How to Create A Romantic Couple’s Trip That Works for Your Budget

Have you ever been on a group trip where everyone’s budget wasn’t aligned?  For example, when one friend is suggesting a luxury villa experience when the group’s median budget for this trip is a 4-star hotel?  Or when no one can agree on activities so you end up doing everything just to keep the peace? What’s that sound?  Oh…it’s your credit card being swiped for something you probably can’t afford to pay for in cash and something you probably didn’t want to experience in the first place. Unlike any other type a trip you take, a couple’s trip can be one of the best ones for your budget.  This is true if you and your partner are pulling your money together, have shared money goals, and agree on a budget even before planning your vacation.How to Create A Romantic Couple’s Trip That Works for Your Budget from Millennial Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

Selecting Your Travel Destination

It’s time for a romantic getaway but you have no idea where to go.  First, you and bae should figure out what type of experience you want.  Are you looking to be adventurous? Do you want to relax and decompress under palm trees and listen to the ocean?  Are you even planning to leave the room?  You have to consider the experience and then pick a location accordingly.  If you never plan on leaving the room, then you should consider splurging on your accommodations and try to save on getting there. Think about where your money will go the furthest to giving you the travel vibes you are seeking.

Another thing to consider is the season.  Sure, that Groupon vacation deal to the Caribbean looks great in October. You think to yourself how great it would be to have one last beach vacay before the end of the year.  Well, the Caribbean is super cheap in the fall because it’s hurricane season and their bookings are sparse.  You may be getting a great deal, but if you are planning to lounge on the beach and soak up some sun, you will be there in the wrong season. Moral of the story- do your research before settling on a location. It will save you money, time, and frustrations.  Another thing to consider when traveling the world is to consider the regional and religious seasons of your destination.  Channeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw and tripping to the UAE for a luxury vacay will not give you the same experience if you travel during the religious season of Ramadan. Learn your seasons and travel accordingly.

Finally, while you are doing your research, take a moment to learn about the culture.  Want to frolic around in a sexy bikini on the beaches of Dubai?  Well, good luck with that.  While women aren’t expected to wear a hijab, you are expected to respect their culture and cover up.  Your sexy bikini just turned into a one-piece swimsuit…and not those high French cut ones that the Kardashians have been rocking lately.

Getting There. Drive or Fly

Driving: I like a good road trip, especially when the Mr. and I let the top down, have a great playlist going, and only are traveling to a destination that we can get to in 4 hours or less.  Apparently, for road trips, 4 hours is the magic number.  According to personal finance site Mint, car drives that are four hours or under in length are usually more cost-effective than flying.  If you are ever trying to figure out which option is best for your budget, try googling “Fly or Drive Calculators”.  There you will find a few options that will help you determine how you will get there for the least amount of money.  Related Post: Lyft Riders Earn Free Skymiles

Flying: A few years back we researched the best day to buy plane tickets and that information still rings true. Every time we buy plane tickets, I stalk Delta and watch the rates for about 2 weeks. The Mr. and I rarely will fly other airlines, because our goal is to bank as many Skymiles as possible so that when the time is right, we can use Skymiles to pay for our tickets.  A few years ago when we were dating, I flew roundtrip FREE because my ticket was paid for entirely out of his Skymiles.   Last month, I was able to fly to from Atlanta to St. Lucia by combining both of our Skymiles  to get one FREE roundtrip ticket to our international destination.

 

SMC Giveaway | Travel Bag for Your Next Island Adventure

Wheels up and I am and off to the first trip of 5 trips every woman should take every year.  First up…. the couple’s trip to St. Lucia where the plan is a mix of relaxation by the beach and excursions through the rain forest.  As a reformed over-packer, I had to review my go-to tips for packing light to ensure I wouldn’t be a victim of extra fees for heavy checked luggage.  Coming in at exactly 38lbs in my is my pink DVF luggage. Mission accomplished and money saved!Travel Bad for Adventure Excursions from She Makes Cents

I received a free bag from Mato Naturals in exchange for sharing it with She Makes Cents readers like you.

