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Apps to Help Find Last Minute Weekend Getaways

Learn how you can save big on last minute weekend getaways.

Going away for the weekend doesn’t mean you break your budget. With a little planning and the right resources, you two can score some nice trips and still save money.

So if you’re looking at getting away from it all for a few days, save this post.

Travel Sites to Bookmark for Your Weekend Getaways

There are more sites than ever for travelers. Besides snagging last minute deals on popular tourist spots, you can also discover some awesome destinations.

  • Airbnb: If you want to live like a local, Airbnb can help you find a bed or whole house for your next trip. We used the site when we went away for an anniversary trip and had a beautiful riverfront apt in Wilmington, NC for a fraction of the price of a hotel.
  • Priceline: I’m a huge fan of their Name Your Own Price feature, which has helped us score plane tickets, hotel rooms, and car rental half off the advertised prices.
  • Better Bidding: Speaking of bids, there are forums and sites online that can help you figure out what it will take to your bid accepted.

You might also want to keep an eye for flash deals with airlines like Southwest where you can score huge discounts on flights for select cities.

Apps to Help Score Great Deals and Keep Organized

With smartphones everywhere, apps have been developed to help travelers. Download these apps to help you get the best deals and explore your destination.

  • Localeur: (iOS only) Locals share some of their favorite spots in 14 major U.S. cities.
  • TripIt: With two kids in tow, I love have one app to handle and organize all of the travel arrangements.
  • Hopper: If you like to double check the deals on flights, Hopper is great. The app analyzes tons of flight prices and can suggest when it’s a good time to purchase ticket.
  • Hipmunk: An all in one solution where you can find last minute deals and book them.

Even though you might not think of it as a travel app per se, GasBuddy can tremendously helpful if you’re taking a road trip.

Thoughts on Weekend Getaways

I’d love to hear your ideas and stories. What has been your favorite getaway destination? What has been your most recent travel deal you’ve taken? What travel apps are your favorite for planning?

52 Frugal and Fun Date Ideas

Pick up easy, frugal, & fun date ideas you can do together for an entire year (and beyond)!

As the Summer of Savings begins, I want to help you cut back on spending without missing out or feeling deprived.

Many couples use the great weather of the season to go out on dates. Wonderful idea and with some planning you two can get out together without emptying out your wallet.

Frugal and Fun Date Ideas

If you’re stuck on what to do, I have a massive list of 52 date ideas you can try. Most of them can be done with $20 or less.

As an added bonus, a few of these dates flow together so you two can have a month’s plan set up in no time!

Exploring Local Spots

Sometimes just exploring your city can be a fantastic way to enjoy each other’s company.

  1. Visit historic landmarks: Learn about the local history and read the plaques.
  2. Farmers Market: Eat local and have some fun at the farmer’s market.
  3. Tour a brewery: Find a local brewery in your city and take a tour it. Once you’re finished, compare notes over a couple of pints.
  4. Concerts: Upcoming and coming bands can offer better bang for your buck; check them out at smaller local venues and college campuses.
  5. Enjoy a ferry ride: If you live an area with them, taking the ferry around can be a scenic way to travel.
  6. Bird’s eye view: Something a change in perspective can be fun. Relax on the rooftop of a high raise and watch the city below.
  7. Appreciate the architecture: Walking downtown with fresh eyes and go on an architecture tour. Take pics of your favorite designs.
  8. Watch the game: See if there are any minor league games around in your area.
  9. Check out a local festival: Look at your community calendar to see if you two can catch a festival nearby.
  10. Campus fun: Local colleges can be a great source of talent. See campus productions of plays, attend a game, or watch a concert.
  11. Groupon: check out the site to see if you can eat at one of your favorite spots (or find a new one you’ve been dying to try).

Enjoying Nature

You don’t have to go camping to have a wonderful time enjoying nature. Go outdoors and relax. Tweet: Fun and Frugal Dates to Try http://ctt.ec/D7803+

  1. Go for a hike: Visit a local park and  take a stroll around and through it.
  2. Have a picnic: Take advantage of the warmer weather and have lunch or dinner outside.
  3. Bird watch: See how many local bird you can identify using books or apps.
  4. Fish: Try and see who can catch the most fish or just spend the day relaxing and chatting.
  5. Build and fly a kite: Be a kid again and fly a kite. Grab a kit or build one from scratch.
  6. Count the stars: With pleasant and clear nights, the two of you can look for constellations.
  7. Build sandcastles: Those living by the beach have a great spot for a date.
  8. Botanical gardens: If you’re looking to catch up with each in beautiful surroundings, visit your local botanical gardens for your next leisurely stroll.
  9. Vineyard tour: Drive out to a nearby vineyard and take a tour of their place.
  10. Start a garden: Plant some flowers or grow your own veggies in your backyard.

Playing Games, Getting Fit

Some friendly competition can make a date much more gratifying.

  1. Go bowling: Grab a lane and see who can break 100 the fastest.
  2. Bike around the city: You two can discover the nooks and crannies of your town with a bike tour.
  3. Have a tennis match: Play against each other or ask another couple to join you and play some doubles.
  4. Mini-Golf fun: Playing putt-putt can be a casual way to relax and enjoy outside.
  5. Run your neighborhood: Get in shape and have race to a neighborhood coffee or pastry shop.
  6. Swimming: Pool season is here, so cool down and jump in the water.
  7. Train for a 5k: We’ve done this and it made the weeks fly by.
  8. Take dance classes: Save money by renting a DVD from the library so you can practice at home anytime you want.
  9. Frisbee: Strapped for cash, but still want to enjoy the outdoors? Pick up and frisbee and head to the park.

