When Do You Pay Off Your Credit Card Bill? Pros and Cons of Paying Early vs. On Due Date, Setting Up Autopay

When it comes to managing credit cards, we all have a preferred method. It goes without saying that to be successful in this hobby, you must pay off your balance in full before the due date, but the exact time and frequency of payments varies person to person. Some pay before the statement closes, and others wait until the last minute of the due date. So, let’s go over some of the pros and cons of each card management style.

Make Sure to Pay Your Bills On Time

Credit card payment history contributes to a huge chunk of your overall credit score, or a whopping 35 percent to be specific, so it’s important to make all payments before their due dates. And I’m not talking about making a minimum payment. Technically, sending a check for the minimum balance due will contribute to the payment history in a positive way, but you’ll end up paying interest on the remaining balance. Rewards credit cards tend to carry especially high interest rates, therefore paying just the minimum amount will negate all your rewards and is not recommended.

Pros: Not paying interest

Cons: None

Paying Off Balance Before the Statement Closes

Consumers who use this method tend to stay on the cautious side and pay off their balance before the statement closes, sometimes multiple times per month. Although you won’t owe any interest on your card, which is the goal, you also won’t accumulate positive payment history. If the statement closes at $0, you technically owe nothing and the payment is not recorded by the credit bureaus, which get their information from lenders.

If you prefer paying off as much of your bill as possible in advance, it’s best to carry a small balance that is reported to the bureaus along with a full payment shortly after a statement closes. This will help you establish payment history, keep your credit utilization low and increase your score.

Pros: Keeping credit utilization rate low

Cons: No record of payment history

Cycling Your Credit

Sometimes lenders are fearful of offering a high credit line, especially to consumers with a thin credit file. If you apply for your first or second credit card, your credit line might be on the lower side. Let’s say it is $1,000, and you need to make multiple expensive purchases. If your first purchase is $800, you are now using 80 percent of your credit limit, which implies high risk.

To appear in control of your finances, you want to keep your credit utilization rate under 30 percent if possible. So, you can pay off the $800 before the statement closes and then use your card again to make another purchase. Doing this multiple times per month is called cycling your credit. You want to use this method if your credit line is low but you are 100 percent you can pay off your purchases in full right away. Just be careful and don’t let the statement close with a large purchase on your bill. This will increase your credit utilization rate and temporarily lower your credit score.

Pros: Keeping credit utilization rate low

Cons: Risk of not paying in full before statement closes

Paying Off Balance on Due Date

Some people like to hoard their money until the last day of the grace period. You may call it procrastination, but others call it investing. If you have money in a high-yield checking account, it might make sense to keep the money there for as long as possible to accrue a higher return. Of course, this only makes sense for accounts with high balances. You also need to be careful with your utilization rates. Racking up a huge credit card bill isn’t worth a credit score drop for a few extra bucks in your checking account.

Pros: Investing money elsewhere

Cons: High credit utilization rate

Setting Up Autopay for Credit Card Bills

This option really varies person to person. With different due dates, bonus categories and annual fees on each card, it can get rather overwhelming to keep track of everything. Setting up autopay for your bills can eliminate lots of stress, especially if you hold multiple rewards credit cards, but it also can backfire.

For example, if someone makes a fraudulent charge on your credit card and you don’t notice right away, the autopay might pay for something you didn’t buy. In my opinion, it’s easier to not pay for it in the first place than to jump though hoops trying to your money back after the fact. Not to mention the possibility of not having enough money in your checking account to cover the bill. Then you have to deal with overdraft charges from your financial institution.

Pros: Easy bill managing

Cons: Potential complications with fraud

How I Manage My Credit Card Bills

Now, after all of this, you might be wondering how I manage my credit card bills. I pay off every card in full the day I receive an email letting me know my statement is available. This way I don’t miss any payments, and everything gets reported to the credit bureaus. I pay everything manually and have not set up autopay on any of my cards for the fear of overdraft charges, just in case. This way I also can choose a checking account for that specific payment.

I’m curious. How do you manage your credit card bills? Please share your methods in the comment section below.

Everyone Worries About Money, Even The Wealthy

Here’s a refreshingly blunt quote from Scott Galloway’s article Yay Capitalism via It Is Always About The Money via Abnormal Returns:

Wealthy people claim they don’t think much about money. That’s bullshit; they are obsessed with money. The notion that rich people don’t think about money is an attempt to dampen resentment (e.g., revolution) from the 3.5B people who have fewer assets than the wealthiest 12 individuals. What, like, rich people got there because they are just so benign and talented, it just happened (oops, I’m rich)? People who tell you to follow your passion are already rich. They have doggedly pursued a path and have been obsessed with success for a long time. They want to sound inspirational and give you a sound bite, because the truth that success requires 60–80-hr weeks for several decades doesn’t get applause in graduation speeches.

Every wealthy person I’ve known measures their net worth in frightening detail, and often. You have to stay nimble, or you stand to lose a lot. We live in a capitalist society, and the amount of money you have is a forward-looking indicator of the effectiveness your healthcare, the comfort of your home, the harmony of your marriage, and the quality of your children’s education.

Regarding that last sentence, I might agree up to a certain level of wealth, but after that I don’t think better healthcare or a more comfortable home is the reason that the wealthy still keep worrying about money.

I think it’s just another weird artifact of human psychology. If we can keep making money, it’s really hard to stop. Most wealthy people still work. They may say that they just like work (“passion” again), and that may be true, but another major reason is they want to keep making money. Earning money provides a measure of self-worth. Earning money provides a sense of security. Certain jobs may come with respect and power. (They might say they would it for free, but they wouldn’t for long. Every job has annoying parts that you accept because of the money.) If the hardest part of retirement is building up the pile, the second hardest might be saying no to adding more to the pile.

Everyone Worries About Money, Even The Wealthy from My Money Blog.


© MyMoneyBlog.com, 2018.

9 Ways to Layout Your Gallery Wall

Helloooo gallery wall!

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been putting together a gallery wall for Frankie’s room. But rather than just art, I’ve been mixing prints with fabrics, tickets, keepsakes and various mementos. Kind of like a scrapbook on the wall! I even framed Frankie’s TINY pink hospital bracelet, which even though it’s such a simple piece my heart melts every time I look at it. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite gallery walls as inspiration, as well as nine ideas for how to style yours.

Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall
Gallery Wall

We’ve put together a few gallery wall ideas, which will hopefully inspire you when you’re putting your own together.

Gallery Wall

How to Choose The Right Gallery Wall Layout

Space Obviously one of the key elements of your gallery wall will be the space that you want to put it in, mainly in terms of the size of the wall. But don’t feel you have to fill the whole wall – you can do a vertical or horizontal section only if that works better or if your collection is limited.

Collection The types of frames and elements that you want to integrate will determine the best gallery layout, and whether it is symmetrical or more random in the layout. Rule of thumb? If you have similar sized frames or identical type pieces, go for symmetry, if you have more eclectic pieces a random design will be better.

Design When deciding on your gallery wall, think about the design of the room and how the art or collection will add to that. Also consider how the furniture and colour palette will work together.

Here are a few of my favourite gallery walls from around the internet. You can see that I’m really drawn to the mix & match layout! Stay tuned for the pics of Frankie’s wall, and a little how to.

 

Gallery Wall
Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall
Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall
Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall

Inspiring Via: Mor Til Mernee,  My Scandinavian Home, SF Girl By Bay, My Scandinavian Home, Cat Esthill, The Urbnite, The Every Girl.

Gallery Wall

The post 9 Ways to Layout Your Gallery Wall appeared first on A Pair & A Spare.

50 Things to do in Europe for €5 or less

Does Europe on the cheap sound too good to be true? We’re here to tell you that it is possible!

Beyond the fact that getting to Europe is truly cheaper than ever from the US (with crazy bargains on budget airlines), there are lots of ways to save once you’re across the pond, too.

You don’t need to empty your wallet for incredible city views, world-class art, and tasty cheap eats. So grab a handful of euros and come along as we tour across Europe.

Budget tips for traveling in Europe

Buying a SIM Card in Europe: The cheapest way to use a smartphone while traveling
Planning a trip to Europe? Avoid these 10 costly mistakes
8 Tips for finding cheap flights to Europe


50 Things to do in Europe on the cheap

To give you a taste of some of the best deals around Europe, we’ve gathered a list of some of our favorite things to do for €5 or less — even in pricier cities like Paris, London, and Rome. Check them out, organized by city below.

Paris

A trip to the City of Light is priceless. And pricey! One way to save is to stay at one of our favorite budget hotels in Paris. When it’s time to explore the city, stick to these cheap things to do in Paris:

1. Go treasure hunting at the world’s largest flea market

Bargain hunt at the world’s largest flea market, Paris’ Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. This seven-hectare behemoth showcases everything from antiques to second-hand books, but you’ll have to haggle (ideally in flawless French) for the best price. On the bright side, there’s no admission charge.

