General Tips http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8131/all en-US Dishwasher Smells Bad? Here's How to Fix It http://www.wisebread.com/dishwasher-smells-bad-heres-how-to-fix-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dishwasher-smells-bad-heres-how-to-fix-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_smelly_dishwasher_000040458114.jpg" alt="Woman loading smelly dishwasher and learning how to fix it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Reeking dishwashers are the worst. Trust me &mdash; I lived in a small apartment with one that emanated a disgusting smell for months. When it gets bad enough, you feel embarrassed to have people over and you don't even want to be there yourself.</p> <p>Fortunately, you don't have to live with a smelly dishwasher. The steps below cured the awful washer in our rental, and they can help yours, too.</p> <h2>Practice Good Dishwasher Hygiene</h2> <p>Sure, everyone knows how to run a dishwasher, but not everyone knows how to do so in such a way that odors are prevented. If your dishwasher keeps developing an odor despite your ongoing attempts to clean it, you may need to change the way you do dishes.</p> <p>Rinse large food particles off your dishes before you put them in the washer. This prevents them from building up in the food trap. Empty your dishwasher as soon as you can after it runs. This makes sure that your dishwasher isn't sitting there with a bunch of hot air inside, which can cause musty, mildewy smells. And make sure the dishwasher gets a chance to dry after every cycle. Leave it open just a crack to let fresh air in.</p> <p>If you have the option, think about running your dishwasher on a setting that allows the dishwasher to blow air in order to partially dry the dishes. This usually costs more in electric bills, but having air flow through the washer can reduce odors quite a bit.</p> <h2>Clean the Food Trap</h2> <p>Most dishwashers have a small area where large particles of food that get washed off your dishes are stored. This keeps them from clogging the dishwasher or even the drain. If they sit in there too long, though, they can get nasty and produce a terrible smell.</p> <p>The food trap will be in a slightly different place in each dishwasher. Usually, they're in a small area on the bottom. Take out your lower washer rack and it's often easy to find. Using a cloth or a pair of rubber gloves to keep you hands out of the muck, scrape it as clean as you can. You may want to use some dishwasher cleaner afterwards, just to make sure it's fresh and sanitized.</p> <h2>Run Various Cleaning Cleansers Through Your Dishwasher</h2> <p>There are several different things that, when ran through your washer alone, can help fix odor problems. You can try a specially formulated dishwasher cleaning solution, vinegar, baking soda, or citric acid (you can even use powdered lemonade if you can't find the acid itself or you don't want to mess with it).</p> <p>If your substance is a powder, put it in like you would normally put in detergent. If it is a liquid, pour &frac14; cup in the bottom of your dishwasher. Then turn it on and run a normal cycle. You may have to do this several times (possibly with several different substances), before you figure out what works for you, but these are all very helpful for odor reduction. In fact, once you've figured out what is best in your dishwasher, run it through once every month or so to keep the odors away for good.</p> <h2>Check Your Air Gap</h2> <p>Depending on where you live, you may or may not have an air gap for your dishwasher (different building codes have different requirements). And air gap sets up the dishwasher so that any overflows will flow into your sink. This keeps waste from your kitchen sink from backing up into your dishwasher, which can cause some really horrible smells.</p> <p>You can search online for information about checking for and installing an air gap, or you can call your local plumber. It's usually not very hard to do on your own, but it does require some confidence in dealing with plumbing problems and fixtures. If you do need to call a plumber, it will be well worth your time and money when that odor disappears.</p> <p>You may want to combine the above techniques &mdash; and, in fact, I highly suggest doing so &mdash; to find a dishwasher deodorizing solution that works for you. You can change your dishwasher hygiene, clean your food trap, and run a cleaning substance through the washer without having to put in much effort. Then, if that doesn't work, you can ponder calling a plumber (or trying to get your landlord to do it!).</p> <p><em>Have you dealt with a particularly smelly dishwasher? How did you fix the problem?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dishwasher-smells-bad-heres-how-to-fix-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</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-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</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/almost-40-everyday-things-you-can-wash-in-the-dishwasher">Almost 40 Everyday Things You Can Wash in the Dishwasher</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-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Cleaning Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean">The Military&#039;s Four-Step Plan to Keeping Your Place Clean</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips bad smells cleaning dishwasher home maintenance Tue, 28 Apr 2015 21:00:22 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1400620 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Protect Yourself From a Lost Gift Card http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_000021000133.jpg" alt="Woman shopping with gift card and trying not to lose it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just last week, I was at Chipotle frantically digging through my wallet looking for my gift card. I knew it was somewhere in my pile of plastic, but couldn't find it for the life of me. In the end, my &quot;free&quot; burrito ended up costing me cash, as my gift card was permanently misplaced.</p> <p>Stores and restaurants absolutely love gift cards because of unorganized people like me. But with a few simple steps, you can easily protect those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-up-remaining-balances-on-prepaid-gift-cards">valuable gift card balances</a> in the event you lose or misplace one.</p> <h2>1. Stash Your Activation Receipt</h2> <p>This is clearly the most obvious, yet overlooked, step to protect yourself. It's often overlooked because the gift card giver doesn't always include the receipt with the card. But if they do, or if you bought the gift card yourself, then by all means stash the receipt someplace safe. In the event you lose the card, you can simply call the retailer or restaurant customer service line and they can access your account balance via the activation receipt. They'll then easily re-issue you a new card.</p> <h2>2. Write Down Gift Card Numbers</h2> <p>If you don't have a receipt, then you can just put pen to paper and copy down the gift card numbers for safe keeping. While this can seem a tedious exercise for a measly $5 Starbucks gift card, you'll be glad you did if you lose a $100 Best Buy card.</p> <h2>3. Get Tech Savvy With a Virtual Wallett</h2> <p>Perhaps the most convenient and fool-proof way of protecting your gift card balances is using a virtual wallet like Google Wallet. You simply download the app to your smartphone (Android or iPhone), enter the card number, balance, snap a picture of the card (front and back) and the app takes care of the rest. You simply present the app when checking out, the cashier scans the corresponding barcode on your phone, and your balance is automatically reduced.</p> <h2>4. Not That Tech Savvy? Just Snap a Pic</h2> <p>If you're just not tech savvy and the idea of adding a gift card to a virtual wallet gives you a headache, I have an easy solution for you. Just use your smartphone or camera to snap a picture of the gift card numbers when you get the card. This is an easy way to access your gift card if you end up losing it.</p> <h2>5. Trace Your Footsteps</h2> <p>If you failed to keep the receipt and/or the gift card number was never recorded, but you used the lost gift card at least once online, you may still have recourse. Your card information may have been recorded when shopping online from the retailer's website. Whether or not your gift card info was saved varies by retailer, but when you are desperate to recapture your account balance, it's worth a shot.</p> <h2>6. Register Your Card With the Retailer</h2> <p>Many retailers and restaurants allow you to actually register your card with them online. Some of the more popular include Crate &amp; Barrel, Starbucks, and Tully's Coffee. By doing so, you get balance protection and a quick replacement card in the event you lose yours. Also, you can often use your gift card for rewards and earn free treats and reward points. The Starbucks gift card is famous for this.</p> <h2>Bottom Line: Treat a Gift Card Like Cash</h2> <p>By treating gift cards like cash (which they essentially are), you'll be more proactive when it comes to protecting their balances. By doing just a little bit of work to protect yourself, you'll never be stuck buying a burrito again after you were sure it would be free. Or is that just my story?</p> <p><em>Have you ever lost a gift card or taken steps to prevent it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-a-lost-gift-card">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/50-ways-to-save-money-on-clothing">50 Ways to Update Your Wardrobe for Cheap</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-can-you-do-with-unwanted-gift-cards">What Can You Do With Unwanted Gift Cards?</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-only-5-grocery-shopping-techniques-you-need">The Only 5 Grocery Shopping Techniques You Need</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/will-that-thing-really-change-your-life">Will That Thing Really Change Your Life?</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/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips gift cards receipts shopping virtual wallets Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:00:07 +0000 Kyle James 1376607 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Newspaper or Magazine Subscriptions That Are Actually Worth the Cost http://www.wisebread.com/5-newspaper-or-magazine-subscriptions-that-are-actually-worth-the-cost <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-newspaper-or-magazine-subscriptions-that-are-actually-worth-the-cost" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/newspaper_000020671239.jpg" alt="Woman reading newspaper through subscription that&#039;s worth the money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Any newspaper or magazine you actually read is worthy of its subscription value. But there are a few publications that offer some additional benefits. From buyer's remorse prevention to stress relief, a subscription to one of these publications is worth the price &mdash; and more.</p> <h2>1. Consumer Reports</h2> <p>The expert product ratings contained in just one issue of <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm">Consumer Reports</a> could save you from making purchase mistakes that no customer service hotline could fix. This consumer's bible is one of the most highly regarded resources for folks cutting through the spin of advertising in order to identify which consumer products are safe, reliable, and fairly priced. If you've ever bought a product that didn't live up to its name, you know how valuable such a guidebook can be. A subscription to the magazine gets you access not only to new product reviews, but also more than 7,000 archived ratings for appliances, home and gardening tools, electronics, baby gear, food products, and cars.</p> <h2>2. Mindful</h2> <p><a href="http://www.mindful.org/mindful-magazine/current-issue">Mindful</a> magazine celebrates being mindful in all aspects of daily living. Its pages are filled with how-to guides and anecdotal stories on topics like yoga, meditation, eating with intention, taking time to appreciate nature, and decluttering your home. In short, it's filled with inspiration and guides to achieving inner peace, happiness, and wellness. If you're inspired to meditate after reading a Mindful story about the ancient practice, you'd be well on your way to feeling happier, focused, and more even-keeled. And if you were to follow their <a href="http://www.mindful.org/mindful-magazine/5-ways-to-declutter-your-home-and-mind">guide to decluttering</a> material objects from your living space, you'd be opening yourself up to greater personal fulfillment and self-confidence. Simply reading the magazine won't change your life for the better, but applying its teachings certainly may.</p> <h2>3. Your Local Newspaper</h2> <p>The average American family can <a href="https://nchmarketing.com/assets/0/16/33/37/246f9f1d97554980b20a36bf999712a2.pdf">save up to $1,000</a> a year with coupons, and your local newspaper &mdash; particularly the Sunday edition &mdash; is chock full of them. But there's much more to gain by subscribing to your local broadsheet than supermarket savings. News about jobs, crime, weather, politics, traffic, and building and permitting regulations are essential to navigating modern life. Local news enthusiasts are also more <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/04/12/72-of-americans-follow-local-news-closely/">connected to their communities</a>, which just so happens to be an <a href="http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/connecting/connection-happiness">indicator of wellness</a> and health. Belonging to a community gives us a strong sense of identity that researchers say can lead to fewer stress-related health problems, lower risk of mental illness, and faster recovery from trauma or illness.</p> <h2>4. The New York Times</h2> <p>From its searing photographic account of a massacre by <a href="http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/21/witness-to-a-massacre-in-a-nairobi-mall/">gun-wielding terrorists</a> at a Nairobi shopping mall, to an investigation into the millions of dollars in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/world/africa/ransoming-citizens-europe-becomes-al-qaedas-patron.html">secret payments</a> by European nations to ransom hostages held by the Islamic State; The <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/">New York Times</a> produces some of the finest reporting and storytelling in the world. And that was just last year.</p> <p>Since 1990, the paper has had 117 <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/do-pulitzers-help-newspapers-keep-readers/">Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists</a>, more than any other publication. The Pulitzer is widely considered to be the top prize for excellence in journalism, and the fact that the Gray Lady has racked up so many is telling of the value of a subscription. In addition to hard-hitting news, the Times is also a top source for feature stories, travel reporting, health and wellness news, and up-and-coming trends and events in the arts.</p> <h2>5. TIME For Kids</h2> <p>In a survey by Rutgers University, 92% of teachers said classroom magazines like TIME For Kids improve <a href="http://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/resource/uploads_classmag/Research%20and%20Results/Survey.pdf">student interest in reading</a>. Now, what parent wouldn't want that? This weekly news magazine puts interesting, educational, and age-appropriate content in the hands of kids with the goal of making them motivated and excited about reading. A powerful teaching tool, <a href="http://www.timeforkids.com/">TIME For Kids</a> builds reading and writing skills while reinforcing curriculum in subjects like social studies, science, and math. Plus, every issue of the classroom magazine addresses the new <a href="http://www.timeforkids.com/info/what-you-get">Common Core State Standards</a>, further supporting our kids' efforts to succeed at school.</p> <p><em>Which subscriptions are essentials in your household?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-newspaper-or-magazine-subscriptions-that-are-actually-worth-the-cost">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/exposed-magazine-subscription-rates-complete-bs">Exposed: Magazine subscription rates complete BS.