How to Give Your Kids a Great Holiday Experience When Money Is Tight

How to Give Your Kids a Great Holiday Experience When Money Is Tight

The commercialization of the holidays has made it more difficult than ever to enjoy the season without breaking the bank. This is especially true when you have kids in the house. Here are three ways that you can give your kids a magical holiday experience when money is tight:

Focus on Experiences, Not Things

By focusing on the experiences during the holiday season rather than the giving of gifts, you will naturally save money. Not all experiences have to be costly ventures. Something as simple as making hot chocolate at home and then heading out to look at Christmas lights is a true treat for young children. Or simply going outside together during the first snowfall can turn into an epic adventure that your kids will remember for years to come. Remember that memories created as a family will last longer than anything that money can buy.

Save Throughout the Year

For most families, it is difficult to come up with the money needed during the holidays all at one time. Saving throughout the year will help to take the sting out of the high cost of this season. Even putting away just a few dollars per week will add up throughout the year. If your budget is tight as a result of a job loss or injury on the job, be sure to look into the many resources available to help people in your situation. If you’ve lost time at work, you could get workers’ compensation benefits for certain injuries.

Give Back

One of the best ways to cultivate gratitude during the holiday season is to give back to those in need. Instead of going on an expensive holiday vacation, you can stay home and volunteer in your community. Waking up Christmas morning and heading to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen to give your time will take the focus off of the presents. You do not even have to go far to give back. Simply baking holiday cookies for your neighbors is a festive gesture. As a bonus, your children will develop a sense of inherent joy in serving others. 

Do not let social pressure cause you to spend more than you need to this holiday season. There’s no reason to open a new credit card for the holidays, only to start the new year in massive debt. With a little creativity and the right attitude, you can make this special time of year truly magical without busting your budget.

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Family Vacation to Cancun? 3 Tips for Balancing Fun and Fees

Family Vacation to Cancun? 3 Tips for Balancing Fun and Fees

Traveling to Cancun can be an affordable adventure when it’s done right. Before you embark on your journey to paradise, be sure to keep these three tips in mind so that you are able to balance all of the fun with the associated fees.

Pick Your Time Wisely

Choosing to visit Cancun during off-peak times will boost the chances that you get a good deal on lodging and airline tickets. While being located near the equator means that weather tends to be fairly consistent all year, there is an increase in humidity and precipitation during the summer, which means that summer is the most affordable time to visit Cancun. The late summer and early fall are also inexpensive times to visit as families head back to school. The most expensive time of the year to visit is over the winter holiday season.

Check for Deals

It is easier to find a great deal on a vacation package to Cancun if you know where to look and when to begin the search process. The earlier that you book your package, the more likely that you will be able to score a great deal. If you are a member of Costco, be sure to check out their vacation packages. Groupon is also a good source for deals on local activities and restaurants. Auction websites. such as Sky Auction. may also deliver you an outstanding deal if you know exactly what you are looking for and what constitutes an affordable vacation for you.

Know What You Want

While many travelers swear by the convenience and pricing of an all-inclusive resort, this type of accommodation might not always yield the biggest cost savings. If you plan on spending time exploring the environs of Cancun, you might not get your money’s worth out of an all-inclusive stay. This is also true if you want to experience the flavor of the local off-site restaurants and bars. Conversely, if you plan on lounging around the resort for the majority of the vacation, then all of the food, drinks and included activities of an all-inclusive resort might save you money. 

In the end, it is important to understand your vacation style so that you stretch your dollar the most. With the right research and planning, you can get the most for your money while still taking advantage of all that Cancun has to offer. Prioritizing your needs and preferences will provide a guiding framework as you plan your Cancun vacation.

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First Time Vacationing Far Away From Home? Here’s How to Save the Most

First Time Vacationing Far Away From Home? Here’s How to Save the Most

Taking your family on vacation takes a lot of planning and may be hard on your budget. However, by planning to go in the off-season and figuring out the cheapest mode of transport, you can plan a trip that’s both fun and frugal.

Time It Carefully

A trip to a national park can be both fun and thrifty, but you’ll need to schedule it carefully to avoid sharing your vacation time with everyone else’s vacation times. Additionally, many people want to avoid weather extremes. For example, a trip to Yellowstone may be private in the winter months, but you will be facing snow and hazardous driving conditions. If you need to travel when the kids are out of school, you’ll find lower rates on rental spaces if you avoid summer holidays such as July 4th.

