transportation http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8866/all en-US How I Saved Enough for a Down Payment While Working in China http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hand_globe_43186582.jpg" alt="How to save for a down payment while working in China" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was first considering teaching abroad after graduating from college, I had many friends and family who were concerned that I'd be setting myself back financially. With the best of intentions, these loved ones told me that I would be making a mistake by moving to Asia and accepting a lower paycheck. How would I ever afford a car or a house if I didn't find a high-paying job in Canada or the U.S. and start saving right away?</p> <p>Ten years later, I look back and realize that teaching abroad was one of the best financial decisions of my life. During our four years <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad" target="_blank">teaching in China</a>, my husband and I saved enough between us for a down payment on our house in Southern California.</p> <p>Not every job abroad will be a an ideal situation for saving, so if you're considering teaching or working abroad, and want to prioritize saving, here are a few tips for how to save as much as you can.</p> <h2>1. Find Free or Subsidized Housing</h2> <p>Many schools and companies abroad realize that it's hard for foreign employees to pick up and leave their home countries without having a living situation set up in the new country. Therefore, many employment contracts abroad include either a housing allowance, or a free or subsidized apartment that belongs to the company. In our case, the school we worked for owned an apartment block which provided heavily subsidized living quarters for teachers and employees.</p> <p>Living rent-free or on subsidized rent saves a <em>huge </em>chunk of your income that you can put entirely toward savings. It also saves a tremendous amount of time and stress when your overseas employer helps arrange your living quarters.</p> <p>It also helps greatly if the living quarters provided by the employer come furnished, which will cut down on the initial costs of moving. Having to purchase furniture and appliances can make it harder for you to start saving right away.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of the Lower Cost of Living</h2> <p>Another huge factor that enabled us to save was the lower cost of living in our host country. By choosing to eat at local restaurants and shop at local grocery stores, we saved hundreds of dollars every month on food in a city where the local cost of living was quite a bit lower than at home in the U.S. Of course, it would have been easy to blow our paychecks eating at expat-oriented bars and restaurants (Starbucks was pretty much everywhere in our city), but we saved the pricier international food for weekends and special occasions. A nice side effect of our frugal mentality is that we discovered a whole new world of delicious local dishes that we would never have tried otherwise.</p> <p>Not all countries will have a lower cost of living than your home country, of course, so it's worth looking into what it typically costs for food, clothing, rent (if you are renting a place yourself), health care, and other necessities before going.</p> <h2>3. Use Public Transportation</h2> <p>We saved the cost of having to maintain a car because our apartment was walking distance to the school where we worked. On weekends, a cheap and efficient subway system was our transportation of choice whenever we wanted to leave the school campus. When looking for a job overseas, be sure to ask questions about how you will get to and from work, and what transportation options exist to take you to the fun part of town. Some jobs (generally not teaching jobs, though) will even provide a company car and driver to make things easier for you.</p> <h2>4. Live Simply</h2> <p>Curbing excess spending is a good financial strategy no matter where you live, but I think it's easier to live simply when you anticipate moving in a year or a few. Because we didn't plan on staying more than a few years, I was less motivated to buy unnecessary stuff, with the mentality that everything needed to fit in a couple suitcases for the trip home. While we did spend money on leisure activities such as traveling during our holidays, for the most part, we just enjoyed meeting new friends and exploring our city, activities that didn't cost much.</p> <p>We did end up shipping a few souvenirs back home, but because we had to pay to ship them, we were more mindful about purchasing only what we loved.</p> <h2>5. Research Your Tax Exemptions</h2> <p>Although U.S. citizens and residents are required to pay taxes on foreign-earned income, a large chunk of that income (or even all of it depending on how much you make) could be <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-earned-income-exclusion">exempt from income taxes</a>. When filing your yearly taxes, be sure to file your foreign-earned income correctly. Of course, you may be taxed in your country of employment, but in our experience the local tax was very low. You will want to research the tax rate in the country you're thinking of working in before you accept a job.</p> <p>Before accepting a job overseas, be sure also to ask about health benefits and support in case you run into a medical emergency. If your employer does not provide adequate health benefits, you may have to purchase it privately, which you should factor into your savings plan. It also goes without saying that you should do research into typical salaries for the job you will be doing, as they can vary widely depending on the employer.</p> <p>If you play your cards right, you can certainly turn a few years of adventure working overseas into an opportunity to save and to meet your financial goals.</p> <p><em>Have you considered working overseas? What's holding you back?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China.jpg&amp;description=How%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20I%20Saved%20Enough%20for%20a%20Down%20Payment%20While%20Working%20in%20China.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china">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/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</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-10-worst-states-for-retirees">The 10 Worst States for Retirees</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-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-women-can-avoid-paying-the-pink-tax">4 Ways Women Can Avoid Paying the &quot;Pink Tax&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Travel cost of living expats living abroad overseas saving money taxes teaching abroad transportation working Thu, 25 Aug 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1778730 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_riding_bike_62106672.jpg" alt="Woman loving life after swapping her car for a bike" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever thought about ditching your car and finding a new way to get around? Making your bicycle your best friend may be the smartest move you can make to save money, burn calories, and generally improve your life.</p> <p>If you're searching for a reason to pull the trigger on the all-bike lifestyle, consider these nine ways that life is an amazing when you eschew the car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free?ref=seealso">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</a>)</p> <h2>1. You'll Save Money on Gas</h2> <p>Okay, so let's say you have a 30-mile roundtrip commute. And let's say you're spending $2.25 per gallon on gasoline. If you get 30 miles per gallon on your car, you're spending about $2.25 a day on gasoline. That's $11.25 a week, or more than $500 per year. Ditch your car, and that's money back in your pocket. And best of all, when gas prices spike, your commuting expenses will stay the same.</p> <h2>2. You'll Save Money on Insurance</h2> <p>No car means nothing to insure. And this means money saved. The average cost to insure even a basic sedan was $1,222 per year in 2015, according to AAA. That's a significant chunk of change back in your pocket.</p> <h2>3. You'll Save Money on Maintenance</h2> <p>A bike might need some repairs and a tuneup now and then, but the cost of this work is nothing compared to a car. AAA reports that the average <a href="http://newsroom.aaa.com/auto/your-driving-costs/">driver spends $792 annually</a> on car maintenance. Add that to the cost of gas and insurance, and you can see the thousands of dollars saved by ditching the car and going for the bike.</p> <h2>4. You'll See More</h2> <p>Whenever I ride my bike, I always end up noticing new things about my surroundings. It might be a new small business in my town, renovations to an old home, or a park in need of some cleanup. It's a rather nice feeling to see your environment unfurl itself in front of you as you ride. It's so much easier to see what's around you when you're not enclosed inside a vehicle.</p> <h2>5. You'll Shop More Locally</h2> <p>One downside to riding a bike everywhere is that you obviously can't haul a lot of stuff. This means no long trips to the Super Walmart for groceries. But, it also means that the shopping you do will be done locally, possibly to the benefit of smaller, independent stores. Proponents of the Shop Local movement claim that if you spend $100 at local small stores, $68 will stay in your community, compared to $43 for big chains.</p> <h2>6. Exercise!</h2> <p>There's no question that cycling is great for your health. According to an online calculator from bicycling.com, a one-hour bike ride at a moderate pace can lead to <a href="http://www.bicycling.com/training/weight-loss/cycling-calories-burned-calculator">more than 500 calories burned</a>, or even 1,000 if you really push the pace. Biking will help you build leg muscles, but is also good for the back and abdomen. And it's generally seen as lower impact than running. One study even suggested that women who bike to work were<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22525983">significantly less likely to fracture their wrists.</a></p> <h2>7. You'll Look Forward to Going to Work</h2> <p>Who gets excited about sitting in a car in traffic, or stuffing yourself onto a crowded subway car? By incorporating a bike into your commute, you're incorporating an enjoyable activity into your daily drudgery.</p> <h2>8. Your Employer Might Pay You</h2> <p>Good employers want their workers to be healthy, so many will incentivize bike commuting by offering cash back as a fringe benefit. The IRS allows employers to reimburse bicycle commuters up to $20 per month for bike-related expenses, such as storage, repairs, a helmet, or the purchase of a bike itself.</p> <h2>9. You Save Time</h2> <p>You might assume that biking will take longer than driving. But this isn't always the case, research shows. Kiplinger reported that half of the commuting population in the U.S. <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T012-C000-S001-cut-commuting-costs-by-biking-to-work.html#A2M2E7fbT47UL1Mm.99">travels five miles or less to work</a>, and that riding a bike that distance can often be faster than driving. As a cyclist, you have access to trails, bike lanes, and side roads that will allow you to avoid drivers and traffic jams.</p> <p><em>Have you traded in your car for a bike? How has your life improved? 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/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</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/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free!</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/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</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/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation bike bike commute biking car car commute commuting environment exercise saving transportation Mon, 01 Aug 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1762106 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_72593117_LARGE.jpg" alt="going car free is easy in these cities" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's ample evidence that walkable neighborhoods breed <a href="http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/12/growing-evidence-shows-walkability-is-good-for-you-and-for-cities/383612/">safer, healthier, and more democratic constituencies</a>. And even in cities with high levels of smog &mdash; here's looking at you, Los Angeles &mdash; studies show that the <a href="http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/walking-and-cycling-good-for-health-even-in-cities-with-higher-levels-of-air-pollution">health benefits of walking</a> or cycling or recreation or as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-morning-commute">means of commuting</a> far outweigh the negative health risks associated with breathing in air pollution. What's more, when city dwellers opt to walk or cycle instead of relying on gas guzzlers, overall air pollution levels can be reduced. It's a win-win-win. You don't need a car to get around these U.S. cities.