</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-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</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/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</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/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips consumer reports magazines newspapers reading subscriptions Thu, 02 Apr 2015 15:00:21 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1366064 at http://www.wisebread.com 27 Things You Should Have in Your Utility Drawer http://www.wisebread.com/27-things-you-should-have-in-your-utility-drawer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/27-things-you-should-have-in-your-utility-drawer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/measuring_tape_000050146530.jpg" alt="Woman with measuring tape kept in utility drawer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know the kitchen drawer &mdash; the one with an interesting assortment of odds and ends? Well at some point, the &quot;utility drawer&quot; often turns into the &quot;junk drawer.&quot; And if yours is bordering on being more of a scrapbook, maybe this is the time to clean it out and stock it with some really practical items.</p> <p>The well-stocked drawer is going to contain some very tiny items, as well as some rather unwieldy ones, so start by investing in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RL9CYK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002RL9CYK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I3EON6AAYU72JPZR">divider trays</a>. Next, begin collecting tiny tins (think empty Altoids containers) for some of the smaller items below. If you own a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005TJMC0S/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B005TJMC0S&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4NN7YQK74AYL3G7D">label printer</a>, you can really make your drawer look spiffy &mdash; but masking tape and a marking pen will work, too. &quot;Found items&quot; like clean, empty tuna cans, old muffin tins, or even ice-cube trays are helpful for sorting the goods.</p> <p>Then it's time to stock up on the following.</p> <h2>1. Flashlight</h2> <p>Probably one of the most important items in your utility drawer, and it needn't be bulky. For Christmas, my husband just got me one of these powerful, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BA5BM8I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00BA5BM8I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=64AQH52KYQW4HR62">tiny LED flashlights</a>. It takes up very little room, but boy, does it throw a big light.</p> <h2>2. Batteries</h2> <p>I keep an assortment of all sizes in the drawer, since you never know what you'll need.</p> <h2>3. Barbeque Lighter</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UONR4M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000UONR4M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YTLJ6GVOBLNKQ3AG">long lighters</a> aren't only for the barbeque. I use mine to light my gas stove, candles, or the outdoor fireplace. When the power goes out, this is one of the first things I grab.</p> <h2>4. Tape Measure</h2> <p>I like both the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SILEXM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004SILEXM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FEUV2C7LLP2CSQOL">retractable tape measures</a> and the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005KMMOK2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B005KMMOK2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XRTJ5BQDLVO73YSR">flexible tape measures</a> that you use for sewing. I also have the freebie paper tape from Ikea, which is really handy.</p> <h2>5. Band-Aids</h2> <p>Keeping Band-Aids in the kitchen makes more sense than the bathroom, to me. There I'll be, slicing away, and oops! So having an assortment of Band-Aids right there in the utility drawer is pretty handy.</p> <h2>6. Safety Pins</h2> <p>Wardrobe malfunction right before work? Grab a safety pin. Buy a box of pins in assorted sizes.</p> <h2>7. Sewing Kit</h2> <p>Lose a button, or is a hem coming out? I love this <a href="http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/real-simple-sewing-kit/1017916297?mcid=PS_googlepla_nonbrand__&amp;adpos=1o3&amp;creative=39230263429&amp;device=c&amp;matchtype=&amp;network=g&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjw0LmoBRDHuo7UkaKXhn8SJADmDTG0XYJnNNX9v5cW5-Fl3evxasugzs8YsIVmTttkmaYl3BoCkvfw_wcB">zippered sewing kit</a> that keeps everything in one place.</p> <h2>8. Eyeglass Repair Kit</h2> <p>Do you, or does a family member, wear glasses? If so, this little <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000RB7B72/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000RB7B72&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YL2HEAKRYOHRVWM2">eyeglass repair kit</a> will be a lifesaver. We even bring our kit on vacations.</p> <h2>9. String or Twine</h2> <p>I like this food-safe <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000ST1EW6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000ST1EW6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ET4HFGYQUYGCVCQM">cooking twine</a>. Tie a plumb-bob to the string end and get a straight edge for hanging wallpaper. String is one of those things you don't know you need until you need it.</p> <h2>10. Mini-Hammer</h2> <p>I could not live without my mini-hammer. It cracks nuts, pounds tough meat, and hangs pictures. They are nice for little hands when kids want to &quot;help daddy,&quot; too.</p> <h2>11. Pliers</h2> <p>Ideally, your toolbox will contain a larger assortment, but a small pair of pliers are great to have in the drawer for emergencies.</p> <h2>12. Duct Tape</h2> <p>My favorite use is to get rid of pet hair, but here are 10 other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-ways-to-use-duct-tape">great uses for duct tape</a>.</p> <h2>13. Deck of Cards</h2> <p>I recently learned to play Texas Hold 'Em, which turned out to be a lot of fun and a great way to kill time. Of course, I had a deck of cards handy in that utility drawer. If the power goes out, light a votive candle and deal 'em, pardner.</p> <h2>14. Matches</h2> <p>I like to keep two types in the drawer: book matches and stick matches. If you live somewhere humid, the book matches can fail you. Store in a plastic bag.</p> <h2>15. Screwdriver</h2> <p>This is another &quot;must-have.&quot; I like this <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002I3TDP0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002I3TDP0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OF6O2VVEYQESS7EZ">ratcheting screwdriver</a> that has the multiple bits.</p> <h2>16. Utility Knife</h2> <p>Also known as an &quot;X-acto knife&quot; or a &quot;boxcutter,&quot; these are hugely practical. Keeping one in the utility drawer ensures I won't be tempted to use one of my good kitchen knives when a box is delivered.</p> <h2>17. Votive Candles</h2> <p>I'm not a big &quot;candles-as-atmosphere&quot; person, but when the power is out, votives are the greatest. Not only are they inexpensive, but you can also buy unscented ones. I also own some of the &quot;flameless&quot; candles, but they don't have a long life &mdash; so for disaster preparedness, I like real candles.</p> <h2>18. Take-Out Menus</h2> <p>Pizza, anyone? Chinese? Whatever your preference, if you keep your take-out menus in your utility drawer, you are ready to make a phone call. We keep ours in a manila folder so they stay tidy.</p> <h2>19. Tweezers</h2> <p>Sliver? Bones in fish? Thorn in the dog's paw? A pair of tweezers is a great addition to any utility drawer.</p> <h2>20. Nail File</h2> <p>The cheap emery boards will work, but a friend got me hooked on these <a href="http://www.sephora.com/crystal-nail-file-P310307">crystal nail files</a>, which perform so much better. They come in a case, which also makes them much easier to find.</p> <h2>22. Rubber Bands</h2> <p>Keeping rubber bands in your junk drawer makes good sense. How many times have I used only half a bag of frozen peas? Grab a rubber band out of the drawer, seal them up, and send them back into the freezer. Keep them in a Ziploc bag so that they stay tidy and out of the humidity, and they will last longer.</p> <h2>23. Pens and Pencils</h2> <p>Absolutely indispensable and inexpensive. You'll need both in the drawer.</p> <h2>24. Thumb Tacks</h2> <p>I am a big fan of bulletin boards, so naturally I keep thumb tacks around. I prefer push pins, which are easier to dig back out of the cork.</p> <h2>25. Tape</h2> <p>Let's face it &mdash; the drawer is not complete without tape. Stock up.</p> <h2>26. Chip Clips</h2> <p>Keep those chips, crackers, and bags of cereals crispy with clips. I really like binder clips the best, since they clamp more tightly than some of the &quot;clothespin&quot; types. They also take up less room.</p> <h2>27. Glue</h2> <p>I like two types in the drawer &mdash; Super Glue and Elmer's. Both get regular use.</p> <p>Still not inspired to whip that drawer into shape? Then take a fun look at people whose <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/theprotojournalist/2014/08/15/337759135/what-your-junk-drawer-reveals-about-you">utility drawers</a> well, failed. And then get to organizing!</p> <p><em>Is there anything I've forgotten? What's in your jun</em>&hellip;<em> err, </em><em>utility </em><em>drawer?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/27-things-you-should-have-in-your-utility-drawer">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/a-denim-expert-reveals-why-you-only-need-3-pairs-of-jeans">A Denim Expert Reveals Why You Only Need 3 Pairs of Jeans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</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/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage</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/101-little-things-you-can-fix-right-now">101 Little Things You Can Fix Right Now!</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-good-habits-that-may-actually-be-hurting-you">6 &quot;Good&quot; Habits That May Actually Be Hurting You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Organization junk drawers repairs tools utility drawers Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 1361032 at http://www.wisebread.com Invest Your Time in These 13 Things While You're in Your 20s http://www.wisebread.com/invest-your-time-in-these-13-things-while-youre-in-your-20s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/invest-your-time-in-these-13-things-while-youre-in-your-20s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/asian_student_000017738107.jpg" alt="Asian student studying" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our 20s fly by before we know it, and we want to make sure we did the decade justice. Did we worry about the right things? Are we where we should be now? The best way to prepare for those questions and answer them to the best of our abilities, is to make sure we spend time on what really matters and what may help us in the future. We took a look at a <a href="http://www.quora.com/How-should-a-24-year-old-invest-time-1">Quora thread</a> that had great advice for people in their 20s who may be wondering what some of the important things to invest time in may be, and here is what we found.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Happy-People-Do-34870691">15 Things Incredibly Happy People Do</a></p> <h2>1. Network</h2> <p>If you form a solid mainstay of people, you are exposed to more opportunities and potential for success in both your career and in your personal life. Build bridges, because you never know when you might be looking to cross them. As <a href="http://www.quora.com/Karan-Jaiswani">Karan Jaiswani</a> put it, &quot;the 20s are all about utilizing your today and structuring your future.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Read &mdash; A Lot</h2> <p>There is nothing more productive than taking the time to read. Read whatever you can get your hands on &mdash; current news, nonfiction, fiction, career advice, self-help books &mdash; anything! The more you know and understand about people around you, yourself and the world, the more easily and successfully you can navigate those very things.</p> <p>&quot;This will keep your mind stimulated and open to ideas. You will get a number of ideas for each author that you can implement in your life. You will also get opinions from across the globe,&quot; <a href="http://www.quora.com/Rizwan-Aseem">Rizwan Aseem</a> says.</p> <h2>3. Take Care of Your Body</h2> <p>Making time at night to wash your face, exercise, and remembering to apply (and reapply) sunscreen may not be on the top of your priority list, but it should be. General health care is something that, later in life, you will be glad you considered in your 20s. As <a href="http://www.quora.com/Rizwan-Aseem">Aseem</a> points out, &quot;No matter what you do in your life, you will do it in your body. You cannot replace it, get a new one, or trade it in. This is your body and you will live in it.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Use Your Time and Money on Education</h2> <p>Education is an invaluable resource that you are unlikely to ever regret having. Money is well spent when it is used to broaden your mind and pool of knowledge, especially when honing skills to be applied to your career path. <a href="http://www.quora.com/Anuj-Kumar-1">Anuj Kumar</a> advises you to &quot;try different things and find out where your passion lies&hellip; and then find ways to make a career doing that, adding that &quot;if you need further education, get it.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Pay Attention to Your Mental Health and Wellbeing</h2> <p>While your physical health is extremely important, investing time into taking care of your mind should not be forgotten. Stimulate it, challenge it, be conscious of what you're exposing it to daily, and take care of yourself. <a href="http://www.quora.com/Rizwan-Aseem">Aseem</a> makes the point that, &quot;The mind, like anything else, has the characteristics of a muscle. You use it, or lose it. And as long as you are using it, it will remain fit and healthy. The minutes you stop using it, it will decay and rust.&quot; So use it!</p> <h2>6. Learn New Skills (and Master Them)</h2> <p>While the advice to &quot;follow your passion&quot; can be good in the general sense, <a href="http://www.quora.com/John-J-Bowman-Jr">John. J. Bowman</a> urges those in their 20s to master and control a set of skills that can be used to benefit you within the field you are passionate about.</p> <h2>7. Create and Maintain Good Habits</h2> <p>The hardest part of creating good habits is getting started, but once you are able to master them, they will have an undeniably positive impact on your day-to-day as well as your future, because, as <a href="http://www.quora.com/Rizwan-Aseem">Rizwan</a> notes, &quot;once a habit is established it lasts for a life time.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Build Meaningful Relationships</h2> <p>Now is the time to drop the fair-weather friends and make time only for those who are really going to stick around and be positive forces in your life. As you mature, so should your relationships, so you don't have time to waste on people who will be harmful rather than helpful in your pursuit of your future goals.</p> <h2>9. Eat Well</h2> <p>Spend time planning meals, learning healthy recipes, and overall taking what you're eating into consideration regularly. Gone are the days when donuts, chips, and sodas can pass as a full day's meal. Even it if takes a little more time and effort, your future self will thank you when you find yourself maintaining your energy and healthy body as you age.</p> <h2>10. Establish a System for Handling Finances</h2> <p>Sit down and figure out how you are spending money, what you are spending it on, and what your ongoing expenses are. &quot;If you take care of your finances starting today they will take care of you when you most need them. When you are old, or sick, or sending your kids to school, or helping a parent through sickness. Your finances will help you,&quot; <a href="http://www.quora.com/Rizwan-Aseem">Aseem</a> says. Big pitfalls to avoid: bad business opportunities (if it seems to good to be true &mdash; it is), overuse of credit cards, and choosing not to save or put money aside for a rainy day.</p> <h2>11. Travel</h2> <p>In your 20s, you're full of enthusiasm and energy and usually have the mobility to indulge a bit of wanderlust. So indulge it. Experience new cultures, countries, and challenges. You will learn things that you can take with you and apply to your life back at home.