Wedding Gifts On a Budget

Buying the perfect wedding gift is a challenge — and it can cost a lot of money. However, if you’re on a budget, it doesn’t mean that you skip buying a gift for the special couple. If you want to honor your loved ones without breaking the bank, check out 10 ideas below that will make a thoughtful gift at any price point.

1. Smaller Items on the Registry

Many couples have a registry on Amazon, Target, or another site that lets their friends and family purchase items they would like as a gift. You don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive items on the list; if you need to buy a wedding gift on a budget, one idea is to buy a few small registry items at a lower price point, such as wine glasses, towels, or utensils. This is especially useful if your budget is tight and you can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a single gift.

Another option is to look for deals and coupons from the store where the couple has their registry. Some stores offer discounts if you use their credit card or sign up for their mailing list. This might be an ideal way to get some extra savings on your registry gift.

2. Gift Basket

If you need to buy a wedding gift on a budget, another idea is to create a gift basket with thoughtful items, such as a picnic basket filled with a couple of wine glasses, a bottle of wine, and snacks. The best thing about this type of gift is that it doesn’t have to cost you much, and it shows the care and effort you devoted to putting together the gift.

You can find inexpensive picnic baskets at discount stores or dollar stores, and then fill it with items that reflect your relationship with the bride and groom. If they’re going on a Hawaiian honeymoon, include things like sunscreen, sunglasses, and beach towels. If they’re getting married in wintertime, pack blankets and hot cocoa mix. The point is to make it personal by including something that reminds you of the couple or their interests.

3. Handmade Gifts

Another idea is to create a handmade gift such as a shadowbox with their wedding invitation and special photos. If you have time, consider making a scrapbook for the bride and groom filled with pictures from their relationship. If you don’t have a lot of photos or memories to add, consider writing down some words of encouragement for them as newlyweds; you could also include some funny stories or memories from your time with them.

Not feeling very crafty? Buy a simple frame or two and add photos of the couple and their favorite adventures together. Most dollar stores and discount home-goods stores have frames for every budget. For a personal touch, you can always have the frame engraved with the couple’s names, wedding date, and a unique quote about love or marriage.

4. Anniversary Wine

Visit your local wine store, and ask the resident wine expert to recommend a wine that will age well. Then, wrap up the bottle with a note inviting them to toast their love on their first, fifth, or 10th wedding anniversary.

Wine is an excellent choice for newlyweds because it’s affordable and thoughtful but not overly personal or sentimental. You can get creative with how you wrap it up with a nice wine bag or even throw in a gift card for a local restaurant they can visit when their anniversary comes around.

5. Subscription Box

If you’re looking for an inexpensive yet thoughtful wedding gift, consider getting the couple a monthly subscription box. There are tons of options out there — from game-night and date-night subscriptions to snacks and other goodies — so it should be easy to find something that fits their interests and lifestyle.

This gift will allow you to spread out your gift over the course of several months at a more affordable monthly price point than buying all of these gifts upfront. Plus, they’ll love getting reminded of your friendship every time a new box arrives.

6. Honeymoon Cash

Rather not give something specific like linens or flatware? Give the happy couple money, and let them decide how best to use it. Some couples choose to include this option on their registry as a way to amass money for their honeymoon. Even if they don’t offer this option, you can buy a Visa gift card, write a check, or arrange to send funds digitally through an app like Venmo, PayPal, or Zelle.

​​If you’re feeling extra generous, you can also make a contribution toward their honeymoon fund by buying them an investment like a mutual fund or ETF that pays out dividends monthly or quarterly. This way, they’ll have extra money throughout the year that they can save up for their big trip when the time comes!

7. Experiences

Give the gift of an experience, such as concert or movie tickets, wine tastings, or couples massage. If you’re not sure what they like, try asking their friends or family members, or search online for local events that may be of interest to newlyweds or anyone looking for a fun evening out.

Note that you may be able to get discounted tickets through your credit card company, your work, or a membership club. Just be sure to buy something that won’t expire too quickly so the couple has time to settle back into their routine after the wedding before rushing to use your gift.

When it comes to weddings, ​​there are many ways to find the perfect wedding gift that won’t break the bank. Consider affordable wedding gifts to keep your budget in check while still giving a meaningful present. No matter what you choose, it will make the happy couple feel loved and special on their big day and beyond.

Common Summer Expenses

Summer is here, and excitement is in the air! It is in summer that people get to do all the fun things. This includes activities such as spending time with friends and family. Other individuals also travel and go to summer camps. On the other hand, the majority of individuals get to splurge on food and clothes. And other items that they don’t need during the school year.

Summer is a period where people spend more. This can cause a financial problem for those who do not plan accordingly. Executing a budget by creating a plan for your expenses for this period is vital. The plan can be helpful because it can help one save money. For this purpose, let’s analyze some of the typical summer expenses.

1. Summer Camps

Summer camps are very popular among children and adults alike. This is because they help people enjoyably learn new skills. People with summer camps have a chance to interact with their peers from different teams. They also get to interact with other schools and age brackets. On the other hand, these camps also improve individuals’ social skills, develop leadership qualities, and teach self-reliance. Some of these summer camps also change how you spend time with friends and family.

Summer camp costs vary from one camp to another. But for most of these camps, the average amount paid is $178.49 daily. These prices include room, board, and other expenses. On the other hand, some camps charge an additional fee for excursions. Depending on your visit, the costs can range from $5 to $50 per day. The expenses of summer camps mainly depend on the activities included in the camp. They also rely on the experience one wants to have.

