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The High Cost of the “Treat Yourself” Mindset

The High Cost of the "Treat Yourself" Mindset

Are you stressed? Tired? Depressed? Is daily life getting you down? Maybe you need a treat!

Except that treating yourself can be expensive, and it doesn’t actually make anything better. We are trained to believe that it will, though, and that the money we spend is justified in the name of self-care.

Just recently, my family went through a very stressful time with my husband’s job. Since he makes the majority of our income right now, that was hard on me, too. As we processed the situation and dealt with the stress, I found myself spending money. I’m a pretty frugal person, so it wasn’t anything obscene, just a $20 workout top here and a lunch out with the kids there.

Over the course of a month, though, it added up, and I realized what was happening. I was buying these things to make myself feel better or to try and make my life easier, but they weren’t helping because they didn’t actually address the stressful situation. I had fallen prey to the "treat yo self" mindset (made famous by Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation), like up to a third of all Americans, especially women, do when they’re stressed out.

Fortunately, I caught myself before I did us any real financial damage, and I was able to stop. But that whole situation made me think about spending money on self-care and what it has come to mean for us.

Self-Care Can Be Pricey

Self-care can cost us quite a bit of money. Many people don’t even realize that they are spending to soothe themselves until they get a credit card bill and, by then, the damage has already been done! Even folks who really don’t have extra money to spend get sucked in by advertising messages and other spending pressures that permeate our culture, and make poor financial decisions in the name of alleviating stress and pressure, even just for a little bit.

However, the costs of treating ourselves when distressed go beyond the financial. Too often, we end up confusing self-care with coping. Coping isn’t always a bad thing, and we need coping strategies to get through really bad times, but they aren’t something that should stay around. They aren’t something that we normally think of as good.

When we let ourselves continually care for ourselves with coping strategies — like spending a lot of money on ourselves — we never learn to actually address and overcome our problems. We risk not being aware of our own feelings, and numbing ourselves rather than telling ourselves the truth and dealing with that truth. And I don’t think that’s what we set out to do.

Interested in addressing your stress without excessive spending? Here are some strategies I’ve found helpful.

Pursue True Self-Care

The idea that we need to take care of ourselves is actually true, but that doesn’t need to involve spending lots of money. Instead, when in stressful situations, we need to focus on a few key things.

First, look to your diet, exercise, and sleep. It’s hard to be disciplined about these things when facing major stressors, but addressing them will help you stay strong and avoid adding personal illness to your list of difficulties.

You don’t have to do anything hugely out of the ordinary here. Make sure that you are eating vegetables and not filling up on sugar or other processed junk foods. Even if you have to eat out a lot, some choices are better than others. And take a walk every day. Even 20 or 30 minutes of exercise can change your whole mindset. Finally, do whatever you can to get at least seven hours of sleep. Even if you get by on less than that normally, being stressed usually means you need more sleep than usual.

When you’re under stress, you probably won’t be able to be consistent with all of these, all the time. Still, making them priorities will help you focus on them when you can and hit your goals more than you would otherwise.

Pick and Choose Your Treats

It’s not always a bad idea to spend money on something when you’re under stress, as long as that thing will truly make you feel better. If you can get intentional about your treats and know which of your needs they are meeting, you won’t feel like you need so many.

For instance, a bright pedicure might actually make you feel better in a dreary hospital room. Or a steak dinner might be just what you need after living a couple of weeks on convenience food in order to hit a big deadline. Paying someone else to clean your house might actually relieve some of your stress if you are injured and can’t do it yourself.

But pick one or two things to spend your money on, rather than choosing everything that comes to mind. And know, ahead of time, why you’re spending your money in that particular way by listing, out loud or on paper, which need you’re addressing. This can help you focus on buying essential things, or at least things that will actually help, rather than spending willy-nilly.

Focus on People

Many times, when we are in stressful situations, what we really want is for someone to hear us, to listen to us talk about the situation, and sit with us in it. That can be hard to find, especially if you are under stress away from home or your family and/or close friends are involved in the stress, too.

