift store or garage sale? What </em><em>do you tend to avoid? 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/10-things-you-should-never-buy-used">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-furnish-your-home-for-less-than-the-cost-of-a-moving-truck">How to Furnish Your Home for Less Than the Cost of a Moving Truck</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/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store">10 Things to Look for Every Time You Visit a Thrift Store</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/beyond-goodwill-the-different-types-of-thrift-stores">Beyond Goodwill: The Different Types of Thrift Stores</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-deals-in-every-thrift-store">The 5 Best Deals in Every Thrift Store</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/beware-of-pretty-things-4-reasons-im-keeping-my-ugly-old-stuff">Beware of Pretty Things: 4 Reasons I’m Keeping My Ugly, Old Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping garage sales safety thrift stores used yard sales Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:15:24 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1605800 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/surveillance_video_000015585918.jpg" alt="Learning of cheap ways to deter house intruders" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Burglaries are decreasing in the United States, which is good news for homeowners, though the victims who experienced the <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/november/crime-statistics-for-2013-released/crime-statistics-for-2013-released">1.9 million burglaries</a> in 2013 might not see the glass as half full.</p> <p>The average dollar loss per offense was $2,322 that same year. That number, along with the fact that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">protecting your home</a> with a home security system can <a href="https://usinsuranceagents.com/cheap-home-insurance">lower home insurance premiums</a>, may be enough to convince you to do something to deter intruders.</p> <p>Installing a home security system, however, can cost a few hundred dollars (along with $15 to $100 for monthly monitoring). So here are six cheaper alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Set Up a Home Camera Yourself</h2> <p>For about $150, you can buy a camera that you can set up yourself to record your front porch, for example, and save on your computer. The upfront cost may equal what you'd pay for a security system, but you avoid the monthly monitoring costs.</p> <p>Another option is to set up a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CWRXEVG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CWRXEVG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VMD43IRA6GXM4KF6">fake video camera</a> or webcam as a deterrent to potential criminals. Seeing a few &quot;security cameras&quot; over the garage may be enough to cause them to move on. And if you want the cameras to work, there are all kinds of apps to turn a <a href="http://www.ugolog.com/pages/25-applications-to-turn-your-webcam-into-home-security-system">webcam into a security camera</a>.</p> <h2>2. Put a Home Security Sign Up</h2> <p>Just as with a non-working camera, you can put up a security company's sign in your yard stating that your home is being protected, but don't pay for the service.</p> <p>A generic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DT8JLI2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DT8JLI2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DRPOKSZXCZJHZPPY">alarm system sign</a> sells online for less than $25, although experienced criminals may well recognize the knock-offs. (Less than scrupulous vendors sell signs from well-known security services on eBay and elsewhere, but this trick seems unfair to the security firms who provide actual services.) Again, the point is to make burglars think twice before trying to break into your home.</p> <h2>3. Install Motion Sensors</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=motion%20sensor%20lights&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amotion%20sensor%20lights&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=UIEK2HSFJNXEERC3">Motion sensor outdoor lights</a> are as cheap as $50, turning on whenever someone or something moves in front of them. Lighting the outside of a home is an easy deterrent for nighttime break-ins.</p> <h2>4. Leave the Radio On</h2> <p>If you're gone all day, leave a radio on so that anyone walking up to the house will hear it and think someone is inside. Leaving a small desk radio on for six hours costs an estimated <a href="http://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/appliance_opcost_list_duke_v8.06.pdf">22 cents per month</a>.</p> <h2>5. Run a Fake TV</h2> <p>Burglars are looking for unoccupied homes, and a glowing TV screen is a sign that someone's home.</p> <p>For as little as $25, a small device called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BTKGHDE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BTKGHDE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5O6AEGTHITP6432P">FakeTV</a> simulates the flickering light of real television. Close the curtains and from the outside, it looks like you're home watching TV. The device has a light sensor and timer, and uses the same amount of power as a night light.</p> <h2>6. Lock Your Doors</h2> <p>This is a simple tip, but one that many people may forget about once in awhile. Lock all doors and windows before going to sleep at night, and install deadbolts where you can. A chain lock on a door won't be enough to stop a determined intruder. A security door jam for a door or window can cost only $10 and should also be locked at night.</p> <p>Those are some of the cheapest ways to deter house intruders. If you really want something that makes noise when a burglar or anyone else comes to your house, consider getting a sometimes expensive but trustworthy burglar alarm: a dog. The barking may drive you crazy, but it can protect your home from burglars when you're away. And the mailman may even think twice before leaving you those pesky bills!