Category Archives: Ways to Save Money

Using Cashback Rewards for Travel

I can't believe I never thought of this---you don't have to use "travel" rewards to get free travel. You can use cashback rewards instead!

I’ve been doing a good bit of traveling this year. My itinerary includes a litany of states and at least two foreign countries.

But I kind of hate spending money.

That means I’ve been doing a good bit of signing up for credit card bonuses to offset the costs. It’s funny—if you do a lot of this over a one-year period, you start to run out of well-known cards to apply for.

Not too long ago, I had hit up all of the big, flexible bonuses that you can use as a credit statement against travel costs. I may apply for these cards again in the future, but I don’t like to take too much advantage and there wasn’t enough time to “churn,” anyways.

So I started looking at alternatives. I started looking at cards with smaller bonus rewards—but also lower spending limits. That was a total win.

Then I got to thinking that I should probably look at straight cashback cards, too. If all I was getting was a statement credit, the cash rewards would still allow me to pay for travel. In fact, if I wanted it to pay for something else, like a park ticket, that wouldn’t normally be counted as a travel expense, I totally could with a cash rewards card.

So I got to looking.

Thinking about using credit cards for rewards? Stop now and read this first!

Using Cash Rewards Cards for Travel

I liked what I found. There are a lot of options out there with decent rewards and relatively low minimum spends. That’s good for people like me who have started to max out the options with heavy-hitting bonuses due to wanting so much free stuff. By the way, yes, I have a great credit score.

But it’s also good for people who don’t have as much income and therefore can’t afford to take on $3,000 spends over the course of 60 or 90 days.

Let’s look at how this works:

PenFed just came out with the brand spankin’ new Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card. With it, you earn 1.5 cents back for every dollar you spend on purchases—regardless of where you spend it.

That alone is a big deal as a lot of cash back cards offer rotating categories. They often reward you with a high point value within a certain category, but lower points on everything else. The kicker is that those categories tend to change every quarter, and you typically have to manually register or call in if you want the inflated bonus.

A lot to keep on top of. It makes 1.5 cents per dollar back every single time you spend pretty attractive.

On top of that 1.5% back, this card also currently offers a $100 bonus when you spend $1,500 on it within 90 days of opening your account. By the time you’ve spent enough to earn the incentive, you’ll receive $122.50 total. One hundred for the bonus and $22.50 per the 1.5% cash back.

This statement credit can negate any purchase on the card—including park tickets!

Earn More by Becoming a Member

With this particular card, there’s a further incentive if you want to earn even more cash back on every purchase. If you have either a military affiliation or a PenFed Access America Checking Account—which is a fabulous idea anyways and can easily be attained without military service—your cash back rate will jump up to 2%.

That means by the time you reached the minimum spend for the bonus, you’d have $130 total instead of $122.50.

It also means that if you spend an average of $500 per month on your card, your cash back rewards will add up to $120/year rather than the $90/year that you’d receive at the 1.5% rate.

How Cash Back Rewards are Helping Me

I’m pretty sure we’re going to get next-to-free park tickets thanks to using this method. I’m glad I didn’t just throw my hands up in the air and declare there were no other options left.

I also love that while cash back cards can help the travelers out there, they can help add value to people’s lives even if they have financial priorities that don’t include hopping on a plane.

But they only add value if you use them correctly. Please remember to charge responsibly.

*This post is in collaboration with PenFed Credit Union.*

Chime Review: Disrupt Banking

This could actually really help me save more money and develop better money habits...

I went to a conference last month that was all about disruption. Essentially, the idea is that we become so ingrained in the way things are that we limit the way we imagine the future. We were asked this question:

What would your business look like if you set it up today?

This reminded me so heavily of what I read in Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pyramid. The book outlines how FinTech has taken off in third-world countries and emerging economies in ways that the US is still struggling to catch up with.

Things like mobile payments were happening in the Philippines in the early 2000’s when I was still using MySpace and a hotmail address. My bank account wasn’t available on a PC nonetheless my flip phone.

The reason it worked there was because there weren’t established systems. There were zero to few platforms to overhaul. The regulations that keep us as consumers safe from predatory practices within our current financial system didn’t yet exist in these countries because people didn’t traditionally bank.

Traditional banks in the US have struggled to keep up in the age of tech. Things are improving, but it’s been a long, hard road, and there’s still room to do better.

