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4 things I’ll never do on vacation

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Do you have winter blues?  Feel like you need to get away?  I  know I do.  Up here in the snowy Northeast this time of the year is cold and grey; it makes me want to stay inside in my pyjamas or travel south to warmer climates.

As you know I love to travel, like really love it.  I was having lunch with my friend Lyanne yesterday and I was telling her about my upcoming plans to go to Las Vegas.  She said “I don’t know anyone who travels as much as you do.”  I know I’m lucky to live in a city that is so close to so many other great cities like New York and Boston.  The truth is I don’t take luxurious vacations every month; the reason I can travel so often is because I do it for cheap.

Travel for convenience

This is something I never do.  Of course it would be nice to book a direct flight, get on the plane , fall asleep and wake up in another country – but that’s expensive.  If I have to travel at less convenient times or make a stop along the route I will definitely do it to save on my airfare.  However one connection is where I draw the line, anything more than that just cuts into my vacation time.

Pay more for a room with a view

Whenever I book my travel online or over the phone with a customer service representative I’m always promoted to upgrade to a room with a view.  This is something I never do.  Last September I went to New Orleans for the FinCon conference and booked a city view room.  It was $10 more a night to book a room with a view of the Mississippi River, I politely declined.

There is no way I would pay extra for a room with a view because I am hardly ever in my hotel room when I’m on vacation.  When I am in the room I’m either taking a shower, getting ready or going to sleep.  I’m definitely not staring out the window thinking “What a pretty view”.

Share a room

Big mistake.  My recent trip to New Orleans was the first time I shared a room with other conference attendees and truth be told I will probably never do it again.  I thought it would be a good idea to share a room to save money, but trust me it’s not worth it.

Sharing a room and a bathroom with people you don’t know is an invasion of personal space, not to mention I don’t even think a standard hotel room has enough space for four women and all their stuff.  You know what I said about paying for convenience – well this is the exception.

Go all inclusive

I have friends who only travel all inclusive but for me it’s just not worth it.  I don’t drink alcohol and I’m a vegetarian so paying an inflated price for all you can eat and drink accommodations is just not worth it for me.  This is the same reason I don’t eat at buffets.

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How to Save Money with Coupon Codes

00c2a65af6bb4db892ca2360ef78df93A lot of people nowadays are looking for great deals on items especially if they are trying to cut costs. Most of them also watch out for seasonal sales on stores so that they can save more money. However, is it still possible to get discounts even if the store is not on sale?

Coupons can be found mostly on the Sunday paper, weekly circular, or on selected magazines and online. You might have seen the reality TV shows that tackled couponing to the extreme but we will not go into that. These are just simple ways on how you can save money either when you go grocery shopping or when you make your next purchase online. Anyone can do it but you have to make sure to check out a few things first.

There are many of websites that offer coupon codes. You can check out coupon codes from Discountrue coupon databases, compare prices, store names, holiday deals, and see how much of a discount you can get on items for you to get the best deals based on the budget you have.

How to Save Money with Coupon Codes

Some retailers will allow you to use more than one coupon or one code on the same offer. For example, you can get a 10% discount off coupon with a free shipping code or you can use a promotional code with a sale or clearance to maximize out the deal.

Always check the expiration date. Stores reserve the right to expire coupon codes earlier than usual and there could be no notice at all. This happens because of the increased demand or limited stock supplies. If you really want to buy that item that you’re interested in, it’s better to purchase it quickly or it might not be there on the next day. You can also call store managers to check the validity of the promotion codes.

Accumulate more purchases to increase code savings. If you buy more, let’s say combine your shopping and purchase multiple items from the same retailer, you can benefit from the discount or you can have a friend or family member join you in the purchase so that you won’t miss out on the savings.

Never, ever pay for codes! This is a sign that the website might be a scam or untrustworthy. There are lots of promotional coupon codes online that doesn’t require you to sign up or pay for accessing codes. Better watch out for this. Coupons were made to save you money and shouldn’t cost you a single dime!