</p> <p><em>Do you employ any of these or other cheap security tricks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">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/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</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/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</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/dont-ruin-an-antique-how-to-tell-if-you-should-refinish-wooden-furniture">Don&#039;t Ruin an Antique! How to Tell If You Should Refinish Wooden Furniture</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/7-frugal-ways-to-protect-your-home-during-the-holidays">7 Frugal Ways to Protect Your Home During the Holidays</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-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home burglary intruders safety security surveillance Thu, 22 Oct 2015 21:16:53 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1593625 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Things to Never Do When Traveling Alone http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_outdoor_adventure_000040799706.jpg" alt="Woman learning things to never do when traveling alone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For every parent, coworker, and well-meaning friend who warns you to never travel alone, there are plenty of seasoned travelers who proclaim solo travel to be the only way to truly experience the world.</p> <p>Alone, you get to pick your own itinerary. You get to drink in your surroundings without the distraction of chitchat or trying to get along with someone else. Solo travelers report feeling empowered by the ability to navigate strange places on their own.</p> <p>But the reality is that solo travel has its potential pitfalls, the top one being safety, especially for women. Here are some things to avoid if you want to keep solo <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-super-smart-travel-hacks">travel safer</a> and more satisfying.</p> <h2>1. Never Overlook Fellow Solo-ers</h2> <p>It might be tempting to think that someone traveling alone must be a weirdo to be avoided. But wait! <em>You're</em> traveling alone, and you're not a weirdo. So go ahead and form ad-hoc adventure teams.</p> <p>&quot;Backpackers and hostels are like the meccas of solo travelers, and you're guaranteed to meet a ton of people from all over the world if you just hang out in the lobby or coffee shop of one. You don't even have to stay there; just go hang,&quot; advises travel blogger <a href="http://mylifesamovie.com/5-reasons-why-youre-never-really-alone-when-you-travel-solo/">Alyssa Ramos</a>.</p> <h2>2. Never Be Shy</h2> <p>One of the biggest advantages of traveling solo is that, with no one else to talk to, you're much more likely to engage with locals. Even if this is hard for you (it is for me), push yourself.</p> <p>&quot;Travelling solo definitely enables you to speak directly to some locals and stop being shy with people,&quot; writes Agness Walewinder on <a href="http://etramping.com/10-benefits-of-travelling-solo-at-least-once-a-year/">eTramping.com</a>. &quot;In this way, you can make new friends and gain valuable insider knowledge about wherever you are.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Never Grin at Strangers</h2> <p>I know I just told you to be friendly, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do that.</p> <p>When I was 19, I left Wisconsin for a year abroad in Paris. The August day when I landed was hot, so I put on shorts and a bikini top and took a walk, smiling politely at anyone I passed, male or female.</p> <p>Before I knew it, a young man with black wavy hair was following me. Once I lost him, another man started walking alongside me. I learned that day that in Paris &mdash; as in so many cities worldwide &mdash; a big smile means more than the &quot;Hi there!&quot; it means in Madison, WI.</p> <h2>4. Never Explore Out-of-Sight Places</h2> <p>In the French village of Cordes-sur-Ciel, my travel companions and I stumbled upon a multi-story house with its door wide open. We walked in, and noticed it was full of art pieces but empty of people. As we climbed each flight of steps, we felt more intrigued but also more nervous, wondering what kind of place this was and whether we might meet anyone else there.</p> <p>In the end the curious art house was deserted, and it was a magical experience. But it's one that I would have skipped if I had been alone.</p> <p>&quot;Keep to open and public places, especially at night,&quot; The Independent Traveler firmly warns. If I had run into someone who meant me ill on the third floor of that empty house, I would have had a difficult time escaping.</p> <h2>5. Never Skimp on Research</h2> <p>&quot;Doing your homework about a new destination is especially useful when you're traveling solo,&quot; advises Amanda on <a href="http://www.dangerous-business.com/2015/03/why-im-not-afraid-to-travel-alone/">A Dangerous Business</a>. &quot;Before every trip, I do a little Googling and read up on things like cultural norms, common scams, and how I should dress as a tourist.&quot;</p> <p>Alison Vingiano narrowly escaped rape while hiking alone in Dharamsala, India, an experience that made her realize that despite her refusal to be grounded by fear, she could not ignore local safety issues either.</p> <p>&quot;Women should travel alone. It is not fair for us to live in constant fear, nor should we. However, we must also accept and adapt to the reality of wherever we travel, rather than challenging preexisting and culturally specific gender binaries we cannot control,&quot; Vingiano wrote for <a href="http://hellogiggles.com/women-traveling-alone-the-risks-and-the-danger/2/#read">Hello Giggles</a>.</p> <h2>6. Never Wander the Wilderness Alone</h2> <p>This is a tough one. The solo journeys of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385486804/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0385486804&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=G77TDRBHZTDV52I2">Christopher McCandless</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671695886/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0671695886&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FSTWMS5APWI6EKVC">Edward Abbey</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307476073/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307476073&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6PH7PGVY2XUC7E3K">Cheryl Strayed</a> look mighty appealing, all alone with their packs in the desert or the back country. But remember that McCandless, the subject of the book and movie <em>Into the Wild</em>, died out there. Abbey very nearly died when a stupid climbing mistake stranded him on an isolated ledge (and probably lots of other times too). Strayed was okay &mdash; but after all, she stuck to the Pacific Crest Trail and even then she had some close shaves.</p> <p>Retired search and rescue expert Matt Fields bluntly urges backpackers to buddy up: &quot;A medical emergency could be terminal if you have no one with you to go for help or render aid until help arrives.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Never Lose Contact With Those at Home</h2> <p>Even though you are on the road alone, you should keep someone at home posted about your whereabouts. <a href="http://www.protrav.com/travel-411/solo-travel-safety/">Professional Travel, Inc.