4 Financial Lessons From “Fifty Shades of Grey”

ellebnere

ellebnere

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?

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Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat

Flickr/401(k) 2013

Flickr/401(k) 2013

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.

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The Secret to Succeeding at Absolutely Everything

Flickr/Anirudh Koul

Flickr/Anirudh Koul

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.

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15 Unique Holiday Gifts You Can Bake

Flickr/JPDaigle

Flickr/JPDaigle

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.

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Saving Money Is Easy If You Set the Right Goals

Flickr/splorp

Flickr/splorp

I clearly remember the very first thing I ever saved up for: a Sony Sports Walkman. I already had a walkman, but its vintage was questionable, its branding unrecognizable and, because my parents had bought it for me, its price was undoubtedly “reasonable.” Oh, and it totally wasn’t “shock-proof” and “waterproof.”

The problem was, the Sony version cost $65. For someone who only got a couple dollars per week of allowance, coming up with that much money wasn’t easy. Lucky for me, it turned out to be gratifying. Once amassed in $1 and $5 bills, $65 makes for a very impressive stack of cash. The kind that I was inclined to keep under the pillow, so that I could pull it out and flip it through my fingers like some casino high-roller. I began to do that frequently enough that I think my Dad finally took pity on me and chipped in the last $10.

So, although it took what felt like a very long time, I finally got my Walkman. But I got something else too: A very positive experience, the kind that probably helped me develop a better attitude about saving. Read more in my new post on WiseBread.

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5 Stupid Things My Parents Taught Me About Money

Flickr/ota_photos

Flickr/ota_photos

I don’t want to offend anyone, so I’ll start by saying this: My family has pretty good financial habits, and I was lucky to have learned a lot of them. They work hard, they avoid debt, they save up for things and, as a general rule, they stay out of financial trouble.

That said, I think my parents got a few things wrong. (Sorry, Mom.) Check out five stupid things my parents taught me about money in my new post on WiseBread.

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20 Cute, Creepy, Campy, and Scare-You-Stiff Halloween Movies for the Whole Family

Flickr/sean dreilinger

Flickr/sean dreilinger

I’ve always loved scary movies, and while my parents tried their best to herd me toward more age-appropriate television, I did my best to seek the opposite. If I was terrified, I was hooked.

Psychologists say that some people are wired to respond to the adrenaline rush that comes with scary movies. These are the same people who tend to like roller coasters (which I do).

I’ve compiled a list of 20 of my favorite flicks for Halloween and have grouped them for different audiences and age groups. Check them out on WiseBread.com – and watch the scariest at your own risk.

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8 All-Natural Ways to Beat Sore Muscles

Flickr/Aidan Jones

Flickr/Aidan Jones

The day after the first time I ever lifted weights, my muscles were so sore that it was almost too painful to sit down. That was actually pretty handy, because I didn’t have the strength to stand back up again unless I had something to hold on to. I may have overdone it a little.

It wouldn’t be the first time. I’ve run marathons, I’ve lifted weights, I’ve rock climbed, I’ve cycled, and I’ve strained myself into all kinds of places my inflexible body didn’t want to go in yoga. And I’ve been sore. Very, very sore.

Frankly, I’m not sure I know when to stop. Fortunately, this isn’t about fitness advice; it’s about sore muscles. And, thanks to my intemperate approach to exercise, I have learned a few highly effective ways to treat those aches and pains and get back on track. Check out eight of my best sore-muscle remedies in my new post on WideBread.com

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Live Long and Prosper With These 15 Small Healthy Habits

Flickr/epSos.de

Flickr/epSos.de

In the United States, men can expect to live 76 years on average, while women tend to live for 81 years. Of course, both those numbers are just averages. In practical terms, what that means is that some people will live well in into their nineties, while others barely make it to their sixties.

I doubt I need to ask you which group you’d prefer to fall into. The good news is, we all have some measure of control over our lifespans, and we have a whole lot of control over our health. You can’t live forever, but how you choose to live day-to-day will determine whether you live as long as possible — and whether you’re fit and healthy enough to have a good time while you’re here. Check out 15 tiny changes that can make a big difference in my new post on WiseBread.com.

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8 Quotes to Inspire Your Dream Career

Flickr/*Kicki*

Flickr/*Kicki*

Maybe you’re sitting at work right now, bored out of your wits and struggling for motivation. Don’t feel too guilty about it; you’re in good company. In fact, most of the people around you probably feel the same way, at least according to a Gallup poll released in June. It found that 70% of American workers are not “engaged” in their work. Eighteen percent of that group hate their jobs so much they actively try to sabotage their company.

That seems pretty extreme, but the cold, hard world of cubicle-land can break even the best of us, including yours truly. Want to do something you love? Get some words of wisdom to help get you there — and out of a job you hate – in my new post on WiseBread.com.

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