Related: Guide to shopping at the top flea markets in Paris

2. See world-famous art for free

Tour Paris’ most famous museums for free on first Sundays. Choose from the Louvre, the Musée de Orsay or Centre Pompidou for free (on first Sundays October through March). If you can’t make a first Sunday work, head to the studio of sculptor Constantin Brancusi (next door to Pompidou Centre) for a free option.

3. Picnic in the park with gourmet goodies

Pick up €5 worth of your favorite French delicacies at your market of choice and get away from it all at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in Paris’s Belleville neighborhood. Wander winding paths through lush greenery to find tranquil temples and striking waterfalls and cliffs. Or if you’re short on time, head to the Jardin du Luxembourg instead. Home to the first model of the Statue of Liberty, and within stumbling distance of city center, it’s gorgeous, if admittedly, a little less tranquil.

Related: 8 Great picnic spots in Paris

4. Take a selfie with sweeping views

Stroll through Montmartre all the way up to Sacre Coeur for sweeping views of the city. While you’re up there, don’t miss the Love Wall, where you can snap a selfie in front of the words “I Love You” in hundreds of languages.

5. Enjoy an outdoor film with a glass of wine

A movie and a bottle of red in the park? Yes, please. Make the most of summer in Paris by catching a free film at Parc de la Villette July and August. Make sure to grab a nice bottle of wine for €3 or less in a supermarket beforehand to keep you company. If you’re feeling really spendy, spring for a chair at €7.

6. Explore Paris’ largest cemetery

Père Lachaise is a joy to wander. Search out the tombs of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison among 100 acres of funerary art. Come at closing time to hear the guards ringing the bells, so you don’t get locked in for the night!


Millennium Bridge

Enjoy an evening walk across the Millennium Bridge. Photo: Miroslav

London

We love London but we don’t always love the exchange rate! Add these affordable things to do to your itinerary and check out our list of budget hotels in Central London.

7. Get one of London’s best vistas for free

Take a stroll across the Millennium Bridge over the Thames after the sun goes down to see the city all lit up. Right in front of you is the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral. And you won’t have to worry about traffic because the bridge is for pedestrians only.

8. Tour the Old Royal Naval College

Head to Greenwich to visit this riverside masterpiece by Sir Christopher Wren for free — open between 10 am and 5 pm (grounds from 8 am to 11 pm). You can even book a free 45-minute guided walk with a visit to the Victorian Skittle Alley, where you can learn to play a game with wooden cannonballs originally designed to entertain naval retirees.

9. Go back in time with a glimpse of Londinium

Make a point of seeking out the bits and pieces of London’s Roman wall that remain. Intended to keep the city safe by controlling access in and out, it’s all but disappeared but there’s a big piece at Tower Hill Station with the tower of London in the background. For more head to Historic UK’s piece on the walk complete with a map of stops on the route.

10. Visit the Bishop’s seat

Want a very historic but less crowded alternative to Buckingham Palace? Head to Fulham Place, a short walk from Putney Bridge Underground Station, home to the Bishop’s seat of London for over 1,300 years, with the oldest part of the current buildings dating back to 1495. Admission is free daily.

Related: 10 Tips for riding the Tube like a local

11. See the largest Catholic building in England & Wales

Skip the steep admission charge at Westminster Abbey in Favor of Westminster Cathedral. The striking neo-Byzantine building with its golden mosaics and red and white exterior is open to the public free of charge.

12. Examine priceless documents at the British Library

Get a closer look at the Magna Carta, original drawings by Da Vinci, and handwritten song lyrics by John Lennon for free at the British Library.

13. Spend a rainy day touring the British Museum

While all of the British Museum’s permanent collections are free and offer free tours, talks, and activities, we’d still recommend you make a donation as your budget allows. €5 to see the amazing artifacts and exhibits seem like a steal to us.

Related: 20 Free museums to see in London

14. Grab a snack at Camden Market

Sure, it’s very popular with tourists, but that doesn’t mean there are no deals to be had at Camden Market. You can still find a snack and some trinkets for a few pounds, you’ve just got to keep your eyes peeled. For a flat white and a slice of cake for around £5 — yes we know that depending on the exchange rate that’s a bit more than €5 — try the Coffee Jar, a few minutes on foot from the Market.

15. Graffiti hunt on Brick Lane

Brick Lane is the destination for London’s best street art. Afterwards, stick around for inexpensive Asian eats.

16. Fill up on cereal for breakfast

Starting at £2.60, you can fill a bowl up at Cereal Killer Café. They have all kinds from around the world. Or voyage back in time to your childhood and munch on pop tarts. Folks on a shoestring should stick to regular milk and British cereals for the best price.

17. Shop for books on the water

At Words on the Water, regularly priced paperbacks start at £3 pounds and make a great gift — you can impress the recipient by telling them that you bought it on a 100-year-old Dutch barge with a wood-burning stove floating on a London Canal.

18. Sip tea for free

Sample a cup of Twinings best teas while browsing the Twinings Tea Shop and Museum, the oldest tea shop in London.

19. Browse the wares at world’s oldest toy store

There are over 50,000 toys on seven floors at the historic Hamley’s location on Regent Street.

Related: A Budget guide to shopping in London

20.  See Shakespeare on a budget

Grab a standing-room-only ticket for £5 at the modern replica of the Globe Theatre next door to the Tate Modern.


Pantheon Rome

Did you know the Pantheon, one of Rome’s most famous attractions, is always free? Photo: Rodney

Rome

The Eternal City can be eternally expensive. Check in at one of the best affordable hotels in Rome and read up on our tips for saving in Italy, then head out to these affordable attractions. You’ll have plenty of euros left over for pasta and wine!

21. Look up in the Pantheon

The largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built is now a Catholic church dedicated to St. Mary and is free to visit. Yes, the Pantheon is worth a visit!

22. Gaze at masterpieces by Michelangelo for free

Queue up to see Michelangelo’s Pietà at St. Peter’s Basilica or head to Basilica di San Pietro at the Vatican instead and see a very buff Moses, also by the master in this 5th-century church.

Related: 10 Ways to save time and money at the Vatican

23. Ensure your return to Rome for spare change

Throw a coin into Trevi Fountain to guarantee you’ll be back to the eternal city — the value of the coin is up to you — but make sure to throw it over your shoulder with your back facing the fountain.

24. Explore a cemetery in Rome

Make your way to Cimitero Acattolico and find the final resting place of famous poets Keats and Shelley.

25. Savor a scoop of gelato

Whatever the time of year, or neighborhood you’re in, chances are you can have two scoops of gelato for €5 or less. So go ahead, indulge your sweet tooth. When in Rome….

26. Check out a Colosseum clone

You might want to skip the Colosseum in favor of a near replica, Teatro de Marcello, an ancient stadium that offers free entry without the crowds. If you must head to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, do it on the first Sunday of the month when it’s free, along with all state museums in Rome.

Related: 25 Free things to do in Rome

27. Enjoy free food with an aperitivo

Romans don’t like to drink on an empty stomach, so most local bars offer a happy hour or aperitivo — where an alcoholic beverage is the price of admission to a buffet of local treats. We like Freni and Frizioni with wine from €5.

28. Sip drinks by the fountain

Want to drink like a budget-conscious local? BYOB to Piazza della Madonna dei Monti. Just be forewarned, while enforcement is fairly lax, open containers are only legal until 10 pm. Get your wine for €5 or less at any supermarket during regular business hours of you’ll be stuck going to a 24-hour shop that is substantially more expensive.


Churros

Churros and chocolate is a Barcelona tradition you can enjoy for just a few euros. Photo: yosoynuts

Barcelona

Millions of visitors flock to Barcelona for good reason — the city is absolutely beautiful and the price is right if you stick to our cheapo tips. Save even more on your hotel bill at these top budget hotels in Barcelona. Need even more ideas? Read our Budget Travel Guide to Barcelona.

29. Treat yourself to churros and chocolate

Savor a rich cup of hot chocolate, the consistency of pudding, with a batch of freshly fried Churros on Peritxol Street in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. For atmosphere, service, and price, our favorite is Granja Dulcinea where a cup of chocolate and a small order of churros will run you just under €5. Don’t worry if you can’t make it there because most of the joints along this street are good.

Related: Cheapo guide to the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona

30. Wander the grounds at Barcelona’s oldest park

While the Garden Labyrinth is a little out of the way, these sprawling gardens with a neoclassical labyrinth featured in the movie, Perfume, are a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city center.  Admission is around €2 and free on Sundays and Wednesdays. The park is occasionally closed for maintenance, so be sure to check that it’s open before making the trip – it’s a bit of a trek.

