community http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8093/all en-US 5 Best Neighborhood Features for New Families http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_teaching_children_to_ride_bikes.jpg" alt="Parents Teaching Children To Ride Bikes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What you look for in a neighborhood changes as your life changes. When you are first out on your own, having an apartment or house that is within walking distance of local night life is a big draw &mdash; but it becomes more of a big drag if noise from the local clubs and bars keep your baby from sleeping through the night a few years later.</p> <p>But just because you know that you want a more family-friendly neighborhood doesn't mean you know what to look for. Here are five features you'll want to keep an eye out for as you find the home your family will grow into:</p> <h2>1. Good schools</h2> <p>Your little peanut may only be a baby right now, but preschool and kindergarten are just around the corner. Choosing a neighborhood that has good schools is an important part of finding a home that will serve you well for years to come.</p> <p>Websites such as GreatSchools.net allow you to search schools by ZIP code, city, district, or school name. You'll learn information about test scores, student-to-teacher ratios, and student demographics, which can help you figure out if the local schools will be a good fit for your family.</p> <p>Don't get hung up on ratings and test scores, however, because there is more to a good school than that. For instance, though I love our current house and my son's elementary school, I wish I had thought about the fact that our school district has no bussing. That means I will be on the hook for school drop off all the way into high school.</p> <p>This is why it's a good idea to make sure you fully check out the schools and/or districts you're interested in to make sure you know what to expect from them. A good fit for your children and for your family's needs is a crucial part of a good education. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-neighborhood-before-you-buy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Evaluate a Neighborhood Before You Buy</a>)</p> <h2>2. A community of other families</h2> <p>It may be cliché to say that it takes a village to raise a child, but it certainly does make parenthood easier if you have a local village handy when your kids are small.</p> <p>My current home is on a street that includes about a dozen other families with small children, which is not only great for my kids in terms of making friends, but it has also been a major boon to my husband and me. For example, last week I was running late to pick up my seven-year-old from school, and I was able to call my neighbor whose daughter goes to the same elementary school. She picked up both kids and I didn't feel stressed at the thought of my son waiting forlornly by the playground until I made it there.</p> <p>You can look for evidence of whether a neighborhood will welcome a family and small children. Are there bikes and toys in yards? Are there children outside playing? Do you see families going for walks? If you see a community of families enjoying their time outside, there's a good chance this will be a welcoming community for your own little family.</p> <h2>3. Low traffic</h2> <p>One of the first houses my husband and I looked at when we moved last year was on the corner of a busy street. Before we went to look at the house itself, we sat in our car and counted the number of vehicles that passed by over the course of five minutes. Dozens of cars drove past, going faster than I was comfortable with. We turned down the house, even though it was otherwise exactly what we were looking for.</p> <p>It's not enough to pass on homes that are near busy streets. You also need to make sure your sleepy neighborhood street isn't used as a shortcut during rush hour. Long neighborhood streets that offer a straight shot from one high-traffic area to another can be abused by rush hour commuters who just want shave a few minutes off their drive. You can avoid this problem by looking for a house on either a cul-de-sac or curving street, or just checking out the traffic on the street of a potential home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-youll-hate-about-your-next-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Things You'll Hate About Your Next House</a>)</p> <h2>4. Sidewalks</h2> <p>Though the absence of sidewalks may seem like a minor detail when you are looking at a new home, having them can go a long way to making a neighborhood more family friendly. Not only do sidewalks make it more possible for families to get out for walks in nice weather, but they encourage children's independence, since you know your kids can safely get to a friend's house several doors down without needing to hold your hand. Sidewalks also make an ideal spot to learn to ride a bike, work on sidewalk chalk art, and hold a lemonade stand &mdash; all staples of a happy childhood.</p> <h2>5. Nearby parks or playgrounds</h2> <p>Having a park or a playground within walking distance can ensure that you find a family-friendly neighborhood. Even if the street you end up on doesn't have a lot of families with similar-aged kids, making the nearby park one of your regular haunts will help you to meet other young families in the neighborhood and build the kind of caring community you're looking for. And that's not to mention the benefit of having a nearby destination where you can take the kids to get their wiggles out without having to get in the car.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Best%2520Neighborhood%2520Features%2520for%2520New%2520Families.jpg&amp;description=5%20Best%20Neighborhood%20Features%20for%20New%20Families"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Best%20Neighborhood%20Features%20for%20New%20Families.jpg" alt="5 Best Neighborhood Features for New Families" 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/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families">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/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-youll-hate-about-your-next-house">14 Things You&#039;ll Hate About Your Next House</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/house-hunting-these-features-will-save-you-big-over-the-long-haul">House Hunting? These Features Will Save You Big Over the Long Haul</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations">What You Need to Know About Homeowners&#039; Associations</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/dangerous-neighborhoods-are-safer-than-commuting">Dangerous neighborhoods are safer than commuting</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing children community evaluating families homebuying homeownership neighborhoods new house safety school districts Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2068619 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Know About Homeowners' Associations http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/handing_over_the_key_from_a_new_home.jpg" alt="Handing Over the Key from a New Home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When my husband and I were thinking about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet" target="_blank">buying a house</a>, we toured a lovely home that was on the lower end of our budget. It was gorgeous. It had high-end appliances and the owners had completely updated it. We couldn't believe the price, or that it had been on the market for weeks.</p> <p>We told the realtor we were interested and were ready to make an offer and that's when she told us that the house was part of a homeowners association (HOA). She pulled out a massive binder with the HOA's rules, including what kind of grass we could plant, what kind of fencing was permitted, and what colors we could paint our home.</p> <p>Finally, she dropped one more bomb: The monthly HOA fee was a staggering $600 a month. We quickly gave up any idea of buying that home, but it was a well-learned lesson.</p> <p>Our experience isn't unique. HOAs are increasingly common, and they can be costly. Here's what you need to know about HOAs before buying a home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-with-a-rude-neighbor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Deal With a Rude Neighbor</a>)</p> <h2>HOAs can be costly</h2> <p>HOAs are residential governing bodies that provide certain services to the owners in the community. They are most commonly seen in condominium complexes or townhome communities, but some single-family home neighborhoods may have an HOA, too.</p> <p>HOAs can be very expensive. According to Investopedia, the average monthly HOA fee is $200, yet it can easily reach as high as $700 a month. That amount is completely separate from your mortgage payment, taxes, and homeowners insurance. An HOA can dramatically increase your monthly housing bill.