As our anniversary date approached this year, my husband and I started discussing ways to celebrate. Our initial idea would cost several hundred dollars before even getting to what we’d likely spend on meals, souvenirs, and miscellaneous expenses. Although we had some savings set aside, we decided we didn’t feel comfortable spending that much on something non-essential right now. To keep on track with our financial goals, we came up with a day trip that will only cost us fuel, a few meals, and a few minor admission fees. Will it be just as fun as our first plan? I expect so!

We want special occasions to be, well, special. Sometimes that means spending a little extra money than we would normally, but it not always necessarily either. If you’re on a tight budget right now or just feel like hoarding your savings for other goals, here are a few tips for planning an affordable but memorable getaway.
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Trying to trim expenses can seem like a never ending task, as new expenses always pop out of nowhere. With already tight budgets, the task of reducing spending can seem impossible. You’ve already cut out your morning latte and canceled your gym membership – what more can you do?

Lowering your expenses is definitely a daunting task. While you’ll have to make sacrifices and get a little creative, it definitely can be done without cramping your lifestyle too dramatically. Here are five of my favorites ways to easily lower your spending.
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When we hear about the increasing weight of student loan debt, we tend to assume it applies mostly to college-age young adults – and it does. But, there’s another group whose amount of student loan debt is growing at an alarming rate: seniors.

A recent FICO report shows that the percentage of adults over the age of 65 with student loans increased 300% in the last 10 years. Individually, Americans over 65 owe an average of $28,268, with those 55 to 64 owing an even higher average of $33,915. One explanation for this jump is the trend of older adults going back to college to prepare for new career paths, and the other is the growing number of parents and grandparents who are co-signing for their children’s loans.
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Creating a budget is never easy, as it can take months or even years to perfect the process. And on top of that, life is always changing so a budget that worked a few months ago might not necessarily work now. In fact, even the most detail oriented person often have a hard time creating a budget that works.

If you overspend and the budget fails, it isn’t necessarily for a lack of trying. One of the most common reasons people find budgeting so hard is because there are so many different expenses to keep track of. The big ones, like housing and food, are obvious. But there are so many little things we forget about that can derail a budget from the start. The next time you evaluate your budget, consider these six expenses that people often forget:
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Back-to-college shopping can get expensive. Besides tuition and books, there’s clothing, class supplies, and — of course — dorm essentials. The National Retail Federation’s Back to College survey reports that this year students (or their parents) will spend an average of $969.88 for dorm furnishings and college supplies. Of this spending, the top four categories are projected to be electronics, clothing, snacks and food items, and furnishings.

While this might seem like a small dent compared to the cost of tuition and housing, it can take a significant chunk out of a student’s savings or, worse, end up on a credit card. The question, then, is how many of these ‘essentials’ are necessary? Regardless of how convincingly retailers market their back to college lists and attractively arrange their mock dorm showrooms, it’s doubtful students really need all of that.

Based on feedback from students and parents who have learned the hard way, here are a few things you do and don’t need as you start getting ready to go back to college.
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Congratulations! You’ve just landed yourself a big promotion a work, got a substantial return on an investment, or maybe even won the lottery. Whatever it may be, an increase in income always warrants celebration. Many people get too excited and increase their spending habits too much in response though. As a result, they only find themselves back where they started or maybe even worse.

Lifestyle inflation is hard to curb with any increase in income. The temptation to spend is real and definitely hard to avoid, no matter how determined you might be. After all, you’ve worked so hard for it, and you should be able to enjoy it. However, it’s important to be mindful of what you do with your extra income at the same time. While it may be hard, making wiser decisions now will set you up for a better financial future in the long run. If you’ve recently found yourself in a position with more income, here are some tips to help you curb lifestyle inflation wisely:

Understand Your Goals

It’s easy to spend money but saving it is much harder. Before you go out and make a big purchase with your new found income, take a moment and understand your short-term and long-term goals. Where do you want to be in 5 to 10 years? What do you need to change now to get there later? Re-evaluating your goals will help you plan better for your future and also remind you of the challenges you might face and the decisions you need to make now to get there later. While a raise today seems significant, it might only be a dent in the bucket in the long term.

Re-Examine Your Budget

You should always re-examine your budget on a regular basis but it is especially important when you get a raise. First, ask yourself this – would spending more in any categories make you significantly happier? Would keeping your budget as is negatively effect your standard of living at all? If the answer is no to either, consider keeping your budget the same. While you might want to spend a little extra here and there, keeping your spending habits the same will save you more.

Transfer to Your Savings

As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. You should consider automatically transferring excess fund directly to your savings account. You can set this up to occur monthly or biweekly so that you won’t forget. This way, you’ll watch your savings account grow nicely over time. However, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about how you can invest these savings as it grows. Investing the money wisely will help you get more return over time.

Prioritize Your Debt

How to pay off debt should be one of the first things you think about if you owe. Letting debt sit over time of course builds interest. If you have extra funds to put towards paying your debt down, you should definitely consider it. Once it’s all paid off, you’ll feel a burden lifted off your shoulders. You’ll then be able to really enjoy a lifestyle inflation if you choose to.

Splurge a Little

Lastly, it’s ok to splurge a little. Often times when people talk about lifestyle inflation, there’s a definite negative connotation attached to it. Yes, many people take it to the extreme and start spending money they don’t really even have. But with smart, strategic decisions, you can still enjoy a small boost to your lifestyle while saving for your future. So go ahead, invest a little bit of the sum on yourself. You should be able to enjoy it. Just don’t make it a common occurrence.