How to Save on a Labor Day Road Trip

August 27th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Holiday - (0 Comments)

There is a long weekend coming in two weeks! Wahoo! How are you going to take advantage of it? Trip to the beach? Bowling?  A Bonfire? Definitely not labor, at least. That’s the last thing we would want to do on Labor Day.  How about a way to relax while getting out of the house, and exploring the world around you? Yes, we’re talking about a road trip. We have mentioned road trips in previous blogs, and now there is a perfect opportunity to take us up on our suggestion. A road trip doesn’t have to cost much either, as long as you follow these tips and tricks:

Get Your Gas Cheap

You won’t be able to travel anywhere if you don’t have any gas in the tank. It’s not always cheap either. On a long road trip, sometimes it seems if just burning all the cash in your wallet as fuel is more productive than continuously filling up on gas. Luckily, there are several free apps that can help. The most popular gas app would have to be GasBuddy. It’s simple enough. Users write in the app the price they just paid for their gas. When they post their gas price they get points. When they get enough points, they are entered into a weekly drawing for a $100 gas card.  And when you are looking to fill up the tank, the app will give you the cheapest gas station closest to you.

Now, being an avid Waze user, I can validate the useful not just of Waze’s gas prices, but of the app as a whole. It is a GPS app run by the entire community that uses it. When navigating to a location, you can edit the map so report traffic jams, accidents, police cars, and, like GasBuddy, gas prices. All these are located into Waze to send you to your requested destination the fastest way possible. When it comes to gas prices, when you want to navigate to a gas station, Waze brings up a list of gas stations close to you. Each listing gives the gas station’s name, distance from you, and the price per gallon. If the price is high the cost will be in red. If it’s reasonable the cost will be in yellow, and if the price is a steal, it will be listed in green.

Lastly, another useful option is Gas Guru. Unlike GasBuddy and Waze which are crowd sourced, this app is consistently updated with information from the Oil Price Information Service, so you will never have incorrect, out of date information.

Keep Your Gas Reserved

Now that you have your gas, let’s not let it go to waste so fast. First, keep the air conditioning off as much as the temperature will allow you. Having it on can increase the fuel cost from 13% up to 21% according to the California Consumer Energy Center. While the air conditioning is off, let’s keep the speed down, shall we? Let’s not forget this is a road trip. We are not trying to hurry anywhere. We want to lounge in the car seat while taking in the moving, picturesque images of America. No need to speed down the trip a day or two shorter. Driving at the tolerable and reasonable speed of 55mph can cut the fuel cost by 25%.

Make Sure Your Car Is In Tip Top Shape

How fun will your trip be when you’re broken down on a deserted highway in the middle of the night two states over from home? Whether you are using your own car, borrowing a car, or renting a car, make sure the vehicle is in the best shape of its life before you embark on your adventure. The windows should be cleaned, the oil should be changed, the tires checked for correct air pressure, and all lights are bright, clear, and work well.

Make and Pack Your Food

A $15 meal at a diner three times a day is going to add up. A $5 meal at a fast food restaurant three times a day is not what the doctor ordered. Packing quick meals in bulk will save time, gas, and quite a deal of money. Filling a cooler with drinks, snacks, and cold cuts may be the most resourceful option for you.

Drive Away From Tolls

It can cost a buck, but it can also cost upwards of $30. Stopping at all these toll booths can be a real inconvenience and be an annoying road block to your trip as well. You can skip over them by programming your GPS to avoid tolls. Be careful with this option, though. Sometimes the length to avoid a toll road may be more expensive from wasted gas than it would be to just pay the toll.

Reside in Cheap Lodging

It’s time to get in contact with your college roommate’s ex-girlfriend’s best friend’s cousin that owes you a favor from that one time years ago who now happens to live along the way to your destination. Lodging expenses are likely to be the biggest cost of the entire trip, so try to obtain free bedding as many times as you can. If there is no way to get a free night’s stay somewhere, go to sites like Hotels.com to find out locations that have the cheapest night’s stays along the route. Safe travels!

For more tips on how to save for a Labor Day road trip, you can read the full Go Banking Rates article.

