Month: June 2014

Purchase Fireworks Without Burning Your Wallet

The 4th of July is right around the corner.  We Americans love our fireworks and often fork out too much money to light up the night.  Here are a few tips that will help you save money while still having a grand firework display:

  1.  BuImagey from a reliable source – There are numerous reliable firework stands all across the valley.  Big names such as Black Cat, Phantom, and TNT are known to be of good quality.  Unfortunately, to save money, many shoppers will go to a lesser-known stand and often purchase inferior fireworks.  Be careful where you buy.
  2. Purchase large assortment packs – Purchasing assortment packs is usually two to three times cheaper than purchasing individuals.  These packs can even be found in big box retailers like Target or Walmart for even cheaper than the stand price.  Be sure to look around for the best deal before you commit to buy.
  3. Ask for a product guarantee – If you do decide to purchase individual fireworks, make sure the seller has a product guarantee that the firework will work.  Many reliable firework stands have this policy and will happily replace your dud, no questions asked.
  4. Beware bogus deals – More often than not, we see stands that say “Buy 1 Get 1 Free!”  But some retailers will quietly double the price of a firework to make you think you’re getting a great deal when you’re actually not.  In some cases, you may end up spending MORE on this “incredible deal.”
  5. Don’t buy fireworks at all – Skip the stands completely and take in a free firework show at a local venue.  There are quite a few free shows going on throughout the valley this 4th so check them out!  See http://saltlakecity.about.com/od/arts/tp/Salt-Lake-City-4th-Of-July-Events.htm for details of locations and times.
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Save Money with Seasonal Produce

Make sure to fill your cart with seasonal produce on your next trip to the grocery store. Not only will seasonal produce reduce your food budget, it will also taste the absolute best! June, July, and August are bursting at the seams with ripe fruits and vegetables waiting to be used up before the local growing season ends. Here is a list of the produce you want to get your hands on during the summer for some good cheap eats.

Fruits: Apricots, Asian Pears, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Sweet or Sour Cherry varieties, Key Limes, Nectarines, Peaches, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Sugar Apples, and Watermelon.

Vegetables: Anaheim Chile, Butter Lettuce, Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Radishes, Sugar Snap Peas, and Zucchini.

Recipes for Summer Produce:

http://skinnyms.com/14-recipes-to-get-the-most-out-of-summer-produce/

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/seasonal/easy-summer-produce-recipes-10000001811604/index.html

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/the-best-of-summer-produce.html

 

Summertime Camping!

 

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Hello everyone! 

Summer is one of the greatest times to go camping. Great weather, yummy fatty food, relaxing fishing, and great company is what makes camping an all-time favorite. Sure, traveling to Paris or Hawaii may sound like the ideal vacation, but not all of us have the funds to do so…especially if you are like me, a poor college student. Camping is a great option if you still want that summertime vacation without all those pricey costs.

There are tons of great FREE campsites out there and even if they aren’t free, 20 bucks a night is quite a bit better than $300 a night at a 5 star hotel.

– Log on to http://freecampsites.net/ and you can search where tons of free campgrounds are!

– Another great site that I use is http://www.reserveamerica.com/ You can search for campgrounds in your area and book them right online. Also, if online booking isn’t an option, they will provide an email or phone number for you.

– If you live in the great state of Utah, like me, I would suggest you check out https://www.utah.com/camping/ They offer every campground in Utah as well as local restaurants, events, and packages.

-As far as gear goes, you don’t need to buy top of the line equipment. Check your local Goodwill or try sites such as craigslist.com and ksl.com!

-Another great way to save on money is to camp with friends. The more people that go could save you more money. Most campgrounds offer a group rate, which is less money per person as opposed to a single site. If you do happen to go with a large group, have assignments for dinner. Such as, family number one will cook dinner for everyone the first night and family number two will cook dinner for everyone the second night. This way you can take a break from cooking every meal and it won’t cost as much!

