savings

Saving on Sports Spectating

By: Vincent Mortensen

Many of us are a fan of one or more sports.  Personally, I’m a fan of the Denver Broncos, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Utah Jazz, and our mighty Utes football team.  Unfortunately, attending sports events can get a little costly.  Below are a few tips to still enjoy your teams while not destroying your finances:

Check out charity events and “Champion” Tours – These events are usually much cheaper.  Most of these tournament players (ex: in golf) receive most of their revenue from corporate sponsors, thus making the ticket price lower than average.  Jump on this if you have the opportunity.

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Support your Utah Grizzlies for half the cost of a major league team!

Watch minor league teams – The NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS….and the list of professional sports organizations goes on…..get plenty of exposure.  Because of this, they are able to charge higher prices for tickets.  Why not check out a minor league team?  Here in Utah, we have the Salt Lake Bees for baseball and the Utah Grizzlies for hockey.  Check ‘em out!

Go to training camp or pre-season workouts – These are a favorite among “Superfans”.  Not only is it free 95% of the time, you will get an up close and personal view of your favorite players.  It’s a win-win situation in my book.

Share a season ticket with a friend – My brother has done this in the past with his very good friend and really enjoyed the benefits.  He got to see half of the Utah Jazz games in person while not overdoing his budget.  Look into this if you can’t stay away from seeing your team live.

Major league sports can get pricey, but there are ways to find cheaper alternatives if you try enough.  Now get out there and support your team!

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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.

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)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

The Personal Money Management Center is honored to announce that two lucky students can buy several chicken dinners with their winnings from our 12-Week Money Challenge! That’s right, $234 worth of chicken…or…you know, they could, like, keep saving it or something. Right?! Either way, we matched 3 to 1 their savings during our 12 week challenge leaving them three times as rich!

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Our goal was to help students realize that frequent small savings easily add up. The best way to tackle a large savings goal is just to commit to a little at a time. So don’t worry if saving up 5-10% of your income for an emergency savings seems overwhelming. Start slow with a set amount transferred to your account every paycheck automatically. Before you know it, you’ll have a substantial amount of money stashed away for emergency expenses. Luckily for these two winners, they received a nice boost in their balance from us!

What’s that? You didn’t know we were giving away free money? Sorry about that, better luck next year! So keep your eyes open for opportunities to grow your savings. Better yet, sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on all of our contests and events. You can do that here: http://personal-money-management.utah.edu/forms/newsletter-list.php

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7 Ways To Use Your Tax Refund

If you have not filed your taxes just yet you better get to it! Deadline for filing without them being late is April 15th. For those who had to pay I am sorry it happens to us all at some point. 😦 For those with the extra cash coming back our blog today will give you a few ideas on what you can do with that money! Brought to you by the Personal Money Management Center! Remember it is your money coming back so do what you would like with it but here is what we recommend for you:

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1) Create an emergancy fund:

  • This way you will have extra money for when your car needs maintenance or when you might fall short on the bills. An emergency fund is a security that is there for when you need it and helps keep you away from having to put large amounts on credit cards.

2) Pay past due expenses:

  • It may be last month’s rent, left over bills from Christmas or even last year’s vacation. Now is a great time to finish up those payments with your refund so you can start directing your money for other things rather than those past due expenses.

3)Reduce student loan or credit card debt:

  • If you are like me and have a student loan waiting to be paid for, you can make some extra payments to get your debt amount down or use it all for one big payment. Or maybe that Visa credit card debt is higher than you’d like, so get it back to zero and free yourself of the constant stress from debt.

4) Save for a major purchase:

  • Maybe it’s that car you have been looking at for months, that trip to Hawaii or a new flat screen TV. Use your refund to help you get what you have been reaching for.

5) Invest in a ROTH IRA:

  • Who said it’s too early to start thinking about your future? Saving in a ROTH IRA can benefit you enormously and give you a head start towards your dream of retirement.

6) Save for a home or pa down home mortgage:

  • If you are still living with your parents or in a house of your own, but still want an upgrade, use your refund to help get you save for a new place.

7) Save for a child’s education:

  • You may not have a child now or maybe just a little one, but one day, you’re going to want to send them to college, aren’t you? Cost of schooling is only going to go up from here.  It is never too early to start investing in your children.

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12 Week Money Challenge: Week 4

We are working our way into the fourth week of our 12-Week Money Challenge. Next week, it will be our goal for you to save $4. Now, that doesn’t sound like a lot of money but what are you willing to give up to make it happen? Fortunately, you won’t have to give up much! There are a couple easy ways to meet your savings goal next week.

  1. Break down your weekly goal into smaller daily goals. For instance, instead of trying to figure out how to save $4 on Saturday, you could save $0.57 each day! Start using cash and keep the change from daily transactions until you reach your goal.
  2. If all or nothing is your style, you could pack a lunch once a week instead of buying food on campus. The money you save will make it easy to get that $4 you need for the challenge.
  3. If you have a Starbuck’s addiction, try ordering one less coffee this week. I know for some of you this may be a stab to the heart! However, keep in mind that the average Starbuck’s order is $4 for a Grande.

Be intentional about your savings plan. Set a goal and stick to it! If you can get your head around these small baby steps, you will set yourself up for success. It’s much easier to help yourself while in a financial crisis if you’ve practiced ways to save money in the past.

Is saving money simply for your own peace of mind not quite enough to keep you motivated? Remember, the Personal Money Management Center is paying 2 students for this challenge! If you want a chance to win $234, keep on saving!!!

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Fun Activities On A Budget!

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Hello all you bloggers, this is Megan here. Want to do something that is fun and exciting, but don’t want to spend a ton of money? I will give you some ideas that can be done solo, with your sweetheart, or even with your little ones!

  • Visit the local zoo, yeah the typical answer, but there are usually coupons throughout the year, so you just need to be on the watch!
  • What is cheaper than free? Take an adventurous hike. Sounds bland, but you would be surprised. Plus you get that exercise in too!
  • Throughout the year, there are many art festivals and museums that are usually really cheap or free. Check them out through your local newspaper or online. 
  • Who doesn’t like a free concert? You might be surprised when you ask your sweetheart to go to a concert instead of the usual dinner and overpriced movie. A lot of underground bands are super cheap, and don’t be discouraged if they are a no name, surprises are good!
  • Most movie theaters have some sort of a classic series for an extremely low price. Taking advantage of these awesome deals, since most of them come with a package deal, can really save you money. The one in Salt Lake, is $30 for 6 movies that you can’t watch anywhere else!
  • Want something fun to do with neighbors or friends? Instead of just going out to a restaurant and spending $20 a person, why not try a pot luck dinner? Have each family prepare one dish that serves everyone. It can be a fun way to entertain and save!
  • On the topic of food, skip the restaurants and treat you and your sweetheart to a themed date night at your house. For instance, cook spaghetti and meatballs while sipping wine and watching Life is Beautiful. Cheap yet fun and interesting. 

Hope these ideas have helped and/or have sparked some new and exciting things you could do instead of the usual over priced routine!