Monthly Archives: February 2014

5 money saving tips for planning your next vacation

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Going on vacation can be a nice escape from reality. Visiting somewhere new and exciting with your loved ones is also a great opportunity to create lasting memories. However, all of the costs associated with taking a vacation can really add up. Because things can get a little pricey, here are some tips to help you get the best deals, no matter what your destination is:

1) Take your vacation during the off-season.

  • Taking a beach vacation in May or late August can save a lot of money. Typically, June, July, and early August are the peak season for tourists headed to the beach because those are the hottest times, also when most schools are out for summer vacation. Going just before or slightly after the busy season, can save you hundreds of dollars and, many times, the beaches are less crowded.
  • Save at Disney in September and October. Taking a vacation to Disney during Autumn will save you hundreds (maybe thousands!) of dollars, depending on how long you stay. While you won’t really save on tickets to the part itself, you can save BIG on accommodations. During this time, you can save 50% or more on hotel rooms that are $400-500/night during peak season. The parks are less crowded during this time as well. Undercover Tourist is an app that also gives you an idea of events going on at each park, and based on historical data, it estimates how crowded the park will be on the days that you are looking to visit.

2) Know the cancellation policies.

Whether it be your airline or hotel, make sure you know the cancellation policies. If someone were to get sick or some other reason arise that your family cannot go on vacation, you certainly don’t want to be stuck paying for it. Many times, hotels allow guests to cancel within 24-48hours without any penalty. For airline tickets, it is well worth the small fee per ticket to be able to get a refund. It can literally save you thousands of dollars if your entire family is planning on flying.

3) Avoid holiday travel.

Vacationing during almost any holiday, whether it’s Labor Day or Christmas, can cost you extra. More people are off work during these times and kids are off school, so more people are travelling, which means paying a premium.

4) Visit the Chamber of Commerce or other visitors website of your chosen destination.

Many times, you can find out about free festivals, children’s activities, or local tourist attractions that are inexpensive. Here is one example of such a website for Myrtle Beach, SC. You can also do a search for local restaurants on Restaurants.com to find money-saving coupons on dining. Doing a little research ahead of time can save you a lot of money once on vacation.

5) Don’t buy “necessities” on vacation. Most of us remember to pack toiletries when going on a trip, like toothpaste and deodorant, however, it is also important to remember to take the less essential necessities:

  • Beach/warm weather destination—take sand and water toys for the kids with you. Yes, this is just more stuff to pack, but once you get to the water, your kids will love playing in the sand with their buckets and shovels. Don’t forget arm floaties, sunscreen, sunglasses, water shoes, or goggles for the pool either. These items may not seem significant, but if you end up having to buy them once you get to your destination, it will cost a lot more than getting them at Walmart or the dollar store.
  • Skiing/cold weather destination—don’t forget gloves, hand-warmers, long underwear, wool socks, and even sunglasses for the slopes. If you have to buy these items at a specialty shop, you will end up paying a huge premium.

This article was originally published on my Personal Finance Examiner page.

Monster Jam: A Monster Hit

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Never having been to Monster Jam, I really didn’t know what to expect. But my husband and I figured we really couldn’t go wrong taking our three boys to see monster trucks! And we were right. The boys loved it! From the wheely competition to truck races, the boys were hooked. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the favorite in our house, Superman Man of Steel, won the race!

If you are looking for some fun, family entertainment, (bring your ear plugs!)… and enjoy the show!

Homemade Gourmet Chocolate

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Chocolate covered pretzels and marshmallows are always a big hit. By using different colors and toppings, these made a great take-home treat for my son’s birthday party! Not to mention that it was so much cheaper than buying party favor toys (which never seem to work or break easily) or having the bags of candy made at the bakery. Even buying just one chocolate covered pretzel stick at the grocery store is $1. Each goodie bag cost less than $0.40! Get creative with the colors and toppings and these can be delicious treats for birthdays, showers, or holiday parties!

So easy to make. Just melt the chocolate in the microwave, half power, in 30 second increments. Make sure you stir it between each 30 second heating stint to keep it melting equally throughout. If you don’t stir it each 30 seconds, it may get too hot on the edges and not be melted at all in the middle. You could also use a double boiler if you have one, but if you don’t, no worries… the microwave works just fine!

Once your chocolate is melted, dip your pretzels or marshmallows in the chocolate, let the excess drip off. Place on wax paper. Sprinkle with any decorative topping you want: sprinkles, chopped nuts, crushed candy… You can also use a contrasting color of chocolate to drizzle across the top. Just dip a fork into the chocolate and gently move it back and forth over the top. So many ways to decorate!

Savings on Disney Live! in Cleveland

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disney liveDisney Live! presents Mickey’s Music Festival at Quicken Loans Arena, March 9th!

Mickey Mouse and friends rock the world with the stars from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story in Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival. Disney hits are remixed to the hottest sounds of today featuring hip hop, pop, swing, reggae, rock, country and much more! The irresistible lineup of performers, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy; Ariel, Sebastian and Ursula; Jasmine, Aladdin and Genie; and Woody, Buzz and Jessie; are among the more than 25 Disney stars featured in this jam session fit for the entire family! You can’t resist dancing, singing, playing your air-guitar and laughing with this band of characters! Come join them at Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival for a lively concert experience guaranteed to deliver enough rockin’ memories to last a lifetime.

Save $4 using code: MOM4

Click here: Get Tickets Now!
Not valid on Front Row or VIP seats. No double discounts. Service charges, handling and facility fees may apply

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