31. Try a different kind of Spanish omelet

Have a slice of eggplant omelet and a beer at El Ombu, a neighborhood bar in Eixample. This hearty snack will run around €5, depending on the size of your beer. If they’re out of the eggplant omelet — by far their best tapa, try their tasty housemade ham croquettes. But if you’re snacking alone, ask for a half order. Check our more cheap eats in Barcelona.

32. Take in Spain’s best medieval art collection for free

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya is free Saturday after 3 pm and the first Sunday of every month. It features furniture designed by none other than Gaudí. Want to see moreGaudí? Check out our guides to Park Güell, Sagrada Familia, and Casa Batlló.

33. Climb up Turó de la Rovira

At the top of Turó de la Rovira, get an eyeful of Barcelona from a distance and check out the Carmel Bunkers — a battery built to defend the city from air attacks in 1938.

34. Barter for bargains at flea markets

For €5 or less, find something cool to take home at El Rastro de la Virgén in Raval or Els Encants in Glories. In both spots the key to a successful transaction is knowing what you’re willing to spend, offering less, and being prepared to walk away and circle back around. Bonus points and faster negotiation for folks who can manage to do so in Spanish or Catalan.

Related: 7 Phrases in Spanish to help you save in Barcelona

35. Take the Elevator to the top of Barcelona’s Gothic Cathedral

Time it right and you’re in for a sunset to remember for the bargain price of €3 from the roof of Catedral de Barcelona.

36.  See 17th and 18th-century ruins for free

at El Borne Centre de Cultura I Memòria

They were buried under El Borne’s market for centuries. If you’d like a closer look and guided visit—tours start at €5.50, depending on the day and information presented.

37. Taste one of Barcelona’s best kebabs

Kebabs are a popular street food in Barcelona. We recommend Bismilla Kebabish that serves up Shawarma with housemade pita bread from €3.50. We also like the Durum; it’s thinner bread that’s stuffed, rolled up,  and served burrito-style.


Reichstag

This view from the Reichstag is free… as long as you book in advance! Photo: Maria

Berlin

Cheapos have been flocking to Berlin for years because a lot of the best things to do are free! For a cheap and central hotel room, check out our favorite accommodations in Berlin and read up on our 50 best tips for saving in Germany.

38. Visit the German Parliament for free

This building designed by Norman Foster is a highlight of Berlin. You’ll have to book tickets before you go since it’s free and very popular, but it’s worth it to take a tour of the top of the Reichstag including an audio guide and excellent views of Berlin.

Related: How to save at Berlin’s top 10 attractions

39. Get up close and personal with the Berlin Wall

The East Side Gallery is not only the longest remaining section of the Berlin wall, it’s also an open-air art museum covered in murals. Want to learn more about the Wall? Read our 10 ways to explore the history of the Berlin Wall.

40. Visit Berlin’s Daimler Art Collection

This contemporary art museum is always free and features exhibits showcasing artists from around the world. If you need more affordable attractions, here’s a list of 15 museums that are free or under €10.

40. Buy a Berlin souvenir for less

Head to the Berlin flea markets for the best deals. Weekends only, check out Akronaplatz (for vintage wares) or amble over to Mauerpark for beer and people-watching with a more eclectic selection of goods.

Related: Tips for saving big on shopping on your trip to Berlin

42. Pose for pictures with the Brandenburg Gate

Easily the most iconic landmark in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate was originally erected as a royal city gate and topped with a sculpture of the winged goddess of victory driving a chariot. Before the city was reunified, people used to climb it to get a glimpse of the world behind the Iron Curtain and the wall.

43. Try Berlin’s most iconic dish

Most often eaten from food stalls on the street, Currywurst is a hot dog sliced and doused in spicy, curried ketchup that can be had almost anywhere in Berlin for around €2.50. At that price, you can even add fries! But whatever you do, be sure to order it boiled and naked (as in without skin) for the best texture.


Lisbon Tram

Hop on Lisbon Tram #28 for a cheap tour of the city. Photo: Miroslav

Lisbon

As you stroll around Lisbon, check out these free or cheap attractions to see art, tour the city, or try the local cuisine. Use our list of favorite cheap hotels in Lisbon to save even more.

44. Admire art by world-renowned artists for a few euros

At Colecção Berardo in the Lisbon suburb, Belèm, you can gaze on masterpieces by Picasso, Dalí, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and Mark Rothko for the bargain price of €5 or free on Saturdays.

45. See Lisbon’s Archeological nucleus

This relatively tiny but fascinating museum, Nùcleo museológico do Millenium BCP, is off the radar for most visitors, despite its location in the center of Lisbon’s Baixa neighborhood.That said, you will have to reserve ahead of time — guided visits are twice a week but the collection is worth the effort because it includes Roman-era fish tanks and the wooden pillars that keep central Lisbon from sinking and disappearing into oblivion.

Related: The best free things to do in Lisbon

46. Barter for Lisbon’s treasures at Feira de Ladra

Tuesday and Saturday mornings are perfect for people watching and bargain hunting at Feira de Ladra, a flea market selling everything from broken electronics to antiques from around Portugal and its former colonies.

47. Get on the water

For €1.25 each way, get a different vantage point of Lisbon on the ferry across the Tagus River from one of the two main terminals Cais do Sodre or Terreiro do Paço. On the other side, find a beer and seafood joint in Cacilhas (a traditional fisherman’s neighborhood) or grab bus 101 to the Cristo Rei statue.

48. Fill your plate on the cheap

Head to the Portuguese supermarket chain, Pingo Doce, for cheap eats. Many of these stores, like the one in Rossio in the city center, have a café that offers inexpensive local fare sold by the weight — for €5 you’ll get plenty, and if you’re really starving, double that, and you’ll get a multi-course meal with wine! Oh, an always ask for tap water with your order—it’s free, and locals do it too. Still hungry? Check out our tips for dining in Lisbon on a budget.

49. Tram around town

Hop tram 28 in Baixa and ride it all the way to the end of the line to take in the city’s best sights. You’ll go through historical Graça and Bairro Alto, finally hopping off at Estrela Basilica, built to commemorate the birth of a son and heir by Portugal’s Queen Maria I. A one-way ticket is a steal at €2.90. Go early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.

50. Escape Lisbon for the day

Get away from Lisbon’s bustling old town for a few hours. For €4.30 round trip, you can choose between the beachy fishing town, Cascais, or to the fairy-tale castle in Sintra, or for the price, if you have time, we’d recommend doing both. Check out this Sintra, Cascais and Coimbra itinerary for more details.


Your favorite cheap things to do in Europe

What are your favorite things to do in Europe for €5 or less? Have we left anything out? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 50 Things to do in Europe for €5 or less appeared first on EuroCheapo’s Budget Travel Blog.

Italy on the Cheap: Our favorite budget hotels in Siena

Located in the center of Tuscany, Siena is well-loved by tourists and locals alike. Throughout the city, you’ll find evidence of its medieval past.

Siena’s architecture and art are greatly celebrated, and there is no shortage of sights to see on your trip, from visiting a museum to taking a hike for sweeping views of the city.

Whether you plan to visit on a day trip or for an extended stay, this city will not disappoint!

Related: Our hotel guide and travel blog to Florence


The best budget hotels in Siena

Read on for our favorite budget hotels in Siena. And when you’re ready for a road trip through the Tuscan countryside, relax at these affordable accommodations.

A comfy common area at Casa di Osio.

Casa di Osio

Rooms from $69

With spacious, homey rooms and excellent views of the city, the Casa di Osio is an excellent pick for budget travelers. The cheapest rooms share very clean bathrooms. If you need anything at all, the kind owners are always willing to lend a hand. Book your stay here

It’s easy to fall in love with the rooms at B&B La Casa di Antonella.

B&B La Casa di Antonella

Rooms from $69

Get ready to fall in love. The B&B La Casa di Antonella, with its city views, central location, and art-flourished ceilings is an excellent choice for a home base. You can splurge for an en suite room, but the shared baths are immaculate. Read more

The view of Siena from Salicotto 56.

Salicotto 56

Rooms from $76

Located near many Sienna attractions, the Salicotto 56 offers simple, chic rooms at cheapo rates. The hotel offers a lovely guest kitchen, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Be sure to ask ahead for a room with a city view! Book your stay here

Natural light, AC and plenty of space make this room a steal at Ai Canapi B&B.

Ai Canapi B&B

Rooms from $81

With bright and cheery rooms, the Ai Canapi B&B is a welcoming spot with an owner, Lorenzo, who is more like a friend. Rooms are clean, comfortable and quiet, and Wi-Fi is free. In a short walk, you can reach the Siena Cathedral or the Piazza del Campo. Read more

You’ll be charmed by the decor at Hotel Antica Torre.

