Blog Posts by POPSUGAR Smart Living

  • 6 Ways to Save on Your Everyday Purchases and Afford Something You Really Want

    In this economy, little treats, like my weekly gossip mag and a latte are my no-fail pick-me-ups, even when I can't afford the new handbag I really want. Still, living on a budget doesn't mean splurges have to be totally out-of-the-question. In fact, even finance experts, Ori Schnaps, co-founder and manager of Thrive, and Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint.com, wouldn't recommend not shopping at all.

    They advise that going cold turkey can have a negative affect on your finances, and vowing not to splurge can lead to overspending later on in the month. Instead, both financial experts have real-life advice and small spending tips that will help you to spend more wisely day-to-day. Who knows - that splurge-worthy item might just be affordable after all. Read on to get all of their great tips and find out how you can save.

    • Join a Book Club - And be rewarded for your loyalty. Book loyalty clubs, like Borders Rewards program, typically offer regular discounts to your email, as well as
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  • 8 steps to financially prepare for the holidays

    The season of giving can influence our preferences for excess, whether it's a second helping of dessert or spending money we don't necessarily have. There's nothing Scrooge-like about staying financially smart throughout the holidays - consider it a gift to yourself. And when it comes to gifts like these, the more, the merrier, so follow these eight steps and feel the love.

    • Determine Travel Expenses - Before you march off on your first holiday shopping expedition, define the other seasonal expenses you have in the pipeline. You probably already have your plane tickets if you're traveling someplace far, but remember to account for car rentals, hotels, meals, etc.
    • Make a List - Before you begin any holiday shopping mission, it's crucial that you make a list of the people who you are shopping for. If your circle runs wide, consider making two lists; one including the folks for whom you absolutely must buy gifts, and another with names who you'd like to shop for but might
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  • Two Ways to Score Free WiFi at the Airport

    Searching for (or stealing) someone else's spotty Internet signal is never fun. Trust me, I've tried it - and let's just say Savvy wasn't smiling when it cut out . . . midblog post. Still airport (and in-flight rates) won't always add up to a deal for an hour layover, or an hour flight. Luckily, Google announced a free holiday WiFi program in 47 participating airports and on all Virgin America flights until Jan. 15! If you're not flying that airline, through those locations or another airport with already free WiFi, Bing will offer free Internet access at a range of airport and hotel hotspots if you simply perform just one search with their engine. Hey, you can use it to search for your next great deal!

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    Source: Flickr User Michal Osmenda

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  • Use This Sticky Solution For Leftover Gift Cards

    Yes, unused gift cards are still a waste. It's hard to hit the magic number when spending and I'm often guilty of shoving them in a wallet or drawer to remember to use . . . until my memory fails me. Then, when grabbing tea with my pal, GeekSugar, this morning, I noticed her handy trick. So you make the most of every last dollar and cent, wrap sticky notes around each with the remaining balance and take note of any purchases. In addition to being another more obvious use for your phone's calculator, it's a nice way to splurge on an afternoon yogurt without feeling like you've spent hard earned cash in the process.

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  • Travel Tip: 3 Steps to Take If Your Flight Is Cut

    You think you've done a good job, booking a flight months in advance of your planned travel. But with airlines cutting costs - and thus flights - all the time, there's a chance you will see that foresight going right down the drain. If you get the dreaded "Itinerary update: Flight change" email, look for these three things:

    • Check destination airport and connections. If the airline is no longer serving that airport or if the new time you'd arrive is drastically different, they may reroute you to another local airport - fine if you're familiar with the area or aren't meeting people, but if that exact spot is where you're joining family, it can be a problem.
    • Check times. Make sure your new departure, connection, and arrival times work for you and be comfortable with the window between any connections. Most US airlines will offer a full refund if your new flight arrives either 90 minutes earlier or later than the originally scheduled one.
    • Check for other flights.
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  • 6 Simple Tips to Boost Creativity and Kick-Start Your Career (and Your Week!)