~Bobby

Sometimes, nothing is better than a lazy day where you slap on a pair of salsa stained sweatpants, fall straight into your personally-made indent on the couch, flick on the television, and unhinge your jaw to devour a large, filled-to-the-brim bowl of salty, crispy, golden potato chips. Actually, almost nothing is better than those days. We don’t discourage a tiny bit of laziness here and there. Plus, by being lazy our finances will just keep on the rise, right? Well, not exactly. There are quite a few times where your laziness will cost you hefty amounts of cash. Here is when being lazy is an ill-advised financial choice:

Skipping Medical Appointments

Not only is this a bad idea for your health, this is going to be incredibly costly in the future. Say a quick checkup to the dentist was all you needed to get a cavity filled. Missing one appointment may lead to two then three, and before you can say, “Ow! My tooth hurts” you are spending thousands of dollars of major dental work. Yes, medical appointments can seem like an annoying inconvenience at the time, but the better your health, the better your savings account looks.

Ordering Gifts Last Minute

Oh no! Cousin Abigail’s birthday is tomorrow and you don’t have a gift! It’s fairly easy to think about a friend or family’s birthday gift a few weeks in advance only to let it slip your mind until the 24 hours before the party starts. That is when the slackers rush to the closest online retailer and pay extra for one day shipping. With more preparation, you can find a nifty gift at a good bargain.

Not Taking Advantage of Coupons

The Marketing Association’s Coupon Council reports that the average family could save up to $1,000 if they would take advantage of coupons. Grocery prices are noted to be rising, and all it would take is 20 uninterrupted quality minutes of coupon clipping to stop all the wasted free money you have been throwing away with the magazines and newspapers. It doesn’t even need to be newspapers. Sign up for emails and newsletters from your favorite companies and you’ll be destined to come across a few useful suckers in one of them.

Waiting For Parking Tickets to Come to You

Parking tickets are a serious matter. They are not like the boogeyman that lived in your closest when you were a child. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. You made a mistake. It won’t happen again. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay the consequences this time around. Not paying a parking ticket on time will first double the fee, then triple the fee, then creates a possibility of having your car be towed. When you’re in the situation of paying hundreds of dollars, you start to wish that you just paid it when it was $25.

Eating Pre Made Food

Sure, buying a pre-made meal is far easier than going home, scavenging your fridge, and cooking a meal from scratch after a long, tiring day at work. After several weekly excuses to not cook the food you have in your house, you will soon be chucking out your money along with the garbage. The National Resources Defense Council states that 40% of food in the United States gets thrown away every year. That means Americans are wasting 165 billion dollars in perfectly good food. To help in your own cooking endeavors, do different steps of the cooking process day by day. If the meal involves vegetables, chop them up two days before to lessen up the process the day you plan to cook it.

For more reasons why being lazy is costing you a pretty penny, you can read the full Go Banking Rates article.

~Bobby

What to do Directly after Identity Theft

August 13th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Security - (0 Comments)

One day you could be financially stable, and the next day you are coming home from vacation with numerous amounts of messages from your financial institution and a large stack of unauthorized transactions. Maybe one day you are surprised when your card declines while you are purchasing a cup of coffee and while a couple of phone calls you find out your checking account has been wiped out. There are several ways to find out you have become a victim of fraud or identity theft. Over 1 billion records were reported compromised alone, with several ways of acquiring a victim’s information. What matters more than your account being hacked, is how to now deal with it after it has happened. Here are the suggested steps you can take:

Step 1: Immediately shut down the account that has been hacked

Once you find out that your card has been used with permission even once, it’s a safe bet that the thief will not politely stop once and return your card to you. You should contact Align, or whoever your financial institution is as soon as you’re able and close down your account. The faster the shutdown, the lesser the damage caused.

Step 2: Look through previous bank and credit card statements

But was this the first time? Go through your previous three to four statements and scan the documents for any other previous transactions that may have not been from you. Your information may have been stolen months ago and going on unnoticed to you for some time until this first noticeable deduction. If you have multiple accounts, the hacker may have gotten the information for all of them. Look through each account no matter how infrequent. Contact your financial institution and close every account that the thief dove into.

Step 3: Review credit reports

Next step is to request copies of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. Read through your reports and see if there are any unwarranted accounts attached. Please note you are allowed one free credit report from each bureau every year.

Step 4: Contact Federal Trade Commission and File Report

This step should be approached cautiously. This step should ONLY be acted upon if you could swear under oath that you truly believe that your identity has been stolen. If only one single account has been compromised and it counts as credit card fraud and not identity theft, then do not file a report. File a report at FTCComplaintAssistant.gov or by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).