</p> <h2>12. Communicate With Loved Ones</h2> <p>Make an effort to remember birthdays, holidays, and important events. Your family and close friends can act as your support system when you need it, but you should put the time in and return the favor. Small gestures that show you are thinking about the people who love you go a long way, so take the extra five minutes to write a nice card and stick it in the mail, or schedule that quick Skype call &mdash; you won't regret it.</p> <h2>13. Examine What You Really Want in Life</h2> <p>It's easy to get caught up in the everything going on throughout your 20s, and people often forget to actually sit down and contemplate what it is they really want. <a href="http://www.quora.com/Tonya-Turpin">Tonya Turpin</a>&nbsp;advised that you &quot;actively, and with intent, become aware of the world and everything it holds. Not just about the outside world, but also the one in your head. Spend time alone because it is the only true way to get to know yourself. Be curious and question everything.&quot; Make the time to figure out what you love, and map out a plan of how to get it.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> When we&#039;re in our 20s we feel possibility ahead of us as nearly infinite. Grasp it by laying the foundation of your future when you&#039;re young, smart, and full of health. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img style="height:95px; width:300px" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Uses-Old-Books-23418154#photo-23418154">21 Uses For Old Books</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Inspirational-Quotes-36634903#photo-36634903">46 Quotes From Reddit That Will Change Your Life For the Better</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Shorten-Cleaning-Time-22498197">The Lazy Girl's Guide to a Clean Home</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/invest-your-time-in-these-13-things-while-youre-in-your-20s">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/16-ways-you-are-causing-road-rage">16 Ways You Are Causing Road Rage</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/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</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-that-thing-really-change-your-life">Will That Thing Really Change Your Life?</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/change-your-life-by-learning-how-to-admit-youre-wrong">Change Your Life by Learning How to Admit You&#039;re Wrong</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/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Lifestyle Personal Development 20s career retirement planning Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:00:07 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1302679 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Spend Less on Your Significant Other (And Not Get Killed!) http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-spend-less-on-your-significant-other-and-not-get-killed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-spend-less-on-your-significant-other-and-not-get-killed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_opening_gift_000054352330.jpg" alt="Couple opening gift" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being in a relationship is expensive &mdash; whether you've been together a day or a decade. That means that at some point you'll need to reign in the spending (unless your last name is Gates or Rockefeller). Here are nine ways to do it without ending up on your partner's hit list.</p> <h2>1. Buy Dollar Store Greeting Cards</h2> <p>Tangible cards are quickly losing their appeal in this digital world (I stopped sending out holiday cards five years ago to preserve time, money, and paper), though they're not bygone relics just yet. It's still nice to receive one every now and again. But at an average price of $3 to $7 a pop &mdash; yes, some cards cost as much as a small meal now &mdash; they can put a considerable dent in your gift-buying budget over the course of a year. To scale back, ditch the premium greetings and hit up the dollar store.</p> <p>&quot;I've been purchasing greeting cards from the dollar store ever since I discovered them a few years back,&quot; says Kedal Perez,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com">Coupon Sherpa</a>'s resident money-saving expert. &quot;I often find the perfect card &mdash; sometimes two &mdash; for just 50 cents, compared to Hallmark cards costing $4 and up. In addition to holidays, I like to buy 'just because' cards for my husband when I remember to be a good wife. This habit saves me a ton and conveys the sentiment I'm looking for.&quot;</p> <p>While you're there, don't forget to pick up other gift-giving essentials like gift bags, balloons, tissue paper, ribbons, and more.</p> <h2>2. Decorate a Gift Instead of Wrapping It</h2> <p>On one occasion, I didn't have birthday-specific gift wrap for a present for one of my nephews, and in a bind I decided to decorate the plain cardboard box with crayons. My lack of resources resulted in a gift with a thoughtful presentation that didn't cost any additional money. I've kept up this habit with other gifts throughout the year, keeping a considerable amount of cash in my pocket. You also can adopt this practice. Get creative, too. You can use all kinds of items &mdash; markers, glue and glitter, and other crafty-type items like bows and ribbons that you may have lying around.</p> <h2>3. Celebrate a Holiday Post-Holiday</h2> <p>Ready to be a prime-time savings boss? Celebrate big holidays like Valentine's Day and Christmas after February 14 and December 25. It'll probably take a bit of convincing on your part &mdash; having nothing to open on Christmas morning will seem strange &mdash; but if it works out for the both of you, you're looking at substantial markdowns on all the coveted gifts.</p> <p>&quot;My husband and I recently agreed to celebrate certain holidays [like Valentine's Day] after the fact to avoid mark-ups,&quot; Perez says. &quot;He bought me a beautiful bouquet of orange roses and white lilies on February 15, and I loved them just as much as I would have a day earlier.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Buy Flowers From the Grocery Store</h2> <p>Speaking of flowers, you're spending too much if you're going to a local florist. It's an unfortunate fact, because I like to support small business &mdash; but they just don't have the discount buying power that large chain supermarkets do. You will have to contend with a more limited selection, perhaps, but that's an easy compromise to make when a beautiful bouquet doesn't make you weep for all the wrong reasons.</p> <h2>5. Shop the Clearance Section for Gifts</h2> <p>I'm always keeping my eye out for the perfect gift for my husband, and I hit the jackpot when it's from the clearance section. Whenever I'm shopping &mdash; for anything &mdash; that's the first place I go. I bypass the new arrivals, to the eye rolls of the associates, and get my discount on. This is a great tactic to cut costs on birthday, holiday, and anniversary gifts (or just ordinary wardrobe updates), and you can walk away with some amazing deals if you're shopping well out of season.</p> <h2>6. Make a Gift If You Have the Skills</h2> <p>I like receiving shiny gadgets as gifts from my husband, but I would equally appreciate anything he gave me that was completely handmade. The kind of dedication it takes to make a handcrafted gift sends the message that he'd rather spend time on something thoughtful than buy an item that will never have an ounce of sentiment. Those handmade Christmas ornaments would be treasured forever, but I would replace the iPhone he bought me as soon as a new one was released.</p> <p>Brett Hamilton, whose business <a href="http://www.simple.be">SIMPLE.BE</a> was built on the idea of handmade gifts, agrees.</p> <p>&quot;My favorite way to give great gifts to my wife without spending too much is to custom-make practical gifts for her,&quot; he says. &quot;One year I made her a new waterproof duffle bag from vinyl trucker tarps for soccer games. Last year it was a black and white tote bag made from old recycled sails. She loved it so much.&quot;</p> <p>There is one slight complication with this tactic, however: Your SO might get used to the idea of receiving handmade gifts, so you may have to keep it up once you start it. But is that kind of appreciation really so bad?</p> <h2>7. Get Accustomed to Discount Dating</h2> <p>My husband and I have one rule for our dates (or at least I do): Never pay full price.</p> <p>Seriously, if you're planning dates at full retail value, you're doing it all wrong &mdash; and you're paying dearly for it.</p> <p>There's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be saving money on every date you have together, given the abundance and availability of daily-deal sites, coupon codes, free activities, BOGO deals, and other discount dating opportunities. Even when you can't find a discount, there's probably a way to shave off a few bucks if you're willing to adjust your plans. Take the movies, for instance. In my neck of the woods, a regular screening is no less than $12 (up to $22 when you start throwing in 3D and IMAX). But if you plan the date before noon, you can score $7 tickets at certain theaters like AMC. All you need is a little creative thinking to reduce of the cost of virtually any activity or meal date.</p> <p>Also, don't forget to use your military or students discounts where available. My husband forgets to ask about military discounts all the time, which is why it's a good thing he has me. I never forget, and with the money I saved him on this-and-that admission, he has enough left over to buy me lunch.</p> <p>I love when it works out like that.</p> <h2>8. Buy Refurbished Electronics When Appropriate</h2> <p>Some people are picky about the newness of their electronics, so you need to know your partner well enough to be certain they won't act like an ungrateful brat when they find out their gift is previously own or refurbished. Personally, I prefer that my phone is new &mdash; I don't like the idea of someone else using something that touches my face (I know it's clean, but still) &mdash; though I have no qualms with receiving, say, a refurbished iPad. Buying refurbished can save you hundreds of dollars &mdash; and these deals are available for a wealth of electronics, including video games &mdash; so whether or not to implement this tactic is a relevant conversation to have with your guy or girl.</p> <h2>9. Spend More Time and Effort Than Money</h2> <p>Now that we're past the materialistic and superficial things, let's get real: No amount of money you spend will ever equal the value of your time and effort. I touched on this a bit when I talked about handmade gifts, but it really applies to all aspects of your relationship. Gifts are nice, of course, but a reasonable person (read: a keeper) will choose a free date, gift, meal, or experience with you over something with a price tag any day. Learn how to pay attention to one another's needs before it jeopardizes the relationship, and you're on the right track to a happy life together. Good luck!</p> <p><em>Do you have any ideas on how to spend less on your significant other without getting killed? 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/9-ways-to-spend-less-on-your-significant-other-and-not-get-killed">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/big-list-of-senior-discounts">Big List of Senior Discounts</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/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</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-stuff-i-try-never-to-buy-new">The stuff I try never to buy new</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-wrap-gifts-with-leftovers">How to wrap gifts with leftovers.</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/being-frugal-with-froogle">Being Frugal with Froogle</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Shopping bargains cheap gifts Dating Holidays romance Mon, 23 Mar 2015 17:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1351086 at http://www.wisebread.com 39 Tips That'll Save You Hundreds on Your Next Trip http://www.wisebread.com/39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-woman-eiffel-tower-france-travel-backpack-iStock_000017104925_Small.jpg" alt="Young woman saving money while on a trip " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Travel can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can pay for. However, it can also be one of the most expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to cut costs so you can afford your dream vacation. Read on for some of the best tips to save on the upfront costs of your next trip.</p> <p>RELATED: <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Things-Do-New-City-36647439#photo-36647439">Want to Truly Love Your New City? Start With These 14 Things!</a></p> <h2>1. Flash Deal Sites</h2> <p>If you already have several destinations in mind, then check out travel flash sale sites, which can save you hundreds of dollars! Here are a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Travel-Flash-Sale-Sites-21586317">couple to browse through</a>.</p> <h2>2. Check Out Underrated Places</h2> <p>Try up-and-coming cities for some of the best deals. Big cities like New York, Rome, San Francisco, and London are always popular, but other places that may not make the rock-star list often offer you more bang for your buck.</p> <h2>3. Cruise Deals</h2> <p>If you're planning on stopping by a lot of locations, then take a look at some cruise deals. It may be cheaper to travel by boat with an all-inclusive deal. That way, you may be saving on additional airfare, lodging, ground transportation, and meals.</p> <h2>4. Use Your Memberships</h2> <p>Check with your organizations to see what kind of travel discounts they offer. Some to consider include AAA, the AARP, or warehouse clubs like Costco. Get discounts on your flight, hotel, and even your planned activities like visits to amusement parks.</p> <h2>5. Cancel Within 24 Hours</h2> <p>If you change your mind on traveling, then cancel your plane ticket within 24 hours in order to get your money back without penalties.</p> <h2>6. Price Predictor</h2> <p>Use tools like <a href="http://www.bing.com/travel/about/howAirPredictions.do?FORM=TRHPGN">Bing's Price Predictor</a> feature to see if the ticket price is predicted to drop or rise. The tool even gives a &quot;confidence&quot; percentage in its evaluation for a better gauge of accuracy. A third-party audit has found that the Price Predictor works 75% of the time.</p> <h2>7. Book Unpopular Times</h2> <p>It goes without saying that booking unpopular flight times, such as with red-eyes, weekdays, or off-season periods, will garner better prices. Travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays also tends to be cheaper.</p> <h2>8. Use the Right Travel Credit Card</h2> <p>Signing up for a credit card that will give you great travel rewards would be worth considering. Before doing so, keep in mind that you should only charge what you can realistically pay off soon.</p> <p>That said, if you know you can pay off what you owe, then travel reward credit cards will be a neat way of earning free flights and hotel stays. Here are <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Travel-Reward-Credit-Cards-2012-24441826">some good options</a>.</p> <h2>9. Currency Exchange</h2> <p>When you're in a foreign country, you can get some of the <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41282577/ns/travel-travel_tips/t/traveling-abroad-how-exchange-currency/#.UICZD2k-ukY">best currency rates</a> by swiping your credit card or withdrawing money from a local ATM with a debit card.</p> <h2>10. Go City Card</h2> <p>Research to see if the <a href="http://www.smartdestinations.com/">Go City Card</a> will save you money. It's available in nine US cities and lets you visit selected attractions for free for a fee. It's worth getting if the attractions you are planning on visiting are on the Go City Card's list.</p> <h2>11. Buy Your Tickets at the Right Time</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Time-Buy-Plane-Tickets-13504509">best times to buy your tickets</a> are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. More specifically Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST. Don't buy your tickets on the weekends, as they are the most expensive then.