2. Clothing Shopping

Clothes shopping is another significant expense during summer. Many individuals love to shop for new clothes during this period. Other individuals use this as an opportunity to purchase new outfits. And also, to accessorize themselves with the latest fashions. This is because many people find it hard to resist the urge to buy new clothes every summer.

On the other hand, some individuals choose to replace their old torn clothes with some new ones. On average, this shopping can cost $190.76 per month. This means an individual can spend approximately $807.12 on clothes during the summer.

3. Vacation Home Rental

Vacation home rentals are a prevalent choice for some people during summer. This is because it allows them to have their place during the summer. It also helps them save money if they rent their house or apartment instead of sharing with family and friends. The expenses involved in this can range from $359.24 up to $2,548 per month. The cost highly depends on the size of your room. It also depends on other amenities offered by the company. These include daily expenses such as food, drinks, utility bills, etc.

4. Transportation Expenses

Summer is a time to travel and explore the city. Many individuals use this period as an opportunity to visit new places. Additionally, summer is also a busy period for businesses and retailers. As for individuals who travel for vacations or business trips, these costs can range from $30 to $500 a day. On the other hand, an all-day trip can cost $150-$1000, depending on the destination. For example, travel from New York to California can be $250-$600 depending on traffic and weather conditions.

5. Purchasing A New Car

This is another typical expense during the summer period. As stated earlier, this is a period when people do a lot of traveling. It is also a time people attend workshops in different places. Therefore, most individuals get the urge to purchase a new car. They do this to make traveling more accessible and more comfortable. Additionally, buying a new vehicle helps individuals move around with ease. It can also save you from parking and travel expenses.

The average cost of car ownership can be about $851 per month. Buying a new or used car is related to one’s income level and other factors. Therefore, the cost will vary from one individual to another.

6. Wedding Gifts

Wedding gifts are an essential part of wedding feasts. It is during summer that most weddings take place. It is a period when most people want to help their friends and families out financially. Therefore, many individuals give wedding gifts to their loved ones and close friends. The average cost of wedding gifts ranges from $79 – $599. The price depends on the type of gift and the services offered by the company. Therefore, individuals should not skimp on these items.

7. Home Repair maintenance

Summer is a period many people spend a lot of time at their home. It is when they realize they need to make some significant repairs. Home repair maintenance can help reduce the cost of utility bills. Therefore, homeowners should not avoid it. The average price of home repair maintenance can range from $151.66 to $652.49 per month. The cost will depend on your home type and the project or repairs you undertake. For instance, maintaining your HVAC system can be costly. This is because, being an electric system, it can cost you more. However, this expense can help you save a lot in the long term.

8. Vacation Gear

Many individuals spend their summer buying various items. For instance, they may have to buy new swimwear, beach accessories, camping gear, etc. The average cost of these items can range from $15 to $700. You will find this expense variable depending on the material you choose. It can also be variable according to the number of items you purchase. For example: buying a bathing suit alone can cost $35. However, the cost will rise if you buy many of them.

Summer is a season that comes with several expenses. Therefore, you need to be prepared with some cash to deal with these expenses. However, handling these expenses is not as hard as you may think. During summer, many individuals have an opportunity to make extra income. Therefore, this can help you pay for most of your summer expenses. However, no matter what option you choose- working or saving money- the trick is to make it work for you financially.

10 Affordable Outdoor Summer 2022 Activities

The 2022 summertime is quickly approaching, and most of us are already excited about all the fun things we plan to do, like lounging by the pool, going on vacation, and relaxing with friends and family.

But what about those who aren’t so keen on breaking the bank to live life to the fullest? You can still have fun this summer without spending tons of money. We’ve put together a list of fun summer activities that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

1.) Hiking

Even if you don’t live in the mountains, you can still have a fantastic hiking trip. You’ll be amazed at the number of trails you can discover in your neighborhood. It’s easy to find trails near you by visiting your city’s parks and recreation page or searching online.

This is a great yet free way to get out of the house and into the natural world. Hiking is an excellent way to exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery. There are also many opportunities for camping along many hiking trails, so you could easily turn a day hike into an overnight adventure.

Try rock climbing if you’re looking for something more intense than just walking on flat ground. Rock climbing allows people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy being outside while challenging themselves physically.

2.) Kayaking

Whether you’re looking for a new physical challenge or just want to enjoy nature, kayaking is a fun, low-cost activity that all ages can enjoy. The best part? Kayaking doesn’t require any special equipment—all you need is a paddle and life vest (both are available at local stores).

Don’t want to spend money on renting/buying equipment? Try checking out your local lake association website; many offer free kayak rentals during certain times of the year.

3.) Camping

Various state and national parks offer affordable camping options, so you can still get out there and experience nature without breaking your budget. Try pitching a tent at a local park instead of renting a hotel room for a night, or try out one of many camping apps that help you find new campgrounds in your area.

And don’t forget about nearby National Forests. Most are free to enter, and many have developed campsites with basic amenities like picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and running water.

Just remember: you must pack everything in (including food) and pack everything out when you leave. If you plan on having a fire while camping—which is a great way to make food taste better—you’ll need a permit from your local forest service office before heading out into the woods.

4.) Visit A Farmer’s Market

One of my favorite activities, farmer’s markets, is a great place to shop for fresh produce, meat, and even handmade products. Farmer’s markets are typically very affordable (depending on where you live), so they can be great ways to save money while shopping.

Not only will you be buying healthy, organic food, but you will also be supporting local farmers, which is a fantastic way of giving back to your community. Click here for more information on how you can locate a farmer’s market near you.