</a>, recommends that you leave a copy of your itinerary with contact information for points along the way, and keep your phone activated even if this costs you extra. Not only should people be able to reach you in case of emergency, but someone should notice if you don't show up at your next destination on time.</p> <h2>8. Never Get Wasted</h2> <p>I learned the importance of the buddy system while drinking back in college, and it goes double for tippling while traveling. Don't let yourself be overserved if you don't have someone you trust to make sure you get back to your room okay. Professional Travel goes so far as to advise you to stick to beer or wine instead of cocktails, because it's too easy to tamper with a mixed drink. That may seem paranoid, but travel blogs and the media contain plenty of accounts of travelers <a href="http://www.offbeattravelling.com/roofied-in-southeast-asia-how-a-friend-lost-his-phone-e500-and-his-memory/">drinking spiked drinks</a> and getting <a href="http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1193242-woman-i-was-drugged-raped-in-mexico">robbed or worse</a>.</p> <p>In fact, after reading these accounts, I suggest memorizing some <a href="http://www.travel-insurance.net/blog/2009/05/06/10-ways-to-protect-yourself-against-spiked-drinks/">tips for avoiding spiked drinks</a>, such as taking your drink to the restroom with you instead of leaving it unattended.</p> <p><em>Have you ever traveled solo? What precautions did you take?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%20Things%20to%20Never%20Do%20When%20Traveling%20Alone.jpg&amp;description=8%20Things%20to%20Never%20Do%20When%20Traveling%20Alone" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Things%20to%20Never%20Do%20When%20Traveling%20Alone.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-never-do-when-traveling-alone">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/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</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-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling">7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-insane-life-affirming-and-cheap-things-you-must-do-before-you-die">10 Insane, Life-Affirming, and Cheap Things You Must Do Before You Die</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/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel adventure alone safety solo travelers Tue, 29 Sep 2015 17:00:56 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1570364 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hiking_000015734781.jpg" alt="Woman taking hiking hacks to the trail this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lot of people who want to spend more time outdoors are quickly drawn to hiking. After all, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-outdoor-adventures-that-dont-cost-a-dime">hiking can be really accessible</a>. You don't need a lot of technical skills or fancy gear, and it's a lot less intimidating than, say, rock climbing or whitewater rafting.</p> <p>But hiking is not just walking, or at least it isn't like a walk around the neighborhood. In fact, ensuring a safe and enjoyable hike takes a bit of preparation and know-how. Here are 20 handy hacks to take to the trail this summer.</p> <h2>1. Know Where You're Going (and How to Get There)</h2> <p>Randomly selecting an unmarked trail is likely to leave you frustrated when the trail suddenly turns a corner and disappears. Worse still, you could get lost. Choose your hike at home so that you can do some research about it and print off some information and maps. If you're in a park of some sort, you may also be able to access maps and information from local guides before you hit the trail.</p> <h2>2. Pack Ahead</h2> <p>Whether you're backpacking or just taking a day trip, anyone and everyone will recommend that you pack light. The problem is, it's hard to know just how heavy all that stuff will be until you get it all into your pack &mdash; if it'll even fit. Take some time before you set out to lay out what you'd like to bring, pack it, and then attempt to lift it. If the load is back-breaking, you'll have time to make adjustments.</p> <h2>3. Break In Your Boots</h2> <p>If you're serious about hiking, a good pair of boots is a good investment. They're durable, they're comfortable, and they'll protect your ankles from twisting and your toes from being crushed by loose or rolling rocks. But, because these babies tend to be stiff, you <em>must </em>buy them at least two weeks before your first hike, and wear them as much as possible to break them in. Do not try to break in your shoes on a hike of any significant distance; walking miles and miles with sore, blistered feet will not be a fun time.</p> <h2>4. Pack in Layers</h2> <p>Particularly when going out for an overnight hiking trip, it's important to pack in layers, ensuring that the top layers of your pack include the things you will need during your hike. Keep snacks, sunscreen, and extra layers on top. Camping equipment and anything else you won't need until you arrive at camp should go at the bottom.</p> <h2>5. Waterproof Everything</h2> <p>Water is your enemy. Not only are wet clothes cold to wear, they're also much heavier to carry. If you don't have one of those nifty rain covers for you backpack (basically a large shower cap that fits over your pack), line your bag with a garbage bag. If your clothes, matches, tent, sleeping bag, etc. are nice and dry, you'll be a much happier camper. If you're really concerned about keeping something (like your phone or box of matches) dry, place it in its own sealed baggie.</p> <h2>6. Wear Shorts That Can Be Pants and Vice Versa</h2> <p>Yes, they're kinda dorky, but there's a reason why there are rows and rows of these at REI. Not only does carrying both shorts and pants add unnecessary weight, but the weather can change pretty quickly (particularly in the mountains). Being able to make a quick change can make your hike a lot more comfortable.</p> <h2>7. Be Religious About Changing Your Socks</h2> <p>If your socks get wet, friction increases and where there's friction, there are blisters. Bring a few extra pairs of socks to change into, and do so whenever your feet are feeling damp. If the weather's dry, you can also hang the used pair from your backpack to switch into again once they've dried out. Be sure to wear socks designed for hiking or running. Regular cotton sports socks tend to bunch up and hold moisture.</p> <h2>8. Pack Duct Tape</h2> <p>Duct tape can be used to cover a blister, patch a tent, remove ticks, and all manner of other nifty things. Rather than carry a full roll, wrap some around your lighter or water bottle to save space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-ways-to-use-duct-tape?ref=seealso">10 Great Ways to Use Duct Tape</a>)</p> <h2>9. Repackage Your Snacks</h2> <p>Snacks are a great way to keep your energy up while you're hiking, but classic hiking picks like trail mix, pretzels, and candy tend to come packed with a lot of air. Before you leave, remove what you think you'll need from its original package and compress it into sealed baggies.