Look Who’s Doing Better: Chime

Unsurprisingly, one of the companies that is actually doing better is new to the scene. They’re not a traditional bank. They haven’t been around for over 100 years. They’re a mobile-first bank account, and they’ve built something that defines “better.”

That company is Chime, and their mobile bank account does a lot.

Banking at a Glance

When you have a Chime bank account, you’ll wake up to a morning greeting telling you what your balance is. This helps you make good decisions throughout the day as you’re already conscious of where you money stands.

Whenever you go into the app, you’ll be able to see your whole financial situation at a glance:

  • Your checking account balance
  • Your savings account balance
  • Your three most recent transactions
  • Debts and savings from outside accounts

And that’s just on the home screen.

Check out all the cool features Chime gives you to help you establish better money habits.

WTH did I buy?

When you go into your transaction screen, not only can you see your transactions, but you can actually click on them to open them up in their respective apps. For example, you can click on an Amazon purchase and it will bring up what was included in that purchase.

Pay Your Bills

Another awesome thing you can do straight from the app is pay your bills. You can do this digitally, or, if you really need a paper check to do something like pay rent, you can draft it right from the app and they’ll mail it for you.

When you write a check, the money will be automatically taken out, unlike the traditional method where the money is withdrawn when the recipient cashes it.

Split the Bill

Going out with friends? You can easily split the bill with them either via THEIR Chime account or by using Venmo within the Chime App itself.

Setting Up Direct Deposit

You can easily set up direct deposit from your phone, or get your routing and bank account number to fill out an ACH form with your employer.

You can also automate your savings every month to go directly from your checking to your savings account. This is ideal no matter who you bank with. It’s easy to say, “I’ll save $200 this month…”

But to actually do it?

That’s why automation is so beautiful. You don’t even have to think about it. Chime does it for you, removing the temptation to spend.

Round Up Your Savings

Speaking of savings, you also have the option of using “Round Up.” Every time you spend money using your Chime debit card, Chime will round up to the nearest dollar, transferring the difference to your savings.

For example, let’s say you spend $1.07 on a pack of gum. Chime would round that up to $2.00, taking $0.93 from your checking and moving it into your savings account.

Use Chime's Round Up feature to save more than you thought possible without even trying!

Chime Debit Card

When you open a Chime account, you’ll get an associated VISA debit card. Debit cards are different from prepaid cards. You have to load money onto prepaid cards, and they’re usually laden with fees. Debit cards link directly to your bank account, and don’t typically come with fees.

So with Chime, you’re getting a fee-free debit card that links directly to your bank account. No loading necessary.

Fees & Interest Rates

Every time you open a financial account, you should ask about fees and interest rates. Chime is no different.


Chime has very few fees. Here are some common ones that they don’t charge:

  • No monthly maintenance fee.
  • No minimum balance required (and no fee for not having it.)
  • No overdraft fee. If you don’t have the money, you simply won’t be able to spend it.
  • No card replacement fee.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No fees when you use a MoneyPass ATM. There are over 24,000 across the US. You can find the one closest to you using the app, but if you want to look at that data now, you can do so here.

You do have to pay a $2.50 fee every time you use an ATM that’s out of network. Honestly, though, a 24,000 ATM network is pretty darn huge.

Interest Rates

This is one area where you’re not going to get a lot from Chime. There is no interest on checking, and savings accounts only earn 0.01%.

Who Chime is Best For

Chime doesn’t have joint accounts, so it’s not going to be awesome for couples who like having a shared pot. While I’m a big fan of separate finances, I know I’m not in the majority, so that’s something to take under consideration.

If you’re single, or maintain separate finances, and rarely run into cash or paper checks, this could be a good option for you. While you can deposit cash at Green Dot locations, you can’t deposit paper checks. You could always go to a business that does cash checking and then take your cash to a Green Dot location, but there will be fees–and inconvenience–involved.

UPDATE: Mobile deposit for paper checks is currently in beta for a subset of members. Chime is expecting to roll it out to everyone at the end of the year!

To sum up, Chime is probably good for you if:

  • You’re single OR
  • You’re in a relationship but maintain separate finances
  • You operate primarily on a paperless economy
  • You want to be more conscious of your cash flow
  • You want to establish good money habits

Get $5 For Trying It Out

If that profile sounds like you, this is a really good time to get an account. Right now through the end of June, you’ll get $5 just for trying Chime outYou do have to deposit at least $2 in order to get your $5 reward. The process is super easy and takes around five minutes.