</p> <h2>1. Boston</h2> <p>Nicknamed America's Walking City, Boston's relatively small footprint is dense with small neighborhoods, each with a unique character and a smattering of restaurants, shops, and convenience stores. That is to say that most Bostonians can complete their daily errands without ever putting the key in the ignition. Boston is also a city where owning a car, in many cases, costs more than it's worth. Take, for example, these<a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/06/30/got-these-back-bay-parking-spots-could-yours/BOvFjiiID0xWUJtQZxjdNM/story.html"> tandem, uncovered parking spaces</a> in the high-end Beacon Hill neighborhood. For about a half million dollars, they can be yours. No, this isn't a one-time fluke in pricing. That's actually the going rate. A pair of parking spots on the same street <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/11/03/look-back-some-priciest-parking-spots-boston/tIPhO225Vv5Mrdxy8aVYjJ/story.html?p1=Article_Related_Box_Article">sold for $560,000</a> at an auction in 2013.</p> <h2>2. New York</h2> <p>The city that never sleeps &mdash; Manhattan, in particular &mdash; is as pedestrian-friendly as they come. With sidewalks, bike lanes, buses, and subway routes galore, New York brings amenities such as markets, shops, workplaces, medical centers, and gyms in close proximity to the apartments and condos where people live. The city also has easy street crossings and long block lengths, making for more pleasurable pedestrian routes. There is, however, <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/plans-studies/sustainable-communities/bmn/bronx_metro_report/walkability.pdf">room for improvement</a>. Manhattan is by far the most walkable of New York's boroughs, but it accounts for just 8% of the city's population. Other boroughs aren't actually all that walkable. In the Bronx, neighborhood decline and disinvestment in public transit has made walking around some neighborhoods difficult and less enticing. In truth, the real walkability winner here is Manhattan, and not all of New York City.</p> <h2>3. Washington, D.C.</h2> <p>Much of the nation's capital has walkable zones where residential and retail spaces are in close proximity. And, unlike New York, these zones are evenly distributed between downtown areas and the suburbs. That means it's not just the <a href="http://www.archdaily.com/521438/washington-d-c-the-most-walkable-city-in-the-us">heart of the city that's walkable</a>, but the outskirts, as well.</p> <h2>4. San Francisco</h2> <p>The Golden Gate City was built on 42 hills &mdash; terrain that can make for treacherous gear shifting. And while all those hills will do a number on your calf muscles, there's truly no better way to get around San Francisco's densely populated districts. That's because a quarter of the 49 square-mile city's office, retail, and multi-family rental space is located within the bounds of <a href="http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/foot-traffic-ahead-2016/">walkable neighborhoods</a>. And while it's possible to break out of these neighborhood walkability zones and <a href="http://www.sfwalkingman.com/">trek the entire city by foot</a>, it's not exactly the fastest or most practical method of getting around. Alas, every city has its walkability limits.</p> <h2>5. Detroit</h2> <p>Oddly enough, you can get around Motor City just fine by foot &mdash; no motor required. In fact, these days <a href="http://wdet.org/posts/2016/06/20/83328-going-motorless-in-the-motor-city/">pedestrian-friendly projects</a> are sprouting up all over Detroit. And it's not just for the sake of recreation. About a quarter of all households citywide lack access to a motor vehicle. New walking path projects can help many in this demographic commute to and from the places they need to go, such as work, the grocery store, and school. And since you can't walk everywhere, new bike paths are surfacing, as well. Whereas Detroit had no bike lanes a decade ago, there are now nearly 200 of them.</p> <p><em>What other cities are good for going car-free? 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/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</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-hidden-advantages-to-getting-rid-of-your-car">7 Hidden Advantages to Getting Rid of Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free!</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-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us">The good life on less energy--even in the US</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/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Cars and Transportation bike car car-free city environmentally friendly public transportation transportation u.s. cities walking Wed, 20 Jul 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1755541 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy Ways to Get Your Finances Fit For Summer http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-get-your-finances-fit-for-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-ways-to-get-your-finances-fit-for-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_son_hammock_000084288399.jpg" alt="Woman getting her finances fit for summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is just around the corner, and the warm weather and extra free time can put a big ding in your finances. Stay proactive about potential summertime overspending by implementing these smart strategies that'll have you headed into the season financially fit.</p> <h2>1. Review Your Current Budget</h2> <p>It's always a good idea to take stock of your current expenses to determine where you can save. This means reviewing your recurring expenses by taking a hard look at your debit and credit card activity. If you have memberships or subscriptions that you barely use and can live without it, ditch 'em. The more dead weight you can unload, the more extra &quot;free&quot; money you'll have to start your summer fund.</p> <h2>2. Establish a Summer-Activity Budget</h2> <p>I'm very much a planner, and as a result I generally know what my summer plans are well ahead of time. The great thing about planning ahead is that you can get a good picture of your upcoming expenses and start saving accordingly. It's easy to establish a summer activity budget that maps out all the fun things you plan to do along with their associated costs. And if your plans change, you can tweak it accordingly.</p> <h2>3. Compare Transportation and Lodging for Travel</h2> <p>One of the biggest mistakes I notice from self-proclaimed savvy spenders and savers is that they sometimes hop on a deal too quickly. Sure, they're using discount sites to score savings on lodging and transportation, but is it really the best deal available? I always recommend comparing prices between multiple sites, and don't just limit yourself to your go-to savings depots. In fact, I've gotten better deals going directly to the hotels or airlines' websites at times.</p> <p>And here's another tip: Pick up the phone! Very few of us dial our vacation service providers to see what promotions they may be offering, and it could pay off big. It's worth spending the 10 to 20 minutes scouting the best buys. A few extra dollars saved are a few extra dollars that you can use for a nicer meal or fun activity while you're on vacay.</p> <h2>4. Explore Low-Cost Kids' Activities</h2> <p>Child care &mdash; especially of the all-day variety during the summer months &mdash; can zap your budget quickly. But there are several ways you can minimize those costs. Patty Cathey, an investment advisor in Denver, Colo., offers a few ideas on child care alternatives.</p> <p>&quot;Look into summer camps through your city recreation department, community center, or YMCA. Many churches or religious groups also offer affordable camps. As far as amusement parks, the zoo, or museums go, hold out for promotional offers, which are frequent in the summer. LivingSocial and Groupon often is a good resource for lower admission. And many communities offer free or cheap things for kids and families to do in the summer. The local library has educational activities, and there are free or cheap outdoor summer concerts, parades, and town festivals to take advantage of as well.&quot;</p> <p>And let's not forget one of my favorite summertime promotions &mdash; <a href="http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/">free bowling for kids</a>. Registered kids receive two free games of bowling <em>per day </em>at participating locations.</p> <h2>5. Cut Your Energy Expenses</h2> <p>I'll be the first one to admit the my air conditioner goes on if it's above 60 degrees outside at bedtime. But, I do try to cut energy costs wherever I can. For one, I grill outside more often in the summer, which reduces the amount of dishes I'm using on a daily basis, thus extending the time between my dishwasher cycles. Lights are turned off in favor of natural sunlight, and curtains and blinds are closed to keep too much sun from coming in if it's particularly hot outside. I water plants from a watering can instead of letting the hose run nonstop, and drying clothes outside is a pocket-wise way to avoid using the dryer during the summer.</p> <p>Cathey has a few more tips.</p> <p>&quot;You could save close to $200 over the course of the year by installing a <a href="http://amzn.to/1UmaQOl">programmable thermostat</a> and setting the temperature back 10 to 15 degrees for the hours you're at work,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>6. Take Advantage of Seasonal Sales</h2> <p>There are lots of sales during the summer season that can help you score big savings if you strike while the iron is hot. Groceries can be especially taxing during the summer &mdash; all those BBQ meats and fresh fruits and veggies aren't cheap &mdash; but you'll get the most for your money by comparing circulars, locating the best deals in your area, and stacking your coupons and apps, like Cartwheel, Ibotta, and Checkout 51.</p> <p>Savings expert Jill Cataldo recommends <a href="https://flipp.com/">Flipp</a>, a free app that gathers all the store circulars in your area in one easy-to-use platform.</p> <p>&quot;Use Flipp to plan your weekly grocery trips, and you'll enjoy its coupon-matching feature, which automatically points out additional discounts available on what you're buying at the supermarket,&quot; she says. &quot;When you can seamlessly save 20% to 70% on items you're shopping for every week, that adds up to big savings throughout the year.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Harness the Power of Old and Discounted Gift Cards</h2> <p>I love going through my wallet at the beginning of the summer to see what gift cards I have leftover, so that I can use them to save on dining or shopping while on vacation. Another great way to use gift cards is to buy them at discount &mdash; the idea of which is to spend less for the actual amount on the card even though it retains its full value. <a href="https://www.raise.com/buy-gift-cards">Raise's</a> marketplace allows people to save money and afford all the things to do during summer in two ways:</p> <ul> <li>People that have old or unwanted gift cards can sell them and get cash back, which is a great way get extra money towards summer fun.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Outlet lovers can buy gift cards at a discount and use the money they would have spent on other things such as going on vacation, having BBQs, and more.</li> </ul> <p>With 4,000 different retailers' gift cards for sale, it's easy to trade on this great source of value.</p> <h2>8. Add a Side Hustle to Your Schedule</h2> <p>If you have summer plans that exceed your budget, all may not be lost. Perhaps it's time to start thinking about picking up a side hustle, like renting out a room in your home on Airbnb, dog sitting for locals through DogVacay, or driving for a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. The social and sharing economy is thriving, and there's a place for you in it &mdash; guaranteed. I always advocate for the side hustle when you're strapped for cash, because in most cases it's relatively easy work. In other words, if you're complaining that you don't have enough money, there are options ready and waiting for you. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-side-benefits-of-your-side-hustle?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Unexpected Side Benefits of Your Side Hustle</a>)</p> <h2>9. Rely on Cold, Hard Cash More Often</h2> <p>It's convenient to swipe your plastic wherever you go, but studies show that using cash as your currency of choice limits the amount you'll spend. In fact, a study conducted by Dun &amp; Bradstreet revealed that we spend 12% to 18% more when using debit or credit card opposed to dolla-dolla bills.</p> <p>Hard-money lending expert Elizabeth Jenkins details an idea on how to use cash to spend less.</p> <p>&quot;Allocate your cash budgets into weekly envelopes,&quot; she says. &quot;Have an envelope for weekly food, fun, gas, rent, etc., and make sure to close them. You'll find a feeling of guilt as you take money from an envelope to pay for something unrelated to that budget.