</p> <h2>10. Bring a Map, Compass, and/or GPS</h2> <p>Some trails are wide and exceedingly well-marked (and well traveled). Many are not. Particularly if you are headed out into the backcountry, be sure to bring (and know how to read) a map, and use a compass or GPS device. In some areas, getting lost means getting rescued. Not cool.</p> <h2>11. If You Lose Your Way, Don't Assume Things Will Improve</h2> <p>Below is a recent photo of two people who were recently rescued in Kananaskis Country, an area of the Rocky Mountains near where I live. These two were scrambling, a sport that falls somewhere between rock climbing and hiking. One fell a few feet down a cliff and, as you can see, they ended up on a pretty sheer rock face. This looks insane, I know, but it can happen pretty easily. So, when you find yourself getting into dangerous territory, don't continue on in with hope that things will improve. They may not. Sometimes, it's best to go back the way you came. The pair in this picture was rescued by helicopter and arrived back on the ground safe and sound.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/hiking.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <h2>12. Get to Know the Local Wildlife</h2> <p>Having an understanding of local wildlife &mdash; and how to behave safely around them &mdash; is a key skill when heading into any wilderness area. If you know what you may be dealing with and what to watch out for, you can ensure that your interactions with wildlife are positive, rather than dangerous (or even deadly).</p> <h2>13. Wear Sunscreen &mdash; Always</h2> <p>Sunburn can happen any time you spend extended periods outdoors. Lather up before you leave, regardless of whether it's overcast, or cool. If you're in the mountains, know that you'll burn faster at altitude too.</p> <h2>14. Bring a First Aid Kit</h2> <p>In most cases you won't need it, but you'll be glad to have it if you do. You can get a basic fully-stocked kit at a camping supply store, or<a href="http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit/anatomy"> put together your own.</a></p> <h2>15. Make Sure Your Friends and Family Know Where You're Going</h2> <p>If you're heading out for a hike &mdash; particularly if it's a long one &mdash; make sure that someone knows where you're going. That way if things go wrong and you are unable to make it back, rescue crews will know where to find you.</p> <h2>16. Be Honest About Your Fitness</h2> <p>Beware of hikes that are labeled &quot;hard&quot; or &quot;very hard.&quot; These hikes tend to be not only steep, but also include technical terrain such as loose rock, large boulders, and very uneven ground. They may even include exposed areas, which typically means you'll be walking along a sheer drop of some sort. Even if you're a very fit person, it's best to work your way up to these. Hiking requires some skill, and it's best to build that over time. Be honest about your fitness before you head out. Choosing an easier hike will ensure that you have a good time and keep coming back.</p> <h2>17. Learn How to Use Any and All Equipment Before You Leave</h2> <p>I can't even tell you how many hikers and campers I see with a full stock of brand new gear &mdash; and absolutely no idea how to use any of it. There's nothing wrong with being a newbie. Just don't be a dumb one; try out and practice using all your gear before you leave home. Or at least take it out of the package.</p> <h2>18. Assume That Any Weather Is a Possibility</h2> <p>I recently hiked 10 miles into the backcountry and then back out the next day. On the way in, I was stripped down to a tank top and shorts, and soaked with sweat. On the way out, I was wearing mittens, a hat, and all my layers to protect myself from the flurries I found at the top of the pass. It was July. The moral of this story is that the weather can be unpredictable, especially across different altitudes. Pack layers and rain gear, regardless of the forecast or what it looks like outside when you're leaving. You never know what'll happen out there.</p> <h2>19. Bring a Quality Knife</h2> <p>A good camping knife is handy for all kinds of outdoor tasks. If things get really dramatic, you could also use it to fend off a black bear, or free yourself from a boulder (not really, I hope!). In most cases, you'll find it handy for cooking, setup, and most important, making marshmallow roasting sticks.</p> <h2>20. Stop and Smell the Flowers</h2> <p>For real! Wildflowers are beautiful. What I also mean by this is to give yourself plenty of time to complete a hike so that you can stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. Wild places offer so much to see and learn. I'd hate for you to miss out on any of it!</p> <p><em>What's your top hiking hack, and how has it helped you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</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/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks">Camping for a Week Is Only $160 at These National Parks</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/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-should-do-when-you-move-to-a-new-town">14 Things You Should Do When You Move to a New Town</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/6-ways-autumn-is-good-for-your-mind-and-body">6 Ways Autumn Is Good for Your Mind and Body</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks adventure exploring hiking outdoors safety trails Tue, 18 Aug 2015 17:00:45 +0000 Tara Struyk 1523122 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_camping_000051647654.jpg" alt="Couple learning what not to do when camping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Camping is fun, right?</p> <p>Well, it's supposed to be. However, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Some of these aren't preventable, but you have quite a bit of control over how comfortable you are, how safe you are, and how much fun you have while you're camping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks?ref=seealso">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</a>)</p> <p>If you're wondering how to have the best experience possible, here are some things you should always avoid when you go camping. For your next trip, don't...</p> <h2>1. Get There in the Dark</h2> <p>Setting up camp in the dark is hard, and it can be dangerous, too. Even in the best-groomed campsites, there are often sticks, rocks, holes, or lumps of dirt, which can become tripping hazards when you run into them full-tilt carrying a tent pole. Sure, you have headlights and flashlights, which can help, but nothing tops arriving early in the day so you can assess your surroundings. In addition, arriving in the light means that you can find things like the all-important toilet.