The Best Websites with Money Saving Tips

Everyone loves money saving tips. In situations where your budget is getting tighter, it may be critical for you to take steps to reduce what you’re spending overall. Even if you monitor your spending and keep track of every purchase, it helps to have a few simple, effective tips to help you save wherever you can.

Top Money Saving Websites

There are some websites that are fantastic at money saving tips and strategies for reducing what you’re spending money on. These often include tips that you haven’t thought of but can implement into your daily life. If you want to get more out of your money, consider making the following websites your go-to locations to read each day.

#1: Rakuten

One of the ways Rakuten helps consumers is by providing discount codes, coupons, and other savings opportunities. If you know you need to make a purchase at a specific retailer, your first step should be to visit the Rakuten website. When you do, you can search for that retailer and find out if there are any discounts or other savings opportunities available. Sometimes, these savings can be as high as 40% off.

You can also use the site when you’re looking for a retailer that has the best price on a product you need. You don’t have to know where you plan to shop. Be sure to sign up for the browser extension, too. That way, any time you visit a website of a retailer with an available discount, the system picks it up for you and alerts you to that opportunity. There’s no cost to any of these services.

#2: Capital One Shopping

Capital One Shopping is a super easy to use tool. Just download it as a browser extension. When you do, it will provide you with ways to save as you go through your day, moving from one website to the next. You can also use the app when you are shopping at local stores. Pull up the code of a product you are looking for, and it will tell you how to save. It also helps you get loyalty credits and find trending deals.

#3: Ramsey Solutions

Even if you do not follow the Dave Ramsey method of reducing debt, the Ramsey Solutions website offers lots of information and insights into how to save money. There’s no cost to using it, but there are a lot of articles that offer ways to reduce your costs.

One of the key benefits is the list of free tools and resources for you to use. You can find ways to reduce your debt, get investing help, buy a home for less, and more.

#4: America Saves

Another excellent site for advice and guidance is America Saves. The website is designed to help encourage, teach, and manage online savings. With it, you may be able to learn real methods to reduce your debt and save money on everything you do throughout the day. One of the nice features of this website is that it offers a podcast that can provide an easy way for you to get some tips and develop some strategies without having to read a lot of content.

#5: Ibotta

The days of clipping coupons may be in your past (who has time to do that!) Many companies have realized that today’s consumers do not do paper coupons much anymore. Yet, they still want to encourage product purchases with discount offers. That’s where Ibotta comes in.

This website and app allow you to find digital coupons for many items you purchase daily. This is a good route to take if you are looking for ways to save money on things like groceries and clothing purchases. It links to over 300 retailers online and helps you to get cash in hand for the purchases that you make.

#6: AARP

For those who are older, especially those on a fixed budget, it may be critical to find ways to reduce your overall costs and spending. AARP offers a fantastic website to do this. One of the nice benefits of this website is that it also helps consumers to make better decisions about their spending, get advice on how to save, and reduce the risk of scams. They also often post articles on how to save money for a wide range of costs, such as this one. As an all-around informative tool for older Americans, it is an excellent resource for researched, high-quality content.

#7: KidsMealDeals.com

One of the most important ways to reduce costs is to reduce eating out. However, there are some reasons why you may want to enjoy a meal out every now and then. At KidsMealDeals.com, it is possible to learn about the various restaurants that offer free kid’s meals with the purchase of adult meals. You can download a simple-to-use app to help you find restaurants in your area (or use the website itself). It takes minutes, but when the need to enjoy a meal out happens, it’s nice to know which restaurants offer discounts on that day.

#8: Savings.com

For those looking for discounts at home improvement stores, savings on new phones, or even help reduce costs associated with travel, check out Savings.com. This is one of the best websites for money saving tips because it provides up to date information. The discounts and promo codes are all listed right on the site, so you can easily determine what the best offer for you is. For those who do a lot of purchasing, it helps to have a consistent way to monitor what’s available. This is a must-read site just about any time you plan to make a purchase.

