Category Archives: Money

Traveling on a Budget: Why Limited Income Doesn’t Have to Mean Limited Experiences

The idea that travelling the world has to be expensive is a myth. When done carefully, it’s absolutely possible to see the world without spending a fortune, which is good news for those of us who stick carefully to a budget every month. Saving for an international trip can take some time, but knowing that it’s possible to have great experiences on a low-budget trip is helpful.

Budget travel requires forfeiting some luxuries and conveniences, but it’s made up for in authentic experiences. You won’t be flying first class (in fact, you might be flying in a smaller than average seat on one of those budget airlines that would charge you for a beverage), you won’t be staying in a luxury hotel and eating at the finest dining establishments, but you will get an authentic look at a beautiful culture and get the privilege of engaging with its people on a more intimate level. These experiences are priceless.

Cutting Back Can Mean Authenticity

When travelling, it can be argued that the more you spend, the less authentic your experience within the culture will be. Spending more money, especially in a foreign country, will mean you’re staying in nicer hotels in nicer parts of the city, away from where the local people live and work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but one of the best parts of travelling is the opportunity to engage in a new culture. Travelling on a budget means you are likely going to be able to engage with the people and culture on a much deeper level.

While there’s nothing wrong with hitting up major tourist attractions and landmarks when you visit somewhere new, don’t spend all your time where the tourists flock. Strike up a conversation with someone on public transportation or at a restaurant and ask them where they’d recommend you go for an authentic cultural experience. Talking to people and getting to know why where they live is special to them will often lead to far richer experiences than Googling “things to do in ___.”

Engage With Locals

The best advice for eating in a new culture is to look for where the locals are eating and order whatever they’re having. Getting away from popular tourist areas to eat is a great practice when travelling. Not only will you be able to find more authentic (and often more delicious) food, but it will likely come at a much lower price. If you aren’t sure what exactly you ordered for lunch, that’s okay. Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Save With Hostels

If you’re travelling alone or with friends, hostels are probably the most affordable lodging option. A hostel dorm bed can sometimes costs as little as under $10 a night. While you have less privacy, you have more money to spend on other things than a mattress, pillow, and shower. Airbnbs are often very affordable in other countries as well, which is a great option for couples who would like a little more privacy or travelers who want a comfortable place to spread out and call home during their stay. You can also rent a room in a local person’s house, which is another fantastic way to intimately engage with a new group of people and understand their culture on a much deeper level.

Travelling can really cost as much or as little as you’d like, to an extent. It’s important to remember that no matter where you go, there is a unique culture full of beautiful people who all have a story. Spending less money on your travel and intentionally spending your time truly engaged with the culture will provide an experience of a lifetime with limited expense.

How A Family Can Survive On One Income

So your family is thinking about going from two incomes to one? Maybe you’re having a kid and one of you will stay home with the baby. It might seem scary to think about losing a big chunk of your family income. I know a lot of people feel like they can never make it work, but it is possible on almost any income.

It just takes work. It takes planning and, in many cases, sacrifices. What exactly does that look like? Follow these nine steps and your dream of staying home with your kids and making it on one income will become a possibility.

  1. Plan

Making this adjustment will require planning for most families. It can be pretty difficult to go from two incomes to one overnight so start living off one income before you make the change. See how you are doing. See what sacrifices you are making and how comfortable that is for you. And while you are doing this, you get to save.

  1. Get your finances in order

This means you should have a budget. A budget allows you to prioritize what is important and what isn’t. You should also be debt free (or close). Whether it’s credit cards, student loans, or something else, debt will just be a drag on your ability to make it on one income. And finally, have a secure emergency fund. Life will happen, and you don’t want to go back in debt when the hot water heater goes out.

  1. Live within your means

Your goal isn’t to keep up with the Joneses. It’s to stay home with your baby. Make sure your biggest expenses- such as your house, your cars or travel- make sense for your budget and your lifestyle. After all, what is most important to you?