</p> <h2>12. Lock Down Your Seat</h2> <p>If you don't want to commit, some airlines give you the option of <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Holding-Airplane-Seats-11617032">holding your seats</a>; Continental lets you <a href="http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/apps/onepass/promotions/registrationDetails.aspx?Mobile=1&amp;SID=661B0D4180264A168D3BA92E1E243690&amp;promoCode=A5753">hold it for 24 hours</a> and allows you to cancel without penalties. You can also <a href="http://www.continental.com/web/en-us/apps/onepass/promotions/registrationDetails.aspx?promoCode=A9405">lock down the fare</a> for three or seven days, but it comes with a $5 or $9 fee depending on your chosen time frame.</p> <h2>13. Track the Prices</h2> <p>If you buy your ticket early, then be sure to track it on <a href="http://www.yapta.com/">Yapta.com</a> to see if the price changes. Yapta will send you an email alert when it finds that you can change your ticket without taking a loss on rebooking fees.</p> <h2>14. Book Through the Airline</h2> <p>Oftentimes it's better to book through the airline so you'll be able to to see all the hidden fees that are not necessarily revealed through a booking website. You can also sometimes find deals that are only available on the airline's website.</p> <h2>15. Pick the Right Site</h2> <p>There are some companies like <a href="http://www.orbitz.com/">Orbitz</a> that will refund the difference to you if you find a lower rate on a ticket on another site. Research the different travel sites and see which one offers a similar service. After you buy your ticket, keep looking at other sites to see if the ticket price goes down.</p> <h2>16. Check the Hotel Site</h2> <p>Often, third-party sites don't show many specials that are featured on hotel sites. Check both the hotel and the third-party site before booking the best deal.</p> <h2>17. Airbnb</h2> <p>Fancy a stay with a homey feel? Check out <a href="http://www.airbnb.com/">Airbnb.com</a>, a site where individuals rent out their rooms or house to travelers. I found some pretty great deals on the site, with discounted pricing on rooms situated in prime locales. The multiple pictures will give you a good idea of what the rooms look like, and if you're still a bit hesitant, there are plenty user-generated reviews for you to check out.</p> <h2>18. Couch Surfing</h2> <p>Want to not spend any money on your lodgings? Explore <a href="http://www.couchsurfing.org/">CouchSurfing.org,</a> a volunteer-based network in which you can crash on someone's couch for free. It's a great little community that may enrich your travel experience, because your couch-surfing pal might show you some of the local sights. What better way to view the city than through the eyes of a local?</p> <p>Bonus: You might even make a lifelong friend!</p> <h2>19. Show Your Loyalty</h2> <p>Becoming a loyal member of a hotel chain will get you lots of benefits, such as discounted prices, better service, and the ability to collect reward points toward a free hotel stay. And if you play your &quot;I'm a loyal member&quot; card and negotiate, then you can even get a full refund on your money when you cancel your stay. I've had to do that a couple times and saved a ton of money in doing so.</p> <p>Some of the more famous hotel reward programs include <a href="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/index.html">Starwood Preferred Guest,</a><a href="http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/pc/home">Priority Club</a>, and <a href="http://hhonors.hilton.com/">Hilton HHonors</a>. And there is good news for those who prefer independent hotels. Turns out, there is a <a href="http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/travel/small-hotels-offer-new-loyalty-programs-practical-traveler.html?ref=todayspaper">growing trend of boutique hotels</a> grouping together to form their own loyalty programs; check out <a href="https://www.stashrewards.com/">Stash Hotel Rewards</a> and <a href="http://www.vhr.com/default.aspx?p=52&amp;lang=1">Voila Hotel Rewards</a>.</p> <h2>20. Craigslist</h2> <p>Check out the local Craigslist for short-term vacation rentals, but be careful! People who don't do their homework can end up forking over cash to a scammer for a vacation rental and not seeing any of it back. Read these <a href="http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams">safety tips by Craigslist</a>, and try to have a friend check out the place before you send them money.</p> <h2>21. Hostels</h2> <p>Trim off travel costs by staying at a hostel, and spend about $15 to $35 a night. A popular place to find hostels is <a href="http://www.hihostels.com/">hihostels.com</a>. Hostels have evolved from their traditional image, and some of the choices on the website even include private rooms for couples, families, or groups of friends.</p> <p>If you're a first-timer, then be sure to prep yourself before the trip by remembering to bring things like shower slippers and ear plugs.</p> <h2>22. Negotiate Hotel Rates</h2> <p>Don't just call it a night at any price. If you're refraining from making reservations before your trip, then try to negotiate a lower rate for your room when you pull in for the evening. You'll find the most success at accommodations with several noticeable open spaces in the parking lot.</p> <h2>23. Boutique Hotels</h2> <p>Boutique hotels can offer a great price, but be sure to do your research properly, because they can be just as costly and swanky as the higher-end chain hotels. You can check out Orbitz for boutique hotels such as <a href="http://www.tablethotels.com/">Tablet Hotels</a>, or you can comb through Google search results on your own by using the search terms &quot;boutique hotel [insert city].&quot; Be sure to check out Trip Advisor reviews to see what other people are saying, and if it's in another language, then use Google Translate!</p> <h2>24. Quote Your Price</h2> <p>You can try your luck and opt to blind book on sites like Priceline.com and Hotwire.com and pay for a room in an unknown hotel. The risk is, you won't be able to cancel or change your reservation after you find out which hotel it is.</p> <p>Do some digging around on <a href="http://www.betterbidding.com/">betterbidding.com</a> or <a href="http://www.hoteldealsrevealed.com/">hoteldealsrevealed.com</a> to see if there are any tips for improving your chances of getting the right hotel. These are forums focused on <a href="http://www.hoteldealsrevealed.com/pricelinestrategies/priceline-rebids.html">how to &quot;game&quot;</a> Priceline and Hotwire sites.</p> <h2>25. Sign On to the Computer for Pretrip Activity Savings</h2> <p>Now I assume hope you regularly research prices of flights and hotels before booking, but what about activities? Along with the added perk of looking for reviews to determine whether a particular stop is a tourist trap or worth the money, you can also save money booking &quot;big-ticket&quot; items. Museums, theme parks, and other destinations often offer discounts for activities prebooked online because so many people don't do this and are willing to shell out more cash at the door.</p> <p>Don't be this person, and thoroughly research your destination and activities. In addition to checking out the tourism board, my favorite place to stop is the website of the local paper or city magazine. Periodicals geared toward locals usually have reviews of newer places and upcoming events &mdash; sometimes even discounts, too!</p> <h2>26. Investigate Travel Insurance</h2> <p>You'll be charged <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1736588/">anywhere from four to eight percent</a> of the cost of your trip for insurance, but considering what's at stake, the extra money may be worth it to protect your investment and buy you piece of mind.</p> <h2>27. Get a Cheaper, Well-Researched Hotel Room</h2> <p>Using websites like Priceline could get you half-priced hotel rooms. That being said, shop smart! Playing up the best features with professional photos is the name of any hotel's aesthetics game, but stave off disappointment (and final sticker shock) by asking yourself these <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Double-Check-5-Things-Before-Booking-Hotels-Online-7709623">questions before booking a room</a>.</p> <h2>28. Consider a Travel Package</h2> <p>You may <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1729593/">consider buying a travel package</a>, even if you don't really need it, because they often cost less than airfare alone.</p> <h2>29. Want to Do Good? Plan a Volunteer Vacation</h2> <p>Offering a great way to see and experience a different culture, a volunteer vacation can be an especially fulfilling way to spend time off. The concept's not for everyone &mdash; no four-star hotels or five-course meals, and there's service work involved, making it less of a &quot;break&quot; &mdash; but it can be an affordable way to travel somewhere exotic and truly experience the other location separate from the confines of any resort. Here's a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Plan-Volunteer-Vacation-7986927">helpful planning guide</a>.</p> <h2>30. Travel Stateside on the Cheap by Setting Fare Alerts</h2> <p>Airfare <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1503137/">sales usually happen early in the week</a>, while increases are usually put into place at the end of the week. Because there's no magic day when the best prices occur, it's best to sign up for email price alerts on all the travel sites that you use. Make sure <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Double-Check-5-Things-Before-Booking-Hotels-Online-7709623">to check up on your hotel before you book</a> too!</p> <h2>31. Eat Like a Local</h2> <p>Avoid expensive tourist traps by <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1705691/">asking locals for their recommendations</a>, and save money by ordering area specialties.</p> <h2>32. Can't Afford It? Postpone and Staycation Instead</h2> <p>If the best deals you find are still too pricey, then opt for a local vacation for now and postpone bigger travel plans for the location's off-season. Instead, use up some of that hard-earned PTO and take a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Tips-Planning-Staycation-3147978">fabulous staycation in your own city</a>.</p> <h2>33. Stay in Neighboring Cities</h2> <p>There's a trend of travelers booking lodgings in the neighboring town of the actual city they are planning to tour. By doing so, you can <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-great-travel-deals-in-next-door-cities-2012-10-01-191035055">save up to 40 percent</a> off the usual rate.</p> <p>But of course there are downsides to that strategy. Staying outside the tourist attractions will mean more time commuting, and you may have to rent a car if there isn't a good local public transportation system. Calculate those costs to see if staying in a neighboring city is worth it.</p> <h2>34. Find the Cheapest Gas for Your Road Trip</h2> <p>A road trip may cost less money than flying, but filling and refilling your tank still isn't cheap. Utilize websites like autos.msn or gasbuddy.com, which track the prices of gas and sort by zip code, in order to <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1638444/">find the cheapest place to pump</a> while you're on the road.</p> <h2>35. Redeem Miles Over the Phone</h2> <p>It's more effective to book travel with mileage points over the phone than online because for most airlines, you don't always get access to full inventory of award seats online.</p> <h2>36. Take Care of Your Car</h2> <p>Prepare your car for the road by inflating the tires with air. Filling them up will ultimately save you money on gas. Keeping your lead foot to a minimum will also help you get the most mileage from your tank of gas, and you're less likely to be stuck with a pricey speeding ticket.</p> <h2>37. Estimate Gas Costs Before You Go</h2> <p>When you're budgeting for your excursion, you must consider the inevitable cost of gas. Try using the <a href="http://www.fuelcostcalculator.com/">AAA Fuel Cost Calculator</a> to calculate the cost of your trip. The tool generates its calculations with average regional gas prices and the details you enter, including your starting city, destination, and your vehicle's make, year, and model. Because it uses regional prices, the calculation should be looked at as an estimate, but AAA does update the prices daily.</p> <h2>38. Pack a Cooler</h2> <p>Bring a full cooler along for the ride to save money and your waistline from too much fast food. But you'll need more than a bag of pretzels to get you by. Take ingredients to make sandwiches, containers with cut-up vegetables, fruit that doesn't require refrigeration (like bananas), and plenty of water.</p> <h2>39. Keep Your Receipts</h2> <p>When traveling with friends, it can be tedious to split every expense. If your group doesn't want to bother with exact numbers until the trip is over, then simply designate someone to hold on to all the receipts. That person should write down the name of the friend who paid to make it easier to calculate who owes what at the trip's end.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Traveling can get expensive very quickly. Return home with a bank account that isn&#039;t completely empty with these money-saving tips. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img style="height:95px; width:300px" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Best-2015-Travel-Destinations-US-36256485#photo-36256485">The 10 Places in the US You Absolutely Have to Visit in 2015</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Travel-Instagram-Accounts-36774978#photo-36774978">Feed Your Wanderlust With These 10 Stunning Instagram Accounts</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Happy-Facts-36948856#photo-36948856">10 Things You Should Buy at Target</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip-0">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/roll-dont-fold-and-10-other-tricks-for-packing-fast">Roll, Don&#039;t Fold (and 10 Other Tricks for Packing Fast)</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/travel-and-money-carrying-decoy-wallets">Travel and Money: Carrying Decoy Wallets</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-forget-to-do-before-leaving-for-vacation">14 Things You Forget to Do Before Leaving for Vacation</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/passport-pictures-for-under-a-dollar">Passport Pictures for Under a Dollar</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Travel Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:00:10 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 1335512 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Steps You Must Take If You've Been in a Car Accident http://www.wisebread.com/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/car_accident_000035665620.jpg" alt="Guy making phone call after car accident" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting in a car accident can be one of the most unnerving moments in a person's life. The unexpected has just happened. If you're lucky, no one has been injured.</p> <p>Then comes all of the hassles that can be part of being in an accident: filing police reports and insurance claims, getting your car fixed or replaced, and many other things. Remembering what steps to take can be difficult. Here are some things drivers should do after a car accident. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-youre-in-a-car-accident?ref=seealso">What to Do (and Not Do) When You're in a Car Accident</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stop</h2> <p>Don't drive or run away from the scene of the accident &mdash; you could be arrested for leaving, even if it's minor.</p> <p>If your car is still operable, drive it off to the side of the road and out of traffic. If you can't safely drive it, leave it to a tow truck. Assuming you can safely get out of your car, put warning flares out and turn your flashers on to warn traffic of your accident.</p> <h2>2. Seek Medical Care</h2> <p>Are you, or is anyone else in your car, injured? How about in the other car? If you think someone needs urgent medical help, call 911. Injuries often aren't immediately apparent in auto accidents, so you may need to see your doctor or go to a hospital emergency room a day or so later.</p> <h2>3. Call the Police</h2> <p>Even if no one is injured, calling the police is a good idea. They can help with traffic control so another accident doesn't occur, and can collect evidence, talk to witnesses, and file a report that will help both drivers with their insurance claims. Unless the vehicles interfere with traffic, they should remain where they are so police can determine what happened.