</p> <p>If something happens and you can't avoid a nighttime arrival, do your best to get as much light in the area as possible. Park facing your camping area and turn on your headlights. Tie flashlights to trees. Set a lantern up in the middle of your living area. Then, before you set up your tent, take your time clearing the area of debris and scouting out anything that might hurt you.</p> <h2>2. Wander the Forest Alone</h2> <p>Most camping is done in an area where you're not familiar with the landscape or, at least, less familiar than you are at home. Camping can also involve hazards that you aren't comfortable dealing with on your own and that you may not be able to anticipate. Because of this, it's always a good idea to take someone with you when you camp and not to go on outings alone.</p> <p>If you want to camp alone or you just need a time-out from your camping partners, be sure to tell someone where you're headed and about when you plan to return. If your friend knows you're out on a three-mile hike, they won't panic when you aren't back in an hour, but they will know that they should sound the alarm when three or four have passed.</p> <h2>3. Leave Your Food Out</h2> <p>Critters love human food, and they will get into anything you leave out. Even small animals, like chipmunks and squirrels, can make a huge mess, and the food isn't very good for them, either. In some areas, you risk a run-in with something less desirable, like a bear or a skunk. And don't store food in your tent, either, because you certainly don't want animals in there!</p> <p>Usually, it is fine to put dry food in your car and to close and latch your cooler. In some areas, where bears are known to roam, you will need to make your food even more secure. Find out ahead of time what is required and make sure you have the supplies and know-how to do that.</p> <h2>4. Forget Warm Clothes</h2> <p>When it comes to the weather, something unexpected is almost bound to happen while you're camping, and it's best to be prepared with the right clothing. Since most camping happens during warm months, people tend to forget warm clothes. It's easy to ignore the fact that nights are almost always cooler than days, and that rain storms or cold winds can happen without warning. And, sometimes, you will want long pants and long sleeves for different reasons, like to keep bugs from biting or to keep the sun off you.</p> <p>If you're heading to a mountainous or high desert area, it's even more important that you bring warm clothes. Nighttime temperatures in both of these climates are significantly colder than daytime ones, and you could end up miserable and ill without the right clothing.</p> <h2>5. Annoy Your Neighbors</h2> <p>When you're camping, the people at the site next door can become your helpers, your new best friends... or the people who wouldn't help you for the world because you annoyed them so much. If you don't want to find yourself in deep water with the neighbors, follow your common sense. Don't get drunk, make lots of noise in the middle of the night, play loud music, drive too fast in camp, or leave your fire burning when you aren't there.</p> <p>If you've done something annoying, it pays to apologize. And if you apologize with some freshly-baked camp cookies, it's even better. When you acknowledge that you did something annoying, people are likely to forgive... as long as it doesn't happen again.</p> <h2>6. Bring Equipment You Don't Know How to Use</h2> <p>I don't care how experienced you are. Each tent goes up a little differently, and it pays to know exactly how the one you brought works. The same goes for any other gear: your stove, your hydration pack, your nifty new camp-cooking appliance. Take it out of the box and figure it out before you leave. Otherwise, you waste valuable camping time and try your own patience, not to mention that of the people camping with you.</p> <p>If you don't have a chance to put up your tent at least once before you leave, make sure you have plenty of light and plenty of time once you arrive at your destination. Send the kids to explore and let your spouse do something else while you figure it out. You'll all be happier with each other and better able to enjoy the rest of your stay.</p> <h2>7. Forget the Toilet Paper</h2> <p>I get it. Your campsite has a bathroom &mdash; a real bathroom, with running water and paper towels and maybe even a shower. I don't care. Bring your toilet paper.</p> <p>You never know when a campground bathroom will run out of TP in the middle of the night, or when you'll be out by the lake or on a hike and find yourself in need. In these cases, it's so much less awkward to have the supplies you need. Sure, you have to trek it along in the first place, but it will save you a headache in the end.</p> <p><em>What do you enjoy most about camping? And what would you never, ever do?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%20Things%20You%20Should%20Never%20Do%20When%20Camping.jpg&amp;description=7%20Things%20You%20Should%20Never%20Do%20When%20Camping" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Things%20You%20Should%20Never%20Do%20When%20Camping.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></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/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">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/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks">A DIY Air Conditioner and 14 Other Cool Camping Hacks</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/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks">Camping for a Week Is Only $160 at These National Parks</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-cities-for-frugal-lovers-of-the-outdoors">8 Best Cities for Frugal Lovers of the Outdoors</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/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-camping-cooking">10 Tips for Camping Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Travel camping nature outdoors safety Thu, 13 Aug 2015 17:00:14 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1518309 at http://www.wisebread.com 17 Things You Should Never Skimp on for Safety Reasons http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_carseat_000041847428.jpg" alt="Man not skimping on car seat for safety reasons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every year, bad financial decisions kill or injure millions of people. While we can all stand back and shake our heads at cheapskate Darwin Award winners, poverty, poor planning, or straight up lack of awareness put many people in harm's way.