Step 5: Notify Police Department

Doing this step isn’t to have cop cars blazing, intently investigating the crime until the culprit is behind bars by the end of the week. This is to have written, printed proof that you have been actively addressing the problem of your identity theft. If the theft happens to be local then you are in luck and they can help greatly in the crime, but if it is overseas or stolen from online, it’s less fortunate and simply contacting them will help.

Step 6: Place Fraud Alert

It’s time to contact those credit agencies again because it is time to place a fraud alert on your account. It will stay on your account for 90 days. Any business or institution that brings up your account will be notified of the alert. It brings a more cautious eye to creditors when checking any identity of someone opening or inquiring about an account in your name. For people with actual proof of theft, the alert will last seven years. For a more safeguarded approach you start a credit freeze so credit report access is completely cut off. Beware though; this will make it harder for you to apply for loans or credit card in the future.

Step 7: Open New Financial Accounts

Contact your financial institution to discuss how to go about the matter. For your guaranteed safety you may want to close and then reopen all of your accounts. While it isn’t ideal, it is the safest option.

Step 8: Keep Cautious In the Future

Read up on our tips on our Security Page that deal with avoiding identity theft in the future. They go over how to creating stronger passwords, why you shouldn’t carry around your social security number in your wallet, and how to safely act when using the ATM, along with many more precautious tips and examples.

For more steps on how to protect you identity after identity theft has taken place, you can read the full US News & World Report article.

~Bobby

 

It’s an emotional time right now. Your little cherub is heading to school. It doesn’t matter if it’s their first day in kindergarten or their first day senior year of college, they are your baby and you are going to miss them whether it be for eight hours or eight months. What you won’t miss is the cost of all the books, pencils, rulers or tuition it costs to send your cherub to get them their education. It is reported that the average American family will spend an around $630 on their children from kindergarten to high school. Think that’s bad? Compare it to the $68 billion that will be gathered in college student expenses this year alone. School finances are tough. Luckily you have around a month to do some quick changes to cut costs here and there to have more money for them:

Hold Back On Laundry

Just a minute, you eager beaver. We very much want you to do laundry, so don’t start stinking up the place with your 3 month dirty shirt. What we mean is to not do regular small loads of laundry right when the baskets come in. Instead, let them pile up a tiny bit and then do larger washes. This can help cut your laundry washes in half. Lastly, even with larger washes, cut a third of detergent you are using. Many of us use more detergent than we need.

Swap Don’t Buy

While it’s more familiar to just go to the mall, or Wal-Mart, or online shopping sites to pick up school supplies, you might want to give swapping items a shot. There is an estimated 9 million people around the world that would rather recycle items than throw them away and buy new ones. Try sites like Swap.com and Swap Mamas where you can put up items you don’t need any more and swap with users that have supplies you can use.

Buy in Bulk

Condiments, oils, nuts, canned goods, meat, and vegetables are all items to buy in bulk. This is efficient when saving for cash because buying more food than your family needs and then having it spoil is just a waste. Gather all of the frozen and pantry foods you love in bulk and spread the wealth in reusable containers.

Share Your School Gear

An easy way to cut back on expenses is sharing ALMOST EVERYTHING. Or, at least as much as you can. Clothes, online streaming services, time shares, bulk groceries, store memberships, lawn mowers, snow blowers, magazines, exercise equipment, and luggage bags are all items that if you split with another person, saves cash quick. If it involves a subscription, then cancel one of the two subscriptions and create a plan on how to give the person whose subscription is still intact your share.

Scholarships

For the older kids, go scholarship hunting crazy! Apply to as many that you can that would make sense to your character. For example, you wouldn’t apply for a karate scholarship if you have never taken a karate class. If it involves an essay, write the best essay to your ability. Treat scholarships as seriously as if you were applying for a job. Align has a yearly scholarship for its Members that you may want to look in applying for.

Visit a Doctor Before Getting Sick

Get to the doctor before your nose starts running, your bones start aching, and throat starts hacking. Schedule a checkup after reading this blog. This will help you fight off any impending sicknesses that may try to latch onto during the upcoming year.

