volunteering http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9820/all en-US 7 Things Employers Care About More Than Your Degree http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-587892248.jpg" alt="Woman learning things employers care about more than a degree" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A college education is a wonderful asset. You get a foundation on which you can build a great career, life experiences, and friendships that can last a lifetime. However, a degree is not the be-all and end-all of what makes you an ideal job candidate. Employers are looking for other key factors that separate you from the crowd.</p> <h2>1. Hands-on experience</h2> <p>There is a world of difference between college experience and real world experience. As it was so profoundly put in <em>The Secret of my Success</em>, it comes down to this: &quot;What you've got is college experience, not the practical, hard-nosed business experience we're looking for.&quot;</p> <p>Education is great, but it doesn't compare to being in the trenches, and employers know that. If you've got years of experience under your belt, it can often take the place of a degree or other form of education. And, it means you have references from people in the industry. This is by far the best way to separate yourself from the competition.</p> <h2>2. Ability to solve problems</h2> <p>It doesn't matter whether you have an office job, work in a garage, or are out in the fields every day. Whatever your chosen career, you are going to encounter problems; it's a daily part of every job. How you handle those situations will hold you in good stead, and problem solvers are highly prized.</p> <p>Do you think laterally? Can you condense the problem into key issues that should be addressed? Do you take charge when faced with a challenge? If you can hold your head up high and demonstrate your ability to solve problems quickly and effectively, your future employer will find you very hirable.</p> <h2>3. Communication skills</h2> <p>Directly related to problem solving, how well you communicate can be just as important as what you're communicating. It's no good having a great solution to a problem if you're afraid to speak up, or find yourself unable to distill your thoughts into actionable directions. Someone who can communicate well, and in a way that motivates and produces results, is a great asset to any employer.</p> <h2>4. Collaboration skills</h2> <p>Loners tend not to do well in most jobs. Sure, there are a few exceptions here or there, but for the most part, you must be able to work well as part of a team. In fact, one of the keywords you'll see most frequently listed in job postings is &quot;team player.&quot; Employers want candidates who can quickly and easily become part of a team, even if individuals in the group have clear differences. A candidate that can put aside those differences to produce a great team effort is worth their weight in gold.</p> <h2>5. Work-related achievements</h2> <p>Think about what achievements you can use as a plus during your application and hiring process. Have you written a successful blog or book about the industry? Are you a guest speaker at industry-related events? Have you appeared on television or radio? Have you won any industry awards?</p> <p>Any and all of these things can go a long way to getting you hired, and are often far more valuable than a degree. It shows that you know your stuff and know it well. Don't be afraid to list your achievements, even if they're not directly related to the job. They still count, and they have cachet.</p> <h2>6. Volunteer work</h2> <p>Charitable endeavors can do a lot to highlight the kind of person you are, and employers love seeing this on a resume. First and foremost, it's a sacrifice of personal time to do something for the greater good, and that says a lot about your character. The kinds of charities you work for can also sway the employer even more.</p> <p>For example, while volunteering at an animal shelter is great, helping people in need, like military veterans, will hold a little more value. How long you have been volunteering is also important. If you have been at it for 10 years, despite a poor economy and changing jobs a few times, it shows real dedication. And of course, you will get excellent references from anywhere you volunteer for, which leads to the final point.</p> <h2>7. Awesome references</h2> <p>The old saying &quot;It's not what you know, it's who you know&quot; is directly applicable to your career. In fact, many people climb the corporate ladder with great speed due to knowing the right people, regardless of skills or accomplishments.</p> <p>For example, let's say you're in the film industry, and you have no formal education in video production, editing, sound, or any of the other required skills. The employer will obviously overlook all of that if you have a reference from Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, or Martin Scorsese. This is, of course, an extreme example. But if you have references from well-respected professionals in the industry, you're golden.</p> <p>When it comes to getting a job, you need to use every advantage you have; especially if you do not have the &quot;right&quot; kind of education for the position. But if you're smart and inventive, you can still get the job without the diploma. Good luck.</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/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-skills-todays-employers-value-most">7 Skills Today&#039;s Employers Value Most</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/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan">These 17 Companies Will Help You Repay Your Student Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-hired-by-your-dream-company">How to Get Hired by Your Dream Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits">8 Part-Time Jobs That Offer College Benefits</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-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Job Hunting accomplishments college education employers experience getting hired no diploma skills volunteering Fri, 12 May 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1943629 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-487618753.jpg" alt="Couple traveling during retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling and retirement is a great combination, and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Read on for how travel can lead to a healthier, more enjoyable time after you leave the workforce.</p> <h2>1. More excitement</h2> <p>Being bored is a valid concern for those considering retirement. People wonder: How will I fill up the long hours that I used to spend in the office, where I was valued and useful?</p> <p>Incorporating travel into your retirement is a foolproof way of keeping things fresh and new. In fact, the routine of going to the office every day is arguably much less interesting than being able to experience new places, cultures, and people, as you can do when you're on the road.</p> <p>To really get to know a place and its people, you may want to stay several weeks. In that case, you may be more comfortable in accommodations you can find through short-term home rental websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Or, you could list your own place on Home Exchange and swap with someone who has a home in another country that you're interested in visiting. Signing up for Home Exchange costs around $100 but then you can find free accommodations around the globe. Any of these options allow you to experience the excitement of being in a new place with the comfort of living in a home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-woman-retired-at-60-and-traveled-the-world?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How One Woman Retired at 60 and Traveled the World</a>)</p> <h2>2. Constant learning</h2> <p>Traveling during retirement is a wonderful opportunity to learn new things. Reading up on the history and natural environment of the place you're visiting, spending time in museums and at other points of interest, and talking with locals are all learning opportunities.</p> <p>Visiting a foreign country can be the perfect opportunity to pick up a new language that you've always wanted to learn, too. Learning languages is not only fun, it helps keep your mind sharp. You can take up a language through any number of immersion courses, some aimed specifically at seniors and retirees. Or, you could polish your language skills simply by engaging in conversations with locals you meet.</p> <p>Cooking classes can be another great way to learn about a new place. Often, cooking classes abroad are very affordable, and they're a fun way to experience a new culture and meet new people. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-surprising-skill-that-can-save-you-money-when-you-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">One Surprising Skill That Will Save You Money When You Travel</a>)</p> <h2>3. Better climates<strong> </strong></h2> <p>With the freedom to travel whenever you want, you can hop from place to place to chase your ideal climate. Leave behind cold, snowy winters and travel to a warm, sunny place. Find a tropical paradise any time of year. You might even fall in love with one particular city and decide to stay there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</a>)</p> <h2>4. Money-saving opportunities</h2> <p>Those willing to stay overseas for extended periods of time, or indefinitely, may be able to save big on living costs. Often you can make your retirement savings go much further abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>This can be helpful in lessening anxiety about having enough money saved for retirement, and it may even allow you a large enough margin to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">retire sooner than you thought</a>. You may choose to rent out your U.S. home, or sell it if you're moving permanently. Either option could help you feather your nest egg while you're staying in cheaper accommodations elsewhere.</p> <p>What's more, senior citizens are eligible for discounts on many travel expenses. All of the major U.S. airlines offer senior discounts on at least some routes, but usually you need to call the airline's reservations department, as the fares are not visible online. Most major American hotel chains also offer discounts for seniors or AARP members.</p> <h2>5. Volunteer opportunities</h2> <p>Volunteering can be the perfect way to create meaningful connections with people wherever you go and find fulfillment in giving back to the communities you are visiting. You can teach English, or offer health, law, or other professional services that you may have expertise in. Often, international volunteer organizations will place you with a host family while you are in the country, giving you an excellent opportunity to get to know locals and see the way they live.</p> <p>A working holiday is another great way to save on accommodations while getting to meet people and spend time in another culture. Websites such as <a href="http://www.helpx.net/" target="_blank">HelpX.net</a> list farms, ranches, lodges, and even sailboats that invite volunteers to help them in exchange for room and board.</p> <h2>6. Health</h2> <p>Traveling can promote a healthy retirement as well as it can facilitate an active lifestyle, with plenty of new physical and mental stimulus in the places you will be visiting.</p> <p>Not to mention that some foreign countries have both more affordable <em>and </em>more accessible health care. In Colombia for instance, even with prices that have been rising, a visit to a doctor will cost you around $25 and you may be able to get in for a visit much faster than you would in the United States.</p> <h2>Live the retirement of your dreams</h2> <p>Often people have worked hard their entire lives with hopes of being able to travel, experience other cultures, and take in the natural beauty of exotic locales. Now is the time to make those dreams a reality and cross destinations off your bucket list.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520Travel%2520in%2520Retirement%2520Keeps%2520You%2520Young_0.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20Travel%20in%20Retirement%20Keeps%20You%20Young"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20Travel%20in%20Retirement%20Keeps%20You%20Young_0.jpg" alt="6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">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/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel">6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/7-fool-proof-ways-to-stay-within-your-travel-budget">7 Fool-Proof Ways to Stay Within Your Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-ways-the-sharing-economy-helps-you-save-on-vacation">5 Fun Ways the Sharing Economy Helps You Save on Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel expats health care learning language saving money seeing the world tourism trips vacation volunteering Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:30:21 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1917661 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Millennial Money Habits Every Retiree Should Learn http://www.wisebread.com/6-millennial-money-habits-every-retiree-should-learn <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-millennial-money-habits-every-retiree-should-learn" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-589447046.jpg" alt="Learning millennial money habits retirees should strive for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to money matters, Millennials don't always get a good rap. These young adults are likely to view themselves in good financial health so long as they make the bills at the end of the month, let alone stow a little extra away for retirement. But don't mistake them as financial illiterates. In fact, there are some common ways Millennials handle their money that could benefit the older generations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money So Far</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Creative</h2> <p>As retirees age, their expenditures fall &mdash; but their <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2498185" target="_blank">income drops even faster</a>. Perhaps retirees, who are unlikely to jump back into the traditional workforce due to a suddenly trickling cash flow, can benefit from some Millennial-style money tactics. Indeed, Millennials know how to get creative when it comes to their earnings. The old rules simply didn't apply to this generation of '80s and '90s babies that entered adulthood during the uncertainty of the financial recession. So, they made their own rules. They found their own innovative ways to survive. And now, as they continue to develop a distinctly entrepreneurial spirit, many Millennials are beginning to thrive.</p> <p>More than any other generation, Millennials have embraced the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-ways-the-sharing-economy-helps-you-save-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">sharing economy</a>, in which a lawn mower, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-more-money-as-an-uber-driver?ref=internal" target="_blank">their car</a>, or a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space?ref=internal" target="_blank">spare bedroom</a> can become a valuable source of revenue. The average Airbnb host earns more than $20,000 a year renting out a full, two-bedroom apartment or house in a major city, and this is exactly the kind of peripheral revenue stream that Millennials have become accustomed to seeking out for themselves.