</p> <h2>HOAs vary from community to community</h2> <p>In some communities, HOAs provide many valuable services. They may cut your lawn, maintain building exteriors, provide a community pool, and set rules about community appearance.</p> <p>Other HOAs are more bare-bones; they may only maintain common areas and you're responsible for your own landscaping. Because they can vary so widely from community to community, it's important to do your research and understand what's included in your fee.</p> <h2>HOAs may affect your mortgage application</h2> <p>When you're ready to buy a home, you will need to include the home's information in your mortgage application. Besides factors like your income, down payment, and the home's sale price, the mortgage lender will also ask you about HOA fees.</p> <p>Mortgage companies will include the HOA cost in their evaluation of your application. If the HOA fee worsens your debt-to-income ratio, they won't give you a loan.</p> <h2>What happens if you fall behind on HOA payments?</h2> <p>Depending on where you live, the consequences for falling behind on your HOA payments can be severe.</p> <p>When you first miss a payment, your HOA may charge you a late fee. If they still don't receive payment, they may send your debt to collections, which can damage your credit report. They can also ban you from using community amenities, such as the neighborhood pool or fitness center, until you pay what you owe.</p> <p>An HOA can also file a lien on your property. That means if you sell the home, the HOA gets their share before you get any of the money from the sale.</p> <p>Some states also allow an HOA to evict homeowners if they become delinquent on their payments. And in some areas, they can even foreclose on your property.</p> <p>These consequences can have long-lasting effects, and can cost you thousands in late fees, interest charges, and even legal fees. That's why it's so important to ensure the HOA payment is well within your budget before buying a home.</p> <h2>Do your research</h2> <p>Buying a house is a huge decision. Besides factors like price, school district, and taxes, make sure you research the community's HOA and its rules. Depending on your area, your HOA fees can add thousands to your housing costs and can cause plenty of headaches.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520About%2520Homeowners%2520Associations.jpg&amp;description=What%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Homeowners%20Associations"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Homeowners%20Associations.jpg" alt="What You Need to Know About Homeowners' Associations" 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/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations">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/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments</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/house-hunting-these-features-will-save-you-big-over-the-long-haul">House Hunting? These Features Will Save You Big Over the Long Haul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</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/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</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-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families">5 Best Neighborhood Features for New Families</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing amenities buying a house community debt to income ratio expenses fees HOA homeowners association homeownership house hunting mortgage Wed, 09 Aug 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Kat Tretina 1986885 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons to Visit Your Credit Union on October 20 http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_piggybank_103388239.jpg" alt="Woman visiting her credit union on Credit Union Day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October. This October 20th, 2016, more than 217 million credit union members around the world are joining in the celebration.</p> <p>About half of all credit union members are Americans (<a href="http://www.cuna.org/Research-And-Strategy/DownLoads/mcue/">108.1 million</a>!), but if you're not one of them, this Oct. 20th is a great opportunity to visit a local credit union, shop around for financial services, and find out whether or not you can get a better deal at a credit union.</p> <h2>Key Differences Between a Bank and a Credit Union</h2> <p>Only 36% of people surveyed by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) were aware that credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. This is just one of the many differences between a traditional bank and your local credit union.</p> <h3>1. Credit Unions Have Members</h3> <p>You're not a client; you're a member or owner of the credit union. You're required to make a deposit in a savings account (often from $25 to $100) that grants you a share of the credit union.</p> <h3>2. You Must Be Eligible for Membership</h3> <p>Typical fields of membership include employee groups, associations, religious or fraternal affiliations, and residential areas.</p> <h3>3. You Can Vote on Key Issues</h3> <p>Including electing unpaid officers and directors for the credit union to establish operating policies and other key issues. Each member has one equal vote, no matter how small his or her deposit.</p> <h3>4. Deposits Are Insured by the NCUA or State or Private Insurance</h3> <p>While qualifying deposits in banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), deposits in federally chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, or the District of Columbia are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Each individual account, joint account, trust account, retirement account, and business account at any federal credit union is insured for up to $250,000. If you have a savings account, a trust account, and a Roth IRA at a federal credit union, you're covered for up to total of $750,000. State chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in states other than the ones listed earlier may be covered by either state or private insurance.</p> <h3>5. Credit Unions Collaborate With Each Other</h3> <p>Many credit unions offer shared branching that allows you to make deposits and withdrawals at locations other than that of your own credit union. With <a href="https://co-opcreditunions.org/locator/">nearly 30,000 ATMs</a> and more than 5,000 shared branches, credit union members have more direct, surcharge-free access to their money than most traditional bank customers do.</p> <h2>Why It Pays to Take Part in Credit Union Day</h2> <p>In a nutshell: higher savings rates for your deposits and lower costs for your loans.</p> <p>Let's compare some financial products from credit unions with those from banks, as of <a href="https://www.ncua.gov/analysis/Pages/industry/credit-union-bank-interest-rates-june-2016.pdf">June 2016</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Credit unions had a national average rate of 4.40% for five-year home equity loans, while banks had a 4.97% average rate.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage would have only cost an average 3.06% per year at credit unions and an average 3.10% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A classic credit card would have only charged you an average 11.56% at credit unions and an average 12.66% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A $10,000 five-year CD yielded a national average 1.51% at credit unions and 1.22% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A 48-month new car loan charged a national average 2.61% at credit unions and 4.58% at banks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A $2,500 money market account paid a national average 0.17% at credit unions and 0.12% at banks.</li> </ul> <p>Year after year credit unions demonstrate that they are working hard to get you the best bang for your buck. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank?Ref=seealso">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a>)</p> <h2>What Can You Expect on International Credit Union Day</h2> <p>Several credit unions around the country will provide special offers and freebies to their current and new members.</p> <h3>1. Even Lower Fees</h3> <p>CUNA advises credit unions to offer loans or new share draft accounts for the <a href="http://www.cuna.org/Marketing-And-Member-Education/DownLoads/2016-ICU-Day-Celebration-Ideas/">same fees</a> that credit unions charged the year they opened.</p> <h3>2. Free Money or Freebies to Open a New Account</h3> <p>The Eagle Community Credit Union in California is offering a <a href="http://www.eaglecu.org/ICUDay">$25 deposit</a> and a lunch tote to new account holders from October 1 until October 31, 2016. The Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyoming is offering a <a href="https://www.mymeridiantrust.com/about/support/international_credit_union_day/international_credit_union_day_special_offers.aspx">$50 Visa gift card</a> to those opening a new checking account.