#9: The Savvy Couple

What if you want to live a life that is more frugal? You want to find ways to reduce what you use and are spending while also making good decisions about money management. The Savvy Couple is a solid place to start. The website offers a lot of fantastic tips on how to reduce your everyday costs. Another nice feature about this website is that it offers ideas on side hustles and budgeting tools. You can even use their small business tools to help you to save money if you want to build your business. 

#10: The Penny Hoarder

Perhaps one of the biggest resources for articles for money saving tips is The Penny Hoarder. It is a helpful website that offers ways to save money on just about anything. Search for a topic that is important to you. Get ideas on how you can reduce what you are spending on the kids, travel, medical care, and school. You can also find articles to give you ideas on how to make money with a variety of financial incentives and ideas. There is also a lot of insight into saving money on home buying, taxes, bank accounts, and retirement.

Whether you want to save money on a specific purchase or want tips on how to create a budget that you can actually stick to, these websites offer the insight and support you need. Make sure you spend a bit of time reviewing these sites on a consistent basis for reliable help.

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Tips and Tricks on How to Grocery Shop on a Budget

As inflation continues to drive prices up on everyday goods like gas and groceries, more people are feeling its effects on their wallets. The dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. This has led modern consumers to look for ways to save money on all the day-to-day items that they rely on to feed themselves and their families. The good news? Even though your money may not have as much purchasing power as it did in previous years, that doesn’t mean that you can’t save money. One way to save money is learning how to grocery shop on a budget.

How to Grocery Shop on a Budget

If you’ve noticed that money has been tighter when you go to the market, here are a few tips and tricks on how to grocery shop on a budget!

Look for Coupons (Print and Digital)

There are plenty of coupons that you can take advantage of to get better deals on the everyday items you use or the food you eat. Make sure to check your mail for paper ads from the grocery store to see what kind of coupons they’re offering weekly. If you don’t get paper ads or if you can’t always find what you need, many grocery stores will also have their own digital app you can check as well as possible perks like a rewards program or a membership that you can join to save more.

Buy in Bulk When There Are Great Deals on Items You Always Have in Your Home

Now, let’s be clear. Buying in bulk isn’t always the best option. For some, a tight budget might prevent them from splurging on bulk goods. That being said, you might be able to save money by purchasing certain goods in bulk. Let’s imagine that you love eating oatmeal. You might want to look around to see if you can find a large box of oatmeal that will cover you for the month or beyond. Not only might it be cheaper than purchasing several small boxes, but it will last you longer as well.

If you save more by spending more and you have room in your grocery budget, buy in bulk!

Purchase Certain Goods Online Rather Than From Your Local Grocery Store

There are certain items that you’re going to have to go to the grocery store for. For example, local produce is not something that you’re going to be able to purchase online. However, there are plenty of non-perishable items that can easily be purchased online, which might save you money if you manage to snag them when they’re on sale. If you’re looking for general retailers that might have what you’re looking for, you can always start with websites like Amazon, Target, or Walmart. If you’re looking for websites that specifically sell food, you can always try online grocery stores like Thrive Market, which will help you get better deals on some of the organic goods that you normally purchase from local health food stores.

Plan Out Your Meals and Skip the Pre-Prepared Items

There’s an argument to be made for convenience. It’s much easier to pop a meal into the microwave so that you can dedicate more time to whatever you have to take care of in your packed schedule. The problem? Convenience is often costly, and rarely do pre-prepared meals and similar ready-to-eat products provide you with the same quality or portion sizes that cooking your own meals would.

Instead of going to the grocery store and choosing out snacks and meals, create a meal plan prior to the store and stock up on meat, produce, and other ingredients. This way, you can save money by cooking at home rather than relying on more convenient products that cost more and offer you less.

Aim to Create Larger Meals That Offer More Leftovers

When you’re trying to cut down on your food spending, leftovers are a blessing. Granted, finding the right meals to help you make sure that you always have leftovers can be a difficult task. However, there are plenty of ideas out there. Whether you’re someone that loves making casseroles, cooking up sheet pan meals, or even making hearty soups or one-pan meals, you can save more money by stocking up on the right ingredients and creating giant meals that offer you several days’ worth of leftovers you can continue eating. This reduces the number of times you have to swing by the grocery store for more food!

