Category Archives: Ways to Save Money

Free Rides Home to Prevent Drunk Driving

Sending this to my friends---free rides to prevent drunk driving!

I had an interesting conversation with my Japanese friend while she was visiting a few years ago. We were driving through an area laden with bars and night life.  Which can be a fun area if drinking is what you’re there for.

But that wasn’t what we were there for, and it got us talking about drunk driving. I related the lives I’ve known that have been lost to the horrible mistakes of both themselves and others while under the influence and behind the wheel. I lamented the lack of consequences for those who do drink and drive.

She looked shocked. “It is not like that in Japan. If I did that, my father would lose his job.”

Hell, yes, Japan.

Costs of Drunk Driving

Our system is way too lenient. But that doesn’t mean there are no consequences. Here’s some of what you face if you do drive drunk:

  • A night in jail.
  • Bail money.
  • A fine.  And a big one. They get bigger the more offenses you have, but the first one is nothing to laugh at.
  • Possibly extra time in jail. Upwards of six months.
  • A misdemeanor on your record.
  • Might have to attend AA.

Honestly, a DUI with its accompanying consequences would be good news. The fact that the cops caught you means that they got your drunk butt off the street, preventing you from killing someone else.  Or yourself.

Free Rides Home When You’re Drunk

Believe it or not, there are quite a few ways to get a free ride home when you’re drunk–especially on major holidays. Here are some of the best:

Cheap and Frugal Alternatives to Driving Drunk

Maybe you can’t get a free ride home, but you can use one of these options instead. Every single one of them is a heck of a lot cheaper than a DUI:

  • Public Tranport– This one is best if you plan to use it before you leave. On New Year’s and other holidays, cities usually leave their public transport open much later than usual so you won’t have to drive at all.
  • Sober Rides– AAA has created a compilation of programs across the country that offer DD services. They do charge a fee, but most of them not only drive you home, but also send a second driver out to get your car home, too. Check them out here.
  • Tell Siri you’re drunk. She’ll immediately offer to call a cab for you.

Cheaper Than a Funeral

Even if you pay for a super long, super overpriced taxi fare and get your car towed, the costs will still be less than that of the average funeral: $7,000. And that’s if only one person dies at your hands, not including additional damages awarded in the sure-to-happen law suit and the deep, painful remorse you’ll experience for the rest of your life.

It’s okay to have fun–as long as you’re responsible.

I hope everyone has fun time tonight–truly!

But I hope even more that you’ll do so responsibly.

 

 

Cheapest Ways to Rent a Car & Get Discounted Accommodations

I had never heard of this trick before! She really did find the cheapest way to rent a car.

Now that it’s almost Christmas, wanna hear what I was up to over Thanksgiving?

The short answer is I was traveling. The long answer is I’m going to tell you all about the fun and the ways I made it more affordable over the next couple of weeks.

Today we’ll cover a basic overview of where I went, how I got there, and how I paid for accommodations.

Thanksgiving at the Beach

This year, Thanksgiving happened at the beach. Fort Meyers Beach, Florida, to be exact. It was absolutely gorgeous. The water was warm. The sand was white. The beaches weren’t crowded, and there wasn’t a hurricane in sight.

On the way home, we made a stop in Orlando to visit Disney World again, but we’ll get to that in another post.

My money lessons from last time we went to Disney can be found here.

Finding the Cheapest Car Rental

As I was trying to decide what the most cost-effective way of traveling would be this time around, I did some math and decided driving would be cheaper than plane tickets. The only problem? We didn’t have a vehicle big enough to get everyone and everything down there. So I started looking for a car rental.

I scoured plenty of sites. Renting a car is an expensive venture, but it was still going to be cheaper than plane tickets. After getting pretty much the same results everywhere, I finally found a booking site that got me in the door for over $100 less: AutoEurope.

The way it worked for our trip was like this:

First, I went to AutoEurope and did a search.

Then, they showed me the best options for my needs and dates of travel, connecting me with a bunch of local rental places. The best option ended up being with Budget. Budget had been listed on the other sites I searched, but at a much higher price.

I looked into my affiliate network, and AutoEurope was on the list. I was fortunate in this way. They ended up giving me a coupon, making the rental even cheaper than it already was.

We ended up getting a Ford Explorer, which had room for all the people and things. It was an easy vehicle to drive and had all the bells and whistles we needed (and some we didn’t!)

Gas

Gas was another added cost of getting down there. Luckily for us, the further down the East Coast you go the cheaper gas gets. You can actually follow along with the lowering of gas prices and then watch them as they rise as we go back by following me on Instagram. In between, I’m featuring photos of the beautiful things we got to experience while it was snowing back home.