</p> <h3>3. Chance to Win a Discount Off Your Qualifying Rate for a New Loan</h3> <p>The University of Hawaii Credit Union is offering on October 21 and 22, 2016 the chance to pull a rate as low as 1.49% APR or <a href="https://www.uhfcu.com/?Cabinet=Main&amp;Drawer=UHFCU+Advantages&amp;Folder=Specials&amp;SubFolder=Auto+Loan+Special&amp;page_name=Auto+Loan+Special">up to 0.75% off</a> your qualifying rate. &quot;Checking in&quot; at the event with your Yelp app will get you 0.25% off your qualifying rate.</p> <h3>4. Free Gas Cards</h3> <p>Other credit unions may offer you incentives to receive free gas cards when you bring a completed certificate to a participating car dealership. If you get a new-car loan with the credit union at a qualifying dealer, the gas card can be of higher value.</p> <h3>5. Chance to Win Free Money</h3> <p>Last but not least, some credit unions may just be handing out money. In 2014, the Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wisconsin handed out cups filled with $2 bills and fliers about the credit union to 500 students. All cups were entered into a drawing for <a href="https://www.facebook.com/likeRCU/posts/797687906961897">five real $2 bills</a>.</p> <h3>6. Opportunity to Fundraise for Your Community</h3> <p>The River Cities Community Credit Union in Atchison, Kansas hosts every year a hot dog meal fundraiser to donate to the Atchison County Food Pantry. Several credit unions host fundraisers to contribute to the local community.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Save the Date!</h2> <p>From a better saving rate for your deposits to a competitive new car loan to a freebie to boost your emergency fund, there is a lot you can gain from International Credit Union Day. As of December 2015, there 6,259 credit unions in the U.S. This Thursday October 20, 2016 is a great time to find out what you've been missing at your local credit union. Some special deals may only be available on that day or for a very limited time so plan ahead and use the <a href="http://mapping.ncua.gov">NCUA's credit union locator</a> to find the ones nearest you.</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/6-reasons-to-visit-your-credit-union-on-october-20">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-credit-unions">The Benefits and Drawbacks of Credit Unions</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/why-i-like-big-banks">Why I Like Big Banks</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-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sales-strategies-your-bank-uses-to-make-money">5 Sales Strategies Your Bank Uses to Make 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/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great">18 Little Things That Make — and Keep — America Great</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking accounts community credit unions freebies international credit union day local business lower fees membership Wed, 19 Oct 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1815062 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Little Things That Make — and Keep — America Great http://www.wisebread.com/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_american_flag_39580462.jpg" alt="Woman counting things that make and keep America great" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Donald Trump has built his entire presidential campaign on the motto &quot;Make America Great Again,&quot; but many people are wondering, when did it stop being great? The truth is, despite all our issues, we're still a pretty awesome country &mdash; and there's no sign of that stopping anytime soon. Thus, this Independence Day, put politics aside to appreciate all the freedoms, freebies, and fun stuff this country has to offer &mdash; without asking for too much in return.</p> <h2>1. Take a Penny, Leave a Penny</h2> <p>We've all been a cent or two short at the convenience store, and the little take a penny, leave a penny dish by the cash register helps keep us from breaking another bill or having to put everything back because we don't have the extra few cents. If you've ever taken advantage of this uniquely American concept (they were common in Canada, too, until the country eliminated the penny from their currency in 2013), be sure to do you part by leaving a Lincoln or two the next time you see one.</p> <h2>2. Paying It Forward</h2> <p>You've heard tales on social media about somebody who started a trend at, say, a coffee shop or tollbooth to pay for the person behind them. Sometimes these random acts of kindness stop after a few customers, but every once in a while, Americans let their generous spirit really shine, like the time over 700 people <a href="http://www.eater.com/2014/8/22/6167041/over-700-people-paid-it-forward-at-a-starbucks-this-week">paid it forward</a> at a Starbucks in Florida. Paying it forward doesn't always have to be in a financial capacity. You can pay acts of kind forward any way you see fit, so long as you're doing something nice for somebody &mdash; which the world needs much more of.</p> <h2>3. Our Commitment to Global Health Initiatives in Developing Countries</h2> <p>The American government isn't just concerned that you're healthy at home. It has a stake in the health of the world's people, too &mdash; especially those in developing countries that are more prone to diseases. It recognizes the importance of providing those in need a better quality of life and lessening the ripple effects within our own borders by reducing the chance of devastating epidemics and pandemics. Hallmarks of U.S. leadership in global health include The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, The President's Malaria Initiative, and Feed the Future.</p> <h2>4. Free Dry Cleaning for Job Interviews</h2> <p>Not every dry cleaner offers free cleaning services to those in need, but there are a few good men and women out there who happily open their doors to the homeless and unemployed to have their interview garments professionally cleaned and pressed.</p> <h2>5. Free Soft Drink Refills</h2> <p>As a general courtesy to patrons, most restaurants in the United States offer free refills, as do other establishments, like movie theaters. They don't have to, but they do &mdash; because they appreciate your business.</p> <h2>6. Free Breakfast and Lunch Programs in Public Schools</h2> <p>There is room for improvement in our school's lunches &mdash; especially compared to other countries like France and Italy (have you seen the gourmet meals those kids eat!?) &mdash; but we at least get an A grade for offering students in need free meals when they may otherwise not eat anything healthy (or at all) at home. In some places, those free meals are extended throughout the summer (in my neighborhood in New York City they're available), which makes this program above average in my book.</p> <h2>7. Holding Doors for Each Other</h2> <p>Holding the door for someone behind you is a custom in many places around the world, granted, but it's still worth recognizing because it's an important aspect of our own social culture. We've passed the habit down through generations, and it's still alive and well today.</p> <h2>8. Letting Someone With Fewer Items Go Ahead of You at the Grocery Store</h2> <p>I'm particularly impressed when there's someone in front of me at the grocery store with a cart full of items who invites me to go ahead of them since I'll be quick with the five or so items I have. Thanks to those who do this; if you haven't, try it the next time you're out.</p> <h2>9. Stopping Your Vehicle at Crosswalks to Let People Pass</h2> <p>I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore where you waited for the walk sign to change or you didn't go. When I moved to southwest Virginia for college, I remember being at a crosswalk once that didn't have a walk sign and the traffic stopped completely to allow me to cross. I was hesitant at first &mdash; I thought it was some kind of joke &mdash; but it turned out to be one of those totally mundane experiences that I'll never forget.</p> <h2>10. Asking Strangers to Watch Your Stuff When You Run to the Bathroom</h2> <p>Have to potty while you're working at a café or hanging out on the beach? Because Americans are pretty great, all you have to do is ask your neighbor to watch your personal items for a few minutes while you're gone and they'll usually oblige. Just don't try this at airport; it's a &quot;see something, say something&quot; culture around those parts, and asking a stranger to watch your luggage will make them feel very uncomfortable.</p> <h2>11. Safe Havens Where Minority Groups Can Feel Comfortable Among Their Own</h2> <p>While I wholly condemn segregation, I do think it's important for minority groups who feel oppressed by another group (whether that assessment is accurate or not) to have places they can go to be themselves. I speak from experience as a gay man who has found solace, security, and friendship in establishments primarily frequented by other LGBT people. In other parts of the world, these places don't exist, and that's a real shame, but here at home they're abundant and well attended.