Bachelor Party on a Budget

Bachelor Party on a Budget

Weddings have consistently become more expensive in recent years. With flowers, invitations, food, and many other things being a necessity nowadays, costs for a once in a lifetime event have skyrocketed.

With all that being said, the parties that take place before the wedding have also jumped in value. I’m talking about bachelor and bachelorette parties. I recently just got finished planning a bachelor party for a wedding I’m in. I will share a few cost saving tips on how to plan a bachelor party on a budget.

Bachelor Party on a Budget: Tip #1

Drive instead of fly. Flying can be very expensive depending on the location of the trip. Pick a closer location and carpool instead. The bachelor party we planned was just over seven hours away from where three of us were located. We could have each flown, but that would have come with a $300 price tag per person. By driving and splitting gas, we will spend about $200 total.

Bachelor Party on a Budget: Tip #2

Purchase supplies ahead of time. A good plan is often times the key to saving money. By purchasing supplies before the trip, you can plan out your purchases and get everyone on board to split the costs.

For example, buying food at a grocery store before you get into town means you don’t have to scramble at the last minute for food. The same goes for purchasing party favors and alcohol. We purchased our alcohol and breakfast food ahead of time. I estimate we saved about $20 per person by doing so.

Bachelor Party on a Budget: Tip #3

Find fun activities that don’t cost a lot. Although bachelor and bachelorette parties tend to be a destination trip, the activities you do at the destination don’t have to be expensive.

For the recent bachelor party I planned, we spent a night grilling out instead of going out to eat. We had a good time, and we spent a lot less than if we had decided to go to a restaurant.

When it comes to a city all are visiting on a trip, there are bound to be a number of museums, mountains to hike or other free activities you partake in. Not every event has to cost money.

Conclusion:

Bachelor and bachelorette parties are meant to be one last celebration of an individual’s friends. It’s easy to get caught up in expecting something lavish or expensive, but most times all that friend wants is to spend quality time with the people in their life they cherish most.

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Tips for Having a Budget-Friendly Vacation

You do not have to let cost stop you and your family from enjoying a vacation. It is possible to have a great family vacation on a budget. There are several ways that you can cut your travel expenses without cutting back on fun and adventure. Here’s how:

Rent an RV

If you and your family travel frequently, then renting an RV can potentially help you save thousands of dollars per year. Your RV is your home on wheels, so you will not have to get a hotel room. For less than the cost of comparable accommodation, you can opt for a stay at an RV resort in San Diego or other in-demand destination cities. This lets you and your loved ones enjoy the perks of a standard hotel resort without the high cost. Furthermore, an RV also comes with a kitchen, so you can cook meals instead of eating out. Traveling in your rented RV is also likely to cost less than getting plane tickets for everyone going on the trip.

Look for Free Things to Do

The entertainment is one of the main things that can make a vacation expensive. One of the keys to having a budget-friendly family vacation is to look for free things to do. Public parks and beaches are examples of places that you can go for free. Most museums are free at certain times. It is a good idea to find out about the free things to do in the area before you go to your destination.

Travel During the Off-Season

Summer is the most popular time of the year for families to travel. The children are out of school, and parents are able to get time off from work. However, this is also the most expensive time of the year to travel. If you can travel during the offseason during fall, winter or early spring, then you will be able to save a lot of money.

Collect Things Instead of Buying Them

Everyone wants to have souvenirs from their trip. However, you do not have to spend money on souvenirs. You can collect things instead of buying them. For example, you can collect seashells at the beach. You can also collect maps from the tourist offices.

Use Coupons

Many restaurants and attractions have discounts during various times of the year. You can take advantage of these discounts by using coupons. Groupon is a place where you can find coupons. You may also be able to find coupons on the company’s website.

Select a Nearby Destination

You do not need to go far to have a good time. There are likely a lot of fun places within a short drive of you. If you choose a close destination, then you will be able to save money on gas. You will also be able to save money on the activities that you do with your family.

Use a Gas Finder App

The amount that you pay for gas will depend on the gas station that you buy it from. Even if you are only able to save a few cents, this can add up. You can use a gas finder app to find the cheapest gas station in your area.

It is possible to travel with your family on a tight budget. You can cut your travel costs by renting an RV. You can also travel during the off-season and select a nearby destination. Looking for free things to do and collecting free items are other ways that you can save money. Additionally, you can use a gas finder app. There are many ways to pull off a budget-friendly vacation, it’s just a question of which ones to choose.

