What to Keep in Mind When Budgeting for Your Family Road Trip

What to Keep in Mind When Budgeting for Your Family Road Trip

Taking a road trip with the family can be an awesome way to see more of this huge, diverse country we live in. Road tripping is also one of the best ways to vacation on a budget — if you’re smart about it. By planning ahead you can take your family on a fun road trip without breaking the bank. Here are three things to keep in mind so you can travel on the cheap.

Fuel

When you’re on a road trip, fuel will be a big part of your overall spending. It’s helpful to use an app to find cheap gas near you so you can save money any time you need to fill up at the pump. Have a safety check performed on your vehicle to reduce unexpected emergencies. Keep in mind that some roads you travel on may require you to pay a toll road fee. Check out your planned route ahead of time to be aware of any tolls that need to be paid.

Snacks and Meals

Traveling with kids can mean stopping a lot for meals and snacks. Be sure to pack a cooler with plenty of drinks for the family and keep it easily accessible. Keep a full snack bag with your kids’ favorite snacks and some fun surprises of snacks that they don’t normally get at home. Some good snack ideas include fruit gummies, juice boxes, yogurt tubes, jerky, applesauce pouches, crackers, and granola bars. If you really want to save you can pack sandwiches for a road trip picnic at an interesting park or another outdoor spot on the way.

Affordable Activities

Road tripping allows you to stop at a lot of different attractions. Whether you’re into history, outdoor fun, museums, or sports, being on a road trip with your kids means you can take in the sights of all the areas you pass along the way. Before you leave for your road trip get activity ideas from everyone in the family and use those to plan stops on the way. Be sure to leave time for impromptu stops if you see something unexpected.

A road trip with the family can be affordable and fun if you prepare ahead. Have your car checked for safety and be aware of tolls along the way. A well-packed snack bag and loose itinerary will give you the freedom to enjoy the trip without the stress of finding food and activities.

 

Top Financial Tips to Keep in Mind When Selling Your Home

Top Financial Tips to Keep in Mind When Selling Your Home

There are a variety of factors to consider when you are ready to sell your home. However, without a doubt, one of the most important things you have to keep in mind is setting the right price. This is very important: Too high and you won’t get any offers, but too low and you risk costing yourself thousands of dollars. What should you keep in mind when you put your home on the market? Here are three tips.

The Price Must Be Right

Keep in mind that homes lose and gain value over the years, so choosing the right price can be difficult. This is why discussing pricing strategy with a real estate agent is a good idea. A realtor will be able to show you comparable homes in your neighborhood and give you a better idea of the right level to set your price. Of course, there are other strategies, too. For example, if there’s a seller’s market, you can price higher. Alternatively, if you are in a rush, you can lowball your home and see how quickly you can move.

Set Money Aside for Repairs

Unless you are selling your home in “as is” condition, you’re going to have to make repairs in order to get your house ready for the market. Sometimes, you can get by with a fresh coat of paint. Other times, more extensive repairs are needed. Talk with a realtor to determine what you will actually need to repair, and budget accordingly from there.

Check About Your Escrow Account

Most homeowners have an escrow account. This account is where tax and homeowners insurance are deposited, then distributed by your mortgage company when it’s time to make a payment. The issue depends on timing. Depending on when it’s time for you to move, you may owe money to the escrow account, or be owed thousands of dollars. The answer truly depends on the billing cycle and when you move, so make sure you check out this information before you do move.

Each individual’s price point will be different, depending on a variety of factors. The best thing you can do is talk with financial and real estate professionals to determine the right decision for you. Remember, this is a major decision. Consulting with appropriate experts will help to ensure that you ultimately make the right one for you and your financial future.

Read more money-saving tips in this article: What You Can Do to Save Money on Everyday Household Items

What Is a Collateral Loan and How Do They Function?

What Is a Collateral Loan and How Do They Function?

When you urgently need money for a significant expense, you might be tempted to clear out a credit card or borrow from a shylock. But there are myriad finance options that you can explore without hurting your credit rating.

Collateral is something of value that helps secure a loan. This is what a lender uses to protect themselves when they agree to lend you cash. If you fail to repay the loan, they can sell the asset to recover their money. If you are considering taking on a secured loan, it’s essential to understand how collateral loans work.

