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Month: August 2016

HOW TO AFFORD A VACATION -PART 4- Saving Money On Accommodation

HOW TO AFFORD A VACATION -PART 4- Saving Money On Accommodation

Accommodation is the largest drain on our salaries, and changing in order to save money is something very personal and totally dependent on where you’re at in life. Some find it extremely easy to make sacrifices and give up a bit of privacy and convenience, and some figure they work hard and deserve a certain standard of living. If you have a spouse, children or pets, your choices are more limited And these factors have to be considered when choosing a balance between saving money and living a reasonable quality of life.

My number one rule (and I have a 800 credit score), is to always live WELL BELOW YOUR MEANS. And yes, I’m yelling! Honestly who needs the stress of owing money in their life? Not me!
Being able to easily make your payments, taking pride in what you DO have, and the ability to squirrel away savings creates a huge sense of satisfaction and mental well-being. Having financial resources creates freedom and takes away one of life’s great stresses.

Let’s examine some money saving tips for our biggest burden. Not everything is going to suite your personal situation, but if I can help you lower your expenditures and reduce your stress then that I call that a great success! Oooh, that rhymes.

Accommodation

 

-Rentingsave money on housing

 

Consider sharing –

I know this is a lot to ask and a huge no no for many people, but listen. How much time do you really spend outside of the house? If you work full-time and have have activities away from your living space, then why are u paying full price for a house/apartment that stays vacant most of the time? Sure we all love our own space, but mentally if you can shift from a whole house mentality down to a bedroom then what’s stopping you? Set up your bedroom with a TV, computer and entertainment system. All you have to do in the public space is use the kitchen, and who knows, maybe you will like your new roommate and create a friendship. Just do your research really well first and make sure your lifestyles are compatible.

Negotiate-

Like most financial deals in life, rent can be negotiable. Not so much in high demand areas, but in most places you can come to an agreement with the landlord if you sign a long lease and if you have a good reputable background, you have some bargaining tools in your arsenal.

 

Fight rental increases-

Urgh! I hate when they do this! I flat our refuse to be increased and taken for a ride every lease resigning. If this Happens to you speak to them asap. The sooner the better and tell them it’s unacceptable and it’s not affordable at this time. I’ve always been able to get it taken down to the original monthly price and if not then only a few dollars a month increase. Stand up for your rights and remind them that it costs them money to have an apartment sit empty.
P.s private landlords tend not to do this and are more flexible and understanding.

 

Look on Craigslist –

I know it has a stodgy reputation but I’ve seriously found some great deals using this method. If you have the time or are just looking around and thinking about moving, put a ‘housing wanted’ ad up stating who you are and what you’re looking for. You might get some good offers.  Also use it as a research tool to gauge current prices in the area you are considering moving too. Just please be aware of scams and don’s send money to anyone, or sign any paperwork unless you have seen the place an know for certain it’s legitimate.

 

Consider work/rent exchange-

This is a good option for anyone with trade skills or some free time to act as a caretaker. Approach a landlord of a house/apartment and offer to fix the place up in Exchange for cheap rent. Also look at advertisements for apartment caretakers/managers. This can range from reduced rent, free rent and even a salary depending on how much work is required. Either way it’s a good deal for most people.

 

Move further out-

This is a tough one. What You might be saving in less rent, you will be paying in time and transport but in some cities this is a viable option and can result in a 30-40% reduction in your monthly housing expenses. Research your options and weight the pros and cons.

 

Owning and Mortgages

save money on housing

Owning your own home is a dream and one that i have not had the privilege of. I’m still too much of a transient and as a single gal with no family or ties anywhere, I don’t even know where I will eventually end up. If you are living the American dream, here are some simple ways to save on your mortgage that have helped my friends and family.

 

Assessments – 

Get a property valuation done on your house and find out what it’s really worth. This is really helpful especially if you feel that the market has dropped in recent years.  Not only does this give you a better bargaining position, it can also help you reduce yearly property taxes which cost thousands of dollars.