Pay Close Attention to Sizes With Shrinkflation on the Rise

If you’ve been paying attention to certain products you normally buy over the past few months, you may have noticed something called shrinkflation. Some companies are shrinking their products while increasing the prices. You get smaller quantities of the same thing as a result. Not only are you spending more, but you’re getting less. The solution? Check to see if your favorite products are shrinking. If they are, look for alternatives that offer more of what you want at lower prices. The last thing that you want to do when you’re grocery shopping on a budget is continue to pay top dollar for items that no longer offer the same volume of said product as they used to.

Go With the Generic Store Brand When You Can

Brand names are often more popular with consumers, but that doesn’t mean that you have to buy them. In fact, brand-name products might be substantially more expensive without offering substantially better quality than other alternatives in the store. If you’re looking to save money when you’re shopping, you should always go with the generic store brand when you can. This is an easy way to save a few bucks without sacrificing some of the things that you enjoy having most in your home. Whether it’s cereal, ice cream, or even basic self-care products, most stores have a wide range of generic products that you can choose from!

Consider Visiting Multiple Grocery Stores for the Best Deals

The one downside that’s worth mentioning here is that gas is rather expensive now. If you have to travel further to go to multiple stores, this might not be the best recommendation for you. However, if your grocery stores are fairly close, you might want to shop at multiple stores in one day. Why? When you shop at one store, you’re limited to the selection and the prices at that one grocery store. However, when you strategically shop at multiple grocery stores, you can find the best deals for each of the food products you want and save money in the process.

Grocery shopping can be a major strain on those who are truly feeling the pain of inflation. But while it may seem difficult to navigate, there are ways to cut down on how much you’re spending at the grocery store each week. Are you looking to save more so that you have more money to put towards other needs? If so, the list of recommendations above will provide you with some excellent insights into how today’s consumers are saving money when they go on their weekly grocery runs!

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Back to School Shopping on a Budget

Back to school shopping will soon be upon us, and most wallets are weeping. Let’s be honest, sending kids back to school becomes more expensive each year which is why we have compiled the best tips to make school shopping as pain-free for your bank account as possible. From establishing a budget to raiding your home, these are the best tips save money on your school shopping.

1. Inventory What You Need for Back to School Shopping

This is a big one: figure out exactly what your kids need. Most schools will provide you with a back-to-school shopping list so you can figure out exactly what you need for your kids. This is an excellent time to see what each of your kids’ needs for class and if there is anything all of them need (e.g., pencils, binders, notebooks). Total everything to get a rough idea of what everything will cost to send the kids back to school.

2. Create a Budget

We all remember being a kid and wanting the super pack of gel pens or the latest Lisa Frank binder, and your kids likely have some frivolous purchases they want to make for the school year as well. Here’s where creating a budget comes in handy. Total exactly what you need to spend on essentials and look to see if there is any wiggle room for those extra special school supplies your kids “desperately need.” If money is a little tight, tell your kids they can choose one deluxe item and look to see if you can get it on sale. Once you have your budget in mind, stick to it.

3. Look Around The House

As parents, we have a lot of loose crayons, pencils and pens floating around the house. Although there is an emphasis on everything being “new” for the school year, there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to shop in your home to see what can be sent to school. From reusing last year’s backpack and binders to providing some extra writing instruments, there’s nothing wrong with reusing what you already have for this school year.

4. Buy in Bulk

This tip is definitely geared towards people with more than one child, but it also applies to those who may want to go in on school supplies with another parent. Stores like Costco and Sam’s Club offer great deals for those looking to buy a large number of school supplies, usually costing significantly less than other retail locations. Whether you have multiple children or want to go in on supplies with a couple friends, buying in bulk can save a lot of money.

5. Use Cash-back, Coupons and Rebates

We love a good rebate app and coupon, and back to school season is the perfect time to rip those items out and start saving large amounts of money. Comb your Sunday paper to find coupons on essentials or look to see if apps like Ibotta are offering rebates on your child’s school supplies. You’d be shocked by how many manufacturers are looking to cut prices, especially during the week before school when stores are trying to sell their remaining stock.

