tools http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8339/all en-US 7 Things Not to Buy on Black Friday http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-not-to-buy-on-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-not-to-buy-on-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_VR_headset_522315038.jpg" alt="Woman learning what not to buy on Black Friday" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If I had to choose one word to describe Black Friday, it would be pande-frickin'-monium. Consumers go berserk for doorbusters, big deals, and deep discounts, but all may not be as it seems. Take a look at these typical Black Friday &quot;best buys&quot; that are anything but to help stretch your budget and keep your sanity in check.</p> <h2>1. Virtual Reality Headsets</h2> <p>Primitive virtual reality headsets have been around for a few years now, but they're just starting to enter mainstream technology now that major tech players, like Sony, are designing their own devices. The main problem here, however, is that the tech still isn't where it needs to be to justify the high cost of these coveted Christmas-list items.</p> <p>&quot;Though it's tempting to get your hands on a virtual reality headset, we recommend sitting it out for one more year,&quot; suggests BuyVia, a website and mobile app that combines in-store and online shopping across smartphones, tablets, and laptops. &quot;In order for the headset to be worthwhile, you need a high-end fast PC, which can be pricey without giving you great results. For instance, The Core i5 processor will run you at least $800, plus the Nvidia GTX 970 video card. The PlayStation VR costs $400 but is still pretty slow, and has limited software selection and tracking problems.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, given VR's popularity right now, you do run the risk of crushing someone's holiday hopes, like, big time, if you opt out on this item &mdash; but, eh, whatever. There's always next year.</p> <h2>2. Winter Apparel</h2> <p>It's not that you won't find great deals on winter apparel this time of year, but Black Friday may not be the best day to go on a shopping spree for the long johns and wool socks that your nephews are totally dreading. (Seriously &mdash; eeeevery year, lady?)</p> <p>&quot;While you're sure to see deals on select clothing items during Black Friday, it's better to hold off until Cyber Monday when sitewide savings of 60% plus free shipping give you more options,&quot; says savings expert Kendal Perez of <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com">Coupon Sherpa</a>. &quot;Black Friday clothing deals are often limited to one brand or style &mdash; a crew-neck cashmere sweater, for example. What's more, discounts on winter clothing and boots are deeper in January, when these garments go on clearance to make room for spring styles, which typically debut on showroom floors in February.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Health and Beauty Items</h2> <p>Like clothing, wait until Cyber Monday and deeper-in-December sales. Prices on individual items and sets, as well as discounts for brands and subcategories, will be much better.</p> <p>&quot;You may find a few spectacular doorbuster-like deals on makeup, polish, and fragrances, but waiting until the traditional storewide discounts we see on Cyber Monday will bring you a bigger selection of items to choose from,&quot; <a href="https://www.fatwallet.com/">FatWallet.com</a>'s Brent Shelton says.</p> <p>Or you can do what I do: Wait until after the holidays to pick up grooming sets, from brands like Axe and Old Spice, at slashed prices and stash them away until next year. Just make sure the products won't expire within a year or two. Which is important &mdash; unless you like the idea of giving your brother a holiday rash.</p> <h2>4. Tools</h2> <p>You may be getting fooled on tools on Black Friday, according to Mike Catania, founder of thesaving community <a href="http://www.promotioncode.org">PromotionCode.org</a>.</p> <p>&quot;While there are plenty of Black Friday 'sales' for tools, the reality is that they're marked up more for the holidays than any other time of the year,&quot; he says. The offers look good on paper &mdash; up to 30% off &mdash; but the original price is 40% higher than it was at the end of summer. This is particularly true for tools in the quality range beneath 'pro-sumer.'&quot;</p> <p>This doesn't mean that hubby can't get the new table saw that he'll use once before he starts using it as a storage surface. Just do your research and compare prices before purchasing.</p> <h2>5. 1080p HDTVs</h2> <p>Flat-screen TVs have long been a staple of Black Friday doorbusters &mdash; many shoppers have the trample marks to prove it. But this year, 1080p versions are hitting the skids for higher-end (but still affordable) 4K HDTVs.</p> <p>&quot;4K is definitely the future of TV, and the price has dropped significantly over the last year; a 50-inch 4K HDTV is about $400,&quot; writes BuyVia in a recent blog post <a href="https://www.buyvia.com/blog/not-buy-black-friday-2016/">about Black Friday</a>. &quot;4Ks are optimized for Blu-ray, Netflix, Amazon, DirectTV, and YouTube, and you can add Smart TV functionality with an inexpensive $40 Roku box. Plus, if you want to spend a little more money, you can find a 4K TV with HDR imaging for incredible image quality.&quot;</p> <p>The one and only issue I have with this trend &mdash; and full disclosure, I own 4K TVs myself &mdash; is that cable technology hasn't caught up with TV tech. It may be another year or two until you'll get the full experience of 4K, but you can at least take advantage of the Internet-connected &quot;smart&quot; part of the sets in the meantime.</p> <h2>6. Home Furnishings</h2> <p>The general consensus here is that you should avoid buying new furniture this time of year, not just specifically on Black Friday. Perez explains why.</p> <p>&quot;Black Friday is all about doorbuster deals on TVs, gaming consoles, tablets, and other electronics,&quot; she says. &quot;Rarely do we see an epic deal on love seats and recliners, and Black Friday deals for national chains like Crate &amp; Barrel, West Elm, Pottery Barn, and the like are minimal, often limited 15% to 20% off select items and deals on holiday accessories which don't compete with post-holiday sales. Furniture deals are better in January and July/August, when new styles debut and clearance prices offer better savings compared to Black Friday discounts.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Gift Cards</h2> <p>Boy, do I love a good gift card &mdash; mostly so I can exchange all the long johns and wool socks my aunt gave me yet again and get what I want. Deal-wise, though, you're better off waiting until December to stock up on these precious pieces of plastic, says Perez.</p> <p>&quot;Gift cards are a better buy in December when restaurants and select retailers offer bonus cards with gift card purchases. In the past, we've seen free $5 to $25 bonus gift cards with purchase of restaurant gift cards $25 to $50 from Chili's, Benihana, Olive Garden, and more. Retailers like LL Bean, DSW, The Children's Place, and Toys 'R Us also offered free gift cards ranging from $5 to $25 last December with select purchases.&quot;</p> <h2>Two More Holiday-Shopping Pro Tips</h2> <p>Speaking of doorbusters, here are a couple of freebies.</p> <h3>1. Be Patient, Then Pounce</h3> <p>As the holiday season progresses, so does the competition for your dollar.</p> <p>&quot;There is no need to rush into buying as a majority of retailers run comparable sales throughout the holiday season,&quot; says e-commerce business owner Bob Ellis. &quot;It's a competitive time for retailers and they will do what they will to win your business.&quot;</p> <p>Also, if you don't see the deal you are want, ask for it. More often than not retailers will work with you and at the very least price match. Be patient, ask, and you shall receive &mdash; maybe.</p> <h3>2. Shop Post-Holiday if You Can</h3> <p>It's an unlikely scenario that anyone in your family wants to celebrate Christmas after Christmas, but if you're all a bunch of frugal wizards, shopping post-holiday will save you <em>lots </em>of money.</p> <p>&quot;Anything 'gifts' is going to be heavily discounted after Christmas,&quot; says Kristin Cook, managing editor of <a href="http://www.bensbargains.com">Ben's Bargains</a>. &quot;This includes fragrance and beauty sets, especially with 'winter' scents or holiday packaging; hats/mittens/gloves sets; sweaters; wallets; jewelry; and definitely toys.&quot;</p> <p>If this isn't an option for you, at least reserve these savings for yourself. I used to practice the &quot;buy one gift for them, buy one gift for myself&quot; shopping method during the holidays, but now I try to curb the impulse buys by remembering that my money will go much farther if I shop for myself after the holidays with my gift cards, ie. other people's money. Feels much better that way.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-not-to-buy-on-black-friday">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/8-frugal-skills-you-need-to-survive-black-friday">8 Frugal Skills You Need to Survive Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-30-brilliant-ways-to-survive-black-friday-madness">Flashback Friday: 30 Brilliant Ways to Survive Black Friday Madness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-discount-shopping-days-of-the-year">7 Best Discount Shopping Days of the Year</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/why-people-go-crazy-on-black-friday">Why People Go Crazy on Black Friday</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-surprising-ways-to-maximize-your-savings-at-home-depot">6 Surprising Ways to Maximize Your Savings at Home Depot</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping black friday doorbusters furniture gift cards hdtvs makeup sales tools virtual reality winter clothes Wed, 23 Nov 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1838643 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Siri Can Be Your Personal Finance Assistant http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_phone_city_64632093.jpg" alt="Man finding ways Siri can be his personal finance assistant" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're still a few years away from having personal robot assistants, but voice-activated applications on most modern smartphones are already making our lives easier. Apps like Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana can be helpful in a number of ways, and are particularly useful as personal finance helpers.</p> <p>I personally use Siri a lot to help me <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-personal-finance-letter-id-write-to-my-younger-self" target="_blank">stay on track with my finances</a>, and I am always surprised at how much the app can help me get information without the need to even type or search the web myself.</p> <p>Siri won't make you rich, but it can help you be smarter about your finances without a lot of work. Check out these personal finance tasks that Siri and similar apps can help you with.</p> <h2>1. Check Stocks</h2> <p>It's easy to use Siri to track the performance of your investments or the overall stock market. Just say, &quot;I need the stock price for Apple,&quot; and Siri will tell you the price and the daily movement. It's also an easy way to check on the ticker symbol.</p> <h2>2. Helping You Calculate the Best Bargain</h2> <p>Quick, what's a better deal? Three 20-ounce cans of juice for $6, or four 24-ounce cans for $9? To find out, you'll need to calculate prices on a per-ounce basis. Asking Siri to perform some simple math will help you learn that the second deal is a little bit better.</p> <h2>3. Driving Directions</h2> <p>Yes, accurate driving directions can help you with your finances. That's because you can plan trips to ensure the shortest route, thus saving you gas. You can also find routes to avoid tolls and bad traffic.</p> <h2>4. Finding the Nearest ATM</h2> <p>You need cash right away, but you'd rather not go to the first ATM you see, because it may not be tied to your bank. To avoid a fee, you can ask Siri to find you the nearest branch of your bank or a surcharge-free ATM.</p> <h2>5. Research Food Ingredients</h2> <p>When you're at the grocery store, you may come across products that like to tout certain ingredients, and you sometimes pay a premium for them. (&quot;Sweetened with agave nectar!