5 Tips for Investing in a Reliable Used Bike

Finding a used bike is a great inexpensive and environmentally-friendly alternative to buying a car. Even if you’ll only be using your bike for exercise or the occasional trip around the neighborhood, you’ll still want a dependable one. Use these five tips to help you find a reliable used bike while avoiding unnecessary costs: Assess your needs and buy accordingly Just like with cars, there are different types of bikes designed for different purposes, and not everyone wants or needs the same thing. Do a little research ahead of time to know what you do need. Will you be going off road? Are you riding it to work daily?  How many miles per week? A bike designed for racing on paved surfaces probably isn’t going to hold up if you’re riding off road three times a week. Consider the features you need Some features are personal preferences, but anything that effects how the bike fits or your ability to operate it safely is important. The right features will make your used bike more reliable by avoiding untimely wear on parts and accidents. Buy local and avoid online shops Yes, there are bargains, but there’s also lots of junk and stolen bikes.  The biggest problem with buying a bike online is that you aren’t seeing it in person. There are several elements you need to check that just don’t show up in a photo. For instance, you need to test drive it if possible. While you may get lucky at a...

5 Inexpensive Christmas Gift Ideas Your Friends and Family Will Love

Budgeting around the holidays can sometimes be a challenge. Maybe you have a long list of people to buy gifts for or some last minute guests from out of town. Or perhaps you just went a little over budget on the kids’ toys and need to get back some control. Whatever reason you have for needing inexpensive Christmas gift ideas, here are a few simple presents your friends and family will appreciate. A Personalized Memento Embellish or hand paint a picture frame, insert your favorite photo, and give it as a personalized memento. Turn favorite photos or vacation souvenirs into personalized wall art or a scrap book. If there is an activity you both enjoy doing together give something that commemorates or celebrates that occasion. A Plant Local florists and grocery stores have a variety of house plants that make great inexpensive Christmas gift ideas. This can also be a good choice if you can attach some sentimental value to it. For example, flowers from grandma’s garden that have been in your family for generations, or a plant native to a favorite vacation spot serve as heartfelt presents perfect for the holiday season. iTunes Gift Card or Other Digital Download iTunes, PlayStation, Xbox Live, and other online gaming and entertainment companies sell gift cards to pay for downloads. Downloads are usually cheaper than their physical counterparts, so a gift card in a small denomination can actually make for a fun present for the gamers and digitally savvy people in your...

The Sharing Economy: How Your Smartphone Can Find You Part-Time Work

There’s no refuting the fact that from the minute we get up in the morning to the minute we retire to bed, we’re often glued to our smartphones. From a new email, to the numerous social media notifications throughout the day, there’s always another reason to pick up your phone. After all, today’s smartphone technology can do so much! While some may see their data plans and smartphones as just another monthly expense, other witty smartphone users are turning their phones into portable cash-cows. So, forget about playing yet another round of Candy Crush during your afternoon downtime. Instead, here are some legit ways that your smartphone can find you part-time work: Gigwalk Gigwalk pays iPhones or Android smartphone users for accomplishing simple tasks like mystery shopping, deliveries, taking pictures or testing various mobile apps.  Earnings can range from as little as $3 to as much as $90 for every single task.  It all depends on the user’s experience and reputation.  Those who live in large metropolitan areas are in a position to earn more, due to the many opportunities found in urban areas. Check out Gigwalk here. Easyshift Easyshift is commonly used by business owners in need of temporary shift workers. This may be a great option if you’re in need of quick cash. For instance, a catering company may use Easyshift to recruit a few extra hands for a night. Once the job is done, you get your funds instantly deposited to Paypal. Tip: their mystery shopping tasks tend...

