Blog Posts by POPSUGAR Smart Living

  • Super Savvy! 10 Totally Free Ways to Relax

    SavvySugarSource: Super Savvy! 10 Totally Free Ways to Relax

    Between the holidays and the start of a new year, there's a lot going on (what else is new?). That makes taking a moment to stop and relax sometimes challenging. Instead of tossing down a ton of cash for a day at the spa, treat yourself to a bit of free zen. You might be surprised at how easy it is to turn your frown upside down without spending any cash. Click through for a collection of savvy ways to treat yourself to some much-needed relaxation.

    • Read a Book: Head to your local library and get yourself a library card, which is free. Many libraries now have lending services for ebooks, too, making it even easier to sneak a few moments of quiet relaxing time. Even if you're not a big reader, you might be surprised by how calming it is to simply sit and get lost in a few pages.
    • Go For a Walk: Anytime you are feeling like you just can't take anymore, head outdoors for a brisk walk. Getting your body moving is a great way
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  • How to Use Christmas Decor into the New Year

    SavvySugarSavvySugarSource: How to Use Christmas Decor Into the New Year

    No one likes taking down Christmas decorations, because that means having to wait a whole year before they grace your home again. But there are ways to make them last until New Year's Eve, if not past that, and give them a thriving post-Christmas life.

    • Garland: Christmas garland in reds, golds, and silvers can go a long way once the holiday is over. Consider hanging it upside down for New Year's Eve streamers. Want to use it past Jan. 1? Upcycle it, and turn it into packing material for fragile objects.
    • Wrapping paper: If you get creative, there are many uses for gift wrap (including framing graphic patterns), but some of our favorites have to do with lining. Gather large-enough scraps, and line shelves and kitchen drawers that need some sprucing up, or use metallic paper to line drink trays for New Year's Eve.
    • Ornaments: Don't put ornaments back in the garage once Dec. 26 rolls around. All you have to do is place them
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  • 4 Ways to Budget Your Bucks

    SavvySugarSource: 4 Ways to Budget Your Bucks

    When your income and expenses are nearly the same, it's time to create a budget. Want to purchase something that you couldn't afford unless you charged it on a credit card? Budgeting would be the answer. Money is a personal thing, so there's not a one-budget-fits-all solution for those looking to make a plan. Discover four options for budgeting your bucks and be on your way to taking better control of your money.

    • Reverse Budgeting: Reverse budgeting can be appealing to anyone who just wants to save money and isn't too concerned about gaining insight into their spending habits. The system asks you to automatically transfer a certain amount of money to your savings each month, and whatever is left over is yours to spend however you choose.
    • Envelope Budgeting : Cash is king when it comes to envelope budgeting. Set spending goals for various categories and label envelopes accordingly. Then, distribute your budgeted amounts in cash into
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  • 4 Things to Do with Gifts You Don't Want

    Source: 4 Things to Do With Gifts You Don't Want

    Now that the Christmas rush is over, you might be less than giddy over some of the gifts you received. Every year, millions of dollars are wasted on unwanted gifts, but that doesn't mean you should let your own unwanted present go to waste. If you're eyeing a certain gift with distaste, here are a couple of options you can take:

    • Exchange or return it to the store: If the kind recipient was thoughtful enough to include a gift receipt, use the opportunity to trade the present in for an item that you actually want or to get a refund. Remember not to take too long when returning the gift, because there usually is a time frame for when the store will accept a return. Also, check the return policy to see if you're allowed to get a full refund or if you're only allowed to trade the item in for another.
    • Sell it online: Sell the unwanted gifts on sites like Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon. If you don't have much experience with online
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  • Never Make These 5 Major Regifting Mistakes

    SavvySugarSource: Never Make These 5 Major Regifting Mistakes

    There are many that think regifting isn't rude; I've never done it myself, but I think I might have received a regift or two along the way. If you choose to wrap something up from storage and put someone else's name on it, be sure not to make these mistakes that give regifting its sometimes tacky reputation.