5.) Enjoy The Outdoors At Night

For those who don’t mind getting dirty, you can have tons of fun with outdoor activities at night. Start by going stargazing. Here’s how to make your first outing a huge success. Try an evening bike ride or walk if you’re looking for something more active.

The extra darkness will give you a whole new perspective on your surroundings and allow you to see things that are usually hidden in plain sights—like fireflies. If biking isn’t your thing, why not try paddleboarding?

 It is an excellent low-impact way to enjoy some water time after sunset.

6.) Picnics

Whether on a sandy beach or in your backyard, picnics are one of the summer’s most enjoyable experiences. They’re low-key, affordable, and a great opportunity for family bonding time.

If you want to save money while still having fun with your loved ones, consider packing a picnic instead of going out to eat. Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruit and veggies (or even trail mix) and cut down on costs by bringing reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic ones at restaurants.

7.) Go for a Bike Ride

Biking is an incredibly fun and inexpensive way to get outside and enjoy a great summer day. It doesn’t have to be competitive, but it can be if you want it. Get together with friends or family and plan your route ahead of time.

Take turns leading, so everyone can experience leadership while having fun outside together.

8.) Go Swimming

Swimming is an activity that everyone can enjoy, from children to elderly adults. Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise and a good workout for your upper body and core muscles.

Additionally, swimming burns more calories per hour than most other exercises. Even if you’re a beginner, you can start swimming today. You can swim at home if you have a pool or access to a community pool or visit one of many local pools in your area.

If you live near water, there are plenty of lakes and rivers where you can go for a refreshing dip in nature. No matter what type of swimming environment suits you best, it’s likely that there are affordable options available near where you live.

9.) Nature Walks

Hiking and walking through nature is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s a great activity that doesn’t require much money, but it also helps make you healthier, feels more alive, and sleep better at night.

Find an old hiking trail or nature walk near you for a great (and free) way to enjoy summer. You can even bring your pet along.

10.) Local Fairs/Festivals

There are so many local fairs and festivals happening all summer long that you really can’t afford not to visit at least once. It doesn’t matter where you live—there are events worth seeing, no matter where you are.

Many of these events also have special activities for kids so that it can be a fun but cheap activity for families. Looking at your state’s tourism site is a great place to start; most offer an event calendar for each region.

Paying for summer activities can be a burden on many families. But there are plenty of free or low-cost activities that provide tons of fun and entertainment. From parks to libraries to museums, you’ll find something here.

And don’t forget about all those great outdoors—you can have an entire day of fun without spending a dime. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy your summer.

Top Summer Deals Available

Summer is supposed to be an easy and carefree season, but it can also be expensive. Between buying summer clothes, stocking up on food, and other expenses, things can add up. Luckily, you can take advantage of some of the top summer deals available to save money while still enjoying the best of what summer has to offer.

Restaurant and Fast Food Deals

Forget the dollar menu. The best food deals at chain and fast food restaurants are available through their rewards programs and apps. Most restaurants even offer free food just for signing up for its rewards program.

Here are some of the best restaurant food rewards programs offering free food:

  • Wendy’s app always has free sandwich and/or fry offers.
  • McDonald’s has an ongoing free fries offer along with plenty of other free food deals
  • Burger King has a buy one, get one free Whopper deal for new sign ups
  • Jack in the Box always has a free fries offer along with other food deals
  • Auntie Anne’s gives you a free pretzel after your first purchase
  • Applebee’s awards a free appetizer for signing up for its rewards program

Summer Ice Cream Deals

Obviously, summer is the season of ice cream. Check out these amazing summer ice cream deals to enjoy this treat on the cheap:

Best Deals on Clothing This Summer

There are certain clothing brands and department stores that always seem to have special deals and sales going on throughout the summer.

Department Stores With Clothing Deals

If you’re looking to get name brand clothing for less, you should definitely check out the latest sales and deals available at Macy’s and JCPenney. At the very least, you’ll be able to get 20-percent off of your purchase at any given time of year. Keep an eye open in August, though, when summer clothing really starts to get discounted to make way for back to school goods.

  • Check out JCPenney’s clearance section for up to 70-percent off and clothing as low as under $5.00.
  • See the latest sales from Macy’s for steep discounts on clothing as well as additional coupons for money off of your purchases.
  • Nordstrom Rack is the place for top designer brands at up to 60-percent off and more
  • You can snag some great gems at Neiman Marcus Last Call, though it may take some browsing
  • Saks Off 5th has deals of up to 60-percent off of off the rack clothing and you can also get an additional 10-percent off when you sign up for its rewards

Big Brand Outlets for Big Summer Savings

Where do all the previous year’s styles and surplus stock go? For many big clothing brands, they go to their outlet stores. It used to be that you had to go to actual physical outlet shops for these bargains, but nowadays you can shop online.

Here are the big brand clothing outlet stores with the best prices and deals:

  • J.Crew Factory with deals for as much as 50-percent off
  • Banana Republic Factory has clothing for 50 to 70-percent off of its retail prices (and an additional 15-percent off when you sign up for emails)
  • REI Outlet for great pricing on outdoor clothing and gear
  • Reebok Outlet has sneakers for 25-percent off and more
  • 6pm is the outlet store for Zappos and offers great bargains on clothing, bags, and shoes for everyone

Deals on Phones and Electronics

Need a new phone or headphones for your summer travels? You don’t have to pay full price to get some of the latest tech. In addition to the

  • Best Buy Outlet has deals on clearance and open-box items that are brand new but heavily discounted.
  • eBay has actually done a lot of work to modernize its platform and offers some fantastic refurbished electronics at a huge discount, including phones, headphones, and more. It has an eBay Certified program that guarantees products for a year to two years after purchase.
  • Amazon Renewed offers deals on refurbished electronics that are guaranteed by Amazon, including phones, computers, tablets, and more.
  • If you switch to T-Mobile, they’ll pay off your phone from your previous service provider up to $800.
  • Woot! is an Amazon company that offers flash deals on all kinds of products, including electronics and other big-ticket items.

