Cheryl Lock

Read This Before You Book Your Summer Vacation and You’ll Save Money

Traveler with a bag at the speedwalk

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I consider myself an avid traveler (or at least, I love to travel, so that must count for something!). As such, it’s important for me to get a bit creative when it comes to cutting back on the travel spending. Especially during the peak travel season of summer, rising prices can sometimes threaten to hold me back from the awesome destinations I hope to visit.

This season, I’m taking a stand. I’ve consulted with some of the most seasoned travel experts in the business and asked them for their failsafe ways to save a bit of cash when it comes to summer travel.

I plan on putting many of these into effect immediately … see ya on the beaches!

Does It Pay to Fly Spirit Airlines?

Spirit Scratch

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I fly a lot.

In the past seven months I’ve flown Qantas to Australia, Icelandair to Iceland, JetBlue to Florida and … drum roll, please …Spirit to Denver.

In case you’ve missed the news recently, Spirit isn’t exactly a luxury airliner — nor are they No. 1 in customer service. In fact, they’re dead last — drawing complaint rates that were more than three times higher than the second-place airlines from 2009 to 2013.

Here’s the thing though: The price was right. The available times worked out … and I had yet to read all the awful reviews the company consistently racks up. (And, for the record, has chalked up to simple misunderstandings.)

So, was it worth it? In my own personal opinion — yes, and here’s why.

Easy Ways to Save Money as a Wedding Guest

Wedding Guests Only

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My husband and I have eight weddings to attend throughout this summer and fall. That’s eight shower gifts, eight wedding gifts and almost as many hotel and car rental bookings.

Oh — and I’m in three of them. That’s three bridesmaid dresses and three bachelorette parties to attend and help plan.

Please don’t get me wrong — I love and cherish each one of these friends, and I’m honored to be a part of the wedding for those friends who have asked me. The thing is … weddings can really add up, even when you’re just a guest (and especially if you’re a bridesmaid!). In an effort to not blow my entire savings account on weddings this year, I thought I’d do a little research to figure out how I can be as prepared as possible for the costs, as well as potentially cut back on the spending and still be as giving to each of these couples as I’d like to be.

Haggle For A Used Car And Win


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As my husband and I prepare for a potential big move out of the city to somewhere more suburban (read: less public transportation friendly), we’ve realized that along with all the other life changes that come with a move like this, we’ll also have to now purchase and take care of a car.


Don’t get me wrong, I’ve owned cars before, and I completely understand that life outside of a big city pretty much requires one. It’s just that I haven’t owned one in quite a while, and neither has my husband … we weren’t even sure where to start.

How To Haggle Without Being A Jerk


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I think the last time I haggled was when I was in second grade. My neighborhood was having a community yard sale, and three doors down they were selling a righteous used hamster cage that I just had to have. (In an effort to convince my parents that I needed a hamster, of course.)

Anyway, the cage was something like $3, which I didn’t happen to have at the ripe old age of seven, and as I was keeping this a secret from my parents (Surprise! I bought a hamster cage … now you have to get me a hamster!), I couldn’t just ask them for the cash, now could I?

What Your Tax Level Says About You


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Oh, taxes … how I loathe thee.

It’s not just that I loathe them, though (although I really, really do!) — it’s that I don’t completely understand them. Did you know that tax brackets can change every year? And that every year (for the most part) the amount of money you can sock away for retirement changes? And that that amount also changes based on how much money you make?

I mean — talk about making things difficult.

To help make it through this harrowing tax season, we wanted to dig a bit deeper into “tax brackets.” What are the tax brackets for 2013 (for taxes due April 15, 2014) … and what does your tax bracket say about you?

For Your 2013 Taxes
The first thing you should know when it comes to your tax bracket is … drum roll, please … which one you’re in. Here’s a look at the breakdown by income for 2013:

Ditch Your Drugstore Beauty Supplies and Rub Food All Over Your Face

Food Mask Scratch

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Just this past weekend I spent $70 on beauty supplies. Just six basic supplies. At a drugstore.

It’s not easy (or cheap) staying beautiful.

This surprisingly expensive outing got me thinking — are there things I could be using around my own home to curb the costs of spending so much on beauty supplies? I did a little digging and, as it turns out … there are.

When to use a travel agent


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My husband and I have a big, big trip coming up. It’s going to take a lot of planning and coordinating and travel documents and money … essentially it would take a lot of time to plan.