Workout at Home

Forget the gym! Didn’t think you’d read that sentence for a blog created to give you smart advice, did you? It’s not just wintertime that should be your excuse not to go to the gym. It should be the entire year. There are enough exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home that will cost you far less than hundreds of dollars you spend at the gym each year. One last tidbit when working out is to use a water filter instead of spending weekly expenses on water.

Celebrate Food Holidays

Almost every day of the year is a national holiday no matter how obscure the day. When a food holiday comes around, certain stores pertaining to the food may have a special deal or promotion. This could help you get the product for free or at a discount saving you having to pay the full price.

Avoiding Restaurants Where Kids Don’t Eat For Free

You should not have to spend an absurd amount of cash on a kiddie cheeseburger. That’s just being taken advantage of. There are far more restaurants that offer free meals to kids than you may know exist. There may even be several around your area. Start doing research of restaurants and what the cost of kids’ meals are there.

For more tips on ways to save before heading back to school, you can read the full Cheapism article.

~Bobby

Craziest Ways People Save Money

July 30th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Smart Spending - (0 Comments)

There’s nothing wrong with saving money. We even tend to encourage smart tactics to save money any chance you can…but there can be a limit. Sometimes you can take that one step too far from being a savvy saver to a disgusting cheapskate. And by “disgusting” we literally mean disgusting. From eating cheaper animal food to compromising their hygiene, here are some of the offbeat to flat out bizarre ways that some people save money:

Stop Showering

Sure. We have to conserve as much water as we can. Especially with droughts in effect down the west coast, it’s more important than ever to know the importance of water conservation. And yes, there are going to be days were you wake up a little too late to shower off the previous night’s sleep. What should NOT be a frequent occurrence though, is to trade in your hygiene for a lower water bill. Instead, use a little of your money to get a showerhead with an on and off switch. This way you can easily flick on and off the water to first soak up and then back on to quickly rinse off.

Eating Dog Food

Look, human food can just cost WAY TOO MUCH. Luckily, we have lower costing options like our pet’s food bowl. Those frugal enough to have a bowl of this…delicious(?)….porridge say that if you’re going to take up dog food eating you HAVE to go with dry dog food. Wet dog food is far inferior in taste. In all honesty, we suggest referring to previous blogs and articles we have shared on tips to purchase human food for lesser costs.

Reusing Napkins and Paper Towels

One way to save on the purchasing of paper products like napkins or paper towels, some of these committed savers will reuse, rewipe, and reclean the stained, dirty napkins and paper towels they’ve used for the last few weeks. May we suggest an alternative of bringing back the cloth wipes? After being used, the cloth wipes can be tossed right in with the laundry after meals or spills.

Potty Training Their Animals

If you have the capability of potty training your pet, then by all means potty train your animal. That will inspire some great dinner party talk. Those who have been successful at the task, first typically upload it to YouTube, and then decrease their expenses on litter boxes, air fresheners, or newspapers. If deemed too challenging, you can always compare prices around your town to find cheaper litter boxes, air fresheners or newspapers than you already have.

For more bizarre ways people save money, you can read the full Cheapism article.

~Bobby

You don’t get days as perfect as these. You are driving home from work, 70 degrees; the brilliantly white, puffy clouds sit lackadaisical in the sky. The traffic is scattered at best, and there is hardly an obstacle to prevent the whipping, refreshing breeze from lightly grazing face here and again there as every window rests in the lower, unseen taverns in the lower regions of the vehicle. That song that has been on endless repeat in your brain all day is now out loud on the radio and you finally can sing it out of your system. You pull into your driveway, you’re ready to put your feet up, drink a refreshing beverage, not have to use your brain for anything but wondering if your favorite character from your favorite show is going to be ok by the end of the episode, when you glance over to the mailbox. Well, we just guess it’s a mailbox. There are too many envelopes on top of, in, and under it to really be sure. And none of those are a birthday card or wedding invitation. Heck, we’d even take jury duty. Those are all of the unpaid bills and they aren’t going to stop coming in anytime soon. They are intimidating, infuriating, and sometimes incomprehensible, but they can be subsided. At least a little bit. Even up to $500. How, you ask? To do it, just make these few minuscule changes:

Aggregating Groceries

Groceries aren’t cheap. A family of four can average $1,300 a month for groceries, reported by the Department of Agriculture. We can minimize that, though. Trick is to collect all your nonperishable and frozen items when they are on sale instead of when you absolutely need them. If you grocery shop for only items you need at the time, then you are far more likely for 50% to 80% of the items in your cart to be at full price. By shopping with the tactic of purchasing items on sale, you are likely to start saving over $500 a month.

