save with family
When you live on the other side of the country from your extended family, it’s a special treat when they come to spend a few weeks with you for the first time. Not only do you get to spend quality time together, but you get to show them your neck of the woods and play the role of tour guide for a change. Hosting and introducing the family to your state or region may be fun, but it can also be really expensive — especially if you’re used to living frugally.

If you have out-of-town family visiting this summer, here are some practical ways to address the financial strain it might create without letting it stress you out or take away from enjoying the time you have with your guests.
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jump-start morning
Unless you’re a morning person who gets enough rest, it isn’t natural to jump out of bed firing on all cylinders. Yet research shows that, in the morning hours, our minds are most primed for productivity — whether at home, at the office, or at the home office.

With my schedule changing soon, I find the need to be more productive in the morning. And, as the summer days lengthen, there’s more incentive to maximize the morning so I can enjoy the gorgeous evenings without thinking about work. If, like me, you need some fast and easy tips for better mornings, then start with these.

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money date nights
With our hectic lifestyles, many modern couples find that having a weekly or monthly date night is a good way to relax, check in with each other, and spend some undivided attention on their relationship.

It might sound strange to apply this principle to your ‘relationship’ with your checking account and stack of bills, but oddly enough, a lot of people say it helps them adjust the way they approach the dreaded task of spending time with their finances.

To see how it might work, let’s apply the principles of date nights to routine money tasks:

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save money on consumables

Moving from a rural, small-town area to a decent-sized city near a major metropolis will definitely mean a higher cost of living — especially when it comes to your rent or mortgage payment. What I’ve discovered, however, is that it doesn’t necessarily require a higher cost of living across the board. 

If you know how to budget and shop smart, you won’t have to spend that much more than you did before. While saving money might take a little more focus than it did before, it’s still highly achievable.

Here are three tips for saving money on consumables when moving to a large city.

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cheap road trips

Some of my best memories as a child are family road trips, as we regularly took trips to Michigan, Chicago and New York. As a constantly busy family we had to find the right time of year to make trips. We also rarely had enough money to take extravagant trips to exotic locations.

Looking back now I am glad we didn’t, because we would have missed out on a lot of time together in the friendly confines of a minivan had we flown to warm places for our family vacations.

My friends recently drove over to catch a few of my games after they finished their finals at school. Like any college age kids, they wanted to enjoy themselves on a dime. Four 20-somethings packed into a compact car and took the five hour trip to the town where I play.

They saved money by finding savings on meals and by staying at the cheapest hotel in town. Four guys in a $50 a night room. This was right for them, but the same itinerary might not be right for you (unless you are of the same demographic).

So, how can you enjoy your road trip, while saving on unnecessary costs?

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early bird finances
There’s a reason many people quote the saying “the early bird gets the worm”. In the world of personal finance, getting a jump on the day can mean saving money and time, which often saves you even more money.

Let’s look today at how doing a few things in the morning rather than afternoon or evening could literally save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

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