Blog Posts by POPSUGAR Smart Living

  • 6 Money and Life Lessons From a Younger You

    Sometimes, important lessons slip away as the years pass. You might not trust a younger version of you with a credit card, but there are some money matters that your school-aged self could teach you now. If that person could divulge her important lessons, she would remind you of these six things.

    There's Plenty of Fun That's Free: When you're lamenting having to reduce your entertainment budget, remember there are plenty of activities that don't require cash. Keep an ongoing list of budget-friendly things to do and start making cheaper memories.

    There's a Secret to Whistling While You Work: Remember when you used to rake leaves for cash as a kid? You probably had a goal for those hard earned dollars - though it was more likely a car for Barbie than a car for yourself. Take note: saving with a purpose is a big motivator. Setting goals for your hard earned cash can help get you through the day and keep you on track years to come.

    Friends Are More Important Than Money: Call me

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  • Tax Season Don'ts

    A fifth season exists, and it's one that isn't defined by the weather. Tax season has arrived and will hang around until April 15, the deadline for filing your 2009 income tax return. It doesn't have to be complicated. Keep these six don'ts in mind as you prepare and file your taxes to make this season as seamless as possible.

    Don't Be Lazy About Deductions: Completing your tax return should involve more thought than just copying the numbers from your W-2. You could potentially overpay the government without considering all possible deductions. You may end up going with the standard deduction, after all, but do your research to make sure you're not overlooking important deductions that could make itemizing worth your while.

    Don't Be Scared to Ask For Help: The more moving pieces there are in your tax situation, the more room there is for error. Never be scared to seek help if you're not confident about filing your return by yourself. Get CPA referrals from family or friends, or head to

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  • 10 More Qualities That Will Impress Your Boss

    There's no magic formula for wowing the boss, but there is a particular set of skills and characteristics that is universally attractive to employers and will serve you well in any workplace. Once you've mastered the 15 qualities most likely to impress the boss, up the ante with even more. Remember: learning and anticipating your manager's needs, understanding her expectations, and talking to her about shared goals are the best ways to get ahead, but you can also get a head start by putting your best foot forward. Here are more helpful suggestions.

    • Be Giving - Maintain a healthy work-life balance, but commit yourself to your job. If you don't love it, or even like it, it will show. Give your talent, insight, time, and effort when you are on the clock and show you aren't afraid to get your hands dirty. You're being paid to work, so give it what you've got. Your boss expects it, but if you give enough she'll be impressed.
    • Show Leadership - As important as it is to take
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  • How-To: Show Your Gratitude at the Office

    Showing appreciation for co-workers should be as easy as saying, "Thanks, buddy!" But somehow, those two words can sneak through the cracks or come off as disingenuous if they are uttered too often. Office politics, nonstop schedules and confusing etiquette can make thanking your co-workers and boss nerve-racking. Use this simple guide to give gracias to your office mates and when in doubt, just say thanks.

    • Say Thank-You! - Offering up verbal thanks doesn't cost a thing and is instantly effective. If your boss or co-worker goes above and beyond supporting you, directing you on a project or even gifts you something special speak up and say thank-you immediately. Pad your thanks with reasons and an explanation of why their effort means so much. A little back-scratching goes a long way when it comes to feedback.
    • Send an Email - If you don't see the person you owe thanks to daily, or haven't had a chance to thank them in person drop them a simple thank-you email. Make it
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  • 7 Things You Should Do This February

    Instead of putting together a list of February Must Haves, I've compiled a list of February Must Dos to help you stay on track with your 2010 goals and keep your finances in order. Get a fresh start to this short month with these must-do savvy moves.

    • Assess the Budget Goals You Set in January - You started the new year off with a laundry list of resolutions and goals, and if you're persistent, you've kept up your efforts. Take time in February to assess how realistic your January goals were by looking at your spending in all categories and whether or not you are keeping them up.
    • Adjust at Least One Area of Your Budget - Unless you can foresee the future, there's always room to adjust the budget. Doctor the budget you set in January by taking a closer look at January spending and adjusting so you are saving more, spending less in unnecessary categories and allocating funds in all the right places.
    • Save More Presidents - Whether you have Monday, February 15 off
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  • 6 Ways to Safeguard Your Checked Luggage

    It's time to play it safe(r)! Before handing off your precious luggage, follow these six steps to make it easier to get your bags back again.