Rent Smart

How will you get to your destination? Renting a car or van is a thrifty way to travel with many kids, but not all rentals are family friendly. Some rental companies, such as RV rental companies, won’t rent to you if you’re under 25 years old. When setting up your budget for travel and affordable family fun, be sure to check any age restrictions to get your rental vehicle scheduled. If you’re young there will be a surcharge to rent a vehicle, while or you may not be able to rent at all depending on the state.

Put Your Club Memberships to Work

If you’ve got a Costco or Sam’s Club card, you can get competitive car rental quotes from either of these entities while saving money on bulk purchases. If you want to fly, check out credit cards from Delta and American Airlines. If you have a large purchase to make with money in the bank, you can capitalize on bonus credit card miles, pay off the card and use the miles. Be sure to study the fine print on miles blackouts or limitations. Some mile bonus plans only require a one-way trip, so if you want to rent a car when you reach your destination for a return trip, you can get the best of both worlds. 

Family travel is always memorable and a great way to spend both quantity and quality time with your family. Can you invite another adult along on your family trip to help defray costs and control kids? Having another adult on board gives you another driver as well as more company.

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How to Get the Most Out of a Loan

How to Get the Most Out of a Loan

While you may not like the concept of owing money to a lender, a loan may be the only way to pay for school, buy a house, or repair your car. However, there are many strategies that can help you keep your borrowing costs and loan terms to a minimum. Let’s consider a few of them.

Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around

There are numerous financial institutions that offer auto, home, or other types of loans. Quicken Loans says it is a good idea to talk to multiple lenders before agreeing to borrow money from anyone. Doing so can help you learn about the different loan products that are available, which ones could best meet your needs, and how to repay the loan balance in a timely manner.

Know Your Worth

The thought of making loan payments for months or years at a time is a common fear among those looking to borrow money. However, you are more likely to get the best possible terms by understanding what lenders look at when making a loan decision. According to Visible Equity, many environmental or qualitative factors can apply to individuals even under the new model of loan evaluation. These include credit information, the nature of financial assets, lending staff, general market conditions, and so much more. 

You should review your credit score, income, and assets prior to filling out a loan application. Doing so can help you better understand how lenders see you and make it easier to find a product that best meets your needs and budget.

Consider Why You’re Borrowing Money

Before you start shopping for a loan, it is important to analyze precisely why you are borrowing the money. This can help you to determine which type of loan is best for you as well as whether you need to turn to a lender at all. For instance, LawDepot recommends funding the company with personal savings if you are planning on using the proceeds to start a business. It could also be possible to ask friends or family members to help repair a vehicle instead of taking out a loan to do so. 

When you agree to take out a loan, it is your obligation to repay it or face serious negative consequences. Ultimately, borrowing money today could have an impact on your finances both now and in the future. Therefore, it is important to take your time looking for the right lender and loan product.

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How to Save Money on Your Family’s Car Insurance

How to Save Money on Your Family’s Car Insurance

Getting the right family insurance plan is often one of the most challenging things vehicle owners have to do. However, after all those hours emailing insurance companies and haggling over their rate, the job is still not done if you want to save as much money as possible. After you’ve obtained your preferred insurance, you can still do plenty to make sure that you’re not paying more than you need to for your policy. Check out these tips for saving money on your family’s car insurance.

Look for Discounts

Discounts are plentiful when it comes to your car insurance. There are even discounts for teens who maintain good grades throughout the year. According to The Zebra, one of the best ways to go about finding these hidden or unknown discounts is to simply ask your representative. More often than not, they will be more than happy to inform you of the various company and government discounts they offer. After all, they want to keep you on their plan rather than having you go shopping around with their competition.

Managing Teens on Your Plan

Families that are seeing their teenagers getting behind the wheel for the first time understand the serious implications of it. Not only will your insurance rates go through the roof, but your teenager is more likely to get into an accident than an adult. According to Groth Law, teens who text and drive increase their risk of an accident by as much as 23 times. This is why it is so important to educate your teen on the dangers of being distracted on the road and the monetary and criminal costs associated with it. Investing the time into making your teen the safest driver they can be will help to keep them safe and make your insurance rates as low as possible.

Install Safety Tech

Innovations in technology have provided car owners with the opportunity to lower their insurance rates. Often these additions to your car are relatively inexpensive or carry no re-occurring cost. The most common of these high-tech add-ons is the dashcam. According to Washington University, dashcam and tracking technology can provide insurance companies the peace of mind that they will have all the evidence they would need to either cover or deny your claim. Other features include speed recorders for teens. Having data readily available about how fast your teenager is driving also provides plenty of incentives for insurance companies and will often give you a lower rate for it.

Car insurance can be a hefty burden on a home’s budget, especially on a family. It is highly recommended that you adhere to the tips listed above to begin finding ways to lower your family’s car insurance costs.

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