3 EASY WAYS TO BUILD WEALTH, FROM A GUY WHO DID IT

Building wealth can be accomplished by anyone who puts their mind to it.  Most of it is based on simple discipline and math.  I have already begun to build my wealth, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.  Listed below are 3 easy ways to build wealth, from a guy who did it.

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Automate Your Savings:

Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t spend what you don’t have”?  This is why automating your savings is so important.  Contributing to a company 401k plan is an easy way to do this.  The money is taken out of your paycheck before you have a chance to spend it.  This savings is simply automated.  Saving first and spending what remains is how many people achieve wealth.

Invest with Simplicity and Confidence:

Investing one’s savings isn’t rocket science, although some money managers and hedge funds will try and tell you it is.  Many companies, such as Vanguard, Fidelity and others offer low-cost mutual funds for the novice investor.  You don’t have to worry about picking stocks or making sure you have the right mix of stocks vs. bonds.  Pick a mutual fund that you feel most confident in.  For example, I invest in a mutual fund that tracks the performance of the S&P 500.  Many companies offer them and they are easy to setup.

Have a Long Term Perspective:

The only way wealth can be built in a short period of time is through luck.  Don’t rely on luck to build your wealth.  Instead, have a long term perspective on it.  Building wealth takes time.  It’s important that you don’t worry about the stock market when you’re trying to build wealth for the long term.  Stocks will go up, and they will go down.  They might even lose close to half their value like in the recent recession.  With a long term perspective, you stick it out through thick and thin.  Most importantly, YOU KEEP INVESTING!

Conclusion:

In today’s climate, everyone is looking on how to make a quick buck.  The reality is that there is no tried and true way to accomplish this.  However, there is a method that stands the test of time to build wealth.  By following the 3 easy ways to build wealth, from a guy who did it above: automating your savings, investing simply and confidently, and having a long term perspective, building wealth is not that far-fetched of a goal.  Compound interest is a beautiful thing, and when followed correctly, it makes building wealth one of the easier things in life to do.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

If reading this blog post makes you want to try your hand at blogging, we have good news for you; you can do exactly that on Saving Advice. Just click here to get started.

Super Bowl Party on a Budget

We have officially arrived at Super Bowl week.  The game, which is on Sunday, February 4th, features the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.  Super Bowl LII is sure to be an exciting affair.  The two teams previously met in Super Bowl XXXIX back in 2005 where the Patriots were victorious.  With all the hype surrounding the Super Bowl, there are bound to be numerous parties all over to celebrate the big game.  Some will go to their local bar to watch it, some will go to house parties to watch it, and others will be hosting a party to view it.  So if you are in a hosting position, what’s the best way to go about it?  Below are three ways to host a Super Bowl party on a budget.

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Super Bowl LII

Alcoholic Beverages/Drinks

A Super Bowl party on a budget isn’t complete without drinks, more specifically, beer.  While purchasing beer for the entire party might be a little costly, there are some ways around it.  A 24 pack of Bud Light or Coors Light should be sufficient for the party as long as you encourage your party guests to bring their own beverages of choice.  Bud Light and Coors Light scream SUPER BOWL, especially with Budweiser’s ties to past Super Bowl commercials.  You can also go spend about $8 or so on a number of two liter sodas.  Ultimately you should be able to purchase a plentiful amount of beer and sodas for your party for around $30.

Food and Snacks

Chips and salsa are a staple of any Super Bowl party as well, but won’t be sufficient to feed all of your guests.  That’s why you should encourage your guests to bring a small dish.  If most bring a small dish, then you will have more than enough food to supply all hungry appetites.  As a host, you yourself should cook a dish or provide some ample amount of food like pizza.  Many national pizza chains run specials around the big game.  Just make sure you order ahead of time and try to carryout beforehand if possible.  All in all you can purchase about three medium sized pizzas and chips and salsa for around $25.

Cups, Plates, Etc.

You are more than welcomed to use your fine china, but disposable cups and plates are the easiest way to go when it comes to hosting a Super Bowl party on a budget.  You can buy all of the necessary items, cups, plates, and utensils for around $10 for the whole party.  The best part is that when it comes to cleaning up after the big game all you have to do is toss everything in the trash.

Final Thoughts

Hosting a Super Bowl party is a time honored tradition, almost as important as the game itself.  Whether your team is playing or not, these simple tips above can ensure that you and your guests have a wonderful time watching the game, the commercials and all that comes with Super Bowl Sunday.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

Allegiant Air Review

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The official start to summer begins on June 21st, but the warm weather and sunshine makes it feel like we are already in it.  Summer means kids out of school, pleasant weather and vacations.  Vacationing during the summer months has become a staple of many families across the U.S.  Whether you are travelling to visit family, going to the beach, or trekking through a national park, summer presents many individuals the opportunity to get out and about.  Nowadays, people are electing to fly more than ever.  Airlines have become more competitive with their fares in an effort to boost travel by air.  One of these airlines who is known for having great deals on flights is Allegiant Air.

