Save money while also enjoying life
Category Archives: Budget

Starbucks’ Happy Hour

by Ashley

It’s that time again! After a successful run last year, Starbucks decided to throw in their happy hour again this May. From May 3-12, the coffee shop will sell their frappuccinos half-priced, from 3-5 PM.

Essentially, the drink is a cold blended beverage made with coffee, milk, syrups, and ice, topped with whipped cream. Customers can order from a menu of standard Frappuccino flavors, or design their own custom beverage by adding espresso shots and custom syrups

With the warm weather now in full swing, the offer coincides well with the temperatures so this is definitely a great opportunity to take advantage of the offer.

Reminder: Spring weather means allergy season. Take advantage of savings on your meds by using the RxRelief card.


Apps that Save the Smart Way

by Ashley

Who loves free apps? There’s thousands of different apps available to download and new ones always being created daily. Fortunately, there’s a good bunch that are essential, free, and can save money. With these apps, your monthly bill costs can be significantly lowered. Here’s are some top ones to download and check out.

Texts. Do you pay a great deal of money to receive and send unlimited texts? A few app creators came up with the genius idea of communicating with others via text – for free. KaKao Talk is a free app that allows the use to text and call anywhere for free. Pinger is also another free app that allows one to communicate with others, free of charge. The only downside to this is that you won’t be able to use your own phone number as they provide one for the use of their services. Other notable text apps include Textfree, textPlus, and WeChat. All should be free and some come with special notification alerts to indicate if a text was received. So if unlimited texts hurt your budget, this can be a good alternative to use and consider.

Music. A majority of us have relied on iTunes as a main outlet to extract music, but with a cost of course. While it’s only fair to pay for music that we listen to, there has been other apps out there that allows one to formulate playlists with their favorite songs on them. Spotify allows this option for users who want to sample music before they do choose to later purchase it. Janga is another player that allows users to skip songs continuously without limit. And there’s the popular Pandora that many people continue to use. These options serve as a great method to sample music, in full, before actually purchasing it – or you can just mooch off these apps and listen for free!

Coupons. Remember the days when people used to clip coupons? Fortunately, for us, we live in an age where coupons can be accessed digitally. The Coupons App provides access to hundreds of coupons for food and household items. The RxRelief Card app provides discounts of up to 75% on medications. Yowza!! also gives relief to home and food items, and keeps track of how much one can save.

Books. Who needs to buy books if you can read them on your phone or tablet? Amazon Kindle provides free books especially old classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Tom Sawyer, and Wuthering Heights. B&N eReader allows one to download and store books in iCloud so you can access your books for free on a handheld device or desktop. Borrowing or downloading books at your fingertips sounds more convenient than buying them in hard copy. It allows one to save a significant amount.

If you want to save a few bucks like I did, look into these apps that you can download on your smartphone or tablet. It will save you a good amount for life.


Ways to Ensure Savings for Retirement

by Ashley

For some people, it’s difficult to live comfortably after retirement, with debt piling up and waiting to be paid off. And unfortunately, the greatest complication that comes with that is ensuring that money will be there for the rest of your retirement. While retirement may be far away from our minds, it’s better to plan ahead to avoid this big headache. Here are some ways to go about ensuring that money is set aside.

Start saving. This is the most common phrase you will hear for most of your life and it’s true, in order to ensuring money in your account – start saving now. Break those unnecessary daily habits such as spending money on coffee and lunch. Focus on the needs rather than wants. And always check in how much you have in your savings account.

Social security. When you retire and have Social Security, you will most likely get some funds from there, in addition to your savings account. Don’t forget about your pension, 401(k), etc from your last employer. Those three options will end up being your source of income.

Plan your budget. Know that you need to save about 70% of what you earn to go to your savings. Ditch unnecessary expenses, it will hurt you in the long run. Approximately measure the amount of income you will need post-career. If you plan ahead before you retire, securing money wouldn’t be an issue. Just think about how you will live during your retirement years and pinpoint what’s important during that period of your life.

Pay off debt. Make sure you always pay bills on time and you will avoid being in debt during retirement. It’s the worse case scenario to be in debt because all the money you’ll get from SS, pension, etc. will go towards that and you’ll be then left with nothing.

With discipline and planning ahead of time, you won’t be stuck in a rut once you settle into retirement life.


Why Bulk Buying is Smart

by Ashley

It’s smart to do bulk buying, especially if you want to save major bucks on items that you frequently use on a daily basis. Especially if you have a large family, it would be smart to buy necessities such as food, household products, and prescriptions in mast quantity at affordable pricing. Here’s what you need to know about the perks of this particular practice.

Compare. When planning on bulk buying items, look into what is the current value of the item when bought individually. If you do bulk buying, notice that merchandise sell it well below retail competitors. The more you buy, the less each unit will cost you. Compare prices using accessible digital tools such Calc Nexus or PPU Calculator and then decide which scenario gives you a better deal. The purpose of this tactic is to figure out if the product size provides a great value for money.

Awareness. Be aware of the quality of the items you purchase. Some merchandise require short shelf life so if you and your family do not typically use the products, it’s best not to buy items that spoil too easily and quickly. But on the contrast viewpoint of this, bulk buying is more cheaper. Keep in mind, once you buy a lot, you need to learn to love it. Experts recommend purchasing bath essentials, storage, and little things such as gum when it comes to bulk buying.