Accommodations

Getting to Florida was more than a one-day drive. We needed convenient places to stay overnight. Because I had Airbnb credits, I was able to book two amazing places that were right off the highway in super safe neighborhoods. One was an entire house, and the other was a basement suite inside someone’s house with a backyard fully accessible to us. It was so much better than staying in a hotel, and with the credits, I only spent $30/night total.

If you want to get started on earning Airbnb credits, too, this referral link will get you $40 off your first stay.

Accommodations at Fort Meyers Beach

Because we were visiting during the off-season, accommodations at the beach were crazy cheap. Like 50% off what you would spend at peak season. Plus, I got 10x points through a promotion Hotels.com is running with one of my credit card carriers.

Hotels.com also gives you one free night after ten paid nights. I’ve almost reached that point, so I’ll be getting a free stay sometime soon.

Accommodations in Orlando

I’m super lucky and have a family member who has a time share in Orlando. Like the last time we visited, they were gracious enough to gift us a week stay there. I’m so, so grateful. Because of them, we were able to stay for free.

What did I do in Florida?

So much. I’m excited to tell you about the funnest parts in the coming weeks. Be sure to check back or subscribe to the newsletter to receive notifications!

 

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Buy Wedding Jewelry

Great insider tips for the best time of year to buy wedding jewelry!

It happened right before Thanksgiving.  I got a card in the mail from a jeweler that had somehow found out I was getting married.  Come in to the store and we’ll give you some free earrings, no purchase necessary.  All I had to do was come in between Black Friday and Christmas.

So I did.  Of course.  While I was there, I figured I might as well look at wedding bands as I hadn’t yet gotten one for the fiance.  He hadn’t gotten his ring size yet, but the jeweler showed me the selection and told me I should definitely buy before Christmas.

She told me during the holidays jewelers freeze their prices, regardless of how gold or silver performs in the stock market, and then they put on all these fabulous sales.  After the holidays the sales stop, and they resume pricing their products based on the current value of gold/silver, etc.

I walked out with a coupon, but ended up not going back because the prices were far outside of my budget.  This is my second go around with the whole marriage thing.  The last time I got married was before the housing bubble burst and the price of precious metals comparatively skyrocketed.  So what I had been expecting to spend versus the reality I had just been confronted with had really hit home.

About halfway through the crazy holiday shopping season, we were out as a family at the mall buying the gifts that we still needed to fill in.  We stopped at a different jeweler to get him sized.  He saw some rings he liked, and the prices here were a lot more affordable.

I asked the woman waiting on us if what the other jeweler had told me was true:  would prices go up after Christmas?  Was this really the best time of year to buy?

She told me yes, and confessed that they would continue to have 40% off sales, but that it wouldn’t be on as wide of an array of products and that they would resume following the stock market when pricing their products.

We looked around the mall a bit, and found that the jeweler we had started with had the best prices for their selection.  So we headed back.  I handed the girl at the counter the business card of the woman I had been talking to before; I wanted to talk to her again so she could get the sale she had earned.

She took the card from me, put it under the desk, and started to show me Tungsten rings.  She was talking the fiance into it, too, despite my vocal protests that I didn’t want to spend that much money on a ring that (in my opinion, which may be completely wrong,) is a fad.  On top of that you can’t resize it.  I wanted gold or silver, and I wanted it in my price range.

She refused to show us the rings I asked to see, and lost a sale.

Time went on.  It was the night before Christmas Eve and I was freaking out because I was going to miss the best time of year to get these sales.  So I went on-line, fully intending to price compare and find a store that had a good selection for when I went in person on the morrow.

Of all places, I found it on Sears website.  A ring almost exactly like one he had seen and liked in a “real” metal, and in my price range.  And it was a comfort-fit, which is a bonus the fiance won’t even understand, but he’ll unknowingly appreciate it.

It said it wasn’t available in store because it was shipped by the original jeweler directly.  I checked out the original jeweler, and they had the ring for less on their website. Plus I found a coupon code for 5% off (which can be huge when you’re spending hundreds,) and free shipping.

I held my breath as I pressed the “Complete Purchase” button. I had gone mad. I was purchasing jewelry on-line based off an internet picture, and then having it shipped to my house hoping the mailman wouldn’t just leave it out on the street.

But I did it anyways. I was not going to have to go out on Christmas Eve.

So a few days ago it came.  All my fears were laid to rest.  It was exactly like the pictures.  (Though I can’t take a good one.)  The post office actually left me a note requesting that I pick it up rather than leaving it in the mailbox or on the street.

I couldn’t be more surprised that I didn’t hit a snag or problem. It’s at least as beautiful as the pieces we saw at all those other stores, and so much more affordable.