    Choose a Sturdy Tag With Security Flap: No flimsy tags here, purchase a heavy-duty one with a secure fastening method like this one. Some people advise against putting a home address on the bag - suggesting your business address instead - but, no matter which you choose, a tag with a flap increases security. To be doubly safe, add heavy-duty tape reinforcement on any buckled version.

    List Your Information Inside: Even if your tag's super solid, there's no guarantee it won't come undone. Such is life. Always include a card with your contact information inside, placed on top of your clothes as the very last thing to go in any checked bag.

    Set Yourself Apart From the Pack: The sea of black bags streaming down the conveyor belt consistently causes confusion. Reduce your chances of an accidentally grabbed bag and add an identifying feature like a neon

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  • Money Tip: Try These 5 Savvy Weekend Savings Tips

    If you spent the week carefully monitoring your spending and trying to be productive and efficient, don't be reckless on the weekend and blow all your efforts with a Saturday spending spree or pricey meal you can't afford. Consider these smart saving tips before you whip out your wallet.

    1. Plan Inexpensive Things to Do This Weekend - More than half of you admit that spending more money on weekends is a given, but that doesn't always have to be the case. Challenging ourselves to occasionally be more mindful of our money on weekends may make us think twice before blowing our budgets on those days when watching our wallets isn't necessarily on our minds.
    2. Save Big When You Eat Out - Tough times for consumers mean empty tables at restaurants - and to fill them, restaurants are making menu changes and slashing prices, or offering discounts. Take advantage of the deals by researching in advance.
    3. Shop For the Best Buys at Warehouse Clubs - Almost every list of saving
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  • 3 Quickie Improvements For the New Year

    When it comes to keeping resolutions, there's a lot of work involved. It helps to be specific when setting goals for the upcoming year and keeping track of the steps you're taking regularly to meet them. Still, while most of our objectives can be bigger, overarching lifestyle changes, there are some quick improvements you can make in just a few minutes each day that can help affect bigger changes, for the better.

    • Dress the Part - This isn't groundbreaking, but I always need the reminder: dress for the job you want. It's easy to get lazy and complacent when dressing for the office. If it's anything like mine, the dress code might be pretty lax. Regardless, getting creative with your working wardrobe and looking polished and fresh every day can help inspire confidence and pride in your daily routine. You'll be an example to the office, and the envy of your co-workers. All it takes is a little forethought the night before, and a few extra minutes in the morning.
    • Evaluate
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  • 3 Savvy Resolutions For Your Workspace

    The universal problem with New Year's resolutions? Follow through. After pledging to make real changes in our everyday lives, resolving to welcome the year with only the best versions of ourselves, somehow, not even a full month into the new year, I see it all slip away. So, for this coming year, in order to see these resolutions all the way through, create a work space at home that will motivate and equip you to do the work you're setting out to accomplish in 2010.

    • Create a Home Work Space: Even with the best intentions to weed through your finances, balance your checkbook, and manage your 401(k) during your downtime, you might waste all your free time if your space for financial planning is on the couch, while catching up on your Netflix queue. Instead, if you're really setting out to do work, you need a real work space to get things done. Set up a part of your apartment or house that feels like a workplace. Designate a small space for a desk and the materials you'll need to
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  • 4 Healthy Career Resolutions You Should Try

    Thinking about your career ambitions doesn't just imply figuring out your basic "five year plan." You've probably been asked several times where you see yourself in five years and that may be enough information for interviewers, but you need to dig deeper when making goals for yourself.

    Your career considerations should include consistently thinking of ways you could improve; it will help you avoid the boredom that hits when you've been resting on a plateau for some time.

    Here are some simple and healthy suggestions for resolutions to make regarding your career this year (on top of your New Year's resolutions, of course!).

    • Ramp Up Your Resume - Even if you're not planning to leave your job anytime soon, it's good to have a current resume in case a perfect-for-you opportunity falls in your lap.
    • Figure Out Your Potential at Your Company - Are there possibilities for promotion or would you have to look elsewhere to get a new title? Talk to your supervisors about your
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