Hotel Antica Torre

Rooms from $87

Soak in the charm when you sleep in a 16th-century palace at this three-star charmer. All the big tourist attractions are nearby, but the real fun is in the old-world rooms. Treat yourself to one of the two rooms that provide sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside. Read more

Cheapo splurge

Hotel Athena

You can’t beat the view from the balcony rooms at Hotel Athena.

Hotel Athena

Rooms from $105

This four-star beauty is worth the extra euros. All 100 rooms feature contemporary Tuscan decor with satellite TV, air-conditioning, and Wi-Fi. Try to reserve a balcony room if they’re available. A nice breakfast buffet is included in the price, and you can relax with a drink on the patio with a classic Tuscan country view. Read more 

More Siena hotels

Read through our Siena hotel guide to find even more great deals on hotel rooms. You can also search for rates on dozens of Siena hotel and vacation apartment listings.

The post Italy on the Cheap: Our favorite budget hotels in Siena appeared first on EuroCheapo’s Budget Travel Blog.

How to Find the Balance Between Love and Money

love and money
Marc Anthony is credited with saying “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Many successful motivational speakers and businessmen like Warren Buffett tells young people to choose the job they’d pick if they didn’t need the money too.

But is it true? Does pursuit of a dream job always lead to success? There are plenty of people who don’t think so, and they’d warn you that blindly following this advice could not only lead to disillusionment, but becoming the proverbial “starving artist.”

Let’s face it – some of us have passions that aren’t very lucrative, but are rather known for low wages and long hours. Another problem is that most people’s dream careers fall within the same categories: the arts, environmental causes, and the nonprofit sector. This means highly competitive job markets that requires you to be extremely qualified and well-connected to be able to do what you love.

Skeptics of the “do what you love” mentality remind people that the definition of work is what you do to pay for the time and resources to do what you love. This doesn’t mean you should choose a boring 9 to 5 and settle for dreading Mondays, though. I think it’s possible to find a comfortable compromise between the two, and here’s how I recommend doing it.

find your passion

1. Find something you’re good at that has value to others.

Some of our passions aren’t tied to anything that will earn us a living, but some could be. The key is to identify the skills and abilities you have that are valuable, rare, or at least highly marketable and hone their money-making potential. With a truly marketable idea or product and some effort, you might even be able to turn it into a small business.

Get started on this train of thought by thinking about the things you do well, then thinking about how they could translate into products, professions, or services people are willing to pay hard cash for.

2. Don’t let stubbornness or idealism about your dream career derail you from doing what it takes to make money now.

We’ve all heard or known college graduates who, failing to find the perfect job or get in at a certain company, stubbornly refuse to take anything less. Meanwhile, their credit card bills get higher and they’re moving back in with mom and dad.

It’s easy to be so focused on a goal ahead of you that you endanger your finances and miss out on the potential to develop the things right in front of you. It’s not wrong to pursue your dream career, but is it making you devalue or underperform at the job you have now? Are you declining a better-paying job that’s right in front of you because it will mean being “untrue” to your passions?

3. Find meaning in an “imperfect” career.

If you take that advice and secure the job that’s less than perfect but pays the bills, don’t fall for the trap of thinking you’ll be stuck forever. Don’t even see it as time wasted. Find meaning by considering the gig as time spent developing useful career-applicable skills like discipline, thoroughness, or good communication — things that will always pay off, no matter where you work or what you do.

4.Choose a job that allows you to enjoy your hobbies.

Even if you are lucky enough to pursue your passions in a work setting, don’t be surprised to find that they become just that – work. It’s better to be doing what you love for a living, maybe, but anyone who runs their own business will tell you it’s not the same. It’s still work. That’s why it’s important not to limit the pursuit of your passions to your career. Do this by choosing a job that leaves space, time, and energy for simply enjoying your hobbies and passions without the pressure of production, deadlines, or earnings.

David’s Note: Don’t forget that doing what you love doesn’t have to mean being set on the line of work you can pursue. We can be in love with our work if the mission of the company is one we truly believe in. We could also love our job if the work environment is pleasant. Many people also love their work when they are competent and feel appreciated at the workplace. Loving your job is more than skin deep. Don’t give up on finding work that you love even though you may not think you are working at something you enjoy. Working at a different company can change everything for the better.

Jessica also brings up a good point about finding work that leaves you time to enjoy what truly makes you happy. Let’s say you are given the choice to choose between job A that is okay but pays a bundle of money, and job B that is great but pays barely anything. The right choice may actually be job A for some people because the first option lets you use the extra income to make your life more comfortable. You could even save a whole lot faster and retire earlier with extra income, giving you even more time to pursue your passions later in life.

There’s no right answer, partly because it depends on what you’ll do with that extra income. Will you actually reap the rewards of higher income by saving the sum to propel you to financial freedom? Or will you end up wasting it just on impulse purchases because you always feel stressed about that “okay” job? Weight the consequences and make sure you are honest with yourself and what you are willing to do.

I’m still learning all of this in the process, but I think there’s hope for a happy medium between doing what you love and learning to love what you do, whatever it is.

DIY Embroidered Straw Bag

Remember my obsession with vintage souvenir bags last year? Well, the fixation hasn’t subsided and I suddenly had the crazy idea of DIYing my own this summer. To be honest, this spontaneous decision with met…

What You Need To Know About Student Credit Cards

Before my husband and I got married, we had a conversation about merging our finances. I wasn’t too worried about his financial habits – he’s always lived a  frugal lifestyle – but I wanted to know how compatible we were. I was more than a little surprised to find out he had no credit score.  

As it turns out, he had avoided getting a credit card all through college because he was scared of falling into debt. The way he saw it, there was no reason to use credit if he only made purchases he could afford with cash. That may sound responsible, but it took us over six months of using a prepaid card to build his score enough for a traditional card. Years later, we were able to use our stellar credit scores to help qualify for our first mortgage. 

Things worked out for us, but it would have been a lot easier if he had started using a credit card while in college. The student credit card is designed exactly for this purpose – here’s what you need to know about them. 

Why Get a Student Credit Card? 

If your parents are covering most of your expenses and you already have a debit card, why do you need a credit card? After all, isn’t a credit card just an easy way to get into debt? That may be partially true – and a misused credit card is absolutely the quickest path to financial ruin – but it can also be the best way to build credit. 

A student credit card is like a starter pack for your financial life. It’s not the shiniest, flashiest card with the best features, but it will help build your credit score. It might also be a better choice for you than a secured card or a prepaid credit card. 

Even if you don’t believe in taking out loans, a healthy credit score is necessary for navigating life. Almost every landlord will run your credit and won’t approve your application if you don’t have a good score. If you eventually try to buy a house or take out a car loan, you’ll need a solid score for that too. Even the hiring process sometimes involves divulging your credit score.

When you have a student credit card, payments are reported to one or all three of the main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Every time you pay your bill, the card issuer notifies the credit bureau. Those transactions become a report card that adds up over time. 

It can take less than a year of on-time payments to build a successful credit score, so it’s not impossible to leave college with respectable credit. Having a good score before you graduate is a good start for a successful financial life post-college. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores qualifying for the best rates and loan products. Once you reach a 700 score, you might decide to apply for a credit card with better features. 

How to Qualify for a Student Credit Card 

To qualify for a student credit card, you have to be a current college student. You also need to provide proof of income to the card issuer. Scholarships, grants or work-study don’t count as income, but part-time jobs do. If you’re under 21 and don’t have a job, you can ask a parent to cosign on the card. Remember, when a parent cosigns it means they’ll ultimately be responsible if you default on the card with an outstanding balance.  

To look up your credit report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com. You’ll find credit reports from all the credit bureaus, showing any current or past forms of credit. That includes student loans, auto loans, personal loans and any other debt product.

Even if you’ve never taken out a loan before, it’s wise to check your credit report every once in a while. Identity theft is common, and thieves can open new lines of credit in your name for years before you find out. The sooner you discover any problems or mistakes on your credit report, the sooner you can fix them.  

If you get denied for a student credit card, look into a secured credit card that requires a deposit to act as collateral. A secured card is another stepping stone to building good credit. Another option could be to become an authorized user on the credit card of someone you trust (such as a parent), which allows you to piggyback off their responsible spending. 

How to Use One Responsibly  

A credit card is a tool, not a toy. A credit card is not an excuse to buy a new laptop, take a weekend trip or go on a shopping spree. All the money you charge on a credit card will be your responsibility, whether you pay for it now or later.  

When you look at your credit card statement, there are three figures you’ll want to take a look at (in addition to scanning the transactions). One will be the statement balance, which is the total of your balance when the billing period ended. One number will be the minimum amount due, which is how much you need to pay to stay current. The third figure will be the current balance, which is the balance owed on the card the day you look at it. 

Ideally, you should pay the statement balance or current balance every time the credit card bill is due. If you pay the minimum or less than the statement balance, you’ll be charged interest fees on the remaining sum (unless you received an initial 0% APR rate).  