Allegiant Air, or just Allegiant as it is more commonly known, is a budget airline based out of Las Vegas, NV.  Founded in the late 90’s as WestJet Express, Allegiant has rapidly gained popularity among passengers looking for cheap fares throughout the U.S.  With nearly 100 aircraft serving approximately 150 destinations, Allegiant has expanded its reach from coast to coast.  In this Allegiant Air review, I will discuss the positives and negatives of the airline along with some pertinent information you need to know before you book your summertime travel.

Allegiant Air Review: Positives

Probably the biggest positive in terms of Allegiant is the price of their fares.  I know of people who have booked round trip tickets for less than $100 on many occasions.  The earlier you plan and book your trip, the better the price.  Like most flights these days, Allegiant flights aren’t always booked to capacity.  This means that if there is an open seat you would feel more comfortable in you may go ahead and switch.  They also tend to fly into smaller airports.  The benefit of this is you have less crowds and TSA lines to deal with, and you can sometimes find flights into airports that the likes of Delta and American won’t touch.  Finally, their smartphone app and website make it easy to book and manage your flights just like the big airlines, so you don’t have to sacrifice convenience.

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Allegiant Air Route Map

Allegiant Air Review: Negatives

Of course there are also negatives to flying Allegiant Air.  First and foremost, when you book your flight, you need to stick with it.  Changing your flight or cancelling it results in lost money for you the customer.  Secondly, their customer service isn’t the greatest.  I’ve found myself calling before about a simple question only to find myself waiting for 45 minutes on the phone with no answer.  Lastly, as is the case with many budget airlines, they charge for the extras.  This means you have to pay extra for a carry-on or checked bag.  It also means that you don’t get any free refreshments.  Drinks, including soft drinks and snacks, are extra.

Conclusion:

If you are a planner and enjoy planning trips months in advance, Allegiant is definitely an airline to look at.  Even with paying for an extra bag or two, they are often times still cheaper than larger airlines.  The planes offer standard comfort, and  Allegiant oftentimes has direct flights that few other airlines can offer to varying destinations.

How To Trim Your Budget

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With the new year in full swing, people are doing their best to stick to the freshly made New Year’s Resolution’s they mapped out for themselves.  The most common resolution always seems to be losing weight.  Instead of going with the status quo resolution this year, why not try to trim something else?  Your budget perhaps?

How to cut my expenses? Is a question often asked by many in order to free up funds in their daily lives.  Maybe they are living paycheck to paycheck, maybe they are trying to save up money for a special purchase, either way trimming your budget is the best way to go about doing this.

For starters, you need to have a budget.  You can download a free budget template and simply put in your income and expenses.  The best part about budgeting is you get to see where your hard-earned money is going every month.  Perhaps you are spending a large portion on eating out, can you bring your lunch instead of going out to eat?  If so, you might be able to not only cut some expenses but trim your waistline also.

The free downloadable budget allows you to choose the expense categories you have for a given month.  Say for example you spend $100 a month on your cellphone bill, can you change service providers and possibly get the monthly expense down to $80 per month?  If so, you have freed up $20 per month or $240 for the entire year.  Can you trim $10 a month off your grocery bill by purchasing generic products versus name brand?  This can be an additional $120 in savings for the year.  Attempting to save as little as $10 to $20 per category for a few of your monthly expenses can add up to some awesome end of the year savings.

Below is a quick easy way to trim your budget:

  • Create a budget: If you don’t already have one, now is the best time to start budgeting. This will determine where you are spending your money every month.
  • Track all of your expenses: See just how much you are spending in the various categories every month. Some may surprise you.
  • Pick 2-4 categories: By selecting a few categories where you think you can cut some expenses you will maximize your yearly savings.
  • See how much you can cut: It can be $5, $10, $20 or maybe even more per category per month. Living on a little less each month won’t change your quality of life for the worse.  Instead, you can use the money saved to enhance it by saving up for a vacation or a future purchase.
  • Don’t incur new expenses: While trimming your budget to save up money is the ultimate goal, don’t incur new expenses during the process. A car payment or a gym membership will quickly eat away at the money you are trying to save.

Stick to it: Trimming your budget will only be beneficial to your wallet if you stick to it.  Developing discipline for sticking to a budget can be tough but also very rewarding.

