3 Ways to Save on Your End of Summer Vacation

August is only two weeks away, but you still have some time left before the kids go back to school. For some of you, that may mean one final road trip or vacation with the family. Sometimes, the decision to take an August vacation boils down to whether or not you’re willing to spend the funds at a time when you have to pay for back to school items. But don’t worry, you can probably still take that trip and make it as affordable as possible.

Here are three ways you can save on your final getaway of the summer:

Stay close: You don’t have to stay at a hotel across town, but try to pick a destination that isn’t more than a couple hours away. You’ll end up spending less on gas and you can also buy food at your local grocery store before you go. Avoid buying anything at your destination that you could have brought from home. If you’re going to a main tourist spot, you’ll also be able to avoid paying marked up prices on things by getting them at home in advance.

Find freebies: Instead of taking another beach trip, find a place that has fun things to do that won’t cost an arm and a leg. If you’ve enjoyed free activities around your town, look for similar or low cost events in other cities near you.

Relax: You may love a summer vacation that’s packed full of outings and delicious restaurant meals. But for an end of summer vacation, remember what the purpose of the trip is – to take it easy one last time before it’s back to the grind of the school year. Cook all your meals, put your feet up with a book, and have a relaxing time with your family.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

Disney Vacationing on a Budget

How can you experience the magic of Disney without going broke? Is it possible to travel to Disney World without completely blowing your vacation budget? Here are a few tips to make your Disney vacation a bit more affordable.

Timing is everything. Whether you have to fly or not, the time of year you visit Disney can make a huge impact on the bill. Airfare will be cheaper during non-peak travel times, and so will the park entrance prices. Try to travel from September to early November, or January through mid-March (before Spring Break). If you travel during these times of the year, you’ll not only save money, you’ll also save time waiting in lines. Not to mention the Florida sun won’t be as overbearing. Even if you can’t get away during the off-peak season, try to plan to go during the week. Weekend fares are always more expensive, both in the air and at the park.

Look for less expensive lodging. Disney has a big variety of resorts on their property. Some of the pricier hotels are as much as $2,000 a night! Thankfully, there are also the Disney Value Resorts. There are three levels of pricing for these on Disney property hotels. The Pop Century Resorts will save you the most, with prices as low as $69 per night in the off-season. Outside hotels are also an option. You just have to decide if you want to trade travel time for the money you’re going to save. If your family likes camping, you could stay at the park for less than $50 a night. Florida’s warm weather makes it possible to camp outdoors in the off-season without freezing. Plus, you’ll also have free access to transportation to the parks with the Disney shuttle service.

Think about a meal plan. Disney meal plans can save you up to 25% on eating. You can also take water and snacks inside the park to save some additional cash. Study your restaurant options online before heading into any of the parks. You don’t want to blow your food budget on meals at Cinderella’s Castle at $65 a person, when you can eat at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot for the Princess Storybook Dinner and pay a lot less to eat with a princess.

Try to find other places to get more for your money. Fastpasses help you get into rides quickly and waste less time in lines, but they’re first come, first serve. Disney now has FastPass+ for on Disney property reservations. You can book your rides before you leave home!

Skipping Fastpass? Look for attractions that are lesser known, where the lines are shorter. You should also buy multi-day passes depending upon the length of your stay. This can save you over $100 per person a day, since a one day pass is about $150 a person.

Disney has also developed My Disney Experience, an interactive space (and app) for you to plan your vacation. It lets you make reservations and find fun things to do, make payments, and allows you to split your Walt Disney World vacation into manageable financial segments.

If you are planning ahead for a future summer vacation, think about opening a First Financial Summer Savings Account. This account will allow you to save all year long, and deduct the funds in July and August when many families plan to vacation.

*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details.

Article Source: Vincent King for Moneyning.com

6 Easy Ways to Save Money for a Vacation

Don’t have much of a vacation budget this year? Here are several pretty painless ways to score a getaway on a budget this summer.

1. Don’t Forget About Credit Card Rewards Points

Do you have a rewards or cash back credit card? If so, be sure to log in and see if you have racked up any rewards points that can be redeemed on airfare, cash back, or travel related gift cards. Some cards even have perks good for hotel stays and discounts. Don’t let these points go to waste!

2. Set Up Small Automatic Transfers to Savings

If you take a vacation each year, setting up a small automatic transfer from your paycheck into an earmarked savings account is a painless way to build up your vacation fund.  Even if you only transfer $10 per week, you’ll have accumulated $520 in one year.  You probably won’t even notice that $10 transfer — but it will feel great to have an extra $500 or more for your vacation. And if you can transfer more, even better.

3. Cash In Your Change

Do you have any spare change laying around in a jar? Find a local coin cashing machine, and cash in! Then deposit the funds into your vacation savings account.

4. Recycle Scrap Metal or Aluminum

If you have any scrap metal from appliances or items you no longer use, your recycling efforts can really add up. Scrap yards will take a variety of scrap metals. You can turn aluminum, copper, iron, brass, and more into cash that can be deposited into your vacation savings account.

