Author Archives: Aaron

About Aaron

Aaron is the owner of Add-Vodka.com and other personal finance websites. He is a freelance journalist who specializes in personal finance writing and editing. Find out more about his work at AaronCrowe.net or follow him on Twitter.

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The whirlwind of barbecues, weekend getaways, and outdoor festivals takes its toll on a modest budget. Between gobbling down the best food and sampling the latest craft brews, all of those last-minute tickets and hotel rooms add up, leaving you with empty pockets and a whole lot of the year left to enjoy.

The temptation to overspend in the dog days of summer and the last warm days of fall is nearly irresistible. Let’s not even touch on the cost of the holidays. Time flies and these far-off holidays will be here sooner than you realize.

It doesn’t help that a budget is synonymous with boring in your mind — especially when you think the only way to stop spending cash is by locking yourself inside the house, totally removed from friends who have turned spending money into a true art form.

That’s certainly one way to stop spending but isolating yourself from friends, family, and the sun can make you go a little stir crazy. Thankfully it’s not the only way. This is the year of the staycation! You don’t have to fly half way around the world or drop a fortune on a bar tab to get the most of your summer. Keep reading to learn how to stay money-free during the end of the season.

1. Go to the library

Your local branch isn’t just a place to steal free Wi-Fi and people-watch as the town’s strangest folk lurk in the stacks. Or, you know, take out books, CDs, and DVDs. It’s also a hub for the community. Most branches offer free events for the neighborhood, including lectures, book clubs, and activities for kids.

You may be surprised by the amount of things the library has planned, so check out your local branch and talk to your librarian about what’s on.

2. Explore local parks

There’s no better time to explore the great outdoors than the end of summer and early fall. National Geographic created a list of the top 10 most visited national parks back in February, and it’s a great place to start if you aren’t sure of what this great nation has to offer.

If you aren’t located anywhere near those, start researching local trails and parks. Your new librarian friend may be able to help! ...continue reading

Personal leasing deals are growing in popularity with motorists and it is easy to see the attraction when you get the chance to swap your car every couple of years for a new model, but is it the most cost-effective form of motoring?

There is always a cost attached to leasing a car and the obvious downside is that you never actually own the vehicle at any point, but if you own a car outright you will also have to consider repairs and maintenance over time.

It is a bit of a dilemma, so here is a look at some of the key points that could you decide whether you would be better off financially owning a car rather than taking the highly popular route of signing up for a personal lease.

A fair comparison

One of the fairest ways of trying to make a direct comparison between owning a car or leasing it would be to look at the typical period that you are likely to own a car for.

The median average for owning the average family car is about six years so in order to try and make a cost comparison between leasing and ownership it needs to be an equal length of time.

As the average lease period is normally no more than three years it is quite likely that you will have taken out two lease deals covering the average period that you will hold on to a car that you have bought.

The cost of leasing, therefore, needs to be doubled up so that you can take an equitable look at what it has cost you to service and maintain a vehicle you own against the price of leasing one that may not require repairing so often in that time, but costs you monthly lease payments.

Using those parameters it is likely that buying a new car will cost you the most money when you look at all of your out-of-pocket expenses, followed by a leasing deal being more cost-effective, but trumped by buying a used car and maintaining it.

It is not a precise science of course, and you could arguably sign a free maintenance program so that you don’t have any additional servicing or maintenance costs during the leasing period, but that will be factored into the monthly payments.

How long you want to keep your car for

If you want to keep changing your car to the latest model and don’t mind paying for that flexibility and convenience then leasing is probably a good way to go, but if you are someone who is happy to get their money’s worth, car ownership is likely to prove a more cost-effective option.

If you are happy enough to do some of the more simpler maintenance tasks and repairs yourself, you can download Ford repair manuals, for example, and learn how to do things properly and save a lot of money compared to paying a garage to do it for you. ...continue reading

tutorBeing a student is supposed to be a great life experience for everyone. You get to meet new people and learn both academic and life lessons. Unfortunately for most people, this is rarely the case because they are short on funds.

To help students cope with short finances, the tips below have been drawn up to help them have a more convenient and less financially stressful academic experience.

1. Get a job

The surest way to expand your income as a student is to get a job. The added income is bound to enable you live the student life you want. But be careful not to pick a job that’ll interfere too much with your academics.

A job that’s in line with what you’re studying will be most suitable because it’ll look good on your résumé.

2. Pay rent and bills on time every month

Bills are an unshakeable reality of life. Regardless if you are a student, employer, or employee, there will always be bills to pay. But one efficient way to manage your finances is to ensure all your bills as well as your rent are paid on time.

The reason for this is, ignoring bills won’t make them go away. Instead, they’ll just build up over time and leave you with a larger and more daunting debt to settle. ...continue reading