</p> <p>Are you cutting corners that shouldn't be cut?</p> <h2>1. Cab Fare</h2> <p>It's one thing to risk your life in the line of duty. It's another thing entirely to risk your life commuting. If your commute home is dangerous &mdash; say you have to walk through a sketchy part of town to your stop &mdash; take action to reduce your risk. Look at reducing spending on other budget categories in order to free up money to pay for safe transportation. If you cannot afford to hire a cab or Uber driver, find a commuter buddy who is willing to carpool even part way or escort you on public transportation to safety.</p> <p>Or, ask your employer if you can adjust your hours to avoid walking home while it's dark. Being safe can mean walking to a subway stop that's further away because the route is better lit or more populated or walking around the perimeter of a park rather than through it. A short cut home doesn't save any time or money if you end up getting mugged.</p> <h2>2. Car Maintenance</h2> <p>&quot;You know, you can bring your car for repair while it's still drivable,&quot; was the sage advice from my mechanic. Like many magical thinkers, I fully embraced the idea that, like the human body, my car would just repair itself&hellip; somehow. Then I broke down on the on ramp leading from the 10 freeway to the 405, which may be the busiest freeway interchange in the nation. Really, it shouldn't have taken a near-death experience to turn me into a responsible car owner, but there you have it. I am grateful to this day that no one was hurt.</p> <p>Car maintenance is expensive, but it's generally cheaper than paying for major repairs caused by neglect.</p> <h2>3.&nbsp;Child Safety Seats</h2> <p>Car seats are expensive and annoying to install, so many parents think that it's okay to use an old, hand-me-down seat for their new baby, as long as they've checked that the model hasn't been recalled. However, car seats have expiration dates for a reason &mdash; plastic becomes brittle over time, especially when repeatedly exposed to the extreme heat and cold of a car's interior. The force of even a small fender bender can cause the plastic components of a car seat to shatter, with fatal results.</p> <p>Looks are deceiving. Since damage to car seats is often not visible, it's also important to know a used car seat's history. If a car seat is involved in a collision, that car seat should be replaced.</p> <h2>4. Ear Protection</h2> <p>Hair cells in the inner ear are responsible for hearing and balance. Alas, just like brain cells, hair cells do not regenerate. Once you lose them, they are gone forever. Loud noises, <a href="http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Ototoxic-Medications/">certain drugs</a>, and smoking all damage hair cells. Wearing $3 earplugs to concerts will help ensure that you can enjoy music for your entire life. Also, if you are a music lover, invest in properly fitting headphones or ear buds that will let you listen to music without having to crank up the volume. Or take a cue from airport maintenance workers and wear Noise Reduction Earmuffs over your ear buds so you can listen to your tunes in blessed sonic isolation.</p> <h2>5. First Aid Kit</h2> <p>The mass shooting in Tucson that took the lives of six people and injured seven others, including Representative Gabby Giffords, could have been even more lethal were it not for the prep work of Tucson SWAT team medic David Kleinman. Although it is unusual for police officers to carry first aid equipment used by combat medics in Iraq, Kleinman had designed individual <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/21/AR2011012105860.html">first aid kits</a> that included such low cost items as gauze strips soaked in a coagulant for Tucson police deputies to carry. Since it's possible to bleed to death in mere minutes, these bandages literally kept people alive during the six minutes it took for the paramedics to arrive on the scene.</p> <p>The Tucson shooting is an extreme example, but first aid kits for the home and the workplace <a href="http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit/anatomy">should be assembled</a> with horrible emergencies in mind, and checked regularly for expired contents. Since I live in Los Angeles and have survived my share of evacuations due to earthquakes, fires, and riots, I also like to keep a first aid supplies in my car as part of my emergency kit.</p> <h2>6. Fruits and Vegetables</h2> <p>Even in this rotten economy, every year, more and more people are dying from diseases of affluence, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, due to a sedentary lifestyle and a diet that is high in fat and sugar. Luckily, there is an easy and delicious way to stave off a number of chronic illnesses: <a href="https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/">eat more fruits and vegetables</a>. Several long-term health studies have found that people who eat more than five servings of fruit or vegetables per day, lowered their risk of stroke and coronary heart disease by 20%.</p> <p>Unfortunately, access to fresh produce isn't a given for everyone, so it is important to note that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are a nutritious and often cheaper alternative. Another great way to get more fruit and vegetables into your diet is to grow or glean your own. Consider joining forces with a few neighbors to share the work of growing a victory garden. Use Craigslist and Freecycle to find people who have surplus fruit. Fallen fruit causes vermin problems and everyone hates to waste food, so often people will give you free fruit just to keep it from falling on the ground.</p> <h2>7. Gun Safe or Gun Lock</h2> <p>About one-third of American children live in homes with guns, and 1.7 million children in the United States live in homes with guns that are <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446208/pdf/10754974.pdf">loaded and unlocked</a>. Data from the Center for Disease Control shows that, on average, 62 children die from unintentional shootings each year. However, when researchers for Everytown looked at publicly reported gun deaths, they found that from December 2012 to December 2013, at least <a href="http://everytown.org/documents/2014/10/innocents-lost.pdf">100 children were killed</a> in unintentional shootings. And 65% of these deaths took place in a home or car that belonged to the victim's family, most often with guns that were legally owned, but not secured. Most child gun deaths are tragically preventable. As of April 2015 there were at least <a href="http://everytownresearch.org/notanaccident/">110 child shootings</a> in America. That's one accidental shooting every 36 hours.</p> <p>Responsible gun owners keep their guns out of the hands of unsupervised children, and they talk to their kids about gun safety.