Back in the day, you just called your travel agent and that’s how you booked your trip.    The internet wasn’t a thing.   Now, you have 3 million different options to book travel and that leads a lot of people not knowing where to turn.   Do I book direct with the airline or do I use one of the numerous travel sites out there?   What time of day do I book or what day is best?     Should I wait to the last minute or should I book early?

All these questions lead many people to pay more for their flights that they really need to and this is how airlines make money on you.

Having worked in the corporate office of a global company, I saw the booking process on a daily basis as they were shipping people around to every corner of the planet.   In this experience I picked up a few secrets that the airlines are not going to ever tell you.

Here are my secrets that I have learned along the way.[Read More…]

I have said it before, I LOVE Coffee!   If I would pick one food or drink item that I just could not do without, Coffee would be it.   I have also said before that if you made Starbucks your #1 choice in the morning, the amount of money you would spend over time would be astronomical.   If you have read my post on “Your Daily Starbucks habit could mean $330,633 less money at retirement“, you will see that it can be an expensive habit.

None the less, if you just can’t help the urge to get yourself a Starbucks, then I have compiled a list of tips & tricks to save you some money while drinking this irresistible drink.  Here are my 8 hacks to stretch your money at Starbucks.

Free Refills

Did you know you can get free refills at Startbucks?  You have got to be kidding me right?  No it’s true.   During the same visit, if you use the same registered Starbucks card or mobile app and return for a refill, you will get a free cup of brewed coffee (hot, iced or cold brew) or tea (hot or iced).   If you don’t believe me, check out their policy on the Starbucks web site.[Read More…]

Traveling is one of life’s most rewarding experiences to me.   I think it all started when I was younger and my parents would set off across the country on a regular basis in their Airstream camper, as part of the Wally Byam club with a caravan of trailers and like minded people in tow.

The open road, the unknown adventure, meeting new people along the way, seeing new and experiencing what this great world has to offer.

Needless to say, I developed a travel bug from the early days of my life that continues on even more as an adult.   I Love to Travel!   It’s pretty obvious that we have a love for travel based on the emphasis we put on it in our budget.  It’s important to us, so it receives a fair share of attention when we are “bucketing” our money, as we call it.

Yes you need to budget for vacation, just like everything else.   You have to set a goal on what you need to save in order to take the vacations you want every year.

Here are some tips and tricks on how we tackle our vacation goals each year.[Read More…]

I have to admit, I love Amazon!  LOVE Them!  When you are eager to pay a company $99 a year (Amazon Prime) for the privilege to buy stuff from them faster (2 Day Shipping), then you know you have something going on.

I do have to be careful with what I do on Amazon, because they make it so easy to buy from them anymore.   I could order something by just talking to Alexa, I could simply press one of my Amazon Dash buttons, or I can just set it and forget it with their subscribe & save feature and poof an Amazon box drops on my front door step.   There is no arguing that Amazon is revolutionizing our way of life.

You will soon be able to checkout at Grocery stores without waiting in line (Amazon Go), in fact you don’t need to do anything except to just walk out.

You will even be able to order online and receive your delivery in an hour through a Uber-like on demand Amazon delivery service, maybe even a drone will drop off your package in your front lawn soon.   The sky is the limit!

Let’s come back to the ground though and talk about today.   There are several ways that you can save money on Amazon that you may not even realize exists, until now![Read More…]

We LOVE to travel!   There is nothing better than being set free from the confines of normal life and to begin an adventure on the road.   It’s then that life gets really interesting.   It’s no longer about any kind of material thing, but the experiences that you capture by seeing and doing new things together.

We have become pretty creative on how we fund these vacations and mini trips while we travel across the countryside.   From New York City, Orlando to California and beyond, we have found numerous tips and tricks along the way to save money on our hotels and accommodations so that we can take more vacations in the long run.

I think people think we have tons of money to burn on vacations because we are always taking multiple vacations a year, plus multiple long weekend trips to Chicago, New York City, Orlando, Pittsburgh and more.   It’s not that, it’s that we have just got some tricks up our sleeves!

Stay tuned for a couple to save some money on accommodations later on in this post.