 

Make Extra Payments –

The power of compound interest is wonderful when it’s on your side, and your worst nightmare when its not. Some brokers allow you to do pay off your loan faster in an attempt to reduce interest payments and some don’t. If you are in the market for a new mortgage product, definitely make sure you can do this, but compare the huge benefits of variable length and variable payments with no payout penalty to current interest rates and other factors effecting your loaning options. An extra $1000 a year payment can reduce your loan by an astounding $40,000+ over its lifetime. So worth it!

 

Refinancing –

This can be a HUGE cost saver, especially when there have been dramatic changes with the economy and interest rates, but it does cost money to do it. It’s up to you to do your research and weigh the costs of refinancing with your current mortgage plan over a year AND over the variable length of the loan.

 

AirBnb

This won’t suit everyone, but if you find yourself traveling a lot for work, or spending weekends away with friends and family, consider listing your house or apartment on websites for short term stays. This can be a very profitable way to increase your earnings by a few hundred a save money on housing airbnbweek depending on what you have to offer and if you don’t mind people using your space when you are not there. Just remember to take all valuables out and abide by the listing guidelines. I even know people who rent to AirBnB full time and use that income to fund their extended travels around the world.  Another added perk of home ownership.

 

So there are my tips on how to save money on accommodation. Don’t ever be afraid of change, embrace it and think of it as a new adventure and a page to turn in life. Always talk to people, find out about their living arrangements and what they are doing, ask questions, do research and speak to finance professionals. We are so lucky to have the internet and the wealth of knowledge it brings to our lives…Use it to your advantage and have fun saving! 🙂

 

 

HOW TO AFFORD A VACATION -PART 3- Saving Money On Health, Fitness & Beauty

HOW TO AFFORD A VACATION -PART 3- Saving Money On Health, Fitness & Beauty

Ok so I’m not a Dietitian, a Physician, a Beautician, a Clinician or any other kind of ‘Ian’,  but over my 35 years on this earth, I’ve picked up a few tips on how to be attractive and healthy and how to do it all while saving money and living on a budget.

I wish I had started making these slight adjustments to my life a long time ago. I would start out with a whole new routine with gusto, then fail dismally after a few weeks because it was too much all at once and i would soon feel overwhelmed and unmotivated.  The key is to make improvements that are feasible, doable and realistic. If something doesn’t work out for you, change to something that does and if that’s too much, cut back and work it up slowly. Taking care of your body is an ongoing life-long commitment, but if done correctly, it can be almost unnoticeable and just becomes your regular ‘life’.

 

 Exercise –

 

Now I understand for some people the gym is something you can’t do without, especially for men who lift heavy weights, but the fact is that most of us can get our weekly exercise requirements absolutely free.  Take me for example. I have lost a total of 50lbs in 1 year by cooking at home and jogging around the block for 30 minutes a day. I was one of those people who brought a year gym membership, went 5 times and never used it again. The gym just felt like work to me. Going into another building after coming out of a building and HAVING to workout. Yuck.

What I do enjoy is hitting thesaving money diet and exercise pavement and being out in the fresh air.  It’s 30 minutes of time just for me where I can clear my head and jam out on my favorite songs.  I come home feeling exhilarated, happier and reward myself afterwards by eating a home cooked dinner, slipping into my jammies and watching my favorite shows on YouTube or Netflix. It’s the perfect way to end a busy and stressful day.  If you want to lose a lot of weight fast or are feeling particularly motivated, then do it morning and night.

For bad weather days and times when you want to work on upper body strength or abs, there are literally thousands of free workout videos on YouTube in all skill and intensity levels, all instructed by the worlds best fitness professionals. Can’t ask for any more than that. Get the whole family involved and get moving!

One of the best things about working on your fitness and weight a little bit everyday is that you are always ready for anything, anytime, anywhere! You no longer have to diet and you’ll be ready for that vacation or event, and instead of saying, ‘I don’t have anything to wear’, which is basically just code word for ‘I don’t feel sexy or confident in anything i own’, you’ll grab whatever is clean, because you know for a fact that you you look wonderful and others will think so too!

