appreciation http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9424/all en-US The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000074853063.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The numbers are impressive: The median existing home price for homes across the United States stood at $232,500 in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's up 6.3% from the same month one year earlier, and marks the 50th consecutive month in which median housing prices have increased from one year to the next.</p> <p>This steady rate of appreciation might inspire you to invest in residential real estate. After all, the performance of the housing market during the last four years has been far steadier than that of the stock market. But be careful: Sure, investing in real estate can be profitable &mdash; but it can also be risky. Investors who don't do their homework before sinking their dollars into homes could lose a bundle of money.</p> <p>Here are five rules you must know before <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-investing-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-you-think" target="_blank">investing in real estate</a>.</p> <h2>1. Don't Let Your Emotions Betray You</h2> <p>Jamal Asskoumi, owner of the online real estate agency CastleSmart, says that too many inexperienced investors make the mistake of falling in love with a property for the way it looks. They then invest in it without running the numbers to make sure that the home has real potential to increase in value enough to make it a sound investment.</p> <p>Falling in love with a property can also cause investors to spend too much on it upfront, making it nearly impossible for them to make a profit after their purchase.</p> <p>&quot;Unlike stocks that are numbers on a screen, property must be liked and appreciated before it can be invested in, and this is the downfall of many investors,&quot; Asskoumi said. &quot;When visiting a property, investors sometimes become attached and feel as though they have to have it, regardless of the price. They end up paying more than what is necessary and lose on the investment.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Have Enough Money to Cover Both Known and Unknown Losses</h2> <p>Investing in real estate isn't cheap. You are buying a home, after all. But the real trouble spot for investors are the unexpected costs: If you rent out your investment, you never know what damage your tenants might cause. Fixing that damage could cost thousands of dollars.</p> <p>You also have to be prepared for possible losses. Housing values can go down as well as up. You need the financial cushion to handle these fluctuations, said Rocky Lalvani, a financial coach and founder of the Richer Soul financial blog.</p> <p>You also need the money to cover possible monthly losses until your property does appreciate enough in value for you to sell it and earn a big profit. Maybe your mortgage on the property you bought is $2,000 a month but you can only rent the home for $1,800 a month. You'll essentially be losing $200 a month while you wait for your investment to appreciate.</p> <p>&quot;Be prepared for losses; it's a cost of business,&quot; Lalvani said. &quot;Real estate may lose money in the short term while your asset is building over the long term.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Don't Rent to Just Anyone</h2> <p>Finding good tenants is one of the biggest challenges in investing in real estate. The wrong tenants could damage your property, stop paying their monthly rent, and force you to evict them, a process that is long and costly.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to do your research before renting out your home. Run the credit of potential tenants to determine if they've struggled to pay their bills before. Run criminal background checks, too, on potential tenants.</p> <p>Above all, never simply buy into the promises that potential tenants make to you.</p> <p>&quot;Tenants will literally lie about anything and everything,&quot; said Eric Bowlin, a real estate investor and founder of the real estate investing blog EricBowlin.com. &quot;Assume everyone has no job, no income, and a long eviction record, until otherwise proven.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Invest in the Right Neighborhood</h2> <p>You want to invest in an area in which homes are most likely to increase in value. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any home, even if located in a desirable neighborhood, will be worth more 10 years from now than it is today.</p> <p>But investing in the right neighborhood can at least increase the odds.</p> <p>Study what homes are selling for in any neighborhood in which you want to invest. Study, too, the average monthly rents that homes and apartments in a neighborhood fetch.</p> <p>A neighborhood that is dotted with new restaurants and shops might be a good investment. So might be one that is gaining the reputation as being an up-and-coming area. Be careful, though: It's easy to spend too much upfront in these hotter neighborhoods.</p> <p>Paul Ullman, founder and chief investment officer of Asset Based Lending in Hoboken, New Jersey, says that the key is to look at the strength of nearby schools and to target areas that have positive job growth. It helps, too, to know the neighborhood in which you are going to invest.</p> <p>&quot;Ideally, invest close to home, at least initially,&quot; Ullman said.</p> <h2>5. Know Your Limits</h2> <p>Before investing in real estate, be honest about what you can and can't do. If you're not particularly handy, you might not be able to repair that leaking dishwasher on your own, for instance, and might need a plumber to resolve the problem. That will add to the costs of your real estate investment.</p> <p>You might also want to avoid 2:00 a.m. calls from tenants complaining that the heat in their apartment isn't working. To avoid these calls, you can hire a professional property management company to take over the daily operations of your real estate investment. Hiring such a company, though, costs money, and will eat into your profits.</p> <p>&quot;I always tell people who are interested in getting into investment real estate to consider how comfortable they are with doing any kind of repairs or construction to a house or rental property,&quot; said Todd Barton with the Atlanta office of Renters Warehouse. &quot;You'll have to budget in the costs of contractors or professional property managers. Be honest with yourself upfront so that you don't get into a situation where you are overwhelmed with projects and mounting debts.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you taken the plunge and invested in real estate? What other rules should new investors stick to?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">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/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</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/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</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/so-you-want-to-be-a-landlord-part-i">So You Want to be a Landlord? Part I</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/dont-worry-about-missing-the-bottom-in-houses">Don&#039;t worry about missing the bottom in houses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Real Estate and Housing appreciation housing market landlord neighborhoods property management renting residential real estate risks tenants Thu, 26 May 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Dan Rafter 1717920 at http://www.wisebread.com Can Saying Thanks More Make You Rich? http://www.wisebread.com/can-saying-thanks-more-make-you-rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-saying-thanks-more-make-you-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thank_you_note_000058962422.jpg" alt="Learning how saying thanks can make you rich" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're even a little bit cynical, you might be expecting a resounding, one-word answer to this question. I mean, since when did being nice ever get you rich?