</p> <h2>12. Neighborly Courtesies, Like Bringing in Your Garbage Cans</h2> <p>One of my neighbors is always super helpful, especially when I'm away from home, by taking out my garbage and returning the cans, shoveling my sidewalk if he gets out there first, and mowing my front lawn when he's feeling particularly energetic. That kind of neighborly attitude makes the neighborhood &mdash; and my own experience in it &mdash; better, and I try to return those favors whenever I can.</p> <h2>13. Interracial and Same-Sex Marriages</h2> <p>Yeah, we have a long history of denying rights to minority groups, but we're blazing trails this century to end all that. We've come a long way, even though we have a ways to go for full equality for all, and that alone makes this a good time to be alive in America.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; font-weight: normal; line-height: 1.4em;">14. America's Public Libraries</span></p> <p>Attendance at libraries has dwindled over the past two decades, thanks in large part to the Internet, but America's free library system is still thriving and striving to provide those without access to technology the means to continue educating themselves.</p> <h2>15. Free STD Testing</h2> <p>If you can't afford to visit your doctor to get an STD test &mdash; or you're just embarrassed &mdash; there's likely a clinic in your area that provides anonymous, free testing so you stay up-to-date on your health status. As my own little PSA, if you haven't been tested lately, do so; you owe it to yourself.</p> <h2>16. Little Free Library</h2> <p>I love this idea of these little boxes, most of the time shaped like tiny houses, erected in neighborhoods where bookworms can add a book or take a book without charge. The program was popularized in Wisconsin in 2009, and today it includes more than 15,000 locations worldwide.</p> <h2>17. The Honor System</h2> <p>The honor system applies to many things &mdash; like Halloween candy left on porches by folks who are out for the night, and in my neighborhood, a free garden where residents can pick an amount of veggies that they'll eat. Even as we get more and more disconnected, it's nice that we still have values and morals and a small, neighborly trade system that helps hold ourselves and each other accountable without much effort.</p> <h2>18. Free Outdoor Movies</h2> <p>I'm always talking up free outdoor movies. I think it's one of the best summer date nights ever, and I'm so excited that the concept has spread like wildfire across the country. You'll likely find outdoor screenings near the place you call home during the warmer months &mdash; seriously, it's like every town in America is doing it these days (and that's awesome!) &mdash; and all you have to do is show up with a blanket or chair and a few snacks and settle in for an evening under the stars in the greatest country on earth.</p> <p><em>What are some of the little things that you think help make and keep America great? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-freebies-for-college-students">20+ Freebies for College Students</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-forced-frugality-last">Will &quot;forced frugality&quot; last?</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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward 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/10-ways-for-college-students-to-save-loads-of-money">10 Ways for College Students to Save Loads of Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle community donald trump entertainment Fourth of July freebies make america great again morals united states Mon, 04 Jul 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1743312 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Deal With a Rude Neighbor http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-with-a-rude-neighbor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-deal-with-a-rude-neighbor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2569291711_6a3dd4d482_z.jpg" alt="men arguing" title="men arguing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There&rsquo;s a bad apple in every neighborhood.</p> <p>Whether it&rsquo;s someone who leaves their pet&rsquo;s mess for you to find, steals your paper, or is just plain nosy, rude neighbors are a part of life.</p> <p>While some rude neighbors can&rsquo;t be reasoned with, most of them will change their tune once they&rsquo;ve seen the error of their ways. But you have to go about it tactfully; crazy is as crazy does, and you&rsquo;ll get nowhere if you stoop to their level.</p> <p>Instead, take the high road and handle your next-door menace with these helpful tips. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">25 Ways to&nbsp;Communicate Better Today</a>)</p> <h2>Check the Laws</h2> <p>My husband and I live in a two-bedroom condo, and we <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-to-market-your-extra-space-as-a-vacation-rental">rent the guest bedroom</a> to tourists on a regular basis through Airbnb. Some of our neighbors don&rsquo;t like that we host these guests, and one in particular was very rude in his approach regarding the matter. He showed up on our doorstep and told us that &ldquo;this was going to stop!&rdquo; He referenced a bill that was on the verge on becoming a law that would prevent most New Yorkers from renting out their extra space to short-term tenants. What he failed to read, however, was that New York City homeowners who live in their domiciles full-time could continue to rent on a short-term basis. He handled the situation in a poor manner with his attitude, and in the end he didn&rsquo;t have the facts correct. If he had come to us in a polite manner, we could have discussed the situation like adults and tried to find a way to make it work for everyone involved. He&rsquo;s a prime example of what not to do when you have an issue to raise with a neighbor.</p> <h2>Gently Remind Them of Policies</h2> <p>In a hypothetical situation, if we were renting our guest bedroom illegally, our neighbor would have had a case to make. And in his defense, he did the right thing by mentioning the law when he confronted us rather than simply saying that we had to stop because he didn&rsquo;t like what we&rsquo;re doing. If you&rsquo;re neighbor is in violation of your neighborhood/board policies, politely remind them. They may not even know they&rsquo;re doing something, but if they are, your reminder will let them know that someone&rsquo;s watching.</p> <h2>Pick Your Battles</h2> <p>Just because you don&rsquo;t like something that your neighbor does doesn&rsquo;t mean that you have the right to complain. If something is bothering you, talk it over with your partner or a friend to get their take on it. While the issue may tick you off, you need to ensure that it&rsquo;s a reasonable issue to raise. There&rsquo;s a difference between keeping the peace and being pushy.</p> <h2>Confront the Situation Head On</h2> <p>Nobody wants to have to confront their neighbor on an issue that they probably won&rsquo;t agree on, but sometimes it has to be done. Don&rsquo;t beat around the bush if there&rsquo;s a problem. Gently present your complaint to the neighbor before the situation gets out of hand. You don&rsquo;t want to keep it inside until you explode and burn that neighborly bridge all together.</p> <h2>Be Friendly but Stern</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t show up on your neighbor&rsquo;s doorstep fuming mad &mdash; that will only complicate the situation further. Rather, be friendly and let your neighbor know that there&rsquo;s no harm no foul if you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-agree-without-compromise">come to an agreement</a>. Just make sure your friendliness doesn&rsquo;t cause you to be a pushover. In these situations, the best option for the entire neighborhood is the correct one &mdash; not the option from the person with the biggest personality. Also, remember to keep your calm if your neighbor cops an attitude. Be the bigger person, and more people will be on your side.</p> <h2>Contact Your Homeowners&rsquo; Association</h2> <p>If your neighbor continues to do whatever it is that is annoying you after you&rsquo;ve confronted the situation, it may be time to contact the homeowners&rsquo; association or other authorities. Some people are rude to the core &mdash; and they won&rsquo;t give a darn what your problem is with them. That tune may change, however, when you involve a higher power &mdash; especially one that can impose fines.