Recently my wife and I decided it was time to trade-up on our 2007 GMC. We started off just like everyone else … going for test drives, haggling with the salesman, etc. But by the end, we had discovered there were a few small things we could do to greatly improve our vehicle-buying experience:
Writing about summer vacations last week got my wheels turning, and I thought it would be fun to research a few budget friendly vacation ideas. The news is good! There are plenty of inexpensive ways enjoy a vacation. Below I’ve listed my five favorite cheap vacation ideas.
Camping is the quintessential cheap vacation. Many campgrounds, including state and national parks, offer super reasonable rates. If you’re not interested in sleeping in a tent, many campsites offer lean-tos and cabins to rent. Additionally, some campgrounds have built in family entertainment including beaches, pools, hot tubs, game rooms, and playgrounds.
Visit Family and Friends
It is road trip time! A great way to save on accommodations is by staying with friends and family on your vacation, and let’s face it, they would love the chance to see you. Since you are saving on hotel costs, this frees up extra money to devote to sightseeing, food, and other travel expenses.
Play Travel Roulette
Summer will be here before we know it. If you’re anything like me you may have already started dreaming about, or even planning a summer getaway. But, do you know how you are going to fund your summertime fun? Here are four simple ways to save money on your summer vacation.
It’s early enough in the year that you still have a little bit of time to get some vacation savings flowing. If you’re able to, set up a portion of your paycheck to be automatically deposited into your savings account. Paying yourself first (and automatically) will get your vacation savings off to an easy start. Before you know it you’ll have a chunk of change set aside for your vacation.
Additionally, look for other sources of saving. Consider socking away your tax refund, reimbursements, or rebates you get from now until your vacation. Small amounts can add up over time.
Financial goals typically mean sacrifice. So, if you really want to make your summer vacation plans come to fruition, you may need cut back your spending now. By making small changes in your current household budget you’ll easily be able to save extra money to put toward your vacation. Cut back on dining out, going out, and making unnecessary purchases. If you don’t already, create a budget to keep your spending on track. You can contribute your excess funds to your vacation.
I always enjoy dining out at a restaurant. After a long day or week at work, it’s nice not to have to worry about cooking a meal or dealing with the cleanup. Dining out, however, can really negatively impact a budget. So, while I appreciate the perks of dining out, I also do my best to cut costs when eating out.
It’s surprisingly simple to save money at restaurants, and there are plenty of ways to relish your dining out experience while simultaneously cutting your bill. Here are seven tips to help you save money when dining out.
Make it Special
Consider only going out to eat for special occasions. While it’s easy to get in the habit of dining out frequently, the cost can really add up over time. An easy way to cut on dining out expenses is to simply go less often. Instead of going out just for the sake of going out, make dining out a special treat or to celebrate a special occasion.
Go Out to Lunch Instead
Restaurants often price their lunch menu lower than their dinner menu. Also, restaurants tend to have value packed lunch specials to draw in more lunch time patrons. Dining out for lunch rather than dinner gives you the same experience with a much lower bill.
Many of us have started off the year with the intention to save more money. There are thousands of ways to save money, and while some may be smaller scale than others, it’s good to save any amount as it adds up over time.
You hear about common methods to save money all the time. These methods include using coupons, eating out less, canceling unnecessary services like cable, and purchasing pre-owned items (automobiles, clothing, etc.). Lately I’ve discovered some strange, and downright weird ways to save money, and thought I’d share them with you today.
Many people choose to bring their lunch from home. It’s a smart idea, and doing so can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year. However, some people take this practice to tan extreme by packing the same super frugal lunch every single day. Among the most super frugal lunches I’ve heard about are rice and beans, cheese sandwiches, and cup of noodles. I used to work with a guy who brought his own small grill to work and cooked hot dogs every single day for his lunch. I think for him it was more about his love of hot dogs rather than frugality, but I’m sure he was saving plenty of money anyway!
The cost of personal products such as shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer can really add up over time. Some choose to save money on their personal care items by using far less product. Rather than shampooing their hair every day, these frugal enthusiasts are choosing to wash their hair two or three days a week instead. Those who practice this new care regime claim they are saving up to one hundred dollars or more per year.
I’ll admit, I have a hard time using a ziploc bag one time, and then tossing it in the trash. It’s common to reuse certain items such as plastic bags, plastic food containers, and even lightly soiled paper towels, however some really stretch their dollars to the max by reusing more unconventional items. Have you ever considered re-using tinfoil, paper plates, or even dental floss?
