Spring break for college students is a time to sit back and relax a bit before finals. This will be my first Spring Break since I’ve transferred to a new school in Chicago.
I definitely plan to take advantage of the time off of school and am going to make the best of it. I have some ideas in mind of what to do and where I want to go on a budget.
Depending on where you live, you can road trip to many different places around you. Most people don’t even realize how lucky they are to live in the area they are in.
Here, I’m going to share some of my ideas for you if you are on a tight budget.
1. First off, you don’t always need to drive your car.
Depending on when you get a train/bus ticket, it could be considerably cheaper than paying for gas and putting miles on your car. You’re also not risking your car possibly dying on you when you’re hundreds of miles away from home. Also saving on having to get it towed all the way back home.
When you get to your destination, you can always use a car service like Uber (use my link to download and then enter code 20NEWRIDEUBER to get $20 off) or Lyft (Use my link to download and get $11 OFF your first ride- for new customers – with Code: lyftaff) to take you where you need to go to explore the surrounding area.
2. You can rent a car when you get to your destination.
I recently went to Los Angeles and we rented a car for just $20 a day. It was an incredibly nice car and was comfortable for our ride to San Diego and Koreatown. The car was the newest kind of Camry they have and it was perfect.
3. Couch surf!
I recently went couch surfing in Denver, CO and it was amazing. I actually stayed right downtown next to the state capital building. For free. They were also nice enough to feed me. I didn’t have to pay for absolutely anything, how awesome is that?
If you do decide to couch surf, make sure to get the host some kind of gift or pay for dinner. I paid for my hosts dinner about 3 times and had no problem doing so. Don’t look at their place as just a hotel you’re staying at, look at it as a friendship you are gaining for a lifetime.
You basically have a tour guide for free and that’s another plus of couch surfing. They can take you to all of the places that only locals know about.
4. Look for affordable accommodations.
If you aren’t comfortable using couch surfing, make sure to check out hostels before you look at hotels. Hostels can sometimes be just as nice as hotels and although you are sharing a room with others, everyone else usually keeps to themselves and is just as nice as you. If hostels aren’t your thing, sites like Priceline.com or BookingBuddy.com can help you to find reasonable rates on hotel rooms.
5. Look up free things to do at the destination you’re going to.
There are almost always free things to do everywhere. There might be a free event, a free festival, a free concert, and so on. Two of my favorite sites to find things to do is Yelp & Trip Advisor. If I plan to visit a destination, I always check the top things to do on Trip Advisor and the reviews & deals on Yelp to find the best things to do in the area.
Check out my popular article Budgets for Dummies: Creating a Household Budget in 5 Easy Steps for more ways to save money.
6. Do some searching on coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social.
When you get to the area you are staying in, GPS map it on your Groupon/Living Social and tons of events and restaurants will come up that you can embark in. You never know, you might be surprised at what you find!
What do you plan on doing for Spring Break? Do you have any getaway trips planned?
Bonus Money Saving Tips
Are you looking for more personal finance tips? Here is a list of some of my most popular tips for making & saving money:
Making More Money
Know Where you Are Today – Before starting out on any endeavor, it’s important to understand where you are today. I suggest using Personal Capital to get a holistic view of your financial picture. It’s free and easy to use. It can be accessed via your desktop, tablet or mobile device and will provide insight into where you are spending today and where you might be able to cut back.
Blogging – This is one of the first questions I always get asked so I’m including this one first. How can I earn extra income with a blog? As you can probably imagine, that isn’t a question I can answer in just a few sentences! One of the ways to earn extra income through a blog is from affiliate marketing. This can be a tricky topic if you don’t know what you are doing. A fellow personal finance blogger has put together a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing that will teach you how to earn extra income from affiliate marketing. Michelle teaches you the exact steps she has taken to earn $100,000/mo (yes per month) from her blog. I have went through this course myself and loved it, I highly recommend it!
Bring in More Money – In some instances, you may not be able to cut back anymore so in addition to cutting back, earning extra income can help you to bridge the gap in your income. Sites like Flexjobs and Moonlighting let you earn extra or full time income from home. I particularly like Flexjobs (more detail in my Flexjobs review) and have used their services in the past when I was looking for a IT Consulting job where I could work from home. The service is exactly as described as they are able to aggregate legitimate work from home professional positions in one place. You can even set up alerts to be notified when positions you are interested in become available.