Are you happy with your current mobile banking options? What’s going right and what could use a little more disruption? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments!


22 Free Things to Do in #Pittsburgh This Summer

I have literally never heard of 90% of these and I'm a native yinzer. We're going to have a fun summer with this article!

Summer break is so close I can taste it. While those long, summer days are some of the funnest all year, they can also be some of the most expensive if you’re not careful.

Luckily, if you’re in Pittsburgh there are a ton of F-R-E-E options to keep you occupied until the end of August. We’re not going to cover the super obvious ones like, “Hang out at the Point!” You can read more about these in our Ultimate Frugal Pittsburgh Guide & Ultimate Frugal Pittsburgh Guide Part 2.

Here are 22 of my favorite (unique!) things to stay occupied in the Steel City this summer:

Free Things to Do in Pittsburgh for Kids and Families

Let’s kick our list off with free things for families. Entertaining your child through those long summer months can be a challenge, or it can be an amazingly frugal adventure.

Help feed Pittsburgh's children by spreading awareness of the GrubUp program, becoming a sponsor site, or contacting your legislative representative to expand summer meal programs across America.

1. GrubUpPGH

GrubUpPGH is a program that provides no-cost breakfasts and lunches at a litany of locations across the city. While the intent of the program is to provide meals for kids who use the lunch program during the school year, there is no income limit for this program. This is done to remove the stigma that might otherwise keep kids away when they truly need it.

2. OpenStreetsPGH

This is an event that will take place twice more over the summer. Essentially, certain streets across the city are shut down to cars in order to open them up to pedestrian traffic. The car-less roads will host a ton of different physical activities like rock climbing, basketball and more. There’s also a sensory space for some cool down time if your kiddo needs it.

The next date you can attend is June 25th.

3. Kids Play at Market Square

Especially for the pre-K crowd, this twice-per-week event is a great way to get your kiddos out of the house and involved in the community. They’ll get to do fun crafts, meet guest speakers on different topics, and sit for story time. They’ll also get to participate in unique activities, like planting a tree, touch a firetruck and learn how cartoons are made.

You can catch Kids Play at Market Square starting June 13th. The event will be held Tuesdays from 10:00-11:30 and Saturdays from 10:00-1:00.

4. Free Pool Entrance

If you child is 15 years old or younger, they can get free entry to any Citiparks pool all summer long by signing up for a Citiparks Rec Center membership. Parents do have to pay, but if there’s an ACCESS card in your household, you can apply to get 50% off your pool tag. That brings the price down to $15 for one adult all summer long.

5. Spray Parks

If you’re parenting solo and you have more than one kid who can’t swim, the pool is stressful as all get out. In moments like these, I prefer to head to the spray park. Pittsburgh has six of themSIX!

They’re beautiful, well-kept and dynamic. They don’t only help your little ones stay cool; they also encourage imagination and discovery. Oh, and they’re 100% FREE.

They’re currently open on the weekends, but they’ll be open daily from 11a to 8p all summer long starting June 13th.

Catch storytime with Belle at Learning Express Bakery Square.

6. Classes at Learning Express

Learning Express in Bakery Square hosts a bunch of free classes for kids. From Disney princess storytime to music lessons to Pokemon trading hour, their Facebook events page is something you’ll want to hit up when boredom strikes.

7. Father’s Day at the Zoo

Going to the zoo can be a little bit expensive, but on Father’s Day, the costs come down. On June 18th, dads get in free when accompanied by their children. This includes adult children.

8. Ussie Summer Games

A major component to a working police force is establishing trust within the community. The fact that this trust has eroded nationwide is no secret.

Which is why I think the Ussie Summer Games are so great. Pittsburgh Police officers compete on teams with community members (and one celebrity leader) in events like tug of war, three-legged races, and dodgeball. You can join a team, come as a spectator, or enjoy all the fun activities going on in the background like music, face painting and other activities from vendors and sponsors.

The June 24th festivities will be free no matter how you choose to participate.

9. Library Programs

Don’t skip over this one!

Yes, we all know we can get books at our libraries. For free. All the time. We know this because we don’t live under a rock.

But libraries also offer a litany of free classes and programs. Your child can learn a foreign language, learn about a different culture, indulge in some scientific fun, or even just attend story time. If you hear, “I’m bored!” once this summer, send your kid to CLPgh’s website and tell them to find something.

Even if you can’t leave the house, the library also provides free games and learning programs that your kiddos can use on any device.

There are programs and learning programs for adults, too. Which brings us to our next section…

Free Things to Do in Pittsburgh for Everyone

The free-ness isn’t just for the kids. It’s for everyone. Whether you have a teen, have a date, or are just looking to get out with some friends, here are a bunch of ways to have free fun this summer in the Burgh without busting the bank.

Looking for free fun in Pittsburgh? Tour Space at 1010 at the Allegheny Inn to get a taste of some amazing local artists. Tours are 100% free.

Local artists are featured at Space at 1010.

10. Space at 1010

Space at 1010 is a really cool concept. The Allegheny Inn now hosts local artists on wall space in their entry, parlor, dining room, and second-floor hallway. Viewing is 100% free–just make sure to place a reservation first. While you’re there, you can also schedule a free tour of the Inn itself. The owner, who will take you on the tour, is such a warm, funny, inviting host.

11. Movies in the Park

Cinema in the Park kicked off yesterday! For the rest of summer, you’ll be able to catch a movie at one city park or another seven days a week.

12. Summer Fridays at the Frick

If you’re looking for something to do on a Friday night, check out the Frick. From 5-8p, the first floor of the Clayton house will be open to all visitors for free. There will also be weekly performances at 6:30, and family-friendly activities for the duration.

Summer Fridays at the Frick start June 23rd and run through September 8th.

13. Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District

There are typically four of these per year. They’re all gloriously free. The summer edition will be happening July 7th from 5:00-10:00p.

14. Tour the Cathedral of Learning

You probably know that you can tour the culture rooms at the Cathedral of Learning for a fun day out. But did you know that if you want to visit the rooms without a guide, you can do it for free? We had a great time doing this a few months ago.

15. Tour the Old County Jail

You may know it as the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, but until 1995, the imposing stone building served as a jailhouse. There is now a museum dedicated to its long history–dating back to 1886–which you can tour for zero dollars.

16. Posner Center

Located on CMU’s campus, the Posner Center is an interesting museum that flies low on the radar. The Posner family left their rare book and art collection to be made available to the public. You can visit the collection between 1-4pm Monday through Friday.  To top it all off, there’s a really cool art installation on the roof. Numbers adorn a huge bench in the middle of a labyrinth. I’m not sure if their arrangement has any meaning, but it’s definitely a great place to go for conversation, studying or introspection.

17. Tour One of the Greenest Buildings in the World

Want to see one of the greenest buildings in the world? The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps runs free tours when you schedule ahead. If you’re dropping in last minute, you can spend some time in their beautiful courtyard or on the living roof. Both are free and open to the public.

18. Tour the Pittsburgh Glass Center

Touring the Pittsburgh Glass Center is free when you go the self-guided route, though you can also pay a small fee to take a guided tour. It’s a working center, so you’re likely to see classes and artists at work. If you’re lucky, you may just get to see an entire glass blowing demonstration!

19. Visit SPACE

SPACE is an open art gallery downtown. It hosts one exhibition at a time with five or six exhibitions per year. Right now you can check out Non-Punk Pittsburgh, and later in the summer you’ll be able to view Wall Paintings: Storytellers. It’s an interesting project that also has a heavy emphasis on local artists.

SPACE is always free and open during the day Wednesday through Sunday.

20. The Drop-In Studio at Contemporary Craft

Contemporary Craft is essentially a working arts & crafts gallery. Their exhibitions, open Monday through Saturday, are free and open to the public. They have a ton of hands-on workshops, too, but those do cost money.

The Drop-In Studio, however, does not. At this studio, an artist has created a tie-in craft for you to make which is related to the current exhibition. This particular project is free to anyone who is visiting.

The Thaw Telescope in Pittsburgh was used to proof other astronomer's theories through the late 90s. See it on a free tour.

Thaw Telescope

21. Free Tours of the Allegheny Observatory

While science is definitely a big deal at the Allegheny Observatory, history buffs will probably get the biggest kick out of the observatory’s weekly free tours. You learn a lot about the history of Pittsburgh, including who the heck Brashear was and what a huge role Pittsburgh played in astronomic studies. Plus once it gets dark you’ll have an opportunity to view far away celestial bodies through one of their telescopes.

22. Picklesburgh

An event like this would do well in Pittsburgh! On July 28-29, join the masses on the Clemente Bridge for a festival celebrating pickling. There will be demonstrations of the art of pickling from whiskey to kimchee to, well, pickles. There will also be live music and entertainment plus a kids’ center. There will be vendors there, but you’re not obligated to spend any money.


