Archive for January 2015

My Mini Road Trip Saving Habits

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You could call me a true Portlandian. I enjoy spending my free time out being active, finding the best gluten free restaurants, and doing samplings at local breweries. Although this city is filled with the best food, brews, and scenery (in my opinion), one of my favorite attributes that Portland has is its close proximity to other great places in Oregon and Washington. I love to be able to take a little weekend getaway, so when a sorority sister of mine recently bought a house in Seattle and invited me to her house warming party, I knew I wanted to make that weekend trip up north. As I go on these weekend trips often, I couldn’t help but notice a common theme when I am planning: saving money. Here, I wanted to share with you all our money saving plans for our upcoming mini road trip:

1. Fill up at our local gas station! Aside from enjoying the comforts of not getting out of the car, if we fill up before we leave, we will avoid that “Where is the closest gas station?” issue. You all know what I am talking about, that point where you can no longer drive around looking for the cheapest gas, but what is most conveniently located right off of the freeway, and often times, those are the most expensive. Filling up the gas tank before we leave will not only save us money, but time.

2. Although we could stay with our friend both nights, we decided that we wanted to be Seattle tourist for the day and most of those activities are located right downtown, so staying one night in the city was important to us. To help those costs we booked our hotel for the night on Groupon. I know that there are many horror stories out there about booking hotel deals on Groupon (my neighbors were one week away from a trip to Hawaii when the hotel closed because of Groupon sales) but I have found that doing your research on the hotel, and reading the fine print can really pay off. On Groupon, a nice hotel located in downtown Seattle was $89 (pre-tax) and when I checked Orbitz I was looking at $189 (pre-tax). We are excited to be close to all of the action of downtown, avoid taxi fares, and have a reasonably priced hotel in a normally expensive city.

3. I am a self proclaimed foodie, so this becomes a big expense for me when I travel. I am one of those people who just wants to try everything there is to offer when I am in a new location. One of the best ways to do this is by taking advantage of the growing trend of food carts! Between now and the time for my trip, I am looking forward to scoping out the food cart scene in Seattle and following their social networks to see where they are parked when I arrive.

Now that I have shared some of my money saving habits when visiting a new city, what are some of yours?

Basha Gitnes
Marketing Specialist

The Change in My Pocket

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When I arrive home at the end of the day, I walk into my bedroom, reach into my pocket and drop the change I find there into a small cup on my dresser. Does this sound familiar? Do you have a similar routine at the end of your workday? As I stared at the pile of miscellaneous coins one morning a few months ago, I thought about how much this small change would add up to over the course of a year. Answer: $100. This is the tally of an average of $.40 per day over the course of a full year that I regularly deposit into the small cup on my dresser.

Most of us use a lot of alternative payment methods like debit cards, checks, credit cards, and electronic payment systems. The change in your pocket may not add up to as much if you are less likely to pay with cash. I would gamble that even with the diminished use of cash, that the change you save over the course of a year would add up to more than you would expect.

“Finding” $100 made me think about how I could use the money for something that I value. Instead of letting the coins slip through my fingers for my next latte, I decided to make use of this accumulated bounty for something very special. I took that $100 and made a contribution to my favorite charity.

My gift made me feel good – much better than the latte would have.

I Resolve to…..

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Does your New Year’s Resolution involve how you manage your money? Nothing is more aggravating than deciding on a New Year’s Resolution….except of course, when you fail soon after setting a resolution. Here are some money savvy New Year Resolutions you can keep and feel proud to share next year.

  1. Set up or increase your 401k contribution- Less than half of those that have access to an employer sponsored retirement plan actually contribute towards it. Resolve to start or increase your 401k contributions and your future self will thank you. What is nice about this resolution is that once you make this change with your employer, you are set and are sure to have this be the one year you do not fail to follow through.
  2. Start tracking where your money is going- This is so much easier than you think. Several banks and credit unions now offer software as part of their online banking, which will track your spending and categorize it for you. Ever wonder how much you spend each month on gas? These programs will tell you with the click of a button. If you find that your online banking does not allow this try Mint.com.
  3. Pull your credit report- You are entitled to one credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies each year. Your credit can affect several facets of your life including, obtaining a job, getting a loan and even how much you pay for your car insurance. Make sure your credit report is accurate by going to annualcreditreport.com and pulling your credit report.

The key to any resolution is to make it become automatic or a habit. The more automation you can put behind your New Year’s Resolutions the more success you are bound to experience.

 

Care to share your resolution for 2015?

Melody Bell
Executive Director