</p> <p>When it comes to ride-sharing, 21% of Millennials have used user-powered programs like Lyft and Uber to save money while on vacation. Among other age groups, those numbers are much lower &mdash; 7% for Gen-Xers and 4% for Baby Boomers. For older retirees, the percentage is presumably even lower. Yet <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-5/spending-patterns-of-older-americans.htm" target="_blank">transportation is a significant expense</a> for most retirees, and it's one that could potentially be lowered through the use of ride-sharing &mdash; not only during a vacation, but on a daily basis. Older households spend about $8,000 a year on transportation, ranging from a high of $9,321 for the 55 to 64 age group, to a low of $5,091 for the 75-and-older group, according to federal data.</p> <h2>2. Don't Buy Stuff, Spend on Experiences Instead</h2> <p>Millennials highly value experiences &mdash; concerts, yoga festivals, French lessons, surf lessons, palm readings, trips to Italy &mdash; and they are increasingly willing to fork over more and more money to get them. All told, 78% of Millennials would choose to spend money on a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things?ref=internal" target="_blank">desirable experience</a> or event over buying something desirable, and 55% of Millennials say they're spending more on events and live experiences than ever before, according to a 2015 study by Eventbrite. What's more, nearly eight in 10 Millennials say some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended or participated in, while 69% say attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people, the community, and the world.</p> <p>As it turns out, there's scientific evidence to support the idea that people of all ages who spend money on experiences rather than things have a greater shot at attaining happiness. More than stuff, experiential pursuits promote greater happiness, psychologists have found. Perhaps painting lessons, bowling clubs, and a little international travel might also hold the key to a happy retirement.</p> <h2>3. Save Like You Mean It</h2> <p>A recent survey by T. Rowe Price found that 67% of Millennials will save by any means necessary. One reason might be this: It's reassuring to have a stash of cash available for emergencies, and this fact very well may be a major motivator for young adults who came of age during the recession, when jobs were scarce and layoffs were commonplace.</p> <p>Older generations could benefit from that same mentality. Saving by any means necessary, as if the financial future was completely uncertain, will help build up a money cushion should the worst actually happen.</p> <h2>4. Embrace Technology</h2> <p>Millennials are famously tech-savvy, and they're using their familiarity with mobile apps to track their investments, as well as their spending and saving habits, in real time. Tools like <a href="https://www.mint.com/" target="_blank">Mint</a> and <a href="https://digit.co/" target="_blank">Digit</a> make financial planning quick and easy, while <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a> helps Millennials automatically invest their spare change into a diversified and customizable portfolio. There are money-saving apps specific for grocery shopping, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps?ref=internal" target="_blank">couponing</a>, freelancing, and so much more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun &mdash; No Really!</a>)</p> <p>While retirees generally lag in technological proficiency, there's been great improvement in recent years. All told, <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/06/26/americans-internet-access-2000-2015/" target="_blank">58% of people 65 and older</a> go online, according to the Pew Research Center, which marks an impressive increase from 14% in 2000. The app and website <a href="https://lifereimagined.aarp.org/" target="_blank">Life Reimagined</a> by AARP is one example of a highly-rated financial and social planning tool for retirees of all ages.</p> <h2>5. Volunteer in Exchange for Free Tickets</h2> <p>Americans 55 and older spend <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-5/spending-patterns-of-older-americans.htm" target="_blank">5.3% of their budget</a> on entertainment, which is slightly more than the entertainment spending of all Americans, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Perhaps older Americans could benefit from this tip straight out of the Millennial playbook: A little volunteer work can go a long way to get you access to concerts, festivals, and sporting events. Many theaters, stadiums, and festival grounds offer volunteers free tickets to events in exchange for some time spent charitably directing parking or ushering the aisles.</p> <h2>6. Talk It Out</h2> <p>Millennials are markedly open when it comes to discussing their financial woes, worries, and successes. Not only are they quick to seek expert advice, but they are also undeterred from engaging in frank financial talks with friends, spouses, parents, co-workers, and others. Retirees who come from a generation that largely believed that it's rude to talk about money in public could learn from the younger generation's fiscal transparency. Experts say that open conversations about finances can help save relationships, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have?ref=internal" target="_blank">especially intimate ones</a>. They can also lead to people to better address their financial concerns, which can help prevent financial crises from building up later on down the road.</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/6-millennial-money-habits-every-retiree-should-learn">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-millennials-can-learn-about-saving-money-from-gen-x">5 Things Millennials Can Learn About Saving Money From Gen-X</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/tiny-nestegg-retire-abroad">Tiny Nestegg? Retire 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/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it">Everyone&#039;s Using Spare Change Apps — Are They Really 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/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far">6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money (So Far)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Retirement apps baby boomers gen x generations millennials money habits retirees saving money sharing economy volunteering Tue, 14 Mar 2017 11:00:11 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1906388 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_graduate_debt-450067439.jpg" alt="Millennials dealing with student loan debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many Millennials are wracked with student loan debt and don't see a way out anytime soon. Fortunately, there are some unique opportunities available to you &mdash; both while you are in school and after you graduate &mdash; that can help you deal with this obligation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-about-your-federal-student-loans?ref=seealso">Why You Shouldn't Panic About Your Federal Student Loans</a>)</p> <p>According to Debt.org, student loans account for <a href="https://www.debt.org/students/" target="_blank">over $1 trillion in debt</a> in America, and among those who borrow, the average debt load is about $30,000. However, with the right plan of action, you can tackle this debt in less time and with a smaller overall effect on your life and financial well-being.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most?ref=seealso2">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most?</a></p> <h2>1. Take Advantage of Income Share Agreements</h2> <p>Purdue University was the first to offer such a program (theirs is called &quot;<a href="http://purdue.edu/backaboiler/" target="_blank">Back a Boiler</a>&quot;), which provides funding to students who are willing to repay the foundation a portion of their salaries for up to10 years following graduation. These are often referred to as Income Share Agreements or ISAs.</p> <p>With an Income Share Agreement, there is less risk for the student because payments are based on a percentage of your income. (If you earn less, you pay less; when your income increases, you pay more, up to a defined maximum.) Conversely, with a traditional loan, there is a set loan repayment amount that you must find a way to pay every month, even if you don't have a job (although you may be eligible for a variety of deferments or other payment plans; check with your lender).</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan?ref=seealso2">The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn</a></p> <h2>2. Find an Investor</h2> <p>Some schools offer programs where an &quot;investor&quot; buys &quot;shares&quot; in a student's future. This is similar to an ISA, but can also be agreed upon privately. If the student does well financially after graduation, then the investor profits, but the student may end up paying even more than they would have on a private loan. On the other hand, if the student doesn't make much money during the repayment period, then the investor loses. As an added bonus, by selling stock in themselves, students may have even more motivation to do well after graduation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?ref=seealso">Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>3. Plug Your Venmo Account</h2> <p>Once you've opened a Venmo account, you can begin accepting payments from friends, family members, and concerned strangers who want to help you pay off your student loan. Ask for money to be deposited into your Venmo account for your birthday, graduation present, and during the holidays. Loved ones may be willing to contribute even more if they know the money is going toward your student loan.</p> <p>You can share your Venmo account via email or social media. Better yet, you can even make signs with your Venmo account on them, which you can hold in front of the camera at large events or in the background of your favorite news shows. There have been two successful instances where someone <a href="http://www.abc-7.com/story/33099003/what-the-tech-money-app-and-student-make-money-after-stunt" target="_blank">holding a sign</a> with their Venmo account received more than $20,000 in payments from amused viewers. While these feats pulled in 2013 and 2016 weren't for noble purposes, it just goes to show that this quick stunt can really pay off.</p> <h2>4. Volunteer More</h2> <p>With organizations like <a href="http://www.sponsorchange.org/" target="_blank">SponsorChange</a> and <a href="http://www.zerobound.com/" target="_blank">Zerobound</a>, you can volunteer your time and skills to meaningful organizations and your student loans will also reap the benefits. While you accumulate good karma from volunteering your time, the organizations will contribute toward your student loan debt as repayment. Organizations like <a href="http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps" target="_blank">AmeriCorps</a> and <a href="https://www.peacecorps.gov/" target="_blank">Peace Corps</a> also offer partial loan cancellation incentives to volunteers.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. Find the Right Employer</h2> <p>More companies are now offering student loan payoff programs as a perk to new employees. This is becoming especially common with new startups. When you are meeting with a potential employer, you may want to ask if their benefits program offers student loan repayment options.</p> <h2>6. Consider Student Loan Forgiveness Programs</h2> <p>There are various <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness?ref=internal" target="_blank">student loan forgiveness programs</a> available, but only to select people. While most borrowers won't qualify for these programs, it is worth looking into.</p> <p>For instance, with the <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service" target="_blank">Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program</a>, people working in public service can have their loans forgiven after 10 years of payment. There are also income-driven repayment plans, which can forgive your loans after 20&mdash;25 years of repayment. You may also qualify for special federal student loan forgiveness programs if you work in low-income schools or in public service jobs, such as for a nonprofit or the government.</p> <h2>7. Explore Traditional Methods</h2> <p>Traditional means of student loan repayment are always a great option. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big?ref=internal">Debt refinancing</a> or debt consolidation can help lower the interest you pay in the long-run. You can also take advantage of automatic debt payments, make payments twice per month, or trim your budget so there's more left over for repayment. These methods will all help you to pay off your student loan faster and can save you a great deal of money in the long-run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">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/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</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-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan 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/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</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-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management Education & Training college income share agreements investors loan forgiveness millennials repayment student debt student loans tuition volunteering Thu, 15 Dec 2016 10:30:31 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1853983 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_women_jogging_538947995.jpg" alt="Friends keeping anxiety from ruining their budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life gets tough sometimes. When work is overwhelming, you are fighting with your parents, and the news seems to get grimmer every day, you might find yourself shopping your way into a better mood or pulling the covers over your head and ignoring all of your responsibilities.</p> <p>Stress, anxiety, and depression affect all of us at some time or another. And whether you are dealing with occasional and momentary periods of stress, or you are in the grips of a long-term and serious depressive episode, your mental state can often wreak havoc on your finances. It's not easy to protect your budget from your anxiety's destructive impulses, but the following types of self-care will not only help you to feel better when stress strikes, but they will also protect your bottom line.</p> <h2>1. Recruit an Accountability Partner</h2> <p>Accountability partners are an important strategy for improving your finances. Not only does having a partner motivate you to stay on the straight-and-narrow while you pay down debt or increase your savings, but working with someone else can offer you encouragement when you are feeling down and add some fun to a long process.</p> <p>All of these benefits are also crucial if you are trying to keep your budget looking healthy while you're dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression. In the case of trying to keep your mental state from hurting your finances, your accountability partner may act a little bit more like a sponsor from a 12-step program. You can call that person when you are overwhelmed and count on her to remind you of why a shopping binge will not actually help you feel better.</p> <p>Obviously, you and your accountability partner need to be able to offer each other the emotional support you both need. In times of widespread anxiety, it can be a little more difficult to find a partner when everyone is feeling overwhelmed. However, leaning on each other is often a great way for two friends to both feel better and make the best financial choices for themselves.