6. Compare Prices

It might feel tedious but comparing prices between stores truly can save you hundreds of dollars. Take the time to examine what each store is offering supplies at and make a shopping plan (don’t forget online retailers as well). Oftentimes, school supplies can be had for significantly less through certain retailers. Don’t be afraid to ask a cashier if a store will price match as well. Many will want to have your business and will match their competitor’s price points to give you the best deal.

7. See What You Can Delay

Certain things will need to be purchased before school, but other items can be put off. For example, your child likely doesn’t need their winter coat(s) or boots in the summer months. Stores will also discount their children’s clothing a few weeks after school starts as well. If you can, wait to take advantage of these sales to get the best deals for your kids and put off buying off-season clothing until you’re closer to the months you need them.

8. Look for Exchange Programs

Exchange programs are becoming more and more popular with families across the country. From school uniforms to supplies, many families are looking to donate and swap gently used or unused school supplies and clothing. If you don’t have a swap in your area, you can easily create one with some friends and neighbors to ensure your kids all get the school supplies they need for the new year.

9. Look for Sales

From tax-free days to back to school sales, many places are looking to attract as many customers as possible by hosting sales to attract parents. Take advantage of these days to get the most bang for your buck. You can find steep discounts on many common items as well as luxury or major purchases, like computers.  In the same vein, also look to see if your local retailers are offering specials on store brands. Oftentimes store brands will be part of the same sale as name brands, leading you to save significant amounts of money.

10. Check Out Discounts for Back to School Shopping

More and more businesses are offering discounts for students, especially when it comes to electronics. All you’ll need to do is have your student provide their ID card at checkout. Major brands like Apple, Dell and Hewett Packard offer student discounts as well as major retailers, including Amazon via their Amazon Prime membership for students. If you don’t know if a retailer offers a student discount, just ask! Many electronic retailers have college student discounts or specific days for college students to shop.

11. Pad for Surprises

We wish we could say that you can plan for everything, but the truth of the matter is that surprises do sneak up on us. From impulse purchases to items costing slightly more than we expected, sometimes we exceed our budgets. When looking to create your back to school shopping budget, make sure you leave a little wiggle room for surprises that may pop up.

12. Go to the Dollar Store

We’ve talked about dollar stores before, and back to school shopping is the perfect time to hit up your local Dollar Tree. You can get school staples for $1.00-$1.25 at most locations, with many carrying name brand items that are significantly more at other retailers. Many dollar stores will also offer generic items that work just as well as their counterparts, leading you to save money on a variety of items that would normally cost much more.

Back to school shopping doesn’t need to break the bank. By following the above tips, you can save hundreds of dollars this fall. From looking for sales to carefully planning a budget for what you’ll spend on supplies, taking the time to shop for school supplies while remaining price-conscious can save you both time and money this school season. Most importantly, enjoy spending time with your kids and creating shopping memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime.

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Wedding Gifts On a Budget

Finding wedding gifts on a budget might seem tricky. 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 your wedding gifts on a budget.

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 for wedding gifts on a budget 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.

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Common Summer Expenses

Common summer expenses mean that 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 common 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 money on common summer expenses. 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.

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10 Affordable Outdoor Summer Activities

Looking for some affordable outdoor summer activities? The 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 affordable outdoor 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.

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 affordable outdoor summer activities. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy your summer.

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Top Summer Deals Available

Are you looking for the top summer deals of the year? 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.

Best Summer Food Deals

Get the top summer deals in the world of food and dessert. Grab a quick meal, a pint of ice cream, and enjoy the sunset!

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 their 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 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 technology.

  • 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.

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Tips for Finding an Affordable Car

Finding an affordable 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.

When Finding an Affordable Car, 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. This makes the process of finding an affordable car easy.

Finding an affordable 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.

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All About Online Installment Loans

Online installment loans are the new way to get the money that you need. 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 online installment loan. However, what is an online 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 Online 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 of an Installment Loan

There are many benefits to installment loans, such as:

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.

Online 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.

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How to Start a Garden on a Budget

Spring and summer are perfect seasons to start a garden on a budget. 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 Essential Tools for a Home Garden

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.

How to Start a Garden on a Budget

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 on a budget, 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.

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