Start a Side Gig – Do you have a hobby you enjoy? Have you ever thought of making income from it? The opportunities for having a side gig (something you work on in your free time) and earning income are endless these days! I wrote an article on how I’m earning multiple streams of income. What do you enjoy doing that can help you bring in extra income?
Survey Sites – Depending on the survey site, you can get paid cash and or have the opportunity to try free products. I have done many of these over the years and always enjoyed earning the extra money. I’ve also been able to try new beauty products, food items and many other things I wouldn’t normally try, for free! Note: you should never pay for information for these types of sites. Here are a few I recommend: American Consumer Opinion Panel, InboxDollars (ios), Swagbucks, Harris Poll, Epoll Market Research, VIP Voice, Your Surveys, Nielsen Digital Voice, Earning Station, Vindale Research, Panda Research
Ebates – Using Ebates can help you earn cash back. By shopping through Ebates at your favorite stores, you earn cash back on your purchases. Ebates will pay you via check or Paypal. Check it out, it’s a great way to earn extra money for things you are already buying (just make sure you really need what you are buying!).
Rent out Your Space – Have an extra room to rent out & want to earn some extra cash? Sites like Homestay.com connect guests to local hosts in over 150 countries. Hosts offer their guests the chance to live and breathe the local culture, to make friends as well as memories and to explore destinations in a truly authentic way. Homestay hosts can enjoy the fulfillment of being a part of their guest’s new adventures and make some money by renting out their extra space! Airbnb is another great site to use to find places to stay or rent your space out. If you use this link to sign up, we both get a $35 travel credit! And, you can earn another $75 in travel credit when you welcome your first guest!
Consolidate when it makes sense – I’m not always a big fan of consolidating loans but sometimes it can take the pressure off you when you have a lot of payments. (Of course – the trick to that is to stop the behavior that caused you to get all the payments in the first place!) If you are looking to consolidate your debt, I recommend Lending Club. Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lender which means you are able to bypass a traditional bank and get connected with investors who fund your loan and earn monthly returns. Normal credit checks still apply and Lending Club offers unsecured personal loans of up to $35,000 to borrowers with good-to-excellent credit at very competitive rates. I have used Lending Club twice for loans and have been happy with the products and services both times. I highly recommend Lending Club if you are looking for an alternative to a traditional bank.
Change Cell Phone Plans – change your plan, remove unused lines or ask for a corporate discount. Don’t work at a corporation? Sprint gives a discount for being a credit union member. I personally like Sprint because of the unlimited data, but you may not need that. If not, try Republic Wireless. I know a lot of people who use Republic Wireless and are really happy with the service and the low prices! If your not familiar with the company, Republic Wireless is an innovative new mobile provider, spearheading a wireless freedom movement to return value and control of the smartphone experience to its members. Leveraging the power of the Internet and an engaged community of users, Republic Wireless offers unlimited talk, text, & data starting as low as $5 per month, with no contract required.
Cut the Cable – Years ago I decided to get rid of cable and was able to stream content through my Roku device. I still love my Roku as an alternative to cable and highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in saving money. I wrote a detailed guide on how to get rid of cable and use a Roku device. In addition to my Roku device (where I stream Netflix & Amazon Prime) I also purchased a $6 antenna to watch local channels live. It’s a great set up and has saved me over $1,200 a year!
Find Inexpensive Fun – Looking for a night out but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Yelp Deals, Living Social & Groupon all offer inexpensive ways to go out and have fun without spending a lot of money.
Save Money on Shaving – Shaving is a fact of life and unfortunately buying expensive shaving cream and razors can add up and quick. Years ago I read a tip to use conditioner in the place of shaving cream. I’ve been doing that for many years and it is amazing. I buy a bottle of conditioner from the dollar store and I’m set with shaving cream for quite awhile! Additionally, I discovered a site called Dorco to order razors in bulk at an extremely discounted price. I love this site and use them anytime I need to buy razors. They have mens and women’s razors & razor sets and you can’t beat the price & the quality! Try the Dorco Frugal Gal’s pack and let me know what you think!
Save Money Using Zaycon Foods to Buy Meat – If you’ve never heard of Zaycon Foods, let me tell you about this amazing company. I’ve been using them for the past 4 years to buy my meat in bulk and purchasing this way is a great way to save! The owners of this company have taken the middle man out of the meat buying process and getting food from the farm right to consumers like you and me. They’ve been around since 2009 and the service has been so popular, it’s grown tremendously over the past few years. The way it works is you go online, set up an account, place your order and on the day of your Zaycon sales event, you drive to the location and pick up your food. It’s simple and easy!