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system?ref=seealso">A Comprehensive Guide to the Envelope System</a>)</p> <h2>10. Change the Way You View Spending</h2> <p>Retail therapy feels good &mdash; until it doesn't. To curb spending, it's important to start viewing it as a necessity opposed to a recreational activity. Instead, focus on more important activities that increase your well being, instead of adding more clutter to it with material things.</p> <p>&quot;Spending can be addictive,&quot; Jenkins warns. &quot;Work on spending 'time' on things rather than money. Pick up an exercise routine, start a hobby, work on your house, or any other number of time consuming projects. Transfer your energy into projects that may cost some amount money, but will help your job, home, or family in the long run.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some ways you're getting your finances fit for summer? I'd love to hear your tips and suggestions 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/10-easy-ways-to-get-your-finances-fit-for-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</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-times-cash-is-not-king">8 Times Cash Is Not King</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-money-leaks-you-need-to-plug">7 Money Leaks You Need to Plug</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-travel-destinations-for-people-who-hate-crowds">10 Travel Destinations for People Who Hate Crowds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-ways-youre-going-to-waste-money-this-summer">9 Dumb Ways You&#039;re Going to Waste Money This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting cutting costs energy summer transportation travel warm weather Tue, 03 May 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1702381 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Green Living Habits That'll Save You Every Month http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_watering_plant_000015068906.jpg" alt="Woman having green living habits that&#039;ll save her every month" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Another Earth Day is just around the corner. Let's get a head start on saving the planet with these eco-friendly lifestyle tips that'll also save you moolah every month. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green">11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take Advantage of Natural Light</h2> <p>I try to keep the lights off in the house as much as possible, even when I go to the bathroom late at night (I use my phone as a flashlight instead) to reduce my overall energy costs. As an alternative to the artificial lights in my house, I take advantage of natural light from the windows during the day (open your doors and blinds) and sometimes candles or other secondary light sources (like my devices) when the sun goes down.</p> <h2>2. Plug Drafts to Reduce Heating Costs</h2> <p>If there are drafts coming in from holes and crevices around your house, the climate-controlled air for which you pay is escaping. Resolve this costly problem by plugging drafts yourself (if you're able to identify the draft location and capable of doing the work) or hiring someone to help you out. Many times, however, the solution to the problem is as simple as putting a towel or blanket in front of doors and wrapping windows and A/C units for the winter.</p> <h2>3. Adjust the Settings on Your Appliances</h2> <p>Your appliances could be working overtime unnecessarily. Check the settings on your fridge, freezer, stove, microwave, and more to determine if they're turned up too high. If they can get the job done properly on lower settings, turn them down.</p> <h2>4. Install a &quot;Greywater&quot; System</h2> <p>Greywater &mdash; essentially any household wastewater with the exception of the toilet &mdash; can be repurposed in other areas around the home to help you cut back on water usage across the board.</p> <p>&quot;A... laundry-to-landscape greywater system can reduce water costs by reusing water used on clothes washing or sink/shower water to irrigate the garden,&quot; says Morgan Vondrak, a certified sustainable landscape designer at Argia Designs in San Francisco. &quot;This is a great way to grow fruit trees and water intensive edible shrubs.&quot;</p> <p>Conservation and green design expert Pablo Solomon suggests a couple more uses for greywater. &quot;Put a dishwashing pan in your sinks and showers to catch water. Also dip out and save your bath water. This greywater is great to flush toilets and to water plants,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>5. Use Cold Water to Wash Clothes, and Clean the Dryer Lint Trap</h2> <p>Using cold water versus hot water when washing clothes won't save you a ton, but if you're looking to shave a few bucks of your bill every month (and you're okay laundering with cold water), it's a decent solution.</p> <p>&quot;When doing laundry, use cold water instead of hot in your washing machine, which can save you over $3 per month,&quot; Solomon advises. &quot;The dryer typically accounts for 5% of your monthly electric bill, but keeping the lint trap clean on a regular basis will dry clothes faster and lower energy expenditures.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Use Sunlight to Help Control Temperature</h2> <p>Drafts can affect the temperature of your home, especially when the heat is pumping during the winter months. But the amount of sunlight in your home can also dramatically raise or lower the inside temperature, which is important to remember during both the hot and cold seasons.</p> <p>&quot;Use window coverings to keep sunlight from heating your rooms too much in summer and to let in warming rays in the winter,&quot; Solomon recommends. &quot;Window coverings can be expensive, but you can also improvise. You can use blankets, and you can also make your own curtains or buy them at resale shops. I have a friend who sewed bubble wrap between layers of cloth to make really attractive and amazingly efficient drapes.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Lower the Temperature of Your Hot Water Heater</h2> <p>I recommended using cold water instead of hot to wash clothes to save a few bucks a month, but you also should inspect your hot water heater to see if perhaps it's running too hot in general.</p> <p>&quot;If you have to turn on the cold water along with the hot so your shower isn't scalding, you are paying too much to heat your water,&quot; says Eileen Flanagan, author of <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rlmy8l">Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness, and Hope</a>. &quot;Most experts recommend 120 Fahrenheit. Once you find a temperature that is comfortable when you turn on just the hot tap, you can leave it set there and forget about it &mdash; except for vacations when you can turn it down further.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Power Your Devices From a Strip &mdash; And Remember to Turn It Off</h2> <p>Rather than plugging devices in single outlets spread all over the house, try to consolidate your energy and charging efforts onto one charging strip so you can control the power usage with one switch.</p> <p>&quot;Smart power plugs can detect how much electricity your 'energy vampires' &mdash; like TVs, game consoles, and mobile phones &mdash; are consuming and can be set to automatically turn off every night and then turn back on every morning,&quot; says Gene Wang, CEO and co-founder of People Power, a tech company in California.</p> <p>As a habit, only plug in other devices and appliances &mdash; like printers, toasters, and coffeemakers &mdash; when you need to use them.</p> <h2>9. Nip Drips in the Bud ASAP</h2> <p>Hopefully we're all shutting off the sink while we're brushing our teeth and taking quick showers to conserve water, but it's all for naught if you have a leak in your pipes or a drippy faucet. If either of these situations are flushing your money down the drain, put a stop to it.</p> <h2>10. Think of Carpet and Rugs as Extra Insulation</h2> <p>Rugs and carpeting can provide extra insulation in your home, which is helpful during the winter months. It's often cheaper to install &mdash; especially area rugs &mdash; than re-insulating your home or turning the heat up. Plus, your little tootsies will thank you for not having to touch a cold floor in the morning.</p> <h2>11. Travel by Foot, Bike, or Public Transportation More Often</h2> <p>You can save a serious amount of money on gas and car maintenance by changing the way you travel, especially locally. Walk, bike, or take public transportation to the places you need to go more often when the weather is nice. Carpooling is a great option, too. I used to carpool with a buddy of mine to work &mdash; we would each have one week on and one week off, which resulted in significant fuel savings (more than $1,000) that I was able to put toward other expenses.</p> <h2>12. Consider Scheduling an Energy Audit</h2> <p>If you're serious about going green, but don't really know where to start, consider scheduling an energy audit to determine what can and needs to be done to reduce your carbon footprint and monthly energy spend.</p> <p>&quot;Most utility companies offer them free or close to free,&quot; says Shel Horowitz, author and green business profitability expert. &quot;Last time we did one, they gave us hundreds of dollars worth of LED light bulbs and picked up two-thirds of the cost of re-insulating.&quot;</p> <p><em>What are some of your green living habits that save you money every month? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</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/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-green-could-mean-more-money-in-your-pocket">Going Green Could Mean More Money In Your Pocket</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-simple-ways-to-make-your-refrigerator-more-efficient">8 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home appliances eco friendly energy efficient going green greywater saving money transportation Wed, 02 Mar 2016 10:30:32 +0000 Mikey Rox 1665770 at http://www.wisebread.com Save on Car Rentals With These 10 Easy Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-rentals-with-these-10-easy-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-on-car-rentals-with-these-10-easy-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000048091142_Large.jpg" alt="couple enjoying easy car rental hacks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, I've rented vehicles in over a dozen countries around the world. From those experiences, and a significant amount of research, I've learned some extremely useful tips that I use when renting a car. And to share the wealth, I'm passing them along to you, so that you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-your-next-car-rental-without-even-trying-hard">save big money on your next rental</a>. Let's get started.</p> <h2>1. Deny the Insurance</h2> <p>Almost all major <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card">credit cards will cover your rental insurance</a>, so if you're paying for the car on your credit card, there's almost always no reason to pay for insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso">Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Offers</a>)</p> <p>If you have put rentals on your credit card in the past, and still paid the rental agency for the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), I'm sorry to be the one to tell you that you wasted your money. However, sometimes rental insurance specifics can be hard to understand or hidden in the small print.</p> <p>You want to make sure that you have Primary Insurance Coverage with your credit card, meaning that if something were to happen to the car (knock on wood) while it's in your possession, you'll be able to file the claim directly with the credit card's insurance rather than fussing with the rental company's insurance plan &mdash; which most people want to avoid like the plague.</p> <h2>2. Earn Rewards Points With Your Rental</h2> <p>Some credit cards will give you some pretty lucrative points bonuses when you're renting a car. Make sure you check your current rewards programs on all of your cards and try to use one that offers a bonus for rentals. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/citi-hilton-hhonors-reserve-enjoy-more-free-stays">Citi&reg; Hilton HHonors&trade; Reserve Card</a> from our partner Citi offers five bonus points on every dollar spent on car rentals and 25% off of rentals with National Car Rentals. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review-500-signup-bonus">Chase Sapphire Preferred Card</a> gives 20% off when you redeem points for car rentals.</p> <h2>3. Earn Points on Your Gas</h2> <p>You're going to have to pay for gas during the time you have the rental car, so why not earn some serious points at the pump? Use the credit card that offers the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">most rewards on gas purchases</a>. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cashing-in-at-the-supermarket-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express-review">Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express</a> offers 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations (terms and conditions apply).