Photo Prints and Products

Want to save some of the memories you create this summer? Shutterfly and other platforms have tons of fabulous photo products (like canvas prints, books, gifts) and deals on photo prints. Discounts vary over the summer, but first time customers can usually always get a bunch of free prints and there are almost offers for 20-percent off.

  • Check out the latest summer deals from Shutterfly.
  • Snapfish always has discounts available on its photo products and free prints available
  • CVS Photo has great photo services that you can pick up nearby and always has deals and coupons.
  • Walgreens Photo offers photo deals for money off of photo prints and other photo products.

Tips for finding an affordable car

Buying a car is one of the biggest purchase decisions you can make at any given time, and it’s important to get the best possible price. However, dealerships are looking out for their bottom line, and they know exactly what they can do to game you into spending more than you should. To get the best deal for your dollar, we’ve created this guide to help you get your next vehicle as cheaply as possible.

Get Preapproved for a Loan

Getting pre-approved for a loan can seem like a waste of time; however, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Did you know that car dealerships will often jack up the interest rate on a loan that they’ll eventually split with the financial institution? To avoid this, go into the dealership with a preapproved loan offer and see if the dealership will match it. This can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Focus on One Transaction at a Time

A lot of people go to a car dealership with the intention of trading in their car for a new one. As the car salesman comes up, they’ll ask if your car is a trade-in. The first mistake most people make is saying, “Yes.” Why? Because many salespeople will low-ball your trade-in while trying to sell you a car for as much as possible. Instead, say that you’re simply looking to purchase a car. The salesperson is more likely to give you a lower offer. After agreeing to a price, you’ll then be able to mention your trade-in (make sure you check it on a site like Kelly Blue Book for a ballpark estimate). This allows you to get the most money for your car while getting a lower price on your new one.

Ignore Add Ons

Dealers will offer you a ton of add-ons, ranging from “free” oil changes to tire protection. These add-ons add up quickly, and many times are severely marked up from what they would normally cost. Instead, simply tell the salesperson you’re not interested. You’re not going to miss these add-ons and you’ll save several thousand off the purchase price.

Don’t Go Long-Term

Long-term loans can seem great on paper. They’re allowing you to purchase your dream car for significantly less per month. Rather than spending three years paying everything off, you can look forward to 6-7 to pay it off. What can go wrong? It’s important to remember that the dealership is looking to make money—and that 6-7 years means they are making significantly more when it comes to interest. Instead, look to pay off your car as quickly as feasibly possible.

Buy Used

While we all may dream of a flashy new car, there are plenty of excellent used models available as well. Used cars, especially those 3 years and under, will commonly offer many of the same features for significantly less than what a new model is selling for. The main thing to remember here is to really research what’s available and how much they are worth. There’s no reason to pay almost as much for a used car as the same car new would cost.

Pay with Cash

While this may seem impossible, paying with cash is an excellent method to get the lowest possible rate. Nothing speaks to dealers more than cash; it’s going directly to them and allowing the purchasing of new inventory. Most will give you their lowest possible price if they know you’re paying with cash.

Check Your Credit

Before going in to purchase a car, it’s important to know your credit score. Do you have a lot of inquiries? Is your credit score in need of some help? Take the time to fix your credit as much as possible before purchasing a car. Next, go in armed with your credit score. If the dealership offers you a high-interest loan, you’ll have the information at your fingertips to explain why you should get a better deal.

Be Flexible

Many people go into a dealership knowing exactly what kind of car they’ll want. Some even get as specific as certain colors, trims, rims, etc. However, dealerships see these people coming a mile away, and they’re more than happy to charge these people top dollar to get the vehicle they want. Instead of setting your heart on one specific car, you should be willing to be flexible with your options. Look at a variety of colors, makes and models before making a decision. You might find a car you like even more.

Look at Ownership Costs

That sporty little European number would look great in your garage; however, are you willing to pay the maintenance costs if something goes wrong? What about the gas costs of a large SUV? Ownership cost is an overlooked aspect of car ownership; however, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. By knowing exactly what you can expect to spend, you can plan on whether or not a car is right for you.

Consider Leasing

Do you want the latest model every few years? Want a cheaper payment? Leasing might be for you. While you won’t get the equity that comes with ownership, you won’t need to worry about a lot of things that can possibly go wrong with the car. The best part? If you love a car, you’ll have an option to purchase it after the lease is over.

Purchasing a car is one of the biggest decisions you will make. In order to get the best possible price, you need to follow certain steps, including getting pre-approved for a loan, being flexible with what kind of car you will buy and looking at the actual ownership costs. Whether you decide to get a used car that you know will be reliable at a discounted price or a brand new sports-car for those weekends away is up to you; however, by following the tips above, you can get the best price on your next car.

What to Use an Installment Loan For?

Everything in life is going fine when suddenly, you’re hit with a major medical expense for your dog. Or maybe you want to take your dream vacation after fantasizing about it for years, but you simply don’t have enough money. In order to get funds fast, many people will opt to pay for these things with an installment loan. However, what is an installment loan? Are there pros and cons? What can you use an installment loan for? Read on to get the answers to all these questions.