 

 

Vitamins and Supplements –

 

Vitamins are a $28 billion a year industry and a lot of studies have shown over the years that most of it is completely unnecessary. The fact is that nature has provided us with what we need in the food we eat.  If you eat balanced healthy diet and are a reasonably healthy individual, you don’t need much else.  Now if you can notice a huge improvement and it makes you feel better, then by all means go ahead, but speak to your doctor and find out what you really need, then do some research. Compare prices online and in stores and buy what you need in bulk. If it’s something that you use religiously every month then sign up on Amazon or the numerous vitamin sites for recurring shipments. You can often get a considerable discount

 

Supplements and protein powders used for sports and bodybuilding are also a super profitable industry with a lot of players and competition for the customer base.  That’s good news for us because it means they are willing to make an effort to get your dollars. What does this translate too? free samples! Yay! You can acquire these in several ways. Go to trade shows and load up your goody bag (best time to go is a just before the trade show closes as they will be more willing to unload stock), walk into GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe and ask what products they have to sample, or if you have a specific brand you want, email them specifically and ask. Be professional about it. Introduce yourself, say you are serious about your training, tell them you are currently using a competitors brand and you would be interested in switching to their product but want to try it first. Give your email, street address and name. You will be surprised how generous they will be to get your business. 😉

 

Beauty –

 

Cosmetics are a must have for most of us. Your beauty routine is one of those things that you can spent an absolute fortune on, or you can be smart and just look like a million bucks for minimal money. Luckily today there are a lot of services that cost next to nothing and offer BIG returns. Let me introduce you to the world of….Beauty box Subscriptions!! Ta Da! These are boxes filled with beauty products sent to your door and typically run from $10-20 a month. Some good examples include: IPSY, Allure beauty box, Birchbox, Sephora Play! and BoxyCharm. They offer huge savings and in the case of Ipsy, your $10 a month output will normally net you $40-70 a month of make-up and hair care. Boxycharm consistently delivers over $100 worth for $20 a month. Target and Walmart also offer boxes but they sell out in a few hours so you have to be super quick. With beauty boxes You don’t get a choice what you get but i’m not usually disappointed and it’s so exciting getting a gift in the mail every month. Also, you can sell the products your don’t want on eBAy and make up the cost of the box, essentially getting it for free. Its definitely addicting.  You can view subscription blog reviews and compare products and prices at My Subscription Addiction.

 

Nail Care –

It’s an expesaving money jamberrynsive luxury getting your nails done every 2 weeks, no doubt about it. I used to go through stages where id enjoy it for a while, then get sick of spending money on the upkeep and bite them all off.  Last year i discovered the magical world of Jamberry. Ahhh, I love you Jamberry, you make nail care fun and easy! They are plastic sheets that fit over the nails and in all honesty, it’s the only way I’ve been able to grow my nails as they break and chip easily. You can pick up Jamberry’s half sheets on eBay for $5 and that’s enough to do a full manicure, a pedicure and several other accent nails. Pick up a couple nail files. a pumice stone for your feet and a base coat nail polish and you’ve got an awesome budget friendly mani/pedi. PS. I get at least 2 compliments a day on them every day!

 

 

Hair –


I used to spend a small fortune on my hair. At least $200 every 5 weeks going to the best salons in Sydney and Los Angeles. Throughout my varied degrees of career success I’ve had to downgrade to more humble options and honestly it’s turned out for the better. I now go to a not so glamorous neighborhood and pay $30 and it’s actually better than all the fancy hair salons I’ve been to.  I get my regular stylist ASAP whenever I want and 100% of her time always. If I had dark hair I’d just do it myself with a box color, but as a highlighted chick, I let the experts do it. ALSO, if you want top shelf shampoo like Joico and KMS for half the price, get it at Marshalls.

