Keep Your Summer Budget Under Control

Summer is right around the corner.  Before long the kids will be done with school. Grills will be filling the streets with smells of burgers and hot dogs. The ice cream truck will be jangling down the street.  Summer is the time to enjoy the world, and boy can that be expensive!  Your wallet can take a hit if your summer budget gets out of control.  But, you can keep things under control.

Here are a few summer budget tips so that you can have fun and keep your finances in check!

Shop For Travel Deals

Travel and leisure activities abound during the summer months.   These can add up to big spending amounts if you’re not careful.  The good news is that you can often find deals.  Look through Groupon or other apps.  Visit travel websites or those of places you’d like to go.  There are often specials.  If you want to get away, look for places like AirBnB.  This can reduce the cost compared to more expensive hotel options.

Pay For What You Can Afford

It’s tempting to go all out for that great family adventure. This is all great so long as you can afford it.  Summer fun is not worth going into debt for. If you can’t afford to pay off your summer fun, look for ways to cut back.

Save All Year Around

It may be too late to stash money aside this year, but make a plan for next year.  Stick a hundred bucks per month aside, and you’ll have more freedom next year.

Mix In Free Things

Summer doesn’t have to be all about money to have fun.  Picnics at the park are a free option, but still make great times.  Bike rides along local trails are another free adventure.  A hike along the woods?  That doesn’t cost anything at all if you do it right.  Working in some free options is a great way to keep your summer budget in line.

Enjoy Your Personal Space

If you have a patio or deck, summer is the time to use it!  Invite over neighbors or friends and enjoy some drinks or a dinner.  It’s a great way to have fun and keep money in your summer budget for other things.

Adjust Your Air Conditioning

A big cost that can blow a summer budget is air conditioning.  When it gets hot, you have to shut the windows and keep things cool.  That makes sense, but look for ways to reduce your A/C bills.  If you can, open the windows at night.  If you’re gone during the day, don’t run the A/C all day.  Change your filters to make sure your A/C is running efficiently.  If you can save $20 per month during the summer month, that can equal an extra evening out!

Consider Seasonal Memberships

Zoos, museums, and beaches often offer seasonal passes. If you use these options regularly, an annual pass can save you big time.  We use several annual memberships to our advantage.  On top of saving money, you always have a fallback plan if you can’t think of anything to do!

Hopefully these ideas help prevent your summer budget from stressing you out.  With the warm, long days ahead, having one less thing to worry about is all for the better!

Readers, what summer budget saving ideas do you have?  Please share in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Summer Break: Protect Yourself Before You Travel

It’s that time of year when the kids are off school, and families travel to their favorite destinations. It’s Summer Break!

So while you’re planning the trip of a lifetime for the whole family, make sure you have all your bases covered. That includes protection in case the unthinkable, such as an accident or severe illness, were to happen.

Keep yourself prepared by purchasing insurance. There are many different ways to ensure your family’s protection whether you’re traveling in the US or abroad. Here are a few common types of insurance to consider before you step out the door.

Travel Insurance

Travellers insurance covers a wide range of “what ifs,” from lost luggage to injury-related incidences. Here is a basic summary of what travel insurance can include:

Trip Cancellation: Certain packages will include trip cancellation coverage. If for some reason you need to cancel your trip or cut your vacation short because something unforeseen comes up, this insurance will cover the cost of otherwise non-refundable expenses, such as hotel bookings. But make sure to read the authorized reasons for cancelling a trip.

Luggage Coverage: Sometimes your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination on time, or it just doesn’t make it at all. Some travel insurance packages have luggage coverage if your belongings are lost, damaged or stolen on your trip.

Medical Coverage: If you become ill or are seriously injured while travelling, the expenses could be thousands of dollars. For this reason, it’s crucial to have health coverage, whether that means purchasing insurance for your trip, or confirming with your current health plan if you need approval for any certain type of care. If you choose to purchase insurance for your trip, there are two common types: travel medical insurance for short trips, and major medical for stays of six months or longer.

There are many other reasons to purchase travel insurance before you leave. For example, some policies provide coverage if severe weather damages your destination. You can even get coverage for a lost passport, which would help speed up the process of replacing it.

Life Insurance

If you don’t already have a life insurance policy, you should strongly consider getting one before you leave. Just as travel insurance prepares you for the unexpected while on vacation, life insurance prepares you for the unexpected in life.

You plan for a safe trip, but in reality, some circumstances are beyond your control. Life insurance can provide financial protection for you and your entire family. If you were to pass away unexpectedly, life insurance could cover the cost of funeral expenses or for the loss of income to help provide a financial cushion for your family during a difficult time.

There are many policies available to you, including term life insurance, which is very popular. Term insurance is coverage for a set period, after which you have the option to renew the policy.

Before you leave for your trip, talk to your insurance professional to help find a trustworthy insurer with options that best suit your needs.