</p> <p>But there is good news out there for those of us who still like to see the nice guy win once in-awhile. In fact, gratitude has a number of direct impacts on financial well being.</p> <h2>Gratitude Makes You Happy</h2> <p>Gratitude has been shown to <a href="https://www.uthealthleader.org/story/grateful-ology">make people happier</a> &mdash; and happiness is known to have a positive impact on earnings.</p> <p>In research, groups were asked to keep journals over an extended period, either simply writing down neutrally what had happened to them, or trying to find the positives to be grateful for. At the end of the study, the gratitude group were 25% happier than the neutral group, and reported fewer physical illnesses over the period.</p> <p>A different study links <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-money-does-buy-happiness" target="_blank">happiness and earnings</a>, with research which shows that adolescents who report higher levels of happiness go on to <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/109/49/19953.abstract">earn more as adults</a>. There are probably a wide range of reasons for this &mdash; happier people take fewer sick days, build more positive relationships, and are able to focus more on the things that matter to them.</p> <h2>Gratitude Stops Spending</h2> <p>If excessive consumption is your downfall, then try practicing a little gratitude to get back on track.</p> <p>Instead of lusting after another gadget or handbag, make a conscious effort to appreciate what you have &mdash; not only will you rediscover old pleasures, it will most likely slow your urge to spend.</p> <p>Often the desire to shop comes about because of something known as <em>hedonic adaptation</em>, or the hedonic treadmill. This is the tendency humans have to slip back to an average level of satisfaction very shortly after large improvements or positive life events. So even though you get a massive pay raise, the enjoyment is short-lived, and you soon come to expect the extra salary. Similarly, the new phone you were yearning for is only truly impressive for a few weeks before you forget the novelty and start to think about your next purchase.</p> <p>Gratitude can help overcome this tendency because it slows down the pace at which we get complacent about what we have &mdash; and by cutting out the excesses of spending, our financial wellness gets an immediate boost.</p> <h2>Gratitude Promotes Great Relationships</h2> <p>Relationships flourish with gratitude, and relationships are how business happens. So exercising a bit of gratitude can be a boon to your personal and professional relationships alike, making you happier and wealthier at the same time.</p> <p>This dynamic in professional environments has already received much scientific and psychological attention. Studies dating back decades have shown that customers come back and tip more if they are thanked for their generosity. In one wonderful example (which I really wish I had come up with myself), restaurant servers handed over the check to diners &mdash; either blank, or with a handwritten note saying thank you, including a smiley face. This research showed that those who had written &quot;thank you&quot; on their checks <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1996.tb01847.x/abstract">received higher tips</a>.</p> <p>Because gratitude forges an immediate personal connection, it's a great way of opening the door to a developing relationship. In a work environment, that might be as simple as getting an extra few dollars tip, or it could be the start of something beautiful. You never know.</p> <h2>Gratitude Keeps You Healthy</h2> <p>Science shows you can cut down your medical bills by saying thanks. Seriously.</p> <p>Don't take my word for it. Professor Robert A. Emmons is the author of a report on the <a href="http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/welcome/features/2015-2016/11/20151125_gratitude.html">impact of gratitude on health</a>. He says gratitude &quot;can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders, and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide.&quot;</p> <p>Not only all that, but those who are grateful also report having a stronger social network that can support them when they need help, as well as improving blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health.</p> <p>Gratitude's impact on financial wellness is based on elements of scientific and psychological fact. It may sound far fetched at first, but saying thank you to others, and remembering to be grateful for what you have &mdash; rather than yearning for more &mdash; could really be the secret to unlocking greater emotional and financial well being.</p> <p><em>What do you think? Crazy theories or common sense? How do you practice gratitude in everyday life?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-saying-thanks-more-make-you-rich">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/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</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/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-should-ask-in-the-money-talk">5 Questions Couples Should Ask in the Money Talk</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/could-a-divorce-improve-your-finances">Could a Divorce Improve Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance appreciation gratitude happiness healthy higher salary mindset relationships spending habits Thu, 26 May 2016 09:30:18 +0000 Claire Millard 1717156 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Everyday Things That Are Surprisingly Awesome Investments http://www.wisebread.com/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/star_wars_legos_000019766199.jpg" alt="Learning which everyday things that are awesome investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Strapped for cash? You could be sitting on a small fortune that's hidden right under your nose. Find out what everyday things are surprisingly awesome investments, so you can start building your ordinary empire today. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-boring-investments-make-life-exciting?ref=seealso">4 Ways &quot;Boring&quot; Investments Make Life Exciting</a>)</p> <h2>1. Comic Books</h2> <p>It's not just first-issue Supermans, Spider-Mans, and Batmans that command big bucks. Other comic books and graphic novels &mdash; even contemporary titles, like first-printing Walking Dead #1, which is <a href="http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?ItemID=26643716&amp;gclid=CjwKEAiA58a1BRDw6Jan_PLapw8SJABJz-ZWQRwaCQ5Wx2-CCT08iALxyWKDvEVcFMe1O9O9xDR1-hoC4Lrw_wcB">listed for $15,000</a> on online retailer MyComicShop.com &mdash; can help you bring home some serious bacon.</p> <p>&quot;While everyone's heard stories of people cleaning out an attic to find comic books they sold at a hefty profit, it's not just the older books that are valuable,&quot; explains Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of New York-based Metropolis Collectibles, the world's largest vintage comic book dealership, and ComicConnect, the largest online vintage comic auction house. &quot;Even comic books from the last 20 years are becoming more collectible. Some have jumped from just a few dollars each five years ago to $50 to $100 today. Smart investors are finding that they can make money off of this trend, but only if they treat it like they would any serious investment.&quot;</p> <p>Vincent and his partner, Stephen Fishler, hold five Guinness World Records for the most expensive comics and related collectibles ever sold.</p> <p>&quot;Once you jump into the comic book market, remember to protect your investment,&quot; he adds. Store books in a cool, dry place, such as a safe deposit box. Finally, use professional appraisers and consider purchasing insurance for your collection.