Good End of the Year Deals To Look Out For

The end of the year can be a time of profligate spending, but it can also be a time where you can find some pretty good deals. If you’ve managed your budget or your sinking funds so you still have extra money left over in November and December, there are a few things you might be on the lookout for. Remember, just because something seems like a good deal or is on sale, it doesn’t mean that you have to buy it. Consider your needs and your wants in the context of your whole budget before buying any of these items at the end of the year.

Buying a car

Traditionally, the end of the year (November and December) is considered the best time of year to buy a car. This is true for a couple of reasons. First of all, many salespeople and manufacturers are trying to hit their end-of-quarter and end-of-year quotas. That gives them extra incentive to try and make a deal. In their enthusiasm to close the sale, you can often find deals that you wouldn’t find earlier in the year.

The end of the year being a good time to buy a car doesn’t apply only to new and leased cars. Each year in the fall, most manufacturers release the new version of each of their car models. When the 2022 models are introduced in late 2021, that means that all 2021 models have to be cleared out to make room. Similarly, as people lease or buy new cars, they are trading in their old cars. This combination can lead to excellent savings on used cars as well.

Electric car and other tax breaks

Speaking of cars, there are also many tax breaks for purchasing electric cars. These tax deductions and credits can be available at the federal, state and local levels, and often change each tax year. So if you’ve been saving towards an electric or hybrid car, you should make sure that you know what credits you might be eligible for.

Electric cars aren’t the only thing that sometimes have tax breaks — many types of renewable energy qualify for tax benefits. This can include buying or installing solar panels or taking advantage of wind or geothermal energy. And if you’re expecting a new child, one thing to consider is that a child born on December 31st is considered to have lived with you the whole year for tax purposes. That could mean an additional tax deduction and child tax credit as compared to having a New Year’s baby.

Starting a new rental lease

While moving in the middle of the winter and holiday season might not sound like the most fun adventure possible, it may be worth your while. This is because nobody ELSE likes to move in the middle of the winter, so landlords and management companies are often experiencing higher-than-average vacancy and more willing to give good end of year deals.

If you’ve been considering moving across town or across the country, take a look at the leasing listings and see if there are any move-in specials that you might take advantage of. You might get a discount on your first month’s rent, or a lower security deposit. Even if you don’t really want to move, you might be able to take advantage of this phenomenon if your lease is up or you’re on a month-to-month lease. Show your current landlord the other options you’re considering and see if they will cut you a deal.

Post Black Friday deals

As most people know, the weekend after Thanksgiving (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) is probably the biggest shopping weekend of the year. But while there are often very amazing Black Friday deals, most of the truly great sale prices are extremely limited in quantity. Unless you’re one of those precious few, you can often still find some of the same deals in the runup to the Christmas holidays.

It’s somewhat of an open secret that many of the Black Friday sales are not all that fantastic. There may be one or two “doorbusters”, intended to get you in the door of the store or to the website, but most of the other things included in the listed sales will still be available on Cyber Monday or throughout December. The end of the year is a great time to get deals on electronics, appliances, headphones and entertainment, among other things.

The Bottom Line

For many people, money is tight during the holidays and at the end of the year. But if you’ve done a great job budgeting and still have extra money leftover, the end of the year can be a great time to look for deals on certain things. Buying a new (or just new to you) car, signing a new lease or deals on electronics and appliances are just a few things that you can get deals on in November and December. Make sure to stay within the confines of your budget and make smart financial decisions, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful holiday season.

The post Good End of the Year Deals To Look Out For appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

4 Inexpensive East Coast Destinations to Travel to With Your Family

It’s amazing how things change when you have kids. Before kids, weekend getaways and trips were fairly easy. When we needed to take a break, I remember we could look at the calendar and twenty minutes later, have a few dates to run by work for time off.  Even the destinations would already be top of mind and after looking for deals on travel sites and asking around, we’d settle with whatever had the best price. Pretty easy.

Fast forward a few years and now we’re parents of an eight-year-old and a four-year-old.  

Those first few years with our little ones were honestly rough. We’re trying to coordinate between two jobs and one school schedule. It was tough finding the perfect time to take a week or so off. Once we had our dates, we’d then have to make sure that we could find a deal. Thankfully, we’ve gotten a little bit wiser. We found our footing and came up with our little system for timing our vacations and snagging some good savings. We’ve also found some spots that allow us to unwind without breaking the budget.  