What is an Installment Loan?

An installment loan is a common loan structure. Unlike credit cards or a line of credit, called revolving credit, installment loans are a set amount of money you pull out at once to pay for a specific item. You will have the amount needed already determined before borrowing and will pay in installments. The most common types of installment loans are mortgages and auto loans; however, there are other causes for installment loans as well—usually falling under the term “personal loan.” Personal loans will have a slightly higher interest rate being there’s no collateral; however, most people get them paid off relatively quickly.

Pros to an installment loan

Know Your Payment Schedule

When you decide to take out an installment loan, you will know exactly what terms the borrower is placing on you, how long the loan will last for, and when you can expect to have it paid off. This allows you to plan your finances around paying off the loan rather than worrying about what your next payment amount will be.

Debt Will Be Paid Off

Revolving credit can feel overwhelming—especially if you add to it each month. With an installment loan, you’ll be required to pay it off in a certain amount of time. Once you reach that date, assuming no missed payments, you’ll be done with the loan.

Examples of What You Can Use Installment Loans For

Installment loans are commonly used for the following:

Vacations – $2,000

The average American plans on spending roughly $2,000 per vacation, and many people will pull out a loan in order to make up for the costs. Sites like Affirm will offer 12-month installment plans for sites like Orbitz and Expedia, allowing you to get instant approval for the exact amount you choose to spend.

Car Repairs – $600+

According to AAA, the average car repair costs about $600, but expenses can quickly go much higher, depending on the state of the car. Some car repair places will offer financing programs; however, many people can get the amount they need from their bank.

Unexpected Expenses

Emergencies happen, and these unexpected emergencies can quickly add up when it comes to expenses. Rather than over-exerting your bank accounts or credit cards, a personal loan can get you out of an unexpected bind.

Pet Care – $500-$1,000+

Pets are wonderful companions, but they also rack up extremely high veterinary costs. The American veterinary industry makes an average of $14 billion a year; people want to keep their pets around as long as possible, and it takes a lot of money to make that happen. The average person can expect to spend anywhere from $500-$1,000/year on their pets; however, these costs can quickly skyrocket if a pet is diagnosed with a serious condition.

Home Improvements – $15,00-$200,000

Your home is likely the biggest purchase you’ll make in your life, and people want to ensure their home looks as wonderful as possible. Renovating a home is a fun experience, but it can easily exceed $15,000—especially if you need to renovate the entire home or more expensive areas like kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms.

Technology – $500-$2,500+

The technology industry moves extremely quickly, and people spend a ton of money each year. How much exactly? About $1.94 trillion USD per year to be precise. With more and more people opting to work from home, we can see tech spending increase as new computers and accessories are purchased for work. To mitigate these expenses, a personal loan can help you buy the equipment you need.

Medical Bills – $12,500+

Medical emergencies sadly come at a price, and the average American expects to have roughly $12,500 in medical bills at any given time. Of course, some people have significantly more, and these bills can feel soul-crushing. Many hospitals and banks offer medical debt relief programs, allowing you to pay your bills over time for significantly less.

Moving Costs – $800-$2,500

Moving is a wonderful experience, but getting your stuff from point A to point B is expensive. With the average move costing roughly $1,400, it’s not shocking that many people look to secure an installment loan to pay for the costs. Moving companies may offer you a plan through their business while others will require you to secure funds through a bank.

Installment loans are an excellent option for those who need a large amount of cash fast. From veterinary bills to moving expenses, an installment loan can help you pay for the things you need over the course of several months or years rather than needing to pay for everything up front.

Shopping for a Home Garden

Spring and summer are perfect seasons to spend out in the garden. Getting your hands dirty and growing fruits, vegetables and flowers is an ideal stress-reliever for many people; however, the costs associated with gardening can quickly add up. Luckily, there are numerous ways to garden cheaply while still getting the most out of your space. Read on to learn how to get your dream garden by purchasing what you need, where to get it, and planning your space perfectly.

5 Tools

There are an assortment of gardening tools available; however, the beginner gardener can get by just fine with the following:

Shears

Whether you decide to purchase hand shears or loopers (long-handled pruners), sheers allow you to keep your plants nice and tidy by clipping away excess growth, dead stems, etc. The main thing to remember when using shears is not to go crazy with the removal as this can kill the plant. Finally, make sure you do not prune the top of the plant as this will inhibit new growth. There are an assortment of shears available, however, most people will be fine with a bypass pruner.

Gloves

Depending on what’s in your beds, gardening can become a painful activity. Thorns and weeds can all cause damage to the hands—in addition to getting dirt under your nails. Gardening gloves will allow you to keep your hands nice and clean while working outside, protecting your hands all day long. Purchase gloves that are durable but not bulky, fit your hands and offer longer cuffs to protect your wrists and arms.

Trowel

A trowel is best thought of like a mini shovel, and it will more than pay for itself as you garden. From digging plant holes for transplanting to removing weeds, a trowel will quickly become one of your most-used gardening tools. Look for a trowel that’s comfortable in your hand and made with a stainless-steel head for durability.

Rake

Leaves, debris and weeds can all make a garden look unseemly; however, a quality rake can make cleanup a breeze. While most people will remember the cheap, lightweight green rakes that used to dominate gardening, gardeners now realize the best rakes are a more solid metal design. While these rakes aren’t quite as cheap, they will last you for years to come.

