Tag Archives: advice

10 Ways to Save Money on Vacation

10 Mar

Challenge: Enjoy a week of vacation where I do absolutely nothing work related other than working on my tan.

Could be tough for me, but I’m up for it.

That means: no cell phone, no Internet, no homework, no work, nothing.

The reason I say this is because in approximately 2 days I will be on my way to Florida for a weekend in Cocoa Beach and then a week cruising the high seas with 15 of my best girl friends on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Can. Not. Wait.

This is the last time we will all really be together until who knows when, so I want to cherish every moment of it. However, that doesn’t mean I need to spend beaucoups of money just to have fun. There are plenty of ways to save money without being cheap on your Spring Break trip, or any trip.

Here is a list of some suggestions:

  1. Visit/stalk sites like www.kayak.com: Their slogan is “One and Done” because they literally scour the web for any and all flights, hotels, etc. and show you the prices. Then you choose the best one. Easy as that. Start early and you’ll find even better deals.
  2. Make your own meals: It sounds so simple, but people often forget that they can make a sandwich for lunch, instead of paying upwards of $15 for a bad burger on the beach. Plus, if you pack yourself a little picnic, you can stay in the sun for even longer. A win/win.
  3. Pack efficiently: If you can manage it, pack as little as possible and carry-on your luggage on flights. Checking bags can be unbearably expensive these days, and truthfully, not always worth it. You will probably only really need about one sixteenth of what you are packing anyway.
  4. Walk: Benefits of walking include – seeing sights you may not see otherwise, getting exercise, saving money by not paying for a taxi/bus/etc.
  5. Avoid over-priced drinks: On cruises especially, alcohol can be more expensive than anything else. Sure, you have to pay for soda now too, but those fun smoothies and fruity drinks by the pool can really rack up the credit card bill. Consider drinking water or finding other options, like waiting until you’re at a destination stop to drink.
  6. Limit yourself on shopping: Those cutesy, tourist-trap shops may have the perfect thimble for your great-aunt Susie, but realistically, you don’t need to buy it. Consider other options like taking pictures and framing them when you return from vacation for souvenirs. Let’s be honest – Susie wouldn’t even know what she was missing anyway.
  7. Use coupons… for everything: Oftentimes your hotel will have coupons in the lobby for different restaurants or attractions nearby. Also, you can search online before you go for coupon codes, group discounts or student discounts for most things you want to do.
  8. Budget for the week: Create one. That’s it.
  9. Bring snacks/drinks in the car or on the plane: This will save tons of money when you are tempted to hop out of the car and grab a bag of Doritos, some gummy worms and a Coke at the gas station. Plus, healthier snacks will actually keep you full for longer, so you will have to eat less, and ultimately spend less. Try peanut butter crackers and an apple, or if you’re like me, a jar of peanut butter and an apple.
  10. Have a “staycation” instead: Many people don’t even consider staying home an option for vacation. However, if you don’t have to money to travel somewhere, consider taking a weekend to veg-out with a good book, glass of wine and no cell phone. It will do a world of wonders. Or, you can check your local paper to see what awesome attractions are happening in your area. Try free concerts, museums or just a nice hike. It will be worth it in the end.

Overall, I’m looking forward to see how little money I can spend this week. Since my sweet roommate booked our cruise through a travel agent literally in October, we got a great deal. It’s going to be glorious.

In the meantime, feel free to add suggestions for what your best money-saving tips are while traveling.

Bon voyage!


I pledge to Live Financially Thrifty

22 Feb

So, as I have mentioned before, being a college student definitely lends to an “on a budget” lifestyle. Although I do have two part-time jobs, all of that money goes immediately to pay the rent for my sweet Hartford house, bills and food (which I love a lot, as you can/will see over the course of this blog).

The mission

However, being a college student definitely also keeps me in the know about what awesome things are going on in Athens/at UGA. I recently discovered the Live Financially campaign that has been taking over The Classic City. Originally I saw the campaign come to life on Twitter and Facebook before really realizing what it was. I later had the opportunity to get to know a little more about the campaign and seriously think that Athens could not be a better place for this team to be executing it.

According to their Facebook page, Live Financially is a community-based grassroots movement to inspire Athenians to take charge of their personal finances. The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to define their financial goals and practice personal finance skills to achieve them.

I have been following their “Daily Tips” for February to remind myself to be financially thrifty and here are a few of my favorites:

1. Record all of your purchases: Sometimes I can lose track of how often I eat out since I have such a busy schedule. By doing this I can monitor where my money is going and hopefully spend it more wisely.

2. Replace your incandescent lightbulbs: Save $56 over the course of the lightbulb’s life? Heck yes. Who cares if it’s a bit more expensive to start, that’s totally worth it. Plus, it saves our precious little Earth.

3. Free entertainment is the best entertainment: It’s so true. It makes you feel better about going out to do something fun when you know it’s not putting a dent in your wallet. Also, discounted entertainment is definitely another way to go, if you really want to do something that costs a bit (more on that to come in a future blog post!)