</p> <h2>8. Immunization</h2> <p>Remember that time you got polio? No, you don't, because your parents got you vaccinated. Ironically, the fact that vaccines have rendered many once common diseases rare has lead to the opinion among some parents &mdash; who are too young to remember the terrible disabilities and death toll associated with preventable illnesses like diphtheria, measles, and mumps &mdash; that immunization is not necessary.</p> <p>Although the last two generations of Americans have largely grown up without experiencing first hand the human cost of preventable illnesses, there are plenty of stories that explain what a miracle vaccines are for people all over the world. For example, the yearly Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race in Alaska commemorates the 20 men and their dog teams who transported diphtheria serum by dog sled 700 miles, in blizzard conditions, to stop an outbreak of the disease in Nome, Alaska. The 20 men who volunteered were postal workers; normal, everyday people. They agreed to a suicide mission because they knew that the vaccine would save the lives of 1400 people. These men were willing to lose their hands and noses to frostbite because they lived in a time when diphtheria killed many, many people.</p> <p>Across the globe, immunization has proven to be one of the most successful and cost-effective medical treatments. According to the CDC, vaccinations will <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0424-immunization-program.html">prevent 21 million hospitalizations</a> and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years. In addition to saving lives, vaccines dramatically reduce the cost of medical treatment. Although anyone who has watched Masterpiece Theater knows that polio can cause paralysis, a lot of Americans don't know that diphtheria can cause permanent heart damage, measles can cause deafness, and tetanus can cause brain damage.</p> <p>Translated into money terms, vaccines will save $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in societal costs!</p> <p>The Affordable Care Act has made <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/factsheets/2010/09/The-Affordable-Care-Act-and-Immunization.html">immunization available</a> to more people. Vaccine coverage is available at no cost for eligible children through the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/features/vfcprogram/">Vaccines for Children Program</a>.</p> <h2>9. Knife Sharpening</h2> <p>It seems counter-intuitive, but <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/knife-injuries-and-other-kitchen-mishaps-afflict-both-top-chefs-and-everyday-cooks/2013/01/07/92e191f8-4af0-11e2-b709-667035ff9029_story.html">dull kitchen knives</a> are more dangerous than razor sharp ones because you have to push the knife harder to get through the food. Although I bring my knives to a professional knife sharpener for convenience, knife sharpening by hand is not a hard skill to master. Most home cooks only need to sharpen their knives with an electric knife sharpener or a whetstone twice a year.</p> <p>Contrary to popular belief, that honing steel that gets a lot of pro chef action on cooking shows, and might even be part of your knife set at home, is not a sharpening stone. Sharpening stones work by removing a tiny layer of the blade to restore the sharp edge. Honing steels realign the blade by pushing it back to center and straightening it. A properly aligned blade cuts more efficiently. Honing should be done often to keep knives in top condition.</p> <h2>10. Mammograms</h2> <p>For a routine medical treatment that all women over 40 are supposed to get yearly, mammograms are horrifically expensive. But breast cancer is the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast">second most common cancer </a>in women, and 75% of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20091006/mammograms-cut-risk-breast-cancer-death">breast cancer deaths</a> occur among women who do not get regular mammograms.</p> <p>Mammogram costs vary widely depending on insurance coverage and technology. To cut costs, it is very important to speak to your insurance about what is actually covered under your policy. For example, under my insurance, the basic breast cancer mammogram screening is 100% covered. Alas, what is not covered are the radiologist charges, other doctor fees, and the diagnostic follow-up sonogram that I also must endure because I have dense breast tissue&hellip;which pretty much renders images from a standard mammogram useless. Mammograms that are coded Diagnostic are typically much more expensive than those coded Preventative or Screening. Some insurance companies will also not cover mammograms that use alternate, but otherwise completely standard, screening technology such as ultrasound, MRIs, or even 3D mammography machines.</p> <h2>11. Rags</h2> <p>Leaving oily rags in a pile can cause them to <a href="http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/chemical-and-gases/spontaneous-combustion-or-chemical-reaction">spontaneously ignite</a>, and even washing them in the laundry can <a href="http://www.cultureofsafety.com/safety-tips/spontaneous-combustion-of-oily-rags/">lead to a fire</a>. While throwing away rags might seem counter-intuitive, certain common chemicals like acetone are highly flammable and pose a risk to your safety if stored improperly. Reusing oily rags isn't environmentally friendly or financially smart if that practice results in a structure fire.</p> <p>Rags that have been used to apply oils such as linseed oil or turpentine should be submerged in water inside a covered metal can (such as a paint can), and taken to your local hazardous waste disposal center as soon as possible.</p> <p>Finally, read the material safety data sheet before using any product marked flammable. It could save your life.</p> <h2>12. Running Shoes</h2> <p>Running can be one of the cheapest forms of exercise, but depending on your feet and your running style, running shoes can feel like a costly investment. Running shoe manufacturers recommend replacing shoes every six months or every 400 to 600 miles. I used to stretch the mileage limit to save money, but then I broke a bone in my foot while training for the Florence marathon &mdash; because I was running in old shoes. Take it from me, very little ruins the romance of Italian cobblestone streets more than having to hop on them with your one good foot.</p> <p>Of course, these time and distance recommendations are easy to follow if you are a regular runner who keeps track of mileage. For everyone else, it's more of a guessing game. And, even if you are in training, how fast your shoes wear out depends a lot on how much you weigh and your running style. For example, because my running style has been described as &quot;Helga, the stomping mare,&quot; my shoes have a lifespan of 300 to 400 miles.