Tag Archives: saving money

13 Frugal Tips for Road Trips

13 tips to keep your frugal lifestyle while traveling.

Road trips are a great way to have a little time away from home without breaking the bank. With a little bit of planning and research, you can make your road trips even more frugal by learning some tricks to save $$$ on gas, food, entertainment, and accommodations.

I went to college pretty far from home from home and made the trip back and forth many times. Sometimes I flew and others I drove. Long weekends and time between semesters were perfect for taking road trips and exploring other parts of the world. Now that I’m older and have a steady job I still try to take a few long weekend trips to experience new paces.

I saw a comment on my last blog post Back to Frugal. Aireona from Nightborn Travel mentioned how she would love to live a more frugal life so she can use the money to travel… Well my dear, you can do both! Here are 13 Frugal Tips for Road Trips.

Gas

Although gas prices are dropping, they are still steep when living the frugal life. Some people might try to shy away because of this, but when compared to other means of travel, this can actually be the more frugal friendly route.
Side Note Here-When traveling alone be sure to check into all possibilities, it will cost more per person for other ways of transportation but for one person it might be the better deal, if you do your research.
Some people might shy away from taking road trips because of the price of gas, but when compared with other means of travel, it’s usually the most frugal way to go! Driving might not be cheaper if you’re going alone, but the more people you put in your car, the more economical your trip will be. With our family of six, flying anywhere would easily cost us over a thousand dollars (probably closer to two), but driving would cost a fraction of that.Here are some tips to save on gas:

Make sure your car is running properly. I always check the miles, oil and tired before a road trip. Did you know that inflated tires make less friction? Less friction means better gas mileage!! Not only does checking your car keep you safe, but it keeps your car lasting longer and means you will get to your destination with no extra surprises along the way.

Avoid rush hour traffic. Try to plan your trip using back roads through large cities. Sitting or crawling in bad traffic is a huge waste of gas (not to mention time and patience). You’ll save money and have a much more pleasant trip if you avoid heavy traffic times in big cities. By going back roads you also get to enjoy the scenery. In my opinion that’s the best part of a road trip! My favorite time to travel is early fall when all the leaves are changing.

Use the Gasbuddy app or GasBuddy.com to plan out where to get your gas while traveling. Use the app or website before you go on your trip to get an idea of the best places to get gas since gas greatly varies from town to town. While on your trip you can check out the app to find the location of the cheapest gas around. Very helpful in my opinion.

Use cruise control. Now this is one I absolutely hate to do, I just do not like not having control over the car! For years I would spend hours with a cramp in my leg! As I have gotten older I have grown more comfortable with cruise control and I have learned that driving at a constant speed is more fuel efficient. Cruise control will also keep the lead-footed from getting a ticket, saving even more money!! (Don’t give me what look, Come-on we have ALL been there)!

FOOD

Another big expense on a road trip is food. This one is sooo hard for me, I love trying new places and experiencing new food. The truth is, eating out while traveling can really put a dent in your spending. Planning a-head and budgeting your food on the trip can really help cut down expenses. One of the best ways to save on food while traveling is to bring your own. Not only will you save money but you also save time waiting in long lines leaving more time to explore where you are headed. Here are some tips for saving on food while traveling:

Prepare the first few meals for your trip at home. I usually make something easy that doesn’t need to be cold. I usually pack a good old PB&J sandwich with some crackers and a water (I actually do not like cold water so this is perfect while traveling).

Leftovers are also a great road trip option if you’re going to be gone for a while, it will help prevent wasting food, too! Pack a cooler with some ice and put in a few leftovers to heat up once you get there. I recommend finding accommodations with a suite or kitchenette (more on that later)!

Bring the fixings with you, I always bring along some ingredients for the trip home. Like my PB&J sandwich for the drive, I will make another one before leaving to go back home to save from stopping for food along the way. I really enjoy stopping at arrest stop and eating at a picnic table if possible.

Bring a variety of snacks. It is important to remember to bring a variety of snacks along for the long trip. If you only bring chocolate to munch on, you may be tempted to buy something savory at a rest stop. This curbs spending money on things that you can buy for a fraction of the price at home. Most rest stops have high prices for those impulse buys while traveling.
I buy snack sized baggies and make a grab-and-go type snack pack. Pretzels, crackers, cookies, and even cereal are great munchies to have on hand. Dividing them up into portions ahead of time saves mess and hassle in the car, and it’s cheaper than buying individually packaged items.