</p> <p><em>Have any more tips on how to deal with a rude neighbor? I&rsquo;d love to hear your crazy-neighbor stories, too. Comment below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-with-a-rude-neighbor">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-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</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-personal-issues-no-one-at-work-needs-to-hear">10 Personal Issues No One at Work Needs to Hear</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/get-the-response-you-want-with-friendly-professional-email">Get the Response You Want With Friendly, Professional Email</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-express-condolences-without-saying-something-stupid">How to Express Condolences Without Saying Something Stupid</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-to-up-your-chances-of-getting-an-email-response">10 Tips to Up Your Chances of Getting an Email Response</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips communication community neighbors Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:48:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 925306 at http://www.wisebread.com What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Living Frugally http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebread_whatIwishIhadknown.jpg" alt="Magic 8 Ball" title="Magic 8 Ball" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve always been a fairly frugal person. I didn&rsquo;t decide to be frugal one day or make a resolution on January 1 of any particular year. Evolving in the &quot;frugal arts&quot; has been more a path of gentle reminders and little lessons that have kept me on the straight and narrow. But early on, there was so much I didn&rsquo;t know. As a younger person in my early twenties, frugality was a guiding, albeit much grayer concept, and I had no idea of the wide network of people who were following a similar path and having similar struggles.</p> <p>If I could speak one-on-one to that fresh-faced 22-year-old just out of college, there&rsquo;d be a few pieces of advice I&rsquo;d give on the topic of frugal living &mdash; advice that might have saved him some stress, confusion, and money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally">The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When&nbsp;Starting to Live Frugally</a>)</p> <h3>It Gets Easier</h3> <p>Frugality is a skill. The more you practice, the easier it gets. Eventually, whole categories of expenses will buckle and fall to your instant and flawless number-crunching. Meanwhile, enjoy the small pleasures and keep your eye on the prize.</p> <h3>It&rsquo;s Not Necessarily How Much You Make; It&rsquo;s How Much You Save</h3> <p>Our society puts so much emphasis on making money and very little on saving it. Most people think the path out of money problems or the road to a more secure financial future is paved with higher-paying jobs. While there&rsquo;s certainly nothing wrong with career advancement, without the fundamental skills on how to manage it, more money often means just more spending and bigger debt. But even with a very modest income, amazing feats of savings can be achieved with the right mindset and discipline. In short, never be fooled into thinking that you make too little to save, and never be lulled into believing that you make so much that you can catch up later.</p> <h3>Frugality Is Even More Important Than You Think It Is</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dreams-you-wont-achieve-unless-you-live-below-your-means">Living within your means</a>, living simply, and saving for goals and for retirement are important in ways you can&rsquo;t even conceive of yet. As you get older, you&rsquo;ll thank yourself for saving early, avoiding debt, and letting the magic of compounding interest do much of work for you. Though money isn&rsquo;t everything, being on the wrong side of 40 is just a little bit &ldquo;righter&rdquo; when you have a firm grasp on the financial fundamentals.</p> <h3>There Are Young People Just Like You; You&rsquo;re Part of a Movement</h3> <p>Though the idea of frugality may, at times, feel like the quaint sport of an older generation, take comfort &mdash; you&rsquo;re not alone. In about ten years everyone will be connected via a network of personal computers, and you&rsquo;ll see on a global level just how many folks are spurning over-consumption, living simply, and talking and writing about frugality. Stay tuned.</p> <h3>Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability Are All Petals on the Same Flower</h3> <p>It sometimes takes years to reach a vantage point where you can see how ideas are connected. Though they sometimes seem abstract, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">frugality, simplicity, and living sustainably</a> are all part of the same idea. It&rsquo;s nearly impossible to live a truly frugal life without simplifying and being mindful of the environment and sustainability concerns. As you grow into your lifestyle and connect with others, you&rsquo;ll finally begin to see just how cohesive all of your disparate interests actually are.</p> <h3>Oh...and There&rsquo;s a Big Recession Coming</h3> <p>Crystal ball time &mdash; in about 20 years, through a series of global financial missteps, the whole economic house of cards will tumble. Small successes now and larger lessons later will inform how prepared you are and how much of a personal adjustment you&rsquo;ll have to make in response to some serious new economic realities. (Meanwhile, don&rsquo;t invest in anything called &quot;OTC derivatives.&quot;)</p> <p>Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Whatever lessons I&rsquo;ve managed to learn so-far have come at the right time and in largely the right way. I wonder though, if I were to have a similar conversation with myself 20 years from now, what would my 65-year-old self have to say?</p> <p><em>What do you wish you had known when you started on your frugal path? What&rsquo;s the most valuable thing that frugal newbies should know?&nbsp;</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-wish-i-had-known-when-i-started-living-frugally">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/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <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/a-beginner-s-guide-to-frugal-living">A Beginner’s Guide to Frugal Living</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/18-little-things-that-make-and-keep-america-great">18 Little Things That Make — and Keep — America Great</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/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</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/youth-and-money-finding-the-frugal-balance">Youth and Money: Finding the Frugal Balance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle beginning frugality community savings account simplicity Tue, 06 Mar 2012 11:24:17 +0000 Kentin Waits 909695 at http://www.wisebread.com Local Branding: Make Your Company Part of the Community http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/local-branding-make-your-company-part-of-the-community <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/local-branding-make-your-company-part-of-the-community-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/local-branding-make-y...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/local-branding-make-your-company-part-of-the-community" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010192959XSmall.jpg" alt="thumbs up" title="thumbs up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being seen as a valuable member of your local community can keep you in mind for prospective customers or clients in a way that many other branding strategies can't. You can create opportunities for your business to get involved with activities and organizations the rest of the neighborhood interacts with every day. Your competition will have a hard time beating this kind of local visibility.</p> <h3>Support the Community</h3> <p>When you're considering how to get involved in the local community, the obvious answer is typically to look at philanthropy. Choose the right philanthropy &mdash; one that your customers, as well as the community as a whole, will care about. Steve Mochel's business, <a href="http://www.freshgreenlight.com/">Fresh Green Light</a>, found a cause near and dear to the interests of its customers. The company is a driving school and Mochel's customers are primarily parents paying for their teenagers to learn to drive. &quot;As a driving school that caters to new teen drivers, our core customer is 40+ moms, so we have created a program where we donate 1 percent of our student registration fees to the PTA organization of the high school they attend. The response has been great &mdash; the PTAs love the donation, and we are connecting in an organic way with our core target and they are talking about us to all their friends!&quot;</p> <p>Parents can even see exactly how much the driving school has donated to different high schools in Rye, New York and Lower Westchester County through Fresh Green Light's website. Having a personal connection to your community can make these sorts of opportunities a little easier to find. Mochel has lived in Rye for more than a decade, and he has four teenagers of his own in the Rye public school system. The donations are a significant part of Fresh Green Light's marketing efforts, including its website and collateral materials.