</p> <h2>2. Meditate</h2> <p>Mindfulness meditation has been proven to <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/01/07/260470831/mindfulness-meditation-can-help-relieve-anxiety-and-depression">alleviate the symptoms</a> of both anxiety and depression. The focus of such meditation is to train your brain to remain in the moment, rather than obsess over the past or worry about the future. Such mindfulness will not only help you to put worries in perspective, but it can also help you to recognize the link between your emotions and your financially-destructive behavior.</p> <p>For instance, let's say that after a day of bingeing on news online, you badly want to put a lavish vacation on credit, just so you have something to look forward to. If you take 10 minutes to meditate instead, it can help you to see that your anxiety will not be helped by a vacation you can't afford. It will also allow you to feel your anxiety, rather than push it away, which is a much more productive method of getting past the negative feelings.</p> <p>If you have never meditated before, there are many <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/well/guides/how-to-meditate">beginner's guides</a> out there to teach you the practice of mindfulness.</p> <h2>3. Go for a Run</h2> <p>Exercise is the closest thing we have to a no-fail antidepressant. Research has shown that people are <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2000/09/exercise922.html">happier after breaking a sweat</a> than they were beforehand, even if they had to force themselves to go to the gym.</p> <p>In addition, an exercise habit can help you to avoid budget-destroying habits you might otherwise engage in, like retail therapy or a weekend-long Netflix marathon that keeps you from taking care of your grocery shopping and laundry.</p> <p>Of course, when you are in the midst of a deep funk, the idea of lacing up your sneakers and going out for a life-affirming run sounds about as enticing as getting a root canal. This is another place where your accountability partner can help you do what's best for you both. Set up a regular date to exercise together, and you will both get to enjoy the endorphins and the good company.</p> <h2>4. Volunteer</h2> <p>Depression, anxiety, and stress are often side effects of feeling helpless. When it feels as if you have little power over your circumstances, it's easy to retreat into bad and expensive habits to help yourself feel better.</p> <p>But there is always meaningful work that we can do to improve lives &mdash; even if we can't improve our own. That is why volunteering for a cause you believe in can be such an important tool in improving your outlook on the world. According to a 2008 study by the London School of Economics, people who volunteer <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18321629">experience greater happiness</a> than those who do not.</p> <p>The researchers theorize that volunteering makes you happier because it helps to put your situation in perspective. In addition, volunteering your time helps alleviate depression because it allows you to feel like you are a part of something important that is doing good in the world.</p> <h2>5. Engage in Productive Self-Care</h2> <p>Sometimes things feel so bleak that you really do need to retreat and take care of yourself. There is nothing wrong an occasional &quot;Stop the world, I want to get off!&quot; day for yourself. But there can be a fine line between healthy and productive self-care, and self-destructive wallowing. For instance, buying a bottle of nail polish might make you feel good, which could prompt you to keep buying to keep that good feeling going. Instead, you might be better served by inviting a friend over to paint your nails together.</p> <p>To make sure your self-care is helpful rather than harmful, start with your needs. Ask yourself what needs are not being met right now, and listen carefully to the answer that bubbles to the surface. Wallowing is often a passive reaction, whereas productive self-care is when you engage in fulfilling your unmet needs. Taking the time to think through what you need may help you realize that you don't actually want to go out drinking, but instead you need to talk with a good friend.</p> <h2>Don't Let Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Hurt Your Finances</h2> <p>When your thoughts get stuck in a hamster wheel of anxiety or depression, the easy method of handling your distress can often cause you financial stress. Being intentional and mindful about how you handle your negative mental states can help to alleviate your feelings of helplessness and keep your finances healthy.</p> <p>If you are experiencing severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-frugal-ways-to-eliminate-stress">Flashback Friday: 84 Frugal Ways to Eliminate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-ways-to-get-more-sleep-tonight">Flashback Friday: 38 Ways to Get More Sleep Tonight</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-ways-to-prevent-the-winter-blues-from-busting-your-budget">5 Ways to Prevent the Winter Blues from Busting Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-stressful-job-may-be-making-you-healthier">Your Stressful Job May Be… Making You Healthier?</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/a-simple-remedy-for-the-economic-blues">A Simple Remedy for the Economic Blues</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Health and Beauty Lifestyle anxiety bingeing budgeting depression exercise Help mental health overspending self care stress volunteering Tue, 06 Dec 2016 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1843967 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Amazing Ways to Pay It Forward for Under $10 http://www.wisebread.com/7-amazing-ways-to-pay-it-forward-for-under-10 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-amazing-ways-to-pay-it-forward-for-under-10" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_92634439_LARGE.jpg" alt="pay it forward for less than $10" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By now, most people have heard of folks paying it forward at Starbucks, and some of us have even experienced it for ourselves. There's really nothing like driving up to pay for your drinks, only to find that someone else has covered the bill for you. Even if it's just a couple of bucks, it will make your day.</p> <p>I know that folks are sometimes hesitant to keep a chain like that going, simply because they have no idea how much it will cost them. When money is tight, paying it forward can feel impossible. Fortunately, there are some ways to guarantee that paying it forward won't cost you much, so you can still make someone's day better.</p> <h2>1. Cook a Meal</h2> <p>If you know someone who is struggling and you can't afford to take them out (or they can't go), consider making them a meal instead. <a href="http://www.budgetbytes.com/">It's easy to make a meal</a> that will feed a whole family, or a couple or a single person for several days, for less than $10. And if you're still concerned about cost, make something hearty like a vegetarian chili or jambalaya, which doesn't require meat to produce <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-delicious-dishes-you-can-make-with-a-can-of-tomato-soup">a hearty meal</a>.</p> <h2>2. Donate Blood</h2> <p>If you qualify, you can donate blood for free, minus the cost of your time. Sure, this is less personal than some of the ways you can pay it forward because you won't get to see the person who receives your blood, but that gift will surely make someone's day. Since most people who need blood need it fairly urgently, you can be assured that your donation will be appreciated. Be sure to eat well before you donate, so you don't crash afterwards.</p> <h2>3. Feed a Meter</h2> <p>Do you see a meter expiring soon? Toss in a quarter. If you like this idea, you can even keep a roll of quarters on you or in your car so that you can toss one in whenever the need or desire arises. There are few things worse than looking at the clock and suddenly realizing your meter ran out 20 minutes ago, or knowing that your meeting won't be over before your meter runs out. What a relief, then, to run out to the car and discover that someone took care of it for you! (You may want to double check with your local traffic ordinances. Depending on where you live, metered parking may also have time limits whether or not the meter has expired, and your act of kindness may put its recipient over the limit.)</p> <h2>4. Tip Extra</h2> <p>Servers don't make that much money, even when people tip well. If you'd like to make someone's day, add an extra $10 to your tip. If you want, leave a little note wishing the server well or telling them to put the money toward their dreams. Sure, it's not a lot, but it's amazing how much better people feel when they know they were noticed.</p> <h2>5. Pay Their Toll</h2> <p>You could also offer to pay the toll of the car behind you. After all, the cost of commuting can be a major expense, especially for folks who aren't making much to begin with. You paying that toll might provide someone with just a bit of financial relief, and it will make them feel special, too. And who knows? You might start a new trend.</p> <h2>6. Leave Quarters by the Vending Machine</h2> <p>If you work in an office with a vending machine, try leaving some extra money in the coin return. You don't even have to cover the total cost of a drink or a snack. Just leaving a quarter or two could brighten someone's day. If you do this regularly, make sure you stagger the times when you leave the quarters, since you don't want one person to be the only recipient of your generosity.</p> <h2>7. Let Someone Have Your Spot</h2> <p>Are you at the front of a long line but not in a hurry? Did you time it just right to get a killer parking spot? If you give your prime place to someone else, it just might make their day a little better. This is particularly true if you can tell that someone is in a hurry or is stressed out. As a mother of small children, I can testify that having someone give me their place in a grocery store line when my kids are on the verge of meltdown has entirely changed my day for the better. And the best part is, it's free!</p> <p><em>How do you pay it forward for less than $10? How do you feel after you do it?</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/7-amazing-ways-to-pay-it-forward-for-under-10">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-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-2000-uses-for-a-can-of-wd-40-1">Almost 2000 uses for a can of WD-40</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/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</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/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks good deeds karma pay it forward selflessness volunteering Tue, 30 Aug 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1782252 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/student_loan_debt_000042931066.jpg" alt="Learning surprising ways to pay off student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you went to college, chances are you have student loan debt. Personally, I'm on the 20-year payback plan, and while I'm comfortable with my payments now that two out of three loans are paid in full, the first seven to eight years post-college were extremely hard on my wallet. If you're in a similar situation, there may be some relief in your future. Consider these eight surprising ways to pay off your student loan debt a little faster. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?ref=seealso">Should You Refinance Your Student Loan?</a><strong>)</strong></p> <h2>1. Volunteer With SponsorChange.org</h2> <p>When I graduated college, I was 100% job focused. I had to find full-time employment right away to pay my rent, gas, food, bills, and of course, my student loans. The job search took up most of my time, and when I finally landed a position, that took up even more of my time. After making ends meet, I certainly didn't have much time to volunteer for activities I enjoyed or support causes I believed in.</p> <p>And that right there is what I love about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sponsorchange.org">SponsorChange.org</a>. Their mission is to connect volunteers with social impact organizations that provide a $10 to $20 per hour stipend for participation in meaningful skill-based project opportunities. The concept is simple: Organizations list projects on the SponsorChange.org site to attract the talent they need. Volunteers &mdash; that's you &mdash; can find projects and build their skills doing something they love by earning money that will go directly toward student loans. It's a win-win for everybody, and you don't have to feel one bit guilty about it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness?ref=seealso">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a>)</p> <h2>2. Find Student Employment Through Start Jobs</h2> <p>If you're still in school or even a recent grad, you'll want to check out<a href="http://www.startjobs.net"> Start Jobs</a>, an organization that connects students to paying jobs in the field they want to start a career. This allows them to gain the experience necessary to land that first big job right out of college, in turn either taking on less student debt or paying it down faster.</p> <p>&quot;Start Jobs was ranked by Inc.com as one of the best four websites for <a href="http://www.inc.com/samuel-edwards/great-job-sites-for-recent-college-graduates.html">college graduates seeking jobs</a>, listed alongside LinkedIn, Indeed, and CareerBuilder, and it's the only site specifically created for current students and recent graduates for the purpose of attacking the ever-expanding student debt crisis,&quot; according to Start Jobs Community Manager Bryce Hamlin.</p> <h2>3. Accept Help From Your Post-College Employer</h2> <p>The student loan crisis has gotten so bad in recent years that employers are now stepping up to help their workers pay down debt quicker. Price Waterhouse and Coopers, for instance, recently announced that it would help its junior employees (roughly 46,000 staffers) with paybacks starting next year. Eligible employees will receive $1,200 a year for up to six years for student loans. The money will be paid directly to the loan provider, though it will still count as income for employees.</p> <h2>4. Play Givling, an Online Trivia Game</h2> <p><a href="https://givling.com/givling/">Givling</a> is a pay-to-play online trivia game that is making crowdfunding interactive and fun. Three months after its launch this past spring, it paid off contestant <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/this-student-had-his-32000-student-loan-paid-off-by-signing-up-for-an-online-trivia-game-and-he-didnt-even-play-2015-7">Kevin Foster's $31,625 loan</a> and it will pay off the next loan in the queue &mdash; which amounts to $97,000 &mdash; soon. The best part? You don't even have to play the game yourself. You have to sign up, of course, but participation in the trivia games isn't necessary to win.</p> <p>According to Business Insider, &quot;Separately, trivia gamers sign up and are randomly placed into teams of three. Team members answer true or false questions to rack up points. The highest-scoring funding team is eligible for a $4 million prize. In addition to the large $4 million prize, there are smaller daily prize amounts awarded.&quot;</p> <p>Givling costs $0.50 to play a round and an additional $0.30 for a transaction fee. Players also receive one free game a day.</p> <h2>5. Earn Supplemental Income Through Peer-to-Peer Services</h2> <p>Thanks to the &quot;sharing economy&quot; &mdash; which was largely established by the still-growing popularity of peer-to-peer services &mdash; you can make extra cash by renting out items you already own, like your home or car, or offering services like dog sitting.