&quot;) Before you buy, you may want to do a little bit of research on what these ingredients are and whether they are worth paying extra for. Siri and similar apps can help you with this.</p> <h2>6. Set Reminders</h2> <p>You never want to be late paying your bills, and you don't want to be charged for missing things like doctor's appointments. You can use Siri to remind you of important things. All you need to do is tell Siri what you want to be reminded about, and when. (&quot;Remind me to finish this article for Wise Bread at 10 p.m.&quot;) There's even location-based reminders, like &quot;Remember to mail the mortgage check when you are near the post office.&quot; You can also use Siri to adjust or create to-do lists on your phone.</p> <h2>7. Figure Out Tips</h2> <p>What's 18% of $43.95? And how can you split that four ways? Siri can help you. Siri will even know local taxes, to help you calculate checks before they even come.</p> <h2>8. Find Out How Much Things Cost</h2> <p>Using Siri, you can look up pricing information for a wide range of products. If you simply ask &quot;Find me prices for a Toyota Corolla,&quot; it will provide you MSRP and invoice prices, plus other related charges, and even shows a chart with historical price information. It's still not easy to do true comparison shopping, but you'll learn enough to know if a particular store is trying to rip you off.</p> <h2>9. Find Budgeting Apps</h2> <p>If you need some extra personal finance help from your smartphone, Siri can help you find it. A simple query like, &quot;Find me some budgeting apps,&quot; will give you a list of saving and money management apps from the app store.</p> <p><em>How do you use Siri or Cortana or Google Now to help you stay on top of your finances?</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/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant">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/could-the-chromebook-crush-windows">Could the Chromebook Crush Windows?</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money">9 Things Football Teaches Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-colonizers-guide-to-getting-to-mars">The Frugal Colonizer&#039;s Guide to Getting to Mars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology apple Cortana Google investing Microsoft saving Siri smartphone tools Fri, 26 Aug 2016 10:30:15 +0000 Tim Lemke 1778728 at http://www.wisebread.com Turn Old Clothes Into Money With These 4 Tools and Apps http://www.wisebread.com/turn-old-clothes-into-money-with-these-4-tools-and-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-old-clothes-into-money-with-these-4-tools-and-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_43524688_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="use these apps to get money for old clothes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A great way to make extra side cash is to clean out your closet and sell clothes you no longer wear. Not only will you make a few bucks, but you will also benefit from decluttering.</p> <p>Getting top dollar for your used clothing can be tricky, especially if you try to sell your clothes at a yard sale or through a Facebook selling group. Instead, try these top sites and apps to make more on your old threads.</p> <h2>1. eBay</h2> <p>Let's start with the most obvious: eBay. It can be a hit or miss for selling clothing. I have listed several higher-end brand name items, such as a rare pair of True Religion jeans, but felt like they did not sell as well as they could have. However, other brands have sold better than I expected. I listed an Old Navy peacoat last winter with the assumption that anything is better than selling it for $2 at a garage sale. The coat sold for almost $40, which was more than I originally paid.</p> <p>So check the recent selling prices for clothing like yours. You can do this by dropping your item into the search box, clicking &quot;advanced,&quot; and then check sold listing and hit &quot;search&quot; again. This will allow you to see every similar item that sold in the past 30 days and give you a better idea of how much you can make on your item.</p> <h2>2. Poshmark</h2> <p>Business Insider shared a story of one <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/how-a-mom-earned-500000-on-poshmark-2015-11">mom who made $50,000</a> from selling clothes on <a href="https://poshmark.com/what_is_poshmark">Poshmark</a> last year. With PoshMark, you get to set your prices, and listing is as easy as listing on eBay. However, unlike eBay, shoppers prefer better quality photo listings. However, don't let your photo skills keep you from trying the app out.</p> <h2>3. Tradesy</h2> <p><a href="https://www.tradesy.com/">Tradesy</a> is another easy-to-use site that allows you to set your price points for clothes. The site also makes shipping items simple, since the company sends you free shipping boxes and prepaid labels.</p> <p>Tradesy charges a 9% commission and a 2.9% fee if you transfer your earnings to PayPal. And if a buyer decides to return an item, Tradesy will accept the return and allow you to keep your earnings.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures?ref=seealso">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a></p> <h2>4. ThredUp</h2> <p>Don't feel like listing each of your clothing items for sale? No problem. <a href="https://www.thredup.com/">ThredUp</a> allows you to cash in on your clothing with as little effort as possible. All you have to do is sign up for an account and request a free bag from the site. Once your bag arrives, fill it with acceptable items and then seal it. Attached to the bag is a prepaid shipping label, so you can drop it off at the post office or request an at-home pick up.</p> <p>ThredUp is extremely convenient and fast to use, but with that convenience comes a couple minor drawbacks. For example, your items will probably not get you as much as you hoped for. You can request your unaccepted items back, but this will cost $9.99 and it must be selected before you order your bag. It also takes a few weeks for the ThredUp team to process the bags they've received, so you won't get a payout immediately. Still, it's better than having the clothes collect dust in your closet, right?</p> <p><em>Where do you sell your used clothes when you are done with them? Share with us</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-old-clothes-into-money-with-these-4-tools-and-apps">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/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">10 Easiest Items to &quot;Flip&quot; for Cash</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-ways-to-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-for-the-tech-challenged-traveler">7 Apps for the Tech-Challenged Traveler</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/prizes-and-freebies-from-coupsmart-for-the-iphone">Prizes and Freebies from CoupSmart for the iPhone</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-fitness-gadgets-actually-worth-the-money">5 Fitness Gadgets Actually Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Technology apps clean out closet closet clutter clothes declutter sell your clothes sell your stuff technology tools Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:30:14 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1775889 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best Free Tools to Improve Your Work Performance http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-free-tools-to-improve-your-work-performance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-free-tools-to-improve-your-work-performance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_67204101_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="improving his work performance with these free tools" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With tight deadlines and heavy workloads, there are never enough hours in a day to get everything done. If you find yourself constantly pressed for time, your work performance can get impacted. Constant stress at work can cause mistakes and delays. But there are free tools that can help improve productivity, stay organized, and catch errors, and improve your output at work.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster?ref=seealso">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></p> <h2>1. Reduce Typos With Grammarly</h2> <p><a href="http://grammarly.com/">Grammarly</a> is a free grammar checker, more powerful than the standard spell check tools in Word or Outlook. While you can use it to proofread your projects, you can also install the extension so that it will scan your blogs, social media posts, and emails for typos and errors and correct them &mdash; before you send them to your boss (or the public). Unlike other tools, Grammarly uses context clues to identify issues with misused words, such as if you typed &quot;manger&quot; instead of &quot;manager.&quot; It will also highlight grammatical errors, explaining the issues and how to fix them. If you have always struggled with past participles and direct objects, Grammarly is an easy way to get in-the-moment guidance. While there is a premium version that is more detailed, the free option is robust enough to help improve your daily communications.</p> <h2>2. Manage Your To-Do List With Wunderlist</h2> <p>Between work and your home life, juggling errands, tasks and shopping lists can be overwhelming. To-do list apps can help make things simpler. <a href="http://www.wunderlist.com">Wunderlist</a> is a powerful platform that lets you create and share lists, prioritize tasks, and set up reminders for deadlines or recurring projects. It is available on your phone or desktop, so it can be accessed any time, anywhere.</p> <h2>3. Take Notes on the Go With Evernote</h2> <p>If you're the type of person who depends on a notepad and a pen to take notes and stay organized, you know how frustrating it is if you have a great idea and don't have paper in front of you or if you forgot your notes at your desk. <a href="http://www.evernote.com">Evernote</a> is a solution that lets you take notes anywhere. Type reminders to yourself, take a picture of something that inspires you, or save a snapshot of whiteboard drawings to refer to later. The free plan offers 60 MB of storage and can help you manage various projects and long-term plans.</p> <h2>4. Produce Professional Graphics With Canva</h2> <p>Whether you're a social media manager or simply need to make professional looking graphics as part of your job, design software can be prohibitively expensive &mdash; the basic cloud-based version of InDesign alone can cost over $230 &mdash; and cumbersome for new users. <a href="http://www.canva.com">Canva</a> makes it easy to create polished images, even if you have no graphic design training. There are free templates, images, and elements that are fully customizable. Premium content, such as stock photos, can be added for just an additional $1. You can also upload your own images to use to create custom artwork.</p> <h2>5. Simplify Timesheets With Timely</h2> <p>If you need to track billable hours, you know how difficult it can be to manage and reconcile your timesheets. Unlike other tracking platforms, <a href="https://timelyapp.com/">Timely</a> allows you to track hours as you work but also provides a calendar so you can plan ahead. That way, you can compare time you actually spend on a project versus how much time you thought it would take, helping you budget your time more accurately.</p> <h2>6. Manage Emails With Boomerang</h2> <p><a href="http://www.boomeranggmail.com/">Boomerang</a> can completely change how you handle email and increase your productivity. It allows you to hide emails for a certain amount of time and schedule emails ahead of time. If you're one of those people who just can't ignore an email in your inbox, the hide feature can be useful in helping you focus on your tasks at hand. You can set reminders so that when you do need to address the email, it will flag it for you. By scheduling emails, you can write out notes as you think about them, but plan to send them the next morning or when a coworker is back from vacation, keeping it from getting lost in an overcrowded inbox (or you can make your boss think you work long into the night by scheduling emails at 2:00 a.m.). Boomerang also allows you to set up a follow-up feature, so if you have not received a response, it will notify you and ask if you'd like to send a reminder.