Here are my tips.[Read More…]

Ok, so a few days ago I posted my $20 challenge to save money.   This is my personal way that I save money through out the year for big ticket items and our emergency fund, as disclosed in my recent blog post Don’t Budget Your Money, “Bucket” Your Money.   I challenge you to do the same.

On the same note, I wanted to showcase another challenge if the $20 challenge wasn’t aggressive enough for you.   You don’t want to run the 5k, your a marathon runner.   Ok well let’s take it up a notch.   How about we save the same amount of money as you were doing in the $20 challenge, but let’s do it in half the time with this fun little exercise!

Instead of 52 weeks to save $1000, we will do the same thing in 26 weeks and here is how.

We will start by depositing $26 into an account in week one.   For each following week, we will add a whopping $1 to the deposit amount each week until we reach our 26 week mark.   At 26 weeks, you will have collected over $1000.   Pretty amazing huh?

This is a fun way to up your game each week as you progress to your goal at week 26 of $1001.    It’s just another way to keep things fun and interesting as you make it to your goal.[Read More…]

This is a fun and simple way to challenge yourself to save money, and with the way I do it, you can accomplish this without even knowing it’s happening.  Here is how I do it.

You may have read my previous post about how we “bucket” money in our household and we do it automatically.   We do this through Capital One 360, although there are plenty of other banks where you can setup the same thing.   We take a set amount of money on a regular set frequency and setup an automatic withdrawal from our primary checking account to a savings account at Capital One 360.

Here is my challenge to you.  Setup one of these account and setup one new savings account and call it “My $20 Challenge“.   Setup the connection between your primary checking account where you paycheck goes and this new savings account.   Then setup an automatic withdrawal of $20 to occur every Friday (Before the weekend happens!).    Set it and forget it.[Read More…]

I love freebies no matter how big or small they may be.    It’s that moment in time where you prove to all those people that told you that nothing in this world is free.

As a matter of fact,  I was just in Starbucks today and they were giving away free Christmas chocolates.   There was a big box of them that said take 1 or 3.   I’m a sucker for chocolate, so I chose the second option and grabbed three of them.

Anyways, let’s get back to your freebies!  A lot of these freebies are related to celebrating your birthday.   There are plenty of companies that are willing to step up and truly honor your birth into this world in style.   Whether that be a free coffee or a free piece of cake, these companies will deliver if they know it’s your birthday.

In order to be on the birthday freebie list, you will need to be prepared to be on their mailing list, but I look at that as a small sacrifice to be showered with all these freebies.[Read More…]

So I have learned about the Ibotta phone app recently and to my surprise it’s pretty cool,  so I thought I would review the app here so that you guys can take full advantage of it just like I am.   First all of, what’s with the name of the app.   It seems a little off the wall right?  Well if you pronounce the name of the app out, it sounds much like “I bought a ….” and you fill in the blank.

It’s an app that you can use to get cash back on purchases that you are already making in every day stores like your local grocery store of even Walmart.   I actually couldn’t believe it when I first heard of it.   I thought maybe you get this at some off the wall place, but no we are talking Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, Chili’s, Dollar General, Sam’s Club and the list goes on and on.   It’s dubbed as one of the most widely used shopping application available today.[Read More…]

I learned this trick when we were getting out of debt.   I am not the one to write down every little expense that I make in a register to where I can tell if I am meeting my budget or not, so I take this different tactic and it works for us.   I have talked about this before a bit, but wanted to dive into it deeper here.   We have an account setup at Capital One 360 (Which used to be ING Direct).   Honestly, I liked it more when it was ING Direct.  I don’t know if it was all the orange that they constantly threw at you or maybe they were just more fun!…    Nonetheless, we stay with Capital One because the nuts of bolts of what they offer still works great.

The Automatic Savings Plan with Buckets

So here is what we do.  We setup frequent and “automatic” withdraws from our main checking account which is where our pay checks are deposited.   Since both of us work, we ultimately get 2 pay checks coming in and the beauty of it is that they come in opposite of each other.   It means we get paid every week, which is great for budgeting purposes.  So each week we have a set amount that comes out the day that our paycheck is deposited.   We have created savings accounts at Capital One 360 for each expense that we need through out the year.  These are our “Buckets” of money that by the time the expense comes the money just magically builds up just in time to pay for the expense.  Here is the break down:[Read More…]