Travel Bag For My Island Excursion

When I was packing, I was inspired by all of the vibrant colors of the island so I packed colorful accessories that correspond to the activities that we have planned.  Sneak Peek Alert: Follow @shemakescents and @sheslivingthefablife on Instagram for OOTD, travel hacks, and behind the scenes videos.  For the off non-resort activities like a rainforest ATV tour, I knew I needed durable crossbody that would survive my extreme tourist behaviors but I knew I wanted something with a pop of color or print. That’s where the Mato Boho Crossbody from Mato Natural comes in handy.  This handmade bag is made from eco-friendly canvas and unique handwoven Aztec patterns by local women from Nepal.  It features every island color that I was looking for AND it’s the right size to ensure that I am not taking unnecessary items off of the resort, although it is smaller than I expected.  Mato Natural is a sustainable lifestyle brand founded with the main goal to make available Eco- friendly products at very affordable prices so it is right with me!

Product Review from She Makes Cents: Mato Boho Black Cross body Purse with Bohemian Tribal Aztec Pattern

She Makes Cents Giveaway

To kick off summer, She Makes Cents is hosting a giveaway to one lucky reader from the United States.  To enter, follow @shemakescents and @sheslivingthefablife on Instagram and leave a comment with the hashtag #SMCtravelcontest.  Entries will be accepted until July 15, 2017 at noon (EST).  The winner will be announced via a Instagram story on the She Makes Cent Instagram page.  Retail value $49.99.

Product Review from She Makes Cents: Mato Boho Black Cross body Purse with Bohemian Tribal Aztec Pattern

{Every Woman Should Know} How to Pack Light

how-to-pack-light

PACKED AND BETTER THAN EVER!

For starters, this is what I call a “duh post”. I do recognize I’m probably writing a post about stuff we all should already know… things that should be common “cents”, but sometimes we, or maybe just I, need a reminder or two. As I was preparing for my week and a half long trip to Germany and the Czech Republic to celebrate the Mr.’s 30th birthday, my father warned the Mr. of my normal packing habits. Yes, I’m that girl who tends to over pack, although I like to think of it as being prepared. With airlines now charging extra fees, I knew I had to get break this habit…and fast. So, I tapped into my old Container Store Days (my first job) and combined my organization skills to get a week and a half worth of stuff into ONE checked bag + a carry on.

MAKING IT ALL FIT

Pack Basics, Pack In a Color Theme, and Bring Accessories: For this trip, I over packed significantly. At the end of the day, I used jeans as my main basic and stayed in the color theme of burgundy. That way, my accessories complimented the outfits that I created.

Travel Fashion.jpg                                                                                                                                                                                                                Photo Credit: Tiger Mist

Roll Don’t Fold: I don’t know why I ever folded clothes to begin with. Not only does rolling clothes create more space, but it also reduces wrinkles in your clothing; thus, you spend your time exploring a new city/country rather than ironing.

If You Can’t Get More than One Wear Out of It, Leave it At Home: I used to think that I had to wear something different every day. Let me be the first to admit I was stupid. I mean seriously, it’s vacation. No one will say, “hey, did you see {insert your name here} in the same pair of jeans”?  

Wear your Heaviest Shoes: I got this tip from my Dad. It makes your bag lighter and creates more space.

Pack the Heaviest Stuff in Your Carry On

  • Pack-It Systems and Travel Space Bags: I didn’t use a Pack-It system on this trip, but I did use the travel space bags for our dirty clothes and travel blanket. I found it to be very helpful in unpacking, because the clean clothes never mixed with the dirty clothes AND…. the dirty clothes went directly from the space bag to the hamperJ.
  • Pack At Least 3 days in Advanced. Pack at least 3 days in advanced and reexamine your choices the day before you leave. At this point, you should be removing unnecessary items instead of adding last minute oversights. Looking back, I could have removed an extra ten pounds worth of stuff that I never used or wore. Plus, you want to leave additional room for cool stuff you pick up during your travels.

On the day of our departure, my bag weighed 43lbs, right under the 50lb limit so no extra fees for me!!! In fact, my Mr.’s bag weighed more than mine did. Coming back was a different story, but doing good things for others allows good things to come your way. Right as my bag was being placed on the luggage scale at the airport, I noticed a woman having trouble lifting her bags. The Mr. did not notice her difficulty lifting, but he helped her because he is a gentleman. We stopped what we were doing to help her. Come to find out, it wasn’t that the bag was heavy, but the woman did not have full use of her arm. No one else in the airport helped her until the Mr. and I saw her. The woman at the check in counter thought what we did was so nice and told us about how people don’t help others too often. Needless to say, she did not charge me for my slightly heavier bag. Being nice to others is free and sometimes it can get you free things!!