</p> <h2>7. Automate Tasks With If This Then That</h2> <p><a href="https://ifttt.com/">If This Then That</a> (IFTTT) is a free service that allows to create &quot;recipes,&quot; or actions in response to specific triggers. For instance, you can set it up so that if someone tags you on Twitter, a private message to that user is automatically generated. Or, if you get a new follower on Facebook, ITTT can establish a recipe which saves a photo of that user for your archives. It can help you manage social media platforms around the clock &mdash; and a whole lot more.</p> <p><em>Do you use any free tools to help with work performance? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-free-tools-to-improve-your-work-performance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-tools-for-getting-work-done-anywhere">7 Essential Tools for Getting Work Done -- Anywhere!</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/ace-your-next-performance-review-with-these-7-tricks">Ace Your Next Performance Review With These 7 Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-healthy-habits-to-take-to-work">10 Healthy Habits to Take to Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-more-out-of-business-trips">10 Ways to Get More Out of Business Trips</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-bad-habits-that-are-ruining-your-career">6 Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Career Building Productivity apps free free tools jobs productivity tools work work performance Fri, 19 Aug 2016 10:30:15 +0000 Kat Tretina 1775077 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on Budget http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_writing_journal_000055707370.jpg" alt="Woman using old school tools to stay on budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Because I am a visual thinker, low-fi tools like datebooks and check registers help me keep my finances better organized than when I use digital tools like Quicken and Excel. Surprisingly, these <em>olde time-y </em>office supplies also keep me from overspending.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. A Receipt Spindle</h2> <p>I actually hate bookkeeping. As a result, my desktop used to be a mess of receipts at the end of every month &mdash; until I started using a <a href="http://amzn.to/1Uxxanl">cheap spindle</a> to organize my paper receipts. Every night I pull the receipts out of my tiny wallet and stick them onto the prong. At the end of the month, I pull the receipts off as one stack, flip the stack, and voila &mdash; receipts in chronological order ready to be reconciled with Mint.com. After double checking the receipts against my bank records, I then put the receipts into an <a href="http://amzn.to/253dSej">accordion file</a> in the odd event I need hard, tangible evidence at tax time. While my system might sound fiddly, it actually takes less than 20 minutes a month to manage my receipts this way.</p> <h2>2. Paper Checks</h2> <p>No pain, no gain. There have been, conservatively, 55,321 studies in the last two decades that show that people are willing to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-we-spend-more-when-we-pay-with-credit-cards">spend up to twice as much</a> for the same item when they pay with a credit card instead of cash.</p> <p><em>Coupling</em> is the psychological term for that negative feeling you get when you shell out cold hard cash for purchases. I double down on the discomfort by paying with checks. When I use a check, I am forced to write out the cost of a purchase, twice. The evidence of my consumption is right there in my own handwriting. While the moment it takes for me to pull out my checkbook and write a check might be annoying to anyone standing behind me in the checkout line, that moment gives me one last chance to think to myself, &quot;Do I really need to spend money on this?&quot; More often than not, that answer is no.</p> <p>There are several other reasons why I refuse to kick my check writing habit:</p> <h3>When Digital Banking Technology Fails You, Paper Won't</h3> <p>My neighbor's debit card was just spoofed. Although her bank caught the theft within hours, she has to wait 10 days before her new ATM card arrives. She's currently living off the $200 the bank allowed her to draw down without her card. If she had checks, she wouldn't have to live off $20 a day.</p> <p>Also, ATM machines and credit card machines require phone lines and electricity. During disasters like Hurricane Sandy, when the utilities go down, a paper check might be the only way to pay for emergency supplies.</p> <h3>Some Businesses Charge Extra Fees for Credit Cards</h3> <p>Many restaurants and small businesses charge an extra fee for credit card payments, or have a minimum amount for credit card purchases.</p> <h3>Utility Companies and Government Agencies Might Not Take Plastic</h3> <p>I thought I was going to just rack up the frequent flyer points by paying for all my utilities with my credit card. Alas, many of my utilities don't accept credit payments.</p> <h3>Use Checks to Create a Paper Trail</h3> <p>Not only do I use checks, I use duplicate checks. They make it easy to keep track of expenditures because they act like additional receipts.</p> <h2>3. A Spending Book</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool">spending book</a> is a diet journal for your bank account. If you want to create a budget and save more money, you first have to know how you are spending all your filthy lucre. Most people don't blow through cash at the craps table in Las Vegas. Instead, they fritter away huge sums of money every year on super boring purchases and experiences. This is the reason why financial writers are constantly harping about why you shouldn't buy bottled water or to-go coffee. Those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-dumb-little-purchases-you-need-to-stop-making-today">little impulse purchases</a> are death by a thousand cuts to a budget.</p> <p>A spending book helps save money in two ways. First, it gives you a detailed, down to the penny, view of your spending habits. Secondly, like writing a check, it makes parting with your earnings that much more painful.</p> <h2>4. A Record of Financial Triumphs</h2> <p>In addition to tracking my spending in the week-at-at-glance section of my <a href="http://amzn.to/1UxAAX6">Moleskine </a>datebook, I use the month-at-a-glance section of my datebook to track my income. And by income, I mean the dime I picked up off the street, my garage sale earnings, and the money I made by selling old textbooks. All those teeny weenie income streams can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash">add up to serious money</a> over the course of one year. My husband didn't think we would be able to afford to fly East to visit friends and family over Christmas, but we handily paid for our 10-day vacation to NYC and Washington, D.C. with the money we'd earned from these little transactions.</p> <h2>5. The Envelope System</h2> <p>My grandmother taught me how to budget using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a> when I was a child and too young to open a savings account of my own. Yes, this budget hack is so simple, that even a nine-year-old can use it.</p> <p>In brief, the envelope system uses cash to help visualize a budget and control spending. For example, three main spending categories for my household are groceries, records, and gas. Say my average monthly grocery budget is $200, my record budget is $100, and my gas budget is $200. To cover these three categories, I will withdraw $500 in cash from my paycheck and put the cash amount for each bill/budget category into their respectively named envelopes. This method prevents me from spending money out of pocket or my checking account because money has already been earmarked for every bill.</p> <p>This type of budgeting is also called <em>zero based budgeting</em> because 100% of the spending money for each month is allocated to envelopes and zeroed out at the end of each month.</p> <p>Personally, I like to have money left over in my envelopes each month. This little visual incentive is another reason why the envelope system helps me save money. I have tangible evidence of my good behavior!</p> <h2>6. A Portable Filing Cabinet</h2> <p>I think the main reason why old-fashioned bookkeeping tools have fallen out of favor is that many people have a hard time keeping track of paperwork. After years of trial and error, I finally found a solution that keeps my house free of loose papers.</p> <p>I use eight plastic <a href="http://amzn.to/253fS6j">accordion files</a> to keep track of my tax documents. One for this year's bills and paperwork, and one for each of the seven previous tax years. Although I have gone the &quot;paperless&quot; route with many of my bills, I still use this type of file to manage the hard copies of everything (real estate paperwork, recipes, knitting patterns) in my life.</p> <p>I also like envelope closure accordion files because I am a klutz who is constantly dropping her paperwork. These files keep my records neatly separated by category, even if I accidentally put them into my bag upside down. These files are also great for people like me who live in small houses with no storage space.</p> <p><em>What low-tech tricks do you use to manage your money? Share your skills with your fellow Wise Bread readers so we can all stay on budget when our Robot Overlords take control of the Matrix. </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-ways-to-save-money-by-tracking-your-receipts">6 Simple Ways to Save Money by Tracking Your Receipts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-journal-may-be-the-fix-for-your-finances">This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization checks Envelope system filing gadgets low-tech personal finance receipts record keeping tools Mon, 28 Mar 2016 10:01:03 +0000 Max Wong 1677889 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Household Tools Every Frugal Homeowner Should Own http://www.wisebread.com/10-household-tools-every-frugal-homeowner-should-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-household-tools-every-frugal-homeowner-should-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tools_screwdrivers_000040737522.jpg" alt="Finding household tools every frugal homeowner should own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a home, you need a tool kit. It's an essential for any household. But what to put in it?</p> <p>Well, the good news is you can get by with just essential 10 items. You will of course need more tools as time goes by, but this list is a great starting point. (Oh, and you will need a sturdy <a href="http://amzn.to/21DTdyo">toolbox</a> to store them all. You can find used ones for cheap, or even free, on Craigslist. Or try your local thrift store.)</p> <h2>1. Multi-Bit Screwdriver</h2> <p>There are many variations of the <a href="http://amzn.to/1QsbnIF">multi-bit screwdriver</a>. On the cheaper end, the bits come in a separate holder or case. You can also find ones called &quot;<a href="http://amzn.to/21DTPE8">auto-loaders</a>&quot; that contain at least six different varieties of bit. You want one that fits both Phillips head and slot head screws. With this one tool, you have a starter set of screwdrivers that will work for most jobs around the home. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber">10 Easy Plumbing Repairs That Don't Require a Plumber</a>)</p> <h2>2. Power Drill (Go Cordless)</h2> <p>There are so many different jobs around the home that require a power drill, so your frugal tool kit should include one. If you want to save the most money and have something much more handy, go with a <a href="http://amzn.to/21DTVeM">cordless drill</a>. They don't have as much power as an equivalently-priced corded drill, but for everyday needs, they're just fine. Ideally, get a good, refurbished brand rather than a cheap new one. DeWalt or Makita are reliable, and will last you many years. This will definitely be the most expensive tool you buy in this kit, but it's worth it. You will also need a variety of <a href="http://amzn.to/1T8DJNU">drill bits</a>. Luckily, many drills come with a starter selection.</p> <h2>3. Claw Hammer</h2> <p>There are several types of hammer available to the DIY enthusiast. A <a href="http://amzn.to/1QscqbJ">ball peen hammer</a>, a <a href="http://amzn.to/1WVln18">tack hammer</a>, a <a href="http://amzn.to/1QscJ6h">club hammer</a>, and even a <a href="http://amzn.to/21DUXHG">sledgehammer</a>. But for the basic, frugal tool kit, your best bet is a <a href="http://amzn.to/21DVbyy">claw hammer</a>. Its two uses, driving in and removing nails, are ideal. When you get into more specific tasks, other hammers for specific jobs are much better, but for a starter kit, the basic claw hammer is just fine.