Interest on a credit card can add up quickly because of how the minimum amount is structured. The minimum amount is usually between 1-3% of the total bill. If your balance is $500, your minimum bill might be $15.  

A credit card balance is a revolving debt, which means there’s no set deadline on when you need to repay the money in its entirety. If you only make the minimum payment every month and keep using the card, you could be in debt for years and pay hundreds (at a minimum) in interest. 

It’s also recommended to keep your utilization under 30% of the total available credit as higher utilization could result in a lower credit score. For example, if your credit limit is $1,000, to stay under 30%, you don’t want to charge more than $300 before paying it down. When you utilize more than 30% of your credit, credit bureaus might start to think you’re using a credit card to fund an unsustainable lifestyle. 

A great way to use a student credit card responsibly is to put one small recurring bill on the card, like your cell phone or internet bill. Then, you can set up automatic payments to the credit card from your bank account. This way you won’t ever miss a bill or spend more than 30% of your available credit. 

What are the Downsides? 

Student credit cards are a great option for young people with no credit, but they don’t offer the same range of rewards that other cards do. You’re unlikely to earn a free trip to Miami with a student card, for example. Ideally, a student card would be used just long enough to improve your score and qualify for a better credit card. 

Student cards also carry the same inherent risk as other forms of credit, in that they can be a gateway to debt. Swiping a credit card is easy and mindless, especially if you don’t check the balance until the statement comes. Plenty of young people have learned this lesson the hard way, setting themselves up to struggle in early adulthood – or saddling their parents with an undue financial burden. 

Student credit cards also can have higher interest rates, which means any revolving debt will accumulate more debt at a higher rate. That’s why it’s important to transition to a traditional card as soon as possible. 

How to Compare Student Credit Cards 

Not every student credit card is the same. Each has their own set of fees, benefits and drawbacks. Here are the best ways to compare student cards before finding the best one for you. 

APR

The APR is the card’s annual interest rate. Credit cards only charge interest if you don’t pay the balance in full, which means you don’t have to worry about the APR unless you won’t be able to pay the full bill every month. 

Some cards offer 0% APR for a certain amount of time, usually around six months. During that period, you can only pay the minimum amount and not be charged interest. Be familiar with the details of your introductory rate, for example, if you pay a bill late, the 0% offer may be revoked and you’ll be charged back interest for previous billing cycles. 

Annual Fee 

Some card issuers charge an annual fee, between $25 and $99. Avoid getting a card with an annual fee if possible.  

Rewards 

Credit cards often have rewards, such as cash-back on certain categories or points you can redeem for merchandise, travel and more. Pick the rewards system that works best for you. If you travel a lot, cash-back on travel purchases makes more sense than 5% cash-back at grocery stores.  

Be sure to understand the cash-back or rewards policy thoroughly. Some require you to manually sign up or activate the cash-back beforehand in order to get credit for your purchases. 

Sign-up bonus 

Some credit cards provide sign-up bonuses, like a $100 bonus when you spend $500 in three months. This is a one-time benefit and only available for new customers. Be cautious of spending the required amount unless you know you can pay it off. Rewards and bonuses are canceled out when you carry a balance and pay interest.

Credit Limit 

Most student credit cards have low credit limits, often around $500. A credit limit is how much money you’re allowed to charge on the card. The higher the limit, the more money you have access to. 

Other Perks 

Some student credit cards come with free perks, such as free credit score notifications or identity theft monitoring. Each of these benefits varies based on the card. 

The post What You Need To Know About Student Credit Cards appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Vanguard 10-Year Expected Asset Class Returns (2018)

I was surprised to read the NY Times article Vanguard Warns of Worsening Odds for the Economy and Markets. Everything is written very carefully so that there is no “prediction” that could be called “wrong” later on, but at the same time if there is a future recession, they will appear to have been “right”. I didn’t know that Vanguard did these sort of economic predictions or that they were deemed so noteworthy. Read it for yourself, but mostly it just sounds like the same drum I’ve been hearing for years.

Now, you could view this article as encouraging market timing (sell stocks now!), or it could be a prudent reminder to rebalance and assess your risk exposure (sell a little stock now? maybe?). The latter is always a good idea, so let’s be generous and call it that. I wonder what Jack Bogle thinks. I mean, the title of his upcoming book about the history of Vanguard is Stay the Course.

For posterity, I wanted to record their expected 10-year (annualized) returns for the following asset classes (as of mid-2018):

  • US Stocks 3.9%
  • International Stocks 6.5%
  • US Total Bond (Corporate + Government) 3.3%
  • International Bonds 2.9%
  • Commodities 5.9%
  • US Treasury Bonds 3%
  • Cash 2.9%

In another Vanguard economic outlook, I read that they also project inflation to run slightly under 2% annualized.

Vanguard 10-Year Expected Asset Class Returns (2018) from My Money Blog.


© MyMoneyBlog.com, 2018.

8 Unique Ways to Preserve Your Holiday Memories

Most of us take quite a few photos when we travel. We do so because we really want to remember the good times we have had while exploring the globe.

The only problem is that we rarely find the time to get them out and enjoy them.

As a result, it is all too easy for your travel memories to fade.

To help you to make sure that does not happen, I have put together a few suggestions. They are all easy and cheap to do, so let’s get stuck in…


Related Posts

#1 Map Out Where You Have Been

Travel Map and Camera

Keeping track of all of the places you have been lucky enough to visit on a world map is an effective way of remembering where you have been.

Firms like the canvas printing company sell some really nice versions, which would look fantastic on your wall.

Importantly, they are specifically designed to have pins pushed into them.

If you want to you could use different colour pins to indicate what type of holiday you were on when you visited that place (for example, blue for skiing holidays, gold for surfing trips and red for a hiking adventures.)

Another approach is to use different colour pins to denote the year you visited each destination.

 

#2 Use Your Photos to Create a Picture Wall

Polaroids

Putting some of your photos on display is a really good way to make sure you remember your favourite travel destinations… and there are lots of ways for you to do this.

You could simply pick up lots of small picture frames from charity shops and put a photo in each of them. Once you have enough you can arrange them in pleasing patterns, on your walls.

Another approach is to make copies of your photos and stick them all over your fridge door.

To make sure it is still easy to keep your fridge clean, just apply sticky back plastic over the top or lacquer it.

But only do this if you are prepared to leave those photos in place for the long-term!

In theory, you can strip the photos off and return your fridge to its former state at any time. But, I cannot guarantee that this will be possible!

 

#3 Order Customized Photo Items for your Home

These days, you can have your special images incorporated into all kinds of household items, like mugs, phone covers, and bedding.

 

#4 Get Decorating!

If you are not a particularly big traveller, do not worry because you can still create travel themed decorative items and use them in your home.

For example, cover large baubles in pages from an atlas and coat them with a transparent lacquer.

You will find plenty of inspiration on places like YouTube, craft forums and Pinterest.

 

#5 Create a Physical Scrapbook

travel scrapbook

Creating a traditional scrapbook is easy, especially if you add a few pages each time you get back from your travels.

Sitting down and going through that book with someone is a lovely way to while away a couple of hours. It is fun as well as relaxing.

There are several approaches you could take.

One of the best is to buy an old style photo album for each trip or place you visited and fill it with a combination of photos and written text.

Taping a pen drive to the inside cover with all of the relevant videos and photos of your trip on it will enable you to keep a complete picture of each experience.

If you like to keep physical reminders, for example, exhibit tickets and souvenirs from your travels just buy yourself a box file for each trip.

You can easily stow this on your bookshelf alongside your physical travel journal.

If you bring back big items, e.g. a rug from Turkey, take a photo of where you bought it and one of the actual item.

You can then either include these in your travel journal or put a copy of the photo in your box file.

 

#6 Use a Travel Journal App

Travel Couple

There are now several travel journal apps available. You just need to download the one you like and use it to keep a record of each of your trips.

Provided you continue to pay the subscription fee, you will be able to share your travel photos, notes, videos and audio files with your loved ones.

Plus, of course, you will be able to dip in and out of your travel experiences whenever you want.

 

Download Your FREE eBooklet
5 Great Reasons to Work & Travel + Tips

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#7 Make Presentations About Your Travels to Local Groups

If you have travelled to exotic places you could potentially put together a presentation of your experiences and share them with local clubs and / or associations.

In some areas, scout groups, travel meet-ups and organisations like the Women’s Institute will be interested in your sharing your experiences with their members.

Potentially, you can also upload them online to places like Slideshare, or even turn them into an e-book or some YouTube videos.

The latest software makes this surprisingly easy to do.

 

#8 Set up a Travel Blog

Travel Blog

Setting up a travel website is surprisingly easy to do.

Potentially, you could use a free platform like Blogger to do this.

Uploading your photos and videos as you go alongside a few words about each experience is a really efficient way to keep your travel memories organised.