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{September Update} Confessions of New Year’s Resolutions

This post is dedicated to Audrey at Just Add Paris…hey girlie! Back in April, I posted an update to my New Year’s Resolutions. As we approach the final leg of 2012, I thought I owed Ashley an update since she asked me to write one over a month ago. So…here goes:

Start Putting Money Away for Emergencies

January 24, 2012: Since I’m being honest, I might as well go all in. Currently, my emergency fund looks like the sad little piggy pictured here. That’s right, even She Makes Cents, has to get her own finances together sometimes. I almost depleted my fund when… an emergency came up. I am so glad that I got myself into the habit of saving for the unexpected because life would have been so much harder without one.

April 4, 2012: I have started my emergency fund again and I must say it feels good. I really hope it will be a long time before I have to tap into it since there isn’t much in there and two, no one likes emergencies.

September 30, 2012: I’m still going strong putting away money into my emergency fundJ How are you doing with your emergency fund? 

Cook More, Eat Out Less

January 24, 2012: The Mr. and I love trying new restaurant spots; consequently, we have gotten in the habit of going to restaurants multiple times a week. Sometimes, I even eat out multiple times a day. While examining our finances, we both concluded that we can’t save if we are constantly spending on dinners out every night, plus tips for the servers, plus parking. Do you see how quickly it can add up? Not only are we spending too much, but also it is counteracting to my bangin’ body goal.

April 4, 2012: Well…we still eat out, but we are now more conscious of it. Using the envelope system has really helped with this one. I set aside a certain amount of money per check for non-grocery food expenses. For example, I stopped at Smoothie King this morning for a Pineapple Surf and used my “restaurant fund” to essentially…fund it. The envelope system, regarding eating out, has also forced me to really think about my motivation. Am I really hungry? Am I going to be social? Now, I need to work on the “cook more” portion of this resolution.

September 30, 2012: We are still working on it. I have actually set a new goal for myself to eat at least 10 home cooked meals a week. I might actually like cooking a little more. Did I mention that I made my first lasagna from scratch?

Bangin’ Body 2012


January 24, 2012: I think this one is a little self-explanatory. I will just let these swimsuits be my inspiration. I say show it while you got it…so I have to get mine tight. Get it right, get it tight 2012!!!

April 4 2012: I am pleased to announce that I am actually starting to see a difference in my tummy. I started jogging, stretching, and taking the dog out for longer walks. I am also trying to eat a little better, so once swimsuit season officially begins; I hope to have accomplished my goal of losing 2 to 3 inches. As of yesterday, I’m already down an inch.

September 30, 2012: I actually just started “The World’s Fastest Workout” and let me tell you it is NO JOKE! I also plan to take advantage of the FREE online classes that Keep It Moving Fitness is offering to readers of She Makes Cents. I now have a goal to be healthy first and then the bangin’ body will follow.

Reduce Impulse Shopping



September 30, 2012: I am finding that my urge to impulse shop has significantly reduced. I am happy about it and trust me, so is my wallet!

See the World

April 4 2012: So my Dad and I are getting our passports updated this week. This is very necessary since I will be celebrating the Mr.’s 30th birthday in Germany among other places. Overall, I would say that I’m not too far off of my goals for 2012. While I could be doing better in some areas, I could also be doing A LOT worse. In fact, as I accomplish my goals, I will start replacing them with new goals.

September 30, 2012: I got my passport and I am back from Germany and Czech Republic. This was both of our first international trips and we are already planning the next one. It was an AMAZING experience and now I want to see more of the world. We toured castles and beautiful Cathedrals, kissed under the fake Eiffel Tower, shopped, tried foods, celebrated the Mr.’s Dirty Thirty in style! I even found a TK Maxx over there, which was their version of TJ Maxx! Yep, I was shopping smart even 4,000 miles away.



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{Every Woman Should…} Have An Updated Passport

“You don’t have enough stamps in your passport”… (In my Jay-z voice)

 I had dinner a couple of weeks ago with a friend (hi Rashell) who mentioned that when she gets the opportunity to speak, one on one, with more seasoned women, she asks them, “if you can do it all over, what would you do differently”? I thought this was a very interesting question that could provide a great life lessons. So, when I got the opportunity to ask the same question to some women I know, I was surprised by one subject that continued to come up- TRAVEL. It made me think of a conversation with someone very close to me who told me that she never thought she would reach this point in her life and never seen the world. Her answer prompted a very simple follow up question from me, why not? Her answer – time and money. This conversation has stuck in my mind since early this year, giving me the extra push to get myself together before I’m looking back thinking shoulda, coulda, woulda, myself. I believe every woman should have a passport whether one has travel plans or not. It’s a first step that provides options to go nearly anywhere in the world and the freedom to do it when you want. Looking back, I am saddened by that particular conversation, but also blessed by the lesson learned. Life is short and while I enjoy making a list of all of the things I want to do while here on Earth, it’s more important to actually start crossing some things off! I got my passport in the mail last week. Number 12 of my bucket list is now crossed off with the plan to have a couple of stamps in it before the start of 2013. 