</p> <h2>4. Adjustable Wrench</h2> <p>The key word here is <em>adjustable</em>. As you're building a frugal tool kit, you want your tools to have as many uses as possible, whenever possible. The <a href="http://amzn.to/21DVsBH">adjustable wrench</a> can fit a wide variety of nuts and bolts, and is therefore perfect for your kit. Buy a wrench that is big enough to cover a large array of sizes, without being so big that it will be cumbersome on smaller nuts and bolts. Anywhere from eight to 12 inches is good.</p> <h2>5. Retractable Tape Measure</h2> <p>You probably know this as the <a href="http://amzn.to/1WVlABj">Stanley Measuring Tape</a>, but they are available from many different manufacturers. However, Stanley has been making these for decades, and they're very good at it. In particular, the PowerLock model is a great tape measure for having around the house. They're available in many different sizes, but for the minimal price difference, go for the 25'x1&quot; model. It's sturdy, long enough to cover most jobs, and very reliable.</p> <h2>6. Needlenose Pliers (AKA Long Nose Pliers)</h2> <p>Again, there are so many different types of pliers available on the market, all doing slightly different jobs. For the frugal starter kit, you are better off going with a pair of sturdy needle-nose pliers. We're looking for tools with more than one function, and these include a wire-stripping tool whilst also having a long reach and the ability to twist small wires and objects. When you start building up your kit, you can add locking and adjustable pliers. But for the basic kit, these will serve you well. Stanley's eight-inch <a href="http://amzn.to/21DWduz">long nose pliers</a> are solid, and usually sell for under $10.</p> <h2>7. Retractable Utility Knife</h2> <p>Just like the tape measure, Stanley has also become synonymous with the <a href="http://amzn.to/21DWuxI">utility knife</a>. In fact, many professionals and amateurs still refer to it as the Stanley Knife. You will need a sharp knife for a countless array of DIY jobs, whether it's cutting carpet or vinyl tile, to wallpaper, wood veneer, or even sharpening a pencil. With a good retractable knife, you have safety as well as versatility, with a variety of different blades on the market available.</p> <h2>8. Hacksaw</h2> <p>There will be more than a few DIY experts screaming &quot;No!&quot; at this next statement, and I would usually concur &mdash; but this is a frugal toolkit, after all. Instead of buying a wood saw and a hacksaw, simply buy the <a href="http://amzn.to/1WVm8Hw">hacksaw</a> and use it for both purposes. There. I said it. If you only have the money for one saw, a hacksaw is at least multi-functional. It cuts through metal and plastic beautifully. It can also cut wood, although it's inefficient, slow, and clogs the small teeth &mdash; <em>but</em>, it will do it. Try cutting metal with a wood saw and see how far you get. There are several different blades available, so if you do need to cut wood, opt for blades with the fewer teeth per inch. For instance, 14 will perform way better than 32.</p> <h2>9. Level (AKA Spirit Level, Bubble Level)</h2> <p>For so many jobs around the house, you will need to make sure something is straight, or level. This is why a <a href="http://amzn.to/21DYtlE">level</a> is an essential part of your toolkit. They come in various sizes, from as small as three inches, all the way up to several feet. For your purposes, anything from nine inches to three feet is a good bet. Make sure your level has three different bubbles inside, for vertical, horizontal, and 45 degrees. If you really don't want to spring for a level, and have a smartphone, you can find an assortment of free level apps. The phone is not as good, but it's better than nothing at all.</p> <h2>10. Rechargeable Flashlight</h2> <p>Finally, the flashlight. When the lights go out, or the fuses blow, you'll need a flashlight. When there's a leak in the corner of the basement, you'll need a flashlight. When there's a wiring issue under the counter, you'll need a flashlight. Basically, without a flashlight, you'll be groping around in the dark, and that's not safe at all. Now, regular flashlights are fine, but most people will tell you &mdash; the batteries die at the worst possible time. So, go with a <a href="http://amzn.to/1T8IuXO">rechargeable one</a>. They stay plugged in, and are ready to go whenever. Plus, they're affordable, starting at around $10.</p> <p><em>What would you include in a basic frugal tool kit?</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/10-household-tools-every-frugal-homeowner-should-own">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-not-to-buy-on-black-friday">7 Things Not to Buy on Black Friday</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-50-unique-housewarming-gifts-for-less-than-20">Almost 50 Unique Housewarming Gifts for Less Than $20</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-10-items-to-borrow">The Best 10 Items to Borrow</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/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Shopping fixing things hammers Households pliers screwdrivers toolkit tools Wed, 16 Mar 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Paul Michael 1669559 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Kitchen: Splurge on This, Save on That http://www.wisebread.com/your-kitchen-splurge-on-this-save-on-that <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-kitchen-splurge-on-this-save-on-that" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000064301007.jpg" alt="Learning when to splurge and save in the kitchen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you like spending most of your time in the kitchen? Whether you cook or bake, you know there are a ton of gadgets and gizmos out there to help you in the process. The thing is, you don't need them all. Here are just a few items you might consider splurging on, and others that aren't necessarily worth the money.</p> <p>Note: Your own list will have a lot to do with your favorite cooking or baking activities, so we'd love to hear your picks in the comments!</p> <h2>1. Mixer</h2> <p>Splurge: If you're anything like me, you're concocting something baked on the daily. I use my&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1pcX7gn">KitchenAid stand mixer</a> ($150 to $250+) almost exclusively. It comes with beater, whisk, and dough hook attachments that work wonderfully for most tasks. I've been known to bake brownies, pizza dough, and a double batch of bagels all in the same day, so help with the heavy lifting is important. Bakers over at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chowhound.com/post/kitchenaid-mixer-749393">ChowHound</a> share that this stand mixer does indeed make baking faster and more efficient, definitely earning its value a million times over.</p> <p>Save: If you'd rather simmer soup than bake a cake, you might want to skip any type of mixer and just stick with standard whisks and spoons. You can get most basic, occasional baking done this way, from chocolate chip cookies to no-knead breads. If you'd like something motorized, I've also fallen in love with my&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/21nndON">KitchenAid hand mixer</a> &mdash; it whips up frosting in seconds, creams together sugar and butter like a dream, and costs less than $40.</p> <h2>2. Knives</h2> <p>Splurge: Cooks rely heavily on knives to slice and dice. Though you don't need all the many options you'll get in a big set, it's worth investing in a few quality pieces for your collection. Start with a quality&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1QlueFt">chef's knife</a> ($100+). Consumer Reports shares that knives that are forged versus stamped may cost more, but they'll <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/kitchen-knives/buying-guide.htm">hold up better over time</a>. They are created from a single piece of steel and won't bend as much with use.</p> <h2>3. Mixing and Prep Bowls</h2> <p>Save: The sky's the limit with the prices you'll see on bowls. I use a vintage Pyrex set handed down to me by my husband's grandmother. My mom, on the other hand, has used the same set of&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1QlMluN">stainless steel mixing bowls</a> ($15+) since her wedding shower back in 1980. You really don't need to go expensive on this item. Same goes with prep bowls. You can skip them entirely (I do) or pick up a <a href="http://amzn.to/1QlMq1G">set of four</a> for under $6.</p> <h2>4. Cast Iron</h2> <p>Splurge: You've probably heard of the many merits of a cast iron Dutch oven (perfectly even cook with roasting, braising, frying, baking, etc.) and wondered about the top-notch brands. When asked, readers of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/talk/2009/02/le-creuset-is-it-worth-it.html">Serious Eats</a> weighed in on the matter. Their overwhelming response?&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1Qlvh8l">Le Creuset</a> ($170+) is worth the price, especially if you plan to use it often. Check local shops (and hunt around online) for the best sales and deals. That way, you can build your lifetime collection slowly. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-to-pick-the-best-cookware-for-your-needs?ref=seealso">How to Pick the Best Cookware for Your Needs</a>)</p> <p>Save: You'll also find a ton of cast iron cookware at a fraction of the price, which might work well if you're only going to use it every now and again. Read reviews before you buy and look for notes on chipping and cracking (a common complaint with enamel on cheaper coated cast iron). Another good budget option might be&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/21noCox">Lodge</a> ($40+). Though a good number of their pans are not coated and need to be seasoned before use, they still offer the benefits of cast iron.</p> <h2>5. Digital Scale</h2> <p>Save: I've learned the importance of weighing ingredients versus measuring with my baking. My digital scale has been a big help with preventing bread-related mishaps. My <a href="http://amzn.to/1Up1il0">kitchen scale</a> only cost me around $10. You don't need one with lots of bells and whistles. A simple weight will do in a pinch.</p> <h2>6. Food Processor</h2> <p>Splurge: I use my food processor almost every day. It blends together a perfect hummus, makes an amazing pesto, whips up delicious pasta dough, and even gifts me with crazy-good homemade peanut butter, among many other things. It's not hard to spend well over $100 on one (I've have this&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1QixAwh">Cuisinart 11-Cup Pro</a> model for the last eight years) &mdash; but the cheaper options, in my experience, don't hold up to frequent use. I've burned out many motors in my time.</p> <p>Yes, you can get by without a food processor &mdash; but with its versatility, you won't want to. In fact, you may end up saving money by making things you usually buy at the grocery store from scratch. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home &mdash; And 5 to Buy</a>)</p> <h2>7. Grater</h2> <p>Save: Though I use a grater frequently, I wouldn't say it's an item you need to buy at a premium. The most important feature, in my opinion, is that it's easy to clean. Beyond that, you will probably want a couple different size options, course to fine. You can get away with spending less than $7 for a <a href="http://amzn.to/1Qlwixc">simple grater</a> that works well.</p> <h2>8. Veggie Peeler</h2> <p>Save: Same goes with a vegetable peeler. We had a fancier model that recently bit the dust. I replaced it with a&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/1Up1yAw">$6 basic peeler</a>, and I couldn't be happier. When you're looking at peelers, try to find information on rust. The one I bought guarantees not to rust for 10 years!</p> <h2>9. Thermometer</h2> <p>Splurge: I'm a vegetarian, so I didn't know how important it is to have a good thermometer until a friend clued me in. You don't want to over- or under-cook an expensive piece of meat, for example. And you can buy a cheap thermometer that will record an accurate temperature and serve you well.</p> <p>Why is this one a splurge? A <a href="http://amzn.to/21npyt3">quick-read thermometer</a> will give you that reading in a blink (four seconds), which might mean the difference between delight and disaster.