Blog Posts by POPSUGAR Smart Living

  • Insider Info: 18 Tips to Saving Big Bucks in Whole Foods

    You can be savvy with Whole Foods grocery shopping if you know the tricks of the trade. People are loving organic food, especially with documentaries such as Food Inc. shedding light on unhealthy farming practices. But going organic can be more expensive, so I turned to Ashley Hawkins, spokesperson of the supermarket chain, for some tips on how to save. She says:

    • Follow the guide: Pick up the Whole Deal value guide that highlights deals, contains coupons, budget-friendly recipes under $4, and money-saving tips. It's also available online!
    • Be a tourist: Take a value tour. There are in-store value gurus lead tours to show shoppers how to find the best deals and enjoy savings.
    • Save with social media: Most stores or metro areas have their own Twitter and Facebook pages, and they definitely list deals and specials there. Additionally, many stores have deals for the "mayor" of a particular store via Foursquare check-ins.
    • Scoop your herbs and spices: Buy
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  • 7 Baffling Effects of the Recession

    Many of us are still feeling the effects of the down economy, even though it was recently announced the recession officially ended in June 2009. Unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are some expected results of the economic downturn, but some other rather unusual ones turned up as well.

    • Hot waitresses: Apparently the hotter your waitresses are, the more likely it is there's a recession going on. I'm not quite sure what the reason is, but I'm sure you'll have fun speculating.
    • Decline in marriage: The rate of marriage hit its lowest point in over 100 years last year. Maybe people are getting cold feet because of marriage-associated costs. On the other hand, more and more couples are moving in together, perhaps to save costs on living expenses.
    • Recession-themed Apprentice: Most of the contestants are products of the recession - down-on-their-luck contenders who are without jobs. Seems like the new theme didn't really resonate with viewers: this
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  • 6 Online Money (and Organizational) Management Tools You Should Use

    People have problems transitioning from paper to pixels, but tech tools are a handy way to keep you organized. Not only is it great for the environment, but it's also a lot more convenient to do all your organizing from one platform. Readers have said they wanted to become more online savvy, so I'm sharing some of my favorite websites that help me stay organized. Take the plunge this October and start organizing with just a few clicks of your mouse!

    • Remember your milk and everything else on this free electronic to-do list. Reminders can even be sent to your Gmail or sent via text and IM. The best thing about it is you can sync it up to a lot of programs including Microsoft Outlook and iCal. For me, the biggest perk is accessing it on my cell phone!
    • I know I listed Remember the Milk as an electronic to-do list fave, but guess what? Google has its own electronic task list. The thing I love about it is it's always there when I'm checking my Gmail, Gchat, or Google Docs (which is
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  • 6 Ways to Prevent Yourself From Going Coupon-Crazy

    Confession: I love coupon sites like FreshGuide, Groupon, and LivingSocial, but sometimes I tend to spend more than I'd like. These deals can be oh-so-tempting and are a great way of exploring the crazy things you've never thought of doing (like skydiving) at a discount. However, it can hurt the pocketbook if you're not careful. Here are six ways to prevent yourself from going too coupon-crazy:

    • Don't rush: The deal is not going to go away forever if you don't buy it today. More often than not, similar coupons will surface, and sometimes I even see the same deal appearing again. Don't buy on impulse, and wait for the deals that you're looking out for, whether it be teeth whitening or a romantic Italian dinner.
    • Get rid of it: Don't let the coupons linger around for too long or they'll expire. Consider gifting or selling them to a friend. There are also websites like CoupRecoup and Lifesta that are actually great places to hunt for deals.
    • Set a cap: Set a
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  • In Her Shoes: Samantha Brown, Travel Channel Host

    All of us have a dream job we're secretly harboring. Readers recently shared their dream jobs, which inspired this new Savvy series: In Her Shoes.

    Imagine being paid to travel the world. Sound too good to be true? Well, that's actually what Samantha Brown, a Travel Channel host with a genuine curiosity and zest for life, does for a living!

    SavvySugar: What makes your job a dream job?

    Samantha Brown: Of course, the obvious is traveling the world. But I think more so than visiting places like China, Argentina and Europe, I really love that I get to spend time in somebody else's life. I get to see life through the perspective of a different person in a different part of the world. It's enlightening, it's humbling. That's something that this job has given me - that sense of humanist and humbleness that we all need and it's a really a gift. I can't overstate it enough. I have the best job in the world for reasons I think people don't even see on camera.