If you’re comparing pictures online, it’s a good idea to look at sites like James Allen. They provide a 360 degree view of their products, so its easier to see what you’re getting than with simple 2D pictures.

Since I had already seen pretty much the same exact men’s ring before, it made it easier for me to create a mental composite from 2D. Had I not, or if I had been shopping for an engagement ring with a diamond, the 360 degree view would have been something I mandated from my online jeweler.

I did some price comparison after the holidays.  I didn’t save any money by freaking out on Christmas Eve.  I didn’t spend more, either, though.  Prices on the products I was looking at were pretty  much the same.

I did some research independent of jewelry store salespeople and found that the best time of year for jewelry spans pretty wide:  October to February.  (Valentine’s Day anyone?)  So I did well.  I just didn’t need to stress quite so much about my timeline.

Brick & Mortar vs Online Retailers

Since this article went live in January of 2014, there have been several articles floating about the web citing summer as the best time of year to buy wedding jewelry. I’d like to present some context to that argument in a 2017 update.

The first thing to note is that at brick and mortar retailers, this may be true. Shopping online, though, can save you anywhere up to 50% over these in-person retailers–no matter the time of year.

When I asked Oded Edelman, Co-Founder and CEO of James Allen, about the difference, he explained it in this way:

“We take a consumer-focused approach to our promotions in order to make the experience as positive as we can during key times throughout the year. Our research has shown that the majority of engagements happen in the four months between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.”

“Typically brick and mortar retailers have entirely different cost structures thanks to holding inventory, overhead costs, etc,” he continues. “Their operations structures as well as their marketing tactics are very different, which may lead to higher costs for the end consumer.”

This means the biggest sales at online retailers, at least at consumer-oriented businesses like Edelman’s, do indeed happen between October and February.

 

A Very Feminist Gift Guide

This post is in collaboration with Etsy.

This is so awesome. Definitely loading up my Chirstmas shopping list with a lot of these frugal feminist gift ideas!

The holidays are just around the corner! In fact, today’s Cyber Monday, which means you can grab some great deals–like this one on an AncestryDNA kit.

While you should definitely check out the deals today, I wanted to put together a gift guide that could last beyond the clickiest holiday all year. So today we’ll be looking at some gifts for the feminist in your life–all for $25 or under

I’ll give you a nudge to check out the book in the side bar for starters, but after that you’ve done that, here are some more great gifts at a great price.

Immigration Teewe are all illegal on stolen land

Price: $18.95

Personally, I’m mostly super white. My family was among the huddled masses that sought refuge in this country, and it’s something I’ve always been grateful for and proud of. While America has never initially loved its immigrants, I was raised in an America that was proud of its status as a melting pot.

But the fact that my family thought this was a safe and good country to come to hinged upon the fact that the white people who had come before them had robbed and slaughtered this land’s native people. Throughout our history our country has denied its native people so many rights, including the right of citizenship on its southern border. As people native to this continent attempt to come here seeking asylum from violence and persecution, we need to remember that we are all illegal on stolen lands.

This shirt from Ava Rose Apparel reminds us of just that.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Mug

ruth bader ginsburg gift

Price: $9.59

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Pioneer. Women’s advocate. Dissenter at large. With this gift from She Mugs, your feminist can start her morning with caffeine and a reflection: What would Ruth Bader Ginsburg do?

In This House We Believe…In this house we believe black lives matter love is love science is real feminism is for everyone no human is illegal kindness is everything

Price: $7.00

Seriously considering downloading this printable from littlegoldpixel for the walls of my own home. It makes me more than a bit sad that these ideals aren’t standard across American homes. Because of that, though, I want to make sure they’re reinforced with my own children. Odds are, your feminist holds these values, too:

  • Black lives matter.
  • Love is love.
  • Science is real.
  • Feminism is for everyone.
  • No human is illegal.
  • Kindness is everything.

The Fearless Girl

The Fearless Girl Statue

Price: $5.95

It could be because I’m a huge money nerd, but I find the Fearless Girl statue so powerful. Although it may have been placed by State Street Global Advisors in an attempt to distract from a lawsuit they had going on regarding pay inequities among its female and black employees, it’s also true that when women sit in the highest levels of financial corporations, the companies perform better. Even if there is a hint of irony, the statue stands for equal pay and representation, even in the face of great discrimination.

You can gift this powerful message via this photo from Modern Memory Art.

Beyonce iPhone Case

beyonce iphone case

Price: $7.99

Icon and legend Beyonce used her album Lemonade to feature the poetry of black women, express righteous anger and then an altruistic capacity for forgiveness, reinforce that black lives matter and that we need to do something about it culturally, and that women–especially women of color–have the power to economically take charge of their own lives despite facing a myriad of oppressions.