</p> <p>Mochel's community-based branding has tied his company to its target customers and helped him work towards his overall goals. &quot;We are very committed as a business to creating safe teen drivers (car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in America). We decided that we would financially support organizations that also work to support the education of our kids. From a business perspective, it's put us in direct contact with our core customer (moms with teenagers), but in a positive (non-selling) manner where we are both working to support our teenagers.&quot;</p> <h3>Look at the Bigger Picture</h3> <p>Your business' marketing and branding efforts are, of course, geared towards making sure that you're able to keep bringing in new customers and clients. Building your connections in your community so that you can help your future customers have the money to come to you is a strategy that can pay off in the long run. <a href="http://www.camelot-pr.com/">Camelot Communications</a> and its founder, Christina Cozzi, have built that sort of connection in the heart of the New York City Financial District.</p> <p>Cozzi found herself with an unexpected personal connection to the area. &quot;I have lived in NYC for over five years and up until about 15 months ago I had a negative opinion about the Financial District. Similar to what the majority of people think, I believed that the Financial District was simply a place for corporate business, where there was nothing going on at night or on the weekends, and I thought that everything down there was either 'extremely expensive' or, for lack of a better word, 'divey.' Then, about 15 months ago I found myself moving to the Financial District because of the amazing apartments that were offered down there. I still had a negative connotation about the area and thought for sure that there would be 'nothing around,' as people said. I soon found that the Financial District had a lot to offer, and that there were a number of amazing businesses and services that were offered at an 'affordable luxury' price.&quot;</p> <p>She was able to find a clientele in the area. &quot;I realized that these were the types of businesses that would benefit most from public relations and marketing, and that with a little bit of help, these are the businesses that would stand out above the rest. With the population of those who work and live down in the Financial District, I knew that a little publicity would drive consumers to these businesses, rather than thinking they had to go uptown.&quot;</p> <p>Camelot Communications' clients in the area have told Cozzi that business has picked up since she started working with area businesses. &quot;The fact that I represent a number of noncompetitive businesses in the area really helps as well, as I can devise programs that works for all of them (keeping budget down), and figure out ways for all the businesses to work in collaboration with each other. It's a great feeling to walk into one of my clients and see that business is booming (especially given the overall economic climate), or to see that they have mentions in local press, directories, etc. that they normally otherwise wouldn't have.&quot; Cozzi even has an event planned for this fall called &quot;Fall in Love with the Financial District&quot; to bring community members together &mdash; as well as promote several of her local clients in one go.</p> <h3>Start Where You Are</h3> <p>The first step to branding your company locally is just getting involved. Something as simple as social media can be a good fit; it allows you to manage involvement without taking too much time away from your business. Irina Netchaev is a real estate agent in Pasadena, California &mdash; as well as the blogger behind <a href="http://www.pasadenaviews.com/">Pasadena Views</a>. Her blog, as well as Facebook and Twitter efforts, have had a dramatic impact at connecting Netchaev to the community.</p> <p>It was relatively easy for Netchaev to get the ball rolling on her efforts. &quot;Technology, from blogs to Facebook to Twitter to implementing technologically advanced products like electronic signatures, has always been fascinating to me because of the opportunities it gives me in marketing my services and streamlining the home buying/selling process. It is very clear, both from experience and statistically speaking, that most home buyers start their home search online. I need to be online for my business to survive and flourish. While many real estate agents continue to advertise in newspapers or just stick signs in front of homes, I've continually looked for opportunities to learn about social media and internet marketing. Reading both industry and non-industry blogs like ProBlogger and Chris Brogan, as well as attending and organizing Real Estate Related Social Media events like REBarCamp Los Angeles have all kept me informed and on my toes. It's a matter of taking social media a step at a time...sort of like an elephant (a bite at a time!) and experimenting!&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/local-branding-make-your-company-part-of-the-community">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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/what-does-your-personal-guarantee-on-a-business-credit-card-mean">What Does Your Personal Guarantee On a Business Credit Card Mean?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</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/is-your-small-business-targeting-the-wrong-customer">Is Your Small Business Targeting the Wrong Customer?</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-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center charity community small business Sat, 16 Oct 2010 18:12:07 +0000 Thursday Bram 220469 at http://www.wisebread.com Investing in Your Community Will Boost Your Sales http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/investing-in-your-community-will-boost-your-sales <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/investing-in-your-community-will-boost-your-sales-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/investing-in-your-communi...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/investing-in-your-community-will-boost-your-sales" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008446805XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No business operates in a vacuum. No matter where you are based, your company is part of the local community &mdash; and it can easily be part of other communities, both online and off. It's tempting not to worry too much about the community, of course. The most important focus should be your business's success, rather than trying to integrate with your neighbors. But the two aren't mutually exclusive.</p> <p>Your community and your customers are not mutually exclusive. In fact, there's likely to be significant overlap if you rely on local sales. If your business operates primarily online, you still have a community to consider, but you may not have the convenience of using geography to identify your community.</p> <h3>A Part of Your Community</h3> <p>Depending on your preferences, you can make your community involvement a part of your marketing plan, list it under public relations, or categorize it under something entirely different. But there are a few facts that make it an important process.</p> <p>First, establishing a reputation as a trustworthy member of the community can help make sales. Your reputation is important for reasons beyond your income, but it doesn't hurt to remember that people prefer to buy from companies and individuals they can trust. They're more likely to trust someone they know, someone from their own community.</p> <p>Second, community involvement can be crucial in a crisis. While it can be difficult not to be cynical when considering problems such as those BP currently faces, it's easy to see that the company is making use of every community connection it can to mitigate the problems it faces. In particular, the positioning of Darryl Willis as the face of the compensation process seeks to build a sense of connection. As Willis says in a recent radio ad, &quot;I was born and raised in Louisiana. I volunteered for this assignment because this is my home. I'll be here in the Gulf as long as it takes to make this right.&quot;</p> <p>No matter the strategy behind community involvement, being aware of your company's position in the community is a necessity.</p> <h3>Investing in Your Community</h3> <p>Since you must operate in your community, it simply makes sense to make your community a key resource for your business. That can require some investment and where you choose to invest your time and money can vary significantly. Some investments will bring you directly into the view of your customers. Some will help you build up the infrastructure you need in your community to cut your costs or to put your community in the position of needing more of your products or services.