</p> <p>When talking with the police, tell them exactly what happened. If you don't know certain facts, don't fudge them and say that you're unsure. If an officer asks if you're injured and you don't know, say that you're uncertain instead of no. Pain from an accident can come hours later, so saying you're not injured when you don't know could be held against you later in an insurance claim.</p> <h2>4. Take Notes</h2> <p>To help your insurer, draw a map of the accident scene and write down property and vehicle damage. Also take note of the weather conditions, which can negatively affect drivers ability to travel safely. According to the Federal Highway Administration, <a href="http://www.buyautoinsurance.com/ultimate-bad-weather-driving/">weather related factors</a> account for 24% of the 6.3 million car crashes each year. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses, as well as the other driver involved in the accident. Also be sure to get their insurance information, and write down their license plate number.</p> <h2>5. Take Photos</h2> <p>Even if you have a dash camera going at all times, get out your smartphone and take photos of the accident scene. Take videos if possible. Without getting in the way of the police, take pictures of any visible damage to the vehicles. If you can't get photos at the scene, take them as soon as you can afterward.</p> <p>Some smartphone apps have <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/07/smart-phone-apps-that-can-help-after-a-car-crash/index.htm">insurance reporting tools</a> that help collect photos, audio, and provide checklists of what to do after an accident.</p> <h2>6. Exchange Information</h2> <p>If police are on the scene, they'll be gathering contact information from everyone involved in the accident. But if police don't respond, you should still get the name, phone number, and address of everyone involved, including drivers, passengers, and any witnesses. Don't stand between two cars while exchanging information &mdash; your cars could be hit by a rubbernecker.</p> <p>Ask to see the insurance card of the other driver. If police are there, ask for the police report number so you or your insurer can get a copy of the report later.</p> <h2>7. File an Insurance Claim</h2> <p>Once you've received medical attention and are in a safe place, call your insurance company to file a claim. Your insurer should be available 24 hours a day, so contact them as soon as you can. A claims adjustor may need to see your car, either at your home or the repair shop.</p> <p>If your car has a black box in it, your insurer may need access to the data port. These black boxes record vehicle data from the last 20 seconds before the crash and help determine how it happened. This information can include vehicle speed, wheel direction, when airbags were deployed, and if the brakes were applied.</p> <p>Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your auto insurance coverage. If you do, you'll likely have to submit any medical bills related to the accident directly to your insurer.</p> <h2>8. Get Your Car Repaired</h2> <p>Your insurer should help you with a lot of this by recommending repair shops, and help you get a tow truck to the scene if necessary. They should also help you get a damage appraisal, and tell you when, if at all, you'll have to pay a deductible for repairs. If your car is totaled, ask when you can expect to receive a check.</p> <p>If you have rental car coverage, they can also help you arrange for a rental to use while your car is in the shop.</p> <h2>9. Keep a File</h2> <p>To keep track of all of the paperwork, start a file with the insurance claim number on it so you can keep on top of what's happening with your vehicle. It should include the contact information for the claims adjustor who is handling your case, along with contact information for everyone involved in the accident. Also keep receipts for your rental can and other related expenses.</p> <p>Your insurance company should be your first contact to make sure everything is being done to fix your car and your medical needs are being paid for. Your insurance agent or claims adjustor should contact the insurer for the other party in the accident.</p> <h2>10. Alert the DMV</h2> <p>Within a day or so of the accident, contact your local DMV office and tell them your car was in an accident. This is required by most state laws.</p> <p>After doing all of this, you should hopefully be able to relax and get back to driving.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been in an auto accident? What steps did you take?</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/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disguise-your-stuff-to-prevent-car-break-ins">Disguise Your Stuff to Prevent Car Break-ins</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/keys-locked-in-the-trunk-heres-what-to-do">Keys Locked in the Trunk? Here&#039;s What to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-lifesaving-skills-everyone-should-know">10 Lifesaving Skills Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation General Tips auto insurance car accident insurance claim safety Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:00:04 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1349077 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Cool Uses for a Blender http://www.wisebread.com/14-cool-uses-for-a-blender <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-cool-uses-for-a-blender" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother-daughter-blender-fruit-iStock_000038436464_Small.jpg" alt="mother and daughter using blender making smoothies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone buys a blender with the best of intentions. A homemade smoothie every morning for breakfast, and you'll be fit in no time &mdash; while saving money, too! A few months later, the blender lives in the back of a cabinet collecting dust, only to be dragged out for an occasional margarita. In fact, the blender can be used to make a surprising amount of things. So it's time to pull out this often forgotten piece of kitchen equipment and see what it can really do.</p> <h2>1. Flour</h2> <p>It might sound crazy, but you can have <a href="http://naturalthrifty.com/how-to-mill-flour.html">freshly milled flour</a> without any real effort or fancy equipment. Just put a couple cups of wheat berries in your blender and let it go. Sift and repeat, and you're done. This method also works great with oats. Instead of buying both rolled oats and oat flour, just keep the whole version around and grind some up when you need it.</p> <h2>2. Almond Milk</h2> <p>If you're an almond milk drinker, then making fresh, <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-almond-milk-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-189996">homemade almond milk</a> will blow you away. Soak almonds overnight in water and then blend well. Strain, and you have deliciously nutty milk. The fresh version will only last a few days in the fridge, so only make what you plan to use. Since the process is so easy, you're sure to be whipping some up on the regular anyway. Try <a href="http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/2011/10/creamy-chocolate-hazelnut-milk-dairy.html">adding sweet flavors</a> like vanilla and using different kinds of nuts.</p> <h2>3. Compost</h2> <p>Composting is something many people want to do, but don't have the room or the patience to make it happen. If you have a patch of green at home but don't want to turn compost or keep a bin inside, you can <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5994471/blend-your-old-food-scraps-for-instant-compost">make instant &quot;compost&quot;</a> with your blender. Just take your soft food scraps and blend them up, making the leftovers very easy to break down. This is also a great method if you do have an indoor bin, since it will save space and convert to true compost much faster.</p> <h2>4. Juice</h2> <p>If space is at a premium in your kitchen, owning a big juicer might not be an option. Luckily, you can use your <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/504511-how-to-use-a-blender-as-a-juicer/">blender as a juicer</a>. Cut up fruit and vegetables, add to the blender with water, and blend well. Strain to your liking (you can leave some pulp this way), and enjoy. Be sure to use your leftover fruit pulp for composting!</p> <h2>5. Body Scrub</h2> <p>Not only can you make delicious things to eat with your blender, you can <a href="http://petitelefant.com/how-to-make-your-own-citrus-scrub/">make a body scrub</a> that will make you feel pretty delicious, too. Combine all-natural olive oil, sea salt, and citrus for a refreshing and moisturizing scrub that takes less than five minutes to make. The scrub makes a great gift, too!</p> <h2>6. Powdered Sugar</h2> <p>How many times have you started to make a sweet treat, only to discover you don't have any powdered sugar? Unless you are a master cake baker, it's unlikely that you always keep the super fine sweetener around. Next time you're in a pinch, instead of running to the store, whip out your blender. It will magically turn your plain old sugar into fluffy, <a href="http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2013/12/how-to-make-confectioners-sugar-at-home">homemade powdered sugar</a> in mere minutes.</p> <h2>7. Soup</h2> <p>You probably already know that you can make soups with your blender, but did you know that you can use it to heat up and even &quot;cook&quot; soups? This trick requires a powerhouse blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, both of which have high-speed blades that build up heat through friction. This way, you can <a href="http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/02/quick-and-easy-potato-soup.html">warm and blend soup</a> at the same time. If you've got a regular old blender, then you can still puree soups and make <a href="http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/how-to-make-yummy-raw-blender-soups-with-recipes/">raw soups</a> without dirtying a pot or using the stove.</p> <h2>8. Nut Butter</h2> <p>Making your own nut butter is not only easy, it opens up a world of possibilities. Honey-cashew butter? Pistachio-chocolate butter? Yes, please. <a href="https://www.vitamix.com/Find-Recipes/P/E/Peanut-Butter">Homemade nut butters</a> can easily be made in a food processor or a blender. When using a blender, be sure to scrape the sides often and don't overwork the motor. All you need are some nuts and, depending on your mood, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-and-cheap-nut-butter-recipes-to-make-at-home">some delicious flavorings</a>.</p> <h2>9. Salad Dressing</h2> <p>The key to a superior salad is a homemade dressing, and whipping one up is that much easier when you use a blender. Easily pulverize ingredients like herbs and fresh garlic, or emulsify your oil and vinegar into a smooth, cohesive vinaigrette. A blender is especially handy for creamy dressings like a <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/blender-caesar-salad-dressing-156595">homemade ceasar salad</a>.</p> <h2>10. Lotion</h2> <p>Treat yourself to some all-natural skincare using, you guessed it, your blender. Combining beeswax, essential oils, vitamin E, and almond or grapeseed oil, this <a href="http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-lotion/">homemade body cream</a> is luxurious and moisturizing. Using a blender, it takes only minutes to make and extra cream can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks.</p> <h2>11. Applesauce</h2> <p>If you or your kids love applesauce, you have to try making your own fresh sauce at home. Instead of cooking the apples on the stove and then pushing them through a food mill, just throw cut-up, fresh apples along with water and a little flavoring into your blender. You'll be rewarded with <a href="http://www.inhabitots.com/how-to-make-a-cup-of-simple-organic-applesauce-in-your-blender">fresh applesauce</a> that's healthy and so quick and easy to make.</p> <h2>12. Fresh Butter</h2> <p>Did you know that all you need to <a href="http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-make-butter/">make fresh butter</a> at home is a blender and some cream? Blend your cream for a few minutes until you can see the butter solids separating. Let it sit so the butter can float to the top, and then strain off the buttermilk (and save for later use). Blend once more with cold water to wash, strain, and add salt if desired. Add roasted garlic, herbs, or spices to make a flavorful spread.</p> <h2>13. Pancakes and Muffins</h2> <p>The next time you're making pancakes or muffins, consider mixing with a blender. The batter will come together easier and be very well mixed, plus you'll have a handy pitcher for pouring. This is especially useful when making pancakes. Some recipes even call for you to use a blender, like these <a href="http://www.runningwithspoons.com/2014/06/24/banana-oat-greek-yogurt-muffins/">oat muffins</a> or these <a href="http://savorysweetlife.com/2012/01/buttermilk-pancakes/">buttermilk pancakes</a>.</p> <h2>14. Lamp</h2> <p>Have you given up on putting your blender to good use in the kitchen? Why not turn it into <a href="http://vault.sierraclub.org/sierra/201103/repurpose/default.aspx?_ga=1.48703142.1626506539.1425337189">a blender lamp</a>? With some careful disassembly and a few extra parts, you can recycle your appliance into a unique light. It's a great way to use a broken blender, too.</p> <p><em>What do you use your blender for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/laurel-randolph">Laurel Randolph</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-cool-uses-for-a-blender">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/15-creative-delicious-things-you-can-make-in-a-blender">15 Creative, Delicious Things You Can Make in a Blender</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-popular-snacks-you-can-make-at-home">14 Popular Snacks You Can Make at Home</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/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</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-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</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-foods-i-grew-tired-of-buying-and-how-i-quit">5 Foods I Grew Tired of Buying, and How I Quit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips blender Food Homemade recipes Thu, 19 Mar 2015 17:00:05 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1336751 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guacamole-tortilla-chip-bowl-iStock_000045517056_Small.jpg" alt="guacamole bowl" title="guacamole bowl" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There it sat, barely touched: A large earthenware bowl of tabbouleh and black-bean salad, painstakingly decorated with tomato slices and a rim of curly lettuce. Its owner had clearly put effort into her potluck dish, but no one was eating it. And why not? Sadly, that's just not what people want to eat at office potlucks.</p> <p>During 31 years of office work, I have participated in more potlucks than I can possibly count. Even though there may be a lot of talk about dieting and healthy eating during the workweek, trust me: <em>That goes out the window at a potluck</em>. Don't be the person whose potluck item sits, wallflower-like, next to the popular queso. Don't suffer the embarrassment of asking your co-workers if they want to take some quinoa salad home.</p> <p>Here are 20 sure-fire potluck foods that I have ranked in order of popularity.</p> <h2>1. Deviled Eggs</h2> <p>Coming in at number one is <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/classic-deviled-eggs-recipe.html">deviled eggs</a>. Nobody ever, <em>ever</em> goes home with a plate of uneaten deviled eggs. My co-worker Bridget, who had three kids, would bring a giant platter of deviled eggs to the office on the Monday after each Easter. They'd be gone before break time. You can dress them up with horseradish, bacon bits, snips of chive, or green onion. It really doesn't matter, because people are going to eat them all, even if they are unadorned.</p> <h2>2. Hot Artichoke Dip</h2> <p>My problem with <a href="http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/hot-artichoke-dip-52359.aspx">hot artichoke dip</a> is that I want to eat it all, and I don't want to share. If it is on the potluck table, you'll find me standing next to it. I never make it because I would eat it immediately, and then I would have no potluck item.