</p> <h2>4. Book the Car With Your Flight</h2> <p>Next time you're booking a flight and you know you're going to want a rental car for a portion of your visit, consider clicking that &quot;Flight+Car&quot; tab that appears at the top of the page on your favorite booking engine. This little tab will open a whole category of secret discounts that can often save you money when you reserve a car with your airline ticket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources?ref=seealso">40+ Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a>)</p> <p>I ran a test booking for a return flight from New York to London in November of 2015 with Expedia and found that when booking a Hertz rental with the flight, the car was only $160 for the week. When searching for the same car and the same dates on Hertz's website, it was $225 for the week. In this case, the Flight+Car hack saved $65 in a week.</p> <p>Note: Savings vary depending on flights and dates, but there are times when you can nearly earn a free car rental by using the Flight+Car tab.</p> <h2>5. Rent Long-Term</h2> <p>The longer you rent your car, the cheaper it will become. In a sample reservation I made with Avis, I found that the daily rental rate was $34.10, while the monthly rate was only $11.60 per day, for a savings of $22.50 per day. If you rent the vehicle for 30 days, you'll save $675!</p> <p>On top of this amazing discount, many rental companies will waive the &quot;drop-off&quot; fee if you choose to leave the car at a different location than the one you picked it up from. These fees can be as high as $50. Add this to the savings above and you've kept $725 in your pocket over the course of a month-long rental.</p> <h2>6. Don't Pick Up at the Airport</h2> <p>I know, it's easy and convenient to simply hop off of your plane and into the driver's seat of your new rental, but if you're really trying to save money, you wouldn't do this! In my test bookings, I found that there are &quot;airport fees&quot; attached to reservations at almost all rental providers. These fees ranged from $9&ndash;$30. This may not sound like a lot, but if you're only booking for a day or two, that can be a large percentage of your overall rental rate.</p> <p>A taxi into town to rent a car at a different location may cost more than $30, but if you're taking public transport or having a friend meet you at the airport, you may want to consider driving a few miles away from the runway to save on that pesky airport fee.</p> <h2>7. Return the Car With a Full Tank</h2> <p>Rental companies hate when they have to fill up the gas tanks. In fact, they hate it so much that they'll charge you ridiculous rates for returning the car with less gas than you took it out with. Apparently car companies use super premium fuel, because if they have to fill up the car for you, you'll find a charge on your credit card that's more than double the normal price per gallon.</p> <p>Most rental agencies will give you the car with a full tank. Make sure you return it with the same amount, or more.</p> <h2>8. Use a Promo Code</h2> <p>Rental agencies love to run promotions and discounts for fixed periods of time. While you're shopping for your next rental car, keep your eye out for a little box that says &quot;promo code&quot; or &quot;discount code.&quot; After you've found the deal that best suits you, run a Google Search that looks like this: &quot;your rental company&quot; + &quot;promo code.&quot; Dozens of sites will pop up that will give you codes that you can put into that magic box to save big money.</p> <p>Another useful tip is to look on the rental agency's website for words like &quot;Special Offers&quot; or &quot;Promotions&quot; and click it. Sometimes there are some pretty hefty discounts hidden in these pages and if you book the right car at the right time, you can save a lot of money.</p> <h2>9. Don't Speed</h2> <p>I consider myself a pretty cautious driver, and I've managed to only get nailed for one speeding ticket during all of my time renting cars. Luckily, my ticket was in South Africa and I was able to pay the officer right there on the street &mdash; perhaps not &quot;officially&quot; but it did the trick.</p> <p>Had the officer put the ticket into the system, I would've had to pay $175 for my ticket plus a $50 &quot;administrative fee&quot; with my rental company. Simply put, almost all rental agencies have these fees and they can quickly add up if you're a fast driver.</p> <h2>10. Be Elite and Get More Perks</h2> <p>As I mentioned earlier, you can earn some good points by booking your rental on your best rewards credit card, but you should also know about your chosen card's special perks.</p> <p>If you're an elite card holder, you can skip line-ups at the office, get a free day after renting for four days, get up to 25% off of your rental, or get a free car class upgrade! Call your credit card provider and ask if it gives you elite status with any rental agencies, or if it comes with any extra perks for car rentals.</p> <p><em>Did we miss any smart car rental hacks? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fsave-on-car-rentals-with-these-10-easy-hacks&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FSave%20on%20Car%20Rentals%20With%20These%2010%20Easy%20Hacks.jpg&amp;description=Save%20on%20Car%20Rentals%20With%20These%2010%20Easy%20Hacks" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Save%20on%20Car%20Rentals%20With%20These%2010%20Easy%20Hacks.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-car-rentals-with-these-10-easy-hacks">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-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china">How I Saved Enough for a Down Payment While Working in China</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/25-secrets-from-the-worlds-most-frugal-frequent-travelers">25 Secrets From the World&#039;s Most Frugal Frequent Travelers</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-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-that-anyone-can-travel-for-free">7 Ways That Anyone Can Travel for Free</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/what-to-do-when-your-belongings-get-stolen-abroad">What to Do When Your Belongings Get Stolen Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel car rentals life hacks rent a car transportation travel tips Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:00:05 +0000 Nick Wharton 1649861 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Move to a New City to Reduce Lifestyle Costs? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_city_view_000064735719.jpg" alt="Man deciding if he should move to a new city to reduce costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving to a big or popular city is often associated with higher housing costs. But even so, it may be worth it when you're able to change your lifestyle for the better &mdash; while reducing overall costs elsewhere.</p> <p>This is the exact decision that my husband and I faced a few months ago when we decided to move across the country to be closer to family.</p> <p>If you're considering whether or not you should move to pursue a better career or lifestyle, here's why you may want to move to a new city <em>even</em> if rent or housing costs more. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mid-sized-cities-for-millennials">The 5 Best Mid-Sized Cities for Millennials</a>)</p> <h2>Why I Chose to Pay Double the Cost of Rent</h2> <p>Compared to our previous apartment near Dallas, TX our Boulder, CO rent is nearly double the price. Basically, the <a href="http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&amp;country2=United+States&amp;city1=Boulder%2C+CO&amp;city2=Tyler%2C+TX&amp;tracking=getDispatchComparison">average price per square foot</a>&nbsp;to buy an apartment in Texas is $100, while Colorado is as much as $383 per square foot.</p> <p>Our one bedroom rented apartment in Texas only cost $900, whereas here in Boulder it's $1,660 &mdash; not including utilities. But we looked at our budget and took <em>all</em> our lifestyle costs into account before deciding that moving was the best option. Here are four reasons we decided to move to a new city despite the higher housing costs.</p> <h3>1. Lower Utility Charges</h3> <p>One of the biggest factors to your budget, aside from rent and housing costs, are your utility costs. This can include your water, electricity, gas, Internet, TV, and other small things like trash and sewer maintenance.</p> <p>Depending on whether you live inside or outside the city limits, these costs could be quite high. Added together, my husband and I used to pay close to $400 per month towards our utility bills. But now that we live in a more cost efficient city, we're able to save nearly <em>half </em>of that each month.</p> <p>Check your utility costs against those of your potential new city by making a list of your current bills. Compare those utility costs to your potential new place. (You can compare the costs online via the utility company's website, or calling the local phone number.) Be sure to check:</p> <ul> <li>Internet</li> <li>Phone</li> <li>TV/Cable</li> <li>Electricity</li> <li>Gas</li> <li>Water/Sewer</li> <li>Trash/Recycling</li> </ul> <p>Even though we may pay a lot more in rent, the amount we save every month by having low-flow faucets and more cost effective heating/cooling is definitely worth the move to us.</p> <h3>2. Food Costs and Waste</h3> <p>Groceries are a non-fixed expense that can eat into your budget if you're not careful. In our previous city, we had limited options of grocery stores to choose from, which left us little choice of saving money on food. We could either spend a fortune at a small boutique grocery store, or sacrifice the quality by going to a big chain store. We chose to spend a bit more for organic food and had a grocery bill upwards of $800+ per month &mdash; just for the two of us!</p> <p>Since moving to Colorado, we have access to 10 different grocery stores (seriously, we counted!) and can find what we need at a <em>much</em> lower price. In the past several months we've knocked an average of $230 off our grocery bill, and it keeps declining.</p> <p>Better quality organic food at one-fourth the cost has been well worth the move to a new city. In addition, we're able to buy less food and avoid so much going to waste. Having more options has allowed us to save money while still getting the organic and healthy food we want.</p> <h3>3. Environmental Impact</h3> <p>One of the main reasons my husband and I wanted to move from Texas to Colorado was to be more environmentally aware of the impact we were making. This city has a built-in recycling program so we no longer have to take weekend trips to the recycling center.</p> <p>And because of the climate, there's no air conditioning unit in our apartment. During the cold months, we simply use a gas-powered furnace. When you compare the cost of a electric heater versus a gas furnace, prices for gas <a href="https://www.mge.com/images/PDF/Brochures/residential/RentersGasVsElec.pdf">typically cost much less</a> to operate than electric ones.</p> <p>According to the EPA, the fuel from a gas furnace comes from natural gas production, which burns much cleaner and poses less of an environmental threat. It's important to evaluate your impact on the environment, as well as your overall lifestyle costs. Consider how this change could save you money and help better the local community.</p> <h3>4. Transportation Costs</h3> <p>Since settling into our life here in Boulder, my husband and I have only filled up the car with gas twice in the past three months. Our gas and car maintenance budget used to be $250 per month, but now it's down to around $40&ndash;$50 for all our transportation costs.</p> <p>Because this new city has <a href="https://bouldercolorado.gov/goboulder/other-great-options">several different transportation choices</a>, including a bus system, carpooling, and car sharing options, we've stopped using our car as much. We now bike or walk to work or while running errands.</p> <p>This allows us to save <em>over $200 a month</em> on gas and maintenance costs for our car. In addition it allows us to put less emissions into the environment.</p> <p>All-in-all, we increased our housing costs by $760 but are currently saving $610+ in lower utility, transportation, and food costs. For us, this was definitely worth it.</p> <p><em>Are you thinking of moving to reduce lifestyle costs? What are some other things that impact your decision?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-move-to-a-new-city-to-reduce-lifestyle-costs">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/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</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/avoid-these-7-things-when-living-with-roommates">Avoid These 7 Things When Living With Roommates</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/book-review-off-the-grid">Book Review: Off the Grid</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-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</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-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing environmental impact food costs housing costs rent transportation utilities Thu, 21 Jan 2016 12:01:03 +0000 Carrie Smith 1642415 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 More Fun, Affordable Train Trips http://www.wisebread.com/5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000019051349.jpg" alt="Child on fun and affordable train trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Trains are not only a huge part of our history and economy, but they make for relaxing and scenic travel. We last gave you five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips">enjoyable and reasonably priced train trips</a> for the summer. Now, try going on one of these five additional fun, affordable train trips this fall.