Book Review: The Surprise Millionaires

SupMilBookCover

I recently finished ready The Surprise Millionaires by Keith McDowell.  A great read indeed.  It is packed with amazing stories of ordinary people who passed along extraordinary wealth.  Keith did a wonderful job of including stories from all over the country that date back to the beginning of the 20th century.  You can purchase the Kindle version of the book for just 99 cents!  You can also follow his blog here: https://thesurprisemillionaires.com/

Here are my 3 main takeaways from his book:

  1. No matter your income level, everyone and I repeat everyone has the opportunity to create wealth over $1,000,000.
  2. Most if not all of these individuals valued relationships over possessions and money.  It was who they could impact with their wealth that was much more important than the amount of earthly items they could collect.
  3. Every single one of the stories ends with a person(s) creating a lasting legacy in their community.  When your time on earth is finished what do you want to be remembered for?  I’m sure the people in these stories asked themselves this question, and the legacies they created was beyond comprehension.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

The Benefits of a Budget

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Budgeting is an essential part to taking control of one’s financial life.  You would be surprised to know that nearly two out of every three Americans do not budget their income.

With today’s technology, it is now easier than ever to track your income and spending.  Personally, I use Google Sheets to budget.  I have the ability to access my budget on any computer with internet access along with my smartphone.  Another great way to budget is through Mint.com.  Signing up is free, and they have an app so you can update your budget on the go.

Now that you can see just how easy it is to start your budget, I will quickly lay out why you want to budget and the benefits.

  1. You know how much you make:  Ask someone how much take home income they have in a given month, you would be surprised the number of people who can’t give you a specific dollar amount.  Knowing how much you make is vital to determining how much you can save and spend.
  2. Plan Purchases:  Saving up for a vacation?  By budgeting you will be able to determine how much you need to set aside each month so you and your family can enjoy a getaway.
  3. Eliminating Debt:  This can have a two fold benefit.  Firstly, if you know how much you make, then you know how much you are able to spend, thus you can avoid spending more than you make.  Secondly, budgeting can help you set aside income every month to tackle debt, be it student loans, a car note, etc.
  4. Enjoying your money:  Budgeting allows you to feel confident about your spending habits.  It allows you to plan for purchases and should limit financial stress on your life by worry about how you are going to pay for something.

This is not a comprehensive list of the benefits, but a few of the major ones.  If you are curious of the benefits you can receive from budgeting then give it a shot if you haven’t already.

For more on this, consider checking out The Finance Twin’s article on how to make a budget.  Its a good solid read.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

Ending the Financial Year with a Bang

2015 has come to a close and with that, the end of another year of budgeting and saving.  I have many proud financial moments for this past year.  The main one being paying off my student loans.  I had ten years to pay them back, but I was determined to be free from them as soon as I could.  I budgeted and was able to pay them off in just 2.5 years.

What was your biggest financial accomplishment of 2015?

When it comes to 2016, I have a couple main financial resolutions I hope to achieve.  The first being to pay off the remainder of my car loan.  I owe less than $5,000 remaining, so this should be an easy task.  My next goal is to have a net worth of six figures before my 27th birthday (My birthday is in March, so this doesn’t leave me much time).

What are your financial resolutions for 2016?

Today and tomorrow are good times to sit back and reflect on what went well and what didn’t go well with your 2015 finances.  You can then figure out what changes need to be made to create a wonderful 2016 financial year.  It all starts with budgeting, so if you haven’t already downloaded an Excel sheet then do it now.

Monthly Budget Example

 

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

 

Having a Portable Budget

A number of months ago I made a switch.  I used to keep track of my budget using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that was saved to my computer.  It was easy for all intensive purposes except that I could only do updates on the computer I saved my budget on.  So I made a switch.

Now I use Google’s Spreadsheet for all of my budget updating.  Here are 3 reasons why.

  1. I can update my budget from any computer where internet is available.  No need to ever save it as it is done automatically.  Whether it is my work computer or personal computer it doesn’t matter.
  2. You can make budget updates with your PHONE!  This is probably the best part about using the Google platform for your budget.  Just simply download the app, login to your Google account and you are ready to make budget updates on the go.
  3. Your budget will never crash.  Computer’s can crash, but having a budget on Google Spreadsheets makes it virtually uncrashable.  As long as you have access to internet you can have access to your budget and unless you decide to wipe it out (which again can still be undone) it is always accessible.

There are numerous advantages to having a portable budget.  The first key is to have a budget, but if you are going to have one do it right the first time and use Google Spreadsheets.

For more on this topic, consider reading my articles on: