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10 Tips for Vacationing on a Budget

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10 Tips for Vacationing on a Budget

It’s the time of year where most people go abroad or take vacation from work to celebrate the halfway point of the year. Vacation may seem like a distant dream if you don’t have a lot of money to dole out for extravagant adventures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a quality vacation with a minimal budget.

1. Go in the off-season

Each place has its own off-season. For example, Disney World is a common place for families to go and their peak time is usually during the summer when kids are out of school. If you travel to the same place during the winter, there tend to be a lot less people and sometimes you can get discounts. If you know where you want to go, find out when their off-season is, even if that means your trip will have to wait a few more months.

2. Go somewhere close

Just because you want to vacation doesn’t mean you have to travel out of the country or even out of your state to have a good time. Do some digging into your local locales and see which places get good reviews. If you haven’t been there before, why not save a significant amount of money and have a wonderful time trying something new?

3. Go somewhere niche

If you are completely averse to going somewhere that is likely to be packed all year long, then do some research into places that have not become famous in the traveling scene. Typical families on vacation will go somewhere warm and sunny, but who’s to say that somewhere cool and rugged can’t be just as interesting and fun?

4. Pack food to go

A large part of travel budgets come from food and drink. Sometimes, this is unavoidable and the places travelers go to understand this. Places such as islands will make an average soda nearly triple the price simply because they know you couldn’t pack it on the plane. Whenever you get the chance, try to pack your own foods and drinks for a trip. This will easily cut your budget down by a third if you are willing to really stick to this meal plan.

5. Go visit nature

Amusement parks are fun, but many people get as much enjoyment from taking a hike through lush forests or rock climbing in the mountains. An entrance fee to state or national park will nearly always be much lower than paying for a ticket somewhere man-made. Try and relive your children by camping and sleeping under the stars or challenge yourself to a trail run. There are many options for those who travel to natural places, so look and see what nature parks are close to you!

6. Don’t vacation as long

It is easy to be jealous of the coworker who crows about going to Hawaii for an entire month, but you certainly can’t be envious of the hole it’s going to put in their wallet. A vacation is still a vacation if it only lasts for half a week. This may not always be an option for someone going out the country, but if you are vacationing domestically, consider taking a shorter vacation to take it easier on your finances.

7. Consider stay-cations

When we think of vacations, we think of glamorous getaways with while sleeping in a hammock on a beach at sunset. However, the definition of vacation doesn’t always mean to go on an adventure away from home. You can have as much of a vacation at home. Consider taking a few days away from work and stay at home. You can make a hammock and take a nap at sunset in the comfort of your own backyard! This option may not be for everyone, but everyone willing to give stay-cations a try, your finances at the very least won’t be disappointed.

8. Hunt for discounts

There are many sites out there that will compare hotel and plane ticket prices, so use them to your advantage since most, if not all, of them are free. You can sometimes find discounts by going in the off-season (see the first item on this list) and even if you can’t find discounts, you can sometimes find apps that will give you money back by booking your vacation through them.

9. Try something new

This may be similar to taking a stay-cation because this option doesn’t require much travel at all, but trying something new can be just as much of an adventure as going hundreds of miles away. Consider of the following suggestions:

• Go to a new restaurant or cook a new food
• Watch a show you would never normally watch
• Go to a sports event you haven’t seen in a while
• Go to a play or musical
• Take lessons on how to learn a new instrument

These are not your typical vacation ideas since most of these may take you out of your comfort zone and don’t involve lounging around, but part of vacation is exploring and adventuring, and these small adventures can help you broaden your horizons.

10. Drive

Road trips can be fun, and they don’t strain your bank account. Instead of spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a plan ticket, think about driving to your vacation destination instead. Sure you will still be spending in gas and it will take longer, but you will also get to see the sights you wouldn’t have if you had just taken a plane.

Happy Vacationing!

Taking vacations every now and then are important so we can learn more about the world around us and take some time to relax in some new locales, so we hope you will take these tips and do some things you didn’t think you could before. Now that you have some insider known-how about vacationing with minimal funds, go explore our world, expand your universe, and have a great time doing it!

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Biden Is Latest Dem to Support Ridiculous Free Housing Proposal

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Biden Is Latest Dem to Support Ridiculous Free Housing Proposal

Presidential candidate Joe Biden is the latest Democrat to throw their support behind the ridiculous idea that housing should be free

During an appearance yesterday, Biden said he agrees with “forgiving” both mortgage and rent payments. He says this as the country struggles with the coronavirus pandemic and 38 million Americans are without a job.

“There should be rent forgiveness and there should be mortgage forgiveness now in the middle of this crisis. Not paid later, forgiveness. It’s critically important to people who are in the lower-income strata.” said Biden

Tara Raghuveer, housing campaign director at People’s Action, a political network devoted to grassroots organizing, aired her opinion. She said, “The tenant is the most vulnerable person in the economy right now.”

She added, “The alternative to not canceling the rent is complete bottoming out of the market. And tens of millions of people literally never financially recovering from this moment.”

Calls for Housing Relief

Biden’s call for rent and mortgage relief echoes efforts by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Omar introduced legislation that would bar landlords and lenders from collecting monthly payments. It would also impose late fees “through the duration of the pandemic.”

Under Omar’s plan, renters and mortgage borrowers who skip payments wouldn’t need to pay back anything once the rent and mortgage forgiveness policy ended. And any lender or landlord who violated the plan would face penalties.

Correctly, housing industry experts point out that allowing renters to skip payments also needs to consider the consequences of the landlords not being able to pay their own mortgages on the property.

“If multifamily landlords, particularly the small mom and pop landlords who own just maybe one to four units can’t make their mortgage payments and can’t stay in business, those are affordable units that are going to be lost to the private market,” said Flora Arabo, the national senior director of state and local policy at Enterprise Community Partners.

“Rent forgiveness without rental subsidies could be pretty catastrophic for tenants,” Arabo said.

Omar’s plan addresses these concerns, supporters say. It does so because it creates a fund for landlords and lenders so that they could recoup any losses.

Not surprisingly, Raghuveer’s organization, People’s Action, worked with Omar in drafting the bill. The organization threw in more stipulations for landlords to collect those funds. These include providing information on their revenues, refraining from discrimination based on the source of income, and other tenant protections.

Biden’s Impact

Biden’s support for the rent and mortgage forgiveness plans doesn’t really mean much. However, the biggest problem with these free housing proposals is that they demonize landlords. They let the tenants immediately skip payments, but force the landlords to deal with bureaucracy and red tape to receive relief funds.

According to the Census Bureau, individual investors own nearly 75% of our nation’s rental units, not massive corporations. Those mom and pop landlords likely aren’t any more sophisticated than their tenants. They would also find themselves in the same dire financial situation should they lose the ability to collect rent.

Bob Pinnegar, president and CEO of the National Apartment Association, said in a recent interview, “Rent cancellation proposals do not adequately address the problem and fail to recognize that many property owners are in the same dire situation as their residents — substantial loss of income amid ongoing financial obligations.”

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Entertainment Companies and Retailers Could Face Mass Extinction

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Entertainment Companies and Retailers Could Face Mass Extinction

Whether or not the country decides to enact official lockdown measures in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus, some cities like Los Angeles New York City are taking their own measures to try and halt the spread.

Mayors in both cities ordered bars to close and restaurants to only offer take-out and delivery services.

On top of that, movie theaters and concert venues in both cities have been ordered to close.

How other cities handle the coronavirus outbreak remains to be seen, but it’s clear that any business that relies on people gathering in one place could face a serious survival threat in the coming weeks and months.

Here are a few industries and businesses that could face extinction in the coming months if the coronavirus outbreak become a full on pandemic here in the US:

Entertainment companies

The first ones to come to mind are theater companies if the order to close becomes widespread. The largest two are Cinemark (NYSE: CNK), AMC Entertainment (NYSE: AMC). Also consider National CineMedia (NASDAQ: NCMI) which runs all the ads you see before a movie.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities says “There is a genuine concern that [coronavirus] will limit theatrical attendance globally, whether driven by theater closures or fear of contamination.”

Also look at financial pressure being put on companies in the food and entertainment space like Dave & Buster’s (NASDAQ: PLAY).

Particularly vulnerable could be Diversified Restaurant Holdings (NASDAQCM: SAUC), which operates 64 Buffalo Wild Wings Franchises. With restaurants forced to shut down, the company could focus more on take-out orders for it’s popular wings and appetizers. 

However, with nearly every major sports league shut down, including the upcoming NCAA March Madness tournament, there’s little need for large orders of wings to feed family and friends at home.

Retailers

Most vulnerable could be the already struggling retailers like Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ: ASNA) which owns brands like Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant.

JCPenney (NYSE: JCP) has managed to hold on a lot longer than many predicted, but this latest blow could be the final one for the company originally founded in 1913. The company’s footprint is now so small that any drop in business due to shoppers staying away could be fatal.

The last retailer is GNC (NYSE: GNC), the seller of supplements and vitamins. This one might be a “beating a dead horse” type of investment as the share price has already plunged from 98% in the last five years. But there’s never any foot traffic in the stores despite near-permanent sales and discounts, so this could be the final straw.

On the other side of the coin, if there are quarantine efforts put into place, it’s clear that a vast majority of Americans will simply double or triple their orders from Amazon for all their purchases. We will also likely see viewing time on Netflix soar. 

Also expect a massive uptick in business for delivery companies like GrubHub (NYSE: GRUB).

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RetailMeNot’s Five to Buy in February

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RetailMeNot's Five to Buy in February
Image via Shutterstock

The wintry temps may make you cold, but February deals are sure to warm your heart. It’s not only a great time to shower your valentine with roses and gifts, but it’s a great time to make other smart and timely purchases as well.

The shopping and trends expert for RetailMeNot, Sara Skirboll, agrees. “With the biggest football game of the year, Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day on the horizon, retailers will offer tremendous savings on a variety of categories — from TVs and TV dinners to all of your Valentine’s Day needs.

1. Play Cupid

With Valentine’s Day this month, shoppers might be struggling to find the right present that symbolizes their love. You can never go wrong with a customized gift made especially for them. This month, shoppers looking to go the extra mile for their loved one will save an average of 40% on items like personalized photo albums, picture frames, wall art and more. You name it, they make it — and just because it’s customized doesn’t mean it will break the bank. Turn to retailers like Shutterfly who is offering a RetailMeNot exclusive for 28% off your regular priced purchase.

2. Ding-Dong Deals

While some might make dinner reservations at the fanciest restaurant in town, many will opt to eat at home. Those who do can take advantage of special promotions and discounts. In fact, diners can save an average of 30% off all month long, so be sure to search the food delivery deals from RetailMeNot. Right now, DoorDash is offering 25% off your first purchase and Postmates is offering $15 delivery credit for existing users.

3. Flower Power

Everything’s coming up roses! According to a recent RetailMeNot survey, 46% of shoppers plan to buy flowers for Valentine’s Day this year, up from 34% in 2019. Many florists will be offering promotions and discounts to help shoppers prepare for the holiday. This year, retailers like 1800Flowers are having up to 40% off flowers & gifts and FTD is offering a RetailMeNot exclusive offer for 20% off sitewide.

4. Get Your Game On

Attention sports fans: Discounts on electronics are not strictly reserved for Black Friday! In fact, February is the second-cheapest time of year to buy a new TV. With the big game right around the corner and March Madness close behind, manufacturers will use those big-time events to highlight big savings on big-screen sets. Another reason for the markdowns is that new models will be released next month, so retailers will be looking to make room for new inventory. Shoppers in the market for a new TV should head to Samsung where they can get 10% cash back with RetailMeNot, and Best Buy where they can find up to 64% off clearance items.

5. Meet Your (Price) Match

Life can easily get in the way of finding “the one,” but online dating sites and convenient mobile apps are here to help. Those looking for love are in luck: Dating sites can offer up to 75% off enrollment fees to encourage singles to put themselves out there. Dating sites like eHarmony are offering 35% off all subscriptions and OkCupid is offering free membership.

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