</p> <p>I've rented out a guest bedroom in my home to tourists for the past seven years on Airbnb, and I'm also listed as a dog sitter on DogVacay, in order to bring in extra income. I have a full-time job just like everyone else, and I still have time to manage both of these additional revenue streams. If you have mounting debt from student loans, these peer-to-peer service are a highly effective way of bringing in serious cash &mdash; if you're wholly committed to your endeavors' success &mdash; that you can put toward your payback.</p> <h2>6. Charge Part of the Balance to a No-Interest Credit Card</h2> <p>It's not the ideal solution to use a credit card to pay down other debts, but if the interest rate makes more sense on plastic than it does from you loan repayment terms, it might be a smart move to make a swipe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">Best Credit Cards with 0% Intro Offers</a>)</p> <p>&quot;Using Great Lakes (a loan provider), we were able to call and make a one-time payment using a credit card,&quot; says Douglas Hutchings, who has student-loan debt. &quot;We had an offer for 0% interest for 12 months so we picked an amount that we were confident we could pay over 12 months and charged it to the card. Due to the size of the payment, we also scored a fair amount of credit card rewards points that we plan to use for a future vacation. Between saved interest and credit card points, we came out ahead by over $2,000 for about 60 minutes of 'work.'&quot;</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans?ref=seealso">These Private Lenders Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></p> <h2>7. Take Out a Loan From Your 401K</h2> <p>Like using a credit card to pay down your student-loan debt, tapping into your 401K shouldn't be the first place you go for extra cash for loan payments. But if it makes sense overall &mdash; in saved interest and other benefits &mdash; it's not an altogether terrible prospect to consider.</p> <p>&quot;One of the things I did to jump start the pay down of my substantial student loans was to take out a loan from my 401K, and put the total amount towards the principal on the student loan,&quot; says Eric Meerman, a portfolio manager at Palisades Hudson Financial Group. &quot;I then kept paying the same monthly amount on the student loan, in addition to paying back the loan to the 401K. While this is not always the best idea since you don't want to miss out on the market appreciation available to stock investments in your 401K, it worked out for me because the market was virtually flat over the term of the payback period.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Live at Home With Your Parents a Little Longer</h2> <p>If mom and dad will have you, live with them a little while longer after college. Chances are they won't charge rent &mdash; or at least not as much as you would pay on your own &mdash; and you'll get lots of free services (laundry, meals, and more), which will ultimately free up more of your income to pay down your student loan debt. I have a buddy who moved back home at age 26 after a few years on his own because his expenses became too much to handle. There's no shame in it, and many of us (myself included) have been there. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you have other interesting ideas on how to pay off student loans? I'd love to hear your thoughts 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/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans">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-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</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-new-grads-guide-to-debt-management">The New Grad&#039;s Guide to Debt Management</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</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/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training payback student loans volunteering Fri, 11 Dec 2015 18:00:18 +0000 Mikey Rox 1619235 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Surprising Tax Deductions You Might Miss http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-tax-deductions-you-might-miss <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-tax-deductions-you-might-miss" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_dog_000023943461.jpg" alt="Woman takes surprising tax break for being pet owner" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's getting serious: We're just days away from the tax filing deadline. If you haven't filed your taxes yet, your procrastination may pay off in spades. Here are some surprising deductions that you may be able to take this tax year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-bigger-refund-with-these-often-overlooked-tax-deductions?ref=seealso">Often Overlooked Tax Deductions</a>)</p> <h2>1. Professional Enhancement</h2> <p>Are any of your expenses related to your work? For example, if you're a music teacher, consider everything you do that enhances the knowledge that you communicate to your students. Do you attend concerts or musicals? Are you taking lessons to brush up your own music skills? These types of costs, while largely recreational and enjoyable, may also be tax deductions if you can show how they translate to your career.</p> <h2>2. Caring for Community Service Animals</h2> <p>While you could set bait and traps to keep pests such as snakes, rats, and other dangerous critters at bay, you could also use more natural methods such as caring for outdoor cats who take care of these pests for you. Believe it or not, the food that you feed these animals is a tax-deductible expense because these animals help make your property (and the community) safer by eliminating harmful pests.</p> <h2>3. Fostering Adoptable Animals</h2> <p>If you're an animal lover who fosters critters prior to adoption, your good deed will be rewarded in more ways than one. Many major animal charities and local shelters have foster programs. With proper documentation from the charity, you may be able to write off all of the expenses incurred when fostering animals, including food and any veterinary bills.</p> <h2>4. Company Giveaways</h2> <p>If you're a business owner, you know that promotional giveaways can often boost sales. The costs of these freebies and promotional items can often be deducted as business expenses because they helped promote, and hopefully grow, your business.</p> <h2>5. Volunteering</h2> <p>It can be tough to carve out the time and budget to volunteer &mdash; for example, if you have kids, you have to arrange for a sitter. The good news is that even though you're paying a sitter (and not making a direct donation to the nonprofit), the cost of the sitter is a tax deduction because it enabled you to volunteer your time and effort to the charity.</p> <h2>6. Volunteer Vacation</h2> <p>Volunteer vacations are a great way to immerse yourself in a culture and have a unique travel experience. Many organizations provide these types of trips. They coordinate housing, in-country cultural activities, and even pay for emergency insurance. Many of the expenses, including the donation you usually make to the nonprofit, can be deducted from your taxes because incurring these expenses enabled you to do the volunteer work.</p> <h2>7. Home Improvements for Medical Reasons</h2> <p>If your doctor advises you to get more exercise or make changes to your home for specific medical reasons, those costs may be tax deductible. That means adding in a gym, fitness equipment, or even a swimming pool if it's used for prescribed medical purposes, may qualify as a tax deduction.</p> <p>As always, please check with your tax preparer to see if you qualify for certain tax deductions. Make sure that you keep precise records of all these expenses and any supporting documentation. Remember, taxes must be filed by April 15th!</p> <p><em>Do any of these deductions apply to your tax situation?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-tax-deductions-you-might-miss">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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</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-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year">7 Lessons From Tax Day to Remember for Next Year</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-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes">10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes</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-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business</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-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes animals community service deductions expenses home improvements volunteering Mon, 06 Apr 2015 13:00:03 +0000 Christa Avampato 1367916 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Work Experience Without Having a Job http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-work-experience-without-having-a-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-work-experience-without-having-a-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/desk-5322554-small.jpg" alt="woman at desk" title="woman at desk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Need experience to get a job; need a job to get experience&quot; is one of the most frustrating paradoxes faced by those who are still in school or in the midst of a career change. Although unemployment numbers are slowly falling, the race to land an entry-level job is not only hyper-competitive, but also somewhat deceptive, since some employers require a couple years of experience before applicants qualify for even an entry-level position. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/awesome-accomplishments-50-questions-to-ask-yourself-and-figure-out-what-youve-done">Awesome Accomplishments: 50+ Questions to Ask Yourself and Figure Out What You've Done</a>)</p> <p>If you're currently searching for a job but don't have extensive work experience to back you up, boost your resume and make valuable contacts in the industry you want to work in by exploring some alternatives.</p> <h2>Internships</h2> <p>One of the most popular ways of getting your foot in the door is by completing an internship. Depending on the industry, these may be paid or unpaid, part time or full time, short term or for several months, and for college credit or just for another bullet point for your resume.</p> <p><a href="http://www.internships.com/">Internships.com</a> and <a href="http://www.internmatch.com/">InternMatch</a> are great resources for finding internships in your area (remote/virtual internships are also available). If you go above and beyond what is expected of you during your internship, your boss might write a letter of recommendation, which will help you stand out from the crowd when you apply for your next job. Or better yet, your internship could potentially lead to a full time, paid position with the company.</p> <h2>Volunteer</h2> <p>If you want to make a difference in your community and gain valuable experience while you're at it, consider becoming a volunteer. Like many internships, this isn't paid work, but compared to the regular job market, volunteer positions are much more readily available. Although there are certainly differences between regular jobs and volunteer positions, you could perform similar tasks at a nonprofit as you would in a normal work environment (office work, teaching, researching, event planning, etc.). At the very least, you'll likely improve your communication skills and make connections that can serve as references later on when you're job hunting. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/translating-volunteer-experiences-and-skills-to-workplace-credentials">Translating Volunteer Experiences to Workplace Credentials</a>)</p> <h2>Take Specialized Classes</h2> <p>Being a college student or graduate is almost mandatory for decent-paying jobs these days, but employers want more than employees who learned everything in a classroom. Consider taking some hands-on classes that relate to the industry you want to work in. This can be anything from wood or metal shop to culinary classes. Many community colleges offer trade-specific classes, and some high schools have a <a href="http://rop-smcoe-rop-ca.schoolloop.com/file/1315636664350/1316353355363/2008991174234172131.pdf">Regional Occupational Program</a> (ROP) for their students. ROP offers hands-on courses to prepare students for careers in industries such as health care, engineering, manufacturing, tourism &amp; hospitality, and more.</p> <h2>Start Up Your Own Startup</h2> <p>Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, but if you're really determined to get your foot in the door, you could run your own side business until you amass the experience needed for your dream job. This is probably the most complex way of getting experience, but you may find that working for yourself is more rewarding after all. Either way, entrepreneurship will help you add valuable experience to your resume, as well as show you both the employer and employee's perspectives in your industry. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed">6 Reasons Your Great Startup Business Is Doomed</a>)</p> <h2>Freelance</h2> <p>If running a business isn't your cup of tea, and you offer services rather than products, consider getting into freelancing.</p> <p><a href="https://www.upwork.com/">Upwork</a> is a popular website for new freelancers, although there's one thing you should know about bidding sites &mdash; it's a race to the bottom. You'll be competing with other freelancers, many of whom are willing to charge minimal prices just to get work. An alternative to this is building a portfolio in which you have several pieces of your work available for potential employers to peruse prior to hiring you. As an independent contractor, you could also offer your services for free for a couple clients when you're just starting out (in exchange for portfolio samples and references). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-year-new-resume">New Year, New Resume</a>)</p> <h2>Final Word</h2> <p>Landing a new job &mdash; even in a struggling economic climate &mdash; isn't impossible. It's admittedly harder for those who don't have firsthand experience required by many employers, but as you can see from the points above, there are ways around this problem.</p> <p><em>How have you gotten experience without first having a job? Tell us your job search story in the comment section below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-work-experience-without-having-a-job">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/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job">How To Write A Resume: 12 Steps To Your Next Job</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-work-perks-you-cant-get-as-a-freelancer">10 Work Perks You Can&#039;t Get as a Freelancer</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/11-financial-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-fired">11 Financial Moves to Make the Moment You Get Fired</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-does-taking-a-regular-day-job-mean-giving-up">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Does Taking a Regular Day Job Mean Giving Up?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-you-should-always-ask-in-an-exit-interview">8 Questions You Should Always Ask in an Exit Interview</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Personal Development employment entrepreneurship freelancing internships resume volunteering Fri, 30 Aug 2013 09:48:29 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 981181 at http://www.wisebread.com 39 Tips That'll Save You Hundreds on Your Next Trip http://www.wisebread.com/39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-5243436-small.jpg" alt="travel" title="travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Travel can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can pay for. However, it can also be one of the most expensive. Fortunately, there are ways to cut costs so you can afford your dream vacation. Read on for some of the best tips to save on the upfront costs of your next trip.