&quot;</p> <p>A quick search of your comic's name and issue on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.comicconnect.com">ComicConnect</a> can help you gauge your comic's value.</p> <h2>2. LEGO Sets</h2> <p>Anybody who watches <a href="http://amzn.to/1Qnie5w">Pawn Stars</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/1oluCws">Antiques Roadshow</a><em>,</em> and the like knows that some toys &mdash; particularly mid-century and earlier &mdash; are worth a bundle. But little did we know that one of the most popular toys on the planet today is accruing incredible value right under our noses.</p> <p>Late last year, it was revealed that Lego sets have appreciated in value better than numerous investments, most notably gold. Yes, <em>gold</em>.</p> <p>According to the U.K.-based Telegraph, &quot;Lego sets kept in pristine condition have <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/11817380/Lego-a-better-investment-than-shares-and-gold.html">increased in value</a> 12% each year since the turn of the Millennium, with second-hand prices rising for specific sets as soon as they go out of production. Modern sets are performing even more strongly, with those released last year already selling on eBay for 36% more than their original price.&quot;</p> <p>In contrast, &quot;Those who invested in gold received a 9.6% annual gain over the past decade and a half, while those who went with a savings account generated 2.8%, according to investment company Hargreaves Lansdown.&quot;</p> <p>So which Lego sets are the most coveted? Star Wars, of course (at least currently), with the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon bringing in the top value at more than $2,000, while the Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer are close behind at well above $1,000.</p> <h2>3. Birkin Bags</h2> <p>Just a couple weeks after Lego was reported to be a surprisingly good investment, news came that Herm├ęs' popular Birkin bags also held up well against traditional investments &mdash; outpacing both the S&amp;P 500 and the price of gold in the last 35 years.</p> <p>Scarcity is the leading factor in the bags' huge hikes &mdash; they're not advertised and there's still a six-year wait list &mdash; though you will have to put out a decent chunk of change for the initial investment (they start at about $12,000). If you've got that kind of capital for a handbag, however, you could walk away a winner in a few years. According to Time magazine, the annual return on a Birkin was 14.2%, compared to the S&amp;P average of 8.7% a year and gold's 1.5%.</p> <h2>4. Art</h2> <p>If you're one of the lucky ducks who owns a building that Banksy has tagged, or you were in the right place at the right time when he sold nearly a quarter-million dollars worth of art for $60 a pop in Central Park a few years ago, you're sitting pretty &mdash; but he's not the only artist whose work is worth much more than canvas it's on. In fact, you might have a sizable payday hanging on your walls right now.</p> <p>Personally, I invest in art &mdash; mostly local artists where I live. I don't buy based on their success (most of the artists whose work I purchase are unknown), but rather I make my decision on what piques my interest and catches my eye. I then follow their careers to stay educated about my investments.</p> <p>And it's a wise habit to practice, says Mallory Greene, community manager at Wealthsimple.</p> <p>&quot;If you don't think buying art is a good way to make money, there are some pretty fancy numbers that argue otherwise,&quot; she explains. &quot;Consider the case of the artist Jacob Kassay. Kassay is known for making beautiful photo-mirrors by painting canvases with reflective metallic paint. The result is affecting, producing an eerie, crude reflection of the viewer. One of his paintings sold for about $4,000 at a gallery in New York City. That sounds expensive until you consider that nine months later the painting sold at auction for $150,000. That, if you're keeping score, is a return of 3,650%.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Wine</h2> <p>Here's a sobering fact: You could be drinking your retirement fund away as you read this.</p> <p>While you probably won't be able to sail off into the sunset by selling off that case of Barefoot Merlot, you may have better luck focusing your investment on wines that come from specific regions, particularly Bordeaux, Champagne, Tuscany, Burgundy, and the Rhone.</p> <p>Forbes magazine reports, &quot;While the four latter regions are gaining in popularity, the Bordeaux region continues to serve as the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/northwesternmutual/2013/12/03/sip-it-or-cellar-it-the-basics-of-wine-investing/#6f04884f76f7">gold standard for wine investors</a>. According to wine trading platform Cavex, two cases of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2005 &mdash; an iconic wine from the Bordeaux region of France &mdash; recently traded for &pound;4,100 GBP (about $6,566 USD). Meanwhile, four cases of the Burgundy wine Ponsot Morey St. Denis Alouettes 2009 went for a more modest &pound;275 GBP (about $440 USD).&quot;</p> <p>Greene provides more context.</p> <p>&quot;The London International Vintners Exchange (a.k.a. the Liv-ex) indices have dramatically outperformed the S&amp;P 500 and the FTSE over the last decade and a half,&quot; she says. &quot;And how often have you enjoyed an ETF with a braised leg of lamb? The main reason to invest in wine is because it's fun.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Internet Domains</h2> <p>Last fall, ex-Google employee Sammy Ved did the nearly impossible: He purchased Google.com during a <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/29/10868404/google-reveals-how-much-it-paid-the-guy-who-bought-google-com">momentary lapse in domain ownership</a> by Google itself. He only owned it for about a minute before Google recognized its snafu and reversed the transaction. Google offered to pay Ved a reward of $6,006.13 (which spells out Google numerically), which it then doubled when Ved said he'd donate the money to charity. How nice.</p> <p>Alas, there's no provision that says you have to be so altruistic if you're ever in a similar position, which isn't all that uncommon. In fact, the truth is you can purchase any domain that's available, hold onto it, and hope that somebody with deep pockets wants and needs it someday.</p> <p>Digital marketing and social media strategist Brad Hines says that registering words like, a newly coined word or expression, as a .com domain name is an in-plain-sight investment that people overlook all the time.</p> <p>&quot;Domain names have an enormous aftermarket,&quot; he explains. &quot;A brief glance at a website like <a href="http://www.dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm">DnJournal</a> shows that average sales of domain names start at $3,000. And 100% of these domain names start as initial registrations at any domain name registrar &mdash; GoDaddy, 1&amp;1, NameCheap, etc. &mdash; where they tend to register for $10 to $15.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Registering domain names has low barriers to entry, so it's competitive, yes, but reading things like trade journals and niche blogs can help keep you ahead of words that are not in public fashion yet,&quot; Hines continues. &quot;I've done this for 15 years.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Sports Memorabilia</h2> <p>Remember when you were growing up and you found a rookie in your pack of baseball cards? Well, you should've held on to it, as it could've made your 20-somethings a little less ramen-reliant. Moreover, you'd really be living large if you had it signed by somebody like Mickey Mantle, Cal Ripken Jr., or Albert Pujols &mdash; because authentic autographed memorabilia is where it's at!