</p> <p><em>Save or splurge: What's on your list?</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/your-kitchen-splurge-on-this-save-on-that">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-things-youll-waste-money-on-this-thanksgiving">10 Things You&#039;ll Waste Money on This Thanksgiving</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/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</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/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</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-bake-sourdough-bread-and-save-a-buck-on-every-loaf">How to bake sourdough bread (and save a buck on every loaf)</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-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent">5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It (and 5 That Aren&#039;t)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping baking Cooking gizmos kitchen gadgets tools worth the money Mon, 14 Mar 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1666848 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Best Objects to Pawn http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-objects-to-pawn <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-best-objects-to-pawn" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pearl_necklace_000007828524.jpg" alt="Woman finding best objects to pawn" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Strapped for cash? You might be interested in pawning a few items &mdash; that is, providing something of value as collateral for a monetary loan &mdash; when you're in a bind. What's some of the best stuff to pawn? Peep this list of popular items that bring home the big(ish) bucks.</p> <h2>1. Scrap Jewelry</h2> <p>Jewelry, especially gold and silver, intrinsically holds value &mdash; so long as the market dictates, and people like shiny things. And pawnshops are always on the lookout for a potential payday on your precious-metal rings, bracelets, and necklaces.</p> <p>&quot;This is most true with scrap jewelry,&quot; says Kurt Heckman, president of vCalc, an online calculator for determining the real value of jewelry. &quot;Whether it's an old necklace from a past boyfriend or girlfriend, or something you've inherited from an aunt, even the ugliest scrap jewelry can have significant value.&quot;</p> <p>I can personally vouch for scrap metal bringing in a decent dollar amount. When my grandmother died, she left me one of her wedding rings. Considering that I'm married to a dude and not interested in having children, I didn't really have much use for the ring &mdash; and I don't believe in having something just to have it. Thus, I sold the gold and kept the diamonds so that I can have them reset into another reminder of my grandmother that I can actually wear and cherish.</p> <h2>2. High-End Electronics</h2> <p>Higher-end electronics, including relatively large LED and LCD TVs, new gaming systems, digital cameras, tablets, laptops, and more, are promising pawn items. The value of these items at the pawn shop is similar to what they're going for on sites like eBay. Just make sure your item is complete and in excellent condition to get the most value from it. Missing cords, controllers, and even packaging material &mdash; particularly for Apple products &mdash; can reduce the value considerably. Also, make sure that the devices are fully charged before going to the store so the attendant can test the items quickly and efficiently.</p> <h2>3. Gas- and Battery-Powered Tools</h2> <p>Believe it or not, there's a huge secondhand market for power tools, both gas and battery powered. Like your high-end electronics, you'll want to make sure that all of the components (cords, accessories, etc.) are with the item for maximum value, plus charge them or fill them with gas before bringing them to the shop so you can demonstrate that they work. As these items have a propensity to get dirty, taking a soapy garage rag to them to before showing them off isn't a bad idea either.</p> <h2>4. Coins and Currency</h2> <p>Perhaps one of the surest bets at the pawnshop is coins and currency. Collectors frequent pawnshops to find rare currency for their collections, so the market is strong. Plus, since we're dealing with money here, you'll almost always get face value (but hopefully more). Ideal pieces to take into the shop include U.S. collectible coins, gold coins, silver dollars, half-dollars, American Eagles, proof sets, silver certificates, Federal Reserve Notes, and rare paper money. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprisingly-valuable-uses-for-a-penny?ref=seealso">15 Surprisingly Valuable Uses for a Penny</a>)</p> <h2>5. Musical Instruments</h2> <p>A story on NBC News a few years ago revealed that musical instruments are <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29762007/ns/business-consumer_news/t/whats-hot-pawnshop-these-days/#.VstQpSmBJNF">popular pawn items</a>, much to the delight of parents everywhere whose elementary-school children quit violin lessons after four weeks. Guitars and amplifiers are among the most coveted items, however, most likely to the chagrin of parents whose high-school children dream of garage-band stardom.</p> <h2>6. Guns</h2> <p>It probably comes as no surprise that gun sales are big business for pawnshops given the political climate in which we live. Gun sales are tricky, though. For starters, you must be the registered owner of the gun that you're trying to pawn, and you have to find a shop that accepts your type of weapon. Some shops will only accept antiques, or they might have restrictions against automatic weapons. Plus, gun-control laws are getting stricter, and policies are changing all the time. These items may start to become scarce in pawnshops in the near future.</p> <h2>7. Rare Collectibles and Items With Historical Value</h2> <p>Ever watched <em>Antiques Roadshow</em> in amazement (and a little bit of jealousy) at the seemingly ordinary items that people bring in that have an astonishingly high appraisal value? You might have some of those hidden treasures in your own attic, basement, or displayed prominently in your house. The value will increase if your item is a rare collectible or has historical value. If you have a hunch that something may yield a big payday, research it online first to see what you're working with and go from there.</p> <p><em>Have you ever pawned anything? Was the outcome what you expected? Let's discuss 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/the-7-best-objects-to-pawn">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-money-on-etsy-no-craft-required">How to Earn Money on Etsy — No Craft Required</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/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</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/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</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-ways-to-make-amazon-pay-you">7 Ways to Make Amazon Pay 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/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">Clear Out That Clutter: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Extra Income appraisals collectibles pawn shops scrap selling thrifting tools Tue, 08 Mar 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1668457 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Beauty Tools That Aren't Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/7-beauty-tools-that-arent-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-beauty-tools-that-arent-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_curling_iron_000018812189.jpg" alt="Woman using beauty tools that aren&#039;t worth the money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I'm relatively low maintenance when it comes to my own beauty routine. That being said, I've gotten sucked into different trends and products throughout the years. You know what? There are tons of grooming and beauty tools out there that just aren't worth the money. Here's our list of some items you can live without.</p> <h2>1. Toe Separators</h2> <p>Save money by painting your toenails at home and skipping the pricey pedicure. While you're at it, you can also skip those creepy <a href="http://amzn.to/1nDyW9O">foam toe separators</a>. Yes, they may be cheap and make painting <em>slightly </em>less messy, but you can get the same benefit by weaving a little tissue paper between your toes. Save your hard-earned pennies for more pretty polishes!</p> <h2>2. Clarisonic</h2> <p>I jumped on the <a href="http://amzn.to/1nDza0Q">Clarisonic</a> bandwagon several years ago. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it's a device that exfoliates skin using a motorized brush that costs around $149. It actually does work well. My skin did get more even with use. But the upkeep of the system is expensive and &mdash; in my opinion &mdash; not worth it when there are low-tech alternatives. For example, you should change the brush every three months and refill heads cost a crazy $22 each.</p> <p>A good exfoliating cleanser (you can even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-natural-diy-facial-products-you-have-to-try">make your own</a>!) or plain old washcloth can do wonders for scrubbing your skin without the high price tag.</p> <h2>3. Makeup Brushes</h2> <p>A full makeup brush set is also not a necessity. In fact, I've never owned more than a couple brushes until recently (and those were Christmas gifts). The other 16 years I've been wearing makeup, I did most of it with my fingers or whatever tool comes free with the product.</p> <p>If you just have to have some kind of applicator, makeup sponges &mdash; like these <a href="http://amzn.to/1QjkFsv">foam wedges</a> &mdash; are the way to go. You can apply both liquid and powder products with them. Prefer something reusable? Check out this <a href="http://amzn.to/1nDzGMl">sponge blender</a> that you can wash and dry between uses.</p> <h2>4. Zit Zappers</h2> <p>I had awful skin as a teenager and even as a young adult. Had zit zappers, like <a href="http://amzn.to/1KuF5dt">Zeno's Hot Spot</a>, been on the market back then, I probably would have forked over the money to buy one. Unfortunately, the reviews on this device are pretty split. Some claim it really does work while others share it actually made their skin issues worse. If you look at reviews for <a href="http://amzn.to/1nDzXPs">other models</a>, the trend continues.</p> <p>Desperate for clear skin? You can try mixing together your own <a href="http://www.littlehouseliving.com/homemade-zit-zapper.html">zit zapper balm</a> using coconut oil and tea tree essential oil. Otherwise, keep up with cleansing your face, changing your pillowcase often, and checking in with your dermatologist for suggestions if you have severe acne.</p> <h2>5. Eyelash Curler</h2> <p>I asked my friends for their top pick in this topic, and their resounding response was: &quot;An eyelash curler!&quot; In fact, one of my friends had even injured herself using one, pulling out a chunk of her eyelashes before an important event. I've never used a curler. In fact, I think it looks like some type of medieval torture device, so I just wear plain mascara.</p> <p>Still crave a bit of curl? Certain cosmetic brands offer <a href="http://amzn.to/1nDA8Ky">curling mascara formulas</a>. You can also use Allure's <a href="http://www.allure.com/beauty-trends/blogs/daily-beauty-reporter/2015/02/curl-lashes-without-eyelash-curler.html">spoon method</a> and heat a spoon with a mug of warm water, press the curved part onto your lashes, and hold for 10 seconds.</p> <h2>6. Hair Removers</h2> <p>Have you seen those tiny battery-operated <a href="http://amzn.to/1KuFrAN">hair trimmers</a> meant to clip off unsightly hair from your lip, nose, eyebrows, bikini area, mustache, and more? They're marketed to both men and women, but they're definitely not a must-have in your personal care stash.</p> <p>Similarly, the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/PRO5-Hair-Removal-Device-Platinum/dp/B00XMF70NK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1453142495&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=no+no+hair+remover">no! no! hair removal device</a> looks great in theory. After all, who wouldn't want to remove hair from certain areas for weeks at a time with one easy process at home? The reviews on this product aren't so great. With 54% of buyers giving it just one star and many claiming &quot;false advertising,&quot; this is yet another grooming item not worth the cash.