Plus, provided you maintain your website, you and your friends will always have access to your travel memories.

Of course, there are more ways to save your travel memories, so you can enjoy them for years to come, but, these are by far my favourite methods.

What about you?

How do you preserve your travel memories?

The post 8 Unique Ways to Preserve Your Holiday Memories appeared first on Big World Small Pockets.

Be Careful When Changing Your Car Reservation

I’m not normally too big on renting cars, but occasionally it’s a necessity. On a recent trip to Seattle, I knew I wanted to get out of the city to explore some of the Olympic Peninsula, so I wasn’t going to get away without renting a car. The details of the end of the time in Seattle were a little up in the air when I locked in my car rental reservation.

I was able to get a rental with Hertz for around $250 for a week. This is a little higher than my ideal car rental price of around $30 per day, but wasn’t too much more expensive to make me reconsider my plans.

After spending a lovely week hiking in different parts of Olympic National Park, I had finally figured out the details of the last couple of days in the city, and realized that it made way more sense to drop the car off at a downtown rental location. Typically, there is no drop fee or it’s really small when picking up a car at the airport and dropping in a nearby city. I called ahead to make the change and was told that the fee would be an additional $29. Considering it was going to save me some time and a fair amount of hassle, I decided to make the change.

Fast forward to actually dropping off the car, and the price on my bill was about $90 more. I pretty much always expect something to go wrong with car rentals, so this really didn’t surprise me. I talked to the lady who was working at the counter, but the location was a non-corporate location and she was unable to get the issued solved then and there. She did, however, open up a support ticket and give me a number to call for followup.

When I arrived at the hotel, I had a chance to take a look at my original bill and my new bill and was finally able to figure out what went wrong. Hertz had dropped a coupon off of my account when they made the change to my reservation!

This lesson reinforced to me that car rental companies take every chance they can to rip off customers and that it’s always necessary to check and double check your bill after finishing a car rental, especially if you make a change to your reservation.

Have you ever made a chance to a car rental reservation and had something weird happen?

LIVE WELL: Double Cleanse


I’ve been hearing the phrase “double cleanse” more and more lately, so I thought I’d weigh in with a LIVE WELL installment on the topic.

Double cleansing is the very trendy thing to do right now when it comes to skincare. All the big magazines and beauty resources are raving about it—I’m sure you’ve seen it. And if they allllll say it’s good, it probably is. But IMO, the key to quality skincare is simply listening to your skin and giving it what it needs in that moment. Sometimes that’s two cleansers, sometimes that’s one. Whatever works best for you!

But how did this even become a thing? Well, with the increasing popularity of Korean beauty, double cleansing, one of K-beauty’s most well-known rituals, rose in the charts to become one of the most important steps in one’s skincare routine.

The pros over at Allure spoke to a dermatologist that suggested thinking of it as first lifting the dirt, grime and pollutants and then washing them away. The same dermatologist also recommended first using an oil-based cleanser or micellar water—something that will really “lift” the impurities. For your second cleanser, it’s suggested to use something that’s super gentle and lathers nicely.

It’s also important to note that the main benefit of double cleansing is that products can really be more effective when applied to an already clean face, so having that first cleanser to remove and the second to penetrate is never a bad thing.

What’s been your experience with double cleansing? Is it something you practice regularly? I’m into trying!

The post LIVE WELL: Double Cleanse appeared first on because im addicted.

Five Wishes: A Living Will That Goes Beyond Just Prolong / Do Not Prolong Life

People don’t like talking about money. That’s why I started this site. You know what people like talking about even less? Death.

My wife and I have already filled out a generic advanced health directive, but I recently ran across something that seems better. Five Wishes helps you document how exactly you wish to be treated if you get seriously ill in an approachable, holistic manner. In addition to choosing a healthcare proxy and filling out an advanced healthcare directive, it also guides you beyond that. Do you want people to pray for you? Do you want people to talk to you, even if you are unconscious? Do you want to die at home if possible? How do you envision your funeral?

  • Wish 1: The Person I Want to Make Care Decisions for Me When I Can’t.
  • Wish 2: The Kind of Medical Treatment I Want or Don’t Want.
  • Wish 3: How Comfortable I Want to Be.
  • Wish 4: How I Want People to Treat Me.
  • Wish 5: What I Want My Loved Ones to Know.

You can easily find “free” advanced healthcare directives online, but a lot of them pretty much come down to a checkbox of “prolong life no matter what” or “do not prolong life”. The best way to understand how Five Wishes is different is to read through this sample document [PDF].

In 42 states, Five Wishes meets the legal requirements for an advance directive. In the remaining 8 states (Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Utah), you will need to fill out some specific additional forms or mandatory notices to make it legal. Often it’s just an official form you have to attach.

There is a nominal fee of $5 for both the paper and online versions. Five Wishes was created by someone who worked in a hospice and realized that there are a lot of common questions to which your loved ones must often guess the answer. Why not answer them now? It is an enormous gift to both yourself and to them.

Five Wishes: A Living Will That Goes Beyond Just Prolong / Do Not Prolong Life from My Money Blog.


© MyMoneyBlog.com, 2018.

7 Reasons Your Neighbors Have More Money Than You

neighbors make more money

You look out the window of your home each night after dinner, staring across the street at your neighbors. You long for their fancy cars, their manicured lawns, and even the vacations they seem to take several times a year.

You’re not alone.

I often look out my window, too — staring at the gorgeous homes and cars — wondering how they manage to pay for them. After all, we live in the same neighborhood, our kids go to the same schools, and their salaries aren’t that much more than ours.

There are several reasons that our neighbors can afford so many of the things we would love to have, but could never fathom splurging on:

1. Perception Is Everything

Your perception may be skewed. You see fancy cars in the driveway, and you can almost feel the trim lawns under your toes. You watch work crews constantly going in and out as they work on awesome remodeling projects inside. Yet, none of this means that your neighbors are wealthier than you are.

Just because YOU see them as more affluent doesn’t mean they ARE.

You’re only able to see the surface of their spending; you have no idea what’s happening underneath.

2. Allocation Is Essential

While you choose to consistently save money for your kids’ education, and for your retirement, they could be spending these “excess funds” on their cars and homes. They might be making the shallow choice to spend their money on what people can see, while you’re spending your money on the life you want to live, both today and tomorrow. You’ve chosen to pay for peace of mind.

It’s how your neighbors allocate their income that makes them seem richer than they are.

neighbors and money

3. Perks Matter

While your neighbors’ salaries might be slightly higher than yours, it likely isn’t enough to justify their massive leap in spending. Fringe benefits, however, can greatly widen the gap. They could be receiving perks like cars, phones, or laptops; these can give the recipient an amazing leg up when it comes to freeing money for other pleasures.

4. Luxuries of the Mature

As families mature, houses get paid off and savings grow. Even if your children attend the same school, their children are older, and the adults have a few years on you, as well. They very well could have spent those few extra years making payments on their house and putting money in the bank — giving them a huge advantage. Just imagine how much more financial freedom you would have if you didn’t have to manage your monthly mortgage.

5. Their Lives Might Be Plastic

Your neighbors might worship the power of the plastic. While you’re smart enough to understand the headaches of undisciplined credit, your neighbors might be living carelessly — buying short-term luxury today in exchange for a meager tomorrow.

6. They Know Where to Find Deals

I consider myself a connoisseur when it comes to finding great deals on groceries and kids clothing. Perhaps your neighbors also know something about finding deals on the things they need, which frees up more money for things they want.

7. They Pay for Their Immediate Wants First

Your neighbors could also have more money than you do because they prioritize differently, and pay for projects and luxuries from their savings.

While my neighbors may or may not make more money than me, I don’t let it influence the way that I live.

I spend money in the way that’s most important for my family and me — both for a better, more comfortable today, and for a brighter tomorrow.

As “The Millionaire Next Door” and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” point out, those that use their money for homes, cars, and clothes are spending on material items and living on “rented” lifestyles. Instead of building assets, these people are living on liabilities, and that can be a dangerous mindset.

You don’t have to live like a king today if it means you’re going to live like a pauper tomorrow.

It doesn’t matter what the Jones’ are doing. Not now, or ever. Save where you can, spend where you need, and live a life you want.

Have you ever struggled to keep up with the Jones’? How did you manage? 

Costco Coupon Deals for August 2018

Costco Coupon Deals

The new Costco Home Mailer Coupon Booklet deals start Thursday August 9th and run through Sunday September 2nd. Here’s a list of our favorite deals (along with the prices!).

Deals listed in the Costco Home Mailer Booklet are actually rebates — no coupon clipping needed! You will get the deal automatically at checkout. The only thing you need to note is the rebate limit — some are unlimited and some limit the discounts you can get in a single trip.