Affordable Family Vacations to Take This Fall 

While school is back in season, that doesn’t mean you have to write off the rest of the year.  You still have time to take one last getaway to recharge your battery, have some fun, and connect as a family.  

To make things easy for you, I want to share a few of our favorite spots that both we and the kids enjoyed. The cherry on top? They’re also affordable spots!  

Daytona Beach, Florida 

If you’re looking to escape and have some beach time, then Florida is the way to go. However, staying in Orlando is not on the list if you’re looking for a chance to relax and actually save money. Instead, soak up some beach time before the weather gets too cold and hang out for a bit in Daytona Beach.  

When we did our trip last October in Florida, it couldn’t have been more perfect. The weather was still warm, the large crowds of tourists were gone (along with the overpriced hotels), and there were plenty of things to do around.  

Racing fans can enjoy the Daytona International Speedway or if you’re in the mood for stars, you can head over to MOA’s planetarium.  And if your kids really want to visit the Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios, you can make it a more affordable day trip rather than blow your budget by spending your whole time there.  We once went to Universal right after Thanksgiving and were able to skip waiting in line because it was so quiet.  

Charleston, South Carolina 

We took trips to Charleston for the last few Decembers and I have to say, we’ve enjoyed every one. While the temperatures have cooled down a bit, making beach time minimal, we still managed to be out and about. Throw on a jacket, wear your fall layers, and you’re all set to hit the town and enjoy some history and food.  

You have to visit The Tavern at Rainbow Row. Besides being the oldest liquor store in the country, the vibe there is incredible. It’s small, but the selection is wide. Want to have an incredible lunch that’s still cheap? Try out The Blind Tiger. The truffle duck, bourbon bread pudding, buffalo cheese curds are delicious.  

Asheville, North Carolina 

One of our favorite low-key trips we’ve taken was a camping adventure with some friends just outside of Asheville. Being able to see the mountains shift into autumn colors was incredible. If you’re a photographer or love being outdoors, you have to take a trip here. It’s so peaceful and the views are amazing. For the parents, Asheville is the hot spot for fantastic food and a wide array of awesome breweries.   

After spending your days enjoying the parks and maybe getting some tubing in, treat yourself and the kids to Double D’s Coffee and Dessert. It’s a cool double-decker bus in the city that’s also nearby Wicked Weed brewery.  

Tuxedo, New York 

If you absolutely love New York City but also relish some peace and relaxation that a more rural spot gives, then you should check out some of the small towns upstate.   

I may be a little biased since I lived here for a few years, but fall is pretty much the best time to visit. You can truly have the best of both worlds with renting a spot in a town just outside the city.  The Metro-North Railroad means you can take a train to New York City, allowing you to enjoy a scenic ride and skip put on the nightmare of driving in Manhattan.  

Have your day trips to shop, visit the museums, and explore some of the best restaurants. You can then head back to your affordable getaway spot and enjoy some of the local events including celebrating autumn with exquisite apple cider.  

Saving Up for Family Trips 

While you hunt for the deals, you can start now saving up for your trip. You can create a vacation fund as separate savings to keep you motivated.  

Using a tool like Mint makes it easy to track your progress and help you find ways to trim your budget a smidge so you have more money for fun during your trip. Knowing our money leaks allowed us to try some fun monthly challenges to sock away an extra couple hundred dollars.  Keep your vacations debt-free also means there’s less stress as you don’t have to worry about a bill afterward. Double win in my book!  

If you’re looking for tips, please check out my post on how to shift gears and become a savvy saver.  It’s much easier than you think and you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish in one month.  

Your Take on Family Getaways 

Wherever you go, I hope you have a wonderful time together. Now that you know my favorites, I’d love to hear about your spots.  What have been some of your best vacations together?  

 

 

 

The post 4 Inexpensive East Coast Destinations to Travel to With Your Family appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

Big Money-Saving Benefits of Travel Insurance

If you love the idea of traveling but are worried that your plans could backfire due to a pandemic-related issues or other unforeseen mishaps, it's time to learn more about travel insurance. Having the protection of a travel policy can be just the ticket to help you feel confident about chasing adventure this year.

While you might be thinking that travel insurance is an unnecessary expense, I've found it to be surprisingly affordable. This episode will explain the benefits of travel insurance, tips to buy the best policy, where to shop, and when purchasing travel insurance makes financial sense. Once you understand its significant benefits, you'll never skip travel insurance again!