</p> <p>A razor can clean up most of your trouble areas, and tweezers or simple grooming scissors work for much of the rest.</p> <h2>7. Curling Iron, Flat Iron, etc.</h2> <p>If you like to maintain your hair in a certain way (curly, straight, etc.), a single tool of choice might be a good bet. If you like to mix your style up often, you might be surprised to learn that you don't need multiple tools. And between curling irons, flat irons, curling wands, waving tools, etc. &mdash; it pays to simplify.</p> <p>Here's a cool trick: You can use a <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Curl-Your-Hair-with-a-Flat-Iron/">flat iron to curl hair</a> with some practice. Simply wrap your hair in the flat iron as if you were using a curling iron, but do not close it entirely. You'll want to turn your wrist slightly as your move the tool toward the ends of your hair. Spritz with some hairspray, and you're done!</p> <p><em>What beauty or grooming tools have you banished from your bathroom?</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/7-beauty-tools-that-arent-worth-the-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-makeup-kits-you-can-diy-for-50-or-less">The 6 Best Makeup Kits You Can DIY for $50 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-eyebrow-pencils">The 5 Best Eyebrow Pencils</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-generic-beauty-buys-better-than-the-expensive-originals">7 Generic Beauty Buys Better Than the Expensive Originals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-makeup-hacks-from-the-pros">12 Makeup Hacks From the Pros</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-beauty-be-this-basic">Can Beauty Be THIS Basic?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty cosmetics grooming makeup products tools wastes of money Thu, 04 Feb 2016 16:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1647338 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 22 Clever New Uses for Your Tools http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-22-clever-new-uses-for-your-tools <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-22-clever-new-uses-for-your-tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_drill_000016813714.jpg" alt="Woman finding clever new uses for her tools" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles clever new uses for your tools, reasons why you&rsquo;re addicted to Facebook, and ways that decluttering will improve your health.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/clever-new-uses-for-your-tools">22 Clever New Uses for Your Tools</a> &mdash; Try using a flexible pick-up tool to yank out the gunk that is clogging your sink. [The Family Handyman]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/233325/5-psychological-reasons-you-are-addicted-facebook-and-5-ways-break-the-habit">5 Psychological Reasons You Are Addicted to Facebook and 5 Ways to Break the Habit</a> &mdash; Do you refresh your Facebook feed obsessively? A fear of missing out may be at work here.&nbsp;[Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Cleaning-Can-Improve-Your-Health-37956421">4 Ways Decluttering Will Improve Your Health</a> &mdash; Having messy, unfinished projects around you can lead to depression. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/midyear-checkup-8-steps-finish-2015-fiscally-fit/">Midyear Checkup: 8 Steps to Finish 2015 Fiscally Fit</a> &mdash; Are you on track for a financially good year? Be sure to grab a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com &mdash; check for errors and look for ways to raise your score. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/0724/Should-you-take-the-free-Windows-10-upgrade">Should you take the free Windows 10 upgrade?</a> &mdash; The free upgrade will be available for at least a year, so it makes sense to wait a while for Microsoft to work out any bugs before you download. [The Monitor]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2015/07/7-great-foods-boost-brain-power.html">7 Great Foods to Boost Your Brain Power</a> &mdash; Oregano can increase cognitive processing performance and alertness. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/12-simple-ways-stop-worrying-people-think">12 Simple Ways to Stop Worrying What Other People Think of You</a> &mdash; Even if someone is judging you, do they really matter in your life? If they don't matter, then you don't need to care what they think. [Change Your Thoughts]</p> <p><a href="http://sustainablog.org/2015/07/5-steps-to-going-paperless-when-you-arent-used-to-digital/">5 Steps To Going Paperless When You Aren&rsquo;t Used To Digital</a> &mdash; When you have a lot of storage, you'll find a way to fill them up. Reduce your paper storage by half, and keep reducing every few months until you're paperless! [Sustainablog]</p> <p><a href="http://afewshortcuts.com/2015/07/7-frugal-ways-to-decorate-a-dorm-room/">7 Frugal Ways to Decorate a Dorm Room</a> &mdash; Decorate your dorm room with fresh accents like pine cones, branches, and flowers. When you want to change things up, just go outside and collect new materials! [A Few Short Cuts]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-rules-i-wish-were-posted-at-the-pool">5 Rules I Wish Were Posted At The Pool</a> &mdash; It seems that yelling is inevitable when kids and pools are involved, but if you need to yell across the pool more than three times, it's probably time to go home. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-22-clever-new-uses-for-your-tools">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-useful-gifts">25 Awesome, Useful Gifts</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-household-tools-every-frugal-homeowner-should-own">10 Household Tools Every Frugal Homeowner Should Own</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/screwdrivers-to-saws-stocking-your-first-toolbox">Screwdrivers to Saws: Stocking Your First Toolbox</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-things-not-to-buy-on-black-friday">7 Things Not to Buy on Black Friday</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/remove-car-dents-quickly-and-cheaply">Remove Car Dents Quickly and Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY best money tips tools Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:00:12 +0000 Amy Lu 1502885 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-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/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/7-essential-tools-for-getting-work-done-anywhere">7 Essential Tools for Getting Work Done -- Anywhere!</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-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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 10 Kitchen Gadgets That Aren't Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garlic-press-Dollarphotoclub_61613548.jpg" alt="garlic press" title="garlic press" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone wants to save time and get creative in the kitchen, but many kitchen tools simply aren't worth the money. Many &quot;new&quot; gadgets are designed for tasks that can be done with tools you already have in your kitchen, and some are just so weird that you'll probably never use them, no matter how gorgeous those turducken popsicles look on the infomercial. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-must-have-kitchen-purchases-under-10?ref=seealso">13 Must-Have Kitchen Purchases Under $10</a>)</p> <p>So check out this list of 10 kitchen gadgets that aren't worth the money, and then maybe just stop watching infomercials altogether.</p> <h2>1. Garlic Press</h2> <p>Go into any home, and you'll probably find a garlic press tucked away in the back of a kitchen drawer. If you've ever used one, you know why. The poor results and the difficult clean up are not worth the money for many people, even professional chefs. Once you press the clove, most of it turns into a liquid paste that you can't use, and then you have to try to figure out how to salvage what little is left once it goes through the press.</p> <p>It's quicker and cleaner to mince the garlic with a sharp knife. The same goes for a garlic peeler. You can get the same result with a knife. Gently crush the clove with the broad side of a large knife, and the peel comes right off. Then you only have to clean one tool instead of two.</p> <h2>2. Zester</h2> <p>No zester I have tried has never given me the results that you see in the pictures from food magazines. Either use a vegetable peeler, or if you need a finer grade, use the finer side of your cheese grater.</p> <h2>3. Wire Cheese Slicer</h2> <p>I've actually owned two of these. One was a gift, and the other I bought after the first one broke. They always break. You're better off slicing cheese with a knife, especially harder cheeses. If you want thinner slices, you can use non-waxed dental floss and get the same effect.</p> <h2>4. Egg Poacher</h2> <p>While a microwave egg poacher might be worth the money if you are in a hurry and want a quick breakfast, metal egg poachers are a huge waste of money. They are designed to be placed in the bottom of a pot of water, but if you are going to go to the effort of boiling water, you are better off just poaching your eggs the traditional way. The eggs typically get stuck to the metal unless you use a lot of butter, and trying to get the pan out of the boiling water without burning yourself is nearly impossible.</p> <p>Poaching eggs isn't that difficult once you get the hang of it. The trick is keeping the yolk intact when you crack the egg into the water (fresh eggs are ideal for poaching since the yolks tend to hold up better). If you have a slotted spoon, you can easily remove the egg from the water when it's done.</p> <h2>5. Nutribullet</h2> <p>I've never owned one of these, but a friend of mine bought one and said it broke after a few uses. She also said it took too long to grind the food and even longer to clean after use. Plus, you lose a lot of the nutrients because it removes all the fibrous material. Most people buy these to save space, but if you are serious about juicing, look for a traditional juicer. You get more of the fiber and nutrients, and they tend to be more reliable and last longer.</p> <h2>6. Cake Pop Molds</h2> <p>I may be slightly biased on this one since I've never understood the concept of a cake pop. Why not just make a cake? But they can be fun for parties and for children. However, keep in mind that they are not as easy to make as it sounds. I looked up several reviews of different brands, and most people said it took them several tries before getting the right consistency. The pops also stick to the pan more often than not, so unless you really want to make cake pops all the time, it's not worth the money or effort to make them for one or two parties.</p> <h2>7. Electric Can Opener</h2> <p>I have to admit, I grew up with one of these, and they can be handy. But manual can openers are made with smarter designs now, making them easier and safer to use. You can get a decent manual can opener for under $10, and you'll be saving a little counter space.</p> <h2>8. Pickle Grabber</h2> <p>In theory, these are a great idea. But you could also save your money and just use a fork to get that last pickle out of the jar.</p> <h2>9. Strawberry Stem Remover</h2> <p>Yes, as the name suggests, this tool is designed solely to remove strawberry stems, but some people also use it to remove the tops of tomatoes, too. You can also do this easily with a serrated knife, or provide a dual use for your grapefruit spoon (which is actually handy gadget if you eat a lot of grapefruit).</p> <h2>10. Pepper Prepper</h2> <p>Of all the items on this list, I think this one has to be the biggest waste of money. This tool is designed to remove the cap of the pepper and the ribs and seeds from the middle. You can do that just as easily by cutting around the middle in four slices, which also takes care of the next part of the prep work. If you are making stuffed peppers, I can see how this item might be appealing. But again, you can easily carve out the cap with a knife and remove the innards by hand and only need to clean one tool.</p> <p><em>What kitchen gadget do you own but rarely use? 