Embrace the Cold and Darkness

It’s time to live in a world of shadows and darkness. Aside from the already known practice of turning your lights off when you leave a room that no one else is occupying, unplug machines such as the computer, chargers, cable boxes, DVD players, or anything else that doesn’t need to stay in 24/7. These can use up energy even when the technology is turned off. It can unplug $111 from your next bill.

Keeping Your Home Air Tight

The goal of keeping our home air sealed is to prevent drafts. These pesky drafts can cause the loss of desired cold air in the summertime and then desired hot air in the wintertime which would then cause you to have to compensate by over using your utilities. Over blasting the air conditioner or the heater will leave you with a bill that make you sweat and give you chills simultaneously.

Purchase LED Light Bulbs and Smart Power Strips

A larger expensive purchase for these items can cause significant drops in your monthly bills.  LED Light bulbs are far more energy efficient than regular light bulbs and can be used in your home for years. For power strips, most already come with a switch that when turned off, cannot continue to produce power to all connected devices. For smart power strips, the electricity is even more controlled, the DVD player will not be able to be turned on if the television itself is not turned on already, helping you save money efficiently!

For more tips on cutting $500+ from your monthly bills, you can read the full Simple Dollar article.

~Bobby

5 Tips to Have Better Sleep

July 16th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Health - (0 Comments)

A day can be ruined from the first moments in the morning when the alarm clock starts buzzing, and you lift the morning boulders that most call the eyelids. There’s a hurtful pressure on your eyes, your brain is acting like a battering ram charging your skull, and the world is swishing and swirling around you in jagged, jerky motions. You clearly didn’t get enough sleep last night. It might have not even been your fault! Around 60 Americans a year suffer from a sleeping disorder. Maybe you ARE causing yourself to lose sleep and may not even know it. A lack of sleep ruins productivity and can cause poor financial decisions, so in an attempt to get better sleep, here are tactics to abide that may be causing your sleep troubles:

Keep Your Eyes Off Of Your Electronics

Reading before bed is actually a wonderful tactic to help fall asleep…just not on your e-reader. These latest electronic readers are magnificent tools for providing a gateway and storage unit to thousands of novels from classic literature to current, but these are not to be used shortly before bed. Most e-readers are backlit with blue frequencies of light that suppresses melatonin which is the hormone that helps you sleep. When exposed to this the e-reader light, your eyes believe it is daytime even at 11:00pm. While you’re turning off your iPad, also take the time to turn off your smartphone as well. Looking at these devices can cause the same problem.

Do Not Drink Caffeine

Caffeine is perfectly normal substance to have in the morning. Restarts the system, going to high gear, initiate hyper speed. When caffeine can be a nightmare is in the 6 hour period before you go to sleep. So, if you want a nice restful sleep at 11:00pm, you want to kick your caffeine habit around 3:00pm. That is, of course, until it starts back up tomorrow. Just as a quick note, we do not know your body and how it processes caffeinated liquids. Your genes maybe are less sensitive to caffeine’s effects, maybe more. It is worth sticking with the six hour period at first and then playing around with it.

Make Your Dinner Fish

More protein and carbohydrates the better! Eating fish which has an abundance of both carbohydrates and protein (and a plus for being low in fat) an hour before you go to bed can help you drowse off to la-la land. If you’re not a fan of fish then try plunging into a fish of turkey. This bird meat has the extra melatonin your body might need to get some restful winks tonight.

Try to Sleep In a Different Position

It’s like if a patient in the doctor’s office asks his doctor, “It hurts when I hit my head on the table. What should I do?” Don’t hit your head on the table. If the way you sleep isn’t helping you fall asleep, then try sleeping in a new position. Do you sleep on your back? Your airwaves may be too constricted at night which your body will wake you up with you even realizing what the cause of your sleep abruption was. Try sleeping on one of your sides or belly and see if your back was the calaysit the whole time.

