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03/22/17 Saving , Travel #

5 Ways to Save on a Short Vacation

5 Ways to Save on a Short Vacation

I went to spring training in Arizona recently with some friends, and while it’s difficult to call four days away from home a real vacation, the short vacation still felt like a worthwhile one.

Four days off in a row is basically a long weekend, and it can be hard to justify the expense of a flight, hotel, rental car, meals, souvenirs and other expenses that often come with a vacation.

I’m a big baseball fan and a trip to spring training is worth the expense, but spending a lot of cash for four days of fun is still hard to justify. For example, spending $1,000 over four days is a lot more expensive per day — $250 — instead of over a week, though extra time will add to your cost. But my thought is if you’ve already spent the money on a flight somewhere, you might as well enjoy being there for more than a few days.

With some planning and the generous help of friends, I made the visit to Arizona an inexpensive trip. The financial tactics I used can be used for any trip, short or not, but can be especially helpful on a budget for a short trip.

Here are five ways to save on a short vacation:

Go where friends and relatives live

short vacationI have family and friends living in Arizona, and while I didn’t impose on them during this trip for a bed to crash on, some have invited my wife and I to stay in their homes if we’re ever in the area.

You never know if those invitations are sincere or not, but if they are, then three nights is probably the most amount of time you’d want to spend there for the sake of everyone. You want to be a good guest, and after three nights it can get difficult.

The high school friend who hosted us during this trip is an incredibly nice guy and has offered to let me stay at his house. On this trip I was traveling with two other friends, so there wasn’t room for all of us.

Still, he was nice enough to drive us around, and offered to let us use his family’s second car — which we declined. Luckily, we found a place to stay that was a short drive from his house. And that’s another area to see if a friend or family member who lives in the area you’re visiting can help you out in — transportation. Many people have second cars that sit idle all day, or you could use Lyft, Uber and public transportation. Continue reading

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02/08/17 Saving #

When is the Best Time of Year to Move?

When trying to figure out the best time of the year to move, you have to keep a couple things in mind.

The first is that virtually every Thousand Oaks moving company breaks the year down into two parts, the busy season and the slow season.

The second is that regardless of what time of the year you move the last week of a month is always the busiest, specifically on Thursdays and Fridays.

Being Flexible Can Save You Money

If you are trying to save yourself a little money, try to move during the slow season, which is fall and winter. Obviously, you might not have a lot of control of this aspect, but it is still worth mentioning.

Also, try to move at the start of the month or the middle of the month. If you are using a Pasadena moving company to help with your move, doing so during the first half of the month can ensure a higher degree of availability.

Take Advantage Of Storage Units

If you are a renter and have to be out of your current residence before you’re able to move into your new one, ask various Los Angeles and Ventura moving companies if they have any storage offers that could help simplify your move.

If the Simi Valley moving company you are working with doesn’t offer any type of storage units you can make use of, look for a storage company that is close to your new residence.

These storage sites typically offer discounted rates for your first month’s storage and you can store your belongings within the unit while you transition to your new residence.

Remember, there really isn’t a “best time of the year to move,” but hiring a professional Simi Valley moving company can make the process far easier.

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01/17/17 Saving #

Credit Unions vs. Big Banks? What You Should Think About in 2017

Do you sometimes wonder what the practical differences are between banks and credit unions? Whether you’re using the right one for the right services?

Banks and credit unions are both traditional financial institutions that arguably have more in common with each other than they have differences, but the things that do set them apart are significant.

This article will cover their similarities, what sets them each apart, and when one is typically better for your needs than the other.

For-Profit vs. Non-Profit

The most fundamental difference is that banks are set up as for-profit financial institutions while credit unions are non-profit. Banks are owned by investors. Credit unions are cooperatives and their customers are referred to as their “members” because the credit union is technically owned by all of them.

Many people feel that credit unions, on average, provide better customer support and that this is due to the fact that credit unions do not have outside investors to account to. Instead, they must account to their members, who are also their customers.

Who Can Join

Another difference is who can get an account or loan at each. Nearly anyone can become a customer at a traditional bank, although those with very poor credit or unpaid balances from other banks might have a difficult time opening a new account or getting a loan. However, credit unions don’t serve the general public like banks do. Continue reading

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01/06/17 Minimalism , Saving # ,

Dollar Shave Club Changed How I Look at Shaving

Dollar Shave Club Changed How I Look at Shaving


It has taken me about two years to go through a 24-pack of Gillette razors I bought at Costco for some unbelievably low price. That freedom from having unused razors clutter up my bathroom has finally given me the chance to try a new razor at Dollar Shave Club.

After only two months of use, I’m resold on where I buy my razors and how I shave.

First, I should say that I’m not being paid by Dollar Shave Club to review it, and that my only goal here is to share my shaving joy with the company, DSC for short.

Two years in the making

What got me started on this path was a story I wrote in November 2014 for AOL about razors being sold everywhere online and if they were a better deal than buying them at a store. DSC was the best deal in my price comparison, and it still offers the same prices it did then: four cartridges for $6 or $9, depending on if you wanted four or six blades.

Like many online businesses, DSC and others jumped on the fact that razors were unnecessarily expensive in stores. Monopolies by Gillette and Schick, along with huge advertising budgets, created high prices. Continue reading

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11/07/16 Personal Finance , Saving # ,

My Stupid Impulse Purchase of the Week

My Stupid Impulse Purchase of the Week

No one plans on making impulse purchases. That’s what they are — an impulse. But it seems like every week or so I make a stupid impulse purchase that makes me wonder if I have any control over how I spend money.

My latest impulse purchase: Coffee.

It was $5 for a small bag of raspberry chocolate I saw by the checkout counter at Marshalls. Here are the reasons that ran through my head of why I should buy this wonderful sounding coffee:

  • I like coffee.
  • I like trying new things, including different types of coffee.
  • I like raspberries.
  • I love chocolate.
  • Raspberries and chocolate together sound awesome.
  • It’s only $5.

What makes it a stupid impulse purchase is that it was lousy coffee. And that I wasted $5. Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.