-Try and bring most all supplies you will need before you get to the campground. Most camping sites boost up their prices on everything! Try and plan out everything you will need so you won’t get stuck paying $6.00 for a gallon of milk. Here is a free checklist that you can print out and fill in what you need! Camping Checklist

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Financial Aid for Students

Paying for college is becoming increasingly more difficult as tuition is on the rise. It has been said that tuition rates can be expected not only to keep up with the rate of inflation but could be as much as twice that of the general inflation rate. For those of you who are going to be paying for college on your own may be interested in learning more about financial aid to can assist you:

  1. Scholarships: These are forms of aid that help students pay for their education. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not need to be paid back. Students may find scholarships through their own University, current places of employement, or on different scholarship databases throughout the web. It cannot hurt applying for as many as possible because you will increase your chances of receiving them. My advice for those of you applying for scholarships is to put in the work, if a scholarship asks for an essay take your time and complete the essay the best you can. It is likely that when students see that there is an essay requirement they will not put in the work to complete it. They often are the scholarships with the best benefits as well. 

     Here is a link to Fastweb, a scholarship data base where students go to find scholarships from everywhere: http://www.fastweb.com/


 

  • Student Loans: Student Loans are a type of financial aid that unlike scholarships must be paid back and with interest. There are different types of loans that students may choose from including subsidzed, unsubsidized, PLUS loans and more. Knowing your loan is an important part of taking one out, because each come with their own set of rules and qualifications. My advice for those who must take out student loans is to use them wisely. I know too many people who have taken them out and used them for material things that did not benefit their education, or they dropped out and now still have a loan to pay for. 

Here is a link to Federal Sudent Aid, a place that will go into detail about each loan avaliable to students and which they should consider taking: https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans


  • Federal Pell Grants: This is another form of student aid that does not need to be paid back. Usually these are only offered to undergraduate students and amount of money awarded depends on financial need of the student, cost of attendance of the school, as well as if you are a part-time or a full-time student. The maximum amount for a school year is $5,730. My advice for these is to go onto FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) and fill out an application, be sure to do it before the school year deadlines. There is no cost and it does not hurt to try. Even if you are not awarded the full amount any amount is some that you did not have to borrow and will not have to pay back.
    Here is the link to the FAFSA website: https://fafsa.ed.gov/


  • Work-Study Programs: This is a federally funded program that assits students with the cost of education buy earning financial funding through a part-time work program. Before attaining a work-study job you must be awarded through your Financial Aid Office to apply for a classified work-study position. These can provide students with excellent oppurtunities and experiences that will benefit them after their schooling. My advice for those who are considering a work-study form of financial aid is to find a position that relates to your future goals and careers after college. Who knows maybe you will end up being a full-time employee for who you did this program for.

Here is the University of Utah’s Work-Study Program, where you can go apply and find different positions and learn more on the subject:  http://financialaid.utah.edu/working-through-college/work-study/index.php


 

World Cup Partying on the Cheap

By: Vincent Mortensen

It’s that time again:  32 countries face off to see who the greatest soccer country in the world is.  The 2014 World Cup has the United States pitted against one of the toughest groups in the tournament.

There will be at least three opportunities to watch our boys, by why watch it alone?  Here are some great tips how to throw a party on the cheap.

  1.  Skip the masses and stay home – Not only is your home and personal television a much cheaper alternative than going to a sports bar to watch, it’s also more cozy and comfortable for your selected guests.  Food costs will also be lower if you decide to entertain from home.Image
  2. Have everyone bring a dish – Instead of slaving over the stove for hours preparing all the food, have your guests bring a small dish.  Better yet, have them find a foreign recipe from one of the 32 countries participating.  You may find you love foods you’ve never even heard of.  If your guests are busy and don’t have time to make a dish, collect money and order pizza.
  3. Don’t Ditch the Dollar Store Décor – If you are the type who enjoys decorating the home for your World Cup party, don’t snub the dollar store.  Numerous decorations can be found there at low prices.  While you are there, you can pick up a few gifts for the games you will be playing (next tip).
  4. Play a game within the game – Watching the United States take on some great teams will be quite exciting, but enhance the excitement by playing a free game within the game.  Below is a link that has simple, yet fun games.
    http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/holiday—celebration-recipes/super-bowl-recipes/score-points-with-these-super-bowl-party-games
  5. Make sure your guests have a good time – While this may not sound like a way to save money, your friends will have a lot more fun at your World Cup party if everyone is having fun vs. going to a sports bar and watching it with hundreds of people they don’t know.  If you make sure they have a great experience,  it will create lasting memories.