What is travel insurance?

A travel policy is an often-overlooked coverage that you can customize based on where you're going, the risks you face along the journey, and your personal circumstances. Similar to different types of car insurance, travel insurance is a bundle of individual coverages. 

Travel insurance can protect you from various situations ranging from an inconvenience (such as losing your luggage or getting stranded due to bad weather) to having a life-threatening medical emergency requiring an airlift to the nearest hospital.

Keep reading to find out five primary coverages you get from a travel policy.

What does travel insurance cover?

Getting travel insurance is all about having peace of mind and saving money when unexpected expenses pop up during a trip. Here are five coverages that can make travel insurance a wise purchase that enhances your vacation:

1. Luggage 

Missing, delayed, or damaged baggage could put a real damper on your vacation. This coverage reimburses you for lost items and pays a daily amount for purchasing essentials. 

If you have homeowners or renters insurance, it gives you a certain amount of off-premises coverage for damaged or stolen items. But travel insurance pays for the inconvenience and what is not covered by your home policy.

2. Trip cancellation 

When you book a vacation requiring prepayment, having trip cancellation protects you from not getting a refund or being charged additional fees. It allows you to cancel for covered reasons, such as poor health, changes in your work schedule, a death in your family, or bad weather at your destination.

3. Trip interruption 

If you begin a vacation but find that you have to return home for covered reasons, you'll get reimbursed for the unused portion of your trip. Covered reasons usually include changes in your work schedule, the death of a family member, or medical issues. 

Interruption coverage also includes any additional travel expenses for getting home at the last minute. It may cover meals and hotel stays if your trip gets delayed or you miss critical transportation connections for any reason.

If you want to make sure that you could pull the plug on a trip before you go or once you're on it, most travel insurers offer a "cancel for any reason" policy. It may cost more but is worthwhile if you suspect that you or anyone in your family could need to return home in the middle of a prepaid vacation.

4. Medical coverage

If you've never gotten sick on a trip, consider yourself lucky! When traveling, particularly if you're going abroad, make sure you know what would happen if you got into an accident or came down with an illness. 

Unfortunately, most health insurance plans, including Medicare, offer minimal coverage when you're outside the U.S. So, check your health plan and make sure you understand the costs you'd have to pay.

Unfortunately, most health insurance plans, including Medicare, offer zero to minimal coverage when you're outside the U.S. So, check your health plan and make sure you understand the costs you'd have to pay if something goes wrong during your travels.

The medical coverage you get with travel insurance is a wise way to fill your health insurance gaps when you leave the country or travel outside your existing insurance network. It covers new illnesses, emergencies, and routine care. If you purchase it far enough in advance of your trip, a policy may cover any pre-existing health conditions.

If you travel to at-risk countries or plan to do any extreme sports, medical travel coverage may cost more; however, it's a must. Never hide any potential dangers from an insurer. If they find out you were dishonest, they could deny your claims. 

Related: 6 Tips to Find Affordable Health Insurance When You Become Self-Employed 

5. Emergency evacuation

If you have a severe medical illness or injury, you may need emergency transportation to the nearest hospital. It could cost tens of thousands of dollars and typically isn't covered by health insurance or Medicare.

An evacuation may be part of travel medical coverage, or you may need to select it as a separate option. Be sure to read the terms carefully and choose policies with the most inclusions for the lowest price.

Where can I shop for travel insurance?

When you're ready to plan your next trip, do your homework by checking out travel insurance reviews. As I previously mentioned, many policies require you to purchase a plan at least two weeks in advance, so don't wait until the last minute.

Not all travel insurers offer the same protections, so it's wise to get quotes from at least two or three companies. You might consider shopping these top travel insurers:

  • Allianz Travel
  • Travel Guard
  • Travelex Insurance
  • Travel Insured International
  • TravelSafe
  • CSAA Travel
  • April Travel Insurance