Plenty of people stock up on condiment packets for at home use. In fact some people even claim they never have to purchase condiments because they have such a large stash. While I’m still on the fence about whether taking more condiment packets than you need is frugal, or just plain cheap, not needing to buy condiments can cut down your grocery bill a few hundred dollars each year.
If we’re talking about extreme frugality, I need to bring up dumpster diving. If you’re willing to sort through other people’s garbage you may be rewarded with treasure. You can find just about anything in a dumpster, clothing, dishes, and cosmetics just to name a few. If you don’t want to climb into a dumpster to source free goods, you can just scan your neighborhood on trash day.
I know several parents who rejoice when potty training takes off, and the need to buy diapers comes to an end. So, it makes sense that there are some frugal parents who begin potty training early in order to get a jump on those savings. However, this is where it gets weird. Some pet owners are potty training their cats in order to save on cat litter costs. Rather than using a litter box, the cat is trained to do their business right into the toilet. While the cost of litter is likely much less than diapers, it’s still a cost saving measure some are deploying.
What weird things do you do to save money?
Most of us are working toward some big career and money goals. We want to do more with our professional lives as we build more wealth, and though our actions may look different across the board the end goal is pretty similar: we’re looking to secure more personal freedom.
We want to create systems and lifestyles that allow us to do what we want with our time, rather than being tied in — and tied down — to cubicles and 40 hour work weeks, or debt repayments and material possessions to maintain.
But we have to do more than want it. Achieving career success and building wealth take serious commitment and effort. There’s a lot of hard work to be done before we reach our goals of freedom. Thankfully, it’s not impossible. But you have to take action to make it happen.
So why are so many of us failing to make progress? Why can’t we seem to gain traction and get ourselves any closer to our goals of saving enough to become financially independent in X amount of years? Why haven’t we established our own side hustles or side businesses to explore our talents and skills (and ability to make more money)?
What holds you back? What bad stuff are you letting weigh you down? [Read more…]
All businesses, big or small, on the side or full-time, come with expenses. They could just be startup costs, or you might need to account for ongoing or reoccurring expenses. Either way, the money you need to spend to keep your side business running has to come from somewhere.
Hopefully, your gross profits are enough to help you handle the costs of keeping your work on the side going — so you can keep bringing in the extra cash.
But even if you’re pretty thrifty and savvy with your personal finances (after all, you probably started a business on the side to earn some extra money to further your financial goals, right?), it can be too easy to mindlessly spend on anything you can write off as a work expense.
Saying, “it’s for my work” or “it’s for my side business” can evolve into an excuse that allows you to buy or spend more than you really need. After all, your side business provides extra profits for you — so it’s not like Right?
Well, maybe. But consider changing your mindset. Ask yourself, how much more cash in your pocket would you have if you made an effort to start bootstrapping your side business? [Read more…]
Have you chosen to balance your time with a “best of both worlds” approach to employment and entrepreneurship? This means you’re holding down a full-time job working for someone else while running a side hustle or side business in your off hours.
Yes, it means more work on your part, but there are also greater benefits and rewards to reap.
If you’re employed, you have access to things like employer-sponsored retirement accounts, health insurance, and other company benefits. And if you’re doing work on the side as a freelancer, contractor, or bringing in another form of self-employed earnings, you’re increasing your income, financial stability, and that personal satisfaction that only comes from being in charge of some aspect of your own career.
When you choose the best of both worlds, you’re likely perfectly positioned to pick up an additional perk for yourself. You may have your retirement account at work and a Roth IRA to house all your extra income, but you can continue to make the most of your dual role as an employee and entrepreneur by opening a SEP IRA. [Read more…]
Personal finance often serve as great resources for those seeking to build wealth and improve their financial standing. The best bloggers offer practical advice and actionable tips while creating a welcoming community for anyone interested in money matters.
Another way bloggers help is by leaving all their details on the table. Money used to be considered a highly taboo subject; now, in the open, highly accessible digital age, we can see real-life examples of the where, what, when, why, and how of other people’s finances.
This is helpful because it provides us with a benchmark. But it can also be a little frustrating, because it’s all too easy to fall into the comparison trap.
It’s easy to get down on yourself and your own finances when you compare your net worth with personal finance bloggers who bare it all — and feel like you’ve come up short. Way short, in some cases.
This is especially frustrating when you feel like you’ve already tried to make an effort to increase wealth: you’ve cut overpriced services like cable. You’re paying down your debt so you stop losing money to interest. You’ve increased your retirement contributions or have moved some of your liquid assets into investments so they can start earning you a return.
Related Article: Why Lyft is the Perfect Second Source of Income
What else can you do?
If you’re feeling stuck on the progress you’re trying to make to increase wealth, you may need to consider wanting less. [Read more…]