Types of Collateral

The collateral required depends on the amount you want to borrow and the loan type. So, what can be used as collateral?

  • Real estate: Using home equity as collateral when applying for a small loan is a standard feature. That commonality, primarily to lenders, trickles down to a few key aspects: Real estate assets are valuable, they retain value over time, and are widely available.
  • Savings: Lenders also prefer savings as collateral. And you can easily understand why- a bundle of cash ensures that the shylock can regain losses while avoiding the hassle that comes with selling a real asset.
  • Invoices: If you have loyal customers and they are slow to pay up, you’re bound to hit a snag when conducting daily business operations. Lenders can help you keep your business afloat through a collateral loan solely based on outstanding invoice balances.

Other Examples of Secured Loans

Other secured loans can include:

  • Personal loans: They are used by consumers to service existing debts, finance everyday expenses or build credit rating.
  • Auto loans and mortgages: These two are the most common types of collateral loans utilized by customers. Most lenders demand that these assets be estimated to gauge the real value of the collateral.

Repossession

If you don’t pay up the loan within the agreed period, the repossession company will use different repossession strategies to get the collateral returned. What you didn’t know is that repossession may leave a dent on your credit finance history. However, the impact lessens over time such that your delinquency can be erased seven years after loan defaulting.

There are a few repossession strategies that your lender is likely to employ. They can repossess the asset with or without court notice, based on terms outlined on the collateral agreement. Technically, they can shift to gear as soon as you miss making payment.

Borrowing Without Collateral

If you are not willing to pledge collateral, you may as well look for a lender that will render you cash based on your signature, or another person’s name. Options include online loans (the amount is limited), getting a co-guarantor to apply the loan for you, or merely going for unsecured loans like credit cards.

Ultimately, acquiring a collateral loan is a brilliant idea if you are sure that you’re going to pay it back. It’s a great way to get lower interest rates than unsecured debt can offer. Take advantage of it and you could save yourself a lot of money!

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How Your Family Can Save Money on Food Each Month

How Your Family Can Save Money on Food Each Month

If you’re like most families, you are constantly looking to save money. More often than not, that means trying to reduce your largest expenses. For the vast majority of American families, food purchases rank among the highest costs that they have, and they often spend more than $6,500 on groceries and eating out each year. Even a 10% savings can chop $650 off your budget, and that’s a decent amount of money. So, how can your family save money on food? Here are three suggestions.

Plan Out Meals

Meal planning has emerged as a fantastic way of both saving dollars and ensuring that you eat healthily. It involves cooking your meals days in advance. Doing so helps to reduce food waste, ensuring that you can plan nutritious meals. This, of course, can help you save money. Even better is that meal planning and advance food prep can be fantastic ways of cutting down on unnecessary food purchases at both grocery stores and restaurants since you’ll always know what’s for dinner.

Reduce Eating Out

When you eat out, you are paying a premium for the food that you eat and the service that you receive while eating. Yes, it can be very convenient and tasty, but if you are looking to save money, you should try to eat out as infrequently as possible. Remember that eating out less often is about more than just your own individual diet or budget. It’s also about helping your kids learn how to be more frugal with their money. Not instilling healthy eating habits in your kids early on can have consequences for them later.

Purchasing in Bulk

Purchasing in bulk can often be a great way to save money because it allows you to leverage big discounts and buy many products at the same time. If this is a route that you take, you have to keep in mind that you will need large amounts of storage space at home. Additionally, buying in bulk works best if you incorporate the suggestions above. Combining buying in bulk with meal planning will allow you to see big savings on your food budget.

Saving money on your food budget can yield a great deal of savings. However, it often requires a change in mindset. Many people are used to spending relatively loosely when it comes to their food budget. Saving money in this category requires you to think differently and invest more time in preparing your own food and altering your purchasing patterns.

Family “Staycation” Ideas to Try This Spring Break

Family “Staycation” Ideas to Try This Spring Break

If your budget does not allow for a spring break trip this year or if you simply want to take it easy and stay close to home, going on a staycation is a great way to have fun without breaking the bank. There are a variety of different angles that you can take when planning your epic staycation. Here are three activities to consider for your family spring break at home.