5 tips for purchasing the best travel insurance

  1. Plan your trip early. While you might score a last-minute deal on a flight or cruise, you shouldn't delay shopping and purchasing travel insurance. Getting a policy more than 21 days from your departure may make you eligible for specific options, such as a "cancel for any reason" provision or a waiver of pre-existing health conditions.
  2. Compare multiple policies. Travel insurance comparison sites, such as TravelInsurance.com, give you an easy way to search, compare, and purchase a policy from a top insurer. That allows you to make apples-to-apples comparisons and find the best price. 
  3. Check out a group travel policy. If you are traveling with a group of ten or more, buying group travel insurance can be cost-effective. In general, they don't factor a traveler's age, allowing an 80-year-old to pay the same rate as a 30-year-old. That makes a group policy more affordable for seniors.
  4. Evaluate annual travel insurance. If you travel frequently, consider that a single-trip plan can cost about half the cost of a yearly package. Therefore, if you plan to take over two major trips a year, you'll get more value from annual travel insurance. 
  5. Consider your upfront costs. The more you must prepay for a vacation, the more you could lose if a trip doesn’t go as planned or you have to cut it short for work or family obligations.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

Should I stay or should I go? Wrestling with the decision to quit a career

J.D.’s note: In the olden days at Get Rich Slowly, I shared reader stories every Sunday. I haven’t done that since I re-purchased the site because nobody sends them to me anymore. But earlier this year, Mike did. I love it. I hope you will too.

Earlier this year, I sent my wife a text message: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how freaked out would you be if I quit my job this afternoon?”

My wife and I had only been married a short while, but she’d known since our second date that I didn’t plan to work in my traditional job until normal retirement age. She also knew that I hadn’t been very happy at work in recent months.

We’re very compatible financially — both savers raised in working-class families that didn’t always have a lot. We make a point of having what we like to call “Fun Family Finance Day” from time to time. On Fun Family Finance Day, we do everything from competitively checking our credit scores to discussing questions that get at the root of our money mindsets to help us create our goals.

But this question wasn’t part of the plan. Not then.

And it was never on any of the lists of questions that we’d discussed with each other. It was like a pop quiz, a pothole in the smoothest relationship road I’d ever traveled…and I was the one putting it there.

Dreams Remain Dreams Without Doing

My wife and I rarely argue, but when we do it’s usually about food. It’s the kitchen and the grocery store that are our battleground. Our finances are fine. Thankfully, when you’re confident in the life you’ve created and the person you chose to build it with, it’s a lot easier to be honest about what’s on your mind.

That still doesn’t always mean you get the answer you want. Or the answer you were expecting. She responded: “Wait what. Kinda. What would you do?”

A completely reasonable and fair question. Not to mention one that I’d probably have to get comfortable answering from a lot more people.

I think my immediate reaction was: We talk about this stuff all the time, where is my, “No worries baby, YOLO!”? (I must have watched too many romcoms back before we cut cable from our lives.)

Being a grownup, it turns out, is actually really hard sometimes. I was about to learn that talking about something, and actually doing it, are a world apart.

Life is full of dreamers and doers. Sometimes those two personalities cross over. But there are plenty of people who go through life talking about so many things they’ll never have the courage to try — or the discipline and determination to follow through with.

Which person was I? The dreamer? The doer? Or that fortunate combination of both?

Standing on the Ledge

There’s a quote perched atop my bucket list of long-term goals:

“At some point, you will need to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself not just if this is something you wanted to do at one point, but if this is something you will want to have done.”

Words are meaningless without action. It was time for me to take that long look in the mirror. I thought back to one of the questions that my wife and I had previously discussed: What does money mean to you? To me, once I grew out of the “stuff accumulation” phase of my early- to mid-20s, my answer had always been freedom. Money meant freedom. To my wife, the answer was security. Money meant security.

You can probably see how freedom can conflict with security. That was the case here. Not only that, but I was asking to change the perfect plan, one that she was comfortable with and excited about.

That’s not one, but two shots against financial security. If I’d thought more about our financial blueprints and how they differ, I might have seen this coming from a mile away!

As I was standing on that ledge, about to quit my job, thoughts started to race through my mind. What did I actually have to lose if made the leap? Lots.

  • A happy relationship and marriage.
  • A secure job with solid income, not to mention a sixteen year investment in my career.
  • Great benefits, including lots of time off, health insurance, 401(k) — even a pension.
  • The ability to afford anything at any time without any real worry. (Our finances were already on autopilot.)
  • My work friends and work prestige.
  • The general day-to-day purpose of a job.
  • The opportunity to create generational wealth. If we worked until 65, the power of compounding would likely make us ridiculously wealthy.