Bring frozen water bottles. For those of you who like cold water, unlike me… Having frozen water bottles serves two purposes, you have cold water to drink and it also keeps your other food items cold. No need for ice in the cooler with frozen water bottles. Personally, I bought a Brita filtered water bottle which I absolutely love for traveling. No need to wake up in the night to go find a water bottle in the cooler. I just fill it up from the tap at a rest stop or in the hotel.
Entertainment

Find interesting sites, historical markers, along the way. Do a little research ahead of time to see if you’ll be passing by some free entertainment on your route. This to me is the whole point of having a road trip! It’s to stop and see the little places along the way, often these are free attractions. Search the local newspapers for events or activities while traveling. This can provide free entertainment and a short break from being buckled up.

Accommodations

When I was young I remember my dad powering through a trip or trading of with my mother half way through on the really long trips.Here are some ways to save on accommodations for your road trip:

Bring along a tent and camp. I am not one of those outdoorsy people, usually one night of camping is enough for me. But usually one night on a road trip I like to pull out the old tent set it up and enjoy a night by the fire. Always stop where we can camp for free. You can pitch a tent in most national forests. In the high-use areas with designated campsites, you’ll have to pay, though it’s probably a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel.

Stay with family or friends. This is the part I love about having a huge family! There is always someone to go visit. When I plan a trip, I try to plan it around stopping by to visit someone I know. This cuts down on expenses, even if I must crash on a couch or an air mattress in the Living-room!

Find a hotel with a suite. As mentioned earlier this causes you to save money on food while traveling. Getting a room with a kitchenette allows you to heat up those leftovers. Even if you do purchase food out I never eat all of it and this allows me to bring it home and eat some later. I ALWAYS leave one night for splurging and trying a top-rated restaurant in the area (top meaning food not price). Sometimes I try to find something particularly known in the area that is recommended by the people who live there. Having a microwave lets me splurge while being frugal.
Are you excited to plan your next road trip? I know I am, this post has certainly got me thinking about where to go. Your road trip can be as frugal as you make it to be. You can set a budget, and stick to it while on vacation and still have lots of good fun!

So Tell Me…
How do you save money on road trips?
Do you have any exciting road trips planned?

Frugal Friendly Chili

Frugal Friendly Chili

Who doesn’t love comfort food? Just because you are frugal does not mean you will miss out! Try my frugal friendly chili.

Who Doesn’t love a good crock-pot full of chili and Budget Friendly Chili at that?!

Just because you are living the frugal life doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some comfort food. In-fact, most of the comfort foods are budget friendly meals!

SO most of the staples for this I already had on hand. It was super cheap to make and would have only cost a few more $$ if I had to buy everything.

1 can kidney beans (I like light red) – drained and rinsed

1 can black beans- drained and rinsed

1 can northern beans- drained and rinsed

1 can tomato sauce (16 oz)

1 can diced tomato and green chilies

1 can chicken broth (can use veggie if vegetarian)

1 can corn – (drained)

1/2 medium onion

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 tbs chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 cayenne ( I don’t like spicy food so you can certainly add more)

1 tsp cocoa powder

Quinoa- I followed the directions on the package it made around 3 cups

add all of this to the crock-pot and put on low for 3 hours or high for 1.5 hours.

Overview

I cannot tell you just how amazing this meal was and it made a huge amount. YAY leftovers.. I will have lunch for a few days and I put some into the freezer to pull out at a later time. talk about a bang for your buck!

So, on hand I had the quinoa which I have had for a very long time I made it in a salad once and I was not a fan!! I thought by adding it to something very flavorful it could help mask the quinoa. This definitely did the trick it was thick and chunky as if there were meat it in but it was totally meatless. it also kept me full for hours.

I also had tomato sauce, carrots, corn, and spices on hand. Off to Aldi’s I went.. there I picked up the rest of the ingredients.

Kidney Beans-.54

Northern Beans -.54

Black Beans-.86

Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies-.86

Onions-1.49 (for a bag)

This bringing my total to $4.29!!

If you like this and want to see some more Frugal living tips check out my other post on how to ditch your credit card.

I’d also love to hear some of your budget friendly recipe’s so please comment them below.