</p> <p>I do, however, have a couple of recipe tweaks</p> <p>I like to add half a can of spicy chilis for a little zip. Secondly, sorry to start the mayonnaise versus Miracle Whip debate again, but for me, mayonnaise only. It doesn't matter what kind of crackers you serve alongside. Cardboard would get eaten with a layer of this stuff.</p> <h2>3. Meatballs</h2> <p>Coming in at number three are The Meatballs. You <em>know</em> which <a href="http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/3-ingredient-sweet-and-sour-meatballs/0a8cdda2-b003-4043-b819-a0bb92d53cb8">sweet and sour meatballs</a> I am referring to. They also make frequent appearances at Super Bowl parties. The ingredients are ridiculously easy: meatballs, chili sauce, and grape jelly. You can mix it up and use barbecue sauce or other types of jelly, or even cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. The trick is to put them into a Crock-Pot, which you set up in the office kitchen, and the aroma fills the air around 10:00 a.m. They smell great. I actually once caught a co-worker stealing one out of the Crock-Pot before the potluck. I use frozen turkey meatballs, which aren't as oily when heated. People will actually ask me &quot;Are you going to bring The Meatballs?&quot; when we have office potlucks.</p> <h2>4. Guacamole and Chips</h2> <p>I have never met anyone who didn't like <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/guacamole-recipe.html">fresh guacamole</a>. I am sure you're out there, but your numbers must be few. Watch out for the double-dippers. Do not make guacamole too far ahead of time, or you risk having it turn an unappetizing shade of brown.</p> <h2>5. Mexican Layered Dip</h2> <p>This <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-ever-layered-mexican-dip/">Mexican dip</a> is also called &quot;five-layer dip&quot; and &quot;seven-layer dip.&quot; They are all pretty similar: refried beans, cheese, sour cream, olives, onions, etc. If you own a quiche dish, that's a better vehicle than a pie plate. Pro tip, buy the really sturdy tortilla chips; that way people aren't breaking off their chips when they dip into this thick extravaganza.</p> <h2>6. Jumbo Shrimp With Cocktail Sauce</h2> <p>If you want to splurge on something that will impress the potluckers, here is a star. This is what you will hear: &quot;Oooh. Who brought the shrimp?&quot; I'm cheap, so I buy my shrimp, clean it, and cook it myself. But if you find a good price, it's so much easier just to buy it ready to serve.</p> <h2>7. Pizza</h2> <p>Getting a pizza for a potluck may seem like cheating, but it's actually genius. First off, most people love pizza. Secondly, you don't have to cook. Lastly, you can have it delivered. Sure, there are the people who will roll their eyes at your minimum effort, but watch that pie disappear.</p> <h2>8. Little Smokies Wrapped in Bacon</h2> <p>Arguably, the <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bacon-wrapped-smokies/">bacon-wrapped lil' smokies</a> could have gone higher on the list. I love this recipe, which offers this unapologetic quote: &quot;Time consuming but it is well worth it! The brown sugar and bacon grease combine beautifully and give such a great taste.&quot; Yup.</p> <h2>9. Strawberry Pretzel Salad</h2> <p>I am one of those people who says &quot;I don't really care for Jell-O.&quot; And then, out comes <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-pretzel-salad-2/">strawberry pretzel salad</a> or broken glass Jell-O (below), and darned if I don't eat it. And like it. Anything that has a layer of cream cheese&hellip; well, I want to be polite, right?</p> <h2>10. Queso Dip</h2> <p>Yes, this <a href="http://lilluna.com/hamburger-queso-dip/">hamburger queso dip</a> contains Velveeta cheese. If you can't handle the idea of processed cheese, here is an <a href="http://www.celebrationgeneration.com/blog/2011/09/26/how-to-make-proper-queso-dip-aka-velveeta-is-not-fit-for-human-consumption/">alternative recipe for queso</a>. This is another great item to bring to your potluck in a Crock-Pot, plug in, and forget it. Plus, you won't have to fight others for the microwave when it's time to roll out the food.</p> <h2>11. Tortilla Roll-Ups</h2> <p>I really like it when <em>other people</em> make these <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/trisha-yearwood/cream-cheese-roll-ups-aka-redneck-sushi.html">tortilla roll-ups</a>. I love to eat them; I'm terrible at assembling them. They travel well, which makes them a super potluck food. This recipe uses bacon, but more common are deli ham or turkey. I also like using diced chilis for added spiciness.</p> <h2>12. Potato Salad</h2> <p>Were you getting panicky wondering, &quot;Where is potato salad on this list?&quot; Of course we have to have potato salad on the potluck list! Like deviled eggs, it always goes. I had been using this<a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/margies-potato-salad-with-italian-dressing-374385"> potato salad recipe</a> for years. Last week, I was out of pre-made Italian dressing (the sort of translucent kind), so I used Olive Garden's store-bought brand and let those potatoes marinate. Holy smokes! That was a good move.</p> <h2>13. Layered Salad</h2> <p>This particular dish has several other names, such as &quot;<a href="http://www.mrfood.com/Misc-Salads/Chilled-Stacked-Salad">stacked salad</a>&quot; or &quot;rainbow salad.&quot; My mother made it a day ahead of potluck time and called it a &quot;24-hour salad.&quot; Whatever you call it, people like it. Why? Well, it's salad&hellip; sort of. It contains mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits. My mother included a layer of bleu cheese in hers. People who are &quot;dieting&quot; will happily shovel it up. The trick? Use a clear bowl, so that your co-workers can see the pretty layers before you toss it.</p> <h2>14. Wings</h2> <p>Don't get me wrong. I love wings, but dang. They are messy. It's one thing if it's Casual Friday and I'm in jeans, but if I am in dry-clean only, I will probably avoid these. However, people do scarf them. If you use this <a href="http://damndelicious.net/2014/10/01/slow-cooker-sticky-chicken-wings/">slow cooker chicken wings</a> recipe, they can go in your Crock-Pot and make life easier.</p> <h2>15. Bundt Cakes</h2> <p>Bundts always look sporty (and who can forget that scene from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPvO53JHnmY">My Big Fat Greek Wedding</a>), and they're great either in their original shape or sliced. I like potluck foods that are easily transported. There are tons of <a href="http://www.mrfood.com/cakes/best-bundt-cake-recipes">bundt cake recipes</a> out there. Plus, a bundt can be very easily made from a mix. I just made a chocolate and yellow &quot;marbled&quot; one that looks terrific.</p> <h2>16. Baked Brie</h2> <p>This showy, cheesy dish usually makes its appearances at potlucks during the holidays, but a <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/baked-brie-recipe.html">baked brie</a> is so easy, you might want to consider it for other occasions, too. A more holiday-ish version is to use raspberry jam in place of the honey.</p> <h2>17. Broken Glass Jell-O</h2> <p>This is a very pretty potluck item, and again, even the &quot;I don't like Jell-O&quot; people are going to dig in. <a href="http://justjennrecipes.com/broken-glass-jello/">Broken glass Jell-O</a> is simple to make, and you can use whatever colors strike your fancy. Its main drawback is that it takes a lot of room in the refrigerator, so if you make it, plan for needing some space.</p> <h2>18. Potato Chips and Onion Dip</h2> <p>So easy it's ridiculous, but everyone is going to eat this. Take it up a notch, at least, and make your own <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/onion-dip-from-scratch-recipe.html">homemade onion dip</a>. It's not hard, and you can loudly take credit for making it from scratch. Another notch? Make your own <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4foQumyJKAk">homemade potato chips</a>!</p> <h2>19. Spinach Dip</h2> <p>I know, I know&hellip; it's so 1980s. But it was good then, and it's good now. This updated <a href="http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/spinach-dip-in-bread-bowl/acf85231-d668-4448-acd0-aa6fc1ee6b3e">spinach dip recipe</a> uses yogurt rather than the traditional sour cream and mayonnaise. It's best not to hollow out your bread bowl too far ahead of time to prevent it from going stale. This is a trickier item to transport, so if you can finish it up at the office, that is a good way to go.</p> <h2>20. Baked Beans</h2> <p>In last place, but not because people don't like them &mdash; they do &mdash; are <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/08/the-best-baked-beans-ever/">baked beans</a>. They aren't as showy as some of the other items above, but they still taste great. I have to agree with the Pioneer Woman &mdash; this is the best recipe for them around. I bake ahead of time, then reheat in the Crock-Pot (again, making them more easily transportable).</p> <p>Any of the 20 items listed above will get eaten at a potluck. Remember to label your serving pieces and dishes with your name so that you don't lose them. Also, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. You can use a little instant read thermometer, which is easy to pack. Enjoy the food and camaraderie!</p> <p><em>What are your go-to potluck favorites? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-cool-uses-for-a-blender">14 Cool Uses for a Blender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expensive-recipe-ingredients-that-are-easy-to-replace">8 Expensive Recipe Ingredients That Are Easy to Replace</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/make-your-own-twinkies-and-other-secret-recipes-by-the-food-cloner-dude">“Make your own Twinkies” and other secret recipes by the Food Cloner Dude.</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-popular-snacks-you-can-make-at-home">14 Popular Snacks You Can Make at Home</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/14-crock-pot-dishes-to-serve-at-your-next-party">14 Crock-Pot Dishes to Serve at Your Next Party</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips Office party food potluck recipes Mon, 16 Mar 2015 14:00:10 +0000 Marla Walters 1338584 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Surprising Ways Spring Is Gonna Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-spring-is-gonna-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-ways-spring-is-gonna-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bike-commuter-city-hipster-iStock_000021384980Small.jpg" alt="bike commuter" title="bike commuter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you live in a colder part of the country, you probably can't wait for this winter to end. The New York City area, for example, has experienced its second-coldest February in history. But before the warmer months hit, it's important to understand how the change in seasons will impact your finances. While winter brings its own financial burdens, spring and summer can empty your pocketbook, as well.</p> <p>Here's how to stay within your budget as the temperatures warm up.</p> <h2>1. Go Green With Transportation</h2> <p>You'll probably drive more when it gets warmer, and may even take long road trips. You can expect gas prices to rise as demand increases and fuel companies switch from winter to summer fuel blends. Gas prices will remain low by recent standards, but it might help to consider walking or biking to work, or using public transit.</p> <h2>2. Register Early for Summer Camp</h2> <p>Summer can be a challenge for working parents, as the kids are out of school and need someone to look after them during the day.This means that many families explore summer camps and other activities. A week of summer camp will set you back an average of $304, according to the American Camp Association, with some for-profit camps costing more than $500 weekly. It helps to register in the winter to take advantage of early bird registration deals, and you may get a discount by signing up for multiple weeks at the same location. There may also be discounts for families with multiple children at the same camp.</p> <h2>3. Start Saving for New Family Additions</h2> <p>If you or your partner are not pregnant already, you can probably disregard this one. But statistics show that more children are born during the spring and summer months than other times of the year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that August is the <a href="http://www.livescience.com/32728-baby-month-is-almost-here-.html">top month for new babies</a>. New arrivals aren't cheap, and you can definitely expect to spend some money in the months leading up to the delivery. Now is the time to start banking as much cash as you can.</p> <h2>4. Travel Within Your Means</h2> <p>With an improving economy, the American Automobile Association expects more people to take trips this summer. According to American Express, an average <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2014/07/07/the-real-cost-of-summer-vacation-dont-get-buried-in-taxes/">vacation will set you back $1,145</a> per person, or $4,580 for a family of four. The good news is that gas prices are lower than in years past, and a strong dollar means that it's cheaper to travel overseas.</p> <h2>5. Budget Home Expenses</h2> <p>When it's cold and snowy outside, there's no lawn to mow (and you're probably postponing the construction of that backyard patio until the thaw). Warmer weather is when you whip out the lawnmower and make the call to that contractor. It's also when you might make any repairs necessitated by the snow, ice, and wind of winter. Various sources suggest that a homeowner will spend about 1% of their home's value on maintenance each year. Much of this expense will happen during the spring and summer, so be sure to budget accordingly. Consider saving a few bucks here and there by watering your lawn less and attempting landscaping projects yourself.</p> <h2>6. Be Patient With Investments</h2> <p>There's an old saying that investors should &quot;sell in May and stay away&quot; until October. This is not perfect advice, but there is evidence to suggest that the <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/learning-center/trading-investing/technical-analysis/sell-in-may-and-go-away">stock market's slowest months</a> are in the spring and summer. Since 1950, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has averaged negative returns during the months of May, June, August, and September. It has seen positive returns during all other months.</p> <h2>7. It's the Thought That Counts for Mom and Dad</h2> <p>Undoubtedly, people spend more money on gifts around Christmas than any other time of year. But the holidays of spring and summer can also add to your expenses. Americans were expected to spend $162.94 on Mother's Day in 2014 and $113.80 on Father's Day, according to the National Retail Federation. If you want to save money on these holidays, consider some thoughtful, but less expensive gift options, such as a great home-cooked meal.</p> <h2>8. Skip the Theater</h2> <p>The summer months are when Hollywood's <a href="http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2014">biggest blockbusters</a> hit the theaters, and many of us go, even if it's just to sit in an air conditioned environment for a while. Six of last year's top grossing movies at the box office were released during the spring and summer. Going to the movies is not cheap; the average cost of a movie ticket is $8.17, and many recent top films have extra charges for 3D or IMAX screenings. Want to save a few bucks? Get a Netflix account or go to RedBox and watch movies at home.</p> <h2>9. Don't Buy a Car</h2> <p>Generally speaking, the best time to buy a car is the end of the year when sellers are looking to meet their sales quotas. And you might get some good prices on older models in the fall when new models come in. Though you won't see as many deep discounts in the summer, you can still do okay at the end of months or quarters.</p> <h2>10. Take Advantage of the Real Estate Market</h2> <p>No one wants to move in the winter time, so there's more competition for homes during warmer months. This places upward pressure on home prices. In 2014, the <a href="http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/reports/2015/embargoes/ehs-02-23/ehs-01-2015-single-family-only-2015-02-23.pdf">median price for homes sold</a> in the U.S. between May and August was about $220,000, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's about $20,000 more than the median price of other months. On the positive side, this is good news if you are selling your home, and buyers are more likely to see a larger selection of homes for sale.