Celebrate all that goodness with this clear iPhone case from PipeszCases as you’re shopping this holiday season.

Frida Kahlo ClockFrida Kahlo Clock

Price: $17.00

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who explored so many intersections. From gender to race to colonialism to socioeconomic class, she covered all the bases in truly powerful ways. This clock from RachelClock memorializes her with a line of her poetry:

“Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly!”

Narrative of Sojourner TruthNarrative of Sojourner Truth

Price: $7.99

If you’ve got a reader on your hands, you’ll seriously want to consider ordering the Narrative of Sojourner Truth from AffordableBooks. Truth was arguably America’s first intersectional feminist, and the pages of her narrative cover her years as a slave, an abolitionist and a feminist.

Michelle Obama Side Eye Pingrl trbl michelle obama pin

Price: $4.00

When I asked Twitter about putting together a feminist gift guide, Veronika from Debts to Riches recommended vinyl pins from GRL TRBL. I immediately started falling in love with the self-described “kitschy” feminist products by Afro-Latinx artist Emerald Pellot. When I came across this Michelle Obama side eye pin, I knew I had found my favorite to feature. Obama is a hero in so many ways, but her obvious disapproval at the last presidential inauguration was everything. She expressed what so many of us were feeling while somehow still remaining classy as hell.

Indigenous Women Teeindigenous women resisting colonialism tee

Price: $25.00

Colonialism and patriarchy often go hand in hand, and there is no shortage of strong women who have resisted at every turn. This tee from NalgonaPositiveShop celebrates a few of these heroes:

  • Malalai of Maiwand. Not only did Malalai lead forces against British troops in Afghanistan in the 1800s, but she did it as a teenager.
  • Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana. When white people came to colonize Zimbabwe, this spiritual leader also became a political leader of the resistance.
  • Haunani-Kay Trask. As Americans, we often conveniently forget that we are still practicing colonialism. Trask is a Hawaiian woman who continues to fight for her people’s culture and autonomy.
  • Teresa Magbanua. When the Spanish and Americans came to the Philippines, this school teacher made the shift to military leader. Because women can truly be bad-a.
  • Tarenorerer. A lot of us know about the current oppression of the LGBTQIA+ community in Tasmania, but the truth is that oppression in this region stretches back even farther and has its roots in British colonialism. Tarenorerer was an indigenous women who led a guerilla band in revolt against the invasion.
  • Rani Abbakka Chowta. Chowta was a Toluva queen who successfully fought off the Portuguese for over 40 years, protecting her people’s autonomy.

Confidence Poster

carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre white man

Price: $14.99

When society tells you you’re not worth as much–whether that be via your pay or because of how you measure up to the real way society largely defines value for women: looks–you start to internalize it. When you don’t have to live up to those standards, e.g. you’re a white man, you inherently have a lot more confidence. This poster from Murkantile Designs reminds us that we, too, can be confident with a dash of humor.

Ancestry Deals for Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend 2018


ancestry deals

Hey, everyone! There were quite a few of you interested in the Ancestry DNA kit when I wrote about it last week, so I just wanted to let you know that there’s a sale going on this weekend. It really is the best one they have all year, and this year the discount is even steeper than last. You can get 50% off AncestryDNA Nov 22-26. This offer unfortunately can’t be combined with the free shipping offer (which you can get by using code FREESHIPDNA.)

Fifty percent off is the steepest discount I have ever seen for AncestryDNA. If you’ve been thinking about trying it for a while, now is the time to do it at just $49.

I’ll be writing about my experiences with their other services for genealogy soon. (Spoiler alert! They were super positive!) But these deals only last until Monday, so if you want to get a jump start, you can get an Ancestry.com subscription for 50% off through Cyber Monday.

For the purpose of the sale, these prices will be available 12am Eastern time starting 22 Nov and go through 11:59 pm Eastern on 26 November. That means all the West Coasters can actually score them starting at 9pm Pacific time on Thanksgiving and ending 8:59 pm Pacific on Cyber Monday.

Hope this helps! Happy Black Friday!

Update on Ancestry Deals

Cyber Monday has come and gone, and so have the biggest deals.

However, if you’re still shopping for the holidays, you can get 20% off Ancestry gift subscriptions here and/or 40% AncestryDNA here.

I’ve been tracking this sale for years, and these are the steepest discounts I’ve ever seen Ancestry offer. By shopping now, you are getting a great deal: AncestryDNA for just $59. As a point of reference, $59 has been the Black Friday price in years past.

If you buy a kit and feel comfortable, please come back and share your story in the comments! We’ve had a lot of interesting reader AncestryDNA stories, and would love to hear yours, too.