</p> <h2>1. Cross Country: California Zephyr</h2> <p>Have you always wanted to venture out into what was the wild west of the 1800s without the horrific summer heat? The <a href="http://www.amtrak.com/california-zephyr-train">California Zephyr</a> travels on a 2,438-mile route from Chicago, IL to Emeryville, CA, passing through seven states on a journey made by western settlers during the Gold Rush and other big migrations. The terrain changes from canyons, to rivers, to mountains, to deserts, to valleys with dramatic beauty. Key sights to see: Colorado River, the Donner Pass, the Rockies, and the Painted Desert.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> As low as $163 per adult and approximately $80 per child for this 51-hour train trip.</p> <h2>2. New Hampshire: Mount Washington Cog Railway</h2> <p>New Hampshire is beautiful as the leaves turn gold and the air gets crisp. What better way to usher in the season than by riding the <a href="http://www.thecog.com/">Mount Washington Cog Railway</a>, the world's first train to climb a mountain? The historic cars are cute and photo-worthy on their own. This makes for an easy day trip, because the ride is only three hours long, which includes an hour to hang out on the top of Mount Washington and snap pictures of the view. You'll want to try this one before winter settles in, as that's when the schedule is very limited.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> $73 per adult, and $39 per child for this three-hour scenic ride.</p> <h2>3. New York: Adirondack Scenic Railroad</h2> <p>Of course, Upstate New York in the fall is quite the stunner, too. The <a href="http://www.adirondackrr.com/">Adirondack Scenic Railroad</a> is definitely not hyperbole: this train weaves from Utica to Lake Placid, through the small hamlets in between. Keep your eyes on the window for the gorgeous scenery of lakes, rivers, and the pretty peaks of the Adirondacks. Additionally, lots of deer, bears, geese and other migrant birds are plentiful and on display through the trip. Fall events on this train include beer and wine tastings and a family Halloween theme.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> Adults cost $39.50 and children cost $29.50 for this trip.</p> <h2>4. Washington State: Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad</h2> <p>If you're a fan of mountains and the Pacific Northwest, this is a must-do attraction. <a href="http://www.mrsr.com/index.html">The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad and Museum</a> happens to be the longest running steam train in the region and takes you through the forests and foothills of Mount Rainier. This two-hour train ride includes lots of information on the history of using steam locomotives for logging, the chief industry in the region in the late 19th through early 20th centuries. The MRSR also offers a <a href="http://www.mrsr.com/#!special-events/cpn1">Civil War package</a> complete with a Civil War reenactment.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> This train charges $32 per adult, $72 per child between five to 12 years old, $18 per child under three to four years, and infants under three are free.</p> <h2>5. North Carolina: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.gsmr.com/">Great Smoky Mountain Railroad</a> takes you through a uniquely pretty trail of the South. North Carolina boasts tons of indigenous beauty: 125 types of trees, 1,000 varieties of flora, and over 300 different animal species. You'll also get a chance to look inside the Great Smoky Mountains Train Museum. Like some of our other favorite train rides, this one also has various food and drink tasting voyages. For Halloween, there is a Peanuts Pumpkin Patch Halloween theme for the kids as well as a Halloween Masquerade theme for grown ups.</p> <p><strong>Price:</strong> For the average trip (non-themed and in family cars), adults cost $66 and children cost $38 per round trip ride.</p> <p><em>Have you ever taken any of these train rides? How was it?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20More%20Fun%2C%20Affordable%20Train%20Trips.jpg&amp;description=5%20More%20Fun%2C%20Affordable%20Train%20Trips" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20More%20Fun%2C%20Affordable%20Train%20Trips.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 Fun, Affordable Train Trips</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-ways-to-enjoy-fall-camping">10 Ways to Enjoy Fall Camping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-spring-break-budget-busters-to-avoid">11 Spring Break Budget Busters to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel America autumn fall trains transportation trips vacation Thu, 17 Sep 2015 11:00:34 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1555445 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Dangerous Mistakes Even Safe Drivers Make http://www.wisebread.com/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-driving-talking-phone-Dollarphotoclub_67350021.jpg" alt="man driving phone" title="man driving phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are bad drivers, and there are good drivers. There are reckless drivers, and safe drivers. Most of us, hopefully, fall into the latter category. But how many of us are making dangerous mistakes even though we think we're actually safe drivers?</p> <p>Take a look through some of the findings at the National Safety Council's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving-research-studies.aspx">Distracted Driving Research Studies</a>, and you might be surprised that the answer is: many of us. But are you one of them? As you look through the following list, how many of these eight dangerous mistakes are you making?</p> <h2>1. Hitting the Gas on Green</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PzlEQvRkhHc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Wait a minute; green means go, right? Well of course, but red also means stop, and that doesn't seem to make much of a difference for some very bad drivers out there. Whether they aren't paying attention, drunk, or even evading the police, thousands of drivers run red lights every year. If they happen to be very late, and you hit the gas the second the light turns green, you could&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzlEQvRkhHc">get into a major accident.</a> It's not your fault, but that doesn't make the consequences any less severe. So, when the light turns green, look left and right, and make sure the path is clear before you pull away. Blindly accelerating could be dangerous, or even deadly.</p> <h2>2. Driving Drowsy</h2> <p>I was talking to my father-in-law once about some of the long road trips he used to make, and he said he would often pull his nose or arm hair out when he was getting drowsy, and the sting would wake him up. We all laughed, but drowsy driving is no laughing matter.</p> <p>In a 2005 study, over 103 million U.S. drivers admitted to&nbsp;<a href="http://drowsydriving.org/about/facts-and-stats/">falling asleep at the wheel</a>. Fatigued driving results in around 100,000 police-reported accidents every year, with over 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and over $12.5 billion in losses. This is completely unacceptable. If you feel yourself getting sleepy while driving, you must pull your car over when it is safe to do so, and rest. Take a nap, drink something with caffeine, or even go for a walk. You need to be completely alert before continuing your journey.</p> <h2>3. Poor Mirror Positioning</h2> <p>Look in your side mirrors &mdash; what do you see? Most likely, you'll see some of your car. This is not necessary, and means you are missing some of the road; which can lead to accidents. The idea of side mirrors is obviously not to check to see if your car is still there, but to look behind you without having to take your eyes of the road for longer than necessary. By adjusting your wing mirrors so that your car is no longer visible, you can <a href="http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~gdguo/driving/BlindSpot.htm">eliminate the blind spot</a>. You also want to make sure your rear view mirror is angled correctly for you. If you share a car with someone else, this often goes out of alignment. Check it every time you drive.</p> <h2>4. Driving Too Slow in the Left Lane</h2> <p>There is a speed limit. There is also a minimum speed limit on some roads. You may think that by hitting that limit, say 55, you are being safe and have no reason to worry. But by maintaining the bare minimum speed in the left lane, you are forcing other drivers who want to go the maximum allowed speed to pass you. Any time you force people to change lanes, you are making the roads less safe, and can actually contribute to road rage if you create backed-up traffic. By all means go the safe speed you want to go, but do it in the far right lane. Or, if you see someone coming up fast in your mirror, prepare to move over safely and let them pass.</p> <h2>5. Poor Signaling Habits</h2> <p>Your indicators are there to tell other drivers what your intentions are. When you use them incorrectly, or forgetfully, you are being a poor communicator. This can lead to accidents, especially if you plan to keep going straight at a turn, and the other driver pulls out. You should be using your turn signal at least 100 feet before changing lanes or turning (it can be 200 feet in some states). Once you have completed the turn, you must turn off the signal. Loud music or forgetfulness can be at fault for signals that stay on longer than necessary, and this can lead to accidents when other drivers wrongly assume your intentions.</p> <h2>6. Driving With Loose Objects in the Car</h2> <p>Your car is not a home for books, toys, gadgets, and other devices. Yet if you take a look in your car, how many of these items are just strewn around in there? During the course of everyday driving, it's no big deal. But if you are involved in a crash, even at lower speeds, these items can become projectiles that can cause injury, or even death. You should make sure anything unnecessary for the journey is stored securely in the trunk. Pets need to be harnessed, and cell phones should be in a secured holder.</p> <h2>7. Talking on the Phone</h2> <p>You may think that you are perfectly capable of talking and driving at the same time, but you are being distracted. Some people say it's the same as listening to music, but it's not. Music is a passive experience, but a conversation is active, and the person on the other end of the phone has no idea of your surroundings. Even if you are using a hands-free set, you are not reducing the risks of an accident. Your car is there to get you from A to B. It is not a phone booth. If you must make a call, you should safely pull over and do so. Yes, it adds time to your journey, but if we all did this we'd make the roads much safer. And of course, texting is akin to drunk driving; don't even go there.</p> <h2>8. Speeding up Through Yellow Lights</h2> <p>It seems that drivers have two different interpretations of the yellow light. Some think it means &quot;prepare to stop&quot; and others think it means &quot;floor it, a red light is coming.&quot; If you are close to a traffic signal, and the light changes from green to yellow, then you are fine to keep going. But if you see the light change and have to hit the gas to scrape through it, you are being a dangerous driver. All it takes is for another driver to be a little premature on their green light (see point #1), and you have a major accident. You could also hit a pedestrian.</p> <p><em>Which of these do you do on a regular basis? Do you know any other dangerous moves that even your &quot;safest&quot; friends or relatives make? Let us know.</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/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make">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/bicycling-safety-in-the-city">Bicycling Safety in the City</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/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money</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/snow-patrol-winter-driving-safety-kit-must-haves">Snow Patrol: Winter Driving Safety Kit Must-Haves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-how-to-use-a-parking-meter-serious-question">Do you know how to use a parking meter? Serious question.