There's nothing more refreshing than a bubbly drink, but sipping that beverage can bust your budget — even if you're drinking plain mineral water. I admit to having a pretty severe sparkling water obsession. It's sans calories, fat, or additives, and is satisfying with a splash of fresh juice, which made checking out the SodaStream pretty enticing. With the help of a carbonating cartridge that costs $15 per refill, the SodaStream promises up to 60 liters of bubbly beverages. So, did it deliver?
Negotiating is tough, especially when you're inexperienced. It seems like most of us are afraid to try simply because we don't know the ins and outs. Lucky for us, our partner site DailyWorth has some tricks that could help you land an excellent deal!
My husband was on the phone with a nursing home he and his siblings had chosen for their parents, when I heard him ask, “Can you do anything for me on the price?”
My jaw dropped. My husband — who’s a nice guy, by the way — has a mantra: everything’s negotiable. But really, a nursing home? I was shocked that he took on a big company like that — but I can’t quibble with the five percent discount he got on the room rate.
Many women (like me) recoil from negotiating, whether it’s big-ticket items [i.e., $200 and up, from necklaces and cameras to couches (and nursing-home rooms)] or their own salaries. You’re either afraid of looking like a tightwad or haggling seems too mysteriously hard to do. Right?
The weekend is finally here, but don't get carried away and start spending like there's no tomorrow. No matter what you do this weekend, there are plenty of ways to save, so be sure to keep these budget-friendly tips in mind.
If you're grocery shopping . . .
Practice simple tips like buying store brands, not falling for supermarket tricks that get you to spend more, and avoid overbuying. If you bought too much, you can share them with a friend before it goes stale. Be sure to skip the nongrocery items because the prices are often marked up!
If you're looking for a good book to read . . .
Go to your local library and pick out a book to read. If you rather read from the comfort of your own laptop or Kindle, check out $1 ebooks by indie authors on Amazon.
If you're going to do some dry cleaning . . .
The weekend is the best time to get your chores out of the way, and if you're thinking of doing some dry cleaning, be sure to do research to scout out a dry cleaner's that will give you the best bang for your buck. You can even dry clean your clothes at home with certain products. Check out other tips to help you save on your dry cleaning!
Is your coffee grinder in need of a cleaning? If you have some stale bread on hand, it's the perfect ingredient for a grinder quick-clean. All you have to do is tear up stale bread into chunks and throw them in the coffee grinder. Grind it for a few seconds, open it, and you'll see coffee bits sticking to the bread, which you can then dump out.
Along with finding helpful living essentials at your local flea market, you can also pick up really cheap home decorations. You might be surprised at how those $1 table vases and figurines can be transformed into seriously chic accent pieces. Here are a few tips for spray-painting your flea market finds:
- Search for ceramic or wood vases or plates to use for spraying. You can also spray-paint glass jars and containers with really cool results. Try not to be distracted by the colors of the original item, and concentrate on the shape and form of the figurine. We couldn't pass up these finds at our local flea market that rang in at $1 total!
- Before painting, wipe down with a damp paper towel, removing any grime or dust stuck in the grooves. Allow the item to completely dry, and then select a color to use for spray painting. White is elegantly chic, while using a pastel blue or green is fun and fresh too.
- Take the items outdoors, and lightly spray with paint. You'll need to apply at least three to four coats to get a nice and solid covering of paint. Don't rush, and do light coats; they keep the paint from dripping or pooling, which can alter the shape and design of your cool figurines.
- Let completely dry before handling, which can take several hours. Display the painted figurines on bookshelves, mantels, or special corners of your home.
Have you ever heard someone's money-saving trick and thought it sounded absolutely insane? There are plenty of strange ways to save a buck or two. What's really great, though, is when it actually works. Head over to our partner site Wise Bread for some crazy yet effective forms of penny pinching:
I've been called many things in my life. Some good, some not so good. But I can't say I've ever been called crazy when it comes to being frugal. So, as I'm not getting any younger, I thought it was time to bring out a list of 10 crazy frugal schemes and earn the sobriquet. Some of these plans are certainly more "out there" than others, but all are worth a try, I think. Put some of them to the test and let us know how you get on.
Related: The Enemies of Frugality
And, if you have some even crazier ideas, chime in. While I was writing this article, a friend of mine told me they sometimes skip buying lunch and eat free samples from the grocery stores. It may save a few bucks, but that’s not my style. Anyway, on with the list.