Instead of using up what precious free time we have to ourselves to plan this trip (and potentially miss some important necessary travel documents that would of course keep us out of the Galapagos Islands, the place that’s been on my bucket list for the past 12 years) — we opted to use a travel agent instead.

You might be asking yourself, “A travel agent? Do those still even exist? And who uses them in the age of Expedia and Orbitz and Travelocity and … you get the gist?”

Save some cash on winter’s biggest expenses


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Has anyone else noticed how cold it is outside?

Of course you have, and as such your heat is probably on full blast. You may be staying in more (really using up that electricity, huh?) and perhaps you’re taking more warm baths. (Hello, hot water bill!)

It’s nice to stay toasty in the comfort of your own home when the temps dip low outside, but it’s not so nice when the extra large bills start coming in the mail. Try staying warm and holding on to some of your hard-earned cash this season by following these easy tips in three big expense areas.

How much money should you save in 2014?


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How much money should you sock away in savings in 2014?

It’s the ultimate question, right? If only the answer were that simple. Of course how much you save throughout the year will depend on a lot of variables like where you live, what debt you’re paying down, your salary, etc.

Different experts will probably suggest different things when it comes to saving. I myself have always liked to follow something called the 50/20/30 rule (a term coined by the personal finance site, Learnvest). It’s simple to follow, and you can make it work on any salary.

The 7 biggest financial mistakes to avoid in the New Year


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The beginning of a new year offers the perfect opportunity to reflect back on the choices we’ve made in the previous one, and to make any necessary adjustments for better returns in the months ahead.

This is perhaps the most true when it comes to our financial decisions. Many of the systems you put in place for 2013 might not suit you in 2014. Perhaps you’ve received a large holiday bonus, or maybe even a raise? Maybe you’ve moved into a new house, had kids or became a stay-at-home parent. Whatever your circumstances, take the time to check in with your personal finance situation … and to avoid making these big mistakes in the new year.

Make some extra cash this holiday season


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If there’s one time of year when most people could probably use a bit of extra cash in their wallets, this would be the one. Gifts. Holiday parties. Secret Santa Swaps. A fabulous new outfit to go with the fabulous little holiday soirée.

It all adds up.

One way to help lighten the proverbial holiday load is to make some extra cash. We’re not talking a second job or taking out a mortgage on your house. There are tons of easy ways for you to make money these days, some of which require very little actual “work” from you.

Here are five of our favorite, easy ways to make some extra moolah this holiday season. Just try not to spend it all in one place.

Black Friday ads start early this year


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Whether you camp out the night before for door-busting Black Friday deals the Friday after Thanksgiving or log onto your computer at the crack of dawn on Cyber Monday, you’ll definitely want to hear about all of the already leaked 2013 ads touting the awesome savings that you’ll be privy to this season.

Here are a five of the best ones we’ve seen so far:

Macy’s: According to sources, Macy’s is set to open their doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night to start the Black Friday shenanigans. Among those items listed in the full ad scan (which you can find here) are Keurig coffee makers for $99.99, $29.99 boots and purses and 30% off Timex watches.

5 ways to save on travel this holiday season


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With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to start talking about those holiday travel plans. No matter that the leaves have barely changed colors — the earlier you start planning for your holiday trips, the more likely you are to save a bit of cash in the process.

Getting the ball rolling early is just part of the plan, though. We’ve rounded up five other easy ways to save on your holiday travel this season—whether you’ll be traveling by yourself or with your whole family in tow. Follow these suggestions and who knows — you might just have a little extra cash left over come New Year’s.

Top 10 companies offering full-time benefits to part-timers


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When it comes to working in today’s world, many people prefer flexible schedules that fit with their busy lifestyles. In fact, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder, 59% of employees said they value a flexible schedule over a title, and a third would rather telecommute.

Still, whether you’re working part-time, a few hours a week or full-time, it’s often also important for employees to have the option of some kind of health insurance package. Luckily, PT Money put together an updated list of the 20 best part-time jobs with benefits for 2013. The following are their top 10 companies. Check out the link for the full list of 20.

Aerotek, the national temp agency, offers medical benefits to workers putting in 20+ hours a week. Benefits include dental and vision, as well as eligibility for spouses and dependent children.
Check out their full benefits package here.

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