</p> <p>Instead of these generic mileage rules, I now pay attention to what my body tells me. For me, sore arches let me know when the midsole of my shoe is no longer protecting my feet and legs from injury. Do not ignore these signs &mdash; they can turn into a permanent injury if you try to run through them.</p> <p>One of the easiest ways to check if you need to replace your shoes is to go to the shoe store and try on the same shoes you've been training in. If you can feel the difference in support between the new shoes and your old shoes, it's time to replace your shoes.</p> <h2>13. Sleep</h2> <p>Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. According to the CDC, over 35% of Americans get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, and a terrifying 4.7% of Americans reported nodding off or falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in the preceding month. The National Department of Transportation estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for 40,000 injuries and 1550 deaths each year in the United States. In addition to car crashes, insufficient sleep is also linked to disasters such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and even the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.</p> <p>Sleep deprivation can also <a href="http://www.bcbsnm.com/health/achieving_wellness/sleep">alter the immune system</a>, making you more susceptible to major diseases such as hypertension, depression, and even cancer. Recent medical studies have shown a link between lack of sleep and obesity.</p> <h2>14. Sunglasses</h2> <p>Most people don't think about their eyes when they think about sun damage. Unfortunately, long-term sun damage can result in cataracts or macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in America. In addition to protecting your vision, sunglasses protect the eyes against cancer and corneal sunburn.</p> <p>Just like sunscreen, sunglasses should be worn year around, even on overcast days, as clouds are not an effective barrier against UV light.</p> <p>Not all sunglasses are created equal when it comes to sun protection. Look for sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB light. The best sunglasses also block HEV light. Size matters. The more skin around your eyes that you can cover, the better.</p> <h2>15. Sunscreen</h2> <p>Skin cancer is now the <a href="http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/823419/10-most-common-cancers-in-the-us">most common</a> of all cancers. Medical research shows that most skin cancers can be avoided by protecting your skin against sun damage. If you were only trying to avoid getting a sunburn, then sunscreen wouldn't be vital to your health.</p> <p>However, your skin can be damaged by long-term sun exposure, regardless of whether or not you see a burn. Everyone, including people who tan easily, have dark skin naturally, or already have a &quot;base tan,&quot; should wear an SPF of 15 or higher.</p> <p>Sunscreen is very effective when used properly. Unfortunately, most people do not use sunscreen properly. To be most effective:</p> <ul> <li>Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going outdoors, anytime you will be exposed to the sun for more than 30 minutes.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours while outdoors, even if the product claims to have &quot;all day protection.&quot; If you get wet or sweaty, sunscreen should be applied more often, even if the product claims to be waterproof.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Sunscreen should be applied in a thick layer on the surface of the skin. The most effective sunscreens actually act as a physical barrier to the suns rays. This means that you need at least two tablespoons of sunscreen (a shot glass full) for your body and nickel-sized blob for your face alone. To avoid looking undead, you can buy tinted sunscreen to match your skin tone or wear sunscreen under make-up.</li> </ul> <h2>16. Tire Maintenance</h2> <p>Tires are the only contact between your car (or bike) and the road, so tire maintenance is an important safety function. Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, which can result in accidents. Most drivers don't realize that a car tire can lose 50% of its pressure before it looks visibly flat, so it's a good idea to check your tires (including the spare) once a month. Cars driving on tires under inflated by more than 25% are three times more likely to be <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/05/nhtsa-study-finds-underinflated-and-worn-tires-increase-the-likelihood-of-a-crash/index.htm">involved in a crash</a> than tires with proper inflation. Under inflation also negatively impacts tread wear and handling.</p> <h2>17. Windshield Maintenance</h2> <p>Many car manufacturers now count the windshield as not only a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">safety feature</a>, but also part of the structural integrity of their vehicles. Those tiny, star chips from road gravel are more than just an aesthetic nuisance. When deployed, front airbags are designed to bounce off the windshield to better protect the motorist. Chipped windshields are more likely to explode during accidents, making airbags less effective. There are insurance companies that offer free windshield replacement, but most require that you opt-in to that coverage. Even if your insurance does not offer free windshield replacement, if you live in a place like Arizona where chip sealing or gravel damage to cars is prevalent, it is worth it to pay a small annual premium for glass replacement.</p> <p>Also, don't wait to have visibility issues before you change your windshield wipers or clean the inside of your windshield. Sun and console glare are a common cause of car versus pedestrian accidents.</p> <p><em>Have any of you been saved by a small ticket item or service that didn't make this list? Please share your story in the comments section!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-for-safety-reasons">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/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</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/beware-these-16-holiday-hazards">Beware These 16 Holiday Hazards</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-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day">9 Ways You Put Your Life at Risk Every Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-hiking-hacks-to-take-to-the-trail-this-summer">20 Hiking Hacks to Take to the Trail This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks injury risk safety skimping Mon, 27 Jul 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Max Wong 1499530 at http://www.wisebread.com