</p> <p>According to the Upper Deck blog, authentic autographed memorabilia, like a Wilson basketball featuring Kevin Durant's signature, or bat signed by Ken Griffey Jr., can command top dollar at auction.</p> <p>If you're new to the memorabilia investing game &mdash; or want to get started, like, stat! &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/39444167">consider these rules</a> shared by CNBC.</p> <p><em>What ordinary things do you own that are worth a pretty penny? I'd love to hear about them 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/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments">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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</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-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate</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/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</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/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too</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-booze-teaches-us-about-money">What Booze Teaches Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Investment appreciation art comic books Internet legos sports memorabilia wine worth money Thu, 18 Feb 2016 11:30:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1658151 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Word You Need to Start Using Today to Have a Better Life http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-word-you-need-to-start-using-today-to-have-a-better-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-word-you-need-to-start-using-today-to-have-a-better-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-handshake-146821525-small.jpg" alt="friends handshake" title="friends handshake" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to make today better in an instant? How about making the rest of your life better?</p> <p>Just start saying &quot;Thanks.&quot; In fact, say it right now. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/science-shows-that-saying-thanks-can-improve-your-health-and-happiness?ref=seealso">Science Shows That Saying Thanks Can Improve Your Health and Happiness</a></p> <p>Look around you, find something you're grateful for, and express that in one word. You don't have to thank a deity. Just saying the word &quot;Thanks&quot; can help you focus on the things that are good in your life &mdash; the ones for which you are thankful &mdash; which can improve your overall outlook.</p> <h2>Words Have Power</h2> <p>I've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-word-you-need-to-get-rid-of-for-a-better-life">talked before</a> about how words have power. The words we use can affect how we think about things like our feelings as well as how we process abstract concepts, like time and direction. They change how we remember and what we deem important enough to store in our memory.</p> <p>Given that words have the power to shape our experiences and how we think of them afterwards, it makes sense that we could use them to make our lives better. It also makes sense that some of them would be more suited to this purpose than others.</p> <p>As it turns out, &quot;Thanks&quot; is one of the very best ones out there.</p> <h2>Why &quot;Thanks?&quot;</h2> <p>There are several reasons why &quot;Thanks&quot; is just the word to make life better.</p> <h3>Gratitude Is Positive</h3> <p>If you're not feeling great about your life, chances are that you do not have a positive outlook. You may not be intentionally focusing on the difficult parts of your life, spending a lot of time and attention looking at what's wrong.</p> <p>When you say &quot;Thanks!&quot; you are choosing to look at something that's right. Even if you only say it to your barista in passing, you are noticing a good thing and marking it verbally. Over time, <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/two-takes-depression/201211/how-gratitude-combats-depression">saying &quot;Thanks!&quot; can help you replace negative thinking with positive.</a></p> <h3>Gratitude Makes Us Mindful</h3> <p>In order to say &quot;Thanks!&quot; we have to have our minds focused on the present. That is, we have to be mindful of the present. We have to focus on what is going on here and now, on what other people are bringing into our lives, or on what we already have. Thus, <a href="http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/11/3-good-things-how-gratitude-heals-dr-paula-watkins/">saying &quot;thanks&quot; is one way to develop mindfulness</a>.</p> <p>Some people achieve mindfulness via meditation, but sticking with a meditation practice requires time and energy, which you may not have if life is stressful or otherwise difficult. Because saying &quot;Thanks&quot; is something that you can incorporate throughout your day, it is a road to mindfulness that you can follow anytime, anywhere.</p> <p>Mindfulness increases the density of grey matter in the brain, improves the ways we process pain and difficult or strong emotions, helps us know ourselves more realistically, helps us feel better about our close relationships, improves our ability to focus, <a href="http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/better_eating_through_mindfulness">helps us lose weight</a>, and more. If mindfulness offers all of that and saying &quot;Thanks&quot; is a way to bring us to that state, it's certainly a habit worth cultivating!</p> <h3>Gratitude Helps You Help Others</h3> <p>Saying &quot;Thanks,&quot; cultivating gratitude, whatever you call it, <a href="http://www.socialemotions.org/page5/files/Bartlett.DeSteno.2006.pdf">makes you more likely to help other people</a>, even when helping them offers little to no benefit to you, or even causes some detrimental effect to you. When you are thankful for what you have, it seems that you are more willing to give other people things to be thankful for, too.</p> <p>Helping others, incidentally, is linked to greater health and longevity, less depression, and a greater sense of self-worth. And it can all start with the simple act of saying &quot;Thanks!&quot;</p> <h2>How to Add &quot;Thanks&quot; to Your Daily Life</h2> <p>If you're convinced that saying &quot;Thanks&quot; can improve your life, here are some strategies for adding it to your vocabulary.</p> <h3>1. Decide in Advance</h3> <p>When you're first working to say &quot;Thanks&quot; more often, it will help you to decide to do it ahead of time. For instance, if you know you'll be stopping for coffee, take a second to think consciously about thanking the barista who takes your order. Even go as far as to envision it happening. Then, be sure to actually say it at the coffee shop. This can help you get into the habit of saying a word that you're not used to using, or to imbuing it with a deeper meaning.</p> <h3>2. Make a List</h3> <p>The idea of making a list of things you're thankful for is at least a little cliche, but it's popular because it works. If you're not the type to remember to stop and write down things you're thankful for on a daily basis (I'm not!), set aside some time each week to list a few things. Or, you can put a small section into each day of your calendar, label it &quot;Thanks,&quot; and list things as you go through your day. Take the time to say &quot;Thank you&quot; for each thing, even if it's only silently, and you don't know who you're talking to.</p> <h3>3. Send a Letter</h3> <p>Take some <a href="http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/02/18/martin-seligman-gratitude-visit-three-blessings/">advice from a gratitude expert</a>. Think of someone in your past who you would like to thank. This can be for anything, from a small kindness to having a great influence on you. Then write them a letter, telling them exactly what you remember and why it meant so much to you, and maybe why you remember it today. Try to meet with the person (or call them, or at least find their mailing address), so you can give them the letter or share it with them in the most personal way possible.