Other Protection Tips

There are other things you can do to help protect you and your family while on vacation. A good idea is to make a copy of your passport and ID, and leave the copies behind with someone you trust or in a place that a friend or family member can access. This way, if your identification is stolen or lost, you have documentation.

Another tip is to only bring what you need, and this includes your wallet. It’s possible your wallet could get lost or stolen, so make sure you’re just carrying the cards you absolutely need.

So while you are planning your itinerary, make sure to add some of these tips to the checklist. Seriously consider travel and life insurance before you take off. Make sure you are going to a trusted company and are getting what you need.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

How We’re Funding Our Anniversary Vacation

I recently mentioned that we’re going on a ten year anniversary vacation.  We’re all booked up for flights and our resort.  Since we’re staying at an all inclusive resorts, we are comfortable that we have most costs covered.  One thing with other trips is you get stuck with fees, meals, drinks, etc.  We already have that stuff covered.

But, still, we had to pay for it.  I don’t know about you, but we often fund things like this from several different sources.  That was really true with this trip.

Funding Our Anniversary Vacation

Here are the list of sources that we’re using to piece together the budget:

  • A portion of our 2016 tax refund.  We always put some toward travel, and this year we put some extra for this.
  • A portion of our annual vacation savings.  We fund our vacation savings fund throughout the year, and a little bit went to this trip for the year.
  • A portion of one of my two ‘extra’ paychecks.  We budget for two paychecks per month, but have two months where we get three.  This is often used for funding ‘special’ items and this occasion seemed fitting!
  • Reward money from four different cash back credit cards.  We have four cards that we use to maximize our category savings, and we cashed all four in to put a pile of money toward the trip.
  • Side hustle money from both me and my wife.  Extra money can often help fund some of the extras.  It seemed to fit perfectly.

The trip is going to be fun, though I am stressed as I’ve never flown international.  It’s nice to know that the money aspect won’t be causing too much stress if all goes well!

Readers, how do you fund your vacations?  Have you ever had a special occasion trip like this that you’ve saved for?  Let me know your experiences in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Breaking Down Our Madeira Beach Vacation

A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying life a little bit more.  As they say, life is always better at the beach!  We took a family trip down to Florida.  Here are some things I thought I’d share about our Madeira Beach vacation.

Familiarity Helps

We rented a condo that worked out great for us.  What really helped is that we’ve stayed in this condo complex before.  Back in 2010 we took a trip, also with my in-laws and stayed in a different unit.  On top of that, this area was where my wife and her family vacationed when she was a girl.  So, knowing so much about the area in general was a big help too.  Familiarity definitely helped improve our Madeira Beach vacation.

We Saved On Travel But Added Stress

Originally we were planning to drive, but ended up flying.  However, since all public schools in Michigan are off at the same time, the airlines all jacked up their prices flying out of Detroit.  We found some great fares out of Columbus, Ohio, which was about a four hour drive.  Saving money was great, but the added stress of driving kept me on edge.  After all, it would only take one accident along the way to take away our cushion.  Luckily, we were fine, but I was nervous.

Walking Distance

Because of our familiarity with the area, we knew that we could survive without a car.  And we did just fine!  We

Madeira Beach Vacation 2017

ended up taking Uber rides wherever we needed to go. All told, our Uber rides added up to about $125 plus tips, which was a significant saving over renting a car to drive while there.

Pool And The Ocean Added Up To Fun

We had warm, sunny weather for most of the trip, which was great.  However, a good portion of our trip was very windy.  This made being near the water very difficult with blowing sand.  But, having a pool right there definitely kept us exactly where we needed to be.  Having both options was great.

Renting A Condo Was Great

We had a really great condo that we found.  It was two bedrooms.  Each bedroom had a TV.  Having a TV in the kids room was great because they could have some down time after coming back tired from being at the water.  It was also fully furnished and had lots of supplies needed for the pool and water.

Supplies When Renting A Condo

The condo had just about everything we needed, but we ended up forgetting a few things on our shopping trip.  Paper plates, napkins, and salt and pepper were all things we would have liked but didn’t think of.  There was nothing we didn’t have but lots of things we would have loved to have had.  We made a list!

Eating In And Eating Out

We ate at a lot of different restaurants, but also made quite a few meals in.  This mix kept our costs down a bit, and made a good mix of ‘on the go’ versus enjoying the moments.  We ate all of our breakfasts in, and then would generally have lunch or dinner out.  It still wasn’t exactly cheap but it kept things in check.

We Loved Our Madeira Beach Vacation

If you can’t tell we loved our vacation.  All of us came back tan.  We all came back tired. Our son came back with a sore ear from all the swimming.  All told, those are all signs that we had lots and lots of fun.  And we did.  So much so that we already put a deposit on the same unit for next year! And did I mention that repeat visitors get a 10% discount?  Woo-hoo!

Readers, do you have any great family spring break stories?  Please let me know what you did in the comments below.  Thanks so much for reading!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.