Category Archives: Ways to Save Money

Deals & Steals I’m Watching

In addition to affiliate links, I may be compensated for the inclusion of some of these deals. Regardless, all opinions on the deals are 100% honest and my own. There are deals that did not make the cut.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving and I’m here to talk about Christmas shopping.

Forgive me.

I’ve found in years past that shopping ahead of time and throughout the year makes the holiday season way less stressful on my wallet. While I’m not always perfect at this, it is always the goal.

This year is particularly interesting. I’m finding that more and more online retailers who traditionally offer Cyber Monday or Black Friday deals are extending the savings throughout a larger chunk of the month of November. Some retailers are going to have additional price cuts on Cyber Monday or Black Friday, while for some this appears to be the same deal extended throughout the entirety of the sales period.

I digress. The point is, sales season seems to be getting longer, so you can start shopping now instead of when you’re in a turkey coma.

As I’ve been shopping myself, I’ve indexed a few of my favorites from these nouveau-leisurely deals.

AncestryDNA + AncestryHealth

AncestryDNA is consistently the deal you guys get most excited about each year. I think it’s a really cool tool. I know it’s told our family more about our own history, and has opened the door for a ton of cool reader stories, too.

This year, you can get AncestryDNA for $59 through 11/27. On top of that, Ancestry is providing a couple new tools this year.

If you purchase any time through 12/31, you can get the new traits feature for just $10. Normally it’s an extra $20 charge.

If you’re looking for something more health-oriented, Ancestry has come out with a product to up their competitiveness in this arena. You can now upgrade your AncestryDNA test — whether it’s new or existing — to AncestryHealth.

If you’re purchasing a new test, it’s $149. However, if you want to just add this service to your existing AncestryDNA sample, you can upgrade for just $49.

Entertainment Coupon Books

Entertainment.com

Did anyone else’s mom introduce this as a frugal hack in their childhood? Entertainment coupon books provide you with a bunch of big savings for your purchases at restaurants, local attractions, hotels, services and more. We always made up the cost of the book within two family meals out.

Now through 3PM Eastern on 11/18, you can get your Entertainment Coupon Book for 30% off by using the following code:

DEAL30

Scrape-A-Round

We had our first snow here last night, so the horror of scraping ice off the car in the morning has hit me hard. As fortune or the Google algorithm would have it, I had an email in my inbox today notifying me that this nifty little tool was down in price from $43 to $27 for a six-pack. Not only that, but you can score free shipping on your Scrape-A-Round with promo code:

BSAFE

Leatherman for Mom

Every once in a while after moving out on my own, I realize there’s something I don’t have on hand. But I’m kind of cheap so I don’t always spend money on an actual solution.

Ask me where the bottle opener is and I’ll direct you to the messed up fork in the drawer, its prongs pointed every which direction.

Ask me where the can opener is and I’ll provide you with a simple solution: I don’t eat things out of cans at this point in my life.

Ask me where the corkscrew is and I’ll ask you what one looks like. I’m a recent convert to wine consumption, and admit that it’s not a habit I engage in enough to understand how the twisty tool is supposed to work.

The moral of the story is I should invest in some tools — particularly kitchen tools. But instead, I’m probably going to put them on my Christmas list. I was excited when I saw this Swiss Army knife-like tool sans knife. I won’t be as concerned with it around my kids, and happens to be on sale for under $20.

Hint. Hint.

Nudge. Nudge.

Saatva Sheets

best place for organic cotton sheets

In case you didn’t hear, I’m madly in love with my Saatva sheets. They’re not necessarily the cheapest item, but they’re one that’s well-worth the money. I sleep so much better with them.

Right now through 12/10, they have a deal going on where you get $150 off of $1,000 in purchases. This is especially handy as Saatva makes big-ticket items like mattresses in additions to amazing cotton bedding. The discount is automatically applied when you use this link.

What deals are you eyeing? Let us know in the comments!

7 Pocket-Friendly Ways to Explore Australia

by Britt Sharman

Australia has a lot to offer during the summer between beaches, deserts and mountain ranges (come back for the snow in winter, we’re not joking it’s amazing!) However, you might have heard it is super expensive.

Well, after plenty of years as broke students we know all the best budget things to do in Australia! Here are some favourites!

Some Sweet Treats

You don’t have to shell out restaurants to try Australia’s best food! Just head to the bakery. Bakeries are pocket-friendly and full of treats you will have never seen before!

The next two are best to get from a bakery. First is the lamington. It is basically a fist-sized piece of sponge cake filled with jam, rolled in chocolate and then coconut, sounds like a mess, and it is, so grab a napkin! 

Next, grab yourself a vanilla slice. The name might seem unassuming; however, the Vanilla Slice is an iconic treat. The slice has a crispy pastry bottom and top of thick, vanilla custard filling. Simple yet life-changing, again thank us later!

Last but not least (and not from a bakery) is a classic Tim Tam. Now, this is something that will most likely be life-changing. Grab your Tim Tam and bite off two opposite corners. Grab a cold glass of milk, please don’t use anything hot! Dip in one corner, then use the other corner like a straw and suck. What you have is a delicious chocolate milk drink, then the biscuit turns into a fudgy chocolate bar.