Wheelbarrow

Wheelbarrows make gardening in larger areas significantly easier, allowing you to transport large amounts of soil, rock or mulch with ease. They also make you put less strain on your back. The humble wheelbarrow comes in a variety of different forms; however, most people will choose a double-handle if they’re planning on lifting a lot of heavy material while a single-handle allows for more versatility and is easier to balance.

Your Garden

Now that you have all the tools you need for your garden, it’s time to begin planning and building your space:

Utilize Containers

If you have limited space or want to bring color to a specific area of your yard, container gardening might be the right call for you. Simply choose containers that fit with the scheme you’re looking for and plant flowers, vegetables or fruits (there are even smaller varieties of fruit trees for this) in containers for a beautiful garden space. Worried about watering? Depending on where you live, you might be able to pipe water lines directly into the containers.

Reuse What You Have

If you are the ultimate DIY-er, this tip is right up your alley. Look around your home for old furniture or furnishings that you aren’t using. You’d be shocked at how great a planter door can look or the versatility that comes with repurposing a nightstand as a garden table.

Attract Wildlife

Squirrels, birds and butterflies are garden staples, and it’s important to create things that will attract them to your garden space. While we’re not advocating for a Snow White experience, adding or planting elements that attract wildlife creates a whole new dimension to your yard. Look to add a couple birdhouses, squirrel feeders and butterfly attracting plants to your garden.

Look At Veggies

One of the main things people love about gardening is the ability to grow their own food. However, many people also want a garden that looks beautiful with plenty of flowers as well. To solve this conundrum, consider planting bright vegetable plants among your flowers. Chilis and tomatoes are popular with many due to their bright, colorful fruits; however, berries and squash can create lively additions as well.

Grow Up, Not Out

If you have limited garden space, it can be difficult to plan a garden that fits everything you want in it. However, instead of looking to garden out, consider gardening up. Upright planters can allow you to utilize otherwise empty wall space either by offering a trellis for climbing varieties or with small pots scattered on a board. Furthermore, hanging pots can be placed nearly anywhere, giving pops of color to otherwise dreary areas. Once you begin gardening up, the possibilities are endless.

Create a Focal Point

Once you plant a garden, you’ll likely want to spend some time out there. Consider creating a focal point area that you and your guests can enjoy. This can be as simple as a conversational area with repurposed furniture to bigger focal points like gazebos, ponds or even an outdoor cinema space. Take the time to consider what you and your loved ones like to do and create a space that reflects those interests.

Gardening cheaply isn’t impossible once you know what to do. From having the five necessary tools to looking to create a garden that matches your interests, creating a beautiful outdoor space is likely more affordable than you would expect. Whether you decide to create a miniature wildlife refuge, grow enough fruit- and vegetable-producing plants to feed a small town, or want to make a flower garden that anyone will envy, following the above tips will help you create the garden of your dreams.

Planning for Summer Vacation on a Budget

Summer vacations are one of America’s favorite pastimes, and they can quickly rack up astronomical prices. From plane tickets to events, vendors know more families are likely to take luxurious vacations during the summer—with sky-high price tags to match. Luckily, there are several ways to plan for the ultimate summer getaway without paying thousands of dollars. Read on to learn the best ways to plan and save now so you can have your best summer vacation.

Automate Your Bank Accounts

It’s safe to assume that you probably have a bank account, and now is the perfect time to start putting aside your vacation fund with automated transfers to your savings account. This allows you to build up your vacation fund week-by-week rather than relying on making a large deposit or needing to scrounge during your vacation. A great savings account will also offer you an interest rate that will allow your money to grow over the coming months. While it might not seem like a lot initially, by the time you’re ready to go on vacation, the interest on the account will likely be enough to at least buy dinner for a night.

Look at Credit Cards

Credit cards have gotten a bad rep over the years for offering paltry rewards; however, credit card companies have upped their game over the last few years, especially regarding travel. From air miles to cashback rewards, credit cards can save you a lot of money on your vacation. Also, remember to check if your credit card offers specific deals on sites. For example, some companies partner with do-it-yourself travel sites like Expedia or Travelocity to offer a cashback reward on already low prices.

Know When to Book

When looking to plan, you were probably considering the mid-summer, right? Most people do, and businesses know to capitalize on this. This leads to surge pricing, meaning that companies will charge much more money for their services/accommodations simply because they know demand is high. To get the most out of your money, it’s important to go on off-times, like early June or in mid-August. This is when prices for summer getaways will be at their lowest, with many hotels and restaurants offering deep discounts to get their leftover rooms booked ASAP.

Book for the Experience, Not a Destination

Hawaii, Disney parks, and NYC are popular summer destinations for everyone—not just you—and prices are aimed to reflect this. Tourist areas will increase their prices during the summer months, leading to already pricy vacations costing much more than they normally would. The key to great summer vacations on a budget is being flexible. For example, a theme park may be on your “must-do” list, so consider looking at more budget-friendly options like Six Flags. Want a tropical vacation? Look at locations in Mexico or Central America. When you plan for the type of experience you want versus only considering a singular destination, you’ll find creative ways to save more money in the long run.

