Home » Save Money

Category: Save Money

How We Are Planning to Safely Spend Thanksgiving During COVID-19

The holidays this year are going to look a bit different. Of course we all hope we will come out of this sooner rather than later, but COVID-19 has definitely affected every aspect of our lives. And a big part of that has to do with how we celebrate. Usually we celebrate the holidays in a larger group since we have a pretty big family. But since we are all still supposed to be socially distancing, that isn’t going to happen this year. So here is how we are planning to safely spend Thanksgiving with our family during COVID-19.

safely spend Thanksgiving

Some of our immediate family is within the same city and have been socially distancing. So, we are considering getting together with that part of the family for Thanksgiving. However, if we do, then we will still be changing up our configuration a bit in the name of safety.

Just because we aren’t supposed to be gathering in large groups in indoor, confined spaces doesn’t mean we can’t get together. It just means that we have to make our group smaller and get together in outdoor spaces instead. This actually works great for us because we have a large two story deck and one of my siblings has a deck and a screened in porch. So we have two options where we can seat family members and serve food safely.

Thanksgiving Food Stations

One of the ways we are planning to optimize either option is by setting up different food stations. This way we can control the flow of traffic into different areas to keep with social distancing practices.

One of the possible layouts for our different stations include:

  • Beverages section
  • Bread/rolls section
  • Cranberry/fruit section
  • Dessert section
  • Meat station (turkey and ham)
  • Potato station
  • Vegetable station

With this many different sections we are helping our family to safely spend Thanksgiving together. But, if we want to go one step further, we could also release one table at a time to get their food and drinks. This is how it is typically done in the catering world. And since I worked in that world for many years, I am very familiar with the tactics and smooth implementation.

Plus, if we all bring a few different dishes, that can help make Thanksgiving more budget friendly for all of us. We we could all definitely use!

Virtual Thanksgiving

Since not all of our family will be able to join in the celebration this year, we have to get creative. And since all of our birthday parties this year have been virtual already, we are getting pretty good at this. The important part is that we have still been able to see each other and celebrate, and it looks like Thanksgiving will be no different.

For the family members that aren’t going to be able to join us in person, we are considering having a joint Thanksgiving. Meaning that we plan to talk with them ahead of time about a menu. The goal is to try and have all of the same foods that we normally would so that we can experience them together still. But what that means is that we will have to learn how to make some recipes that may be a little out of our wheelhouse. Which sounds like a really fun idea to me!.

And on top of that, we are thinking about trying to decorate each table similarly. The hope is that this will make us all feel like we are in the same place celebrating.

Safely Spend Thanksgiving Together Summary

No matter what, this Thanksgiving will be different. But, this gives us a chance to think outside the box and come up with some new creative ways to be together. We will still get to enjoy the food, family and laughter just like every other year. But, we may not all be together in the exact same spot doing it. And that is okay. As long as we are able to find ways to safely spend Thanksgiving together, I am still excited by the holiday. And the joy it brings to all of us, especially in this very trying year.

How have you and your family decided to safely spend Thanksgiving together during COVID-19?

5 Tips for Staying Out of Debt This Christmas

You see advice everywhere for getting out of debt after you’ve overspent during the holiday season. In reality, it would be better if you could get advice on how to stay out of debt before the Christmas season.

If you are still paying off last Christmas, consider an online installment loan to get you back in the black. So many people have allowed Christmas spending to take over their lives that they worry about the money they spend after the holiday is over, and reality has set back in, instead of worrying about it before they spend it. In this blog, you’ll find a few of the best ways to stay out of debt this upcoming Christmas season. 

Read more

How To Lower Your Food Costs With These Three Simple Changes

(Image via https://twitter.com/ohmyveggies)

Food isn’t cheap. In fact, grocery shopping can certainly add up to a lot more than it used to. Whether you’re looking for mini cheesecake ingredients or keen to invite the family around for a bbq in the sun, getting everything in order can cost a fair bit. In fact, the cost of living has gone up in many parts of the world, and food is a huge part of that.