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Cars dangerous driving driving safety transportation Tue, 03 Feb 2015 12:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1284839 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things the United States Should Copy From Other Countries http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-4358343-small.jpg" alt="family with globe" title="family with globe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For anyone who has used a passport, coming home to the United States can feel like returning to a boring family reunion. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-passport-carrying-tips">Passport Carrying Tips</a>)</p> <p>Yes, there's clean water, dependable electricity, and hopefully a job and a family to come back to, but the adventure of eating new foods, experiencing new customs, and meeting new people with different outlooks can go by the wayside after a trip overseas.</p> <p>Some countries can teach Americans a lot, as I wrote last summer after discovering first-hand how some countries save energy. Other international finds worth having at home are less life-changing and can be as frivolous as <a href="http://www.thetraveltart.com/vending-machines-in-japan-beer-noodles-and-anything-else/">beer vending machines</a> in Japan, crashed <a href="http://www.thetraveltart.com/memorial-monuments-of-the-world-motorbike-safety/">motorcycles as memorials</a> in Indonesia, and interesting foods such as <a href="http://www.thetraveltart.com/currywurst-berlins-and-germanys-favourite-sausage-food/">currywurst</a> in Germany and <a href="http://www.thetraveltart.com/camel-milk-chocolate-dubai-delicacy/">camel milk chocolate</a> in the United Arab Emirates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-americans-can-learn-from-how-the-rest-of-the-world-saves-energy">What Americans Can Learn About Saving Energy From Foreigners</a>)</p> <p>But there are bigger lessons to learn abroad &mdash; some serious and and others just plain fun &mdash; that the United States can benefit from. Here are 10 countries that the U.S. should be mimicking, at least in part.</p> <h2>Sweden: Turning Trash Into Power</h2> <p>Sweden <a href="http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/04/sweden-needs-more-trash/">burns trash to generate electricity</a>, allowing it to power most of its homes and businesses. Like its neighbor Norway, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/30/world/europe/oslo-copes-with-shortage-of-garbage-it-turns-into-energy.html?_r=0">which does the same thing</a>, Sweden <em>imports</em> trash to produce energy &mdash; not a bad problem to have. U.S. cities would have to invest heavily into infrastructure that would turn trash into electricity, and it's unlikely to meet all of America's power needs. And there's also the problem of ash, which can be more harmful to the environment than raw trash. Still, it's an idea that could be copied. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>Germany: Pedestrian-Only Areas</h2> <p>While <a href="http://www.planetizen.com/node/47517">pedestrian-only shopping streets</a> are popular in many cities throughout Europe, Germany seems to be ahead of the game in giving pedestrians more room to roam, says Margo Schlossberg, who lives near Washington, D.C. and has traveled to 26 countries. They help reduce driving, encourage walking, and lower pedestrian fatalities.</p> <h2>United Kingdom: Student Loan Repayment Program</h2> <p>For college students in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, <a href="https://www.gov.uk/student-finance/repayments">a government program makes paying back</a> student loans easier and cheaper than other countries, according to <a href="http://globaliseme.com/Globalise_Me.html">Globalise Me</a>, a website that helps students worldwide decide where to study abroad. Payments and interest rates fall and rise based on a graduate's income, allowing a decent quality of life during the first years of a career instead of facing pressure from a large financial burden. If the loan can't be repaid within 30 years, it is completely written off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <h2>Denmark: Maternity Leave</h2> <p>Parents in Denmark are <a href="http://denmark.angloinfo.com/healthcare/pregnancy-birth/leave-benefits/">entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave</a>. Parents get what's called a &quot;maternity subsistence allowance,&quot; which is a full salary for public sector employees and negotiable in the private sector. The mother gets one month of leave before birth and 14 weeks after. The father also gets two weeks of leave after birth. The remaining 32 weeks can be divided between the two spouses as they wish. Many other countries <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/22/maternity-leaves-around-the-world_n_1536120.html#slide=1005251">have paid maternity leave</a> programs. The U.S. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/your-money/us-trails-much-of-the-world-in-providing-paid-family-leave.html?pagewanted=all">doesn't have a national program</a> but leaves it up to states to provide paid leave.</p> <h2>Austria: Vacation Time</h2> <p>Every country in the European Union requires at least four weeks of paid vacation per year, with <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/06/08/countries-most-vacation-days/2400193/">Austria leading giving workers the most time off</a> at 22 paid vacation days and 13 paid holidays per year at a legal minimum. The U.S. doesn't legally require paid days off, though the average private sector worker gets 16 paid vacation and holidays off each year. Some nations that do this, however, struggle with high unemployment and a poor economy, including France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.</p> <h2>France: Health Care</h2> <p>This is another area where many other countries can be a model for the U.S., including Canada, Israel, Australia, Italy, among <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/best-healthcare-systems-in-the-world-2012-6?op=1">many others</a>. The <a href="http://www.who.int/whr/2000/en/whr00_en.pdf">World Health Report 2000 listed France</a> (PDF) as the best country in the world in terms of health care, combining the private and public sectors to provide universal health coverage for all.</p> <h2>Ecuador: Rights of Nature</h2> <p>According to its national Constitution, Ecuador gives Mother Nature the same rights as people, says Susan Schenck, who has lived in Ecuador for three years and has written a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Expats-Cuenca-Ecuador-Madness-ebook/dp/B00DRITI0U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1376581066&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=cuenca+susan">book about expats there</a>. It is the first <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Constitution_of_Ecuador#Environmental_rights">Constitution</a> in the world to legally recognize ecosystem rights. It prohibits the extraction of non-renewable resources in protected areas. Schenck says a friend went to court to protect the rights of certain trees, and won.</p> <h2>Estonia: Free Wi-Fi</h2> <p>The Internet may be just another service like tap water and clean streets in most of the developed world, but in Estonia it's a symbol of democracy and freedom, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/apr/15/estonia-ussr-shadow-internet-titan">according to a story in the Guardian</a>. Many Estonian services are managed online, including voting, signing legal documents, prescriptions from doctors, and paying by text. Known as &quot;E-stonia,&quot; Wi-Fi is free throughout the country, making working life easy for anyone with a laptop computer. Says Steven Macdonald, who works in online marketing: &quot;I've been lucky enough to have traveled the globe, but in today's Internet driven world, free Wi-Fi all over the country is truly one the best things the U.S. should have.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">Frugal Advice for Gadget Addicts</a>)</p> <h2>London, England: City Train System</h2> <p>New York and Paris are often cited for having excellent metro train systems, but London's subway system seems to always come out on <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/travel/the-worlds-top-10-city-train-systems-20130103-2c6l7.html">top</a>. The London Underground, nicknamed the Tube, is celebrating 150 years of service. The New York City Subway is a strong contender, carrying 4.5 million passengers daily &mdash; the same as the London Tube carried one day during the Summer Olympics last year. For trains across the country, Portugal's <a href="http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/alfa/">Alfa</a> train is excellent at twice the speed of Amtrak's <a href="http://www.amtrak.com/acela-express-train">Acela</a> train in the U.S., says Jayme Simoes, a Concord, N.H. resident who travels to Portugal often.</p> <h2>Panama: Long Tourist Visas</h2> <p>For foreigners who want to visit Panama, the country gives them a lot of time to explore. People holding North American or EU passports, along with other countries, are given a six-month tourist visa in Panama, says Rob Harper, who has lived in Panama full time for the past six years and <a href="http://www.vacationscostarica.com/panama/">sells vacation packages</a> there. While many countries give tourists 30 days or less to visit, Panama gives six months to explore &quot;without having to worry about a specific time frame for heading back out,&quot; Harper says.</p> <p>Visitors don't have to apply before arrival, but just show up with a passport that's valid for at least six months after arrival, he says. They're then granted a &quot;visa&quot; with a simple stamp inside the passport. In the U.S., unless visitors are flagged for a possible illegality, nationals from Western Hemisphere countries can enter the country <a href="http://traveltips.usatoday.com/long-can-stay-usa-tourist-visa-62787.html">without a visa for up to 90 days</a>.</p> <p>That should be enough to get you to write your representative in Congress for some changes, or at least buy an international cookbook. I could go on and on about smaller changes that make a world of difference &mdash; single lines at grocery stores in South Africa and London, and central switches for electricity in hotel rooms in India and Australia &mdash; but it might be best to start off thinking big.</p> <p><em><what em="" from="" import="" states="" united="" the="" should="" things="" cool="" other=""></what></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-the-united-states-should-copy-from-other-countries">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-things-you-forget-to-do-before-leaving-for-vacation">14 Things You Forget to Do Before Leaving for Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-more-fun-affordable-train-trips">5 More Fun, Affordable Train Trips</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-travel-destinations-for-people-who-hate-crowds">10 Travel Destinations for People Who Hate Crowds</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-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-travel-hacks-that-will-save-time-money-and-your-sanity">23 Travel Hacks That Will Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Travel international relations maternity leave transportation vacation Wed, 04 Sep 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Aaron Crowe 981707 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: How Do You Save on Transportation? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-on-transportation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-on-transportation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3615452442_35a1cb6fe4_z.jpg" alt="subway station" title="subway station" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-on-transportation#comment-619500">Rebecca</a>, Karen, and Debra for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Everyday travel &mdash; to work, school, or just running errands around town &mdash; can cost a pretty penny in the form of gas, bus fare, or even bicycle maintenance costs. That's why many people research frugal ways to get from Point A to Point B.</p> <p><b>How do you save on transportation?</b> Have you made any big changes to the way you travel? How have your efforts to save on transportation affected other areas of your life?</p> <p>Tell us about how you save on transportation and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> <a id="rc-79857d26" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d26/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, April 8th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 8th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about how you save on transportation and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-save-on-transportation">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/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-is-your-top-question-about-personal-finance">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What is Your Top Question About Personal Finance?</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/ask-the-readers-whats-the-biggest-item-in-your-budget">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s the Biggest Item in Your Budget?