Know of something free and fun in the Burgh this summer that we missed? Tell us in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!

Free Services & Experiences for Military Families

These are some huge freebies for military families. Busch Gardens, anyone?

I grew up in a military family. Then I grew up and was in another military family. There are some fun things about the culture: you get to travel (AKA moving every few years,) you learn to establish deep friendships quickly and you get discounts just about everywhere you go.

Then there are more serious things. You have to move every few years—you get no say in the matter. You put up with weird spousal schedules as duties rotate.

You say goodbye to family and friends when they deploy, always trying to squelch the seed of fear that sits in your belly, because you’ve known and loved people who haven’t returned, but you cannot allow that seed to grow. Its far-reaching vines would consume you, and right now you need to be strong.

Today I want to remember all those serious things. I want to remember all the sacrifices that military families are currently making. I don’t know if I could do it again, but I’m so grateful that they are.

In that spirit of gratitude, I’m going to do what I do best: find free stuff. The below experiences and services are 100% free to active-duty military and their families. Go out there and have fun. And stash all the money you’ll be saving in your TSP!

Free Tax Filing

I know, I know. I’m a little late on this one. But you can get your taxes filed for free on base every year. Just keep in mind that being a tax preparer is often a seasonally-assigned duty—make sure the supervisor checks your preparer’s numbers!

PenFed Credit Union Membership

PenFed is a national credit union that has a field of membership open to active-duty miliary (and retired) families to join. They offer great rates, and stand behind their commitment to the military, not only through their programs and financial services, but also through their charitable arm The PenFed Foundation – which offers programs for the military like The Military Heroes Fund, The Asset Recovery Kit (ARK) and the Dream Makers Program.

Join today.

Free YMCA Membership

Active duty military members and their families get free membership at the local Y. To join, request an eligibility form from Military OneSource.

Free Wedding Dress

If you or your spouse-to-be has been deployed in the past five years, or has a deployment around the corner, you’ll want to head to a Brides Across America exhibition. At these events, active duty women or soon-to-be military spouses are given free wedding dresses for the big day.

This year there are still events scheduled in Colorado and Florida. There were also events in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Virginia in 2017.

Want to show your appreciation to military families? Donate a dress here.

Free Family Portrait

Sometimes you aren’t home very long before you’re gone again. Those moments are precious, and so are the memories that go along with them. Operation: Love Reunited is a network of photographers spread across the country who provide their services to military families for free.

If you’re a photographer and want to join their ranks, you can do so here.

Free Entrance to National Parks

The National Park Service and Federal Recreational Lands do not charge active-duty military for annual passes.  Just show your military ID at any of these sites and they will issue you one for free.

If you’re not in the military, you can get into National Parks for free on designated days. Find out when they are.

Free Access to Select NJ Beaches

Apparently you have to have a badge to go to the beach in New Jersey. Fortunately for military families, these badges are issued to you for free in many, though not all, municipalities.

Free Admission to George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum

Located in Dallas, Texas, active-duty military and up to five of their family members get free admission to this unique museum.

Free Admission to MoMA

Active-duty military members and their families get into this iconic museum for free. All the time.

Free Admission to the San Diego Zoo

My biggest regret about my trip to San Diego last fall is that I missed the zoo. Military families don’t have to, though. Active-duty members get in for free, and if you talk to your MWR on base before you leave, they may be able to get you heavily discounted tickets for the rest of your family, too.

Free Admission to Amazing Theme Parks

Under the Waves for Honor program, active-duty military families can go to the following theme parks for free, as long as they register online before they go:

  • Sea World—San Antonio, San Diego and Orlando locations only.
  • Busch Gardens—Tampa & Williamsburg locations only.
  • Sesame Place—This is a Sesame Street theme park outside of Philly.

Vet Tix

Vet Tix is a platform where people donate tickets to various concerts and events to have them claimed (for free) by active-duty military and veterans. You can check out the current selection here.


*This post is in collaboration with PenFed Credit Union. The views expressed in the article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pentagon Federal Credit Union. PenFed Credit Union is an Equal Housing Lender and is federally insured by the NCUA.*

New York City for Under $100 Per Day

I guess a trip to New York City really is possible on a frugal budget! Love the tips she used to do it for under $100/day--including her hotel!