Less Alcohol, More Exercise

Alcohol prevents REM sleep while exercise releases endorphins. Do the math. Are you a casual drinker of the liquid? Cut back a little. Less on the booze will boost your sleep hygiene and possibly help your sleep pattern. New to exercising? Give it a shot and feel how content you are on the way home. Fan of napping? Naps can also effect night sleep so try replacing the hour or two drinking more water and hitting the weights!

For more tips on how to get better sleep, you can read the full Entrepreneur article here.

~Bobby

It’s time to gear up because we are diving into the competitive world of extreme couponing. What could be considered a worldwide phenomenon ten years ago, give or take, this vehement behemoth lifestyle of extreme couponing even had television shows dedicated to the ins and outs of a truly rigorous activity. And truly rigorous it was. In its glory days an extreme couponing expert could pay a few measly tens for a few hundreds worth of items. Alas, the enthusiasm for the activity is dwindling. Stores are catching on and making if far more difficult to run away with an inexpensive cost to an expensive array of items. Yet there’s still hope. There are still ways here and there to continue the activity and the fading passion for it may help you prosper from it even more. Here are some of the best extreme couponing techniques still in play:

Start Early

This is a strenuous activity. You need the time to really zone in on your intricate extreme couponing abilities. Best time to start is the early morning. It gives you time to gather all of your coupons, from on print to online, and place them all on one work space so you can get to work on them as quick and as effortlessly as possible. Then jam up the tunes or binge watch your favorite show and spend thirty minutes, one hour, maybe two on cutting out the coupons that caught your eye. The ones you want go in one pile, the ones that aren’t for you go in the other. The pile of discarded coupons can be saved for a dear friend or family member that can benefit from them. No coupon should ever go to waste.

Hold the Receipts

Anytime you go to dinner, or go grocery shopping, or even see a show, take a gander at the hard copy of the receipt you received. Sometimes, like CVS, there will be outright coupons for you to use at your next visit. Other times, near the bottom of the receipt will be a survey that the company requests you fill out. Completing the survey can win your cash or a gift card. Three minutes of my time to win free gifts or money? Consider it a done deal.

Join the Store’s Membership Program

The growing amount of store chains there are, the more opportunities there are for you to join any store’s membership program! Items can range from extra coupons with every purchase, a free item every month, a free item on your birthday, a free meal with every few hundred points, or any other perks that come with the membership. Best of all, the cost of starting a membership is typically free!

Check the Newspaper

An extreme coupon enthusiast who opens a newspaper is like a land owner striking oil. First, there are the bonus pages and pamphlet that are chock-full of coupons to the respective store. After you collect all the access store coupon pages, then you can play a scavenger hunt game for any little scattered coupons hiding behind the safety of the classifieds.

Joining Mailing Lists

Mailing lists not only benefit you from the plethora of information about your favorite stores, but they can also have coupons, giveaways, and sweepstakes attached. Whether it be a discounted coupon for 20% off an item in the store, a free CD, or an all-expense paid trip to the west coast, join any mailing list you can!

Join Social Media and Download Apps

Some of the best advice can be found by extreme coupon connoisseur such as yourself. You can find extreme couponing groups on Facebook to connect with. You can also go on Twitter and lookup hashtags such as #extremecouponing, #coupons, or #couponing to get a peek inside at what the couponing community is presently like. Lastly, look at couponing apps like Groupon. Groupon is actively updating the best coupons in the area that fits your couponing taste.

For more information on the strategies of extreme couponing, you can read the full US News article.

~Bobby

How to Spend a Cheap 4th of July

July 2nd, 2015 | Posted by admin in Holiday - (0 Comments)

If you were to tell us that when the 4th comes around, you love going to extravagant shows, booking premium hotels, drinking expensive champagne, and wearing a new independent trend, we couldn’t blame you. An extravagant, celebratory holiday can make the holiday a wonderful memory you can look on fondly for the rest of your day, but you can have an equally entertaining time sitting on a beach towel with your loved ones gazing up at the sparking night sky. Strip away the drinks, and fireworks, and excessive amount of hamburgers, and 4th of July becomes a fun excuse to spend time with the people you care about most in the world and toasting the country that allows you to do it. These are the ways to have a fantastic 4th of July that is rich, not in wealth, but in memorable family experiences:

Go to a Free Fireworks Display

We know that you are a talented and reliable individual. There’s no denying that. You may even be great at creating your own fireworks display, but for the future of your financial growth, along with your safety, it would be best to take your family to the nearest free firework display. There are a plethora of free fireworks displays to choose from. If there is not one in your own town, look at a surrounding town and you’ll be able to find one. If you’re lucky, there will be free rides, games, and maybe even a parade to entertain the kids!