</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/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</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/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-volunteer-experience-had-the-deepest-impact-on-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Volunteer Experience Had the Deepest Impact on 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/ask-the-readers-are-you-optimistic-about-2011">Ask the Readers: Are You Optimistic About 2011?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers commute transportation travel Tue, 02 Apr 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 971590 at http://www.wisebread.com Bicycling Safety in the City http://www.wisebread.com/bicycling-safety-in-the-city <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bicycling-safety-in-the-city" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000000815498XSmall.jpg" alt="Bike commuter" title="Bike commuter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years ago, I transitioned over to a part-time bicycle commuter. It was a fairly smooth transition considering I live in a bicycle-unfriendly city. One of the reasons I was able to effortlessly begin riding my bike in a bustling suburb that cares very little about cyclists is that I enjoy being outdoors and <a href="http://www.littlehouseinthevalley.com/tuesday-tips-rehash">I really love riding my bike</a>. My passion for bike riding and general common sense as a driver helped me navigate my town's busy streets and traffic clogged arteries. Yet, there were a few safety items I had to keep in mind: <strong>routes, gear, and basic traffic knowledge</strong>.</p> <h2>Choosing Routes</h2> <h3>Most direct routes</h3> <p>I always check a map for the most direct route. <a href="http://maps.google.com/biking">Google bike map</a> is a good start, but I've noticed that it doesn't account for paths that aren't necessarily designated as a bike or traffic path. For instance, one of my more direct paths leads me through a University Campus. Google can't see the wide sidewalk path that I ride on, so it doesn't offer that as a possible route.</p> <h3>Less trafficked routes</h3> <p>If I know the area well and feel the path is too car-heavy, I select a parallel side street that will guide me in the same direction, but with less traffic. Though the route may take me a quarter-mile out of the way, I feel my safety is more important. I'd rather ride for a longer period than be terrified for a shorter one.</p> <h3>Bikes paths and lanes</h3> <p>Bike paths and lanes are sometimes the best way to safely bike around a city. Unfortunately for me, my town has very few paths that connect to one another. Often, the paths start in an unusual area and end a few blocks down the road, making it confusing for both cyclists and drivers alike.</p> <h3>And the controversial sidewalks</h3> <p>Yes, I confess, I ride on sidewalks! Technically as a bicyclist I'm supposed to follow the traffic laws and ride in the street. However, unlike a car, I lack the speed and metal armor. I do make it a point to be considerate of pedestrians; they have the right of way. I also wouldn't ever ride on the sidewalks of New York City or any city where pedestrians outnumber cars.</p> <h2>Safety Gear</h2> <h3>Lights</h3> <p>Front and rear lights are a necessity. I turn on my lights in the middle of the day; not so much for me to see the road, but for cars to see me. I do ride in the evenings and let me just say that lights have saved me on a few occasions.</p> <h3>Helmet</h3> <p>When I first started riding my bike around town, I didn't wear my helmet. Yet, now that I've come close to getting hit by a car bumper on a couple of occasions, I realize that there's nothing really protecting me from severe head injuries! Personally, I like my brain the way it is.</p> <h3>Reflectors</h3> <p>Secondary to lights, reflectors again help vehicles see me. Front, side, and rear, my reflectors give cars a heads-up.</p> <h2>Basic Bicycle Sense</h2> <h3>Intersections</h3> <p>In my opinion, intersections are the most dangerous areas for cyclists. When I ride, I have to watch for cars turning right, left, or flying through red lights. When I approach an intersection, my head is on a constant swivel: It swivels behind my left shoulder watching for right turners, it swivels slightly to the left for red-light runners, it moves straight forward for left turners heading towards me, and finally it swivels slightly to the right for approaching right-turners going the opposite direction. I'm constantly looking for people who aren't looking at me; I always make eye contact with drivers a few feet from my bike!</p> <h3>Driveways</h3> <p>Since I normally ride to the far right on a street or on side walks, I keep a look-out for cars coming out of driveways. Reverse lights are always a clue to slow down and wait to make sure a driver sees me.</p> <h3>Parked cars</h3> <p>Another hazard to street cyclists are parked cars. Not only do they occasionally pull out into traffic, but they also open doors, potentially pushing a bicycle rider into traffic. When I ride in the street, I make sure I'm a couple of feet away from parked cars and keep a close eye on tail lights; brake lights mean the car might be getting ready to move.</p> <p>As the fall weather brings cooler temperatures, I make sure to take advantage of the gorgeous weather by increasing my bike commuting. Being a highly aware bicycle rider and picking direct routes with fewer cars make biking in the city fun and safe.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bicycling-safety-in-the-city">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-dangerous-mistakes-even-safe-drivers-make">8 Dangerous Mistakes Even Safe Drivers Make</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/16-ways-you-are-causing-road-rage">16 Ways You Are Causing Road Rage</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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident">10 Steps You Must Take If You&#039;ve Been in a Car Accident</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Lifestyle bicycling bikes safety transportation Mon, 27 Sep 2010 12:00:16 +0000 Little House 245346 at http://www.wisebread.com Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free! http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/brokencar.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I drive a ten year old car and it has been out of warranty for quite a while.&nbsp; Over the years I have received recall notices in the mail for various parts of the car and got fixes for free.&nbsp; However, not all of these recall notices get to the appropriate car owners so it is possible that your car has a defective part.&nbsp; Fortunately, the <a href="http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/recallsearch.cfm">National Highway Traffic Safety Administration</a> has a very well organized and searchable database for all types of vehicle related recalls.&nbsp;</p> <p>All you have to do is to go to the <a href="http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/recallsearch.cfm">Recalls and Defects webpage</a> and search for your vehicle, equipment, child restraint, or tire type and you will see all the safety recalls that has happened.&nbsp; The database is updated nightly&nbsp; and it is fairly accurate.&nbsp; As an example, I searched for recalls on 1999 Honda Accords, and a list of 14 recalls came up.&nbsp; On each recall you can click the &quot;Summary&quot; link and check how you can get the part repaired.&nbsp; Usually you could just go to an authorized dealership and get your carpart fixed or switched out for free.&nbsp;</p> <p>I also found the &quot;Tires&quot; section very useful since it shows you what tires can be replaced for free due to safety recalls.&nbsp; This may be worth checking out since tire manufacturers usually have no good way to track their customers and it is unlikely you would get a recall notice from them in the mail.&nbsp; Defective tires may be very dangerous, and they should be replaced as soon as possible. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to useful recall information, the website allows consumers to file complaints about their vehicles and related equipment.&nbsp; If a problem is prevalent enough then the&nbsp; NHTSA would issue recalls to make the roads a bit safer for everyone.&nbsp;</p> <p>So next time before you fork over your cash to fix a broken car part, you should definitely check if it has been recalled.&nbsp; Also, as a preventative measure you should check if you are driving with defective parts so that your car can become safer for you and your family.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</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/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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/what-will-you-do-when-gas-drops-below-150-a-gallon">What will you do when gas drops below $1.50 a gallon?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs car recall transportation Sun, 01 Mar 2009 23:37:54 +0000 Xin Lu 2878 at http://www.wisebread.com Getting by without a job, part 3--cut spending http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bike-wheels.jpg" alt="Bicycle wheels" title="Bicycle Wheels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's note:&nbsp; If you recently lost your job, take a look at Wise Bread's collection of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">tips and resources for the recently laid off</a>.]</em></p> <p>With the economy tanking, more and more people will be not just losing their job, but will be finding themselves without one for an extended period. When that happens it's not good enough to just cut back a little and use debt to make ends meet until the economy recovers. Getting by without a job is possible, even for an extended period--but it requires taking drastic measures to cut spending, and it requires taking them early, while you've still got some cash.</p> <p>This is part three of a four-part series. Part 1 was on the first <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">things to do if you lose your job</a> and part 2 was on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-2-boost-income">boosting your income</a>. Part 4 is on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">getting what you need without money</a>.</p> <p>Despite the fact that it's kind of hiding here as number 3 in a four-part series, this is really the kernel of how to get by without a job--you need to get your expenses low enough that you can cover them with just the money you can earn though casual labor plus whatever you can realize from whatever assets you've managed to hang on to (interest, dividends, rents, etc.).</p> <p>Last year, when I suggested that it was possible to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/our-high-high-standard-of-living-1">get by on a minimum wage job</a>, I drew a considerable bit of mockery, so I'm expecting much the same when I suggest ways to get by without a job at all. Let me restate what I said then: We have a name for the standard of living that results from living on a minimum wage income. We call it &quot;Living in poverty.&quot; Getting by with no job at all does not result in a higher standard of living--it is though, to my mind, an improvement. Minimum wage work is often difficult or dull (or both), and is too often dangerous as well. Eking out a meager existence on what you can earn through casual labor has the huge advantage of allowing you much greater choice in just what that labor is.</p> <p>The biggest problem when it comes to surviving without a regular job is that most households have a terribly inflexible cost structure: Their bare minimum fixed expenses exceed any income that could be earned with casual labor. There is no getting around this except to completely change the cost structure of the household.</p> <p>Most people resist this step until they've done permanent damage to their finances--run up debts that they'll never be able to pay back, had the heat and power turned off, or even been evicted.</p> <p>It's a hard step, but you're way ahead of the game if you do this early rather than late.</p> <h2>Cutting fixed expenses</h2> <p>Most of the fixed costs for a household are tied up with housing. There's the rent or mortgage, there's the utilities, and there's the insurance. If you own a house free and clear with no mortgage (or if the payments are very low), then it may make sense to stay there (even though just utilities and insurance can add up to as much as the cost of a cheap apartment). If you're renting or have a mortgage, you need to look seriously at moving to the lowest-cost housing you can find--and start looking the instant you begin to suspect that this period of unemployment won't be the sort of brief sojourn that people can generally expect during good economic times.</p> <p>The most obvious thing to do is to move in with relatives. Many people view this as the sort of ignominious defeat that's little better than ending up living in their car, but it's a step that can turn a catastrophe into just a bump in the road--if you do it early enough. If you wait until your savings are exhausted and you've run up a bunch of credit card debt, you can put yourself into a hole that you may not be able to get out of short of bankruptcy. One thing to keep in mind is that it is temporary. You're not moving in with relatives forever, just until the economy improves enough that you can find steady work again.