    SS: What's your

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  • The Crazy World of Toastmasters

    My first Toastmasters experience was unreal - think hedonism, Patrick Dempsey, and bacon-hating. But first, let's go back to the beginning. Yesterday, I started the eight-week professional development kick challenge, and I told you readers that my first step was to go to a Toastmasters meeting. I admit I was nervous when I walked in, because I wasn't sure what to expect. You hear about it all the time - Toastmasters, Toastmasters - but you can't fathom what that means until you've experienced it.

    I think what surprised me the most about the club, a nonprofit aimed at helping professionals develop public speaking and leadership skills, was how structured it was. There were officers, timers, and schedules to be followed. Everyone had to stand up when they spoke, and the people who were assigned speeches stood behind a lectern to speak. There was someone assigned to time each speech, someone to watch for verbal distractions such as "ah" and "um" and someone to scribble down a

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  • Bargaining Your Way at the Farmers Market

    I recently decided to take a quick look at a nearby farmers market without the intention of buying anything. It's been a while since I've checked it out, and I'm the type of person that loves browsing the supermarket and flipping through recipe books to look at food. I like to call it food window shopping.

    While browsing, I chanced upon a German bakery stall and started drooling over this goat cheese and chorizo quiche. It was $4.25 and I didn't bring enough cash because I didn't think I was going to buy anything. I was honest with the seller and told him all I had in my wallet was $3 and we struck a deal.

    Prices are set in supermarkets and you can't exactly start haggling with the Whole Foods salesperson, but it's definitely done in farmers markets. Would you bargain at a farmers market?

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  • 5 Steps to Feng Shui Your Office

    There is a growing trend of businesses seeking feng shui consult and home buyers seriously taking feng shui factors like the unit number of the residence into consideration before purchasing. The New York Times reports an increasing number of real estate brokers who are coming to realize the importance of feng shui to their clients. I found this so fascinating that I decided to ask Marina Lighthouse, a successful feng shui consultant, to see what SavvySugar readers can do to improve their feng shui on a smaller scale.

    • Add a plant - "Having a plant around you will promote and support life force or chi, just as long as it's not spiky. Spiky plants look like swords so when you subconsciously walk by them, our natural reaction as human beings is to step back."
    • Evaluate past energy - "The predecessor chi or the energy of the environment is very important. For example, if you're going to take the desk of someone that just got fired, you definitely need to adjust the feng shui of
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  • Eat, Pay, Tip: Easy Guide to Tipping Overseas

    We're all longing to take some time off to traipse around the world like Julia Roberts inEat Pray Love, but all of us have to fret about nitty-gritty cultural details like tipping when we're abroad. It's hard to know what to do when you're visiting a country for the first time, and we certainly don't want to offend anyone.

    Here are some useful tips that I turn to whenever I'm making a foray into unknown territory:

    • Talk to people - Sure, there are guides around, but there's nothing like knowledge from a native or from someone who has recently visited the country. Ask friends who've been there or even better, if you know someone from around the area you're going to, quiz them on how to tip. You can also ask the hotel staff if you're still unsure.
    • Research online - Magellan gives a helpful breakdown of how much to tip in over 70 countries. Remember, your best bet is to ask people instead of reading about it. The data online might not be updated or accurate. For
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  • How to Work From Home and Be Productive

    Oh, the glorious couch! Working from home has many advantages: there's no commute, none of the same distractions you have in an office full of people, you can walk your own dog, save money on lunches out, and the list goes on. The big downside to the arrangement? It takes discipline. Here's my best advice for staying focused and checking off the list.

    • Get Dressed - It may sound trivial, but you'll feel more productive when you're not working in the same clothes you slept in. I love pj's as much as the next person, but oversized drawstring pants don't exactly scream time for work. Shower and put on clothes that you wouldn't necessarily wear to bed.
    • Organize Your Day - There are even more ways to procrastinate at home than at the office. Laundry suddenly sounds like a blast when you're on the hook for a less than exciting project. Use time goals, like writing down what you'll accomplish before noon, and keep an up-to-date to-do list to organize your priorities.
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