Making your Own Decorations

Instead of shopping at a home decor or flower stores to impress the friends and neighbors, a little inexpensive touch here and there goes a long way. Gathering up the children to cut up red, white and, blue stars from construction paper or baking patriotic deserts is more fulfilling and prideful than just buying an expensive decoration. Check out our Pinterest page for more ideas on how to spend 4th of July on a budget.

Rock Your Own 4th of July Style

Instead of going to a clothing store to purchase that Uncle Sam hat and beard you can’t seem to ever spend a 4th of July not wearing, rock the holiday with attire you already possess. While lots of people will take the costly route of buying American flag earring, or a patriotic bandana used only once then forgotten about, you can take the opportunity of having fun with your own wardrobe. If there is a pair of red shorts with blue sandals or white sunglasses that you haven’t worn in what feels like decades, you may as well combine them together! You can be just as trendy in a new $50 outfit.

Camp Out

Ever been camping on the fourth? Perfect time to try it out or even do it again! Take the time exploring the wild, rustic corners of the land of the free and the home of the brave with a tent, a backpack, and your family. Roast marshmallows at a camp fire under the warm, starry night sky. Look around to see if you can reserve a spot in the closest national park.

Take Advantage of Free Stuff

Just take a glance around you and you’ll find so many fun, free activities around. Firework displays just being one of them. Check here to see where the closest firework display is in Massachusetts then afterwards research into the town to see what other free activities there are! Stay safe and have a great time!

For more tips on how to spend a cheap Independence Day, please read the full US News & World Report.

~Bobby

 

As a child, it’s likely your gateway towards financial literacy was a porcelain piggy bank. The more it digested the more money you owned. It was a simplistic system that laid the groundwork for you to become a financially stable adult that is now responsible to pass your knowledge to your kids. SO have you done it yet? If you haven’t, you’re not in the minority. Several studies over the past few years report that parents are more comfortable talking to their kids about the birds and the bees than about their child’s financial future. Still living in the aftermath of the recent recession, it is important now more than ever, to plant the green seed in their minds as young as five. Thanks to our rapidly expanding technology, you do not have to teach alone. There are several apps, some even free, that are entertaining and enlightening stepping stones to your child’s financial education:

Free

Green$treets: Unleash the Loot!

Rescue endangered animals, build relationships, set goals, earn money, budget, and give to charity with this new interactive app. The more gardens planted or items stored away, the more earned! It’s up to the user to decide how much more is given to food for the rescued animals, how much is given to charity, and how much is to spend on decorating the tree house. The user can have fun with their endangered animal before they are ready to be released back into the wild.

Ages 5-8

Renegade Buggies

Temple Run for the financial savvy. Experience the entertainment of an endless running game with a little educational twist. In this app you must run through the streets to get all of the items on your shopping list while collecting money and coupons on the way. If you avoid the obstacles and get to the finish line, you can then purchase items while trying to save as much money as you can. Have fun running and investing simultaneously.

Ages 6-11

Piggy Bot

This visual electronic piggy-bank adapts old saving technique for a more comprehensive look for a young generation. Organized into categories of spending, sharing, and saving, kids now get a better representation of how much they need to save to reach the goals they set up in the app. Users can now learn early when it’s appropriate to save for a “want” and when to save for a “need.”

Ages 6-8

$4.99

Motion Math: Cupcake!

Cupcakes have been so educational as well as being delicious. Set up a cupcake business by buying the ingredients, designing the cupcakes, and then setting up your own prices for them. Save enough money to continue to upgrade your store, and solve world problems through your customers’ orders.

Ages 8+

$5.99

Saving Spree

A winner of multiple awards, Saving Spree teaches kids how to save for large goals, small goals, when to donate, how to invest, and what lifestyle choices to make to be more financially successful. Play multiple games which earn you money and it’s up to you to decide where it goes. The more you save though, the bigger your nest egg becomes, and who doesn’t want a larger nest egg? Fun and financially recommended!

Ages 7+

For more apps to use to teach your children about finance, you can read the full US News & World Report article.

~Bobby