Hang Out in Byron Bay

Byron Bay. You might have heard of this idyllic town that is now home to many famous people. But its reputation is well-deserved; it is bloody beautiful! Azure blue water, the softest sand you’ve ever touched and a a beautiful beach-side village. While it can normally be pricey in these types of spots, lucky there are many house sitting opportunities!. It can be competitive so find out the best tips to getting started.

How About Some Shopping? 

Melbourne is famous for its shopping. If you’re after cheap boutique finds head to Smith St in Collingwood or Greville St in Prahran. Both streets are full of treasure troves of designers.

If you come at Christmas time, you have to head to Myer. They are famous for their beautiful window displays as well as stocking all the best brands!

If you’re looking for some bargains, head to DFO. You wouldn’t believe the location. It’s set on the side of the Yarra River, with lovely restaurants overlooking it. The perfect place for an afternoon espresso martini. You can pick one up at happy hour for around $4. 

Master the Art of Surfing

Surfing is more than a sport in Australia. It is a lifestyle. Take a surf lesson during your travels. It may not be budget, but once you master it, it’s free for life! Trying to stand, fall, and trying again… the attributes of perseverance and persistence create grit which is a necessary personality trait for any Australian. Nothing beats the sense of achievement when you succeed. 

Swimming Under a Waterfall 

The Blue Mountains in rural NSW has some beautiful waterfalls. There are many tracks, so enjoy the bushwalk to a beautiful waterfall then strip down to your togs and jump in. The walking tracks are endless here so make sure you grab a national park map! 

Get Lost on a Road Trip

Australia is best seen from the road. If you fly you miss out on all the best beaches and parks. Head off on a road trip, you can find looks of cheap/ free cars and campers by searching for relocation cars. 

 Eat Fish ‘n’ Chips 

Having a ‘feed’ of fish ‘n’ chips is about as Aussie as you can get. However, these fish ‘n’ chips are not the kind that comes served in an ironic serving basket for $35.99 at your local fine dining restaurant. We’re talking about the real fish ‘n’ chips!

This is going to your local fish shop, ordering a $20 family pack and heading down the beach to eat it with your hands while watching the sun go down. Every fish ‘n’ chip shop has a $20 family pack. However, what is in the family pack can differ from place to place. You will usually find they contain something along the lines of 4 pieces of crumbed fish, 2 scoops of chips, a couple of hot dogs & a small army of potato cakes.

This delicious pack of deep-fried goodness will always come wrapped in last week’s newspaper, which is used as your table at the beach! Always remember your can of tomato sauce and lemon to get the full experience.

There you have it, all the best things to do in Australia just like a local. Not only that, they won’t cost you an arm and a leg. So what are you waiting for? 

Brittnay is one half of the Travelling House Sitters. They are professional house sitters, who have looked after homes in over 10 countries including Italy, France, Greece, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia & The UK. If you want to become a house sitter, they have just released a brand new course. Or you follow along their journeys on Instagram.

How To Build Your Home On A Shoestring Budget

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

When it’s time to strike out on your own and find a suitable property, the thought of finding something that suits all your needs can be quite daunting. Building a home, on the other hand, can tick all those boxes and still come in up to 30% cheaper than buying a house.

For the most part, you’re in control of the entire budget and can choose all the elements you need in the property. While buying an existing property has the advantage of already being available, if you’re looking for a frugal option, a newbuild surprisingly might just be it. 

Consider Converting An Existing Shell 

There are a number of structures that might do when it comes to building the perfect home in a suitable shell, such as existing barns, old factories, and even shipping containers. These provide a solid structure at a fraction of the cost of constructing the exterior from scratch. A conversion could also save a substantial amount on the planning side of things, as the entire design has to work around the existing structure, as opposed to conceptualizing an entirely new idea. 

Opt For A Turnkey Solution 

Architect fees can run anywhere from 8% to 15% of the cost of construction on a newbuild, which is a substantial portion of the build. One of the ways to cut down on these costs is to ask the architect to only provide the bare minimum plans in order to get approved for the build. Usually, the fees creep up to the maximum when customers wish to have every area of the house completely mapped out.

The flipside, however, is that spending that extra bit on the architect fee can actually reduce the cost of construction. This is because there is no room for error as every part of the design is carefully planned. Pre-packaged home builder solutions offer future homeowners options that will include the entire cost of the project as a turnkey solution. 

Do As Much Of The Labor As You Can 

If you are able to clear out rubble on the lot or help dig the foundation, then it’s in your best interest to do so. This could also include painting and tiling if you happen to have the skill and right tools for the job. Even if it means coming in alongside a crew, this could potentially cut a day or a few days off the entire project’s time, which could have a positive effect on the labor bill. It’s important that you take on projects within your range of skills in order not to delay the project. 

A newbuild is not only a great way to get as close to your dream home as possible; it can also be a cost-saving enterprise if you know where to look.

Easy Peasy Low-Cost Life Insurance

Disclosure: This post was made in paid partnership with Bestow. Neither Bestow nor North American Company for Life and Health Insurance were involved in the preparation of the information in this article. The opinions and ideas expressed in the article are those of the author(s) and are not promoted or endorsed by Bestow or North American. You should always seek professional advice before making a financial decision.