 

There are numerous ways in which we can cut back on food costs and save money in the way we do things, though. It isn’t always easy, but it’s certainly do-able, especially in 2020 when the variety of food options and online resources we have available to us are priceless. You can still enjoy a healthy diet and save money, too. It isn’t all about just eating junk on cheap offers in stores. In fact, it’s the total opposite. Maintaining a healthy diet and eating delicious cuisine, all while saving money, is easy to achieve, it just involves making a few changes.

 

So, without further ado, here’s a few helpful ways in which you can lower your food costs. Read more

Our Favorite Ways to Save Money at the Movies

Going to the movies is a favorite past time for a lot of us. But, it can get pretty darn expensive if you aren’t careful. This is largely due to the fact that the movie production houses set the movie ticket prices, and not the individual theaters. And the theaters don’t really make anything on the movie ticket prices because of that. So that leaves concessions for them to make a profit, which is why they can be so darn expensive. So, over the years, we’ve found some great hacks to help save money at the movies.

Groupon, Living Social & Fandango

Groupon and Living Social are both sites that offer discounts on a ton of different products, services and experiences. Movie theaters just happen to be one of those potential options. We’ve used both of these sites to help us find some great budget friendly family activities in the past, which was awesome!

Since they don’t always have deals running at your local movie theater it’s best to check both sites regularly.

Another great site/app to check out is Fandango. This is a movie app that helps find the movies you are looking for at your closest theaters. But, as an added bonus, they also offer discounts and specials if you become a member.

With the app you purchase your tickets ahead of time and save money on concessions. The way this currently works is once you purchase $15 in concessions, you will then get a $5 gift card from Fandango. However, this can vary and only be on specific items purchased at concessions. So it’s best to double check ahead of time to see what qualifies.

Matinee & Tuesday Movies

One of my favorite movie theater hacks is to go to a matinee instead. Matinees are always cheaper than the prime movie showings. Going to a matinee instead can really help us save us a lot of money right out of the gate.

This is the current price breakdown from our local Regal theater for ticket prices:

  • Matinee (Noon – 4 pm) Child & Senior – $7.44
  • Matinee (Noon – 4 pm) Adult – $8.14
  • Prime (4 pm – Close) Child & Senior – $7.94
  • Prime (4 pm – Close) Adult – $10.74

And if you want to save even more money, consider going on a Tuesday instead. A lot of theaters offer a special Tuesday price because that is traditionally the slowest day of the week. Most of the time, the ticket prices hover around $5 – $6 per ticket. I don’t know about you, but I am perfectly fine with checking out a Tuesday flick for major savings!

Late Run Theaters

Another great movie theater hack is heading to late run theaters instead. These theaters specifically gear their showings towards later run movies. This means they don’t show newly released movies as soon as they come out. So, you’ll have to wait a few weeks until the movie is out of the first run theater. But, by doing so, you can save some major money on the movie ticket price.

Most of the time, these ticket prices can be as low as $1 – $2 per showing!

Theater Website

Most major movie theaters have their own website and loyalty club you can join. Usually, when you sign up to become a loyalty member, you some sort of discount right away.

Most of the time this discount is:

  • a percentage off a movie ticket
  • concessions rewards
  • free small popcorn
  • free drink

No matter what, I am perfectly fine with free bonuses. So adding this to your arsenal can only help you save even more money at the movies.

Summer Movie Programs

Most theaters have some sort of summer theater program that is geared towards children. The program only runs for a certain amount of weeks and usually has showings during the day only.

During the summer, the kids can get pretty bored, so this is something I have been utilizing for years now. After all, I am all about how to have a great time on a budget!

Usually these summer movies usually run anywhere from $1 – $2.50 per ticket. So, if you are willing to go during the day, and watch some more kid friendly movies, this might be a great option to save money at the movies this summer.