 

Smoking –

ohhh I love smoking so much. Its been my biggest addiction and crotch in life, but I finally managed to break away. If it was healthy id be a 2 pack a day girl, but after watching my neighbor with lung cancer AND COPD trying to catch enough breath just to speak, I knew I had to quit. We take breathing for granted, but watching someone suffer and struggle just to do this simple life giving activity is disturbing and terrible.  Yup smoking is super expensive (even more so in Australia at over $20 a pack!), but quit smoking aids are just as expensive….Rip-off bastards….

There are a couple things you can do to quit cheaply. Some states will give you fee smoking cessation methods if you email them. Another way is to look on good old eBay.  A lot of people will buy a huge pack of gum, patches or lozenges, quit or take up smoking again, and sell whats left over on ebay.  You can buy or bid on these items for a third of the price of the original. When it arrives make sure the safety seal has not been tampered with and your items are in tact.

The method thasaving money quit smokingt worked for me was the 2mg mint flavored lozenges. I did them for a couple of weeks, then switched to mint sugar-free Altoids as a placebo for a couple weeks, now i’m nicotine free and so much happier for it. Bye cigarettes…P.S i loved you! (by the way, the more intensely you work out the less cravings you will have – double win!).

Interesting fact: Obama has been struggling with quitting smoking and using Nicotine gum since 2009. That’s literally YEARS! He says it’s expensive but he can afford it. I’m glad he can but most of us can’t. Quit and make the break permanently, it’s for your own good!

Also, don’t allow people to smoke in your home or vehicle and don’t be around them when they are smoking. That’s been the hardest lesson for me.

 

 

 

 Clothing –

So I’ve pretty much worked out a way to wear clothes for free and it works for Mens clothing too. It’s like a Secret Santa box swap for the broke and fashion deprived. Here’s how it works. People list gently used clothes on eBay for a pittance ($1-8 an item). Some of these items are designer and it great shape. You bid on it, buy it, wear it for as long as you like, then you list it back on eBay with the same ad as it had before.  There you have it, minimal effort, maximumsaving money on clothing results and FREE.  You can do it as often as you like and get a fresh wardrobe every week. I used to purchase my clothes at Marshalls and Ross, but you don’t get as much of a discount as you used to, so its just not worth it anymore. I’d rather wear a gently used item for free and change whenever I want, and the more people who do it, the more variety you have to choose from.  You can also find clothes at the second hand shop (look mainly for designer and unique items), or clean out your existing wardrobe and list them on eBay for extra money. You are Welcome. 🙂

 

Phew! that was a long post. I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to look and feel amazing on a budget and get some good use from them. Remember we only have one body and one life, so let’s take care of ourselves now and make it count. you’ll regret it later in life if you don’t. Hey I’m just trying to look out for ya!

 

Sarah xxx

 

saving money sarah sorge

 

 

*I have no affiliations with any of the companies mentioned, nor am I receiving any money for recommendations. Opinions are my own and from personal experiences only*

HOW TO AFFORD A VACATION – PART 2 – Saving Money On FOOD.

HOW TO AFFORD A VACATION – PART 2 – Saving Money On FOOD.

Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t eat amazing food and be healthy.  Here are some helpful tips for saving money on food…glorious food!

 

FOOD:

I always tell saving money on food meatpeople when I get sick of the finance business that I’m going to find employment is the supermarket industry.  No matter what economic situation the world is in, we still need to eat.  Imagine how much money we could save if we didn’t have to nourish ourselves every day. Next to accommodation this is the biggest expense for most of us, especially if you have a family. It’s obviously a lot easier for singles and couples to make drastic changes to the food budget than it is for families, but here are some great solutions for cutting your food bills, saving for your dream vacation and still being mindful of what you put in your body.

 

 

1 – Write a shopping list and stick to it. 

I really am not one for writing out budgets, after years of living frugally I’ve just learned to keep a mindful record of money in Vs. money out, but with shopping you have to know what you need for the week and stick to it.  How many times have you done your main shop and then gone back to the store 2-3 times during the week to buy what you forgot and inadvertently extras you don’t need and haven’t budgeted for! Those extra visits can add up to an extra $60-80 a week to your food bill. Having a clear plan of what you need for the week is the key to saving money on food esaving money on food shopping listxpenses AND saving time.