</p> <p><em>What does spring do to your budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-spring-is-gonna-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</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-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</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-times-a-gym-membership-isnt-worth-it">5 Times a Gym Membership Isn&#039;t Worth It</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-budget-items-you-may-be-forgetting">7 Budget Items You May be Forgetting</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting General Tips gas prices saving money summer budgeting Mon, 16 Mar 2015 12:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1338574 at http://www.wisebread.com Keys Locked in the Trunk? Here's What to Do http://www.wisebread.com/keys-locked-in-the-trunk-heres-what-to-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/keys-locked-in-the-trunk-heres-what-to-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-keys-car-beach-iStock_000048938318_Small.jpg" alt="man keys car" title="man keys car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not a small problem. It's not a slight inconvenience. It's something you don't want to happen. Ever.</p> <p>I say this because it recently happened to me, and I thought it would be a really easy problem to solve. Hours later, after calls to a lot of locksmiths and some major cab fares, I realized this is something most people don't even consider being prepared for. And then, one day, you're stuck in a parking lot, scratching your head and wondering how you're going to get out of it.</p> <p>So, here's what you need to do if you happen to close the trunk with your keys still nestled safely inside it.</p> <h2>1. Call Specialized Auto Locksmiths</h2> <p>The first thing you'll need to do is call a series of locksmiths who deal with this specific situation. A regular locksmith may be able to get into your car, but the trunk is a whole different animal. It is designed to be a safe; impossible for thieves to get into, and therefore, you as you try to break into your own car. Here's what you need to know.</p> <ul> <li>Use your smartphone (hopefully you have one) to search for auto locksmiths in the area. You need to call more than one to get estimates on times and prices. Do this first, and quickly. You can always call back and cancel if you figure something else out, but get the ball rolling.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most of these locksmiths will advertise a very low price, between $15 and $20 for the service. This is usually the cost for unlocking a car with a child trapped inside it. You will be paying much more than this. Typically, it's a $20 call-out charge and $35 or more for the actual unlocking.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask for a realistic time. They may say 15 minutes, but in my case it took over two hours. If it's rush hour, you'll wait even longer.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must tell the dispatcher to notify the technician that your keys are in the trunk. Break into any modern car, and the alarm will go off; often shutting down the electrics responsible for the trunk release. The technician will need a series of tools to break into the trunk, including a snake camera.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When the technician arrives, remind him or her again of the situation. When mine arrived I assumed he knew what was going on. After breaking into the car and the alarm going bezerk, he asked me where the keys were. When I told him they were in the trunk, he just went quiet and said, &quot;Ooh. That's a big problem.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Be prepared for the technician to be unable to solve your problem. It's very possible that they won't be able to get inside the trunk. Modern carmakers have gone to great lengths to secure it. The release levers for the back seats are now inside the trunk; the trunk release is protected by the battery. You may very well need to move on to stage two at this point.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Get the Spare Keys</h2> <p>Consider that it could take one to two hours for a technician to reach you. They may be unable to help once they arrive. In the time that has taken, and the money spent, you could have gotten the spare keys. Some things you need to consider:</p> <ul> <li>Does someone you know have access to the spare keys, and can they come to you with them? For instance, if the spare set is at home with your partner, and they are less than an hour away, it may well be a better plan to call them after you have called locksmiths. If they can do it, ask them to bring them, and cancel the locksmith at this point. If not, can you call a friend who can take you to your home, and back?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If no one has access to the spare keys, you're on your own.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Can you get a cab to and from your current location without breaking the bank? In my case, it cost me $60 round trip in an Uber cab, and took 55 minutes (this was after spending almost three hours in the parking lot). You could leave the car there overnight, and perhaps ask a friend to take you back the next day. Or, just take the cab back the next day.</li> </ul> <h2>3. No Spare? Order a New Key</h2> <p>This will not be a quick process, and you will need to have the VIN of your vehicle and proof of ownership. If you bought your car from a licensed dealership, they should be able to help you. They may well be able to do it in a matter of days, but this can also take a week or two. In the meantime, you'll need to have the car towed to your location, and this will also cost money. You could try leaving it where it is, but it could get towed anyway, or broken into. (Although probably not the trunk.)</p> <h2>4. Override the Trunk Release</h2> <p>This is not easy for a novice, and every car is different. However, if you have some skill, and a battery source (you can always figure out a way to use the car battery), you can find ways online to access the fuse box and create a short that will pop the trunk. There are several videos online, but they are definitely not something you want to follow if you have little or no automotive experience.</p> <h2>5. The Last Resort: Break Into the Trunk</h2> <p>The locksmith who tried to help me told me of an incident similar to mine several months ago. The driver couldn't get into the trunk, he had no spare, and he was in a desperate hurry to get home. So, he told the locksmith to use his tools to break into the trunk through the back seats. After an hour or so, and a lot of damage, they got into the trunk and the customer said he would simply order a new back seat when he got home. That's an expensive solve, but if it's one you deem necessary, you could consider it.</p> <h2>Make Sure This Never Happens to You</h2> <p>One of the simplest ways to avoid this ever happening to you is to make sure your keys are always in your pocket or another safe place before ever opening the trunk. In my case, I had placed a bag inside and had to do a little reorganization. I had my keys in my hand, and put them down to move things about. Then, I closed the trunk. Bad move.</p> <p>Of course, accidents happen, so consider a back-up plan. You may want to have a spare key placed inside the car, hidden from view. This will be easily accessible once a locksmith has got you into the car, and you can turn off the alarm and open the trunk again.</p> <p>Another option is to have a spare key hidden inside a magnetic strongbox somewhere under the car. This has a few downsides. First, a thief could find it, but the chances are they won't even bother searching for it as very few people do this. Second, it could fall off; especially if you go over bumpy terrain.</p> <p>Just remember, locking your keys in the trunk is nothing like locking your keys in the main body of the car. Be prepared for a lot of time and trouble to be spent fixing your silly mistake.</p> <p><em>Have you ever locked your car keys in the trunk? What'd you do?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keys-locked-in-the-trunk-heres-what-to-do">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-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-how-to-use-a-parking-meter-serious-question">Do you know how to use a parking meter? Serious question.</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-check-if-a-flight-is-delayed-online">How to check if a flight is delayed</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/skills-that-can-save-you-money-part-1-parallel-parking">Skills That Can Save You Money Part 1: Parallel Parking</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/carpooling-pros-cons-and-how-to-stay-safe">Carpooling: Pros, Cons, and How to Stay Safe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation General Tips car keys locked out stranded Mon, 16 Mar 2015 10:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1338557 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How You Remove Stains From Almost Anything http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-remove-stains-from-almost-anything <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-you-remove-stains-from-almost-anything" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014379081_Large.jpg" alt="red wine glass" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've become somewhat of a stain-fighting ninja in the last three years. There are a lot of great things that go along with having kids, but there also are lot of spills and stains. In fact, as I type this article, I'm staring down at some blueberry my kid just smeared on my shirt cuff. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-homemade-stain-removers-that-kick-butt?ref=seealso">6 Secret Homemade Stain Removers That Kick Butt</a>)</p> <p>So ancient ninja code dictates that I now share some of that stain-kicking knowledge with you.</p> <h2>1. Cotton</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xJgAfPvRYDQ?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Splatters on your white cotton shirt got you down? The number one tip here is to attack the stain ASAP &mdash; before you toss it in the laundry. Blot oil stains with a clean cloth before covering with baking soda for a half hour before brushing off. Wine gives way to salt and cold water. Coffee and other stains flush away with a generous amount of white vinegar. It's also a good idea to use a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=pre%20wash%20stain%20bar&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Apre%20wash%20stain%20bar&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=TKQLCI2AEI5TOBEI">pre-wash stain bar</a> to the area before laundering with like-colors.</p> <h2>2. Silk</h2> <p>So, full disclosure: I don't wear silk anymore. But those of you who do might like to know that gross oil stains clean up easily with a <a href="http://www.glamour.com/fashion/blogs/dressed/2014/04/silk-dress-got-a-major-oil-sta">sprinkle of baby powder</a> if you let it sit for around 30 minutes. And if you don't have powder on hand, you can try some Splenda or Sweet 'n Low in its place. Try those techniques before heading to the dry cleaner. For red wine, skip the club soda and <a href="http://laundry.about.com/u/sty/laundryproblems/Your-Laundry-Questions-And-Answers/How-to-Remove-Red-Wine-from-a-Silk-Blouse.htm">soak for eight hours</a> in OxiClean and water. Repeat as necessary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips?ref=seealso">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a>)</p> <h2>3. Leather</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5xGnSCponJo?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Whether it's on a couch or purse, leather is extremely susceptible to marks of all sorts. The good news is that most of these stains clean up easily with soapy water and leather cleaner. You can purchase the cleaner at leather stores for around $7-$10. Otherwise, you spritz the water, squeeze the cleaner, and then gently buff with the back side of a scrubbing sponge. You can revitalize dry or cracked leather by using a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003IS3HV0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003IS3HV0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RJ6JYQNWNINNRC7I">leather conditioner</a> that will last you years.</p> <h2>4. Wool</h2> <p>My mom's trick for removing stains from wool items (sweaters, scarves, hats, etc.) is to get at the culprit as soon as possible. Remove whatever is on your item and then mix together some vinegar and wool cleaner in a 1:1 ratio. Soak the area and blot inward to prevent the stain from spreading beyond its borders.</p> <h2>5. Microfiber</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/miFR5xWnafI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>We bought a microfiber chair thinking it would stand up to kids better than other materials. Wrong. It gets just as stained as anything else. To clean it, you first want to see what type of material it's made from by checking the tag. Some require water while others need solvents. Water is a no-brainer, but using solvents can be confusing. You can actually use rubbing alcohol in place of anything specific for cleaning microfiber. Spritz onto the material, wipe with a cloth &mdash; paying attention to particularly stained areas &mdash; and let air dry.</p> <h2>6. Car Interior</h2> <p>Ah, yes. Stains aren't confined to clothing and living spaces alone. The back seat of our vehicle takes a daily beating &mdash; but not to worry. I actually clean my car interior with a 1:1 ratio mix of water and vinegar. For hardened messes, I use a tooth brush to scour. If that doesn't cut it, I also use a mix of water and castile soap to power in, rinse, and repeat as necessary.</p> <h2>7. Carpet</h2> <p>Most carpet stains from food respond to a good stain soaking. Start off with dunking a cloth into a solution that's <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/cleaning-stain-removal/carpet-stain-solutions">&frac14; teaspoon of dish detergent</a> and one cup of lukewarm water. Blot the carpet stain and let rest for 15 minutes. Then repeat this process, but with a mix of one cup vinegar with two cups water. Let sit again before finishing off with plain water. Continue cycle until the stain is gone. The vinegar should take care of pet odors as well.</p> <p><em>How do you remove tough stains? Share your tips in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-remove-stains-from-almost-anything">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-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</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/secret-homemade-stain-removers-that-kick-butt">6 Secret Homemade Stain Removers That Kick Butt</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-cleaning-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Cleaning Rules You Should Be Breaking</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-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean">The Military&#039;s Four-Step Plan to Keeping Your Place Clean</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/from-clammy-to-clean-9-ways-to-fight-mildew">From Clammy to Clean: 9 Ways to Fight Mildew</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Home cleaning stain removal stains Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1302531 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Most Relaxing Ways to Spend Your Lunch Hour http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-relaxing-ways-to-spend-your-lunch-hour <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-most-relaxing-ways-to-spend-your-lunch-hour" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000025339603_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="women lunch break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Find yourself working through your lunch break? Are you stressing out about what's left on your to-do list when you should be resting and re-energizing? You're not alone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-productive-ways-to-spend-your-lunch-hour?ref=seealso">The 10 Most Productive Ways to Spend Your Lunch Hour</a>)</p> <p>Starting today, set all that aside &mdash; 60 minutes of downtime never hurt anybody, after all &mdash; and learn how best to de-stress and re-focus on your lunch break.