Prioritize Your Wants

What do you really want to get out of your vacation? Are you looking to spend a lot of quality time with your friends and/or family? Do you want to experience local culture? Spend quality time on a hobby like scuba diving or surfing? When you take the time to prioritize your vacation’s goals, you’ll be able to create a budget that reflects that. By taking the time to create a budget that reflects what you want to do, you can have one of the best vacations of your life while also doing everything you want to do. A sample budget for a foodie might look like:

  • 20% Transportation
  • 30% Lodgings
  • 35% Food
  • 15% Activities

Create a budget for your needs and make sure you…

Stick to Your Budget

Creating a budget won’t mean anything id you don’t stick to it, and it’s integral that you try to stick as closely as possible to your budget. Some things to do include:

  • Create a Daily Spending Limit – Think about what you want to do each day and ballpark about how much that will cost. For example, your first night there will probably be relatively affordable, but you may want to splurge more on your second or third day. If you don’t meet your budget on a specific day, you can plan to use that money on a different day.
  • Don’t Use Your Credit Card – If you’ve planned to use your credit card, that’s great, but credit cards are frequently utilized to overspend. If you find a product or service you really want, look to cut down on your spending in other areas instead of relying on credit cards for splurges.

Look for Discounts

Whether you decide to go someplace far away or someplace close to home, you can likely find a lot of freebies and discounts wherever you decide to vacation. From group rates for theme parks or free admission on certain days to special deals and promotions at restaurants, there are likely ways to get discounts on whatever you’re looking to do on your vacation. Take the time to research where you want to go and what specials they’ll be offering.

Flexibility is Key

Planning a luxurious vacation on a budget is not impossible; however, it does require flexibility on your part. By being flexible on your dates and making changes to your itinerary, you can save thousands of dollars while still having a wonderful vacation experience. If dates aren’t flexible, look to be flexible in other areas, such as changing your destination to a cheaper alternative or selecting different venues that are more budget-conscious.

Planning a summer vacation on a budget may seem like a monumental task; however, once you know how to plan smartly, you’ll be able to get the best vacation of your life without needlessly spending thousands of dollars. From looking to budget and automating your bank accounts to remaining flexible and prioritizing what you want to get out of your vacation, you’ll save money while creating the trip of a lifetime.

Cheap Ways to Teach/Keep Your Kids Entertained

Spring and summer breaks will soon be upon us, and it’s imperative that our kiddos stay entertained during this time. Far too often, kids become bored during these long breaks in addition to losing a lot of what they learned in school before the break. Luckily, there are cheap things you can do to teach your kids that also keep them entertained. Read on to learn how to keep your kids happy and learning no matter how long their breaks are.

Spring Cleaning

Cleaning probably results in you arguing with your kids; however, it provides valuable life lessons for your kids. Instead of making it a chore, why not turn it into a game? Rewards can be as simple as a candy bar or new toy—or even picking the next movie for movie night. If you have multiple kids, you’ll be surprised how quickly they’ll clean if they think there’s something at stake if you set up a competition (e.g. who can clean their room the fastest, who can clean the most windows). Make cleaning fun and see your kids learn to love cleaning.

Crafting

Are you an avid scrapbooker? Model builder? Robotics explorer? Crafting comes in a variety of forms, and it teaches children the value of entertaining themselves while exploring their creativity. Smaller children will enjoy painting and coloring while older kids will likely love to build something themselves. Take the time to come up with some crafts for your kids and see what they make.

Volunteer

A lot of kids don’t quite realize how fortunate they and their families are, and volunteering is an excellent opportunity for kids to give back. Animal shelters frequently look for people willing to walk dogs while nursing homes frequently have established programs for kids to come talk to seniors. By teaching your children to give their time to needy causes, you are teaching them the valuable skills of empathy and charitableness.

Cooking

Cooking is one of those skills we tend to overlook, but if you want to prevent your child from relying on Hamburger Helper for the rest of their lives, it may be the most important thing you ever teach your child. Start by pulling out recipe books and letting your kids pick out a few recipes they think sound good. Next, take them to the supermarket to purchase the required groceries (or teach them how to grow their own veggies). Finally, work with your kids to follow the recipe, stepping in only when they cannot complete a certain step, like cutting vegetables or meat. Kids will feel pride for making the family’s meal while you can take solace in them learning an invaluable skill.

Movie Night

Who doesn’t love to sit down with a bag of popcorn and watch a good movie? Movie nights are fun for everyone, and they can also be educational. Choose a few kid-friendly documentaries and let your kids decide on which one they want to watch. Not only will they spend quality time with you, they’ll also learn about something that interests them.

Summer Business

From car washes to lemonade stands to lawn mowing, there are plenty of viable skills your children can profit off of. By letting them open a summer business, you’re teaching them valuable money management skills in addition to the old adage of hard work paying off. Just remember that when selling food, permitting may be required.

Nature Adventures

From neighborhood to national parks, there’s a whole world for your children to explore, and you are the perfect guide for them. Take your kids out to explore the world around them by letting them enjoy nature. To make this even more fun, consider creating a nature guide showcasing your area’s natural plants and wildlife. If you live in an urban location, let your kids explore the world through your phone/tablet/computer on various websites with live streams or informative videos.

Free/Discounted Museums/Galleries/Zoos

Most cities will have some sort of museum, and many will offer free or discounted days for children. Your children can learn about nearly anything for pennies on the dollar. Furthermore, most children qill happily spend a couple of hours at a museum, art gallery or zoo—especially if there are kid-centric activities they can participate in.

Single-Day Camps

While week or month-long summer camps may not be feasible, plenty of groups offer day camps during Spring and Summer Breaks that keep kids entertained for a few hours. These camps will focus on a wide-variety of skills, ranging from sports to computers to business, to give kids an introduction to these industries. Most day camps are also extremely affordable and include everything your kid needs for a single day.