 

2- Plan your meals and cook at home.

I know…..this requires a bit of forward planning, but if you are cooking at home (it really is the cheapest option in the western world),
then you either spend the time planning ahead for the week, or spend even longer planning it day by day. The easiest and quickest way to do this is cook it bulk and eat it over a few days. Now some people don’t like eating the same thing every day (boo-hoo!), but I grew up extremely poor and i’ll eat anything and be grateful for it. I have no qualms about eating the same stew or casserole for dinner 3-4 nights in a row.  If you don’t like doing this and have a busy working schedule, then your options are limited to fast meals like pasta, stir fry’s and salads.  By cooking in bulk you can buy ingredients in bulk and you only have to cook 2-3 times a week and save your treats and dinner out for the weekend.

 

 3- buy fresh and do your own prep.

Have you ever really thought about how much extra that bag of lettuce is compared to buying an actual head of lettuce? It’s usually $3.00 more expensive and for what? Paying somebody else to spend the extra few minutes running it under the tap and chopping it up? Once again it’s something you can prepare ahead and eat later.

 

4- Breakfasts and Lunches.

These same principles for dinner can be used for breakfast and lunch. Instead of spending $5.00 a box on sugary cereal, buy some rolled oats in bulk at the health food store and make up some refrigerator oatmeal jars. They are super yummy, easy, can be made into any flavor, last a few days in the fridge and are very nutritious. Lunches can be pre-made sandwiches, salads or explore the amazing variety of the Bento Box craze. Left overs, rice, snacks and thousands of other options can be made into a lunchbox Bento that can offer something different every day. Remember that you can adjust to a new eating regime, just give yourself couple of weeks and you will be craving your new healthy options, and your body and wallet will be happier for it.

 

5 – Try foreign food

This is going to be a hard sell, but hear me out.  As much as I love US culture, the standard American Diet (or SAD), is just that…SAD!  There is a whole world of flavors out there that most of us are are completely unfamiliar with, especially when cooking at home.  We all fall into a routine of preparing the same handful of recipes over and over and being afraid of trying something new. I have great news! there are saving money on food restaurantsliterally billions of international recipes online and most are cheap and simple to prepare. If you find it difficult to start, try a cuisine with similar taste profiles and cooking methods to western food, such as Persian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern.  Once you have experience in that you will be confident enough to branch off to more complicated and bold foreign food affairs. Another benefit of expanding your diet is learning about other cultures and it’s a perfect way to take a mini cultural immersion when you can’t afford an overseas trip at this time.

 

6- International Markets.

Most people don’t know this, but one of the cheapest places to shop is at an international food market. Whether it be Asian, Indian, Arabic or Mexican you can be sure to find some good deals, even if you choose not to diversity your cooking experience. Here’s a couple of prime examples. A 1 lb bag of basmati rice is over $4.00 at the regular store. You can buy the same rice for $1.50 at an ethnic store and that’s not all, spices are considerably cheaper at almost a quarter of the price. Another benefit is that a lot of the markets make their products everyday so you always find something fresh and even if you only go once every month or two, you will notice the difference. Its also fun to try new things. Make an effort to pick up 2 new items you’ve never tried or heard of before, who knows, they may be your new favorite snacks, and if not, well, at least you have a fun story to tell.  I also think its important to get children to try new flavors and experiences early and allow them to develop and open mind.

 

7 – Increase your plant consumption.