</p> <p>If you don't have relatives (or they won't take you in), other sorts of house-sharing arrangements are possible, such as splitting costs with a roommate or renting a room in someone else's house. Last year Myscha suggested <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/twelve-ways-to-become-rent-or-mortgage-free">twelve ways to house yourself for free</a>.</p> <p>The other really large expense for a lot of people is transportation. Owning a car costs <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-you-can-afford-more-house-in-the-exurbs-think-again">thousands of dollars a year</a>--and only about half the expense is the purchase price and financing; the rest is just fuel, maintenance, taxes, and so on.</p> <p>If your car is paid off, it may make sense to keep it; it would put some opportunities to earn money within reach that wouldn't be if you had to rely on public transport or a bicycle or walking. But owing money on a car is just about untenable for someone without a job.&nbsp; (Owing money on <strong>anything</strong> is just about untenable for someone without a job; a car is simply one thing that many people buy on credit.)</p> <p>Those are the big ones. If you can reduce your cost of housing enough (and you don't have other debt that you have to make payments on), you can cover your other living expenses at some level, even with a very low income. In fact, if you live in a rich country and can find a place to live for free, you can very possibly reduce your other expenses almost to zero as well, at least temporarily.</p> <h2>Cutting variable expenses</h2> <p>My recent <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">emergency belt-tightening</a> post covered cutting variable expenses on an emergency basis, and that's a good place to start. If you're at the point of getting by without a job for an extended period, though, you actually need to ease up from those drastic measures. In an emergency you sometimes have to defer necessary expenses simply because you don't have the cash. Doing that, though, often costs more in the long run. If this isn't an emergency, but rather is the way you're going to be living for a while, you need to start taking the long view.</p> <p>Figure out what you absolutely have to have. Then figure out the absolute cheapest way to get it. Things like buying in bulk and stocking up during sales can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/huge-tax-free-investment-returns">yield large returns</a>. Wise Bread is full of tactical ideas for satisfying your needs as cheaply as possible.</p> <p>Even if you don't have a regular job, if you have some income and really cheap housing, you can fund all your needs, and still have a little left over to satisfy a few of your wants. The key is to draw the line before your spending exceeds your income. That may mean that you don't satisfy very many wants at all, but &quot;more than none&quot; is really pretty good, in the grand scheme of things.</p> <h2>Don't screw up</h2> <p>When you're getting by without a job, you have much less margin for error.</p> <p>For one thing, especially in the year after you lose a job, you have to be careful about taxes. If you don't have a regular job, you probably don't have any money being withheld. Looking on the bright side, if you're not making much money, you probably don't owe a lot. However, if you get any severance pay (especially if you get it late in the year), it can make the year in which you lose your job the highest-paid year of your life. Be sure that enough gets set aside to cover the taxes. If you dip into a tax-advantaged plan like a 401(k) or an IRA, be sure you know what the tax consequences are. If getting out of a house you can't afford involves giving it back to the bank, be aware that the IRS can treat any loan balance that the bank forgives as income.</p> <p>For another thing, you probably have a lot less stuff. Some things you sold to raise cash. Other things you gave away or donated or simply tossed when you moved into much smaller housing. Little things like breaking a dish, that used to mean that you had an eleven place setting instead of twelve, now mean that someone has to eat out of a bowl until you can scrounge up a free replacement.</p> <p>A minor car accident that used to mean dining out less for a few weeks until you'd covered the deductible, now means that you've permanently lost the interest that the deductible money would have been earning--if you haven't lost the use of the car altogether.</p> <p>In fact, though, being careful not to break stuff and using things gently so that they last is just good sense--a wise habit that will be worth preserving even when times get better.</p> <h2>Enjoy it</h2> <p>Is there any overlap between living in poverty and living large? Personally, I think there is. Being forced by hard economic times to eke out a meager existence--that's not much like living large. But <strong>choosing</strong> to eke out a meager existence, because it's the best way to live according to your own values?&nbsp; That's living about as large as you possibly can.</p> <p>Most people never think about what they most want to do with their lives. They find something that they're okay at that pays enough money to support them, and then let a rising income drive a rising standard of living with no real thought even to the <strong>possibility</strong> that there might be alternatives. In hard times, though, the alternatives may be all you've got. Fortunately, there's a good chance that one of those alternatives is actually a better choice than whatever you ended up doing.</p> <p>You can get by without a job if you cut your spending enough. And if you do that, you open up a universe of possibilities that most people don't even know is out there. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore those previously uncontemplated choices. If you don't like what you find, you can go back to working a regular job just as soon as you find one. Maybe, though, you'll find the alternatives as alluring as I do.</p> <p>Especially in rich countries, it's possible to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">get a lot of what you need without money</a>, which is the final part of this series.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending">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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</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-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</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/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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/did-your-car-break-down-check-for-recalled-parts-and-fix-it-for-free">Did your car break down? Check for recalled parts and fix it for free!</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-benefits-of-a-walkable-neighborhood">The Benefits of a Walkable Neighborhood</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation Real Estate and Housing cheap rent cheap transport cutting expenses transportation Sun, 30 Nov 2008 22:04:38 +0000 Philip Brewer 2613 at http://www.wisebread.com It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money http://www.wisebread.com/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gasoline.jpg" alt="" title="Oh Thank Heaven!" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="225" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I get incredibly bad mileage when driving. I have an old, clunker car (well, it&#39;s not humiliatingly old, but it&#39;s old), and when I drive the way I want to drive, I get roughly 18-20 miles to the gallon. In my area, a gallon of gas costs $4.40.</p> <p>Sigh. I might as well be driving a pickup truck, for all the good it does me.</p> <p>The problem is, I&#39;m a bitch on wheels. I love speed. I love driving fast, and I adore the way my car kicks it into high gear when I floor it and zoom past all the losers going the speed limit. I love changing lanes and beating the lights. I spent my formative driving years in Manhattan, so I know a thing or two about braking, changing lanes, flipping off the jerk who just cut me off and blaring my horn all at the same time. I relish the feeling of taking off at a newly green light and leaving everyone behind me in the dust.</p> <p>God, I love driving like a total a**hole.</p> <p>But being an a**hole is expensive, petrol-wise. I keep reading well-written, thoughtful articles about how I can save money by keeping my tires inflated and my oil changed and thousands of pounds of books on my bookshelves rather than in my car&#39;s rather spacious trunk. But even with all that maintenance, the one thing that has kept me at such lousy mileage is my inability to drive with any measure of sanity. I&#39;ve got a lead foot (I&#39;m told it&#39;s genetic), and apparently, that alone was preventing me from saving a good deal of cash.</p> <p>A while back, our own Lynn <a href="/how-to-save-0-54-per-gallon-on-gas">wrote a good post</a> about how to save money by driving sanely and maintaining your automobile. She mentioned how sudden stopping and starting are often the culprits of lousy gas mileage on your car. At the time, I read the article and said, &quot;Hey, that&#39;s true. I once drove 150 at 30mph and saved a lot of gas!&quot;. Of course, driving for 150 miles at 30mph is pretty tedious. And Lynn never advocated driving that far under the speed limit.</p> <p>So, this past weekend, when I was facing another 150 mile journey (a journey that uses roughly one half of my 16-gallon tank when I drive on A**hole Setting), I decided to try driving at 55 mpg, just like we used to do back in the 1970s, before disco music was enjoyed with a sense of irony. </p> <p>I drove in the far right lane, because I&#39;m not a <strong><em>total</em></strong> jerk. I stayed behind large semi trucks. I used cruise control rather than the gas and brake pedals to alter my speed, unless I really needed to slow down or speed up fast for some reason. More importantly, I just <em>calmed the hell down</em>. I paid attention to the road, but stole glances at the beautiful scenery. I sang along to my CD player, and purposely played music that would not get my blood pressure up (think Credence Clearwater Revival rather than Dropkick Murphys). I stayed out of everyone&#39;s way, and marveled at the massive SUVs (mostly towing trailers packed with offroad bikes or boats) zooming past me at 75 mph. It was like having an out-of-body experience, or having the Ghost of Christmas Driving arrive and show me just how I look when I&#39;m barreling over the mountain highway, racing to the top and back down with other holiday revelers.</p> <p>I got close to 30 miles to the gallon on that trip, almost as much as I got when I had to drive the same route at 30mph. And the time difference is negligible - it took me roughly 30 minutes longer to get home than if I had been tearing across the pass at breakneck speed. My tank, which usually starts running on fumes at 310 miles, took me to a full 430 miles before the gas light went on.</p> <p>I tell you, I am a changed woman. No more driving like a maniac for me. I&#39;m now contently puttering along in the slow lane with the old ladies and student drivers, listening to the radio and keeping an eye out for traffic that merges at an unreasonable speed. I no longer take off like a skittish greyhound as soon as the light turns green - I just slowly apply pressure to the gas pedal and make my way into the intersection like a sane human being.</p> <p>I&#39;ve even retired my middle finger, which was developing some sort of permanent cramping from overuse. My carpooling partner is beginning to wonder if I&#39;ve lost it.</p> <p>Other drivers may be frustrated with my easy riding, but I don&#39;t care. Driving like an old woman is going to save me hundred of dollars per year - think of what I could spend that on (don&#39;t say &#39;cat food&#39;)! I&#39;m thinking of printing up some bumper stickers that say &quot;If I&#39;m going slow, I&#39;m trying to save gas. Don&#39;t hate me because I&#39;m frugiful!&quot;, but I&#39;m not sure if it&#39;s even worth the effort. I&#39;ve already noticed a number of fellow drivers practicing the same slow, steady manner of driving that I&#39;ve been trying, and I think it&#39;s catching on.</p> <p>I&#39;m pretty sure that my blood pressure is lower, too.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-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-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/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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-bank-of-gasoline-0">The Bank of Gasoline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cities-for-going-car-free">5 Best Cities for Going Car-Free</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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation car Cars driving gas gasoline oli prices transportation Wed, 09 Jul 2008 07:40:39 +0000 Andrea Karim 2224 at http://www.wisebread.com