</p> <h2>1. Leave the Office and Have Lunch With a Friend</h2> <p>The most common way to leave the stress of work behind during lunch is to leave the workplace altogether. Plan a lunch date with an available friend and put your place of business out of sight and out of mind.</p> <p>&quot;If you're stuck at a desk from 9:00 to 5:00, and most of us are in that position, use your lunch break as a way to escape from the feeling that your day is owned by Corporation X,&quot; says Kevin Barrett, a Chicago-based psychotherapist. &quot;You know that friend who works from home or recently quit their day job to freelance? Encourage them to come meet you near your workplace for lunch. The time away from your desk spent with a friend will help remind you that your life belongs to you. Let that energy carry you all the way to 5:00 p.m.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Connect With Your Co-Workers on a More Personal Level</h2> <p>You see the people with whom you work on a daily basis, and you spend more time with them day in and day out than you do with your own friends and family. But that doesn't have to cramp your style. Turn this forced &quot;friendship&quot; into the real thing by getting to know your work mates better. You might have more things in common than you think.</p> <p>Jacel Egan is a media-relations coordinator for the startup <a href="http://technologyadvice.com/">TechnologyAdvice</a>, and this practice is commonplace at her office.</p> <p>&quot;What I find to be the most relaxing during lunch is learning more about what my teammates do outside of work,&quot; she says. &quot;We have an open office environment and are fortunate to get catered lunches four times week, so most of us eat in the break room. Finding out what others are interested in, what concerts they attended, or where they went hiking last weekend can spark conversations that provide a midday mental break. If the weather is nice, many of us will sit out on the patio and enjoy the sunshine as well.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Meditate and Focus on Muscle Relaxation Techniques</h2> <p>Sure, meditation at work is a little New Age-y (my old office hosted yoga at lunchtime, so it's not that farfetched), but the medical benefits of meditation have been proven time and again. Combine this quiet time with muscle relaxation techniques for a double whammy of mind, body, and soul exercises.</p> <p>Jennifer Erickson, a nationally certified counselor and owner of <a href="http://www.refocuscounselingllc.com/">ReFocus Counseling</a>, recommends some short relaxation techniques to her clients.</p> <p>&quot;There are many free [progressive muscle relaxation] videos on YouTube and they range from six minutes up to 30 minutes,&quot; she says. &quot;Progressive muscle relaxation is the process of tightening muscles and then relaxing them. This is an excellent way to wake up the body and loosen muscles that get tight from sitting in one position. People that either sit at a desk, behind a counter, or stand in the same stance for several hours can benefit. Not only does this loosen up the body, [but] it clears the mind of everything going on, allowing the individual to recharge and get ready for the second half of their day.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Exercise Outdoors With a Coworker or Friend</h2> <p>I used to walk around my office park with a few co-workers on nice days, so I can vouch for Scott Crabtree, &quot;chief happiness officer&quot; at <a href="http://www.happybrainscience.com/">Happy Brain Science</a>, when he suggests that we keep it movin' at lunchtime.</p> <p>&quot;According to the science of happiness, the best possible lunch break is to exercise outdoors with a friend,&quot; Crabtree says. &quot;This gives us three happiness and brain-function boosts.&quot;</p> <h3>Physical Activity</h3> <p>The data indicates this boosts brain function and mood. Exercise is as effective as antidepressants in treating depression in the long run. Even a walk at a relaxed pace counts.</p> <h3>Social Connection</h3> <p>The quality of our relationships is a key factor in our happiness. Happiness boosts productivity, creativity, resilience, health, and success.</p> <h3>A Real Break From Work</h3> <p>Studies show we need time away from screens, and in a new setting, and that time outdoors refreshes us in unique ways.</p> <p>&quot;The eating part of our lunch break can happen at the end of the workout, when we feel we've really earned it with the exercise,&quot; Crabtree adds.</p> <h2>5. Become One With Nature &mdash; If Only for Half an Hour</h2> <p>Turning our constantly connected lives on silent for a half hour a day during lunch isn't a bad idea. It can be quite soothing to free your mind of all that whirling technology and add something a little less demanding to your day.</p> <p>Marketing manager Christine Morales live nears the coast and she takes advantage of her good fortune on a regular basis.</p> <p>&quot;My all-time favorite way to relax and spend my lunch hour is sitting on a bench and watching the ocean, waves, and sometimes people,&quot; she says. Hearing the roar and crash of waves is exhilarating; the sparkle from the sunshine on the ocean is mesmerizing. Don't live near the coast? The next best thing would be a park with grassy area to sit and enjoy a quick meal either reading a book or just enjoying nature and listening to all wonderful sounds Mother Nature and urban areas provide.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Escape Into a Good Book</h2> <p>Fiction books provides a fantasy world to which you can travel for an hour or so, but if nonfiction is your personal preference that's okay too. The important thing is that you're calm, collected, and concentrating on relaxing during &quot;me time.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Everyone's tastes are different, but I personally prefer fiction &mdash; something that actually pulls me away from whatever story is developing about my own day in the office and into an entirely different world,&quot; says Jamie Netzer, content editor at <a href="https://www.thezebra.com">The Zebra</a>. &quot;It doesn't have to be much; even 20 minutes of story is enough to be a small emotional recharge for me. The distraction of my phone is not enough, because I want to be emotionally and mentally engaged in something that is ultimately without consequence in my real life. Fiction fits that bill perfectly.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Drop Everything You're Doing and Look at Photos of Baby Animals</h2> <p>You're probably like, &quot;Whaaaaat? That's silly!&quot; &mdash; and you're right, it is. But wouldn't you know, looking at photos of baby animals is a scientifically proven method of helping you relax during lunch so you can be more productive later in the day.</p> <p>According to research by Hiroshima University, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/looking-at-cute-animal-pictures-at-work-can-make-you-more-productive_n_1930135.html">looking at cute animal photos</a> can increase fine motor coordination and attention to detail. During the course of the study, subjects were shown photos of baby animals, adult animals, and delicious looking food before being given a test. Only the group shown photos of baby animals recorded a marked increase in coordination and response time.</p> <p>If you want to get in on this action, check out <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cute-contest-kittens-puppies/id961404463">The Cute Contest app</a>, which will probably keep you occupied longer than it probably should. But, hey, at least you'll be relaxed and ready to attack the rest of the day.</p> <p><em>How do you relax and recharge at lunch? Take a break and let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-relaxing-ways-to-spend-your-lunch-hour">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/the-10-most-productive-ways-to-spend-your-lunch-hour">The 10 Most Productive Ways to Spend Your Lunch Hour</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-little-ways-to-de-stress-and-enjoy-life-more">6 Little Ways to De-Stress (and Enjoy Life More)</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-eat-for-lunch-for-a-more-productive-afternoon">What to Eat for Lunch for a More Productive Afternoon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-take-a-break-at-work-and-still-look-busy">8 Ways to Take a Break at Work (and Still Look Busy)</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-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips lunch lunch break relax Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1302598 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 More Supposedly Healthy Things That Are Actually Hurting You http://www.wisebread.com/9-more-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-more-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000019512056_Large.jpg" alt="woman beach sunscreen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My recent list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you">10 Supposedly Health Things That Are Actually Hurting You</a> was so popular, it got me thinking about even more things that we do for our health &mdash; but shouldn't. The more I learn, the more I think that the safest thing to do is not try to be healthy at all. So please pass the Girl Scout cookies, and I'll be in the TV room, staying healthy.</p> <h2>1. Douching</h2> <p>Although many women see regular douching as an important hygienic measure, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-need-to-clean">recommends against it</a>, warning that it can lead to <a href="http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/douching.html">yeast and bacterial infections</a>.</p> <h2>2. Internal Steam Baths</h2> <p>As if the false promises of the douche weren't bad enough, good old Gwyneth Paltrow recently mystified and confused women everywhere by recommending the Mugwort V Steam, a spa treatment that steam cleans the vagina.</p> <p>&quot;The lactobacilli strains that keep vaginas healthy are very finicky about their environment and raising the temperature with steam... is likely not beneficial and is <a href="https://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/gwyneth-paltrow-says-steam-your-vagina-an-obgyn-says-dont/">potentially harmful</a>,&quot; wrote OB/GYN Jennifer Gunter. I guess it's the word of a consciously uncoupled actress against the doctor's &mdash; believe who you will.</p> <h2>3. Coconut Oil</h2> <p>For a while, it was dietary dogma that all fats were bad for you. Then we started hearing about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fat-filled-foods-you-should-stop-avoiding">health benefits from certain fats</a>, and lately, the golden fat is coconut oil. It is supposed to do everything from burning <em>body</em> fat to killing germs to lowering cholesterol. The truth is, researchers say, a lot more studies are needed before we really know whether <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/coconut-oil-and-health">eating this saturated fat</a> is a net positive or negative for your health.</p> <p>For now, let's just say that coconut oil may not deliver on the health claims you have heard about, but like all fats, it is guaranteed to provide your body with nine calories per gram. And it's guaranteed to be harder on your wallet than many other oils.</p> <h2>4. Low-Fat Packaged Foods</h2> <p>There are low-fat versions of just about every packaged food nowadays, from soup to cereal to yogurt. But did you ever wonder what food manufacturers do to foods to make them palatable with less fat? Read the ingredients and you may get an eyeful, such as really high amounts of sugar, sodium, or unpronounceable flavor agents.</p> <h2>5. Diet Drinks</h2> <p>Switching from regular Coke to Diet used to be considered a healthy move. And cutting back on the sugar that comes in a soft drink is good for you. But mounting evidence warns that even &quot;natural&quot; artificial sweeteners may be dangerous, primarily due to a <a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/artificial-sweeteners-may-contribute-diabetes-and-obesity">link to diabetes</a>. Artificial sweeteners may damage the microflora in our guts, too, and their super-sweet taste may increase our desire for sweets. <a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/your-body-diet-soda-infographic">Diet soda consumption</a> is also linked to heart attack risk, tooth decay, and other ills.</p> <h2>6. Annual Mammograms Starting at 40</h2> <p>On my 40th birthday, my mother reminded me to make my first mammogram appointment. I didn't, and here's why: New research suggests that women who start annual mammograms at that age expose themselves to an amount of <a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/new-mammogram-guidelines-why-yearly-mammogram-may-be-bad-idea">radiation and stressful false positives</a>&nbsp;that is not worth the reduction in cancer deaths.</p> <p>Women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors are still advised to get the test early and often, but for &quot;a woman with lower risk, it might make sense to start later or screen every other year,&quot; Diana Zuckerman, PhD, president of the National Research Center for Women &amp; Families, told Prevention.</p> <h2>7. Baby Powder</h2> <p>Fortunately, many powders on the market today are no longer made with talc, a mineral product that could cause lung damage if inhaled. But non-talc powders or even plain cornstarch can still be inhaled, and women who use talcum powder around their genitals may be putting themselves at <a href="http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401185/How-Bad-Is-Baby-Powder.html">risk for cancer</a>.</p> <h2>8. Homework</h2> <p>Most parents are annoyed by their kids' homework; it cuts into limited family time and, in many families, leads to endless power struggles. But parents put up with it because it's for the kids' own good.</p> <p>Or is it? A Stanford study concluded that current homework levels &quot;hinder learning, full engagement, and well-being,&quot; by <a href="http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/march/too-much-homework-031014.html">causing students stress</a> and sleep deprivation, and cutting into time to develop life skills.</p> <p>Sure, you say, but what if the harm caused by homework is offset by its benefits? The thing is, experts are hard pressed to prove that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/homework-has-no-benefit-for-very-young-children-little-benefit-for-upper-primary-students/story-fnet08ui-1226501851265">homework benefits students</a>. At all.</p> <h2>9. Some Sunscreens</h2> <p>Wearing sunscreen outdoors is strongly recommended by dermatologists, and yet doctors warn that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sun-screens-can-really-cost-you-by-the-ounce-and-by-the-tumor">some ingredients</a>&nbsp;in sunscreens could be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.webmd.com/beauty/sun/sunscreen-safety-labels-ingredients">hazardous to your health</a>. The Environmental Working Group recommends against <a href="http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/what-not-to-bring-on-vacation/">spray-on sunscreens</a>, and those that contain oxybenzone or vitamin A.</p> <p><em>What supposedly healthy thing have you learned is actually harmful? Please warn us in comments!</em></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/9-more-supposedly-healthy-things-that-are-actually-hurting-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-enough-sleep">Get enough sleep</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-foods-scientifically-proven-to-increase-your-lifespan">6 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Lifespan</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/14-dumb-things-holding-you-back-from-losing-weight">14 Dumb Things Holding You Back From Losing Weight</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/people-who-love-their-bodies-never-do-these-17-things-do-you">People Who Love Their Bodies Never Do These 17 Things — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-people-have-these-10-things-in-their-homes-do-you">Healthy People Have These 10 Things in Their Homes — Do You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Health and Beauty Health risk wellbeing Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1289909 at http://www.wisebread.com