Blog Posts by POPSUGAR Smart Living

  • Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012

    SavvySugarSavvySugarSource: Productivity Tips to Carry You Through 2012

    The start of a new year is a good time to take a review at the best productivity tips we have shared with you. These tips help maximize your efficiency at work so you're getting more done in less time. Read on to find out what our best picks for productivity tips are so you can use them to have an even more efficient 2012!

    • Doodle During Meetings to Help Retain More Information: Scientific research has shown that humans can pay attention to one thing for up to 20 minutes. After that period, it gets harder and harder to focus on it. If you feel your attention span has reached its limit, perhaps you should take a notepad out to doodle. A study in the Applied Cognitive Psychology Journal tested the doodling theory on a group of participants. Half were instructed to listen to a phone call that recited a list of names of people and places, and the other half were told to doodle when listening to the message. Those who doodled were
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  • 7 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money

    SavvySugarSavvySugarSource: 7 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money

    Spending less than you earn is more important than ever these days, but it's also more difficult with disappearing jobs and slashed salaries. Increase your income by making extra money outside of your day job. Here are seven easy ideas on how to generate more cash flow.

    • Show Your Love For Animals: Expensive dog walking services don't mesh with many people's trimmed down budgets, so why not fill their needs more cheaply? Dog walking or pet sitting offers are particularly appealing to people with inflexible schedules, and on weekends or holidays when people want to get away.
    • Multitask and Make Money: If you're already posting your belongings to sell on sites like Craigslist and eBay, why not offer to post for others while you're at it? So many of us have stuff laying around that we'd love to sell, but we never get around to posting it online. Ask a small fee for assuming this responsibility.
    • Tutor: Check in with the local public
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  • Your Guide to Enjoying a Money-Less Weekend

    Source: Your Guide to Enjoying a Money-Less Weekend

    I know what you must be thinking, how in the world am I supposed to not spend any money this weekend? And no, you don't have to stay in all weekend, isolated, watching Law & Order reruns, and eating scraps from your fridge (although a leftovers party is a fun idea!). Here are some exciting free things to do this weekend.

    • Take a Hike: There's nothing like a walk to clear the mind and enjoy a breath of fresh air. Make plans to take a walk in a park or go to hiking trails nearby. It's also a great way to wind down from the hectic work week you had - scientists found that viewing bits of greenery is really good for relaxation. Having gone away on a weekend recently to greener pastures, I can truly attest to that!
    • Free Apps Galore: Use the downtime this weekend by exploring the apps world and taking advantage of all the free apps available. I'm seriously loving some I recently downloaded on the phone, and I'm going to use
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  • Doable DIY Gifts: $5 Plant Arrangements

    SavvySugarSavvySugarSource: Doable DIY Gifts: $5 Plant Arrangements

    The best way to save money on Christmas shopping is to give your loved ones homemade gifts. The presents you make don't have to be the traditional cookies or knitted scarves; there are plenty of ways to be creative and thoughtful on a budget. One of my favorite gifts this season is the terrarium, which is basically a plant arrangement set in a glass or plastic container. It's a simple yet meaningful gift - the recipient can use it as her office greenery and watch the arrangement grow. Not only is it beautiful, but each one will only cost you about $5 to make! Read on for instructions.

    • Prepare the Materials:It's best to make terrariums with friends, because the materials you buy - the soil, gravel, and more - will most likely be available only in bulk. To make full use of all your materials and not let it go to waste, either plan to make dozens of terrarium gifts for friends or hold a terrarium party. That way, you won't have any
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  • Doable DIY Gifts: Gift Card Glitter Globes

    Source: Doable DIY Gifts: Gift Card Glitter Globes

    It's hard to give someone a gift card sometimes because it can feel a little impersonal. Here's an idea: encase the gift card in pretty glitter globe for a clever, thoughtful gift. This DIY project is really simple to make and requires minimal effort. Make sure you tell the recipient to take out the gift card in a few days because although the card will still be usable, it's better to play it safe and remove it before something happens.