Specialty Discounts

Most theaters also offer some sort of specialty discount. These discounts are geared towards people who fall into the following categories:

  • AAA Members
  • Children
  • Government Employees
  • Military
  • Seniors
  • Students
  • Teachers

Not every theater offers all of these discounts. Therefore, it is best to ask if you happen to fall into one of these categories.

Divvy Up the Snacks

Since concessions are usually the most expensive part of the movie going experience, this is where you should try to save the most money. This works really well if you’ve got a group, or children with you. Some of the best tips we have learned are:

  • Ask for water cups and fill them up at the water fountain
  • Buy the large popcorn and split it up between all of you
  • Buy the large candy and divide equally

The best way to split up the snacks is to bring paper bags, or something like it, with you. Since theaters charge for the trays and extra cups, you don’t want to add those into your concessions cost.

Either way, purchasing the large, refillable, options, you will end up saving you the most money. Just performing these simple concessions hacks can really help you save money at the movies!

Save Money at the Movies

Overall, there are so many ways to help you save money at the movies. Some of our favorite options are:

  • Groupon, Living Social & Fandango
  • Matinees and Tuesday Movies
  • Late Run Theaters
  • Theater Website
  • Summer Movie Programs
  • Specialty Discounts
  • Divvy Up the Snacks

No matter which options you choose, combining some of these options can really help you save a ton of money. After all, we want to enjoy our movie going experience, but we don’t want it to break the bank at the same time.

What are some of the best hacks you’ve found to help you save money at the movies?

Discount Gift Cards – An Excellent Way to Save Money

When it comes to discount gift cards, people are often sceptical about why would someone resell their gift cards?! However, the reality is that so many people receive gift cards which they never get an opportunity to use, or they simply use a part of them and realise there is nothing else they require.

 

So, that’s the reason they resell such gift cards. And considering the fact that no one buys a gift card second-hand unless it’s being offered at a discount, that’s what the people do – they offer a discount on it! Here’s a piece on how some platforms and users cash in on the $1 billion gift card aftermarket. Furthermore, there are plenty of benefits associated with purchase of discount gift cards. Let’s acquaint you with some of them below.

Read more

How Millennials Can Use Technology to Stress Less About Money

The millennial generation, along with generation Z, has gotten a bad rap for being less than savvy with their finances and education. However, this is the media. In fact, these two generations are not spending the way generations past did. They also don’t want the giant debts from college and home ownership with which many have been saddled.

They’re looking for solutions to leverage money as a tool and they look first to technology. This is no surprise because they came into this world with technology. It’s been the babysitter, teacher, and knowledge base for them. So, here, we’ll teach you, the millennial reader, how to use technology for your financial education. Read more

Overdone it With Online Payday Loans with Instant Approval this Festive Season? Here’s How to Live Frugally Come January

Christmas is a time for overindulgence, there’s no doubt about that. We eat more, we drink more, and above all we spend more. The problem is, a lot of us end up spending money that we don’t actually have and therefore end up in debt come January. Did you know that as many as one in three Britons admit that they’ll struggle with day to day spending come January because of overspending at Christmas?

With that in mind, it might be too late to tell you how you should spend your money carefully at Christmas. With less than a week to go, the damage is usually done – but all hope is not lost. Enjoy your Christmas, then we’ve got some tips on how you can live more frugally and boost your finances back up this new year. Read more

How Can You Get the Best Car Insurance Rates?

When it comes to our cars, we all want to save money. This is not only true of the car purchase, but also the car insurance needed for it once we drive it off the lot. But sometimes by saving money, we end up cutting corners that can cost us more in the long run. This is where car insurance comparison sites come into play. I have found that they can be a great resource when it comes to getting new car insurance, or negotiating with your current company for a better rate.

But, before we get to the comparison sites, I want to talk about the items you should be comparing across the board to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. After all, not all insurance products are created the same.