</p> <h3>4. Reward Yourself</h3> <p>Give yourself a little treat when you remember to say &quot;Thanks!&quot; This doesn't have to be (and probably shouldn't be) anything too big, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-change-your-habits-and-your-life">rewarding yourself notes your achievement and takes it seriously</a>. Even if you just draw yourself a smiley face or get to cross off &quot;Say Thanks&quot; in your planner, the reward will encourage you to continue the habit.</p> <p><em>Any other transformational words &mdash; besides &quot;thanks&quot; &mdash; you've recently added or wanted to add to your vocabulary? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-word-you-need-to-start-using-today-to-have-a-better-life">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/science-shows-that-saying-thanks-can-improve-your-health-and-happiness">Science Shows That Saying Thanks Can Improve Your Health and Happiness</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/can-saying-thanks-more-make-you-rich">Can Saying Thanks More Make You Rich?</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/gratitude-and-frugality">Gratitude and Frugality</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/youre-doing-it-wrong-moron-5-tips-for-giving-better-compliments">You&#039;re Doing It Wrong, Moron: 5 Tips for Giving Better Compliments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-little-ways-to-make-yourself-a-better-person-while-watching-tv-tonight">15 Little Ways to Make Yourself a Better Person While Watching TV Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development appreciation gratitude thank you thanks Mon, 22 Sep 2014 09:00:03 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1216064 at http://www.wisebread.com Silly Sounding, but Simple: Use Your Stuff http://www.wisebread.com/silly-sounding-but-simple-use-your-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/silly-sounding-but-simple-use-your-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5193853777_5cb1aaacf7_z.jpg" alt="woman and hairclip" title="woman and hairclip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've written before about how <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/help-from-a-former-pack-rat-getting-rid-of-stuff">I'm a reformed (or, at least, reforming) pack rat</a>. Last month, when I was going through bins of old stuff at my parents' house, I rediscovered one of what I deem to be the sadder aspects of my particular pack-ratness &mdash; not using nice things.</p> <p>In high school, I liked the cartoon &quot;Sailor Moon.&quot; Around that time, I went on vacation with my family to Florida, and I was thrilled to find these awesome, straight-from-Japan Sailor Moon stickers at a toy store. So I bought 'em. I did a lot of letter writing at the time, and I used some of them on letters I mailed to friends.</p> <p>But the majority of those stickers? When I was home earlier this year, I found them in a bin in the basement. I had thought that they were so nice, so precious, that I had to save them for the perfect time.</p> <p>The reality is that usually, there isn't a perfect time to use things like this.</p> <p>It's a lesson I'm still trying to learn. If I get nice things &mdash; things that are high-quality, delicate, or that I just really enjoy &mdash; I want to make sure that they last, and that I enjoy them as much as I can. And I don't think that's a bad urge. Taking good care of items, using those items judiciously, and appreciating the things you have are all important parts of frugality. But there are times even recently when I've taken it too far &mdash; there was the truffle oil from Italy that sat on my shelf for so long, waiting for the right meal, that the rich truffle flavor faded; there was the amazing-looking dress I splurged on that sat in the back of my closet for six months because I feared that I'd spill food all over it (I'm clumsy, so this is not unfounded).</p> <p>I've been working on enjoying the things I have <em>now</em> &mdash; not &quot;soon,&quot; not when&nbsp;&quot;the time is right.&quot; I've been wearing that dress out on dinner dates. And while the truffle oil may be long gone, the fancy cocktail bitters I received as a gift?&nbsp;I'm always thrilled to mix a drink with them for guests at my apartment.</p> <p>It's something my mom has been working on as well. I credit her for much of my wonderful frugality, but this mindset is something I might have also picked up from her. She's told me before about the drawer of nice nightgowns she used to have and never wore. I called her while working on this post to ask her about why she didn't wear them. Her answer? &quot;Because they were too nice.&quot;</p> <p>But, while we were having that conversation, she also told me about how one of her recent basement-emptying jaunts revealed the box of lead crystal glasses my parents received as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alternative-wedding-registry-ideas">wedding gift</a>. She decided to put them into regular household rotation. &quot;I think that's something that's more of my generation,&quot; she said. &quot;You had one set of dishes for everyday, and one set of dishes for company. But it's just so silly [to keep them stored away]. What, are we not good enough for the nice glasses?&quot;</p> <p>Yup; it is silly to keep them stored away. Here's to enjoying and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gratitude-and-frugality">appreciating the things we have</a> &mdash; today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/silly-sounding-but-simple-use-your-stuff">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/sock-it-to-me-15-uses-for-old-socks">Sock It to Me: 15 Uses for Old Socks</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-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</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/25-things-to-do-before-the-new-year">25 Things to Do Before the New Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-tyranny-of-stuff">The Tyranny of Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-wealthy-are-you-beyond-your-bank-account">How Wealthy Are You Beyond Your Bank Account?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle appreciation decluttering pay more for quality Fri, 31 Aug 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Meg Favreau 952497 at http://www.wisebread.com When Something Breaks, Should You Repair or Replace? http://www.wisebread.com/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/roof_repair.jpg" alt="Man repairing roof" title="Man repairing roof" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My Grandpa Clyde was one of the great handymen of all time. He could repair just about anything.</p> <p>Before Clyde bought something, the first thing he'd ask was whether he could get parts and supplies to repair it himself when it broke. If the answer was &quot;no,&quot; he wouldn't buy it. If the answer was &quot;You don't need to worry about it, Mr. Yeager. This will never break,&quot; Gramps would thank the salesman politely and walk away, rather than accuse him of being a bald-faced liar. As Grandpa Clyde was fond of saying, &quot;Automatic means you can't fix it yourself,&quot; and he wanted nothing to do with it.</p> <p>Unfortunately, times have changed since Clyde's day. We now live in a world of <a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/planned-obsolescence-460210">planned obsolescence</a> and one in which it costs more to repair most items &mdash; if they can be repaired at all &mdash; than to replace them. That's not only costing us more, but it's a massive waste of the earth's resources. America's nearly 2,000 landfills stand as sad monuments to our throw-away culture.