It’s Green. Not only it saves money but bulk buying, but this method allows people to use materials less frequently, and possibly reuse storage containers. And in terms of produce, most are organic, making this option more pleasing.

 


DIY Fashion Essentials Save Big

by Ashley

It’s hard to frequently splurge on materialistic items especially when you’re on a budget. Fortunately in this age and time, new approaches have been implemented to complement those who need to live in a affordable lifestyle – yet wish to also look fashionable and stylish. And with numerous comprehensive to-do guides available, many people have turned to ‘do-it-yourself’ (or DIY) projects; with that, hop onto the bandwagon and you can start a mini project to create looks to help alleviate your spending habits. Here are important must-haves to start your crafts.

White Canvas (or any neutral-colored shoe, for that matter). Keds, Toms, and practically every retail store carry a pair of clean white canvas shoes and any colored-shoe that you can beautifully craft yourself. And I’m sure sure you have seen a lot of tutorial guides online on how to design your own look and style without overspending on shoes with styles that are mediocre at best. Here is an excellent demonstration of how you can create your preferred style.

Steel. Who needs to throw in hundreds of bucks on jewelry? Spend no more (than over $50), if you buy the materials, follow guides, and make them. Hundreds of people have created their unique spin to rings that have been sold at retail stores. Thin, flexible metal pieces are available

Yarn. Learn how to knit or crochet in these easy steps. With that particular set skill, you can easily create your fall and winterDIY bracelet made from a heart and string clothing and accessories with a simple understanding and dedication to the practice of this longtime leisure activity. They save you money, and make great gifts during the holidays.

String. I remember seeing these at a store and wanting them but thought they were extremely overpriced so I went to google how to make these and bam – there were sites and sites to choose from. Create your own bracelet to your liking simply by purchasing  your choice of charms and colored-strings at craft stores, thrift shops, and flea markets. There are numerous step-by-step guides to show

Rope. Spring and summer are right around the corner and what better way to mirror the warmer and sunnier seasons than to rock colors and trends that infuse this. Nautical themes have been a rising trend and its no exception that accessories will remain popular.

There are many more accessories and clothing that you create. With time and dedication, you can achieve these hobbies…and save money while you’re at it.

Go on DIY! Happy crafting!


Vacations On A Budget

by Ashley

It’s about time you take that well-deserved getaway you’ve been wanting to take for some quite time. While vacations can be costly, there are ways to take some time off at a minimal budget. Here are some ways to tackle budget-friendly trips.

Road trip. Go on a road trip with friends or family. There’s so many places to see on the road even if you plan on just traveling within a few states away. I, myself drove down to Miami with family, from New Jersey; we saw so many landmarks that we would have missed if we took the plane ride over there. Plan it all: the budget, the sight seeing, etc. The vacation will undoubtedly be a memorable one.

Cruise. Take advantage of cruise deals that include packages, especially when you plan on going on a spontaneous getaway soon. Certain cruises, if not all, offer affordable deals if you decide to go on vacation. Keep on a look out on Cruise Expedia especially their last minute deals.

Local Tourist. Do you live in a city like LA, Boston, or NYC but haven’t seen all of the area, and always keep pushing it off to tomorrow or sometime in the future? Stop right there. Take a day or two and explore what’s in front of you. You deserve to have some me time or share it with someone else. It’s local so you won’t be spending as much as if you were traveling in another country, even state.

Volunteer. Giving back in a positive way while on vacation is the perfection combination for happiness. Volunteering provides the opportunity to see the world without spending too much money because a majority of volunteer agencies such as the Peace Corps and Help Exchange provide room and board; the only expense you need to take care of is your plane ticket and personal items.

These are alternatives to what people perceive as vacations. Even if the trip is small or local, make the most out of the experience. Cheers and happy trip!


Delicious Meals for Less

by Ashley

When it comes to food, convenience plays a deciding factor in our decisions. However, with a few simple changes, we can make healthier and less expensive choices. Here are some tips.

Brown Bag It. If you have a budget, let’s say, spending less than $10 a day on meals at work or school, then you’d be saving hundreds of dollars per year. Bring lunch in a brown bag two-three times a week. It saves major bucks, and you can use that money elsewhere, like happy hours and weekend purchases or leisure activities.

What’s Cookin’. Plan your meals for the week based on what’s on sale at the grocery store is a solid strategy. Try making meals for the week centered on what was purchased.

Bottle Me Up. Bottled water isn’t just bad for the environment; it’s also a great way to pay a lot for something you can get for free. Purchase a filter system like a Brita, and spend money on reusable thermos or bottle containers.

Take It To-Go. Make your own coffee or tea in the morning, instead of stopping at a chain store. The five bucks you could of spent on drinks in the morning can go towards a necessity instead.

Food Shopping. You will spend less on food if you shop with a list, take advantage of sales, and purchase basic ingredients, rather than ready-made items. Save hundreds of dollars a year by shopping at lower-priced food stores. Convenience stores often charge the highest price. Shop at grocery stores, not convenient marts.


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