If you can, call that person up. Ask them for a coffee date, or even just a few minutes on the phone, and be yourself. Pour your heart out if you need to. This will make you feel better than any purchase you could possibly make, and it will lighten the load you’re bearing so you may no longer feel the need to purchase anything at all.

How do you deal with stress? How effective are your strategies? Share with us in the comments!

8 Unexpected Ways a Credit Card Can Save You Money on Travel

8 Unexpected Ways a Credit Card Can Save You Money on Travel

There are plenty of obvious reasons to use a credit card while traveling. For example, it’s easier than carrying a lot of cash, and if it gets lost or stolen, you can call your credit card company and you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges. But did you know that using a credit card actually saves you money on your travels? Here are eight ways that credit cards can save you money on your next trip.

1. Rewards Points

Surely the most obvious way that credit cards can put more funds in your travel piggy bank is earning rewards points. It might seem overwhelming to dive into the world of credit card rewards, but it doesn’t have to be.

To start out, simply apply for three of the best travel credit cards for you. Chose two based on a good sign up bonus so that you can get a head start on your points, and one based on a good percentage of cashback return.

Make sure you spend the minimum amount on each card in the first three months to ensure you get your sign-up bonus. Then continue to use the best cards based on their highest earning potential. For example, if one of them offers 3% cash back on groceries, always use that one at the supermarket. If one offers a high percentage on gas, use that at the pump.

If you have a hard time keeping track, you can always put a sticky note on each card. After a while, you won’t need the notes anymore.

2. Rental Car Insurance

This is a really easy way to save a few bucks a day on your rental car. All major credit card providers offer good insurance coverage on rentals if you put the full cost of the rental car on your card (obligatory with most rental companies).

Don’t pay extra for the damage collision waiver or for extended coverage if your credit card includes it! Many people who don’t know about their credit card’s coverage buy a ton of extra insurance through the rental company, not knowing that it’s already covered on their card.

3. Travel Insurance

This is another place where so many people waste their money because they don’t know that their card has them covered. There are dozens of cards that offer complementary travel insurance.

Before paying for expensive third-party insurance, call your credit card provider and ask what kind of travel insurance they include in their policy. You may be surprised to find out that they cover you for more than the expensive third-party insurance you’ve paid for in the past!

Stop wasting money on extra insurance. Call your credit card provider before your next trip.

4. Rental Car Discounts

Many credit card providers offer discounts if you book your rental car with their partners. If you can’t get a direct deal with the rental car agencies, many issuers have their own travel portal sites that allow their cardholders to book travel with exclusive discounts.

5. Lost Luggage Insurance

As someone who has recently been a victim of lost luggage at an airport, I have to say that this is something you may take for granted, but can save you a lot of money.

You may think that when an airline loses your luggage, they’ll reimburse you for everything you lost, plus pay you a little extra for your troubles. This simply isn’t true with most airlines. While recent laws have been enforced to hold airlines accountable for your belongings, they are still only required to pay you the depreciated value of your used goods.

Credit card lost luggage insurance will help to top up the amount that the airline isn’t willing to pay and will even give you a small amount to pay for emergency purchases while the airline tries to retrieve your luggage. That way you can at least pick up some warm clothes, extra underwear, and a toothbrush knowing that your credit card insurance is paying for it.

6. Airline Credits

Some credit cards will actually offer to reimburse a certain amount each year for airline fees and in-flight food and entertainment. At a minimum, most airline credit cards will offer a discount for in-flight purchases.

7. Baggage Fees

These days, pretty much every airline in North America is charging passengers for their first checked bag. Put an end to this by having the right plastic in your wallet.

Again, this is where airline credit cards will come in handy. Most of them will give you a free checked bag, plus for your companions, too. Before you book your flight, make sure you’re using the right credit card.

8. Foreign Fees

Most credit cards will charge a 3% foreign transaction fee for using your credit card abroad. This fee cancels out any convenience or advantages of using a credit card abroad. Worse is figuring out whether the exchange rate is going to leave you better off or worse off than the 3% fee.

The good news is that there are credit cards that have no foreign transaction fees. Sign up for one and make sure to use that one on your travels.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a disciplined spender, signing up for numerous travel rewards credit cards and putting all your purchases on plastic can save you a lot of money both at home and on the road. Just make sure that you’re careful about how many cards you apply for and how you spend.