</p> <p>But sometimes it still pays &mdash; financially, and of course environmentally &mdash; to <a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/repair-things-461109">repair rather than replace</a>, even if you're not as handy as Clyde and have to pay someone else to repair it for you. Here are some rules of thumb about whether to repair or replace. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-repair-a-dripping-faucet">Should You Repair a Dripping Faucet?</a>)</p> <h3>The 50% Rule</h3> <p>Financial pundits often talk about the &quot;50% rule&quot; when deciding whether or not it's more cost effective to repair an item rather than replace it. The conventional wisdom was that if a repair was estimated to cost 50% or less than the amount you paid for an item, it was usually better to have it repaired. This is still a good guide to keep in mind, although many consumer products (e.g. electronics, furniture, appliances, even clothing) have continually dropped in price (in inflation adjusted dollars) in recent generations. So now, to be more accurate, the 50% rule should be based on replacement value, not original purchase price, or even on the estimated current market value or resale value of major items like automobiles. Regardless, it's simply one rule of thumb among many other considerations.</p> <h3>Appreciating Appreciation</h3> <p>Before you decide to replace something instead of have it repaired, carefully consider whether the item you're thinking about trashing might appreciate in value over time. In the case of a well-made piece of furniture that is likely to become an antique, the choice to repair it is probably obvious. But it may not always be so apparent &mdash; when they needed repair, I wanted so badly to pitch those clunky old stereo speakers my dad passed along to me when I was a teen and buy some trendy new (cheap) ones at Kmart. But Dad wouldn't let me; now those JBL speakers are classics and worth nearly as much as my 401(k) (sadly, in that sense).</p> <h3>Around the House</h3> <p>Well-made, older <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-big-on-appliances">appliances</a> may be worth the cost of repair (if you can still find parts and someone to do the work), but you need to factor in that most older appliances use considerably more energy than newer models (see <a target="_blank" href="http://www.energystar.gov/">energystar.gov</a>), so in the end it's often more cost effective to replace them when they need repair. On the other hand, replacing older windows in your home (if they're still in serviceable condition) with more energy efficient ones may not be a smart investment, taking a good many years in most instances to recoup the significant upfront investment. What about the roof over your head? Investing in maintenance and even fairly major roof repairs to prolong the life of a roof &mdash; provided that it's in generally sound condition &mdash; is often more cost effective, particularly for larger roof surfaces.</p> <h3>Rags or Riches</h3> <p>When it comes to clothing, the priority should be on taking proper care of it (<a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/save-money/drying-clothes-clothesline-lint-460209">don't use the clothes dryer</a>!) to make it last rather than investing in repairing it. Because most non-designer clothing is relatively inexpensive, it's usually cheaper to buy something new once <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-clothes-last-longer-without-spending-big">garments become threadbare</a>. Even if you put on a few pounds, tailoring garments usually only makes financial sense with higher-end apparel items, unless you're a seamstress yourself.</p> <h3>Is It Plugged In?</h3> <p>A friend of mine who owns an electronics repair business once told me that nearly half of all the items people bring into his shop are simply suffering from a faulty electrical cord, plug, or other connection problem, or something else with a simple fix like cleaning out an air filter or replacing a worn-out belt. If that's the case, then repairing it will save you major currency (get it?). But, if it's something more major and requires special parts, even my friend admits that most new electronics are so inexpensive that it's probably not worth the fix.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The common line is that it&#039;s better to repair than replace, but that&#039;s not always true. Here&#039;s how to figure out what you should do when something breaks. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align: left; "><em>This post from the&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/save-money/"><em>Green Cheapskate</em></a><em>&nbsp;by Jeff Yeager is republished with the permission of&nbsp;</em><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/"><em>The Daily Green</em></a><em>. Check out more great content from&nbsp;The Daily Green:</em></p> <div> <div> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/save-money-megaflip"><em>30+ Ways to Save Money By Going Green</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/save-gas-47031702"><em>10 Ways to Save Money On Gas Without Replacing Your Car</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/vodka-uses-460424"><em>Top 10 Weird Uses of Vodka</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/safe-green-investments-47091801"><em>6 Safe Green Investments</em></a></li> <li><a href="http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/save-money-gas-47050902"><em>How to Pay 50 Cents (or Less) for a Gallon of Gas</em></a></li> </ul> </div> </div> <div>&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jeff-yeager">Jeff Yeager</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-something-breaks-should-you-repair-or-replace">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/the-5-best-humidifiers">The 5 Best Humidifiers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-vacuum-sealers">The 5 Best Vacuum Sealers</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/4-warranties-that-arent-worth-it">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-on-appliances-at-any-time-of-year">Save Money on Appliances at any Time of Year</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-home-buys-you-should-never-skimp-on">8 Home Buys You Should Never Skimp On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping appliances appreciation repairs replacing stuff Mon, 21 Nov 2011 11:36:18 +0000 Jeff Yeager 792183 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Ways to Say Thanks http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-say-thanks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-ways-to-say-thanks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thank_you_flower.jpg" alt="Thank-you flower" title="Thank-you flower" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Thank you.&quot;</p> <p>Those two little words (or &quot;thanks&quot; if you want to be quick about it) can mean a lot. Or, depending on how you wield them, they can mean almost nothing. Just like&nbsp;&quot;How are you?&quot; or &quot;I love you,&quot; &quot;Thank you&quot; is a phrase that can hold great weight or have all the heft and permanence of a morning fog.</p> <p>I've been thinking recently about how I say thank you. Like many people, I was taught growing up that when someone gave me a birthday or Christmas gift, I had to send that person a thank-you note. Writing those notes a child, I don't remember thinking much about how I was actually thankful for the gifts; rather, I considered the process of writing thank-you notes akin to brushing your hair. It wasn't something I wanted to do, but it was one of those things that people just <em>did</em>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Recently, though, I have both received some thanks that really touched me and wanted to show my appreciation to people in a way that resonated, which led me to compiling the list below. With every single one of these ideas, I would say there are two important things to always keep in mind: Be sincere and show that you care, just as someone recently cared for you.