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Ways-Travel-World-30688423">RELATED:&nbsp;Life-Changing Opportunities That'll&nbsp;Take You&nbsp;Abroad</a></p> <h2>1. Flash Deal Sites</h2> <p>If you already have several destinations in mind, then check out travel flash sale sites, which can save you hundreds of dollars! Here are a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Travel-Flash-Sale-Sites-21586317">couple to browse through</a>.</p> <h2>2. Check Out Underrated Places</h2> <p>Try up-and-coming cities for some of the best deals. Big cities like New York, Rome, San Francisco, and London are always popular, but other places that may not make the rock-star list often offer you more bang for your buck.</p> <h2>3. Cruise Deals</h2> <p>If you're planning on stopping by a lot of locations, then take a look at some cruise deals. It may be cheaper to travel by boat with an all-inclusive deal. That way, you may be saving on additional airfare, lodging, ground transportation, and meals.</p> <h2>4. Use Your Memberships</h2> <p>Check with your organizations to see what kind of travel discounts they offer. Some to consider include AAA, the AARP, or warehouse clubs like Costco. Get discounts on your flight, hotel, and even your planned activities like visits to amusement parks.</p> <h2>5. Cancel Within 24 Hours</h2> <p>If you change your mind on traveling, then cancel your plane ticket within 24 in order to get your money back without penalties.</p> <h2>6. Price Predictor</h2> <p>Use tools like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bing.com/travel/about/howAirPredictions.do?FORM=TRHPGN">Bing's Price Predictor</a> feature to see if the ticket price is predicted to drop or rise. The tool even gives a &quot;confidence&quot; percentage in its evaluation for a better gauge of accuracy. A third-party audit has found that the Price Predictor works 75 percent of the time.</p> <h2>7. Book Unpopular Times</h2> <p>It goes without saying that booking unpopular flight times, such as with red-eyes, weekdays, or off-season periods, will garner better prices. Travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays also tends to be cheaper.</p> <h2>8. Use the Right Travel Credit Card</h2> <p>Signing up for a credit card that will give you great travel rewards would be worth considering. Before doing so, keep in mind that you should only charge what you can realistically pay off soon.</p> <p>That said, if you know you can pay off what you owe, then travel reward credit cards will be a neat way of earning free flights and hotel stays. Here are <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Travel-Reward-Credit-Cards-2012-24441826">some good options</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h2>9. Currency Exchange</h2> <p>When you're in a foreign country, you can get some of the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41282577/ns/travel-travel_tips/t/traveling-abroad-how-exchange-currency/#.UICZD2k-ukY">best currency rates</a> by swiping your credit card or withdrawing money from a local ATM with a debit card.</p> <h2>10. Go City Card</h2> <p>Research to see if the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.smartdestinations.com/">Go City Card</a> will save you money. It's available in nine US cities and lets you visit selected attractions for free for a fee. It's worth getting if the attractions you are planning on visiting are on the Go City Card's list.</p> <h2>11. Buy Your Tickets at the Right Time</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Time-Buy-Plane-Tickets-13504509">best times to buy your tickets</a> are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. More specifically Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST. Don't buy your tickets on the weekends, as they are the most expensive then.</p> <h2>12. Lock Down Your Seat</h2> <p>If you don't want to commit, some airlines give you the option of <a target="_self" href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Holding-Airplane-Seats-11617032">holding your seats</a>; Continental lets you <a target="_blank" href="http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/apps/onepass/promotions/registrationDetails.aspx?Mobile=1&amp;SID=661B0D4180264A168D3BA92E1E243690&amp;promoCode=A5753">hold it for 24 hours</a> and allows you to cancel without penalties. You can also <a target="_blank" href="http://www.continental.com/web/en-us/apps/onepass/promotions/registrationDetails.aspx?promoCode=A9405">lock down the fare</a> for three or seven days, but it comes with a $5 or $9 fee depending on your chosen time frame.</p> <h2>13. Track the Prices</h2> <p>If you buy your ticket early, then be sure to track it on <a target="_self" href="http://website-of-the-day.geeksugar.com/Website-Day-Yapta-274079">Yapta.com</a> to see if the price changes. Yapta will send you an email alert when it finds that you can change your ticket without taking a loss on rebooking fees.</p> <h2>14. Book Through the Airline</h2> <p>Oftentimes it's better to book through the airline so you'll be able to to see all the hidden fees that are not necessarily revealed through a booking website. You can also sometimes find deals that are only available on the airline's website.</p> <h2>15. Pick the Right Site</h2> <p>There are some companies like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.orbitz.com/">Orbitz</a> that will refund the difference to you if you find a lower rate on a ticket on another site. Research the different travel sites and see which one offers a similar service. After you buy your ticket, keep looking at other sites to see if the ticket price goes down.</p> <h2>16. Check the Hotel Site</h2> <p>Oftentimes, third-party sites don't show many specials that are featured on hotel sites. Check both the hotel and the third-party site before booking the best deal.</p> <h2>17. Airbnb</h2> <p>Fancy a stay with a homey feel? Check out <a target="_blank" href="http://www.airbnb.com/">Airbnb.com</a>, a site where individuals rent out their rooms or house to travelers. I found some pretty great deals on the site, with discounted pricing on rooms situated in prime locales. The multiple pictures will give you a good idea of what the rooms look like, and if you're still a bit hesitant, there are plenty user-generated reviews for you to check out.</p> <h2>18. Couch Surfing</h2> <div class="gallery-slide-body standard"> <p>Want to not spend any money on your lodgings? Explore <a target="_blank" href="http://www.couchsurfing.org/">CouchSurfing.org,</a> a volunteer-based network in which you can crash on someone's couch for free. It's a great little community that may enrich your travel experience, because your couch-surfing pal might show you some of the local sights. What better way to view the city than through the eyes of a local?</p> <p>Bonus: you might even make a lifelong friend!</p> <h2>19. Show Your Loyalty</h2> <p>Becoming a loyal member of a hotel chain will get you lots of benefits, such as discounted prices, better service, and the ability to collect reward points toward a free hotel stay. And if you play your &quot;I'm a loyal member&quot; card and negotiate, then you can even get a full refund on your money when you cancel your stay. I've had to do that a couple times and saved a ton of money in doing so.</p> <p>Some of the more famous hotel reward programs include <a target="_blank" href="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/index.html">Starwood Preferred Guest, </a><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/pc/home">Priority Club</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="http://hhonors.hilton.com">Hilton HHonors</a>. And there is good news for those who prefer independent hotels. Turns out, there is a <a target="_blank" href="http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/travel/small-hotels-offer-new-loyalty-programs-practical-traveler.html?ref=todayspaper">growing trend of boutique hotels</a> grouping together to form their own loyalty programs; check out <a target="_blank" href="https://www.stashrewards.com">Stash Hotel Rewards</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.vhr.com/default.aspx?p=52&amp;lang=1">Voila Hotel Rewards</a>.</p> <h2>20. Craigslist</h2> <p>Check out the local Craigslist for short-term vacation rentals, but be careful! People who don't their homework can end up forking over cash to a scammer for a vacation rental and not seeing any of it back. Read these <a target="_blank" href="http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams">safety tips by Craigslist</a>, and try to have a friend check out the place before you send them money.</p> <h2>21. Hostels</h2> <p>Trim off travel costs by staying at a hostel, and spend about $15 to $35 a night. A popular place to find hostels is <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hihostels.com/">hihostels.com</a>. Hostels have evolved from their traditional image, and some of the choices on the website even include private rooms for couples, families, or groups of friends.</p> <p>If you're a first-timer, then be sure to prep yourself before the trip by remembering to bring things like shower slippers and ear plugs.</p> <h2>22. Negotiate Hotel Rates</h2> <p>Don't just call it a night at any price. If you're refraining from making reservations before your trip, then try to negotiate a lower rate for your room when you pull in for the evening. You'll find the most success at accommodations with several noticeable open spaces in the parking lot.</p> <h2>23. Boutique Hotels</h2> <p>Boutique hotels can offer a great price, but be sure to do your research properly, because they can be just as costly and swanky as the higher-end chain hotels. You can check out Orbitz for boutique hotels such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tablethotels.com/">Tablet Hotels</a>, or you can comb through Google search results on your own by using the search terms &quot;boutique hotel [insert city].&quot; Be sure to check out Trip Advisor reviews to see what other people are saying, and if it's in another language, then use Google Translate!</p> <h2>24. Quote Your Price</h2> <p>You can try your luck and opt to blind book on sites like Priceline.com and Hotwire.com and pay for a room in an unknown hotel. The risk is, you won't be able to cancel or change your reservation after you find out which hotel it is.</p> <p>Do some digging around on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.betterbidding.com/">betterbidding.com</a> or <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hoteldealsrevealed.com">hoteldealsrevealed.com</a> to see if there are any tips for improving your chances of getting the right hotel. These are forums focused on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hoteldealsrevealed.com/pricelinestrategies/priceline-rebids.html">how to &quot;game&quot;</a> Priceline and Hotwire sites.</p> <h2>25. Sign on to the Computer for Pretrip Activity Savings</h2> <p>Now I <strike>assume</strike> hope you regularly research prices of flights and hotels before booking, but what about activities? Along with the added perk of looking for reviews to determine whether a particular stop is a tourist trap or worth the money, you can also save money booking &quot;big-ticket&quot; items. Museums, theme parks, and other destinations often offer discounts for activities prebooked online because so many people don't do this and are willing to shell out more cash at the door.</p> <p>Don't be this person, and thoroughly research your destination and activities. In addition to checking out the tourism board, my favorite place to stop is the website of the local paper or city magazine. Periodicals geared toward locals usually have reviews of newer places and upcoming events &mdash; sometimes even discounts, too!</p> <h2>26. Investigate Travel Insurance</h2> <p>You'll be charged <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1736588/">anywhere from four to eight percent</a> of the cost of your trip for insurance, but considering what's at stake, the extra money may be worth it to protect your investment and buy you piece of mind.</p> <h2>27. Get a Cheaper, Well-Researched Hotel Room</h2> <p>Using websites like Priceline could get you half-priced hotel rooms. That being said, shop smart! Playing up the best features with professional photos is the name of any hotel's aesthetics game, but stave off disappointment (and final sticker shock) by asking yourself these <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Double-Check-5-Things-Before-Booking-Hotels-Online-7709623">questions before booking a room</a>.</p> <h2>28. Consider a Travel Package</h2> <p>You may <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1729593/">consider buying a travel package</a>, even if you don't really need it, because they often cost less than airfare alone.</p> <h2>29. Want to Do Good? Plan a Volunteer Vacation</h2> <p>Offering a great way to see and experience a different culture, a volunteer vacation can be an especially fulfilling way to spend time off. The concept's not for everyone &mdash; no four-star hotels or five-course meals, and there's service work involved, making it less of a &quot;break&quot; &mdash; but it can be an affordable way to travel somewhere exotic and truly experience the other location separate from the confines of any resort. Here's a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Plan-Volunteer-Vacation-7986927">helpful planning guide</a>.</p> <h2>30. Travel Stateside on the Cheap by Setting Fare Alerts</h2> <p>Airfare <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1503137/">sales usually happen early in the week</a>, while increases are usually put into place at the end of the week. Because there's no magic day when the best prices occur, it's best to sign up for email price alerts on all the travel sites that you use. Make sure <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Double-Check-5-Things-Before-Booking-Hotels-Online-7709623">to check up on your hotel before you book</a> too!</p> <h2>31. Eat Like a Local</h2> <p>Avoid expensive tourist traps by <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1705691/">asking locals for their recommendations</a>, and save money by ordering area specialties.</p> <h2>32. Can't Afford It? Postpone and Staycation Instead</h2> <p>If the best deals you find are still too pricey, then opt for a local vacation for now and postpone bigger travel plans for the location's off-season. Instead, use up some of that hard-earned PTO and take a <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Tips-Planning-Staycation-3147978">fabulous staycation in your own city</a>.</p> <h2>33. Stay in Neighboring Cities</h2> <p>There's a trend of travelers booking lodgings in the neighboring town of the actual city they are planning to tour. By doing so, you can <a target="_blank" href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-great-travel-deals-in-next-door-cities-2012-10-01-191035055">save up to 40 percent</a> off the usual rate.</p> <p>But of course there are downsides to that strategy. Staying outside the tourist attractions will mean more time commuting, and you may have to rent a car if there isn't a good local public transportation system. Calculate those costs to see if staying in a neighboring city is worth it.</p> <h2>34. Find the Cheapest Gas for Your Road Trip</h2> <p>A road trip may cost less money than flying, but filling and refilling your tank still isn't cheap. Utilize websites like autos.msn or gasbuddy.com, which track the prices of gas and sort by zip code, in order to <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/1638444/">find the cheapest place to pump</a> while you're on the road.