5 Travel Hacks to Save Money on Your Next Trip

Although summer is coming to a close, the next big travel season is kicking back up again thanks to the holidays. It might feel too early to think about holiday travel, but let’s be honest, those Halloween decorations are already creeping onto store shelves.

According to Skyscanner, August is the best month to book flights domestically while September is ideal when booking international travel. If you’re looking for ways to save money on your next vacation, there are other travel hacks to keep in mind aside from good timing.

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Jennifer Calonia
Where to Find the Best Back-to-School Deals

Just like that, summer is coming to an end and it’s that time again — back to school. That means it’s time to prepare and buy clothes, school supplies, electronics and more. All of that can bust your budget quickly, but we’ve compiled a list of where to find the best back-to-school deals. 

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The Financial Gym Team
How to Practice Good Tipping Etiquette While on Vacation

Whether you’re en route on a two-week vacation or creating a budget for your next big trip, there’s one cost that’s commonly forgotten in the process: gratuity. Although you might’ve just spent hundreds or thousands of dollars booking your flight and accommodations, you’ll likely encounter staff throughout your vacation who merit a tip.

As you’re enjoying your relaxing getaway, consider expressing thanks to the people who’ve made your vacation an experience to remember. Here’s how to practice good tipping etiquette on your next trip.

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9 Ways to Maximize Your Savings at Target

Nothing feels better than a productive Target run. The red and white bullseye predated online shopping as the place to go for good products at reasonable prices. Even now, in the age of Amazon Prime, it’s not uncommon to walk out of Target spending way more than you planned on items you didn’t know you needed. 

If you’re wondering how to save money at Target, finding the right Target discount or Target coupon can help maximize your savings. This is especially important when spending more is inevitable, such as during back-to-school season. 

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3 Cards We Love for Travel Hacking

Traveling is a rewarding experience that refreshes your day-to-day routine. The cost of traveling, however, can put a strain on your budget. Whether your wanderlust is calling for a week-long vacation or you’re traveling for business, you’ll want to make sure you’re saving money as much as possible on travel purchases.

Fortunately, there are several popular travel rewards credit cards on the market that can help curb travel expenses along the way. Here are three cards that we recommend, if you’re looking to get more value when planning your travel.

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How Do Deactivated Checking Accounts and Debit Cards Affect Your Credit Score?

If you want to stay on top of your credit, it’s important to know how your actions affect your credit score. You might be thinking about ditching your current checking account or debit card for something better, and wonder how it affects your credit. Perhaps you’ve already closed your checking account and want to know if it’s had an impact at all on your credit score. 

Read on to learn what affects your credit score and how deactivated checking accounts factor into it. 

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The Financial Gym Team
5 Unexpected College Costs to Add to Your Budget

Going into college, you likely had a picture painted in your head about what it would be like. You’re prepared for the general cost of college: tuition, rent, food, textbooks, clothes, and entertainment. However, many new students don’t realize the importance of investing in internship or networking attire, or membership fees for student organizations, like Greek life.

These are common and valuable activities for college-bound students, but you’ll need to make room in your budget. Here are some surprise expenses you might face as a part of the college experience.  

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How Much Should You Contribute to a Retirement vs. a Taxable Brokerage Account?

So you’ve successfully saved for an emergency fund and now you’re wondering: what next? While you can save for multiple financial goals at the same time, many people choose to focus their savings on either long-term retirement or more short-term goals, such as putting funds into a taxable brokerage account. 

Knowing where to focus most of your money depends largely on your personal goals and the amount of risk you’re personally willing to take on in your investments. Here’s how to weigh each method and decide how to focus your resources. 

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Traditional 401(k) vs. Roth IRA — What Makes the Most Sense for You

At the Financial Gym, we’re all about getting your assets into shape. That means thinking long-term, too, and preparing for retirement. There are various retirement vehicles to choose from which can be good but also overwhelming. Which one is the “right” one for you? It depends, but we’re going to review two of the most common retirement vehicles, the 401(k) and Roth IRA and help you decide which one makes the most sense for you.

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6 Psychological Tricks to Start Saving Money Today

You already know the importance of building up a savings reserve. Setting aside funds for unexpected emergencies or a future goal can help you feel more financially grounded.

But according to the Federal Reserve’s latest report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, four in 10 adults said they’d have trouble covering the cost of a $400 emergency. Although you’re aware of how essential saving money is to your financial health, many factors impact your ability to save money, including your own brain.