There’s no point in earning points if you are paying 19.99% interest. Be sure to pay off your card each month and abide by the minimum spending for sign-up bonuses and you’ll have more money to enjoy (or to save up for your next adventure).

Have you taken advantage of any of these credit card travel savers?

Best Money Tips: Ways to Save Big at Hotels

Best Money Tips: Ways to Save Big at Hotels

Welcome to Wise Bread’s Best Money Tips Roundup! Today we found helpful articles on ways to save money at hotels, great options for selling your clothes, and simple tips forĂ¥ people who eat alone.

Top 5 Articles

17 Ways to Save Money at Hotels — Tell the hotel if you’re traveling for your birthday or anniversary. You may be eligible for a bottle of champagne or even a free upgrade. [PopSugar Smart Living]

Spring Cleaning Hacks: Best Options for Selling Your Clothes — Tradesy is a good option for higher end items, like a Louis Vuitton bag or Marc Jacobs jeans. [Frugal Beautiful]

5 simple tips for busy people who eat alone — Spend less time in the kitchen by cooking enough for two meals. You can give leftovers new energy by adding fresh veggies. [Best Kept Self]

Save Your Bucks at the Ballpark! — Games with giveaway items are usually marked up, so avoid these if you want a deal. Check your team’s schedule, pick a non-promo game, and buy tickets ahead of time. [MoneyNing]

Smart Recycling Tips for Sensible Home Owners — Don’t know what to do about your old furniture? There are professional teams that can help your furniture find its best use, whether it’s resale, recycling, or donation. [Sustainablog]

Other Essential Reading

10 Powerful Mantras to Stop You from Judging People — Remember that we all take different roads toward fulfillment and joy. Someone who isn’t on your road is not necessarily lost. [Marc & Angel Hack Life]

15 Surprising Qualities of Creative Geniuses — Creative geniuses fail well. They know that failure can provided a useful learning experience. [Pick The Brain]

5 Warning Signs You May Have Too Much Stress In Your Life — When we feel like we’re losing control, we actually try to control even more in our lives. Usually, that ends up being the people around us. [Change Your Thoughts]

Why Now is the Right Time to Get Started on Your Goals — Life is always changing. If you don’t start on your goals now, you may become distracted or sidetracked and never get to your goals at all. [The Order Expert]

3 Shortcuts for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get Profitable FAST — Find a mentor who will give you solid advice on your business venture. Your greatest resource is the human brain! [Due.com]

Make Guerrilla Job Hunting Work for You

Make Guerrilla Job Hunting Work for You

Guerrilla job hunting means: adopting unconventional tactics to land the job of your dreams. This method hits the headlines every now and again. And occasionally, we hear about a stroke of brilliance and a deserving candidate landing the job. But all too often, these stories are about job seekers who go to enormous lengths to catch the eye of a prospective employer, only to have it backfire horribly.

Did you hear about the one where the candidate back-flipped into the interview room? Or where she arrived armed with items purchased from the interviewer’s Amazon wishlist? Those tales did not have happy endings. But even if your usual approach is a little more low key, you can still use some guerrilla skills without needing to hire a billboard to advertise yourself, or tattoo your resume on your forehead.

Here’s how to make this job seeking approach actually work for you, without making a total fool of yourself. (See also: 6 Extreme Interview Tactics That Worked)

Make Yourself Stand Out

Recruiting managers might receive hundreds of applications for any single position advertised. Even with the most rigorous screening process in place, resume number 357 has to be pretty special to stand out. Some job seekers have gone to great lengths to make sure their applications memorable, including one famous tale of a job hunter sending a note asking for a coffee meeting, inside a coffee cup, using a FedEx tracking number. Monitoring the delivery notes online, she was able to see the exact moment it was received and signed for, and placed a call immediately to follow up. But don’t panic. You don’t need to do anything so extreme to make sure you get noticed.

Make sure all the basics are covered first. Write a tailored resume and cover letter, making your enthusiasm for the role clear. Using a resume template is a great way to create a resume that stands out for the right reasons.

Then try this:

  • Make an effort to find out the name of the individual recruiting, and use it.
     