Car Insurance features

No matter which company you end up going with, they should all offer some of the same features. Although, most of us consider these basic features today, they are really extras that don’t have to be offered. These include:

Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive insurance covers anything that happens to your car non-collision related, such as:

  • Break-in or vandalism
  • Damage from an animal striking your car
  • Fire or explosion
  • Natural disasters
  • Shattered or cracked windshield or window
  • Things falling onto your car

Collision coverage

Collision coverage covers the repair of your car when you have been in a collision. If the car is considered a total loss, then they will cover the cost to replace your vehicle at current market value.

Roadside assistance and towing

Roadside assistance is not something that every insurance carrier offers in their basic plans, but they should. What it usually covers is:

  • Fixing a tire
  • Gas delivered to your car if you run out, but you usually have to pay for the gas
  • Jumping your battery
  • Locked out of your vehicle
  • Stuck in the snow or ice
  • Towing to a service station

Rental car insurance

Rental car insurance is an another one that is not always offered in a basic plan, but certainly should be Usually it will cover:

  • The cost of a daily rental car while your car is being fixed due to a car accident

Bodily injury insurance

Bodily injury insurance is generally used in accidents that you are deemed at fault for to pay for:

  • Death
  • Injury
  • Lawsuit
  • Sickness

Property damage insurance

Property damage covers somebody else’s property that you have damaged in an accident you are deemed at fault for. Some of the most common items are:

  • Hitting a parked car
  • Running into your neighbor’s house
  • Sliding into a neighbor’s mailbox

Uninsured motorist coverage

This coverage is extremely useful when you find yourself in an accident with someone who is either underinsured or uninsured. Your uninsured motorist coverage will pick up the slack and cover the remaining costs for injuries or damage to you and your car.

Medical expense insurance

Medical expense insurance is an extra buffer built into your car insurance plan to assist with health related issues occurring from a car accident. It helps to pay for things like:

  • Ambulance
  • Doctor visits
  • Funeral costs
  • Hospital stays
  • Medicine
  • Surgeries
  • X-rays

PIP insurance

Personal injury protection insurance is used to help people, other than yourself, who might have been injured in an accident.It covers things like:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of services
  • Lost wages
  • Medical treatment

GAP insurance

GAP insurance is for drivers who have purchased new cars. It helps to pay the difference between what the new car is now worth and what a replacement vehicle of the exact same year, make and model would cost.

Comparison sites

Now that you have a better idea as to what you should be comparing, the best way to do that is through the use of comparison sites.

I like to use a few of them, just to see if I find a difference in rates. Which does actually happen! A lot of times this is due to the fact that most of them give you a general ballpark quote, but you have to go through the final sign up process to get the final rate.

These types of sites include:

But, there are other sites that will give you cold hard facts, if you are willing to put in a bit more information. A couple of these are actually through the insurance company offering the car insurance and the other two aren’t the actual car insurance carriers.

These sites are:

To be honest, I usually start with the general ballpark quote sites just to get a broader idea of what I am looking at. And that way I don’t have to put in a ton of information, or risk getting phone calls from a lot of different agents and companies.

Once I have a better idea as to which companies might be able to offer me the best rates, for the best features, I dig in deeper.

best Car insurance rates summary

Overall, if you want to get the best car insurance rates, you are going to have to be willing to do a little work. Do your general comparison shopping first to narrow down companies of interest. Then, check into their offered features in their basic plans to see how they compare. Next, dig into the sites with real quotes, or go to the actual car insurance carriers website itself to get a real time quote.

If you are happy with your current carrier though, this may just be an exercise to help you reduce your rate or get better features added to your policy for no more money. Either way, what do you have to lose if it saves you money and can potentially get you more features? This is a win-win in my book!

What are some of the most effective ways you have found to get the best rates on car insurance?

6 Ways to Save Money Every Day

If you ever wonder where all your money goes, it could be the right time to have a look over your finances. Spending money is easily done, which is why it’s important to keep track of it so that you’re not going over your budget every month. There are many ways that you can save money every day, and for your convenience, we’ve listed a few ideas below. Read more