Outside of the westernsaving money on food produce world, meat and dairy is a real treat and I mean a real treat! Don’t get me wrong, meat is my favorite food ever and if I could eat it at every meal I certainly would. I remember when I was a kid, i’d always save the meat for last and savor every bite. Mmmmm protein…..But really, dietitians are right when they say we don’t need as much as we think we do.  If you look at other cuisines around the world, meat is not the main focus, most of the bulk and tummy fillers come from vegetables, legumes and starch. Asian cultures go as far as to say as the rice and noodles are first and everything else is an accompaniment. Rice, lentils and beans are super cheap (you can even afford to buy them organic), and they provide a very rich nutrient profile. Most of us westerners are not used to eating this much fiber, so unless you want to be skywriting your name is the sky every minute and alienating people around you, cook them very well and even consider sprouting before using in recipes.

 

 8- Meat and Dairy

It’s no secret that meat and dairy can add a huge amount to your weekly grocery bill and the solution is obvious….buy only on sale. I have a favorite yogurt brand that I adore, but I refuse to pay $1.50 a cup for it, so I’ll buy it when its under $1 and get a couple weeks supply, also, consider making your own, it’s extremely cheap and easy and without any additives.

If you want to save money on meat you have to be vigilant and flexible. Instead of buying your usual cuts, look whats on sale and improvise. If a recipe calls for ground beef, buy ground turkey or chicken is on sale, then buy that.  Also consider buying meat in bulk and freezing it. Its helpful to have meat in the fridge when whipping up a quick dinner.

 

 

9- To coupon or not?

I don’t do a lot of couponing because I don’t buy (or recommend buying) a lot of processed food.  I try and keep away from the middle rows of the supermarket and shop around the edge, but coupons have a valuable place in budget shopping, especially if you have a family and buying in bulk. It’s great for disposable items like cleaning supplies and toilet paper, but remember before you embark on a new couponing regiment, keep in mind the time and energy you are spending in this pursuit, and make sure it’s worth the net savings.

 

10- Caffeine.

Yup I like fancy fu-fu coffees as much as the next person, but are they really worth nearly $5.00 a pop? nope!  These should desaving money on food coffeefinitely be put in the ‘once in a while treat basket’, and our daily caffeine needs should be made up of more humble options. I know people who spend $10 a day on coffee. That’s $3,650 a year! urgh! what an absolute waste….

I purchase a $7.00 bag of coffee beans every 2 weeks, grind them and make individual cups in my Keurig and its actually quite nice.  You get the fresh made coffee taste for only a few cents per cup.

Energy drinks also make for really expensive urine. Try brewing fresh ice tea or coffee and taking a natural energy supplement.

 

 

11- Alcohol

Alcohol is cheapest at the big national discount chain stores and online, but don’t forget the 6-pack mix and match deals at local supermarkets.  You can get 30% off already discounted wines and beers when buying 6 or more.  If you are interested in purchasing wine by the case online is a great place to look, especially when individual wineries have sales.

 

12 – Dining Out

I usually try and save my restaurant experiences for when i’m on vacation, it adds something else for me to look forward too, plus eating out all the time is no good for the waistline or my wallet. Most restaurants add salt, sugar and fat to make their food extra yummy and that I don’t need in my diet on a regular basis. Plus I like to cook for myself so I know exactly what i’m eating and how much. If you do decide to eat out regularly use coupons, look up the menu online first and give yourself a budget, go during happy hour, and don’t be afraid to ask what’s in your food and how it is prepared.

 

saving money on food cafe

13 – Entertaining at home.

This can be a much cheaper alternative to eating out but you have to be smart about it. Things can add up quickly and luxury artisan items can completely blow your budget. Ten items at $7.00 is $70! Look for recipes that taste great, but don’t contain any high ticket items, or consider buying one or 2 luxuries and serving them as a stand alone (e.g imported olives, cheese etc.)