  • If you can start adding value to the business at this early stage, you’ll be remembered. Is there a business improvement idea, or some customer insight you can share as part of your application?
     
  • Have an "elevator pitch" summing up your unique abilities, ready to use whenever you get the ear of a potential recruiter.
     
  • Gather intelligence. If you send an email application, follow up with a call. Ostensibly this is to check that the email was received, but take the chance while you’re on the phone to get any insight into the business that you can.

Leverage Your Contacts

Once upon a time, "it’s not what you know, but who you know" was the embodiment of a system that favored the elite. With the democratization of information resulting from Internet use, this is no longer the case. If don’t have contacts who can help you in some way, then it’s probably because you’re not trying hard enough.

First of all, think through your real-life connections. Do you have friends, family, or previous business contacts who might be able to help you? Can they put you in touch with managers at businesses you’re interested in applying to, or who you can tap for information and ideas? Even if your direct connections don’t work directly at the company in question, they may be partners, suppliers, or contractors, who can still offer valuable insight.

Then try this:

  • If you want to pump connections for ideas, ask to meet for a coffee. An informational interview sounds too formal and demanding.
     
  • Follow the right people: businesses, recruiters, industry insiders, and the trade press, on social media. The knowledge you gain can be game-changing. For example, if you learn about an organization’s expansion plans, reach out directly even before they start to officially recruit, to get ahead of the game.
     
  • A referral opens doors. If you have an inside contact, ask them to send your resume directly to the recruiter with a recommendation.
     
  • If you have the nerve, call the CEO (or another senior manager) directly. Ask them where you should address your application. And when you do send in your resume you can legitimately say, "the CEO recommended I apply to you directly." It’s cheeky, but this implied recommendation has been known to work.

Follow Up

Recruiting managers are only human. There’s research to show that if you’ve scored an interview, you’re more likely to be selected if you are the first or last person seen, as memories are sharper, and the recruiter’s mood is perhaps more forgiving. You can’t necessarily dictate the order in which your interview falls, but you can increase your chances of being remembered with a polite follow-up note after an interview. Failing to follow up is a common complaint of recruiting managers, so don’t miss the chance to do so.

Try this:

  • Handwritten notes, in more traditional businesses, are preferred. In more modern or tech-focused organizations, an email is fine. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile, and you’ll be able to see if the reader clicks through to check you out.
     
  • Thank the interviewer for their time, and reiterate your interest in the role in authentic terms. If something came up in the conversation that impressed you about the business, then say so.
     
  • Refer to a point of connection. If you mentioned an interesting article or book during your conversation, pass over the link in your message.
     
  • If you felt you did not get across some skills, or answers as well as you could have, this is a chance to elaborate. The interviewers are likely to be flattered that you’re still thinking of them after the meeting.

Traditionally, a job search follows a regular pattern: find a relevant role advertised, apply, interview, and if all goes well, receive an offer. These days, finding a job is a more fluid process. Many roles are not even openly advertised, putting the ball firmly in the job seekers’ court. Use your intuition, employ some of these tactics, and you will stand out for the right reasons. No backflips required.

What tactics have you tried to get a job? Did they work for you? Share with us in the comments!

Should You Buy Your Leased Car?

Should You Buy Your Leased Car?

Even after two or three years of driving a leased vehicle, you may find yourself wanting to stay attached to your "rented" car. The good news is that the relationship doesn’t have to end.

Leasing companies are happy to sell you the car for its residual value — what the leasing and finance companies determined at the start of the lease to be its expected value at the term’s end. But before you make that commitment, there’s some homework you should do first to make sure it’s financially worthwhile. (See also: What You Need to Know Before Leasing a Car)

How Much Is It?

Find the contract for your leased car and look for the "purchase-option price" or "residual value." That’s the price you’ll have to pay to buy the car, along with a purchase-option fee of $300 to $600. Some leasing companies won’t bargain with you on residual price when the lease is up, while others will negotiate. But before you can negotiate, you need to know the market value of the car, so you know whether it’s worth buying your leased car at its residual value.