If you are shopping online, don’t miss out the promo box. Search every inch of your computer screen to find that box. The discount needs to be applied to your total BEFORE you make the purchase. Don’t skip out on this or you will miss out on a ton of savings. A discount will never appear after you bought the item.

Research. Some retailers go beyond Google. Some of them are on Facebook, Twitter or on other social media platforms. If you want, you can also have instant updates on the latest promos and exclusive codes emailed to you so that you can be in the loop of the latest discounts.

Look out for shipping fees. It’s possible that one retailer doesn’t offer free shipping at the moment. It’s best to search around for the brand that has the best offer.

Keep an eye out for the competition. You can save money this way by comparing prices with competitor stores and the same goes for online shopping. This way, you can compare brands that offer the same or similar products thus getting the best value on your purchase.

Now that you have the secrets for using coupon codes, you will definitely get the best deals out there.

Happy shopping!

Friday Faves: Happy no NFL week ladies!

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Happy Friday.  Am I the only one who is glad there is no NFL Football this weekend?  For the first time since September I will finally get a chance to spend a Sunday with BF and I’m excited.  Until next weekend that is when it’s time for the Superbowl.  It’s OK!  If you’re husband or boyfriend is obsessed with sports like mine is I’m sure you’re like me and you’re happy to have whatever time you can with him.  Right?

Enjoy your weekend.  Here are some great posts from our friends across the web:

Centsible Life – New Year, New Resolution: 7 Ways to Spend Smarter in 2015

YRL Planning – New Year’s Resolutions for Your Money – And How a Financial Coach Can Help

Money Crashers – Lifetime Savings Plan – Major Life Expenses & Savings Principles at Every Age

GoGirl Finance – 3 Financial Goals You’ll Actually Want to Accomplish This Year

Smart Money Chicks – Car Financing 101: Know Your Borrowing Options Before Car Shopping

Surviving and Thriving – An Explanation of millennials and money

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Your Taxes: Love or hate relationship?

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After the new year starts everyone is focused on their New Year’s resolutions – as am I.  But once I’m set into my routine including my new goals – this year it was to hit the gym and lose weight – my focus quickly shifts to something else.  Taxes.

I have a love hate relationship with my taxes.  I love getting a refund but I hate collecting papers all year and calculating my income and expenses over the last 12 months.  I like to do as much as I can to prepare my taxes before I take them to my accountant because he charges by the hour.  The more work he has to do the more it costs me and I already think it’s ridiculous to pay a fee for a service that is mandatory by the government – but that’s a whole other story.

Personal confession: I’ve never filed my own taxes

It’s true!  I have to admit I’ve never filed my own taxes.  When I was 15 and got my first job working at McDonalds my Dad filed my taxes.  When I was 17 I started working two jobs and after my parent’s divorce my Mom took my taxes to her accountant.  At 18 I moved away from home to go to college and started filing my taxes out of state with H&R Block.

Now I’m 34 years old and I take my taxes to an acquaintance who I met through a colleague at work.  It’s actually turned out to be a great relationship; he sends me clients who need a financial planner and I bring my friends to him to file their taxes.  It’s a win-win situation.  But he still charges by the hour.

I’m sure if I really wanted to I could probably figure out how to file my taxes, maybe – but probably not.  Even though I work at a bank numbers still give me a headache so I much prefer to have someone do them for me.

Are you a brave soul who files their own taxes?

Hats off to you if you do.  I honestly don’t think I could do it – although I’d like to think I can the truth is I probably can’t.  I would sit at my kitchen table for 15 minutes staring at all my tax slips and forms and then get up to take some Tylenol.

I have a 9 to 5 job as well as my own freelance hustle on the side so I wouldn’t even know how to start doing my own taxes.  On top of that I wouldn’t know where to begin looking for tax credits.  So for me it’s worth paying a professional to file my taxes.

If I had a very basic tax return I would probably be able to crack down and do them myself, but even then we have to add BF into the equation.  Do you file joint taxes?

If you do file your own taxes our friends at H&R Block have a special offer for you.  Right now you can get their Deluxe or State desktop software free.  More details here.

Happy tax time!

Photo from IdPinThat