Today at Get Rich Slowly, let’s perform a little exercise. Come stand in my shoes for a minute, won’t you? Join me on the ledge. Do you see the beautiful view? The endless opportunity? The excitement that’s felt only at the beginning of a grand adventure, an adventure where anything is possible?

Or do you get a queasy feeling in your stomach? Do you feel like you’ve lost your balance, like you’re on the edge of some great catastrophe? Do you see a frightening fall from grace? Does it make you want to back away immediately?

Let’s go back to what it felt like to make this decision…

Sitting on the ledge

My Situation

I’m 38 years old. I’ve worked for the same company since I was 22. Corporate insurance is all I know. I’m well paid. I work from home for a solid company with good benefits, plenty of time off, and I really enjoy most of the people I work for and with.

It’s the definition of stability — a solid guardrail protecting me from what lies over the ledge. So what’s the problem?

A year ago, I took a new position that seemed like a great opportunity. Only it wasn’t. The first misstep of my career. A year in, that spot has killed my enthusiasm and engagement. For the first time at work, I’m struggling to get things done.

As an extrovert that derives meaning from helping others, this feels like a prison. My job isn’t hard because it’s stressful. It’s hard because it’s boring me to death! And what are any of us doing thinking about personal finance and early retirement if we aren’t trying to make better use of our limited time on this planet?

There’s a project looming that would require some weekend work once in a while for the foreseeable future, I’ve avoided it in the past, but my luck is running out. My team — and, more importantly, my position — need to take it on. I understand completely. I just don’t want to do it.

At this point in life, my time is way more important to me than money. The weekends and vacations are what I live for. Adventures in the mountains with my friends, quality time with my wife, our dog, and our families – that’s what makes me feel alive.

Insurance? Meh.

No little kid ever said they wanted to work for an insurance company and play with spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations when they grow up. I wanted to be a baseball player, a sports writer, even a professional forklift driver. (Because what’s more badass than a forklift when you’re a little kid and your dad works at a marina?)

A Glimpse of the Other Side

My wife and I just got back from a delayed honeymoon to Alaska. To say it was incredible would be an understatement. Denali. Kenai. Majestic train rides. Fjords. Glaciers. Bears. Bald eagles. Whales. Hikes.

Life slowed down.

I somehow managed to read five books while doing so many other amazing things. During our more than two weeks off, I got to see what my mind was capable of when it wasn’t drowning in useless information and mundane tasks that consume my braindwidth.

We talked to people who had ended up in this wild place through a history of taking risks. Parents that had hitchhiked cross-country and ended up there back in the 70s. Can you imagine? Where we live, a fair number of people never leave their town or state!

Before the trip, I had tried to apply for a few positions. For whatever reason, it just didn’t work out. I came home from an amazing glimpse into what life could be to a job that seemed like the polar opposite. (Isn’t that every vacation though?) I’ve felt like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole for a while now. Maybe normal life just isn’t for me anymore. Maybe I need something just a little less ordinary.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I’ve been practicing the classic tenets of personal finance since I was in my mid- to late-20s. I found an awesome woman in my mid-30s who just happens to be down with this lifestyle as well. We’re probably two to three years short of where we want to be based on our master plan of a fully-paid house and a really comfortable number in invested assets.

We’d likely fall somewhere between Agency and Security on the stages of financial freedom.

I know good jobs don’t grow on trees, especially where we live. The seasons of the economy are always shifting and there’s a chill in the air. Economic winter can’t be too far off. My wife still has a solid job, and we live a pretty simple life — albeit in an expensive part of the country. Our main splurge is travel, but otherwise we live well below our means.

All of this knowledge and preparation comes with a cost. Having options can be a burden too, because then you’re responsible for making hard decisions. And you’re responsible for the outcomes of those choices.

What other options are there?

  • Be a crappy employee/teammate, and still get paid? Plenty of people have played that game. Get a surgery or two, go out on leave, let performance management run its course for however long that takes, and keep cashing checks the whole time. I don’t think I have it in me to put people I respect through that. It’s just not who I am.
  • I work from home, and I still can’t bring myself to abandon my laptop. What if someone needs me?
  • Am I giving up too soon? The finish line seems just around the corner — somehow so close yet so far away.
  • Should I just suck it up and sell a little more of my soul? Slump my shoulders a little bit more as I trade another piece of myself for money I don’t need to buy things I don’t want?