&nbsp;</p> <h2>35. Redeem Miles Over the Phone</h2> <p>It's more effective to book travel with mileage points over the phone than online because for most airlines, you don't always get access to full inventory of award seats online.</p> <h2>36. Take Care of Your Car</h2> <p>Prepare your car for the road by inflating the tires with air. Filling them up will ultimately save you money on gas. Keeping your lead foot to a minimum will also help you get the most mileage from your tank of gas, and you're less likely to be stuck with a pricey speeding ticket.</p> <h2>37. Estimate Gas Costs Before You Go</h2> <p>When you're budgeting for your excursion, you must consider the inevitable cost of gas. Try using the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.fuelcostcalculator.com">AAA Fuel Cost Calculator</a> to calculate the cost of your trip. The tool generates its calculations with average regional gas prices and the details you enter, including your starting city, destination, and your vehicle's make, year, and model. Because it uses regional prices, the calculation should be looked at as an estimate, but AAA does update the prices daily.</p> <h2>38. Pack a Cooler</h2> <p>Bring a full cooler along for the ride to save money and your waistline from too much fast food. But you'll need more than a bag of pretzels to get you by. Take ingredients to make sandwiches, containers with cut-up vegetables, fruit that doesn't require refrigeration (like bananas), and plenty of water.</p> <h2>39. Keep Your Receipts</h2> <p>When traveling with friends, it can be tedious to split every expense. If your group doesn't want to bother with exact numbers until the trip is over, then simply designate someone to hold on to all the receipts. That person should write down the name of the friend who paid to make it easier to calculate who owes what at the trip's end.</p> <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%2F39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F39%20Tips%20That%20will%20Save%20You%20Hundreds%20on%20Your%20Next%20Trip.jpg&amp;description=39%20Tips%20That%26%23x27%3Bll%20Save%20You%20Hundreds%20on%20Your%20Next%20Trip" 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;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/39%20Tips%20That%20will%20Save%20You%20Hundreds%20on%20Your%20Next%20Trip.jpg" alt="39 Tips That'll Save You Hundreds on Your Next Trip" width="250" height="374" /></p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> From saving gas to finding great, cheap accommodations and more, make the most of your travel budget with these ideas. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img width="300" height="95" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/POPSUGARrgb.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>POPSUGAR Smart Living</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Display-Travel-Souvenirs-30410433">18 Ideas to&nbsp;Organize and Display Your Travel Momentos With&nbsp;Style</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Airbnb-Tips-Hosts-28444064">What You&nbsp;Need to Know Before Renting Your Place on&nbsp;Airbnb</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Plan-Trip-23666381">9&nbsp;Steps to Planning an Unforgettable Vacation</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-tips-thatll-save-you-hundreds-on-your-next-trip">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/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-amazing-and-easy-to-navigate-the-10-best-international-cities-to-visit">Frugal, Amazing, and Easy-to-Navigate: The 10 Best International Cities to Visit</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-underground-guide-to-international-volunteering-review">The Underground Guide to International Volunteering (Review)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel affordable vacation staycations travel credit card volunteering Tue, 18 Jun 2013 10:00:32 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 978188 at http://www.wisebread.com Great Ways to Save Money by Volunteering http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-save-money-by-volunteering <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/great-ways-to-save-money-by-volunteering" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lifeguard-886398-small.jpg" alt="volunteer" title="volunteer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ve always been the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-lessons-frugal-parents-teach-their-children">volunteering</a> type, especially since I became a mom. I believe strongly in helping others, and I want my daughter to learn that value, too. For the last decade I have been part of a community recreation board, helped with youth sports programs, and served as a Girl Scout leader. Recently, I have taken an interest in helping out at a friend&rsquo;s equine farm. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-making-lessons-from-the-girl-scouts">Money-Making Lessons From the Girl Scouts</a>)</p> <p>I have found that my volunteering has been personally rewarding, but those efforts have helped me financially, too. No, none of those volunteer positions were paying positions, but they nevertheless helped me save money and boost the bottom line.</p> <h2>Free Admission</h2> <p>I have been able to attend a lot of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">great events</a>, even with my family, at no cost to me. I may have to spend some time behind the concession stand, and I may have to stay later to help clean up. But it has always turned out to be a great time, and we don&rsquo;t have to worry about expenses for a night out. We have also been able to eat free at the events.</p> <h2>No-Cost Extras</h2> <p>Sometimes at the end of the night there are extra things like food that didn&rsquo;t get sold or cannot be used again. In most cases, these items are given away rather than tossed into the trash. Food is not the only thing I have scored at the end of an event. I&rsquo;ve gratefully accepted craft and art supplies, clothing, and other promotional items.</p> <h2>It&rsquo;s All About Who You Know</h2> <p>There are a lot of great people you want to know, especially when you are in a pinch. Plumbers, carpenters, lawyers, and a host of other professionals are all volunteers. I&rsquo;ve met many people who I might not have otherwise become friendly with that have helped me at a lower cost or for no charge at all. As a big fan of the barter system, I have also been successful at helping people with marketing and website content in exchange for getting my lawnmower repaired.</p> <h2>Networking Opportunities</h2> <p>As a freelance writer, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/networking-basics-for-regular-people">networking</a> is vital to my work. Since I also dabble in marketing, I have found that local connections give me the opportunity to meet small business owners and organizations that could benefit from my help. I can do this kind of connecting on a casual basis without spending a dime. I am also more likely to get the work because I get to know people on a personal level.</p> <h2>Fun Privileges</h2> <p>There have been many occasions in the past that have allowed me access to places and things I may not have been able to get without my volunteer connections. I&rsquo;ve been able to borrow character costumes for my kid&rsquo;s birthday party, march in parades, and participate in many fun things at no cost. I&rsquo;m currently planning my daughter&rsquo;s birthday party at the horse farm at no cost to me, saving me a few hundred bucks in rental space.</p> <h2>No Gym Fees</h2> <p>Volunteering definitely keeps me moving. Some opportunities provide much more activity than others, but the fact is I am getting out of the house and moving around. As a work-at-home writer, I don&rsquo;t have much occasion to leave the house outside of local errands. With my volunteer work, I have a reason to get out and about. I can&rsquo;t beat the physical activity at my latest opportunity. A few hours of barn work replaces several hundred dollars a year in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-going-to-the-gym-is-a-waste-of-money-time-and-resources">gym membership</a> fees. Not only that, but I love the work I do &mdash; something I cannot say about formal exercise.</p> <p>Certainly you should volunteer your time because you genuinely like to help people and spend your time purposefully. But if you have been considering taking on some volunteer work, you can look at things from your own perspective as well as for those you are directly helping. You never know what awaits you!</p> <p><em>Have your volunteer efforts helped you financially?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-save-money-by-volunteering">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/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-free-or-cheap-yoga-classes">Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-legit-ways-to-use-the-gym-for-free">8 Legit Ways to Use the Gym 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/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party">Seven Ways to be the Life of Every Party</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle affordable exercise networking volunteering Fri, 12 Apr 2013 09:48:33 +0000 Tisha Tolar 971376 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2852084149_d8d1c26c1b_z.jpg" alt="volunteers" title="volunteers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From large scale operations to small community events, volunteers are always needed. There are plenty of stories promoting the work of celebrities who volunteer their time and talents, but there are many more people that work silently without recognition. They do it for personal satisfaction and to make a difference in someone else&rsquo;s life.&nbsp;Along the way, most volunteers reap many additional, also often unheralded, rewards. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity">Surprisingly&nbsp;Easy Ways You&nbsp;Can Support Charity</a>)</p> <h2>1. Develop Real World Skills</h2> <p>Volunteering your time and talents only allows you to utilize the skills you already have, and it allows you to learn new ones. When you volunteer, you mix with a diverse group of people who can teach you something new. The best part is you can pick up these <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/translating-volunteer-experiences-and-skills-to-workplace-credentials">skills in the real world</a> by actually putting them into action, giving you experience you can use in your work life and your personal life.</p> <h2>2. Set an Example for Your Kids</h2> <p>The next generation needs to learn the value of volunteering, and you may be the ideal role model for the kids in your own life. By volunteering, you may also have a great impact on the children of the future when your work directly makes a difference in their lives. They may be more likely to grow up and pay the favor forward.</p> <h2>3. Make Professional Connections</h2> <p>Many of the other volunteers you will meet may be connected to your life or career in some way, but you have only met through volunteering. If you are looking for a new job or other opportunity, those fellow volunteers can be instrumental to your success. The people you volunteer with already know you are generous, giving, and outgoing, but also hardworking, effective, and committed &mdash; characteristics employers and potential clients are always looking for.</p> <h2>4. Boost Your Current Career</h2> <p>Your volunteer experience can take you to a new level at your present job, too. The skills you are learning through your volunteer work can make it easier to rise up in the ranks as you gain more experience. Employers are always seeking leaders, and as a volunteer, you have already demonstrated important leadership qualities.</p> <h2>5. Save Your Money While Doing Good</h2> <p>If you have causes that are close to your heart, but your budget is tight, you can give whatever spare time you have in place of cash. Keep your money growing in the bank but take some time out of a weekend to volunteer at a local organization or event. While monetary donations help, physical help is often much more appreciated. You may not be able to reasonably afford to buy supplies for the local SPCA, but you can spend an afternoon playing with shelter animals who love the attention.</p> <h2>6. Meet Like-Minded People</h2> <p>If you are trying to save more money <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-frugal-without-giving-up-your-social-life">but have friends that are mostly interested in costly nights</a> on the town, you may feel somewhat left out of the social circle. By volunteering your time, you can associate with a lot of like-minded people you may not have had the opportunity to meet before.</p> <h2>7. Fill Your Social Calendar</h2> <p>If your family life or financial life has caused you to spend more time at home, you may at times feel trapped between four walls. By volunteering, you get the opportunity to attend events, meet new people, and explore new experiences you may not have known about before. In many cases, volunteers get to attend activities for free and can reinvent their social life without financial burden.</p> <h2>8. Get New Experiences</h2> <p>You can choose to remain local and help with youth or community activities, or you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">travel the world as a volunteer</a>. There are many organizations that can provide you with travel opportunities to countries in need of medical help, housing assistance, or education. Exploring the many opportunities available can lead you to new experiences you may not have previously considered.</p> <h2>9. Understand Gratitude</h2> <p>One of the best things that can come from volunteering is the realization of what you have in your life when you see what others do not. Gratitude is an important component of a well-rounded life. Being grateful for what you already have can help you resist the urge to want more. You can get a fresh perspective on what really matters, so you can live a simpler, less stressful life.</p> <p><em>What have you gained from your volunteering?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-benefits-of-volunteering">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/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-fun-games-that-make-you-smarter-too">11 Fun Games That Make You Smarter, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-the-21st-century-why-is-your-money-stuck-in-the-20th">It&#039;s the 21st Century — Why Is Your Money Stuck in the 20th?</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/heres-how-spending-3-on-you-will-advance-your-career">Here&#039;s How Spending 3% On You Will Advance Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Personal Development education free entertainment job skills personal fulfillment volunteering Wed, 03 Apr 2013 10:24:31 +0000 Tisha Tolar 971375 at http://www.wisebread.com Techniques for Escaping Long-Term Unemployment http://www.wisebread.com/techniques-for-escaping-long-term-unemployment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/techniques-for-escaping-long-term-unemployment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2708754704_780719af04_z.jpg" alt="sitting on bench" title="sitting on bench" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one has to tell you that the job market is a little tight these days. The mass layoffs that followed our recent recession put millions of people out of work and our recovery has been slow-going to say the least.</p> <p>The problem with these extended periods of unemployment (besides the obvious crimp it puts on your finances) is that the longer you stay unemployed, the harder it is to get a job. That&rsquo;s because some employers hesitate when they see long gaps in your resume, assuming that if you were worthy of being hired, someone would have already snatched you up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-tips-for-the-newly-unemployed">7 Tips for the Newly Unemployed</a>)</p> <p>That&rsquo;s not always true, of course &mdash; especially in a recession &mdash; but it is what it is. Your job then, is to do what you can to limit those gaps so that your resume has that nice &ldquo;steady&rdquo; feel to it. Here&rsquo;s how you do it.