The United States may not have the best soccer team in the world, but you and your friends can still have a great time watching them.  Just remember:  You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time.  Friendship is priceless.

2014 World Cup:  United States Schedule
June 16:  USA vs. Ghana (4pm mountain time)  
June 22:  USA vs. Portugal (4pm mountain time)

June 26:  USA vs. Germany (10 am mountain time)

Saving on Tools for Father’s Day

Father’s day is less than a week away. If you are in the market to get your dad (or even yourself) some new tools, check out these awesome deals!

Amazon is having a sale on Dewalt Tools. Some of the items on sale include

Cordless Dewalt 18-volt Drill and Driver kit for $89

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Cordless Dewalt circular saw for $92.99

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Cordless 18 Volt Reciprocating Saw

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And lots more!

But the best part is that Amazon is doing a promotion if you spend $100 on Dewalt items, you instantly get $20 off at check out! 

I bought my husband the circular saw for fathers day but I didn’t want to wait for it to be shipped so I went to Home Depot because they have an awesome price matching policy! You just have to bring in proof of the lower price (make sure the item number matches) by either printing it off or showing it on your smart phone and proof of the $20 off $100 sale (which you can find on this page). Grab your item and head to the customer service desk and they will adjust the price. Make sure you meet the minimum $100 by adding on a filler item like a Dewalt Screwdriving Set.

My husband was so excited that he couldn’t event wait for Father’s day to open his new saw!

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I love DeWalt tools and it’s the only brand we use in our house. It’s so convenient to have cordless tools and the same 18 volt battery and charger that is included with drill above works with all 3 of these tools!

Happy Father’s Day from the Personal Money Management Center!

 

How to Save $ on Passport Photos

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by Tiffany Davis

I can’t help you take a handsome passport photo but I can help you save $ on it!

I am going to Mexico for a trip this summer and I needed to get a new passport. A new passport runs $110 and if you need it soon, it will cost you even more. Since getting a passport is expensive enough I wanted to save money on the photo part so  I would have more for my vacation.

I tried a few different ways to take my own passport photo. If you choose to do this, keep in mind that passport photos need to be in color, printed on photo paper, and be 2 inches by 2 inches. You need to have a white background, be facing the camera straight on and have a neutral facial expression. For more information on what to consider when taking your own passport photo, see the Passport website.

There is a photo editor on the governments passport website that will help you achieve the right shape and size. This can be accessed at the bottom of this page. However, I couldn’t figure out how to print this image on my computer so that it printed 2 inches by 2 inches. If you are more computer savvy than I, give it a try and see if you have a program that will print the correct size. I found several websites offering similar free free versions of passport photo apps but still had the problem of printing in a 2 by 2 format. I also tried epassportphoto.com. They will mail your photo or have it sent to a local drug store photo desk for $8 (or $1.50 per photo if you order 12, but who needs 12 passport photos?).

Next I tried to use a cell phone app that would allow me to size my photo and print it. I downloaded the free app ID PhotoPrint. This app will mail you your photo for $6.95 or you can save or email it to your computer where you can print it. I had the same problem with it printing too large. Once again, this is a super convenient way if you have printing software that will allow you to print a 2 inch by 2 inch photo.

Finally I just went to a drugstore and had them take my photo. This was the most convenient for me and I got the photo the same day. It was $11.99 at Walgreens (and there is a $2 off coupon available here) or it is $8.99 at Rite Aid (and there is a $1 off coupon here).

Hopefully this will help you save a least a couple of dollars on your passport photos so you can use the money to have fun on your trips! Happy trails!