For how much could you buy the car for from another dealer or from a private seller? That’s the retail or market value. It may be lower than your car’s residual value, giving you a great advantage in negotiating a lower buyout price.

You also want to determine the car’s wholesale value. That’s the price the leasing company can get for it at auction, which is its only option if it doesn’t sell the car to a dealer.

You should be able to determine your car’s value by searching online, such as at Kelley Blue Book or CarPrice.com. Unless your leased car was extremely popular, chances are its residual value is higher than the market value.

What Shape Is Your Car In?

You’re responsible for the car’s condition at the end of the lease term, and how many dings, scrapes, and miles you put on it will play a part in how much you pay to buy it. Even if you don’t buy the car, you’ll have to pay for those things, anyway.

Leases only allow up to a certain number of miles per year — usually 12,000 — and going over that will cost you an extra amount per mile. The fee could be as high as 25 cents per extra mile, adding up to $250 for every 1,000 miles over the limit. You can avoid the fee by buying the car.

Any dents and scratches on your leased car will result in a penalty fee from the leasing company. One way to avoid those penalties is to buy the car, though those dings are things you’ll have to live with.

They’ll Call You

If you’ve determined that the market value is more than the purchase-option price of your leased car, or you’re happy with the residual value of the car and you want to buy it, don’t make the first move.

The company will probably call you one to two months before the lease ends to see if you’re open to purchasing the leased car. If you call first, it could show that you’re eager to buy the car and your negotiating power could drop. Before they call, you can get ahead of the game by shopping for a lease-buyout loan. Local banks, credit unions, and online lenders can offer you rates, which you can pitch to the leasing company if it wants to finance your buyback loan.

When the leasing company does call, don’t immediately tell them that you want to buy the car. Tell them you don’t like the residual value and ask if they’ll knock down the purchase price. Can they give you a better deal on the loan or waive the purchase-option fee? If you know your car’s market value, you’re a step ahead in the negotiating process. All of this homework may look like a lot, but it’s a lot less work than starting from scratch and shopping for a new car.

After all, the car is already in your driveway and you’ve driven it for years. You know if it’s a car you want to continue driving. Now all you have to do is get it at the best price you can.

Have you ever purchased the car you leased?

10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living

10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living

Getting a roommate may be a surefire way to save money, but sharing a living space isn’t the ideal scenario for everyone. For instance, you’re in medical school or law school and need plenty of quiet time to study and rest. You’re a single parent and don’t want another person’s influence on your kids. You’re recently divorced and want to entertain friends and guests. These are all good reasons to want to live alone. However, living alone doesn’t mean you must forgo frugality.

Here are 10 frugal living hacks for anyone who prefers to live alone.

1. Live, Work, and Play in the Same Neighborhood

Major city centers are ripe with live, work, and play communities, but it shouldn’t matter in what area you live. You should be able to carve out the right balance to conveniently commute between work and home and find activities in your area that keep you balanced.

2. Rent a (Spacious) Studio Apartment

Save on rent by renting a studio unit instead of a conventional one-bedroom. And if you live in anything larger than that, downsize and rent it out to sock away the extra savings. I understand there are reasons one might want to purchase a three-bedroom home, but until you’re ready to start using all those rooms, be smart.

3. Rent in a Building With Luxury Amenities

For an extra couple hundred bucks per month, you could rent the same apartment in a nicer building. If you’re a fitness buff, rent an apartment in a building that has a gym (pool, racquetball, etc.) and save by not needing a sports club membership. The building might have a business center, which could be great if you work from home. Or, the property could have a car sharing program and other luxurious money-saving amenities. Meanwhile, it’s a great way to network and get acquainted with neighbors, which could one day lead to business.

4. Cook Meals

Pizza is perhaps the cheapest dine-out meal you can buy. But it doesn’t matter how you slice it, preparing meals at home is the best way to go. Although you will be cooking for one, it still makes sense to prepare meals at home and take leftovers to work the next day.