</p> <h2>Consider Starting a Business</h2> <p>My last corporate job was at a small insurance agency. They said they were family friendly, and I had two kids. Match made in heaven, right?</p> <p>Turns out, we had different ideas of what &ldquo;family friendly&rdquo; actually meant, and when it became apparent that the relationship wasn&rsquo;t going to last, I began contemplating what I might do if things didn&rsquo;t improve. The problem was, I knew that I would be hard-pressed to find anything better, because let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; &ldquo;family friendly&rdquo; and corporate just don&rsquo;t mix.</p> <p>So instead of reverting to my usual go-to move of scouring want ads and mass-mailing my resume, I took a different approach &mdash; I thought about what I&rsquo;d <em>like to do</em> instead of just what would pay my bills.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s when I realized that I didn&rsquo;t actually want to do insurance anymore; I wanted to write and design and code, all of which I could do independently from home. That was about 10 years ago, and I couldn&rsquo;t be happier about the decision to become self-employed.</p> <p>Now I realize that I had the benefit of making that choice myself versus having it forced upon me by a layoff but rest assured, that layoff was coming. I just beat them to the punch.</p> <p>My point, though, is that you look at your situation from a different perspective. You now have an opportunity to start a new chapter in your life and set your career on a brand new &mdash; and potentially more profitable &mdash; path.</p> <p>Being self-employed means that you&rsquo;re in control of how much you make. You get to decide what services you&rsquo;ll offer, what products you&rsquo;ll make, and how much money you&rsquo;ll charge for your efforts. You also get to decide how far and how fast you want your business to grow. Yes, it&rsquo;s challenging and yes, it can be scary venturing out on your own, but that&rsquo;s a small trade-off for the personal freedom and professional satisfaction you can gain. Plus, should you decide to go back to work for someone else in the future, you won&rsquo;t have to explain a large gap between jobs and you might even discover a more enjoyable way to earn your living in the process.</p> <p>The point is that just because you&rsquo;re no longer working for someone else doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t work at all. It just means you now have more options about the work you do.</p> <h2>Change Professions</h2> <p>If starting a business doesn&rsquo;t sound like your cup of tea, then maybe changing the type of job you&rsquo;re looking for is enough to shake things up.</p> <p>Yes, breaking into a new industry can be difficult, but there are ways to sort of &ldquo;sneak in&rdquo; the back door. Start with your resume for example, and see what skills are transferable.</p> <p>Before I worked in the insurance industry, I spent several years as a paralegal and two years as a legal administrator. What&rsquo;s interesting about that is that I don&rsquo;t have a college degree, nor do I have a paralegal certificate. In fact, I got my first position in the legal industry by parlaying my strong secretarial skills into the job I wanted.</p> <p>I also did my research and submitted a few timely case briefs I had written with my resume. No one asked me to write those briefs &mdash; I just picked out some seemingly notable cases, wrote them up, and attached them to my resume as a &ldquo;reference.&rdquo;</p> <p>And using that same research, I called some of the law firms that I had my eye on to see if any of their attorneys would be willing to &ldquo;share some insight&rdquo; on recent cases for a paper I was writing. A couple said yes, many said no, but that didn&rsquo;t really matter&hellip;my name was now &ldquo;popping up&rdquo; in the legal industry, no matter how subtle it might have been. And incidentally, that first paralegal job was for one of those attorneys who said yes.</p> <p>If I were going to use this tactic today, I&rsquo;d employ the Internet and put all those case briefs online, or I'd create a blog that covers legal issues and court cases. Doing something similar with your dream profession allows you to establish your knowledge and expertise about the industry well before you ask them to employ you. You can then point to that expertise when you apply for the job.</p> <p>The point is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-score-a-job-interview">get your foot in the door</a>. Once you&rsquo;re there, it&rsquo;s much easier to close the sale.</p> <h2>Volunteer</h2> <p>Volunteering offers a few unique benefits.</p> <p>The first is that you&rsquo;ll feel good about yourself, which can be a nice change from the daily frustration of not finding a job.</p> <p>The second is that it offers you the ability to network without really being obvious about doing it. People see the job you do, and they get to check out your skills and abilities first hand. This makes them great references, and many will even network on your behalf, wanting to help you in the same way you&rsquo;ve helped them by volunteering.</p> <p>The third benefit is, of course, that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/translating-volunteer-experiences-and-skills-to-workplace-credentials">volunteering fills the gap in your resume</a> by showing that you were productive with your time off.</p> <p>And if that isn&rsquo;t enough to persuade you, consider this &mdash; many volunteer opportunities are the equivalent of on-the-job-training. That means that you could potentially learn some new skills along the way, making the experience even more worthwhile.</p> <h2>Go Back to School</h2> <p>Everyone knows we&rsquo;ve endured a recession. Saying you took advantage of the slow economy by going back to school and building on your skills and knowledge is just another way of saying that you know how to turn a negative into a positive.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve yet to meet an employer that didn&rsquo;t appreciate a desire to further one&rsquo;s education, especially if that education helps you become a more valuable employee in your field of choice.</p> <p>The good news is that it doesn&rsquo;t matter if you head off to a four-year school or if you just attend classes locally at your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-frugal-resource-the-community-college">community college</a>. Schooling is schooling in this instance, and it will fill the gap in your resume nicely.</p> <p>The last tip I want to offer is this &mdash; regardless of whether you choose to stay within your own industry or branch out into something new, you&rsquo;re going to have to get a little creative if you want to stand out from the multitudes of applicants that are vying for the same jobs you&rsquo;re applying for.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t be afraid to try different things to see what gets you the best response and most importantly, find ways to stay active and be &ldquo;out there.&rdquo; Sitting in front of your computer all day emailing resumes is certainly a valiant effort, but it doesn&rsquo;t do anything for your self-esteem and it certainly doesn&rsquo;t get you in front of the movers and shakers that can help you turn things around.</p> <p>Maybe you take a lesser position to break into (or get <em>back</em> into) your chosen industry, or maybe you just need to revamp your resume and highlight different skills or experience. Try joining a professional organization to help you broaden your contact base or get involved in your community by chairing a committee and showing off your leadership skills.</p> <p>The point is, get busy and be seen. The more you do &mdash; the more you <em>reach</em> &mdash; the more opportunities you'll have to choose from.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/techniques-for-escaping-long-term-unemployment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-websites-to-help-you-get-a-job">25 Awesome Websites to Help You Get a Job</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-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed">5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed</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-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree">7 Things Employers Care About More Than Your Degree</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/tips-for-thriving-in-long-term-unemployment">Tips for Thriving in Long-Term Unemployment</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/dont-forget-about-these-7-job-hunting-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget About These 7 Job Hunting Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting back to school starting a business unemployment volunteering Thu, 27 Sep 2012 10:24:43 +0000 Kate Luther 954728 at http://www.wisebread.com Surprisingly Easy Ways You Can Support Charity http://www.wisebread.com/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/volunteers at state park.jpg" alt="volunteers at state park" title="volunteers at state park" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Supporting a charity can be surprisingly easy. For example, last week, I helped the Denver Parks &amp; Recreation to improve an&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Park,_Denver">inner city park</a> as part of a <a href="http://fincon12.sched.org/event/443e88ee70b32cd3ceb9fd549e7eae79#.UE-SdbJlQWc">service project associated with a professional conference</a>. During the course of a couple of hours, the playground area was made safer and the grounds were readied for the fall and winter. The effort was minimal for me, but the impact overall was significant.</p> <p>You may want to further the mission of a charitable or non-profit group, but don't have lots of time or money to give. If so, lend a hand to those who are orchestrating events, overseeing service activities, and raising money to fund projects and programs. By supporting their efforts, even in seemingly minor ways, you can help make a major difference in the community. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">Giving to Charity Is Great.&nbsp;But How Do You&nbsp;Pick&nbsp;One?</a>)</p> <h2>Volunteer</h2> <p>Notice requests for volunteers at home, school, and work. Respond to the needs that inspire you and allow you to reach your goals while helping others.</p> <p><strong>Participate in One-Day Service Projects</strong></p> <p>Professional groups, churches, and schools often organize half-day or day-long events that focus on one major project or a handful of ones from which people choose. Your efforts may benefit the local environment, a food bank, or a homeless shelter.</p> <p><strong>Volunteer Through Your Company</strong></p> <p>Take advantage of employer programs that encourage volunteerism, place you with local agencies, and give you time off during the workday to serve in the community.</p> <p><strong>Get Your Family Involved</strong></p> <p>If your kids (especially teens) want to support a charity through service, accompany them or help make arrangements for volunteer activities.</p> <p><strong>Sign Up for Special Events</strong></p> <p>Organizers often need volunteers to assist with event-day activities. You may be able to snag bonuses like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-ways-to-get-a-free-meal">free meals</a> or a pass to festivities.</p> <p><strong>Volunteer Online</strong></p> <p>Some projects can be done online in your free time. For example, you might help a local charity with online communications or assist with a project through <a href="http://www.sparked.com/">Sparked.com</a>.</p> <p>There may be a few frustrating moments when trying something new. But volunteering, especially for simple and short-term assignments, can be a meaningful way to get involved with the community, expand your professional network and circle of friends, and develop new skills without overcommitting yourself.</p> <h2>Be Social</h2> <p>Hang out with friends in real life and/or online while supporting a great cause. Consider these ways to socialize for a mission.</p> <p><strong>Eat Out With Friends</strong></p> <p>Head for the barbecue, pancake breakfast, or spaghetti supper sponsored by the fire department, neighborhood school, or local civic group. Patronize fund-raising meals with friends to support a good cause without spending too much money. If you'd rather enjoy more elegant surroundings and a fancier meal, dine at restaurants on nights that they donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.</p> <p><strong>Follow Charities on Social Networks</strong></p> <p>By <a href="http://mashable.com/2009/07/14/support-charity-sosg/">following or liking groups on Facebook, Twitter, etc.</a>, and sharing their stories, you can help raise awareness of certain causes and specific projects.</p> <p><strong>Organize Activities Using Social Media</strong></p> <p>Harness the power of your online connections to help people in the real world. For example, a friend learned about an inner-city agency's need for school supplies on Facebook and posted about her plans to collect items; within a week, she received donations from her friends and helped to make sure that area children had what they needed to go to school.</p> <p>Don't expect that all of your friends will be as excited as you are to support a charity. Collaborate with those who have similar interests.</p> <h2>Get Rid of Stuff</h2> <p>Be supportive by donating items that are needed by a charity for reuse, repurpose, or sale. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">Declutter</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions">get a tax deduction</a>, and support a cause. Goodwill is a great destination for many things but also consider these ways of turning your old, extra, or unwanted stuff into treasure.</p> <p><strong>Contribute to a Yard Sale</strong></p> <p>Give clothes, household items, etc. to an organization that is holding a yard sale. Watch for announcements requesting donations or hold stuff for groups that host community sales on a regular basis.</p> <p><strong>Redeem Rewards for Charity</strong></p> <p>You may be able to redeem or transfer points associated with bank card or shopping rewards programs to support a designated charity. Turn points into a cash donation or help a charity purchase an item (from the rewards catalog) for its operations.</p> <p><strong>Give Books to the Needy</strong></p> <p>Many charitable organizations accept books and either distribute them to children and families or sell them to generate funds. Check out this list of groups that can put your <a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/where-donate-used-books/">book discards to good use</a>, or donate <a href="http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php">PaperBackSwap</a> book credits to a needy school or military group.</p> <p><strong>Take Nice Items to a Consignment Shop</strong></p> <p>Some shops have donor programs in which proceeds can benefit a cause selected by the owner or the charity of your choice.</p> <p>Before you drop off a trunk-load of discards at a group's office or service site, find out if your favorite organizations can benefit from your items. Sorting through loads of stuff to find one or two things of value isn't worth the trouble for most charities, so be discerning about what you give to help rather than hinder.