Here are a few clever tricks to train your mind into spending less and saving more.

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Jennifer Calonia
5 Budgeting Strategies to Get Your Finances Back on Track

If you completed your mid-year check-in and found that your budget is derailing your goals, it’s time to dive deeper into your budgeting strategy.

Like any other goal that involves putting in hard work and sweat, strengthening your budgeting muscles requires getting on a plan that’s the right fit for you. Learning how to budget using a technique that’s sustainable means being familiar with the many options you can try.

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Jennifer Calonia
From Travel to Retirement: 5 Savings Strategies for Your Most Important Financial Goals

Saving money doesn’t sound like the most thrilling activity in the world, but keeping your finances under control and watching your funds grow can give you a major sense of accomplishment. 

You don’t have to limit yourself to saving for just one financial goal either. It’s possible to save for many things at the same time. Here’s how to save money for your goals by breaking them down and creating a different strategy for each one. 

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Refinance Student Loans

If you have student loans, you know the interest charges are killer. It accrues daily and can quickly balloon the size of your loan. In order to save money, you might consider student loan refinancing. 

When you refinance student loans, you can potentially get a lower interest rate that saves you thousands of dollars. While refinancing can save you money as you're paying off student loans, it is irreversible and there are questions you should ask yourself before doing it. Here are six questions to consider before refinancing your student loans. 

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How to Use your HSA Fund This Summer

Summer is in mid-swing, which means spending more time outdoors and participating in more activities under the sun. Whether you’re enjoying your summer vacation or catching some vitamin D on the weekends, staying on top of seasonal health care is a must.

If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you might be surprised that many common summertime purchases are HSA-eligible expenses.

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Jennifer Calonia
Mid-Year Check-In: Are You on Track With These 5 Goals?

The summer months are a good reminder of how time flies when you’re working toward your personal goals. With the end of 2019 creeping up on the horizon, now’s a perfect time to do a financial wellness check and keep your finances in tip-top shape.

Here are a few areas to check-in with to make sure you’re on track for a financially fit year.

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Jennifer Calonia
Pros and Cons of Consolidating Debt

Tackling your debt is one of the most important steps to getting your financial life under control and reaching big money goals. While it can seem complicated or even disheartening at times, paying off your debt is possible, especially with a solid game plan. That’s why many people choose debt consolidation when paying off debt. 

Debt consolidation can be a great tool to conquer your debt, but it’s not for everyone. Here’s what to know about consolidating your debt before you take the plunge. 

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Amazon Prime Day: How to Make Sure You're Getting the Best Deals

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, forget Christmas. Amazon Prime Day is coming up on July 15 and July 16. 

Prime day is where members can get access to exclusive deals that you can’t find anywhere else. According to a survey by marketing company Valassis, 46 percent of shoppers believe Amazon Prime Day provides greater savings than Black Friday. In other words, Amazon Prime Day has been solidified as a day of deals and summer shopping. 

Part of the appeal of Amazon Prime Day is that you don’t necessarily know what’s going to be on sale, so it’s full of fun and surprises. But you don’t want to get caught up in the excitement and ruin your budget

Here’s how to make the most out of Amazon Prime Day. 

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How to Negotiate Your Bills

Negotiation isn’t only useful when buying a car from a dealership or discussing your salary at a new job. Many of your monthly expenses are actually negotiable if you spend some time doing a bit of legwork.

And although spending 20 minutes to an hour on a phone call can feel like a lifetime, the hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars you’ll save by negotiating your bills is time well spent.

Here’s how to save money by negotiating your monthly expenses.

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Jennifer Calonia
7 Useful Services That Are Worth Your Time 

You’ve probably heard the saying, “time is money”, but according to a recent survey, time is also happiness. In its international survey, scientific journal PNAS, found that “spending money on time-saving services is linked to greater life satisfaction.” 

If you find that everyday tasks are keeping you from prioritizing personal goals, buying back your time might be worth your coin. Here are just a few ways to reclaim your time so you can focus on the things that bring you joy.

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Jennifer Calonia
5 Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance — Is It Worth It?

Pet insurance might seem like a win-win — after all, it meant to cover your pet’s health care costs and protect your wallet from expensive vet bills. And like other types of human insurance policies, like heath insurance or life insurance, it can be a lifesaver in the event of an unexpected emergency.

Here’s what you should know about pet insurance, including the pros and cons of purchasing a policy for your beloved furbaby.

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Jennifer Calonia