Tag Archives: budget

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bare bones budget
via stockmonkeys.com

If you’re in debt, you may find yourself trying to balance bills, debt repayment, and miscellaneous expenses. A great way to start paying off your debt is to create a bare bones budget. This budget will show you how to live on less, and get your financial life back in order.

Go Through Your Current Budget

The first step to creating your bare bones budget is to evaluate your current budget. If you don’t have a budget, it’s time to create one. Go through your income and expenses from the last few months, and write everything down in categories. Once your current budget has been assessed, it’s time to determine your wants vs. needs.

Wants vs. Needs

Looking at your current budget, are there ways that you can cut back? A bare bones budget is exactly what it’s called...bare. It involves your needs only, with very little room for wants.

Could you be spending less on food? Could you live in a smaller or cheaper place? What about current bills? If you are trying to pay off debt a little faster, it’s best to cut bills like cable and phones until you can really afford them. There are other ways to enjoy TV for free, and you could always get a to-go phone. ...continue reading

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free funThe holidays are here, giving everyone a chance to be overwhelmed by the potential spending landmines that Christmas offers the average consumer. But not everything has to cost money. Some frugal and free fun can be found around Christmas.

Here are six things you can do to for free fun and enjoy your holiday for less:

1. Go to a parade

Most cities host a parade during the holiday season. Denver has a long-standing event called the Parade of Lights. It’s a fun event that almost always ends up happening on one of the coldest weekends of the year — but people still attend it!

2. Christmas lights tour

Find out where there are great holiday light displays for some free fun. Places to start: City zoos, downtown displays, or neighborhoods that are know for elaborate holiday light displays.

If you’re fortunate enough to live near homes with a super light display make sure to check those out too! Be aware that there are usually long waits and a lot of traffic for the mega-displays.

3. Go to the mall

Most shopping malls have huge interactive holiday displays that also include Santa. You can go with your kids or on your own but there is some free fun for the whole family during the holidays. ...continue reading

China
Dennis Jarvis/Flickr

Many people resist the urge to go half way (or all the way) around the planet to visit China out of worry that the trip might break their back, or they think to themselves “Why would I travel around the world just to be poor?” – and it doesn’t get any more naïve than that.

I’m not going to preach on the values of travel, or the philosophical definition of what rich really is — or should be. Instead I’m just going to lay down some of the best cheap China tours 2016 travel tips I know of for those who get it. After all, the more people who think traveling on a budget is a bad idea, the shorter the lines for my bone soup.

1. Eat street food. Why is it that so many people go to another country to experience the culture and then hide out in expensive Western palaces and eat Western foods? When you eat at McDonalds, it sure had better be about nostalgia!

2. Spend less time in crowded cities. Yes, you must go and see the main attractions. That means spending time in Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. However, you’ll get more bang for your buck (and a more authentic Chinese travel experience) if you take your chance on rural areas. “Rural” is definitely something different in Asia from what it is back home.

3. Don’t fly. Flights are great if you’re in a hurry to get someplace but if you’re on a vacation or just backpacking around, may I suggest a train? Taking a railway through China can deliver some of the most rewarding scenery you’ve ever laid eyes on. Throw in a handful of epic sunsets and sunrises, and you’ll be glad you bought a train ticket over a flight, any day. To save additional money you can also travel overnight and you’ll just even more out of your travel expenses (and you save on lodging for the night).

4. Water bottle refilling stations. If you find a reverse-osmosis water bottle refilling station, stock up and save around a dollar per bottle of water.

Austronesian Expeditions/Flickr
Austronesian Expeditions/Flickr

5. Rent a motorbike. If you find you take a lot of taxis and you’re feeling brave or you’ve been around the block, so to speak, then rent a bike and save money by not taking taxi’s around town.

6. Wear colored clothing. It’s hot out and you’re probably terrible with chopsticks. Enough said. Wear darker clothing to hide your food faux pas and other misdeeds. You’ll feel less like a slob, and no one will be the wiser.

7. Air Asia ASEAN pass. Air Asia has a prepaid ticket option called the “ASEAN Pass.” Travelling with one of these can shave a few hundos off your travel budget.

8. Haggle. After nicely asking the price on an object, come back with a reasonable counter offer. You’d be surprised how many go for it after some eye contact and sizing one another up. Keep it playful, but not too playful. Turn the gaze serious at the right time and you’ll be surprized you ever paid full price for anything you’ve ever purchased before.

9. Live like a local. Staying a little longer? Trade the hotel for a guest house or a hostel, eat at places with no English on the menu, and take apartments that aren’t the Ritz. It’s liberating, and doesn’t suck. Trust me.

10. Geo-arbitrage. Make money in your home country online, travel forever. Pure and simple! A lot of travel bloggers will make it seem harder than it really is, but the truth is, it’s never been easier. All you need is an escape plan!