This past month I took a super frugal trip to New York. I was in town for a conference, and was initially a little worried about the budget. But it turns out, even in one of the most expensive cities on Earth, there are always affordable ways to travel.

Accommodations- $181

The first thing I looked at when I was deciding if this sojourn was even going to be possible was accommodations. The conference was happening at a hotel in Times Square, and even the discounted conference rate was oppressive.

I decided to turn to Airbnb. It’s an option I’ve been reluctant to use in the past. Sleeping in a stranger’s house seemed, well, scary. But when we went to Canada we tried it out for the first time and had a stellar experience. Stellar as in these were the views from the private apartment we rented:

This is why we used Airbnb in Calgary.

I’ve learned from personal experience and from watching others use the platform that reading reviews is critical. You want a place with lots of reviews to scroll through, and you want the vast majority of those reviews to be glowing. I applied this same method to NYC and found a place in the heart of Times Square for a grand total of $181– for three nights.

The place I stayed was set up similar to a hostel. Initially, I had planned to keep to myself and get a lot of work done. But as soon as I got there, I was bombarded with invitations to go grab some food, check out nightlife or just chat.

I took the offers I could within the conference schedule, and I’m so glad I did. I made new friends, learned amazing stories from new acquaintances, and saw far more of the area than I would have if left to my own devices. It felt like going away to summer camp, except your bunk mates were these amazing women from around the world.

I highly endorse Airbnb for budget travel. It’s saved me a ton of money over a hotel multiple times, and, after carefully reading the reviews, has felt incredibly safe and led to amazing experiences I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t rented space from a local. If you want to try it out, too, you can get a $40 travel credit by signing up here.

Transit- $81.00

I found a Megabus ticket from Pittsburgh to NYC for $72 roundtrip. That included reserving seats, which was an optional add-on. (My favorite was on the top in the front of the bus.)

It was my first time using them. Wifi was spotty, which I expected. It was nonexistent on my way in, but on my way home I was able to knock a lot of work out. I had heard the buses were “dirty,” but I didn’t have that experience. Maybe I’m just too used to PAT buses, which can be pretty gross sometimes. Everything’s relative.

While in New York, I bought three subway tickets. I had a really easy time using it on the way in, and spent $3 on a one-time pass. But I got confused while heading to catch the Megabus out, so I ended up having to buy two one-time tickets for a total of $6.

Food- $84.00

I had some amazing eats while in the city. One day while I was in town, the conference provided free lunch and breakfast. Another day, my mom’s cousin was generous enough to treat me to lunch at Thalia. It was the first time each of us were trying the restaurant, and it was amazing.

With friends from the Airbnb, I tried some Indian, and old-school diner and an Irish pub. One night we grabbed a drink at Hard Rock, too.

Grand total: $84.00

The Conference: THINK17

My friends at CO-OP invited me to check out their annual conference: THINK17. I wasn’t able to stay for the entire thing because of prior obligations that week, but I’m so glad I made it for the two days I did. It was the most interesting and dynamic conference I’ve ever been to.

We listened to speakers who challenged the norm, spoke with credit union reps who were completely dedicated to making their members’ experiences beyond spectacular, and got to hear from some of the winners of their THINK17 prize, which invited innovation in the digital financial experience for those 50+.

Inspirational youth who won the THINK Prize 2017.

Aside from the awesome financial nerd discussions and inspirational speakers, we also were privy to some top notch entertainment, including a sampler of Hamilton during opening:

Fun times seeing a Hamilton Sampler in NYC.

And a Cirque-esque performance at our first night’s party:

Entertainment: $0

I didn’t spend a lot going to shows or anything of the like while I was in NYC. I found that walking around in the evening brought enough free entertainment that I didn’t have to pay for it. Just walking around Times Square my Airbnb friends and I were able to see some great performances, including a talented break dancing troupe.

The above video is in 360. Best viewed through your VR headset, but you can also look around by clicking and dragging to change your perspective with your mouse.

I did learn, however, that if you want to go see a show, you can purchase any leftover tickets at the TKTS booth in the middle of Times Square. You have to be flexible in what you’re willing to see, but you’ll score a great deal.

New York City on a Budget

If doing NYC for four days under $350 is possible, you can do anywhere on a budget of less than $100/day. I wouldn’t trade my frugal experiences for the world—whether we’re talking about the new friends I made or the new ideas and experiences I have in my tool belt for work.

What destinations have you done for cheap? Share your story in the comments! 


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