While Costco doesn’t accept manufacturer’s coupons, you can get cash back from two smart phone savings apps:

Just download the apps and browse for offers available at Costco!

On to our favorite deals! The prices listed reflect your final price at checkout (shelf price minus the rebate).

{GROCERY DEALS}

Raw Seasoned Pork Ribs on sale $2 off per package (no limit)

barkTHINS Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt (20 oz) on sale $6.79 (limit 10)

belVita Cinnamon Brown Sugar Biscuits (30 ct) on sale $8.39 (limit 10)

Food Should Taste Good Organic Multigrain Tortilla Chips (24 oz) on sale $4.99 (no limit)

Frito-Lay Classic Mix (54 ct) on sale $9.69 (limit 5)
*Just $.18 per bag!

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers (45 ct) on sale $6.99 (limit 5)

meiji Hello Panda Chocolate Creme Filled Cookies (32 ct) on sale $5.39 (limit 10)

Nature Valley Crunchy Oats n’ Honey Granola Bars (49/2 pack) on sale $8.99 (limit 4)

Oberto Original Beef Jerky (2/9 oz) on sale $9.99 (limit 4)

Pure Protein Bars Variety Pack (21 ct) on sale $13.99 (limit 15)
*Just $.66 per bar!

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats Original (60 ct) on sale $7.69 (limit 6)
*Just $.12 each!

Welch’s Fruit Snacks (80 ct) on sale $7.99 (limit 4)
Buy 2, Get $1 Checkout 51 cash back offer
Buy 2
Pay $15.98, Get $1 cash back from Checkout 51
$7.49 each after instant savings and Checkout 51 offer
*Less than $.10 each

Best Foods Mayonnaise (64 oz) on sale $4.99 (limit 6)

General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal (2/24.75 oz) on sale $4.89 (limit 4)

Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds (2/24 oz) on sale $3.99 (limit 4)

Nutella & Go! (16/1.8 oz) on sale $9.79 (limit 5)

Materne GoGo SqueeZ Organic Applesauce Variety Pack (20/3.2 oz) on sale $7.99 (limit 10)
*Just $.39 each!

Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts (24 oz) on sale $9.99 (limit 3)

Season Skinless & Boneless Sardines in Olive Oil (6 ct) on sale $6.99 (limit 24)

Seeds of Change Organic Brown & Red Rice with Chia & Kale (6 ct) on sale $7.99 (limit 2)

Tasty Bite Vegetable Tikka Masala (8/10 oz) on sale $7.49 (limit 10)

Chobani Greek Yogurt Variety Pack (20/5.3 oz) on sale $9.99 (limit 6)
*Just $.49 per cup

CJ Bibigo Chicken & Vegetable Steamed Dumplings (36 ct) on sale $7.99 (no limit)

Nestle Drumstick Variety Pack (16 ct) on sale $6.49 (no limit)

Kellogg’s Eggo Homestyle Waffles (72 ct) on sale $6.99 (no limit)

Imuraya Mochi Ice Cream Variety Pack (18 ct) on sale $7.89 (no limit)

Tyson Panko Chicken Nuggets (5 lbs) on sale $8.49 (no limit)

Hillshire Farm Naturals Honey Ham (3/11 oz) on sale $6.59 (no limit)
*Great price, great quality lunch meat. Perfect for back to school!

Rana Tagliatelle Grilled White Chicken & Portabello Mushroom Sauce on sale $3 off (no limit)

Kirkland Signature Mix & Match Danish (2/4 pack) on sale $6.49 (no limit)

{BEVERAGE DEALS}

Kirkland Signature Fair Trade Certified K-Cup Pods (120 ct) on sale $31.99 (limit 5)
*Just $.26 per pod!

Red Bull Energy Drink (24 ct) on sale $28.99 (limit 2)
*Just $1.20 per can!

SunnyD Tangy Original with Sport Cap (30 ct) on sale $7.99 (limit 5)

Gatorade Variety Pack (28 ct) on sale $9.99 (no limit)

S. Pellegrino Sparkling Mineral Water (15/750 mL) on sale $13.99 (limit 4)

Smartwater (15/1L) on sale $12.29 (limit 5)
*Just $.81 per bottle, which is AWESOME

Folgers Classic Roast Ground Coffee (51 oz) on sale $7.99 (limit 5)

Starbucks Frappuccino (15/9.5 oz) on sale $13.79 (limit 10)
*Just $.91 per bottle!

Starbucks Pike Place Medium Roast 100% Arabica K-Cup Pods (60 ct) on sale $29.99 (limit 5)
Buy 2, Get $4 Checkout 51 cash back offer
Buy 2
Pay $59.98, Get $4 cash back from Checkout 51
$27.99 each after instant savings and Checkout 51 offer
*Just $.46 per pod

Sambazon Organic Acai Superfruit Juice (64 oz) on sale $5.59 (no limit)

{CLEANING AND LAUNDRY}

Bounce Dryer Sheets (2/160 ct) on sale $7.99 (limit 2)

Ultra Downy April Fresh Fabric Conditioner (197 loads) on sale $9.59 (limit 2)

Downy Unstopables or Fresh Protect (30.3 oz) on sale $11.49 (limit 2)

Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent Refreshing Scent (126 loads) on sale $11.69 (limit 3)

Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent Free & Clear (126 loads) on sale $10.99 (limit 3)

Oxi Clean Versatile Stain Remover (290 loads) on sale $12.99 (limit 5)

Tide Advanced Power HE Liquid Laundry Detergent (81 loads) on sale $15.99 (limit 2)

Woolite Laundry Detergent (75 loads) on sale $12.49 (limit 5)

Clorox 2 Max Performance Stain Remover & Color Booster (82 loads) on sale $9.99 (limit 5)

Cascade Advanced Power Gel (125 oz) on sale $7.49 (limit 2)

Dawn Platinum Advanced Power Liquid Dish Soap (90 oz) on sale $7.79 (limit 2)

Finish Max in 1 Plus Dishwashing Detergent on sale $11.89 (limit 5)

Finish Jet-Dry Plus Rinse Aid (32 oz) on sale BOGO (2/$9.99, limit 5 offers)

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes (5/78 ct) on sale $11.49 (limit 5)

Scotch-Brite Sponges Heavy Duty or Non-Scratch (21 ct) on sale $9.79 (limit 5)

Swiffer Dusters (28 ct) on sale $11.69 (limit 2)

Swiffer Sweeper Wet Cloths (64 ct) on sale $12.59 (limit 2)

Swiffer Sweeper Dry Cloths (86 ct) on sale $12.59 (limit 2)

{PAPER PRODUCTS}

Dixie Ultra Paper Plates (10 1/16″ 186 ct) on sale $12.99
Dixie Ultra Paper Plates (8.5″ 285 ct) on sale $13.49 (limit 2)

Ziploc Freezer Quart (216 ct) on sale $10.39
Ziploc Sandwich Bags (580 ct) on sale $8.39
Ziploc Slider Variety Pack (166 ct) on sale $10.39 (limit 5)

Ziploc Storage Bag Variety Pack (347 ct) on sale $10.69
Ziploc Freezer Gallon Bags (152 ct) on sale $11.59 (limit 5)

Glad Odor Shield with Febreze 13 Gallon Trash Bags (140 ct) on sale $12.49 (limit 5)

Kleenex Facial Tissue Trusted Care Family (10/230 sheets) on sale $13.99 (limit 6)

Kleenex Facial Tissue Ultra Soft Upright (12/85 sheets) on sale $12.99 (limit 6)

Kleenex Facial Tissue Anti-Viral Upright (12/68 sheets) on sale $11.79 (limit 6)

Charmin Ultra Strong Bath Tissue (30 rolls/231 sheets) on sale $16.99 (limit 2)

Bounty Advanced Select-A-Size Paper Towels (12 rolls/110 sheets) on sale $15.99 (limit 2)

{HEALTH AND BEAUTY DEALS}

Gillette Fusion ProGlide 2-in-1 Shave Gel (3 ct) on sale $8.49 (limit 2)

Gillette Fusion5 ProGlide Cartridges (16 ct) on sale $34.99 (limit 2)

Gillette Disposable Razors (36 ct) on sale $19.99 (limit 2)
*Just $.55 per razor, great price!

Gillette Venus Sensitive Disposables (14 ct) on sale $19.99 (limit 2)

Oral-B Professional Care Rechargeable Toothbrushes (2 pack) on sale $59.99 (limit 2)

Oral-B Replacement Brush Heads (8 ct) on sale $31.99 (limit 3)

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (20 oz + 8 oz) on sale $10.99
Cetaphil Cleanser (2/20 oz + 4 oz) on sale $14.99
Cetaphil Lotion (2/20 oz + 4 oz) on sale $13.99 (limit 4)

Colgate Total Advanced Whitening Toothpaste (4/8 oz) on sale $9.49 (limit 2)

Degree Men UltraClear Black & White Antiperspirant (5 ct) on sale $8.99 (limit 2)
*Just $1.79 each!

