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.
Having trouble approaching the dreaded financial discussion with your significant other? Our friends over at LearnVest are here to tell you why it's important and how you can do it successfully.
“We need to talk.”
Generally speaking, no good conversation starts with this statement . . . except when it comes to finances.
For anyone in a relationship, money isn’t just something that you should talk about: it’s a topic that you need to cover together. In fact, of the many arguments that couples can have, fights over money have been shown to be the best predictors of divorce — even more than spats over sex!
The good thing is that most people in a relationship want to be transparent about their money . . . they just don’t know how to do it. According to a recent Lawyers.com survey, 40 percent of couples (folks ranged in age from 25 to 55) agree that financial honesty is more important than being honest about fidelity.
So we asked LearnVest founder and CEO Alexa von Tobel — who just got married this past spring — to share her own strategy for having a productive money talk with your significant other.
Plus, you can also check out LearnVest’s new Love & Money Bootcamp, created in conjunction with Cosmopolitan magazine. The five-day program covers everything from how to successfully combine your money to the best ways to prep for your financially happy future together.
Why the Money Talk Is so Important
“Discussing finances openly with your partner is crucial because money plays into every aspect of our lives, from the jobs we take to the way we raise our children,” said Alexa. “Since it affects so many major decisions, it’s necessary to check in with your partner from time to time to make sure that you’re on the same page when it comes to your finances.”
And we’re not just referring to married couples. It’s necessary to have the money talk as soon as you start to get serious with someone, so you can lay the right foundation for further conversations as your relationship progresses.
Don’t know where to start? Here are Alexa’s top five tips for acing that first icebreaker money chat with your significant other:
Did you know the Amish are actually incredible money savers? If you're wondering why, our friends over at Business Insider have all the secrets:
The number of Amish in the US has doubled since the 1990s.
Though they're typically known for for their traditional, family-based Christian values and austere lifestyles, there's one thing most people probably wouldn't guess about them — the Amish are a lot better at managing their money than the rest of us.
"Some Amish do quite well and have a lot of success in business," Erik Wesner, founder of AmishAmerica.com, told us. “An Amish millionaire is not something unheard of.”
Their business and financial savvy goes far beyond rebuking modern conveniences like electricity and technology.
We asked Wesner, along with Lorilee Craker, author of Money Secrets of the Amish, to let us in on how the Amish have mastered their money.
Club soda is yet another common household item with a variety of uncommon uses. If you have some left over and don't know what to do with it, don't throw it away. Here are some clever uses for this popular drink mixer:
- Stain remover: Treat stains by dabbing on club soda and gently scrubbing the material. It works on a variety of spills, including red wine stains.
- Fluffy food: To fluff up food like pancakes, waffles, tempura batter, omelets, and more, use club soda instead of water or milk. It makes the end results more fluffy and light.
- Water plants: Club soda is better for your plants than regular water because it has more minerals. Try to water your plants with flat club soda at least once a week.
- Clean surfaces: Gently wipe down surfaces in your home like countertops and the inside of your fridge with club soda. Club soda is also good for cleaning porcelain surfaces because it doesn't ruin the finish. You can even pour it on pots and pans while they are still warm to help remove the gunk that's stuck to the bottom.
- Remove rust: Pour club soda over rusted materials or soak the rusted objects in them. The carbonation will make it easier to remove the rust.
- Soothe your belly: If you have stomach upset or are feeling nauseated, sip on some club soda.
- Clean gems: Soak gemstones in club soda overnight to clean them.
- Restore hair color: If you go swimming, make sure you rinse your hair with club soda to prevent discoloration in your dye job.
- Preserve newspaper clippings: Preserve newspaper clippings by soaking them in a club soda and milk of magnesia mixture for an hour before taking them out to dry.
- Shuck oysters: Make oyster shucking an easier task by soaking them in club soda beforehand.
Saving on groceries doesn't just stop at the supermarket checkout. Have your dollar go even further by preserving your food and using some tricks to extend the life of your groceries. If you're throwing away food, you're wasting cash, and all the tips you've used to save money at the grocery store will be for naught. By learning how to preserve food, you're helping your wallet and the environment by reducing waste. Read on to find out the best ways to make your groceries last a good while.
If you're looking for a unique venue for your wedding, then why not tie the knot at one of the most glorious locations around? Most national parks are welcoming to wedding parties as long as they fill out the proper paperwork, which gives you access to the park and the various locations that are perfect for your big day. And some permit fees are as low as $50, making getting married in a national park a seriously budget-friendly option. From Glacier to the Grand Canyon, click through for some of the most stunning locations for your wedding ceremony.
Our friends at Wise Bread have a bunch of ideas that can save you money:
One great thing about being frugal is that once you start doing it, it kind of snowballs.
I've been frugal my whole life, partly because I believe that saving money is just as good as making it, and I don't like overpaying for something. But what really kick-started my frugal lifestyle was being laid off in 2008 from the newspaper industry. Without a full-time job, I no longer had benefits and the same income I had before, so some frugality was called for.
Here are 16 tips I've learned, either on my own or by talking to people cited below, to kick-start frugality and make it an everyday part of life. Some are small tips to save a few dollars a week, and a few are big that can add up to hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars, so be sure to start with the easy ones before jumping to the big ones.