 

 

 

So there you have it, great ways to save money on groceries and have fun in the process. Experiment, expand your mind and wallet and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO AFFORD A VACATION – PART 1 – Saving Money On TV & Internet

HOW TO AFFORD A VACATION – PART 1 – Saving Money On TV & Internet

Think you can’t afford a vacation? Think again oh awesome one!

saving for a vacation beach bridge

Saving isn’t just good practice for vacation planning, it’s a great lifelong strategy to implement and when done right, it creates more happiness and satisfaction than the fleeting shopping high you get from a impulsive splurge. Having a few bucks in the bank and something to fall back on creates a security net that will ultimately give you more freedom and options in life. The people who are least affected by recessions and economic downturns are those with more financial reserves and the more you have, the further away you are from living in a tent city.
In today’s world our future economic growth is ambiguous to say the least. We owe trillions in national debt, manufacturing is disappearing, companies are moving overseas, jobs aren’t as readily available and competition for salaries is high when existing in the modern global economy. Many economists suggest keeping 6 months of living expenses on hand for any upcoming emergency, and there is no reason we can’t delve further into frugality and use that extra money to create some awesome vacation experiences.
Now it’s time to create some budgets, which as an economist I find extremely fun! (I know right, I need to get laid!) You will be surprised how much fat you can trim when you examine your spending habits.
The first step I found very useful was to notify family and friends of your new plans and financial constraints to avoid any confusion and worry. Most people will be very supportive and suggest cheaper activities as opposed to expensive entertainment and dining options.
Everyone’s situations are different, and not all options will suit everyone, but see what you can do. Even $100 a month in savings will get you a pretty kick-ass vacation at the end of a year! Let’s examine some basic living expenses, and see what we can do to save some $$$.

 

Entertainment and media:
– Cable Television 

saving for a vacation TV

Do you really need cable? That’s a $100 a month in savings right there on most packages. I quit my ties with cable TV companies 2 years ago and I’ve never been happier, and it wasn’t just about the money either. I work from home and was spending far too much time watching it. I wasn’t accomplishing anything and since turning it off I have dramatically increased my IQ and knowledge base, learned Arabic fluently, studied major historic and political events to better understand the world today, and thanks to geographical education websites such as lizardpoint.com, I can now point to and identify every single country and capital city on the map! It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s improved my self-confidence dramatically. I can now speak to anyone from any country and respect them enough to at least know where they are from and a few basic facts. It’s also fueled my travel bug.  Why sit there watching other people having fun, when you can go out and have the fun yourself!

 

I also have a problem with their business practices and ethics. They lock you in for a 2 year contract, but every month it increases by a few cents and a few cents which adds up to several dollars per month over 24 months, and the part I hate the most is calling up after that time and fighting with them tooth and nail for hours to lower the price or put me under a new contract. It’s extremely stressful and a huge waste of time and energy. That energy and money I now put into my own betterment and life enjoyment.

 

I won’t lie, I still miss watching new episodes of my favorite shows, but sometimes people upload them on YouTube and if you really must, u can buy one off or whole seasons online. These days I opt for free and low cost programming and it works for me. I pay the minimal Netflix membership, and run free programs like YouTube and crackle on my PlayStation. I did have Amazon prime, but I don’t order enough to make it worthwhile, and like everything else, that keeps going up in price exponentially.

 

INTERNET –

saving for a vacation google

Now I need a pretty fast internet connection. On any given day I’m trading the stock market, blogging, streaming PornHub and watching re-runs of The Golden Girls all at the same time, but the reality is that most at home internet users don’t need the fastest connection possible. Unless you have a home business that relies on split-second data downloads, think about opting for a smaller usage plan.

 

Here are some simple tips on how to cut Internet and Television costs:

 

  • Buy your own internet router. you can save $120 a year from buying your own as opposed to renting from your cable provider for $10 a month.
  • I know its a pain in the ass but call your provider once in a while.  You’ll be surprised at how many people get upgraded and are paying for extra packages and channels they don’t even want, need or know about.  Ask them to explain everything you are being charged for and opt out for things you don’t want.
  • Look over the TV channels in the packages you signed up for and consider what channels you watch and can do without.
  • Test your band width every month (do a google search, a lot of free scanners available), and make sure you are getting the speed you pay for.
  • Have a look at what other Providers there are in your area and don’t be afraid to threaten to take your business elsewhere if they don’t lower your costs or offer you an affordable plan. Remember knowledge is power so check your figures and do your research.
  • Ask to be put through to the cancellations department.  These people are trained to keep customers and are willing to drop it like its hot to keep you around. Wow, i wish my dating life was like that…..
  • Some providers offer vacation hold for when you are away on your fantastic trips. Don’t pay for a service when you are not physically there using it.
  • Sign into your account on their website.  This way you can keep a close eye on your everything and notice any changes right away.  Remember these companies rely on people not checking their accounts and getting overcharged….Don’t be one of those people, i know you’re smarter than that.