As I go back and forth, sometimes I briefly wish I’d never found the personal-finance community. Like Neo in The Matrix, why’d I have to take the damn red pill? Being a mindless consumer wasn’t so bad. I would have invested 6-10% in my 401(k) with a traditional pension on top of it.

Forty years on autopilot would have produced a comfortable life of work, nice things — and maybe some time in old age to relax and travel.

Facing Freedom

The whole point of everything I’ve done since I started this journey was to be in control of my own life. To not be owned by things or circumstances. To have options. Freedom of choice. F-U money.

I have the corporate battle scars and survivor’s guilt to understand why that’s important.

I’ve sat on the phone while I heard that my old department was closing down. The sadness and tears in the room. Everyone that had taken me in, given me my chance, taught me the job…basically gone, casualties of a business decision.

I’ve seen people get laid off who are petrified because they don’t know how they’ll pay their bills in a couple of weeks. People will be okay eventually though, right?

What about my friend who was struggling last year and left the company? He committed suicide a few months later. Maybe everyone won’t be okay eventually. Depression runs in my family. Am I really built for this? That thought is haunting.

It’s been said that one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make in life is whether to walk away or try harder. Every bone in my body tells me it’s time to walk away, to bet on myself.

The End?

About six months after the text exchange that blindsided my wife, with her support, I hit send on the scariest, most exciting and important one-line email of my professional career. It would also signify the unofficial end of it: “I will be resigning from my position effective Wednesday, June 26th.”

To combine a few lines from my favorite movie, The Shawshank Redemption, some birds just weren’t meant to be caged. It’s time to get busy living, or get busy dying.

Source: getrichslowly.org

3 Common Moving Nightmares (and How to Prevent Them)

Moving may top the list of stressful experiences that can feel like a bad dream – one that can easily come true unless you take precautionary measures.

Problems can occur at every stage of the relocation process, but the most common moving nightmares fall into three categories. Here’s how they typically play out – and how to avoid them.

Poor organization

Moving involves a lot of loose ends, and even the smallest oversight can result in a disastrous move.

    • Packing chaos. You realize you’ve packed more items than previously discussed with the movers, and some items can’t be loaded onto the moving truck. Or maybe you don’t label the boxes properly. Worst of all, you may not be ready when the movers arrive. All these packing mistakes result in lost time and money.
    • Furniture troubles. If your large furniture doesn’t fit through the doors, you may have to leave treasured pieces behind or request hoisting services that will cost you dearly and delay your move.
    • Paperwork problems. If you forget to transfer the utilities, you won’t have electricity, gas and water on move-in day. If you forget to change your address, you won’t have your mail delivered to your new home. If you forget to update your driver’s license and car registration in time, you’ll be fined. Not taking proper care of your documents will most certainly get you in trouble.
    • Overspending. If you book your movers at the last moment, require too many extra services, fail to create a realistic moving budget or pack all your items without sorting them out first, you’ll end up paying much more than you expected.
    • Safety issues. Make every effort to prevent injuries and accidents on moving day, as getting hurt is one of the worst things that can happen during your relocation endeavor.

The best way to avoid problems when moving house is to plan each phase of your relocation adventure in meticulous detail and stay one step ahead all the time.

Traffic problems

Heavy traffic or road accidents can also turn your move into a real nightmare.

  • Traffic jams. The moving truck is delayed, and there may not be enough time to proceed with your move as planned. You may have to postpone the relocation to another day, or you may miss your flight.
  • Traffic accidents. If there has been an accident on the road, the moving truck will have to wait until the damaged vehicles are removed and normal traffic is restored. However, the scenario could get much worse: You may lose all your possessions or receive them badly damaged if the moving truck crashes, catches fire or gets trapped somewhere because of adverse weather conditions. It’s even possible that thieves could break into the vehicle and steal your goods.
  • Breakdown. If the moving truck breaks down on the road, you’ll have to wait for the moving company to send another vehicle. What’s more, your items can easily get damaged while being transferred.
  • Parking issues. The moving truck has to circle the neighborhood for hours until an appropriate parking space is vacated, or the movers have to park far away from your home’s entrance. In such cases, you’ll not only lose valuable time but also have to pay an extra fee for the delay or an additional long-carry fee.

Of course, there’s nothing you can do to prevent traffic accidents or breakdowns. But you can at least reserve a parking place directly in front of your old and new homes, and choose a moving company that has experienced drivers and several moving vehicles in good condition.