</p> <p>Sales are typically the crucial question for small business owners. As such, you've likely put together information on where your ideal customers are most likely to be found. That same information can lead you to opportunities in your community. In some cases, you may find that you're looking at more of a donation than an investment &mdash; but if there is a return on your donation, such as more awareness of your company in your target market, you can have a much better financial benefit than a simple tax deduction.</p> <p>Even relatively simple investments at the local level can help your business to cultivate situations in which your services or products are needed. A CPA, for instance, can easily hold free workshops, investing his time to help the individuals he would like to work with. By educating prospective clients about their own needs, that CPA has also shown them where his services would come in handy.</p> <p>Investments aren't just for companies who find their customers locally. If you operate a company where most sales occur outside of your immediate area, your ties to the area are still very strong. You likely recruit most of your employees, locally, after all, and the right investments can help build a pipeline that funnels trained and able employees right to your company. Take a look at the local school system: even a little investment may be able to help you to find the employees that you need now and down the line.</p> <h3>Thinking In Public Relations Terms</h3> <p>Hopefully, you'll choose your community involvement based on more than your financial benefit &mdash; perhaps your own interest in seeing your community or a particular cause within your community succeed &mdash; but it's hard to argue that most business owners aren't aware that there benefits to community involvement in terms of public relations. Such benefits do require action on your part to take advantage of, however.</p> <p>Simply increasing awareness of a company or a product can help increase sales. But if your customers or clients equate your company with the efforts you've made in your community, they are more likely to seek your business out at levels beyond what generally increased awareness can create. But making sure that the word gets out there often requires a little self-promotion. No one else will go out of their way to tell people about the good things you've done. That can require a public relations strategy that shares the good news.</p> <p>There is a fine line between sharing that news and pushing too hard to make sure that the local public sees your efforts and investments in the community, of course. But sitting back and hoping that someone else will mention your good deeds is too much to hope for. Planning a strategy that avoids going overboard is necessary. There are approaches, however, that can work in certain situations. For instance, if you've focused on a philanthropic cause in your local community, it's possible to promote the cause and only incidentally promote your involvement with it.</p> <p>You don't need to be cold and calculating when it comes to investing in your community, but it is worth paying attention to the opportunities, both direct and those that you have to promote, that your community can bring your way.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/investing-in-your-community-will-boost-your-sales">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/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</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/what-does-your-personal-guarantee-on-a-business-credit-card-mean">What Does Your Personal Guarantee On a Business Credit Card Mean?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</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/is-your-small-business-targeting-the-wrong-customer">Is Your Small Business Targeting the Wrong Customer?</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-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center community small business Thu, 19 Aug 2010 19:35:49 +0000 Thursday Bram 196260 at http://www.wisebread.com Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/volunteer_travel.jpg" alt="Volunteer travel" title="Volunteer travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Short of winning a sweepstakes, a no cost holiday to a foreign country is an impossibility for most people. Of course, there are countless ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources" title="40 Travel Resources That Save You Money">reduce the cost of a trip</a>, but ultimately you must decide if the traveling is worth the money you will spend on it. With growing fears of recession and a dramatically weakening dollar, the scales of reason seem to be tipping more and more in favor of staying at home.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-world-travel-and-blogging-about-it" title="Secrets to World Travel (and Blogging About It)">Secrets to World Travel (and Blogging About It)</a> )</p> <p>But what if you could travel for free, even be paid a stipend, in exchange for contributing time to help a foreign community as a volunteer?</p> <p><a href="http://www.bravenewtraveler.com/2007/07/23/the-complete-guide-to-volunteer-tourism/" title="volunteer tourism">Purposeful travel</a> has become very popular and <a href="http://www.bravenewtraveler.com/2007/08/10/8-ways-to-find-international-volunteering-opportunities/" title="international volunteering">the opportunities</a> to take 'volunteer vacations' are endless. However, all of these programs cost money, often just as much as a traditional package tour.</p> <p>There are a lot of good reasons why <a href="http://www.transitionsabroad.com/publications/magazine/0007/advisor.shtml" title="Why Pay to Volunteer?">travelers should pay to volunteer</a>, but we are about to see that you don't have to.</p> <p>Here are 11 options for free or very cheap travel through volunteering:</p> <h2>Long-term Programs</h2> <p><a href="http://www.peacecorps.gov/" title="Peace Corps">The Peace Corps</a> is the classic all expenses paid volunteer option that first comes to an American's mind. They offer two-year appointments, mostly in Africa, Asia, and South America, as well as modest stipends. Popular among recent college graduates, the Peace Corps is actually open to people of all ages. It is part of a larger government program called <a href="http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov/" title="Freedom Corps">Freedom Corps</a>, which includes the <a href="http://www.volunteersforprosperity.gov/" title="Volunteers for Prosperity">Volunteers for Prosperity</a> (VfP). VfP offers similar benefits and projects as the Peace Corps, but assignment lengths are variable, from a few weeks to several years in duration.</p> <p><a href="http://www.unv.org/" title="United Nations Volunteers">The United Nations</a> volunteer program sends experienced professionals from almost any field to every region on earth. As a volunteer all expenses, including airfares to and from your work site and any pre-appointment necessities like vaccines and visas, are covered. In addition, volunteers receive various grants and stipends that vary in amount depending on the project's local economy. Like most of the groups in this list, they are looking for people with extensive experience in their field. Like the Peace Corps, most appoints are for two years, though they claim to be increasing the number of six-month and year-long options.</p> <p><a href="http://www.artcorp.org/" title="ArtCorps">The ArtCorps</a> is a program specifically designed for professional artists. The program focuses on using art as a teaching tool, as well as a means of expression, for communities that face pressing social problems. Though the program does require that participants do some personal fundraising, the cost of travel is otherwise fully covered, along with a small stipend. Most assignments last 11 months.</p> <p><a href="http://www.vso.org.uk/" overseas="" service="" voluntary="" title="">Voluntary Service Overseas</a> (VSO) was recognized as the &quot;International Development Charity of the Year&quot; at the 2004 UK Charity Awards. They have placed over 30,000 volunteers, primarily in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. They provide a stipend, in addition to covering all expenses. While most assignments last two years, there are some special projects for experienced professionals lasting between two weeks and six months.</p> <h2>Shorter-term Programs</h2> <p><a href="http://geekcorps.org/" title="Geekcorps">Geekcorps</a> is a volunteer program that specializes in placing experts from the IT industry in communities with the goal of fostering digital independence. Geekcorps runs projects primarily in Mali, Ghana, and Lebanon. The program covers travel and living expenses in addition to providing a small stipend. Most of the placements are four months in duration, though options range from one to six months.