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A blog dedicated to providing readers information for all of life's financial decisions

How to Create a Budget for a Trip Abroad

Saving Before a Trip

Budgeting for a trip seems easy, right? You just need to save a bunch of money and divide it into 3: food, flights and hotels. But what about those cool activities you want to try or figuring out how to get from A to B? There are a lot of little incidentals that go into budgeting for your vacation and it can be incredibly overwhelming. With this guide, you won’t miss a single detail!

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Figure Out What You Need

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When creating your budget abroad, you need to know where your money is going. Sure flights, accommodation and food will be expensive, but where is the rest of your money going? When creating your budget, you’re going to need to include the following items:

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Mint Money Audit: 4 Steps for Getting Out of Debt Once and For All

Get out of debt once and for all

March Mint Audit: Samantha, mom of two, struggling to pay off $41,000 in credit card debt

Samantha contacted me recently to ask how she and her husband could squash their $41,000 in credit card debt once and for all. She works as a media trainer for executives. Her husband works for the city government. Together they earn an annual net income of about $100,000 (after taxes, retirement savings and health insurance).

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Using Your 401k to Reduce Taxable Income

TurboTax 401K

As you file your taxes, you’re probably thinking about ways to reduce your taxable income. Did you know that there are a lot of strategies you can use with your retirement funds, like your IRA and 401(k), to reduce your taxable income? Save for the future and save in taxes today – that’s a win-win situation.

We’re early in 2017, and there’s still time to make some retirement maneuvers to lower your 2016 tax liability (as well as steps you can take to reduce your tax liability next year):

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6 Wise Strategies to Manage Extra Money From a Pay Raise

Congratulations on your pay raise or bonus. Now it’s time to get serious about how to use that extra money to improve your finances.

Before you’re tempted to spend a windfall on something frivolous, consider how it could be used to create more financial security instead. In this post, I’ll cover 6 strategies to wisely manage extra money so you don’t fritter away an exceptional opportunity to improve your finances and build wealth.

6 Strategies to Manage Extra Money Wisely

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5 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill

No matter how much you trim the extras out of your budget, there’s one category you can never cut out altogether:food. We all need to eat, but it is possible to stretch your grocery budget and do more with less when it comes to shopping for food. Of course, we all know not to go shopping when hungry and to make a shopping list and stick to it. But there’s so much more you can do to cut your grocery bill. See how many of these ideas you’ll want to try:

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5 Ways to Save on Kids' Summer Camp

For many families, sending children to summer camp is an exciting rite of passage. But it can also be an expensive addition to the family budget, especially if there’s more than one child to pay for. Fortunately, there are several ways to save on sending kids to summer camp, as well as lower cost alternatives that can be just as much fun.

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The Pros and Cons of Meal Kit Delivery

It seems impossible to watch TV or go through the mail these days without seeing an ad for an all-inclusive meal kit delivery service. You know the ones with names like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated (with new ones being added all the time). You’ve probably wondered if these services are a good deal or just a wasteful extravagance. The truth is, whether a meal delivery service is a smart way to spend your food budget really depends on your own lifestyle, eating habits and savings goals. Here are some pros and cons of meal delivery services to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you:

Pros:

You’ll Eat at Home More- One of the biggest selling points of meal delivery services is that they allow you to prepare restaurant-level meals in your own kitchen. If you routinely dine out (or get take-out) several times a week, using a meal delivery service will probably save your money in the long run.

You’ll Learn New Recipes and Techniques- If you’re new to cooking or tend to make the same meals again and again, a meal delivery service will expand your horizons and help you learn new skills. All meal planning kits contain detailed recipe cards. Once you discover some new favorites, you’ll be able to recreate them on your own by simply purchasing the ingredients.

You’ll Minimize Food Waste- If you routinely buy more groceries than you need and find yourself throwing away food because it’s gone bad before you can use it, a meal kit delivery service will help with that. Everything is perfectly portion controlled and if you prepare the meals as directed, you should end up with zero food waste - and zero wasted dollars, too.

Cons:

The Expense- While the cost of meal delivery service varies, they average out to around $10 a meal, per person. And while that’s more than what you’d pay buying groceries on your own, it’s much less that you’d pay for dining out. Also, many of these services offer significant discounts on your first delivery. Provided you remember to cancel after your first box, you could try out several boxes at a discount before deciding whether to continue with a service long- term.

Excess Packaging- In addition to the box everything comes in, every ingredient inside is packaged individually, and there are chilled packs, too. To avoid a sky-rocketing carbon footprint from disposing all of the packaging, you must be committed to recycling everything.

You Might Not Like Every Meal- Although most services allow you to specify certain ingredients or flavors you’d rather not receive, there’s still a chance you’ll run into a meal that doesn’t match your personal tastes. You’ll get the most value - and enjoyment - from a meal kit delivery service if you have an adventurous palate and few dietary restrictions.