</p> <h2>Go Shopping</h2> <p>Get the stuff you need and want while supporting a charity. Proceeds might benefit local schools and youth organizations or global efforts to relieve hunger, provide employment for the economically disadvantaged, and clothe children. You can go shopping for a purpose in the following ways.</p> <p><strong>Snag Bargains at Yard Sales</strong></p> <p>Because items are donated, the full amount of your purchases (rather than just a small percentage) typically goes directly to the charity.</p> <p><strong>Patronize Retailers Run by Charitable Organizations</strong></p> <p>Some charities operate retail locations such as a gift shop or farmers market. Shop where proceeds benefit a cause or charity that you want to support.</p> <p><strong>Use Discount Coupons</strong></p> <p>Department stores often sponsor charity days that benefit area groups. Buy a coupon and then get discounts on purchases throughout the day or during specified hours.</p> <p><strong>Buy Stuff That Kids Are Selling</strong></p> <p>If proceeds benefit a cause that you are passionate about, then buy the fruit, candy, cookies, popcorn, giftwrap, etc. to support the charitable organization. Sadly, most are overpriced but a few &mdash; like the citrus fruit sales &mdash; are good deals.</p> <p><strong>Shop for a Social Mission</strong></p> <p>Many companies have a social mission that your purchases support, either on a regular basis (like <a href="http://www.toms.com/">Tom's Shoes</a> or <a href="http://www.humblebundle.com/">Humble Bundle</a>)&nbsp;or as a special offer (like <a href="http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/09/that-buzzing-in-my-ear-didnt-mean-i-was-about-to-die.html">End Malaria</a>).</p> <p><strong>Buy Wish-List Items</strong></p> <p>Many charities have items on their wish lists, which might include baby blankets or basketball goals. If you would rather not give a monetary gift, shop for and then donate wish-list items.</p> <p>Shopping to benefit charity can mean spending more than you would otherwise. Stuff that kids sell, for example, often costs significantly more than items sold at a traditional retailer. Scrutinize offers so that you can save money and support a great cause at the same time.</p> <h2>Get Active</h2> <p>Support charity fund-raisers by participating in local athletic events. Proceeds from entry fees benefit sponsoring organizations or designated beneficiaries, consisting of local groups or area chapters of national organizations.</p> <p>Here are some of the events that you may find enjoyable.</p> <p><strong>Run a 5K</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;ve never run a race, perhaps contributing to a cause will inspire you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-run-your-first-5k">get ready for your first 5K</a>. If you&rsquo;ve already tackled that distance, consider higher-mileage races that benefit one of your favorite charities.</p> <p><strong>Take a Walk</strong></p> <p>Do a charity walk with friends, family, and/or co-workers. Join a team or start your own group.</p> <p><strong>Go on a Bike Ride</strong></p> <p>Look for charity rides in the spring, summer, and fall. One-day events will often have a variety of routes from which to choose, ranging from 10 to 100 miles. Multi-day rides are usually more challenging and may require you to raise funds in addition to paying an entry fee.</p> <p><strong>Participate in a Triathlon </strong></p> <p>A triathlon may be on your bucket list, so competing in one may accomplish a life goal and support charity.</p> <p><strong>Do Something Extreme</strong></p> <p>Extreme events, like this <a href="http://www.cff.org/Chapters/charlotte/index.cfm?id=18909&amp;event=18909">Extreme Hike for Cystic Fibrosis</a>, are put on by organizations that also offer assistance with training and fundraising.</p> <p>Entry fees are not cheap, often ranging from $25 to $45; that amount typically includes food, drink, festivities, and goodie bags with a water bottle and t-shirt. You may also have to raise a minimum amount of money to participate. But, if you enjoy a challenge, look for events that support your favorite charities.</p> <p>You don't have to organize a huge project or make a major gift to make a difference. By noticing what is happening in your community and getting involved, you can support charitable causes locally and worldwide.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite way to easily support charity?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity">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/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-stuff-i-try-never-to-buy-new">The stuff I try never to buy new</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-senior-discounts">Big List of Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-save-money-on-clothing">50 Ways to Update Your Wardrobe for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Shopping charitable giving running volunteering Thu, 13 Sep 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Julie Rains 952433 at http://www.wisebread.com Free Online Tools That Help Organize People http://www.wisebread.com/free-online-tools-that-help-organize-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/free-online-tools-that-help-organize-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/organize_people.jpg" alt="People using computers and phones" title="People using computers and phones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Organizing people ought to be easy. Tell your team members where to go, when to show up, when to leave, what to bring, and what to do. That approach usually works for work-related activities. But if you are corralling people for non-work-related functions, like field day at your child&rsquo;s school, snacks for sports practices, book club meetings, fundraisers, scout outings, dinners, and so on, organization can be daunting.&nbsp;</p> <p>Having been on both sides of the organizing fence (that is, having coordinated people for special events as well as having participated and volunteered with various groups), I know it&rsquo;s not easy to clearly communicate with a range of people, all with varying expectations, attention spans, and background knowledge.</p> <p>So, that&rsquo;s why I love free online tools that help organize people in ways that avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings. Here are some that are especially useful. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You&nbsp;Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h3>Organize Meals for a Friend</h3> <p>If you want to organize meals for a friend, perhaps someone who has recently had surgery, has delivered or adopted a baby, or is dealing with a serious illness, there are several websites that make this process easy:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.mealtrain.com/Default.aspx">meal Train</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://mealbaby.com/">MealBaby</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.takethemameal.com/index.php">Take Them A Meal</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://carecalendar.org/">CareCalendar</a>&nbsp;(This site also organizes chores that the friend may need, such as mowing the lawn or taking the kids to activities.)</li> </ul> <p>Most have features to specify this information:</p> <ul> <li>Dates that meals are requested</li> <li>Special dietary requirements and food allergies as well as likes and dislikes &nbsp;</li> <li>Number of people who will be eating the meals</li> <li>Delivery instructions, which can include directions to the recipient&rsquo;s home and best times of the day to bring meals</li> </ul> <p>Plus, the sites have capabilities to send email reminders to those who have volunteered to prepare meals.&nbsp;</p> <p>The meal coordinator (typically someone other than the person who needs help) sets up the schedule and invites people to participate. If you want to help, you can see what days are available and what other people are bringing to avoid serving the same thing (like chicken casserole for five consecutive days). And you don&rsquo;t have to bother the person who is trying to recover from surgery, giving birth, illness, etc. with questions about when to visit or where to bring the meal.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Share Info So You Can Coordinate Next Steps<b> </b></h3> <p>If you want to share detailed information so that you can coordinate activities with another person or a group of people, online tools are handy. Google Docs (or the upgraded <a href="https://drive.google.com/start#home">Google Drive</a>), <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/">SlideShare</a>, and similar tools enable you to create, update, and publish documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and then reference these files when communicating with other people.</p> <p>They typically have these features:</p> <ul> <li>Online storage for shared access and updating anywhere (home, office, on the road)</li> <li>Storage of most recent version&nbsp;</li> <li>Capabilities for publishing on the web publicly or privately</li> </ul> <p>Being able to access up-to-date information makes it easy for me to stay organized and coordinate with other people.&nbsp;For example, earlier this year I created a spreadsheet with details about scout families (names, positions, completed training, dues paid, etc.) and shared it with troop leaders so that we could develop a plan of action to alert people to requirements and deadlines.</p> <p>These tools are flexible, and you can use them for nearly any type of project that could benefit from sharing of detailed information. I love that only the most recently revised file is available, which helps to avoid confusion because everyone is looking at the same version. Plus, people who routinely <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-not-to-delete-your-emails">delete emails</a> can access the files easily.</p> <h3>Arrange Get-Togethers</h3> <p>If you want to organize a group outing, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-potluck-parties-that-help-you-share-the-wealth">potluck dinner</a>, book club session, etc. and need some sort of input from other people, then these types of tools can be useful:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.facebook.com/about/groups">Facebook Groups</a> (public or private)</li> <li><a href="http://new.evite.com/#home">Evite</a> (invitations)</li> <li><a href="http://doodle.com/">Doodle</a> (helps you to find the best meeting date and time for a group based on individual schedules) &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.perfectpotluck.com/">Perfect Potluck</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Features on these sites vary but may include:</p> <ul> <li>Ways for the organizer to suggest times and agenda items<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Polls or checklist items with various options to help determine what works best for the majority of people<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ways to interact with each other and/or see what other people are planning to do (such as what dates they are available or what item they'll bring to the potluck)</li> </ul> <p>Typically, there is flexibility in how you design and present options for, say, the day you&rsquo;ll have the group outing or the number of desserts you need for the potluck. You can give a few options or offer one choice, and you can ask for an RSVP indicating how many people will be attending with you.</p> <p>I like using online tools that provide visibility of what everyone is saying and how they are responding, rather than having to speculate about the content of private conversations among group members. That way, it&rsquo;s not up to the leader of an informal group to manage harmony; members can regulate interactions among themselves.</p> <h3>Organize Volunteers for Special Events</h3> <p>Among the online tools that I want to use (but haven&rsquo;t yet started using) are those that allow you to organize people for large events, recurring activities, and projects with lots of details.</p> <p>For example, if you need 10 people to chaperone a school event plus snacks for 115 kids for four consecutive Saturdays in October or 20 people to prepare and host a dinner for 400 people, then you could enter all the tasks and items needed in one place, and ask people to sign up on websites like these:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.signupgenius.com/">Signup Genius </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.volunteerspot.com/">VolunteerSpot</a></li> </ul> <p>Using such tools requires the organizer to consider and list all the details of the event or activity, not just send a general plea for help. Specifically, websites with volunteer sign-up tools prompt you to include this type of information:</p> <ul> <li>Name of organization and title of special event</li> <li>Date and time of the event</li> <li>Organizer&rsquo;s name and contact information</li> <li>Items needed such as supplies or food and drink items</li> <li>Tasks to be completed</li> <li>Duties to be performed and time commitments</li> </ul> <p>Generally, there are options to send email reminders to volunteers a few days before the event, which saves time for the organizer.&nbsp;</p> <p>As a volunteer, I am hesitant to sign up for assignments that may be vague in terms of duties and time commitments. Plus, I may not have time to respond when requests are made and sometimes feel uncomfortable asking for details a couple of weeks later even if the need might still be pending. With an automated signup system, I can check at my leisure to see what items are still needed or tasks still need to be done.</p> <p>Sure, emails are often the easiest way to communicate with large groups, particularly ones that have established routines and involve people who all know each other well. As an organizer, though, I know that there are invariably participants who:</p> <ul> <li>Fail to hit &ldquo;reply all&rdquo; and communicate solely with you when they need to share with the entire group (or vice versa, and share too much information with the group)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Give responses that are out of sync with the request being made (for example, you ask for dates that they have available, and they tell you which ones they aren&rsquo;t available)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Attempt to revise the entire course of action, causing confusion</li> </ul> <p>In such situations, naturally, group leaders and volunteer coordinators often think that their would-be followers are resistant to being organized. And, while it&rsquo;s true that other people sometimes make no effort to consider and respond to opportunities, very often they just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">don&rsquo;t have the creative energy</a> to read, interpret, and act on requests, especially those that seem unappealing or unclear. The easier it is to understand what is being requested, the more likely someone will respond in the way that is useful.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite online tools for organizing people? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-online-tools-that-help-organize-people">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/5-reasons-not-to-delete-your-emails">5 Reasons Not to Delete Your Emails</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/4-easy-ways-to-automate-your-everyday-life">4 Easy Ways to Automate Your Everyday Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</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/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps">Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps</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-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Productivity Technology online tools planning sharing volunteering Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:24:14 +0000 Julie Rains 915135 at http://www.wisebread.com