5. Find Some Easy Side Jobs

Know someone you can babysit or pet sit for, complete surveys, fill in at a family member or friend’s small business, craft, repurpose and sell old furniture? Any of these or similar tasks can earn you some extra cash for your vacation savings account. Plus, there’s nothing better than getting paid for something you enjoy doing.

6. Sell Items Online

What’s better than decluttering your home and earning money at the same time? Hold a garage sale or use a selling app like Let Go for household items/furniture you no longer have a need for, sell clothing on apps such as Poshmark or Mercari, and so on. You’ll get some spring cleaning done and make money for your summer vacation!

Article Source: Alexa Mason for Moneyning.com

4 Tricks for Fall Road Trips on a Budget

Fall is the perfect time for a road trip. The leaves are changing and there’s so much beautiful scenery to take in. Before you hit the road, take a hard look at your budget and plan accordingly. Here are 4 tips to consider for your autumn road trip that can save you some money before the pricey holiday season.

Get a tune up.
Before you take off on your road trip, be sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Getting a legitimate tune up and inflating your tires to the proper pressure will ensure you’re riding in a safe car. It will also help prevent you from making costly repairs to your vehicle down the road.

Stock up.
We all know eating out can cost a ton, but so can simple snacks purchased at convenience stores. If you pack a cooler with your favorite food and drinks, you can skip those frequent stops at fast food chains and gas station markets. Then, you can save up for more enjoyable meals when you reach your destination.

Go mobile and save on gas.
Over 70 million people have downloaded the GasBuddy app, which helps travelers locate gas stations near them, and most importantly the ones carrying the cheapest gas. When mapping out your trip, plan in advance to fuel up at these more economical gas stops. This will help you budget ahead of time and give you a better idea of how much extra spending money will be left over.

Book outside the box.
Can you think of the last time you spent less than $100 on a hotel room? The key to saving on accommodations is to think outside the box and step out of your comfort zone. Couchsurfing.com connects travelers with local hosts and can give you the opportunity to stay for free (and safely), at the home of someone in the area. Or if you don’t like the idea of staying in someone’s house, compare hotel prices within your destination city by using a site like trivago.com, trip advisor, or kayak.

Article Source: Wendy Moody for CUInsight.com

5 Staycation Ideas to Save Your Summer

Let’s face it, summer looks a lot different than it did when you were a kid. You used to spend the entire school year counting down the days until the carefree fun of summer vacation. But now that you’re a responsible adult with a grown-up job, summer mostly just means your daily work commute is hotter than usual.

OK, maybe the situation isn’t quite that bleak. But if you’re not careful, summer will come and go before you get a chance to enjoy it. Even if you can’t take a week off or spend a lot on vacation this year, it only takes a little creativity and last-minute planning to map out a staycation worth remembering. If you need a little spark of relaxation inspiration, these five suggestions may be just what you’re looking for:

Book a night at a fancy hotel in town. Yes, luxury has a price tag, but hey—it’s just for one night. Sometimes it’s worth the extra money to pamper yourself. And since you’re staying close to home, think about all the money you’re saving on gas and travel expenses! Want to make the most of your five-star staycation? Check in as early as possible and take advantage of every complementary service the hotel offers.

Take a tasting tour of your city. It’s easy to settle into a routine of dining at your favorite restaurants, so why not break out of that rut and spend an entire day expanding your palette? The beauty of this culinary adventure lies in its flexibility. You can plan your itinerary or play it loose and go wherever your taste buds take you. Start with an early breakfast and end with a late-night snack.

Spend all day in bed. How many times have you started the morning by cursing your alarm clock and wishing you could stay under the covers all day long? Here’s your chance to make those lazy dreams a reality. Stack your favorite books and magazines on the nightstand, queue up your Netflix watchlist, and keep your go-to takeout restaurants on speed dial. You’re about to take your day off to the next level.

Rent a convertible and take the scenic route. Sometimes you want to answer the call of the open road, but it’s hard to make travel exciting in the same car you drive to work every day. So, add a little fun to your staycation plans by renting a sports car (preferably a convertible) and cruising around for the day. If you have a specific destination in mind, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s even better. The magic is in the journey. Not sure where to find scenic routes near you? Download the Round app for expert recommendations.

Unplug and get off the grid. We saved this one for last because, depending on who you are, this suggestion can be exhilarating or terrifying. Since we’re talking about shutting off your mobile phone and unplugging from social media, we understand you may need to start slowly. Use a resource like AllTrails.com to find the nearest hiking or walking trails, and spend the day exploring the great outdoors. The fresh air, exercise, and lack of email will do wonders for your body and your mind.

Whether you pick one of these ideas, find a way to do them all, or come up with a fresh staycation of your own, the most important part is permitting yourself to have fun. Even if they’re only for 24 hours at a time, vacations (or staycations) offer benefits that can make every area of your life more enjoyable.