</p> <p><a href="http://www.winrock.org/" title="Winrock International">Winrock International</a> is a non-profit organization that works to build economic prosperity and civil empowerment while encouraging sustainable resource use and environmental protection. They have projects in many parts of South America, Asia, and Africa. They offer to cover all travel expenses including a small per diem and most assignments last two to three weeks, including travel time.</p> <p><a href="http://www.acdivoca.org/" title="ACDI/VOCA">ACDI/VOCA</a> leads projects focused primarily on economic development. They are looking for experienced professionals with knowledge of business, banking and finance, marketing, agriculture, food processing, and community development, in addition to other, project specific, areas. They administer projects all over the world and cover all project-related expenses. Typical assignments are between two and four weeks long.</p> <p><a href="http://www.iesc.org/" title="IESC">The International Executive Service Corps</a> (IESC) encourages the development of private business and industry with the goal of increasing prosperity and development around the world. They are looking for volunteers with a background in business or industry and operate in many locations. All travel expenses are covered by the program in addition to a small stipend. Assignments vary from one week to several months long.</p> <p><a href="http://www.fsvc.org/" title="FSVC">The Financial Services Volunteer Corps</a> (FSVC) places business and finance professionals in developing and reforming economies to provide education and guidance. They cover all expenses and operate primarily in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. Assignments typically last between one and two weeks.</p> <h2>Not Free, But Very Cheap</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wwoofinternational.org/" title="WWOOF">Willing Workers On Organic Farms</a> (WWOOF) places volunteers on organic farms around the world. While working, your room and board at the farm is free, though volunteers are responsible for all expenses involved in getting to and from the site. Volunteers must pay a small annual membership fee to join the organization in the country they wish to work in order to access the database of farms. This is a great opportunity to learn about organic farming and spend a week or two doing some fun physical work.</p> <p>Finally, there are a number of &quot;work camps&quot; worldwide that place teams of volunteers on a two or three week project. These can involve everything from farming to construction, education to art, every project is different. It costs about $300 for two or three weeks of room, board, and work. Not free, but not bad for two weeks of traveling. These projects are organized through clearing houses, the most popular being <a href="http://www.vfp.org/" title="Volunteers for Peace">Volunteers for Peace</a> and <a href="http://www.sci-ivs.org/index.html" title="Service Civil International">Service Civil International</a>. As a great deal, Volunteers For Peace charge <a href="http://www.vfp.org/volunteer-info" title="VFP volunteer info">$500 for an entire family</a>, regardless of the size.</p> <p>Keep in mind that these trips will not be a week sitting on the beach. You will have to work, but even if you are doing something related to your everyday job, the location and unique challenges will make it seem fresh and new.</p> <p>Besides a vacation, these opportunities provide an opportunity to learn a new language, take a leadership role, experience everyday life in a foreign country, and make some new friends and professional connections. With experiences like that, maybe it is smart to take a vacation during a recession.</p> <p>For more general information on volunteering check out <a href="http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/volunteer/" title="Transitions Abroad">Transitions Abroad</a>, the <a href="http://www.truetravellers.org/" title="True Travellers Society">True Travellers Society</a>, and the <a href="http://www.idealist.org/" title="Idealist">Idealist</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%2Fvolunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FVolunteer%20to%20Travel-%2011%20Opportunities%20for%20Free%20or%20Very%20Cheap%20Travel.jpg&amp;description=Volunteer%20to%20Travel%3A%2011%20Opportunities%20for%20Free%20or%20Very%20Cheap%20Travel" 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/Volunteer%20to%20Travel-%2011%20Opportunities%20for%20Free%20or%20Very%20Cheap%20Travel.jpg" alt="Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel" 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/david-defranza">David DeFranza</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-underground-guide-to-international-volunteering-review">The Underground Guide to International Volunteering (Review)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Travel community trips volunteering Fri, 08 Feb 2008 04:26:22 +0000 David DeFranza 1762 at http://www.wisebread.com Super-Cheap Building Supplies and a Way to Help Your Community! http://www.wisebread.com/super-cheap-building-supplies-and-a-way-to-help-your-community <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/super-cheap-building-supplies-and-a-way-to-help-your-community" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/building supplies.jpg" alt="shelter" title="shelter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">I’ll admit that my family is the “cobbling” kind of people.<span> </span>Our depression-era farm house was slapped together in a sturdy, but irregular fashion.<span> </span>So when it comes time to replace windows, doors, or other basic components, we try to do it as cheaply as possible.<span> </span>Last week I discovered ReStore (a project of <a href="http://www.habitat.org/default.aspx">Habitat for Humanity</a>), and I will never shop for home improvements supplies the same way again! </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx">Habitat ReStores</a> are retail outlets where building supply and home improvement companies can donate their quality leftovers for resale to the public.<span> </span>Think “Goodwill” for the DIY’er – these stores have it all!<span> </span>While a little jumbled (you will need to dig around a bit to find what you really want), they have aisles for bathroom fixtures, appliances, tile, windows, doors, décor, lighting, paint, hardware, and more! </p> <p class="MsoNormal">In addition to providing extra funds for the Habitat for Humanity buildings – some Restores generate enough money to build an additional 10 homes per year – the outlets promote environmental responsibility by allowing quality building materials to be recycled. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">While they have a large assortment of used materials, here are some of the brand-new finds we saw at our local <a href="http://www.habitatomaha.org/restore/index.html">Omaha ReStore</a>:</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal">Pella brand Double-Hung Windows and Doors (originally $1800 – marked down to $500)</li> <li class="MsoNormal">5 Gallons of Exterior Paint for $20</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Boxes of Laminate flooring for $22</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Chandeliers starting at $60</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Boxes of Tile for $10</li> <li class="MsoNormal">Spa tubs for $500</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Did I mention that our family of six FINALLY owns a dishwasher?<span> </span>After many years of begging and pleading with my husband, we brought home a nice pre-owned dishwasher from our Omaha ReStore for $60! </p> <p class="MsoNormal">For the ReStore near you, and an opportunity to get some great deals on those last-minute storm windows or insulation for your home, visit your <a href="http://www.habitat.org/cd/local/">local Habitat for Humanity website</a> and look for the ReStore link.<span> </span>(And for a taste of what ReStore has to offer, check <a href="http://www.habitatstl.org/restore/virtualtour/">out this online tour</a> of the <a href="http://www.habitatstl.org/">St. Louis ReStore</a>!)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-cheap-building-supplies-and-a-way-to-help-your-community">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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</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/instructables-for-the-extreme-cheap-lifestyle">Instructables for the Extreme Cheap Lifestyle</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-turn-a-2-liter-bottle-of-water-into-a-50-watt-lightbulb">How To Turn a 2-liter Bottle Of Water Into a 50-Watt Lightbulb</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-online-resources-for-the-design-impaired">Top 5 Online Resources for the Design Impaired</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diys-for-a-sparkling-clean-bathroom">8 DIYs For a Sparkling Clean Bathroom</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living community DIY environment frugal green Habitat for Humanity home improvement Wed, 31 Oct 2007 20:30:34 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1343 at http://www.wisebread.com