Head Outside

Spring is the ideal time to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and rising temperatures. Head to your favorite park with a picnic lunch. Or, find a place to go on a nature hike. You can even make this educational by turning it into a scavenger hunt. If your family are thrill enthusiasts, seek out your nearest amusement park for a day of fun. Zoos are also fun places to spend time if you have animal lovers in your party.

Spend a Day in the City

If you live near a major city, you can harness all of this fun by heading downtown. Spending the day in the city is a fun way to feel as if you have traveled somewhere new. Start your day early with breakfast before heading off to explore your favorite museums and other tourist attractions. Plan a special dinner to cap off your big city experience. If you have small children who may tire easily with a day spent exploring downtown, you may want to consider renting scooters. If you decide to rent one, keep in mind the risks of push and electric scooters in order to stay safe.

Try Something New

A staycation provides the perfect opportunity to try something new in your area. Pretend you are a tourist when brainstorming ideas to try. Maybe there is a new museum that you have not seen yet. Or, perhaps you want to take in a show or other type of production. Your local newspaper is a good resource for what new things are available to see and do in your local area. This is also a good time to check out that latest hot restaurant that has been on your list.

You can make the most of your spring break by doing a little research and coming up with an exciting staycation itinerary. As a bonus, you will end your staycation feeling refreshed and not worn down by travel.

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4 Tips for Teaching a Toddler to Tidy Up

4 Tips for Teaching a Toddler to Tidy Up

Raising a toddler is such a wonderful experience. They are finally able to communicate quite well, they play independently at times, and they have incredible imaginations. Unfortunately, toddlers tend to make a mess as they go about their day. They will often pull out a toy, play with it for a bit, and then they will just drop the toy where they finished up. By the end of the day, there can be quite a mess in the home.

It’s helpful to teach a toddler how to help tidy up. Cleaning up before bed is a great way to keep the house organized each day. You can also schedule a couple of other times during the day where you clean up. This can take place before naptime or after dinner. Here are some tips for teaching your little one to tidy up.

Set a Good Example

Your toddler isn’t going to want to tidy up if it’s not something that they see you doing yourself. You can help them to clean up their toys. You should also be setting a good example by cleaning up your own messes. If a toddler is living in a messy house, that child isn’t going to understand why they need to take the time to clean up their items. Not to mention that stress levels tend to go down in a household when things are kept neat and tidy. You can set aside a time each day for everyone to clean up their belongings to help set the example for the toddler in the family.

Make a Game of Tidying Up

When it comes time to tidy up, see if you can get your child excited about the process. If your child is old enough to understand competition, you can compete with your child to see who can get a certain amount of items cleaned up first. As you race through the house, you’ll be making quick work of the cleaning up that needs to be done. By the time the house is all clean, you will both be laughing and bonding together. Cleaning up doesn’t have to be a negative experience that your child will dread.

Designate a Correct Place for Everything

Having a specific spot for each toy can keep your toddler’s playroom clean and safe. Having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place promotes organization. You can let your child pick out a fun toy chest that they will be motivated to put their items into when it’s time to tidy up. If you have various play areas throughout the home, you can invest in a few different toy organizational items. In addition to toy chests, there are cube organizers with various bins included. This allows you to keep items organized where they belong.

Use a Reward System

Many children understand that their parents want them to clean up after themselves, but there are children that simply don’t respond well unless they are getting rewarded in some way. An acceptable reward for a job well done cleaning up could be a small piece of candy, a cookie, getting to watch a television show or getting to stay up five extra minutes past bedtime. You can also set up a system where your child accumulates points each time that they clean. When they reach a certain amount of points, they can cash those points in for something they want. A reward system tends to work out better than having to discipline your child. Disciplining them when they don’t clean up will often make them resent the process of tidying up even more.

Teaching a child the basics of how to tidy up is just like teaching them how to use the potty, brush their teeth or sleep through the night. It takes patience and consistency. If you expect your child to clean up each day, you’ll need to tell your child each day that this is something they need to do. A good rule to have in your home is that one toy should be cleaned up before something else is pulled out. This gets a good flow of tidying up as they go along.

Here’s another article you might like: What You Can Do to Save Money on Everyday Household Items