And here is some free entertainment from the team – I highly recommend checking out the other “Suggested Videos” because some are seriously funny:

Those are just a few of their many awesome ideas to save money!

And guess what… if you want to learn more about how to Live Financially Aware, you can check out their free financial workshop at the ACC Library on Baxter St. on Feb. 26 at 2:30 pm.

So, what do you think are the best ways to be thrifty?

ugaMiracle and RJ’s Bloomies Unite

18 Feb

Here is a Friday Philanthropy Spotlight for you and the low down on two really awesome ways to support Children’s Miracle Network and the local Atlanta hospital of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The best 24 hours of your year

This weekend is the 16th annual ugaMiracle Dance Marathon benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. As a former Executive Board member of ugaMiracle, this organization holds a place near and dear to my heart (not to mention that my roommate is the Executive Director of it this year).

Dance Marathon is the final fundraising event of the semester that celebrates the lives of those saved at Children’s and the funds that ugaMiracle has raised over the year. Students from all over campus stay awake and give up just 24-hours as a symbolic gesture to the kids who spend days, weeks or even months in the hospital. Survivors from Children’s come and share their stories throughout the night as an inspiration to us all.

In addition to that, delicious food is served every 4 hours and there is amazing entertainment all night! Dance Marathon is absolutely incredible and a blast. You should go.

When: Feb. 19-20 from 10am-10am

Where: Tate Grand Hall

What to bring: $10 for registration, extra change for donations, change of clothes, etc.

Check out the Dance Marathon Facebook event for more information!

And if you don’t go, then you can still support by donating anything you have or by buying a flower bobby pin from RJ’s Bloomies. Rachel and Jordan created RJ’s Bloomies to support local non-profits, with ugaMiracle as their first organization. 100% of the profits from the flowers goes straight back to the organization! How awesome is that!

Here are some of their crafty creations (and all under $10 each!!):

The Everyday Collection


The Formal Collection

The Arch Collection

And the precious logo

If you see one you like on their Facebook page,  e-mail rjbloomies@gmail.com and you can look super snazzy with a sweet new hair pin (and help awesome causes!)

Oh and in case you need more reasons to check out Dance Marathon, watch this hilarious video. FTK! (That means For the Kids!)

UGA en España Study Abroad

8 Feb

If there is one piece of advice I have for any college student it is as follows:

study. abroad. no. excuses.

Seriously, studying abroad was absolutely one of the best experiences of my entire life and I guarantee it will be yours, as well.

I studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain through the UGA en España program. In my Spanish class on Monday, our T.A. informed us that the application deadline is this Friday, February 11th and told us to spread the word.

It not only made me a little teary eyed (yep, guilty) thinking about that awesome summer, but also made me want to tell everyone in the world to go. So… if you are interested in having the best summer of your life, hop to, ASAP.

Top 10 Reasons to Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain:

1. It’s home to the 3rd largest cathedral in the world and you can climb to the top of the tower to overlook the entirety of the city. (Notice: the pools on the roof. We don’t have those in Athens, I’ll tell ya.)

2. It’s the quintessential “Spanish” town with a perfect mix of culture, architecture, nightlife, food and beauty.

3. The birthplace of flamenco. You may even get to strut your stuff in a class or two if you’re lucky. But, beware: at the real flamenco show, sit in the back. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, unless you like sweat bullets catapulting from the dancers.

4. Fruit as fresh as can be. There is a fruit market right near the school where you can get a crazy amount of cherries for about $5. Plus, the food is unlike any other, especially when your madre makes it. Oh, and wine is less expensive than water. Yes!

5. Speaking of madres… you live with a family. Talk about getting the full cultural immersion. It’s incredible. Here’s sweet little Paqui, herself.

6. You’re just a quick and cheap bus/train/plane ride to the beach (Cádiz), La Alhambra (Granada) or La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona). And hostels are much less sketchy than you expect and much less expensive than hotels.

7. Diego and Carlos. The token Spanish crushes of all of the girls on the trip. Diego, is the organizer of the trip and Carlos teaches two of the classes in the Instituto. You don’t want to miss out on these partners in crime.

8. The absolutely most delicious ice cream in all of the world: Rayas. We walked 8 miles in 106 degree heat to find out it was closed for the morning, so we walked it again that afternoon. I highly recommend Limón y Fresa and Beso de Dama. You won’t regret it. In fact, could you bring me home some, please?

9. You meet incredible people and hey, you may even come home with a boyfriend.

10. Lastly, Sevilla has a motto that you will see everywhere and remember forever: NO8DO. The 8 represents a skein of yarn, called “madeja.” When you pronounce it together it sounds like “No madeja do,” which translates into “No me ha dejado.” In English, that says “It [Sevilla] has not abandoned me.”

I know for sure that Sevilla has not left my heart since I returned from Spain. That’s probably the reason that my T.A.’s presentation really hit home for me. Holy cow, I want to go back!

So my advice is… go, so you can remember NO8DO forever, too (and can blog about it so I can relive the experience vicariously!).