Visit the Library

Libraries are sadly one of the most ignored public systems, but they have a wide variety of activities for kids. From reading groups to book clubs to crafting, most libraries are dedicated to teaching kids through various programs or camps. If your child is more of a solitary learner, consider letting them check out several books a week to enjoy from the comfort of their own home (and consider purchasing books they regularly check out).

Learn a Skill

From drawing to coding, there are numerous skills that are more child-friendly than you might think. The long breaks are the perfect time for kids to learn or hone a skill. Make sure to provide your child with the proper supplies and see where their imagination takes them. They just might learn a skill they use for life.

Spring and Summer Breaks may feel overwhelming, but when you plan activities for your kids, you’ll discover that these can be fun and exciting times with plenty of room for learning. From Spring Cleaning to library visits to letting your kids start their own business, there are plenty of activities that will facilitate your child’s development and growth while allowing them to have plenty of fun during long breaks from school. Watch your child’s mind grow and see them start their next school year on the right foot when you use these breaks as learning tools.

Ways To Work out In The Spring On A Budget

The warm weather in spring calls for you to go outside and get active. You may want to shed off some winter weight or start your fitness journey. But how can you do this without breaking the bank? Here are some suggestions:

Outdoors Yoga

Yoga is a great way to start your day, and what could be more refreshing than practicing in the great outdoors? There are plenty of yoga poses that you can do outdoors without any special equipment. Find a park or nature trail near you and get your om on!

If you are new to yoga, it might be good to attend a class or workshop first. There are plenty of free courses offered in most cities. You can also use YouTube videos as a guide.

You can connect with nature and get your workout in simultaneously with outdoor yoga. It is cheap, easy, and fun!

Work out with Friends

You can get social and get fit by working out with friends. There are so many activities that you can do as a group. Soccer, basketball, baseball, hiking, and camping are all great activities to do with friends. Not only will you get a good workout, but you will also have fun!

If you are uncertain about where to start, ask your friends for suggestions. They probably will be more than happy to share their favorite activities with you.

Working out with friends will keep you motivated and have fun. It’s also a great way to save money because you can split the cost of gas or admission fees.

Join a Cheap Gym

Gyms can be expensive, but a few gyms offer low monthly rates. If you don’t mind working out in a group setting, then a cheap gym might be good.

Most gyms offer free trials, so you can test out the facility before signing up. Make sure to ask about the monthly rates and any other fees that might apply.

If you are looking for a more personalized workout experience, you might want to invest in a personal trainer. Personal trainers can be expensive, but there are also a few that offer affordable rates.

Now that you are on a budget, you can start with a cheap gym within your budget. Just be sure to check out the rates and fees before signing up. You don’t want any surprises down the road.

Work out at Home

If you want to save some money, consider working out at home. You can use your body weight as resistance or purchase some inexpensive equipment. Additionally, working out at home is an excellent option if you are short on time.

There are plenty of workouts that you can do in your own home. YouTube is an excellent resource for finding free exercises. Just type in the type of workout you are looking for, and find tons of videos.

Working out at home is a great way to get in a workout while they play if you have kids. You can also use this time to catch up on your favorite show or podcast.

Working out at home is cheap, convenient, and accessible. You can tailor the workout to fit your own needs and schedule.

Walk or Run in your Neighborhood

There are many ways to get fit in spring, but walking or running in your neighborhood is the cheapest and most accessible. It is free, and it is also a great way to see your area. If you are looking for a more challenging workout, try running hills.

If you are new to running, start by walking first. Then, slowly work your way up to running. You might also want to try out the Couch to 5k program.

The best part about walking or running in your neighborhood is that you can do it whenever you have time. There is no need to make reservations or drive somewhere. Just put on your shoes and go!

Get a Bike

Outdoor cycling will give you a great workout while enjoying the spring weather. You can find bikes relatively cheaply or even borrow one from a friend.

Cycles can offer a great cardio workout, and if you stick to hills and terrain that are a little more challenging, you can add strength training to your routine.

Research shows that cyclists also have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, so getting on your bike is a great way to improve your health! If you’re not used to cycling, start slowly and build up the distance and intensity of your rides. You don’t want to injure yourself before you’ve even had a chance to enjoy the benefits of cycling.

Outdoor Sports

Spring is the best time to join the group sports or start a game that you have wanted to do. Many cities have free leagues for softball, soccer, or basketball. You can also find groups that play tag or frisbee golf.

Joining a group is a great way to make friends and have fun. Most of these sports are also very social, so you can chat with your friends while working up a sweat.

These sports are a great way to stay active, but they are also affordable. You don’t need any fancy equipment or gear, just a good pair of sneakers.

One of the sports that are growing in popularity is pick-up soccer. It is a great way to exercise and have fun with friends.

Swim at the Local Pool

Swimming is a great workout, and you can swim in any weather. Swimming is a low-impact exercise, so it is excellent for people just starting to get active.

Swimming is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, and it is also a great way to tone your body. Not to mention, swimming is a lot of fun.

Most communities have public pools open during the spring and summer months.

Join a YMCA or Community Center Health Club

If you are looking for a more structured workout, joining a YMCA or community center might be the right option. These facilities offer a variety of classes and activities that can help you meet your fitness goals.

The best part about joining a YMCA or community center is that the cost is often meagre. In some cases, you can join for free. You also have the option of purchasing a membership that fits your budget.

The spring is a great time to get active and stay healthy. There are many ways to work out without spending a lot of money. You can walk, run, cycle, play sports, or swim at the local pool. You can also join a YMCA or community center health club. Whatever option you choose, make sure to fit it into your schedule and needs. It should also be safe and effective. Remember to have fun and stay healthy!