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/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/13-must-have-kitchen-purchases-under-10">13 Must-Have Kitchen Purchases Under $10</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</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-best-10-items-to-borrow">The Best 10 Items to Borrow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-kitchen-mixing-spoons">The 5 Best Kitchen Mixing Spoons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-not-to-buy-on-black-friday">7 Things Not to Buy on Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping gadgets kitchen tools utensils Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Ashley Watson 1289196 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000041840182_Large.jpg" alt="woman garage bike" title="woman garage bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite features of my new home is an oversized double attached garage. I'm in storage heaven in there, but I know I could be using the space better to accommodate all my different needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions?ref=seealso">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Ideas</a>)</p> <p>Below you'll find a number of ideas &mdash; from broad to specific &mdash; that will help you use your garage space better. Feel free to share your own solutions in the comments.</p> <h2>1. Pipe Rack</h2> <p>A few small pieces of PVC pipe can go a long way toward making <a href="http://www.ashbeedesign.com/2012/05/organizing-tools-with-pvc.html">smart tool storage</a> that will hold up for years to come. The author of this project cut angled pieces of PVC from scraps she had around the house. You can also head to the hardware store and ask an associate to make six inch cuts for you. Then mount and label.</p> <h2>2. Gutter Genius</h2> <p>I've seen a lot of <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZwPjpdMjZqk/Uh_yk82mm-I/AAAAAAAAHSs/ym1-DXbl8Cg/s1600/garage+p.jpg">gutter shelf projects</a> for the home, but what's more perfect than making storage shelves for your garage? Go to your hardware store and pick out gutters and end caps in whatever size makes sense for your purpose. Then hang them and fill with paint, caulk, sprays, seeds, whatever.</p> <h2>3. Container Corral</h2> <p>Our attic is full of blown-in insulation, so we don't use it for storage. Instead, we have several rows of basic shelving where we've arranged our plastic containers up and off the ground. For better organization, <a href="http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2014/10/garage-organization-part-1.html">label your bins</a> in big, bold letters. I suggest using clear tubs for the most transparency.</p> <h2>4. Mudroom Magic</h2> <p>If you're low on closet space indoors, turn your garage into a <a href="http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2014/11/how-to-create-a-garage-mudroom.html">beautiful mudroom</a> with just a few tricks. You'll want some hooks for coats and other apparel. A few hanging baskets to keep umbrellas, bags, and mail in check. The rest is up to you!</p> <h2>5. Peg Rails</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/273114/peg-rail-organizer?xsc=eml_org_2011_03_12">peg-rail organizer</a> is as functional as it is beautiful. You'll hang wooden beams along your wall and then drill holes for your pegs. If you don't have tools or time to do this project yourself, consider buying several long hook or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=peg%20rail&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=Y7H3CNH2JLZXBUYT">peg rails</a> and arranging them in a couple long rows for the same impact.</p> <h2>6. Toy Tamer</h2> <p>There are a lot of different ways you can approach toy cleanup in your garage. I love these <a href="http://orgjunkie.com/2013/05/organizing-concepts-for-kids-garage-toys-free-printable.html">educational ideas</a> that put some responsibility in your child's hands. For example, tall laundry baskets for sport balls; stackable shelving for bubbles, helmets, and pool toys; and brightly taped off areas for bikes and scooters. The key is keeping everything clearly labeled and encouraging your kids to put their stuff away.</p> <h2>7. Hook Hideaway</h2> <p>The minute we moved in, my husband went out and bought a set of inexpensive <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=gladiator%20hooks&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=VD6DFRTRB7YIBQWX">Gladiator Hooks</a> at the hardware store. There are a number of different ways you can use them, but he arranged them on the studs to get bikes, skis, sleds, folding chairs, and other outdoor items off the floor.</p> <h2>8. Pegboard Pal</h2> <p>One of the best things you can get for your garage (or basement) is a pegboard. After you figure out how high you want to hang your board, you'll make the spot and then drill into the studs using wood screws. Don't forget to level! Then buy some hooks and go crazy.</p> <h2>9. Screw Central</h2> <p>Our garage also serves as our tool storage area. We had inherited an old tool bench at our last house where the original owner had <a href="http://www.chezlarsson.com/myblog/2009/02/screw-organizing.html">organized his screws</a> by placing them in small jars. The cool part? All the tops of the jars were glued (or screwed) to the bottom of a shelf for easy keeping. It's a simple project with big impact.</p> <h2>10. Bungee Corner</h2> <p>Stash all your soccer balls, basket balls, and kick balls in one space <a href="http://100things2do.blogspot.ca/2013/08/organization-ball-storage.html">using bungee cords</a>. The cost of this project was a mere $2. You'll need a wooden frame for the top and bottom of your zone. Then four or five bungee cords stretched between the posts will hold things tightly together.</p> <h2>11. Shoe Win</h2> <p>Those <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001F51AHG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001F51AHG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=P4Y2XDFB63JTZIIU">plastic shoe organizers</a> work in almost every room, and the garage is no exception. Use it to hold spray paint, golf balls, tools, cleaners, and anything else you have in chaos. You don't even need to hang it over a door. Just nail or screw hooks into the wall or use rope to tie it onto a shelving system.</p> <h2>12. Bike Shelf</h2> <p>I love this simple <a href="http://daily.sightline.org/?attachment_id=21734">DIY bike shelf</a>. Cut notches in a fruit crate to accommodate the top tube of your bike. Mount on your wall. You can use the top shelf to store your helmet or any other gear. (And though this storage device would work great in your garage, it would also be perfect for apartment storage!)</p> <p><em>What's your favorite genius garage storage idea?</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/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">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/organize-a-room-for-10-with-no-extra-effort">Organize a Room for $10 with No Extra Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</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/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</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-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization clutter garage gardening storage tools Fri, 06 Feb 2015 12:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1285072 at http://www.wisebread.com 16 Home Purchases for Under $10 That Are Well Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/16-home-purchases-for-under-10-that-are-well-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-home-purchases-for-under-10-that-are-well-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-hanging-laundry-clothesline-78630963-small.jpg" alt="man hanging laundry" title="man hanging laundry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I spend a lot of my time mulling over the large purchases in my life. And for good reason. Still, I tend to forget about the small, everyday things that matter most and have the power to make life a whole lot easier.</p> <p>The following household items are extremely useful and &mdash; better yet &mdash; each costs less than $10.</p> <h2>1. Chip Clips</h2> <p>I don't know why it took me so long to purchase a set of inexpensive <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005NKJWW4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005NKJWW4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WKDQUYTOBWG5VSU5">chip clips</a> for our kitchen. We end up using them for far more than just sealing bags for freshness. Use magnetic clips to stick to-do lists and bills up on your refrigerator &mdash; you'll save the $10 you spent to buy them in avoided late fees.</p> <h2>2. Reusable Coffee Filter</h2> <p>If you're a coffee-addict like my husband, you'll want to invest in a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=reusable%20coffee%20filter&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=MW634JLEJIBTZJBX">reusable coffee filter</a> to make your morning brew. You can find one fit most coffee makers on the market for less than $5. In other words, it'll pay for itself in a couple months of use.</p> <h2>3. Compact Fluorescents</h2> <p>Haven't yet switched your bulbs to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CI88SPQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CI88SPQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CPJP3J577G6NB3W2">compact fluorescents</a>? Now's the time. These bulbs use far less wattage than traditional lights, yet they give off the same amount of glow. They'll last longer, too (the ones in the link are guaranteed for nine years!).</p> <h2>4. Plastic Jar Lids</h2> <p>I'm that person who uses Ball jars for absolutely everything. I can tomatoes in them, I drink from them, I store bulk foods in them, I organize bathroom items (like cotton balls) in them, and I even started freezing foods in them. These <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000BYC4B/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0000BYC4B&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XWWYNPANXGS2E5UT">plastic jar lids</a> are extremely useful for all these purposes and easy to clean.</p> <h2>5. Dryer Balls</h2> <p>We recently purchased a set of those blue <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008Y3UXFW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008Y3UXFW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LLNKGAP6NPLZAPJF">PVC dryer balls</a> for less than $5. They fluff clothes naturally and effectively without the chemicals you'll find in dryer sheets. You'll also cut your dry time down, saving you some money on your electric or gas bill.</p> <h2>6. Kitchen Towels</h2> <p>Save hundreds of dollars on paper towels by switching exclusively to cloth. My family switched to this system years ago, and beyond the environmental impact &mdash; cloth just scrubs better than paper. We have a set of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CUFK67A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CUFK67A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RFS5LQKRR6IJGUO3">simple dish towels</a> that are super absorbent and economical.</p> <h2>7. Ice Cube Tray</h2> <p>I use our silicone <a href="http://www.amazon.com/green-sprouts-Silicone-Freezer-Green/dp/B002F9MUM0/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1415126018&amp;sr=8-11&amp;keywords=silicone+ice+cube+tray">ice cube tray</a> for far more than making ice. Each cube measures 1-ounce, which is the perfect size for freezing herbs, smoothie cubes, coffee cubes, and even making <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/08/diy-natural-lotion-cubes.html">homemade lotion cubes</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-wont-believe-how-much-you-can-save-with-an-ice-cube-tray?ref=seealso">You Won't Believe How Much You Can Save With an Ice Cube Tray</a>)</p> <h2>8. Hanging Basket</h2> <p>You can use a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008UP233O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008UP233O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2GLWTTG37FILR6FL">3-tiered hanging basket</a> in your kitchen to hold produce like onions and bananas. In your bathroom, the same basket can corral hair products and brushes. It's a basic and cheap organization tool that goes where you need it, when you need it.</p> <h2>9. Clothespins</h2> <p>Use your dryer less by hanging up clothes indoors to dry this season. Nostalgic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BWUJ1U/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002BWUJ1U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I7UON2CDK7LPAV3P">wooden clothespins</a> hold clothing in place whether outside or in, but you can use them for a number of other purposes. Hang some string and pin up your child's artwork, keep cords neat and tidy, or use them in your closet to organize accessories.