5. Buy in Bulk

As someone living alone, it doesn’t always make sense to buy in bulk, but it may be smart to grab family packs of non-perishable foods and meats. Separate meats into smaller quantities of two to four, and freeze them in freezer bags. Now, you only need to do major shopping once per month for minor things, like fresh veggies, bread, and dairy. (See also: Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets)

6. Take Public Transit

When you live and work in the same community, you eliminate the need for a car, and in the case of most major cities, the cost of a parking space. On occasions when you do need a car to visit family or weekend getaways, use a ride sharing program like Zipcar or Uber. It will give you peace of mind and save you time and money. Not to mention, some transit services offer perks that include discounts around the city. For instance, using Philadelphia’s SEPTA Pass Perks includes discounts on Zipcars, attractions, restaurants, and more. (See also: Car Sharing: Why Own When You Can Just Share?)

7. Ditch Cable Subscriptions

Don’t get bullied into expensive cable subscriptions that will cost at least $100 per month. Cable providers now try to rope subscribers into package deals, where at first glance it actually appears to make more sense. Really, how often are you going to be home to utilize a cable subscription? Netflix it instead. Netflix subscriptions start at $7.99 per month. For Internet, consider an Internet-only provider and don’t pay more than it’s worth.

8. Sign Up for Discounts

Just because you live alone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a frugal shopper and sign up for in-store discount savings programs. Also join a program like AAA and save at hundreds of merchants, including on rental cars, hotel stays, restaurants, attractions, and more. They even offer discounts with area cell phone, Internet, and cable service providers.

9. Check Out Intuit’s Benefit Assist

Use Intuit’s Benefit Assist to find out if you qualify for discounted health insurance, reduced utility bills, low-cost cell phone service, cheap auto insurance, and/or have unclaimed money laying around. The website says you could qualify for as much as $2,000 in benefits.

10. Put Yourself on a Budget

It’s easy to overspend when there’s no one to think about or care for other than yourself. That can cause people living alone to overspend on activities and shopping. Be mindful of your spending habits and put yourself on a budget. Although you’re on your own, you shouldn’t need to spend more than $50 to $100 per week on miscellaneous things. What you save could be going towards your retirement. (See also: Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps)

Live alone? What frugal tricks do you use to contain your spend?

Join Our Tweetchat on Thursday 5/5, 12pm Pacific for a Chance to Win Prizes

Join Our Tweetchat on Thursday 5/5, 12pm Pacific for a Chance to Win Prizes

Join our Tweetchat this Thursday at 12:00 pm Pacific for lively conversation and a chance to win one of two $10 Amazon GCs! Use #WBChat to participate.

This week’s topic: Having a Frugal Mother’s Day! Learn about saving on gifts, frugal Mother’s Day activities, and more! Let us know what money lessons your mom taught you and tell us your top tips for keeping Mother’s Day Frugal!

For an easy way to keep track of the conversation, try using our special Tweetchat Chatroom.

Anyone can participate, but you must be following @WiseBread and RSVP below to win our prize!

To make it easier for us to keep track of attendees and pick our winners, please RSVP below with your twitter ID (put that in the "Link Title" field), email address, and your twitter URL (put that in the "URL" field, do not put your blog’s url in there). Winners will be selected at random from RSVPs. If a winner is chosen who RSVPed but did not attend a 2nd winner will be chosen.

New Parenting Chat Tuesdays at 11am PST

Our sister blog Parenting Squad (@ParentingSquad) will be hosting a parenting chat every Tuesday at 12:00 pm Pacific. Drop by for fun parenting conversations and a chance to win prizes! Use #PSChat to participate.

Does Personality Type Determine Your Income?

Does Personality Type Determine Your Income?

Designed to decode and make sense of a person’s perception of the world, the Myers-Briggs personality test has been helping people tap into their psyche in order to boost career and relationship successes since the 1960s. Now you can also use Myers-Briggs to discover whether you’re likely to earn more money or power in the workplace.

A new analysis of nearly 26,000 people representing diverse Myers-Briggs personality outcomes offers a glimmer of insight into income and job satisfaction potential, complete with tips for capitalizing on your top money-making traits. Read on to find out whether you’re destined for great fortune, and if you’re not, what you can do about it. (See also: 6 Reasons Introverts Make the Best Employees)

Extroverts Rake It In

Here’s how it works: Myers-Briggs asks us a series of questions, analyzes our behavioral tendencies based on our answers, and then assigns us one of 16 personality types. These personality types are based on four major psychological preferences. One of those preferences is Extroversion versus Introversion.