From attire to travel to gifts and favors, your wedding can be a major investment for your bridesmaids. Standing up as part of the bridal party means tons of extra expenses, so it's smart to step back and see how you can keep costs low for your friends. Hoping to help them out by minimizing expenses? Here are 7 simple, thoughtful ways to make your wedding festivities more budget-friendly for your bridesmaids.
Instead of bucking out for high-priced living essentials, head to your local flea market or garage sales in your community for all the things you need. Before your flea-market adventure, take the time to do a couple of things to ensure shopping success. Set a budget so you know what your top dollar is, and write down measurements of spaces you're hunting for, along with the amount of room you have in your vehicle for new purchases. And get ready to have an open mind while bargain hunting — you never know what you might discover! Click through for a collection of living essentials you can find at your local flea market with some smart tips to take into consideration while shopping.
Not everyone has an unlimited supply of money to pour into their vacation fund. Luckily, there are plenty of amazing places to see that don't cost an arm and a leg. Our friends at DailyWorth know all the best spots!
Got a travel itch but trying to stick to your budget? As it turns out, there’s often an amazing (and cheaper!) alternative to the pricey destination you’ve been dreaming about. For a little inspiration, we turned to Jeralyn Gerba, cofounder and editorial director of the travel website Fathom, who offered up some innovative and inexpensive travel ideas. Read on for some smart swaps that will satisfy your wanderlust but set you back way less, along with her expert tips on where to stay, eat, drink, and shop in each locale.
Seeking Tahitian surf and seclusion? Try Nicaragua.
According to WaterWays Surf Adventures, Nicaragua is one of Surfline’s “Best Bets” for surf travel from anywhere in the US. Gerba agrees: “Flights are cheap from the states, the rural coasts feel just as secluded as the South Seas, and there's consistent beach bum migration because of the great Pacific surf breaks — always a good sign.” There’s much more than surfing here, too. In addition to the dramatic Pacific coastline, Nicaragua offers up tranquil Caribbean beaches, freshwater lakes, verdant hills, and even volcanoes.
Where to stay: La Bahia Beach Hotel is a stylish, laid-back surf lodge that has a pool, a restaurant serving fresh seafood, an open-air lounge, and four breezy cabanas with king-size beds, alfresco showers, and unobstructed views of the ocean. The low-season (May 16 to Oct. 31) rate is $150 per night; the high-season (Nov. 1 to May 15) rate is $180.
Eat like you're in Paris in . . . Montreal.
There's Old World charm, beguiling accents, and plenty of gourmet items you'll wish you could smuggle through customs (foie gras! confit de canard!). Check out the city’s oldest quarter, Vieux-Montréal, for the most European experience. It’s full of cobble-stoned streets, museums, and restaurants. Don’t miss the revitalized canal district, which you can explore by boat, on foot, or with rented bicycles. Burn off those gourmet calories by strolling through Parc du Mont-Royal, situated on the hill that gave the metropolis its name.
Where to shop: The Jean Talon Market is an open-air market where the surrounding food shops are a gourmet paradise, showcasing a vast array of locally raised meats, farm-fresh produce, artisanal chocolates, and Québécois cheeses, wines, and ciders. Have lunch here or just enjoy the plentiful food samples at the market while mingling with Montrealers.
Although staying in to eat is a lot cheaper than going out, foodies can't help but indulge in their favorite restaurants once in a while. Food is one of the biggest joys in life, and nothing is better than sharing a good meal and conversation with the ones you love. In fact, the restaurant industry in America makes about $1.8 billion on a typical day, according to the Restaurant Association. That's a lot of money we're spending meals out! On your next food outing, be sure to keep these tips in mind to shrink your bill:
Use Coupons: Go to Restaurant.com and enter in a coupon code for restaurant.com that'll get you a $25 voucher for only $10. You can find the coupon code by searching online at sites like RetailMeNot.com. Buy a local Entertainment book worth $15 that will give you lots of buy one get one free coupons for restaurants.
Earn Rewards: Do your research on sites like Mint and Credit Card Guide and figure out which credit cards give you the best rewards for your diner bucks. Oftentimes, if you're a loyal member of a mileage program, you can even earn some miles by eating at the restaurants the airline partner up with. For example, Southwest has a Rapid Rewards Dining program that credits three points for every dollar spent with their restaurant partners.
Skip the Drinks: Sodas, alcohol, and other non-tap water drinks tend to be overpriced at restaurants. Get water with your meal, and if you're really itching for a particular drink, wait until dinner's over and head to a convenient store to buy it.
Order the Kiddie Meal: The meals for kids are generally cheaper and most of the times are the perfect size for adults! This option is also great for portion control and your wallet.