Such an important step when you become a mom--getting term life insurance!

When I got my life insurance policy, I had a nurse come into my home. She took my weight, drew my blood and went over a long and complex form with me, assessing my physical and mental health.

It wasn’t a particularly convenient or fun experience.

But if you’re looking at purchasing a term life insurance policy today, you’ve got options. If you qualify, you could get a policy for as little as $5/month from Bestow. No medical tests. Easy questionnaire. And the entire process takes less than ten minutes.

I gave the platform a whirl myself, though I did not qualify for a policy. I have a couple preexisting conditions, so that’s not a huge surprise. These are low-cost policies, which will often mean they’re available to those who do not have many “negative” marks on their medical history.

There were seven sections of the application, reviewing basics like name and address all the way through lifestyle decisions, physical health, mental health and income information. From here, you’ll either be rejected or offered a final rate. Policies start at just $5/month, and are underwritten by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®.

What should I look for in an insurance company?

When you’re shopping for an insurance company, you want to be as sure as possible that the company will be able to pay out your benefits should you ever need to make a claim. You can do this by looking up its rating with an insurance rating agency. Scores operate similarly to the grades you received in high school; the closer to an A++, the better. Companies with lower ratings are less likely to be able to actually pay out the claims.

North American Company for Life and Health Insurance has an A+ rating from AM Best, and Bestow administers their policies online.

Why do you need life insurance?

There are many reasons you might need life insurance. You may want to provide for you family in the event of your death, aiming to leave them with enough money for the kids to attend college and to replace your income for several years as they adjust to lacking your income or work as a homemaker.

Of course, the primary thing you want to get them through is the mourning process. Giving them time to handle the emotional waves that come along with grief is perhaps one of the greatest gifts of all.

You may want to support a partner or parent in the event of your death, which is another reason to take out a life insurance policy.

Why don’t I have to submit any medical records?

Bestow pulls your data as you give it permission to do so as a part of the application process. It pulls your health data and prescriptions in this way. Then it goes through an algorithm which decides if you qualify for coverage.

What else should I know before I use Bestow as my life insurance provider?

If you get a 20-year term policy from Bestow, you must be age 21-45. The other policies offered are 2-year or 10-year term policies, and you must be between the ages of 21-55 in order to qualify.

You will not be approved if you have any of these disqualifiers:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer—unless it’s basal or squamous cell skin cancer
  • Organ transplant
  • Diabetes before age 40—unless it was gestational diabetes
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • HIV
  • Undergoing dialysis

As long as none of the above apply to you and you fall within the age limits, you may qualify. Finding out is as easy as applying online, and shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes.

Have you purchased life insurance? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!

Decals Brighten Up Stores and Neighborhoods in New York

This post is brought to you and contributed by an outside writer.

Decals are being used extensively in NYC by communities and businesses as a cheaper, brighter and more creative form for branding, sharing information or simply decorating. Thanks to their transfer surface, decals are an outstanding way of utilizing every inch of space, as the many separate parts (like letters or patterns) can be attached on the target location exactly as they were designed, say experts at New York Sign Group. For space-crunched New York, wall and window decals are boon.

What are Decals?

Decals are like stickers but a bit more complicated than that. A sticker usually refers to an adhesive product that you simply peel off from the backing paper and stick. Decals, on the other hand, are transferred from one surface to another and can be custom made for walls as well as windows. They can be anything; from a quote to a logo to just about anything you can imagine.

Different Kinds of Decals

Decals can be used on windows as well as walls. A quick walk down any neighborhood in NYC reveals a whole range of creatively designed custom wall decals. Vinyl graphic work can be used for wall lettering. Wall decals in NYC, however, don’t have a very long life due to the weather of the city and the nature of its residents. Also, since walls tend to be uneven due to the use of grainy cement and mortar and there are a whole host of other signage options available for walls, decals are more commonly used on windows or doors.

In NYC, vinyl window decals have various uses. They can be used for storefront advertising using images and text and/or as information display for details such as store hours. In fact, custom-designed die-cut vinyl window decals that are a mono-color showcase of the brand’s logo/tagline are a common sight all over NYC.

Best used on glass, decals work on other smooth or laminated surfaces including plastic or metal and can be used indoors as well as outdoors depending on the NYC neighborhood you are in. Decals can be semi-permanent or reusable and depending on the kind of material used, they may or may not use adhesive. Of course, if it is décor that you have used window decals for, know that it is one of those pretty but stubborn things that won’t easily come off!

Decals Are a Clear Choice

Whether it is for commercial or residential/personal use, wall and window decals in NYC are a quick and easy option when you have absolute clarity about what you need and where. Other formats of signages and notices like physical frames can be moved around from one corner to another but the same is not possible with decals. Decals are also considered a more modern and static form of advertising. But since they are cheaper to design and print, they can really perk up a window or wall that otherwise would just lay bare.

Decals are cost-effective products that are easy to use. No wonder then that businesses are increasingly using them to promote their brand.