Extroverts are those who prefer to focus their time and energy on what’s going on in the world around them, while Introverts preoccupy themselves with their own inner world of ideas. When it comes to bringing home the bacon, it turns out that Extroverts have the bigger payday. In fact, of all the Myers-Briggs personality types, Extroverts are the top earners. The reason is this: Extroverts are generally more willing to take on managerial roles, and these roles often bring about a boost in income. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to be among the lowest earners, for reasons including a general aversion to managerial responsibility.

Thinkers and Judgers Earn More

Some of the highest earners are Thinkers — those who like to analyze the pros and cons of a situation before making a decision, rather than focusing on the people involved — and Judgers — those who prefer a structured lifestyle as opposed to one that’s more flexible. Your fortune is likely to be even higher if your personality encompasses both these traits.

Thinkers are more likely to take on a supervisory role in the workplace, which usually leads to higher incomes. Thinkers, however, tend to have lower job satisfaction in these supervisory roles, which means it’s important for Thinkers to be aware that increased wealth doesn’t equal increased happiness. Folks who are Judgers, on the other hand, are inclined to pay close attention to organization and scheduling at work — and that seems to lead them to greater success and, in turn, higher pay.

Sensors Trump Intuitives

One of the psychological preferences analyzed by Myers-Briggs is Sensing and Intuition. The breakdown is as follows: If you pay more attention to information gathered through your five senses, you fall under the Sensing category. You are Intuitive if you place a high value on impressions or the meaning of patterns in the information that comes your way.

All of us are Sensing and Intuitive at one time or another, but most of us have an inclination toward one or the either. Here’s the good news for Sensors: Your income tends to be higher than that of Intuitives. That’s because Sensors are slightly more likely than Intuitives to manage larger teams. And as with the previous examples, managerial roles tend to pay better.

Fakers May Make the Most of All

Of course, anyone can develop a personal organization practice to stay on top of deadlines like a Judger or take on a job at the highest rung of the corporate ladder like an Extrovert. And that means anyone can boost his or her chances of attaining a higher payday by adopting favorable behaviors that don’t come naturally. You can’t alter your personality type, but you can certainly fake it to your benefit.

What’s your type? Does it match your earnings?

Best Money Tips: What to Expect From Memorial Day Sales

Best Money Tips: What to Expect From Memorial Day Sales

Welcome to Wise Bread’s Best Money Tips Roundup! Today we found helpful articles on what to expect from this year’s Memorial Day sales, cars to avoid no matter what, and composting myths debunked.

Top 5 Articles

What to expect from 2016 Memorial Day sales — Keep an eye out for stackable coupons for clothing, appliances, furniture, and even musical instruments. [The Monitor]

20 Cars to Avoid at All Costs in 2016 — While the Jeep Compass has a low MSRP, it comes with minimal interior features, the ride is not comfortable, and it is only expected to retain about 26% of its original value after five years. [SheBudgets]

5 Composting Myths Debunked — Many people believe that compost smells bad, but you only get bad odors if you’re doing something wrong. [Nature Moms Blog]

Check These 18 Activities Off Your Summer Bucket List — Summer is the season for music festivals! Find one near you and spend a day enjoying the tunes. [PopSugar Smart Living]

How to Save 20% of Your Income in Your 30s — Use the the tax-advantaged accounts available to you. When you’ve maxed out company options, open a Roth IRA to save more. [PT Money]

Other Essential Reading

5 Things Holding You Back — Are there too many people involved in your project? This can lead to endless discussion and no action. [Life Optimizer]

Best and Worst Jobs for Women: Where to Watch Out for the Wage Gap — The legal sector has the largest wage gap, with women making only 56.7% of men’s earnings. [Cheapism]

Three Gifts Every Mom Should Give Herself — Motherhood is only one role of many that you play. Give yourself permission to dream and pursue other passions that make you happy. [Living Well Spending Less]

Best Board Games To Flip For Profit — These old board games sell for hundreds of dollars — some even thousands! [Flipping Income]

4 Things You MUST Do When Furniture Shopping — Always, always measure your space before you go to a furniture store. If you forget, take the measurements of the pieces you’re interested in and check it against the space available when you get home. [Clever Dude]

7 Questions a Potential Employer Cannot Ask You

7 Questions a Potential Employer Cannot Ask You

It’s taking U.S. companies longer and longer to hire new employees. In June 2014, it took an average of 24.9 work days for employers to fill vacant positions. The average hiring time for companies with 5,000 or more employees is even longer at 58.1 work days.