Dove Advanced Care Beauty Finish Antiperspirant (4 ct) on sale $9.99 (limit 2)

Listerine Ultraclean Mouthwash (2/1.5L) on sale $8.49 (limit 2)

MusclePharm Combat Protein Powder (5 lbs) on sale $26.99 (limit 2)

Oral-B Cross Action Advanced Toothbrush (8 ct) on sale $8.99 (limit 2)
*Just $1.12 each!

Pantene Advanced Care Shampoo or Conditioner (38.2 oz) on sale $7.49 (limit 2)

Align Daily Probiotic Supplement (2/42 ct) on sale $43.99 (limit 4)

Allegra Tablets (2/45 ct) on sale $7 off (limit 5)

Nasacort 24 Hour (3/120 sprays) on sale $27.49 (limit 5)

Zyrtec Tablets (2/50 ct) on sale $30.69 (limit 5)

Zyrtec Liquid Gels (40 ct + 25 ct) on sale $24.99 (limit 5)

Allergan Refresh Plus (100 ct) or Tears (4/15mL + 5mL) on sale $17.59 (limit 3 each)

Clear Care Plus Disinfecting Solution (2/16 oz) on sale $15.49 (limit 2)

Opti-Free Pure Moist Multi-Purpose Solution (2/14 oz) on sale $15.99 (limit 2)

Opti-Free Replenish (2/14 oz) on sale $14.99 (limit 2)

Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops (3/10 mL) on sale $15.99 (limit 2)

Kirkland Signature Vitamin C (500 ct) on sale $8.99 (limit 15)

Kirkland Signature Super B-Complex with Electrolytes (500 ct) on sale $8.99 (limit 15)

TruNature Gingko Biloba (300 ct) on sale $11.49 (limit 15)

TruNature CoQ10 (220 ct) on sale $12.79 (limit 15)

Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin (220 ct) on sale $17.49 (limit 15)

Kirkland Signature Krill Oil (160 ct) on sale $18.99 (limit 15)

Focus Factor (150 ct) on sale $14.99 (limit 15)

Pure Alaska Omega-3 Wild Alaska Salmon Oil on sale $14.99 (limit 15)

Kirkland Signature Quit Original Gum (2/190 ct) on sale $41.99 (limit 5)

Kirkland Signature Quit Ice Mint Coated Gum (2/150 ct) on sale $44.99 (limit 5)

L’il Critters Multivitamin Gummies (300 ct) on sale $8.99 (limit 6)

Vitafusion Women’s Multivitamin Gummies (220 ct) on sale $8.99 (limit 6)

Vitafusion MultiVities Gummies (250 ct) on sale $8.99 (limit 6)

Vitafusion Calcium + Vitamin D3 Gummies (2/100 ct) on sale $10.99 (limit 6)

MiraLAX Powder Laxative (2/20.4 oz) on sale $23.99 (limit 5)

NatureMade Diabetes Health Pack (60 ct) on sale $5 off (limit 15)

NatureMade CholestOff Plus (210 ct) on sale $18.49 (limit 5)

TruNature Cranberry (250 ct) on sale $10.49 (limit 5)

Wellesse Joint Movement Glucosamine (33.8 oz) on sale $13.99 (limit 15)
Buy 1, Get $4 Ibotta cash back offer
Pay $13.99, Get $4 cash back from Ibotta
$9.99 after instant savings and Ibotta offer

Nature’s Bounty Quick Dissolve B-12 (300 ct) on sale $14.49 (limit 15)

Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 (400 ct) on sale $13.39 (limit 15)

Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies (230 ct) on sale $9.99 (limit 15)

One A Day Multi Men’s or Women’s (300 ct) on sale $12.49 (limit 5)

SmartyPants Kids’ Complete Multivitamin (180 ct) on sale $12.99 (limit 5)

SmartyPants Women’s Complete Multivitamin (240 ct) on sale $19.99 (limit 5)

Prilosec OTC Tablets (3/14 ct) on sale $16.49 (limit 4)

Metamucil Smooth Texture Sugar Free or Original (2/130 doses) on sale $24.99 (limit 4)

Schiff Move Free Advanced (200 ct) on sale $20.99 (limit 15)

Schiff Move Free Ultra (75 ct) on sale $18.99 (limit 15)

Schiff MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil (80 ct) on sale $21.99 (limit 15)

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream or Serum on sale $29.99 (limit 2)

Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash on sale $3 off (limit 2)

Biotrue Multi-Purpose Solution (2/16 oz) on sale $14.99 (limit 4)

renu Advanced Formula (3/16 oz + 2 oz) on sale $13.99 (limit 4)

Ocuvite Adult 50+ (150 ct) on sale $23.59 (limit 4)

PreserVision AREDS 2 (210 ct) on sale $31.99 (limit 4)

{ELECTRONICS DEALS}

Apple iPad 9.7″ 128GB Space Gray on sale $40 off (limit 2)

Acer 14″ 1080p Chromebook Bundle on sale $249.99 (limit 5)

HP Pavilion x360 14″ 1080p Touchscreen 2-in-1 Laptop on sale $549.99 (limit 5)

Lenovo Legion Y520 15.6″ Gaming Laptop on sale $999.99 (limit 5)

Microsoft Surface Pro Bundle on sale $999.99 (limit 3)

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1″ Tablet on sale $179.99 (limit 5)

NightOwl 8-Channel 5MP DVR Wired Security System with 4 Cameras on sale $249.99 (limit 5)

Google Home Mini (3 pack) on sale $74.99 (limit 2)

{AROUND THE HOME}

Keurig K-Elite C Coffee Maker on sale $99.99 (limit 5)

Pyrex Decorated Glass Food Storage Set on sale $12.99 (limit 5)

Snapware 38-Piece Plastic Food Storage Set on sale $16.99 (limit 5)
*Great for school lunches!

Novaform Mattress Topper Twin on sale $79.99 (limit 5)

Novaform Mattress Topper Full on sale $94.99 (limit 5)

Novaform Mattress Topper Queen on sale $109.99 (limit 5)

Novaform Mattress Topper King on sale $124.99 (limit 5)

Novaform Lasting Cool Memory Foam Pillow on sale $8 off (limit 5)

Hamilton Beach Water Cooler on sale $134.99 (limit 2)

Apache Mills Manhattan 30″ x 47″ Mat on sale $9.99 (limit 5)
*We have one of these in our laundry room and it’s awesome! Stays put and contains ALL THE DIRT.

Duracell C or D Batteries on sale $12.99
Duracell 9V Batteries on sale $13.99 (limit 5)

Waterpik Shower Head in Brushed Nickel on sale $29.99 (limit 5)

Golden Arowana HDPC Waterproof Plank Flooring on sale $29.99 (no limit)

Brita Advanced Pitcher Filters (10 ct) on sale $31.99
Brita Lake 10-Cup Water Pitcher + 2 Filters on sale $21.99 (limit 5)

Circulon Premier Professional 13-Piece Hard Anodized Cookware Set on sale $149.99 (limit 5)

T-fal 5.5-quart Jumbo Cooker with Lid on sale $15.99 (limit 5)

KitchenAid 6-quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer on sale $249.99 (limit 5)

Ninja Intelli-Sense Touchscreen Blend & Prep System on sale $119.99 (limit 5)

True Dormeo Manager’s Chair on sale $119.99 (no limit)

Sealy West Salem Cushion Firm Mattress Only King on sale $489.99 (limit 10)

Sealy West Salem Cushion Firm Mattress Only Queen on sale $379.99 (limit 10)

Beef Jerky Treats for Dogs (60 oz) on sale $6.89 (limit 5)

{APPAREL DEALS}

K. Bell Kids’ Sock (12 pairs) on sale $7.99 (limit 10)

K. Bell Ladies’ No Show Sock (9 pair) on sale $7.99 (limit 10)

adidas Men’s High Quarter Sock (4 pair) on sale $7.99 (limit 10)

Champion Ladies’ Long Sleeve Pullover or French Terry Pant on sale $9.99 (limit 10)
*I bought the pullover and it is SO COMFY. I sized up for a roomier fit, but for a traditional fit, go true to size.

Weatherproof Vintage Men’s Lightweight Flannel on sale $9.99 (limit 10)

Design Optics by Foster Grant Readers (3 pack) on sale $12.49 (limit 10)

{AUTOMOBILE DEALS}

Don’t forget to check your cash back apps when you’re done shopping to make sure you didn’t miss any offers!

Just download the apps and browse for offers available at Costco! Select the applicable offer, take a quick picture of your receipt and you’re on your way to easy cash back.

Looking for more ways to save?

The post Costco Coupon Deals for August 2018 appeared first on Frugal Living NW.