  1. Buy used

Craigslist. Facebook marketplace. Consignment sales. Whether it’s big ticket items like cars or furniture or maybe it’s just clothes, particularly kid’s clothes, buy used. You’ll save big and after a few months (or less) you won’t notice the difference.

  1. Shop for deals

Outside of your rent or mortgage, think of other big expenses every month or every year. Homeowners insurance (if you own your house), auto insurance, health insurance. Put some time in to looking for the best deals for what you need. That savings could go a long way.

  1. Look for free entertainment

You need to get out of the house, but, fortunately, not everything that is fun costs money. Focus on the free entertainment around you. Parks. Libraries. State parks. Maybe you live near the beach or a lake. There is a lot your family can do and memories you can make without emptying your wallet.

  1. Side hustle

Just because you are staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t make money. Maybe your employer will let you do some side work. Maybe you can freelance. Or you can be part of a multi-level marketing team.  You can watch kids at your house. There are lots of options today.

  1. Have some fun money

While you are making sacrifices, you also need to have fun. It should be within reason but have money for a date night or a fun activity with the kids. Or maybe there is just something you love that you don’t need but you don’t want to give up. That’s okay. This will help you stay grounded.

  1. Remember your why

This is what will make staying at home possible. Why are you doing this? What is your reason for staying at home? If you think about that, especially during difficult times, it will make it all worth it.

There’s No Get Rich Quick Scheme to Build Wealth

Most people have a near-constant desire to keep up with our neighbors or what we see on television, to live a slightly more glamorous life. We might think our house isn’t big enough or our car isn’t fast enough. So we seek to attain a lifestyle that doesn’t fit our income or our budget.

With the right planning, you can achieve those goals and dreams. But there is no get rich quick scheme. There is no Nigerian prince who will give you two million dollars if only you give him your bank account information. There is no 2 a.m. infomercial that will make you a millionaire overnight.

But you can become a millionaire. You can win with money and become ridiculously wealthy. Even if you are solidly middle class and never make six figures.

The path to prosperity is paved by the choices you make today when you are planning for tomorrow. Here are proven strategies that will make you wealthy, beginning when you are 18 years old.

  1. Choose a College Major or Trade that Makes Sense

When you are just 18, you have your life ahead of you. There is nothing worse than spending four or five years in college, receiving a diploma and not knowing what you are going to do. Whether you are going to a four-year college or have a career lined up, choose wisely. And this is more than just choosing the career that will make you the most money tomorrow.

Look for a career field that is growing. Look for a career that is booming in an area you want to live. Find something you are passionate about and something that will provide value for a company. If you do that, you’ll be on the right track.

  1. Live Within Your Means

We are all familiar with the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” for a reason. We have an addiction to material possessions that we don’t really need just to impress our friends – and people who aren’t even our friends.

Have a budget. Live in a house that is right for you. Drive a car that will meet your needs. If you spend your life making a $500 car payment each month rather than putting that money into retirement, you will live to regret it. Is it really worth it?

  1. Begin Investing Today

The sooner you begin investing, the better it will be thanks to the magic of compound interest. Here are some numbers to keep in mind: If you invest $5,000 a year beginning at age 22, you can a little more than $2 million in savings if you work until you are 67 years old. And of that, you will have contributed just $200,000.

Oh, and if you wait until you are 30 because you think retirement is so far down the road, you will have about half that, a little over $1 million. Nice, but could be much better by planning earlier.

  1. Don’t Try to Get Rich Going into Debt

Investing in property is a great path to wealth. But it is something you should pay cash for. We often have this belief that you get rich by going into debt, and then going further into debt.

Perhaps you can, but you can also lose it all. The way most men and women become millionaires is by following the path we have outlined: Live within your means, work hard, invest and don’t go into debt.

  1. Think About the Future

People have criticized the book “The Millionaire Next Door” because they don’t think it is applicable today. That isn’t the case. It is more relevant than ever.

It just requires a major commitment and some sacrifice to see what the future can hold. Think about your life. Think about your family. Think about the generational change that can occur. No, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen because of the choices you made.