</p> <h2>10. Grocery Tote</h2> <p>By now, most of us have a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JYE2MPY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00JYE2MPY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KKD4GDD6OAZWNU64">reusable grocery bag</a> &mdash; but do you remember to bring yours to the store? We stash our set in the car for easy toting whenever we find ourselves out and about. You'll save some cash on garbage fees by avoiding plastic bags and save the environment at the same time.</p> <h2>11. Fleece Throw</h2> <p>Stop nudging the thermostat up a degree and then another. Toss one of these colorful <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DP4XBGI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DP4XBGI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=63CTITJAB75VZOX7">fleece throws</a> over your reading chair and snuggle up whenever you feel a chill. Layering yourself with warm fabrics is a first line of defense against high utility bills.</p> <h2>12. Water Bottle</h2> <p>Give bottled water the cold shoulder and fill a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001U8L1Y0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001U8L1Y0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JMW7L4MVLW5OZUTA">reusable water bottle</a> at the tap. You can find bottles in all shapes, sizes, materials, and colors to suit your unique needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-or-tap-the-right-choice-for-water-may-surprise-you?ref=seealso">Bottled or Tap: The Right Choice Might Surprise You</a>)</p> <h2>13. Lunch Box</h2> <p>Americans spend nearly $1K annually eating lunches out. Put that money back in your pocket and purchase a smart, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004UISANC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004UISANC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=U2BBDUB5YYKM6HRL">insulated lunch box</a> instead. With a little planning, you'll be eating well on a dime. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-packed-lunch-ideas-youll-want-to-steal-from-your-kids?ref=seealso">10 Packed Lunch Ideas You'll Want to Steal From Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>14. Flashlight</h2> <p>Put a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005FEGYCO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005FEGYCO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=JF7H5E56JCC5FJ5R">basic flashlight</a> on your shopping list today. Too many of us realize we need one when the lights go out. It's a cheap addition to your home's emergency kit, and even a small one will light your way just fine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-items-you-might-have-forgot-in-your-emergency-kit?ref=seealso">6 Items You Might Have Forgotten in Your Emergency Kit</a>)</p> <h2>15. Shoe Organizer</h2> <p>Traditionally used for shoes, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HDRVEU8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00HDRVEU8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5SUEWRK6VR7542XF">over-the-door organizers</a> can be repurposed for a variety of organization projects. We have one in our entryway coat closet to keep mittens and hats at bay. Friends of ours have one in their pantry to hold stray things like spices and snack foods. And I love the idea to toss one in the utility closet to hold cleaning supplies.</p> <h2>16. Universal Screwdriver</h2> <p>Most of us don't need an entire set of screwdrivers to get by. Instead, get an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00009V431/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00009V431&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7XXV3MXBSY4OYBRV">all-in-one screwdriver</a> for around $5 that boasts flathead and Phillips adapters in different sizes. We keep ours in our kitchen junk drawer for those sneaky everyday tasks.</p> <p><em>What's the most useful household item you have that was under $10? 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/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-home-purchases-for-under-10-that-are-well-worth-the-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100">14 Ways to Make Your Yard Look Awesome for Under $100</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-10-items-to-borrow">The Best 10 Items to Borrow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-tool-gifts-for-fixer-uppers">10 Cool Tool Gifts for Fixer Uppers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-gadgets-that-arent-worth-the-money">10 Kitchen Gadgets That Aren&#039;t Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/screwdrivers-to-saws-stocking-your-first-toolbox">Screwdrivers to Saws: Stocking Your First Toolbox</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home $10 purchases household goods tools utility drawer Wed, 12 Nov 2014 22:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1253728 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Ways to Make Your Yard Look Awesome for Under $100 http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-playing-yard-80380384-small.jpg" alt="family playing yard" title="family playing yard" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Owning a home can be a lot of work, and it can be costly, especially when you have a sizable property. But there are some basic things you can do to keep your yard looking awesome without spending a ton of cash.</p> <p>Here are 14 things you can do to keep your yard in tip-top shape while spending less than $100.</p> <h2>1. Plant Stuff</h2> <p>A good-looking yard is full of life. Plant some shrubs in your front yard, perhaps even a couple tall bushes to frame your doorway. Buy some different types of flowers and plant them in spots that get good sunlight, and water them frequently. (Consider planting perennials, like roses and mums, which can bloom for multiple seasons.) To get started, you'll want to invest in some decent soil, which can be purchased relatively cheaply at your local home improvement store.</p> <h2>2. Trim Stuff</h2> <p>It's great to have trees, bushes, and plants to give life to your yard, but things can get overgrown if you don't keep an eye on them. Trim any tree branches that are close to your house or over your neighbor's yard. Keep your hedges at a nice, consistent height. Cut away any vines creeping over your fences. You can handle most trimming work with a decent pair of long clippers and a band saw. Cordless, rechargeable hedge trimmers can also be useful and are often available for under $100.</p> <h2>3. Pull Weeds</h2> <p>If you have plants, you will have weeds. And weeds are your enemy. Luckily, they are easy to spot, and usually easily pulled out of flower beds. Use RoundUp or a similar product to kill any weeds in stubborn areas, like along the cracks in your sidewalk and driveway.</p> <h2>4. Rake</h2> <p>Get those leaves up! Leaves on the yard can look pretty for a while, but after a short time they start to block any sun from reaching your grass. A couple good days of raking will do the trick, but you could also blow those leaves away with a gas or battery powered blower.</p> <h2>5. Lay Down Mulch</h2> <p>Putting some mulch in your gardens serves several purposes. A thick layer of mulch makes it harder for weeds to grow, and also protects plant roots from getting scorched by the sun in the summer. Moreover, a good, dark mulch can help make the color from flowers petals really pop. You can get a bag of mulch for just a few bucks, so it's one of the best investments for your yard. Tip: Always buy a bag or two more than you think you might need.</p> <h2>6. Edge</h2> <p>To make things look extra-nice, you'll want to sharpen things up by creating a hard edge between your lawn and garden beds, and along any sidewalks or driveways. You can do this by hand in small areas using a trowel, but it's also worth investing less than $100 in a cordless or gas-powered edger. (Some edgers have replaceable heads that allow you to turn the machine into a weed-wacker or other tool.)</p> <h2>7. Put Up Some Lattice</h2> <p>Some white crisscross lattice can be a good way to cover up unsightly areas. At my house, we had lattice installed near the outdoor steps to my basement, and it has the added effect of preventing small kids from falling over into the stairwell. Vinyl lattice is virtually maintenance-free, and can be purchased for less than $1 per square foot.</p> <h2>8. Power Wash Your House</h2> <p>What's the point of sprucing up your yard if the house looks filthy? After enduring heavy rain, intense sun and other assaults, the exterior of your house is bound to get dirty. Vinyl siding might get stained or discolored, brick and stone walls look dingy, and the roof looks grimey. You can blast your house clean by investing in a good gas-powered washer. It's possible to buy one for under $100, or you could rent one a couple times a year to keep your house looking spiffy.</p> <h2>9. Paint</h2> <p>Look around your house for any faded or peeling spots, and get to work with a few gallons of paint. This won't set you back much, and it's a job most people can do themselves. Pay special attention to things like front doors, window ledges, deck railings, and shutters.</p> <h2>10. Tend to Your Lawn</h2> <p>It's easy to just mow the lawn and forget about it, but if you want one of the nicest yards in the neighborhood, you'll have to do some extra work. Each fall, you'll want to spend some time thatching out any dead stuff &mdash; there are special rakes you can buy at a low price, or even machines to rent. Once that's done, lay down new seed. This may mean you'll have to buy or rent a spreader, but those are usually available for under $100. Bags of seed will run you about $50 each. Water your lawn and feed it fertilizer in the spring. This will ensure your lawn comes up nice, healthy and green.</p> <h2>11. Get an Old Bench</h2> <p>It's amazing how something like a bench can transform a space in someone's yard. It's not too hard to procure an old bench from yard sales and antique shops, and you can spruce it up by sanding out any rough edges and giving it a new paint job. Place the bench under a tree or next to a flower bed to create an awesome sense of place.</p> <h2>12. Get a Birdbath</h2> <p>A birdbath has a similar effect as a bench. They look great when placed next to trees, and it's fun to see how they can attract various species of birds. You can buy a solid birdbath for under $50 at many stores.</p> <h2>13. Build a Firepit</h2> <p>It's really fun to sit out back and enjoy the warmth of a fire on a cool night, and a firepit can be a great accent to any yard. Top-of-the-line firepits can be expensive to install, but you can easily make one yourself using some flat stones and cement or mortar on a gravel surface. (Here's one person who claims to have <a href="http://sharpecreations.blogspot.ca/2011/05/fire-pit.html?m=1" style="text-decoration:none;">built a firepit for only $8</a>.)</p> <h2>14. Dig a Pond</h2> <p>This can be a wonderful addition to any garden, and they aren't too difficult to construct. You can get a small polyethylene liner for less than $100. Just dig and install. (Okay, it's not quite that easy. But it's not a big chore, either.) Over time, you can add some surrounding flowers, lilypads, and fish. You may even attract some frogs and turtles. Those with bigger budgets may want to consider a fountain or waterfall.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your yard looking great, for cheap? 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-make-your-yard-look-awesome-for-under-100">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/screwdrivers-to-saws-stocking-your-first-toolbox">Screwdrivers to Saws: Stocking Your First Toolbox</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/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice">DIY Home Improvement: 10 Free Options for Training and Advice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-prevent-brown-lawn-spots-from-dog-urine">3 Ways to Prevent Brown Lawn Spots From Dog Urine</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-create-your-dream-backyard-on-a-budget">How to Create Your Dream Backyard on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-10-items-to-borrow">The Best 10 Items to Borrow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home home improvement lawn care tools yardwork Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1221879 at http://www.wisebread.com