    Though I've never loved the expression, there is some truth to it - there is, in fact, more than one way to skin a cat. It may seem irrelevant in an office job where it seems there's a procedure or a rule book for every task, but thinking outside the box may just be your ticket to getting noticed and working your way up - even in this economy.

    Just take a cue from Pat Lencioni, a consultant who crafted a novel approach to writing a business guide - literally - by authoring an unconventional business book, that uses characters and a plot line to get the point across. His creativity paid off with over 2.5 million copies sold. But even if you're not the creative type and if writing your own book seems a little out of your league, try these simple tips to change up your routine and get the creative juices flowing. Just read on and see how.

    • Make Time For Creative Thinking - It's easy to block out time on our calendars for meetings and conference calls, but blocking out a little
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  • Savvy Ways to Use Your Phone's Calculator

    Your fancy phone probably has features that are way cooler than the calculator, but don't let this old school tool go unnoticed. That hidden calculator is good for more than simple addition and subtraction. Let these ideas for using your cell phone's calculator inspire you to use it more often - a few new habits could help you keep your finances on track and make your life easier on a daily basis.

    • Unit Prices - The presence of unit prices allows us to comparison shop on the spot so that we end up with a basket full of the best value available in the grocery store. Sadly, the numbers aren't always accurate and customers end up walking out with products they wouldn't have otherwise chosen. Take matters into your own hands and calculate the unit prices in the aisle.
    • Gas Mileage - Some cars come equipped with systems that automatically calculate the mileage your car is getting, while other car owners are left to use their own estimating devices. Getting an accurate
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  • What to Buy at a Discount This Fall

    Smart shopping is a year-round thing and each season usually comes with its own discounted items. There's no denying Fall is here with Halloween around the corner, so pounce on the predictably slashed prices before all the good stuff is gone. See if anything on your list of needs and wants appears among the items typically discounted during Fall.

    • Cookware - If you didn't hit up cookware sales during the Spring graduation and wedding round, then you're in luck. Discounts on cookware come up twice a year, the second time being in the Fall. Stores have the same motivation for running sales on their pots and pans - they know more shoppers are likely to unlock their credit cards with the holidays approaching.
    • Grills - It's easy to feel grill-envy when the smoky smell from next door is drifting through your window all Summer. Sound like you? Then perhaps you should look into purchasing a grill on sale this Fall to break out as soon as the weather is nice enough once again.
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  • 6 Saving Suggestions to Consider This Weekend

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

    1. Take a Hands-Off Approach to Spending Less - Research shows that you don't necessarily have to stay out of stores altogether, but you should be mindful of where you put your hands if you want to refrain from spending.
    2. Calculate a Purchase in Terms of Hours Worked - As much as we all promise ourselves that we'll only buy things we absolutely cannot live without, sometimes in the heat of the shopping moment that mentality is substituted by one of like, not love.
    3. Ask These Four Questions Before You Spend - Besides calculating the cost in terms of hourly compensation to judge whether or not a particular item is worth your time and money, there are some other things to keep in mind.
    1. Inexpensive Things to
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  • How to determine if you can live on one income

    There are too many families who were taken by surprise when one breadwinner suddenly lost his or her job, but some couples might choose to give up an income for one reason or another. Maybe one person was offered a job in another city, leaving the other one without employment, the couple wants one parent to stay home with the kids, one half of the duo is miserable at work and wants out ASAP, etc. Before you make the choice to live on one income, you need to find out if it's a viable option by following these steps.

    • Re-calculate Your Housing Costs - It's likely that your rent or mortgage accounts for the largest chunk of your expenses. Calculate what percentage of the household income would go toward these costs. If it's a number that doesn't make financial sense, ask yourselves if you're willing to move somewhere less expensive.
    • Get Your Financial House In Order - Before making the decision to live on a reduced income, it's crucial that you have a solid emergency fund
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