Back To Frugal

Back to Being Frugal

First off.. I need to sincerely apologize for my lack of posts.. ya see I have had a lot going on the past few months, let me fill you in and let’s get Back to Frugal!

I finished graduate school in November!! (Boo for more student loans though). I did however land a new job in my field that I am super happy with! Along with this job came some big changes. I moved to a new state, by myself, away from my support system! Oh, and I got a puppy!!

Meet JJ everyone he is an adorable Lab/terrier mix and is about 4 months old

Now do the math here graduates in November it is now May.. yep! School loans are starting to kick in which means I also need to kick my butt into gear and Get Back to Frugal! To start out I decided to set a small goal for something I know is coming up. Side note, I already have a 1,000 emergency fund. Now I know come October I’ll need all new tires and new brakes so I’m expecting this to be about $600 total since each tire is $125.

My first goal… save $600 in 5 months, while living paycheck to paycheck and paying all of my other bills, Whoa! This might feel unrealistic so let me start from the beginning and breakdown my budget to see where I can pull this from. You can also check out my post on Budgeting for Beginners here!

budget excel.PNG

(Sorry the photo is so small it was really hard to fit in one line..ugh too many bills!)    🙂

Soo, as you can see I have a few bills already entered that I have paid off this month. For me the “misc” is for any funds that can change like food and gifts.  I have $100 as a limit. now I have a family graduation party and there is Father’s day which my family always celebrates. So I need roughly $40.00 for gifts. this leaves $60.00 for groceries. Now this I can do!

My goal now is to save $40.00 from that grocery budget. This is going to take some creativity. I have 11 days to plan food more on $20.00, it’s a good thing I have a stocked pantry! But, I will be posting about frugal foods and meal planning at a later date ;).

I have lots of food just sitting around for when I am in the mood for it.. so let’s get in the mood for it and use it up! Here is breakdown of my food list for the next 11 days this includes lunches and dinners so that is 22 meals. (FYI I eat overnight oats every morning MMM so good!)

Rice and Veggies- 4 meals

Chicken Stir fry-4 meals

Pasta and Meatballs- 4 meals

Chicken and Stuffing-2 meals

Egg and Turkey Bacon Quiche-3 meals

Chicken soup- 2 meals

Pizza- 2 meals

The $20.00 Will be used on the essentials on this list. Eggs, Milk, and Turkey Bacon. I will probably have some $ left over to throw at my savings balance but I like to leave a few $$ for food emergencies like forgetting my lunch or a client meeting where it might be necessary to eat out (I do get reimbursed for work lunches but I have to front the money and expense it at a later date).

and THAT is my take on saving money when there is none to save! What are your go to saving tips? I’d love to hear from you about them!! Comment below or feel free to contact me directly 🙂

 

 

 

 

Favorite Financial Quotes

 

Use these financial quotes to curb spending and impulse buys.

Use these financial quotes to curb spending and impulse buys.

I am a huge book-lover. No seriously I love reading, almost as much as a love writing! So, I thought we can chat a bit about our favorite quotes. Keeping on topic here, let me share with you my favorite financial quotes.

This one was hard to narrow down because really how can you choose?! These are my go to quotes when I am having a rough day and stressing about saving money. Seriously, I have a copy of these printed and sitting where I can see them at my desk.

Financial Quotes To Live By

“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability”. –Henry Ford

Having money will not bring you independence, the experience, the knowledge, and the ability to be debt free will give you the freedom you so desire.

“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant”. –P.T. Barnum

We are all servants to paying our debts, until they are served we will never be a master of money.

“Try to save something while your salary is small; it’s impossible to save after you begin to earn more”. –Jack Benny

One of the best ways to pay off debt is to earn extra money! Do odd jobs for a few extra bucks, save your spare change, any small amount can be saved and out as an extra payment to debt which will also help reduce the interest you are paying.

Here is my favorite quote when I want to put something on a credit card…

“Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self”. –Nathan W. Morris

I always try to remember this. If I have to use my credit card, I really determine if this object is a want or a need. At this point, I am trying my hardest not to put any more on that credit card. Unless it is a true emergency, this quote has stopped so many impulse buys!

So my question for you….What is your favorite financial quote? Don’t have one? Go google search and comment! I love to hear from readers and get their input.

This post has also been involved in a link party Hosted by Mama’s Gone Crafty. Check it out by clicking the photo below!