&nbsp;(See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-doing-it-wrong-moron-5-tips-for-giving-better-compliments">You're Doing It Wrong, Moron: 5 Tips for Giving Better Compliments</a>)</p> <h3>1. Write a Note</h3> <p>For all of my grumbling about writing thank-you notes as a child, I believe that a considered, personal thank-you note is almost always a great way to show gratitude &mdash; especially if it's written on real, made-from-wood-pulp paper. Saying thanks over email or in an e-card is increasingly prevalent because it's easy. But the effort it takes to make or buy a card, or even just write on a piece of lined paper, shows that you really care.</p> <h3>2. Give Food</h3> <p>Sweet or savory, homemade or store-bought, food is always a good way to say thanks. Whether you're making dinner or buying cookies, do what you can to find out what the person you're thanking likes. While the gesture is still, erhm, &quot;sweet,&quot; your thank you will be a little awkward if you make peanut-butter cookies for someone with a peanut allergy.</p> <h3>3. Clean Something</h3> <p>A room, a car, a house, a dog &mdash; the gift of your time and elbow grease is a great way to show your appreciation.</p> <h3>4. Return Items in Better Condition Than When You Borrowed Them</h3> <p>If someone lent you something, show how much you appreciate it by taking better-than-good care of it. Similarly, if you were given something in borrowed Tupperware, return it with food in it (and I'm not talking about old leftovers).</p> <h3>5. Say It as a Surprise</h3> <p>One of the sweetest thanks I ever heard of was from an old college classmate. While we were working in the photo lab one day, she reached in her pocket and pulled out a note her boyfriend had put there for her to find.</p> <h3>6. Say It in Public</h3> <p>Everyone likes to be recognized (well, most of the time &mdash; please don't surround me in a circle of clapping waitstaff if I am celebrating my birthday at your restaurant). Whether at work, on your blog, or in front of a group of friends or family, share why you're thankful for the person or people.</p> <h3>7. Return the Favor</h3> <p>Performing favors shouldn't be an eye-for-an-eye situation, but if someone gave you a ride, watched your kids, or helped you out in another way, do the same or look for another favor you could do.</p> <h3>8. Give a Little Gift Card</h3> <p>Give an unexpected gift card of $5 or $10 to a coffee shop or bookstore. Just don't purchase a little gift card to something like an expensive restaurant. That's like saying, &quot;Thanks, now go spend a lot of your own money to use this gift.&quot; Kind of weird.</p> <h3>9. Pick Up the Bill</h3> <p>If you're out for coffee or a meal, pay the tab.</p> <h3>10. Say It on the Phone</h3> <p>Hearing someone's voice can be powerful. Call before you email.</p> <h3>11. Do It Face-to-Face</h3> <p>Even better than on the phone, say thank you face-to-face. Showing that you're making an effort is touching.</p> <h3>12. Donate to a Charity</h3> <p>Instead of spending money directly on the person you'd like to thank, donate that money to the person's favorite charity in his or her name.</p> <h3>13. Be Happy</h3> <p>Did someone do something that made you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy">happy</a>? Say it, and show it. There are plenty of other times to whine and worry. Remember to be grateful and enjoy what you were given, and the person will be happy that he was able to brighten your day.</p> <h3>14. Organize Others</h3> <p>If you're part of a group thanking an individual or another group, be the one to organize everyone, whether it's all signing a card, pitching in for a gift, or arranging a get-together. Don't wait for someone else to do it. If you're not the person who &quot;should be&quot; in charge of such a rally, reach out to the person who would be (such as a boss) and ask if you can arrange something. There's a good chance that person will agree &mdash; and be thankful someone else it taking care of it.</p> <h3>15. Give an Award</h3> <p>This can be as big and serious or as easy and silly as you want. On the easy and silly side, draw a certificate, create a trophy by gluing together thrift-store finds, or buy an award ribbon &mdash; many designs are available for around a dollar at party stores.</p> <h3>16. Take a Picture</h3> <p>Snap a picture showing how you're using someone's gift, and send it over in an email or a card.</p> <h3>17. Make a Recommendation</h3> <p>If a coworker really came through for you, tell her boss or offer a recommendation on LinkedIn. You might just help her get a raise, promotion, or new job.</p> <h3>18. Teach a Skill</h3> <p>Offer to teach something you know, whether it's cooking, knitting, or something less practical but amusing like how to say curse words in another language.</p> <h3>19. Pay It Forward</h3> <p>Say thanks by doing something nice for someone else. This isn't the most direct thank you, because you certainly don't want to go reporting your good deed back to the person who did something for you and sound like you're looking for approval.</p> <h3>20. Make Art</h3> <p>Find a decorative way to say thanks. This can be as intensive or as easy as you like, from cross-stitching and framing a thank-you note (you crafty person, you), to drawing a doodle that someone could tack up in a cubicle.</p> <h3>21. Give Flowers</h3> <p>Flowers are unnecessary, temporary, and certainly not useful &mdash; but that's part of why I love them as a thank-you gift. They're absolutely lovely to have around and an indulgence that most people never purchase for themselves. Plus, since they have a limited life, flowers won't sit around adding to an accumulation of stuff. You can also go the long-lasting route and buy a small potted plant like an African Violet or even an herb for the kitchen.</p> <h3>22. Ask About Needs</h3> <p>While it might ruin the element of surprise, asking people what they need also ensures that you're giving them something they really could use.</p> <h3>23. Give Something Useful</h3> <p>Too often, thank-you gifts are needless stuff that while appreciated, just tends to accumulate. Instead, say thanks by giving something that can be used. I've received <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urban-green-reusable-shopping-bags-for-folks-on-the-move">reusable shopping bags</a> as wedding favors, awesome metal water bottles from employers, and a personalized notebook from a friend.</p> <h3>24. Make Time</h3> <p>Schedules are hectic. There is always, always something else to do. Simply making time for a person &mdash; to talk, to help out, to even just watch a movie together &mdash; is a great way to show that you care.</p> <h3>25. Just Say It</h3> <p>While I love meaningful, considered thanks, be careful not to over-think it. If you hem and haw too long about how to thank someone, there's always the risk that you just won't. Even if it's just an email, or a moment while you walk by in the hallway, let people know how much you appreciate what they did.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite way to say thanks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-say-thanks">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/my-5-favorite-funny-christmas-gifts">My 5 Favorite Funny Christmas Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-importance-of-friendly-letters">The Importance of Friendly Letters</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/youre-doing-it-wrong-moron-5-tips-for-giving-better-compliments">You&#039;re Doing It Wrong, Moron: 5 Tips for Giving Better Compliments</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-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips appreciation gift ideas thank you cards thankfulness Mon, 28 Feb 2011 13:36:33 +0000 Meg Favreau 495634 at http://www.wisebread.com You're Doing It Wrong, Moron: 5 Tips for Giving Better Compliments http://www.wisebread.com/youre-doing-it-wrong-moron-5-tips-for-giving-better-compliments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/youre-doing-it-wrong-moron-5-tips-for-giving-better-compliments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/compliment.jpg" alt="Sign: &quot;You are beautiful&quot;" title="Sign: &quot;You are beautiful&quot;" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There&rsquo;s no denying that people love words of affirmation. Everyone enjoys being told when they do an exceptionally good job or when they look nice on a special day.