5 Cheap Staple Foods Everyone Should Be Buying

For many people, the weekly grocery bill is one area where it’s easy to go over budget. Keep these cheap staple foods on hand and you won’t need extra trips to the store or a stop at the local fast food restaurant. They’re all versatile, easy to find, easy to make and yes…cheap! Cheap Staple Food #1: Oats Great on their own at breakfast, oats are whole grain, so they’re filling. You can flavor them almost any way you want. They can also be used in smoothies, baked goods, and even to thicken chili.  Cheap Staple Food #2: Eggs They are one of the cheapest forms of protein you can get. Of course they are perfect for breakfast, but they make great lunches and dinners too. Egg salad sandwiches, frittatas, and quiche are popular main dishes. You can even put them in fried rice, soups, and salads. Cheap Staple Food #3: Beans They show up on every list of cheap staple foods for a reason. Canned beans are cheap enough, but if you have time to cook them and really need to squeeze your food budget, dried beans are the way to go. The basis of many vegan main dishes, they go with just about everything. Also try them in soups, stews, as a side dish or even in a salad. Cheap Staple Food #4: Sweet Potatoes They’re just as versatile as other kinds of potatoes but pack a bigger nutritional punch. You can even use them to make your...

3 Delicious, Easy and Cheap Crockpot Meals You’ll Love

If you have a slow cooker, also known as a crockpot, you’ve got the best tool at your disposal for saving on delicious home cooked meals. They are easy to use, can be turned on before your leave for work and can cook inexpensive cuts of meat to perfection. It’s easy to find cheap crockpot meals you and your family will love. But in case you don’t know where to start, we have some suggestions. Here are 3 delicious and cheap crockpot meals for when you are out of ideas. Barbeque Pork Sandwiches Among cheap crockpot meals, pork is a crucial staple. The cuts are inexpensive and when slow cooked are juicy, flavorful and tender. So for your next meal, take a 5-6-pound pork loin and put it inside the crockpot. Smother with barbeque sauce and let it cook for 6 hours or so. You’ll know it’s ready when the meat falls apart easily. Then, put it on a bun and serve with whatever fixings you like! Pot Roast Pot roast is a great disk for your slow cooker. One way to prepare is to throw the pot roast with some cream of mushroom soup and dried soup mix (ideally onion flavored) into the crockpot. Let it cook for at least 6 hours and you’ll have the perfect pot roast for your family. Italian Chicken This one is as easy as it is delicious. All you need is two ingredients: chicken and Italian salad dressing. Combine the two in a...

Want a Budget Wedding? Here are 5 Ways to Save

Having a wedding is an expensive endeavor. The average cost of a wedding is $26,645, but many couples manage to keep the price under $10,000. Still, it’s not easy to have a budget wedding. Expenses pile up fast and you can undermine your budget goals fast. So if you looking to have a great wedding and stick to your savings goals, see our 5 tips to have a budget wedding. Choose a different day of the week Saturday is by far the most popular day of the week for people to get married. So venues and other wedding related services will offer lower prices if you book for a weekday or even a Sunday. If you get married early in the peak season as well, the savings will be even greater for your budget wedding. Book far in advance By booking venues and other services super early, you’ll save a lot on these expenses. That also allows you to be strategic for when you purchase other things, like invitations, to wait for sales. Keep the liquor options limited Don’t provide a fully stocked bar for your friends and family. Instead, get a keg from a local brewery and have a few wine options on hand. That will be enough to keep everyone happy while keeping your budget on track. You can also add a cocktail option as well to suit other tastes. Don’t serve a sit-down dinner Instead of splurging on a fully catered sit down dinner, consider appetizers instead....

3 Tips to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Savings Goal

It can be hard to stay motivated to reach a savings goal. All it takes is one or two bad days and your entire savings plan can be thrown off track. There are so many impulse buys offering instant gratification that it can be hard to stay on track. It’s also human nature to seek short-term gratification over long-term benefits. Fortunately, strategies exist to help. If you are serious about reaching your savings goal, here are 3 tips to help you stay motivated. Know Your Goal If you have a specific savings goal you are trying to reach, it makes a lot easier to stay motivated. If you are just trying to ‘save more,’ you can fall off track quickly. So pick a number that you think you can reach and whenever you are tempted to overspend, remind yourself of what you want and why. Make Today Matter It’s important to focus on small steps you can take every day to make your savings plan concrete. Whether it is forgoing a coffee, buying store brand items at the grocery store or bringing your own lunch to the office, these daily actions provide the foundation that you can build off of. Give Yourself Breathing Room When you are creating a plan to help you save more and finding an ideal goal to work towards, it can be tempting to try and save as much as possible. But by doing so, you are only setting yourself up for failure. You need to...

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