    Here are the materials you need:

    • Jar: you can use a jam, olive, or salsa jar.
    • Gift card
    • Glitter
    • Ribbon
    • Hot glue gun
    • Water

    Directions:

    1. First, empty the jar and wash it out along with the lid. Remove the label by soaking it with hot water and scrubbing it off. I added oil while I was scrubbing bits of the label off with a brush, and it definitely helped.
    2. Use the hot glue gun to draw a thick line across the inside of the lid.
    3. Take your gift card and immediately push
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  • 5 Guidelines for Holiday Tipping

    Source: 5 Guidelines For Holiday Tipping

    To tip or not to tip, that is the question everyone is thinking about during this holiday season. Although we're emerging from the recession, the economy is still not a pretty picture. So how much should we tip others when we're carefully watching our purse strings? Here are some rules you should follow:

    • Tip what you can afford. If you can't afford to tip, think about alternatives such as homemade gifts or baked goods to show your appreciate.
    • See tip sheets. Unsure of how much to give? Check out online tip sheets. Consumer Reports has a brief list of tipping practices cobbled together from results of a holiday tipping survey.
    • Who to tip. When thinking about who you should tip, you need to consider a couple factors - how much you interact with people, how long you've known them, and the quality of the service they provide.

    More from SavvySugar: Should You Tip 15 Percent Just For Being Served?


    • Check company
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  • 4 Weekend Organization Tips

    Source: 4 Weekend Organization Tips

    The weekend is a time for fun but it's also the perfect time to get chores out of the way. During the week, your mind is filled with work and by the time you finally get home, you may not have the energy to organize your home. Use this weekend as a chance to get organized with these tips:

    • Trash and stash documents. Many of us clutter up our home with unnecessary documents because we don't know when to keep them or throw them away. Stop storing documents you don't need and get organized by going over this list to learn how long you should hold onto certain papers.
    • Declutter your home. After you're done clearing out the paper. Spend the weekend decluttering your home to get rid of the excess items you don't need. First figure out what areas you need to tackle and take a look at a list of my suggestionsto clean your closet, kitchen, computer, bookshelf, and bathroom.
    • Make a list of organizing items to buy. Sometimes the reason
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  • 8 Ideas to Use Up Your FSA Before the Year-End

    Source: 8 Ideas to Use Up Your FSA Before the Year-End

    Now that it's nearing the end of the year, there are some money chores you need to take care of, such as making sure you've spent the money in your Flexible Spending Account because it will expire before the New Year. You're actually allowed to file an extension if you haven't used up all your FSA dollars, but you need to check your company policy to see if they allow that. Don't fret if you can't extend, here are some last-minute ideas to use your FSA money:

    • Over-the-counter items: We're not allowed to spend our FSA dollars on over-the-counter medicines without prescriptions but there are plenty of nonmedicinal products that we can still use the FSA money for. For example, band aids, crutches, first aid kits, and rubbing alcohol.
    • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is covered by your FSA, so if you have a condition such as pain, consider acupuncture.


    More from SavvySugar: 5 Surprising Things About Starbucks



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  • 7 Easy Ways to Make Vacation Bliss Last

    Source: 7 Easy Ways to Make Vacation Bliss Last

    All good things come to an end, and that includes vacation as well. Settling back into work is hard especially when you're missing the sun and sand or whatever you immersed yourself in during your travels, but the vacation bliss doesn't have to end. It's said that people reap more benefit from multiple short vacations rather than one long one, because we derive most of the pleasure of our trip from planning. Personally, I think there are plenty of happy aftereffects as well.

    I recently took a trip and am determined to make the happy travel buzz last for a good while. Here are some simple strategies I've been using:

    Put Your Memories on Facebook: Upload your images and videos of the trip onto Facebook and watch the discussions begin! It's fun to see friends commenting back and forth on pictures and videos, and it'll be a constant reminder of the special moments you captured of your trip with your camera.

    Buy Souvenirs: A

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  • 8 Steps to Being Happy Without Spending a Dime

    Source: 8 Steps to Being Happy Without Spending a Dime

    Happiness is something you can't put a price on, and it's something you shouldn't take for granted. Despite what you think, no fancy car, flashy bling, or other material possessions will make you happy. True happiness has to come from within and just like most things in life, it takes effort and hard work to achieve it. Here are eight simple steps to becoming a happier person:

    • Stop being materialistic: If you find joy in things, that happiness will be short lived. Because what you have will never be enough, and things can always be lost or broken. Wanting what you don't have will create unhappiness, so you should always be content with what you do currently have.
    • Not defining yourself with a title: Just like material possessions, titles can always be lost. If you define yourself by an occupation or a role you carry, such as a doctor or being a mother, you may feel lost if the title was taken away from you. You need
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