I recently came across a photographic essay that showed the bedrooms of dozens of children around the world. It’s beautiful and interesting, but what stands out the most is how much stuffsome of these kids have — closets bursting with toys and other possessions, while others have so little — a straw mat, a cup, a threadbare shirt.
Of course, my instinct is to feel sorry for the little girl with only one doll, or the little boy who sleeps on a wooden pallet and proudly displays a few tattered books. Then again, that might just be materialism talking. After all, the photographs reveal nothing else about these children; whether they get enough food to eat, a safe, warm place to live, and parents who take good care of them. It’s just so easy to assume that they are disadvantaged because they don’t have a television and a mountain of toys.
The truth is that most us (myself included) have way more than what’s required to meet our basic needs, more than is required to make our lives more convenient and comfortable, and even more than what we need to keep us happy. Check out a few reasons why in my new post on WiseBread.
Some people will argue that credit cards are an irredeemable financial evil. They certainly do lead a lot of people down the path of overspending, debt, and even bankruptcy. But I don’t think the problem is the credit cards themselves — it’s how we use them. And if you follow a few key rules, you can enjoy their convenience and their benefits without the financial fallout. You can start by faithfully following 10 credit card commandments. Check them out in my new post on WiseBread.
There’s something going down in the yogurt aisle at the grocery store, and I don’t like it one bit. First it was low-fat yogurt. Then nonfat. Then fat free. Now, labels are trumpeting “0% fat!” and “only 35 calories per serving!”. Next up: an empty carton?
I find it a little sad, actually. “Calorie” has become such a bad word that we’ve forgotten that we actually need calories to live. The same goes for fat.
Yes, you heard me. You need to eat fat. At least some fat. Probably more than you think. In fact, evidence is mounting that a diet with relatively high levels of the right fat is healthier than the typical alternative — one with more sugar and starch. Even the highly-publicized Mediterranean diet is 30% fat.
Want to add more fat to your diet? Check out 10 fat-filled foods you should be eating in my new post on WiseBread.
I have a confession: I read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” All of it. And before you judge me, you should know that even if you haven’t read it, chances are many of your neighbors, co-workers, and family members have. For all the terrible reviews it got, the series (yes, there are three books) sold 70 million copies worldwide. Statistics don’t lie, people.
At any rate, I read this book not for the fantasy, not to get to know the ins and outs of what everyone else was talking about (and there were a lot of ins and outs in this book). No, I read it strictly in search of financial lessons. I’m really that professional. It’s just the way I roll.
Or at least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
So, without further ado, check out four financial lessons you can learn from “Fifty Shades” in my new post on WiseBread. Because that’s what you were reading it for too… right?
Do you have a budget?
If not, you’ve been meaning to get to it, right? According a survey conducted by Bankrate, 40% of Americans don’t keep a budget. But if you’re dreading getting the job done, maybe you shouldn’t be. Budgeting isn’t so bad, and it doesn’t have to be about spreadsheets and calculations and highlighter pens. In fact, at the most practical level, budgeting is really simple. And it only takes five minutes to get started, plus another five or so minutes for each of the follow up steps to really build your budget.
Ready? Find out how in my new post on WiseBread.
As the Olympics Games in Sochi approach, there’s one story we’ll hear again and again — the one about the athlete who emerged from injury, personal hardship, or the back of the pack to win Olympic gold. Those are the Olympic stories most people love, and these athletes inspire us because the best of the bunch refuse to give up, under any circumstances.
In other words, most of us naturally admire what you might call “grit,” or the ability to maintain passion and perseverance for a very long time to achieve very big goals. That’s why we’re especially moved by the stories of athletes who have the most to overcome.
Now there’s research to back up what we already know (funny how that happens): determination counts. In fact, research by psychologists Angela Duckworth and Carol Dweck show that grit is the most important factor for success. It’s more important than IQ and social intelligence and good looks. It even matters more than talent. The good news is that you can develop and nurture grit. Find out how in my new post on WiseBread.
Baking is one of those things most people look forward to around the holidays — the cookies, the cakes, the breads — oh my! They’re fun to make, and they’re some of the best, most frugal, oh-so-thoughtful gifts you can give. The problem is deciding what to bake, because while most people love getting baking as a gift, they tend to get pretty inundated with cookies and sweets, often more than they can (or … um … should) eat. So, I dug out some delicious recipes that are both a little out-of-ordinary, and have a longer shelf life so that your friends and family can enjoy them right into the New Year. Check out 15 beautiful, homemade gifts you can bake in my new post on WiseBread.