Misleading movers

Many moving horror stories involve rogue or incompetent movers.

  • The movers are late or don’t show up at all. The agreed-upon time comes and goes, but you see no sign of an approaching moving truck. Regardless of the excuses you receive, the inevitable result will be lots of stress and wasted time.
  • The movers are careless or inexperienced. If your movers arrive late or lack the proper equipment to handle your items safely and efficiently, your relocation can quickly turn into a nightmarish experience.
  • The movers are scam artists. In the worst case scenario, you may fall victim to moving scams. Rogue movers will often request much more money than previously negotiated, based on alleged extra services. They may also hold your belongings hostage until you pay an extra “fee” as ransom or steal your more expensive belongings and discard the rest.

The good news is that there is an easy way to avoid such nightmares. All you need to do is carefully research your movers before hiring them to make sure you are dealing with licensed and experienced professionals you can trust. It’s also a good idea to purchase appropriate insurance for your belongings, just in case.

Related:

Originally published April 15, 2016.

Source: zillow.com

Here’s What You Need For Your Next Affordable Adventure

As spring turns into summer, many people are looking to hit the road for the traditional summer vacation. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to increased travel this summer. As restrictions have eased and locations have opened up, “revenge travel” is opening up as people look to go on all the trips they’ve missed over the past year or so. With many budgets still tight, here are a few things to consider as you hit the road for your next vacation.

Choosing affordable adventure

The first thing to keep in mind is why it might make sense to choose an affordable adventure. For many people, money is still tight as we recover from any economic impacts from COVID-19. And after all, who likes spending more money than they have to! So if you are in a situation where you’re looking for an affordable adventure, here are some great ways to save money on your next trip.

In most cases, your travel and lodging costs are the highest components of any trip or vacation. There are a variety of different ways that you can save in these two categories. One way is to consider using credit card rewards to help offset your hotel and airline costs. Just signing up for one or two credit cards can potentially give you enough points to offset a good chunk of your airfare and/or hotel costs.

Pro-tip: Use our free travel budget calculator to help plan your next trip!

Look at day trips and staycations

Another way to reduce the amount of money that you spend on travel and lodging is to look at day trips and staycations. With a staycation, you typically explore your hometown as a tourist and sleep in your own bed each night. A day trip can work the same way, where you travel by car to a nearby destination, spend the day and then return home at night. You will spend some money on gas but nowhere near the cost of a hotel room.

Another idea for an affordable adventure is to take more of an extended day trip. By combining a couple of day trip ideas into a longer road trip, you still save money on your transportation. Especially if you have a larger household, being able to road trip all in one car saves a lot of money compared to having to buy everyone their own ticket. Road trips are a popular vacation idea this summer, and will likely put you in contact with fewer people than traveling by airplane if that’s something that’s important to you.

Consider a National Parks pass

Besides your travel and lodging, another big factor towards the total cost of your vacation are your entertainment costs. If you have Yellowstone, Yosemite, or any of the over 2,000 National Parks and Federal Lands on your bucket list, consider buying an America the Beautiful pass. Available for $80, this pass is good for a year and allows the pass owner plus three adults (or the entire car where the entrance is charged per car) entry into more than 2,000 federal recreation sites.

You’ll also want to research what the conditions are before you get to your park, rather than just showing up and hoping for the best. Different National Parks have reopened in different ways, with some parks still completely closed, while others only have certain areas or programs open. Due to the increase in popularity of outdoor destinations this summer, many National Parks are extremely busy, especially those that are still limiting the total number of visitors per day. It’s a smart idea to research your destinations ahead of time so that you can know what to expect.

Affordable travel gear

The MOST inexpensive way that you can travel is to use things that you already have, rather than spending money on gear that you won’t use or won’t use often. Still, you want to make sure that you are putting yourself in a position to have a great trip. If you’re planning on hiking or being outdoors, you’ll want to make sure that you have comfortable shoes and a great backpack. If you’re traveling by airplane, look into a neck pillow or a similar gadget to make your flight more enjoyable. And investing in a quality suitcase will likely pay off over time.

The Bottom Line

The cost of travel and lodging are two of the biggest factors in determining how affordable your next trip will be. Just like any other expense, creating a budget or a sinking fund can help you have fun without going into debt. Make a plan and you’ll be well on your way to having an amazing time and making outstanding memories.

The post Here’s What You Need For Your Next Affordable Adventure appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com