In the rush to fill vacancies faster, some employers are making some bad judgment calls. According to a 2014 poll conducted by Harris Poll, one in five U.S. employers has unknowingly asked an interview question that ran afoul of the law. Here are seven questions a prospective employer cannot ask you during an interview.

1. What Is Your Religious Affiliation?

Being concerned about whether or not you can meet the required work schedule for a position, some employers go the wrong way about finding out about your availability. While the Title VII Equal Employment Opportunities chapter of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn’t provide a specific list of questions that "thou shalt not ask," it certainly provides clear guidelines as to what is off the negotiation table. So, it is illegal for an employer to ask you about your religion. While an employer can legally ask you if you can work on a required work schedule or select from a choice of work days, he can’t inquire about your willingness to work any particular religious holiday.

2. Are You Pregnant?

Before hiring you, an employer can’t ask you if you’re pregnant, plan to have kids, or plan to have more kids. Any of these matters can directly or indirectly result in limitation of a job opportunity in any way, so that’s why the Civil Rights Act takes them off the table as well. After hiring you, your employer or HR department rep can inquire on your status for qualified reasons, such as health insurance, retirement accounts, or tax withholding.

3. What Is Your Political Affiliation?

With the U.S. presidential election coming up in November, some interviewers may drop this one on you. Under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, federal employers are prohibited from asking political party preference questions of federal employees and job applicants. This is to guarantee that all employees and job applicants receive fair and equitable treatment in all aspects of personnel management without regard to political affiliation.

While there are no federal laws that prohibit employers in the private sector from asking about political affiliation, they should refrain from asking such questions anyway. Some states, including Mississippi and the District of Columbia, have specific laws on employment-related discrimination that include political affiliation.

4. What Is Your Nationality?

Immigration is one of the key issues being discussed by candidates from both parties of this election. While an employer has every right to check that you can legally work for them, they can’t ask any questions regarding your nationality.

During a prospective job interview, it’s illegal to inquire where you were born, whether you were born a U.S. citizen or naturalized, your national origin, and what is your first language. Only when it’s relevant to the job can you be asked about your language proficiency. After employment, you can be asked to submit a birth certificate, proof of U.S. citizenship, or other proof of the legal right to work in the U.S.

5. How Old Are You?

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 protects job applicants who are age 40 and older against ageism, which is discrimination against individuals on the basis of their age. Any sneaky questions to try identifying persons between 40 and 60 years are illegal.

For those age 18 and over, some state employment laws, including those from Oregon, provide some protection with a few exceptions. Still, it’s legal to inquire before hiring if you could furnish proof of age if hired, and to request such proof after hiring.

6. Are You Disabled?

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all types of federal employment. Since 1990, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in all job application and employment processes.

The definition of disabilities is quite extensive. For example, an employer can’t legally ask you whether or not you socially drink. Under the ADA, a recovering alcoholic is protected and doesn’t have to disclose any disability information before landing an official job offer.

7. What is Your Credit Rating?

You may have heard that your credit history may affect your employment options. However, there are limitations for employers to use credit information in employment decisions.

First, the Fair Credit Reporting Act outlines that employers require your written consent to get access to your credit report. The one exception is the trucking industry. Your potential employer must have a valid reason to request for your credit data and she can’t disqualify you from employment unless the data directly affects your ability to perform the position you’re interviewing for. In the event that she denies you employment, she must release the credit report to you and provide an explanation.

Second, 10 states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, have enacted legislation that bans employers from using credit information in employment decisions. If you’re seeking employment in one of those states, potential employers can’t ask for your credit history or score.

What are other questions that a prospective employer can’t ask you? Share with us in the comments!