&nbsp;</p> <p>Then again, receiving compliments is a relatively simple and passive experience.&nbsp;Giving legitimate, truly thoughtful, and heartfelt compliments is something else entirely. In an era of instant, faceless communication, the art of giving meaningful compliments might be headed the way of the dodo.</p> <p>Thought and intention are a big part of the problem. A lot of us regularly offer compliments to friends and loved ones. But those words so easily bleed into the background, tossed out with minimal thought or no real consideration.</p> <p>A genuine compliment can boost work performance, change a person&rsquo;s outlook on their day, or do countless other things you'll probably never know.&nbsp;Here are few tips for giving genuine, thoughtful compliments.</p> <h2>Be Sincere</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t give a compliment just because you want to be in someone&rsquo;s favor. Others can tell when you are being insincere, which can spell bigger troubles and doubts about your intentions and character. When you give a compliment, make sure that you actually mean your words.</p> <h2>Avoid the Usual</h2> <p>Anyone can say &ldquo;good job&rdquo; or &ldquo;nice outfit.&rdquo; These types of generic compliments tend to have little impact on the recipient. When you give a compliment, make sure you wait for the opportune moment and embrace specificity. Choose words that embrace something truly exceptional. Not only will this demonstrate your awareness, but it will also let the recipient know their efforts are noticed and appreciated.</p> <h2>Consider the Appropriateness</h2> <p>Not only is being specific important, but choosing the right words can also make a world of difference. Always make sure that the compliments you are giving aren&rsquo;t backhanded or gender-specific. Comments about a coworker's appearance can easily tread into dangerous waters; it's always important to consider the setting and the environment for the compliment.</p> <h2>Remain Humble</h2> <p>A compliment is intended to benefit the person who receives it. Once you give someone a compliment, don&rsquo;t repeat yourself until you receive a &ldquo;thank you.&rdquo; Simply give your compliment and politely carry on with your other tasks.</p> <h2>Be Yourself</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t need to put on a big show to give a compliment. &nbsp;All you need to do is be yourself and deliver your compliment in a polite and efficient manner. Giving a compliment without having to become a different person will also make the compliment more sincere.</p> <p>Delivering great compliments will not only make you feel good, but it will also help brighten the day of others.&nbsp;In a world where everyone seems to always be facing a computer, TV, or phone screen, take the time to let those around you know about the exceptional things they are doing by telling them face to face.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-doing-it-wrong-moron-5-tips-for-giving-better-compliments">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/25-ways-to-say-thanks">25 Ways to Say Thanks</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/gratitude-and-frugality">Gratitude and Frugality</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-one-word-you-need-to-start-using-today-to-have-a-better-life">The One Word You Need to Start Using Today to Have a Better Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-an-argument">How to Win an Argument</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/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development appreciation talking thankfulness Thu, 27 Jan 2011 13:36:12 +0000 Chris Birk 484123 at http://www.wisebread.com How Wealthy Are You Beyond Your Bank Account? http://www.wisebread.com/how-wealthy-are-you-beyond-your-bank-account <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-wealthy-are-you-beyond-your-bank-account" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/napa.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On my previous article about working to death I found a <a href="/your-work-or-your-life#comment-128956">pretty long comment </a> by a woman named &quot;Jen&quot; who has a husband that works seven days a week to provide for his family. This long and detailed rant sparked several responses saying that Jen is ungrateful for what she has. The comments pointed out many of the non-financial riches Jen has that others would love to obtain. This exchange really made me reflect on how non-monetary things make us rich.</p> <p>First of all, I think anyone who has a loving family is already quite rich. In the case of commenter Jen, she has two children and an extremely devoted husband and she seems to love them quite a bit. Not everyone is so lucky to be able to find a loving mate, or even have any children. I am grateful to have a family every single day even though we have our own problems and conflicts. No family is perfect, but having a family at all is a great blessing.</p> <p>Second, as some commenters said, Jen is incredibly lucky to be an American and live in America. When I moved to Hawaii from China I thought that America is incredibly clean and beautiful. When I was in my senior year of high school I realized that because I was a Chinese citizen I had a lot fewer chances for scholarships and even job opportunities. Because of this I remember being jealous of my classmates for the simple fact that they were born in America. Honestly at that time it really pissed me off that so many Americans did not take advantage of the opportunities they had. So I think anyone who is born in a country where they can freely pursue so many choices is ridiculously rich just because they were lucky in birth.</p> <p>Finally, I think having a healthy body and mind makes a person wealthy. One obvious reason is that health care is quite expensive, and another reason is that as long as you are sound in body and mind you can do something productive and generate money. Unfortunately I think Jen&#39;s husband is suffering in his physical and mental health because of overwork. I agree with Jen that her husband needs to stop this destruction of his being because in the long run he may not be able to work as much and may need medical attention. Personally, I would rather go into debt than slowly wither away in physical and mental health.</p> <p>For some reason I find that it is much easier for me to complain about what I do not have and it is much harder to be grateful for what I do have. I suppose it is is human nature to always want more. Wealth actually comes from the word &quot;weal&quot;, which means well-being, so I think ultimately it is not our bank accounts that make us wealthy, but our own personal sense of well-being. If you ask yourself what non-financial aspects of your life makes you happy, then you may find that you are more wealthy than you think.</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/how-wealthy-are-you-beyond-your-bank-account">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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-being-rich-mean-to-you-anyway">What Does Being Rich Mean to You Anyway?</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/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family Lifestyle appreciation life money Fri, 11 Jul 2008 21:38:58 +0000 Xin Lu 2230 at http://www.wisebread.com