For more information about the passport application and renewal procedures, click here!

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{When Is The Best Time to…?} Buy International Plane Tickets

Travel- InternationalIn a post last year, I researched the best day of the week to get the best deals on plane tickets. Based on my research, I concluded that Tuesday at 3pm is the best time to buy. A few weeks ago, I tested out this theory with the Mr. as we were stalking international flights to Europe. While I know the savings rules can be a tad bit different for international flights, we still went with the tried and true paradigm that Tuesday was the best day to buy and fly. We waited and waited and researched stalked travel sites and airlines for weeks and then picked the “perfect” Tuesday to make our move with airline of choice- Delta. Perfect Tuesday came and (insert cricket sounds here) nothing. In fact, the price of the ticket went up almost $200 since the last time we checked and then consistently stayed there. So we waited a week for the next Tuesday…same price.

Did we make a mistake and miss our savings fate?

No. Like most companies, several factors influence the price of goods. The state of the economy, international relations, and my favorite…good ole competition. My Mr. called on a Wednesday to tell me that another airline was offering deals to Europe and to check it out. My first thought was oh well and my second was bye-bye frequent flyer miles. Instead of giving up, I gave myself to the end of the day to find a great deal; but being the impatient person that I can be, I hit the refresh button on the computer about ten minutes after the call. I mean, if one airline lowered their prices, others are sure to follow, right? ABSOLUTELY!
The moral of the story is that good things come to those who wait and research. If you have the luxury of time, it is worth the extra effort to comparison shop. This method helped us save money and it can help you save too. I still believe Tuesdays and Wednesday s are the cheapest days to buy international tickets, but if something is out of your budget, stop….breath…and press refresh.

If You Could Travel Anywhere in the World…

Where Would You Go?

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The Best Day to Book Cheap Flights is…

Fly in Style Jet Setter

You have decided the destination. I bet you can even picture yourself on the beach sipping something fabulous while rocking your new bikini purchased especially for this moment. What’s next? Well you can’t be a summer jet setter without a flight. So what are you waiting on? Well, a budget savvy frugalista would answer- the best deal on a ticket.

Timing is everything

Did you know the most expensive days to book flights are Fridays and Sundays? My theory is that people are trying to leave after the workweek on Friday and be back before the workweek begins again on Monday. It goes back to simple supply and demand. So when exactly is the best time to buy? Well the answer to that depends on who you ask, however the consensus appears to be either Tuesday or Wednesday. Fare Compare even goes as far to suggest that you purchase your tickets for domestic travel on Tuesday at 3pm (Eastern Time) because prices tend to go up on Thursday for the increased weekend rates. Now it is time to figure out what day you will fly. If you are looking to further your savings and have the availability, try to schedule your flight for Wednesday morning. According to Fare Compare, “Wednesday is one of the three cheapest days, the others are Tuesday and Saturday (Friday and Sunday the most expensive days to travel). The cheapest days to travel internationally are a bit different”.

Discount Tickets

Travel Zoo: this is site the “Google” of travel searches. It allows you to compare multiple travel sites in one search. You simply type in your intended date of departure and whether your trip is one-way or roundtrip and Travel Zoo does the rest.

Hotwire: “No booking fees. Ever” is the motto that they are known for. This site offers deals up to 40% off with a daily feature of called “Today’s Top Deal”. In addition to their great savings, Hotwire features the link, Trip Watcher, which alerts you about price drops on trips that you want.

Travelocity: US cities on sale now for $79+. Just so happens, a “low fare alert” for Atlanta popped up today.

There’s an App for That!

I get emails all of the time for special offers and rates. Let technology work for you by signing up for email updates, signing up for “low fare alerts” from discount travel sites like the ones mentioned above, and check out the App Store and the Android Market. Most of the airline companies have become more technologically savvy and created an app for their loyal customers. It’s worth checking out!

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