    • Not Thinking About the Recipient : Is it better to give something than nothing at all? When all you have in your stock of regifts are things totally unrelated to the person in question, get a card and supplies to make a homemade gift instead. Giving a random gift that wouldn't necessarily appeal to the recipient is thoughtless.
    • Giving a Used Gift : You might be able to convince yourself that the recipient will never notice a gently used item, but don't take any chances. Commit to the rule of never giving one that's already been put to use by you.
    • Giving to a Friend of a Friend : The last thing you want to do is
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  • 11 Ideas to Use Up Your FSA Before the Year-End

    SavvySugarSource: 11 Ideas to Use Up Your FSA Before the Year-End

    Reminder: make sure you've spent the money in your Flexible Spending Account because it will expire in less than two weeks. 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, reading glasses, sunscreen, and wound are all covered under the FSA.
    • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is covered by your FSA, so if you have a condition such as pain, consider acupuncture.
    • Chiropractic: Your FSA also covers chiropractic visits, so now may be the time to schedule an appointment with
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  • Sites with Fast, Last-Minute (and Free) Holiday Shipping

    SavvySugarSource: Sites With Fast, Last-Minute (and Free) Holiday Shipping

    Still scrambling to do some online Christmas shopping? Don't fret! There are many major sites that offer fast, last-minute holiday shipping, some of which is completely free. Most rules apply to general merchandise and not to special items or gift cards, so make sure you check with the site directly before you buy, but all guarantee delivery on either Dec. 24 or 25. Here, we've gathered a list of some holiday shipping policies that will please even ultimate procrastinators.

    Buy your gifts using free super saver shipping and standard shipping until Dec. 19. And if you're part of the Amazon Prime club, you'll enjoy free two-day service until Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. EST. The absolute last chance to order to get gifts on time? Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. EST.
    Get free shipping if you order certain iPad, iPhone, iPod, and MacBook models by midnight Dec. 18. Some products have earlier deadlines, so check with the site to make

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  • The Best Job Hunting Tips of the Year

    SavvySugarSavvySugarSource: The Best Job Hunting Tips of the Year

    Some of the best news to come out of 2012 was that the economy had improved and that more jobs were being created. More openings meant more job search tips - and within the year, a new LinkedIn format, new ways of looking at cover letters, and more all made it onto our list of things to keep on our radar. The job hunt may have its ups and downs, but with a positive attitude (see slide nine) and the help of these tips, you'll soon be able to kiss the search goodbye.

    • Write a Standout Email : On top of having to perfect résumés and cover letters, we sometimes forget that there's an accompanying email that also makes an impression. One Google recruiter has some great advice about writing the ideal introduction note. A couple of tips? Being specific in the email subject line and keeping it short and sweet.
    • Make the Most of LinkedIn: The profesional network recently got a makeover, so it's even more important to make sure you're
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  • A Value Destination for the Holidays

    SavvySugarSavvySugarSource: A Value Destination For the Holidays

    If you want to go somewhere for the holidays but are hesitant because of the prices during this high-traffic travel season, there is still one option that may be affordable. We talked to travel expert Chris McGinnis, a spokesperson for Chase Sapphire Preferred, who shared this nugget of information about a bargain holiday travel destination:

    "If you are looking for a fun and inexpensive way to spend the Christmas holiday, consider a trip to Las Vegas. The last two weeks of December are typically the slowest weeks of the year in Las Vegas, and prices drop dramatically for both flights and hotels. For example, rooms at the four-star Mirage or Mandalay Bay resorts are as low as $65 per night during Christmas week-but if you plan to go over the popular New Year's weekend, rates soar to almost $300 per night."

    Related Content:
    39 Tips That'll Save You Hundreds on Your Next Trip
    The Best Value Destinations of 2013
    Travel Agents May Become

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  • 11 Things Not Worth the Money

    SavvySugarSource: 11 Things Not Worth the Money

    You work hard for your money, so spending it on things that just aren't worth it is a cruel thing to do to yourself. When it comes down to it, you're better off putting your cash toward some expenses than wasting it on others. I'd rather put my money elsewhere than spending it on these 11 things that aren't worth it to me.

    • Bottled Water: You need to drink enough water on a daily basis to keep yourself properly hydrated, but you don't need to drain your wallet to do so. Avoid buying bottles of water that are only good for a few uses; it's better for your wallet and the environment to invest in one that's ready for endless use.
    • Brand Name Cleaning Supplies, Meds, Etc.: So many of the store brand options at the supermarket are just as good as the brand name products. Sure, there might be a certain item or two that you consider to be better quality than the store brand, but in general it's usually a wash - except for the prices. A word of
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