 

Phone –

Ahh the good old money suck. I remember when I was 18 and acquired my first cell phone. I rung up an $800 bill and had no idea how i did it or how i was going to pay it off. It tarnished my record for 5 years and ever since then I’ve been “The queen of careful communication.”

I haven’t had a landline since back in the day, and find it totally unnecessary for my lifestyle, (if you don’t need it either then cut it off). As for the cell phone there are so many ways to cut the costs down. First let’s do some basic maths and examine a typical 24 month plan with one of the

 

big carriers:

phone down payment: $200

24 months @ $100 a month: $2400

 

Total: $2600 for 2 years

saving for a vacation iphone

 

Yea, I’m not paying $100 a month for phone service thank you very much! What I have done for the last 4 years is buy an unlocked iPhone outright for $800 custom. Then I signed up for a pay as you go carrier (H2O wireless) for $25 a month unlimited talk and text.  Yes, I don’t have any internet or data plans but in all honestly I have never found it a disadvantage, even whilst traveling! It requires a little more planning. maps have to be downloaded before leaving for the day and stops have to be made at WiFi hot spots. I’m usually in there taking a leak anyway. The quality of the H2O prepaid plan is great too, it runs off the AT&T network, so the coverage is comparable.

 

My Phone Costs:

phone down payment: $800

24 months @ $25.00 a month: $600

Total: $1400 for 2 years

 

Now I keep my phones for 4 years before upgrading, so that’s:

4 years on a main carrier contract: $5000

4 years on my pay as you go plan: $2000

 

That’s a $3000 saving over 4 years! Imagine the kind of vacation and luxuries that money can buy!

 

As for other entertainment, well… you don’t need me to tell you that you cant go out every weekend and get blind rotten drunk unless someone else is footing the bill….

 

cheers, big ears! 😉 saving for a vacation partying

 

Welcome!

Welcome!

Welcome Volkswagen on dirt road

Hi and welcome to ‘Hit The Path’, the ultimate road trip guide!

My name is Sarah Sorge. I’m a crazy Australian Economist with a thirst for adventure and a yearning to circumnavigate the earth, one empty wallet at a time.

I have always enjoyed travelling above all else. Back in the day I would have been one of those skeezy old strumpets with black teeth, stowing away on a Queen’s navy vessel bound for the new world. I can imagine it now, spending my days on the open water, yacking on hard-tack, popping babies out on the poop deck and carrying every class of disease known to man.

Fortunately for me, we now live in a world of planes, automobiles and penicillin, so traveling is quick, easy and relatively painless.

I came to America in 2007 and after receiving my citizenship in 2012, I wanted to give thanks and express my gratitude to the country that accepted me and gave me more options in life. I thought what could be better than driving to every state and seeing every square inch of this beautiful and vast land.

Four years on and I have seen every state several times over. I think I’m a pretty good authority on travel, road tripping and experiencing the American landscape.

There are several reasons I created this site. I want to help and encourage others to step outside their normal routines and enjoy an adventure, no matter how big or small. I want to encourage local tourism, especially to small towns and out of the way states that need help in this day and age, and I want to create an interactive environment for fellow adventurers to share stories and memories of all their favorite destinations.

Ahh we are here on earth but for a very short time, let’s have adventures and fun now, so we have many good memories to draw upon when our minds are willing and wistful , but our bodies are weak and feeble.

Stay gregarious and intrepid my friends.  🙂

Sarah. xxx

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