All the World is a Stage

If either one of you are ready to prove your love in a (sometimes very) public manner, I have ideas you might like.

  1. Stand-up comedy: Take advantage of open mic night and get your husband or wife laughing.
  2. Karaoke: Bare your soul with a tune. Extra points if you sing something special (like your wedding song or something related to your first date).
  3. Sidewalk art: Grab some sidewalk chalk and create some art to let each other know how you feel.
  4. Paint: Take an art class together and paint a picture for one another.
  5. Poetry: Write and share a poem you’ve created for your spouse.

Dream Together

Jumping into new things can be great. Sometimes just planning things out can be exciting- you’ll build anticipation before the big event.

  1. Plan a trip together: Even before you reserve the tickets, take time to plan out your next trip.  Spend a day virtually exploring a city and come up with some places you’d love to visit in person.
  2. House Hunt: Go to a neighborhood you’d love to live in and attend a few of the open houses in the area. You can get a better idea of how much your dream home can cost you.
  3. Volunteer: Pick a charity that you both support and spend a day helping them out.
  4. Create a vision board: Looking to explore your options? Make a vision board for your future and see what the two of you come up with.
  5. Start a blog: Seriously this can fun if you two have a shared interest you’d love to explore.
  6. Start a band: You can learn a new instrument or brush up on your old ones. Record a song together.

Stay at Home

Admit it – sometimes you just want to relax. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can stay at home and still have a fun date night.

  1. Family recipes: Go ahead and make dinner together. Each of you make a special dish from your side of the family.
  2. Nostalgia movie: You already seen each other’s all-time favorite movie? Why don’t you instead watch one of favorites from when you were in middle school? Or a cheesy guilty pleasure flick?
  3. Take a look in a book (I’m a Reading Rainbow kid): Create a book club for two. You can have quiet reading sessions and for a bit and then come together to discuss the latest chapter.
  4. Learn a new skill: Are you both into painting or photography? Sign up for a class at your local library or go online and pick up a skill together.
  5. Tackle a home project: Need ideas? Check out your local hardware store for classes or visit sites like Mike and Lauren’s.
  6. Scrapbooking: Grab your pictures and spend a weekend putting together of scrapbook of your memories.
  7. Plant a memory. Planting a tree and watching it grow can be a beautiful way to relax through the years.
  8. Binge-watch a new show: Weather not cooperating? Stay home and discover a new series.
  9. Write a script: If you two are film buffs or enjoy writing, write a movie script. Even if it never becomes a blockbuster, you’ll have created a story you both love.
  10. Treasure hunt: Mix it up and hide some items around the house, leaving clues for your spouse.
  11. Home brew: We’ve made our own beers and meads. It’s a lot of fun and a month later you can celebrate your creation with friends.

#20dollardatenight Mini Challenge

Don’t forget, I’m giving away $100 if you take a picture of your own $20 date night. Snap one, put it up on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag #20dollardatenight and tag me. (Twitter and Instagram – @Elle_CM & Facebook – CoupleMoney)

I’ll confirm you’re a newsletter member (you can sign-up here) and enter you!

The contest ends Tuesday June 30, 2015; no entries will be accepted afterwards. I have all the details here.

Okay, so you have my ideas – I’d love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite frugal and fun dates you’ve had?

2015 Summer of Savings

Learn how you can quickly and easily build your savings by slashing your monthly bills, mastering frugal and fun date nights, and earning money on the side.

I want this summer to be your best ever and while I can’t give you all a free family vacation, I can do the next best thing – show you how to save a ton of money!

Let’s Make Some Money with a Summer of Savings

Starting next week (June 1st) look for new posts on every Monday and Thursday here on Couple Money on how to jump-start and build up your savings. Some areas we’ll cover:

  • Slash your monthly bills
  • Master the art of a fun and frugal date night
  • Earn more money on the side

My goal for every post is to help you put aside at least $50 from each tip. I also have an unofficial policy to make sure when you do cut back your spending it’s not because you’re depriving yourself (so no PB& J lunches for work).

This isn’t a financial diet; I want you to be able to use these tips beyond the summer.

If you want to boost your savings even more, please subscribe to the Couple Money Podcast, I have wonderful interviews coming up!

My hope is that you guys will have a nice sized money stash (27 tips x $50 = $1,350 ) for your family by the end of August.

Date Nights and Family Vacations

Believe it or not, I’m starting off the summer of savings with nights out and vacations. Because I don’t think that saving money means having less fun.

All through June I’m going to be showing you how you can enjoy relaxing (or thrilling if that’s your style) debt free vacations and getaways. I’ve been compiling an awesome list of apps, sites, and resources to get the best deals.

If you love discovering and supporting local hot spots, I have some ideas to make your date nights memorable.

Save Some Money, Win Some Money

As an extra bonus to the money we’ll be saving, I want to throw in some more money.  I’ll be doing a contest based on the theme of the month.  I’ll be picking one Couple Money newsletter subscriber, so if you haven’t already, please sign-up today!

So for June, share a picture (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) from your own $20 date night (or girls/guys night out) with #20dollardatenight and tag me. I’ll confirm you’re a newsletter member and enter you for a chance to win $100!

Yep, $100.

More details and everything will be up in the newsletter next week. Don’t miss out!

Come Join Us!

If you’re interested in joining the summer of savings challenge, please introduce yourself in the comments.

It’s not required, but I’d love to chat with you and hopefully we can encourage one another to succeed.

Should You Use Peer to Peer Lending To Get Out of Debt?

Learn how peer to peer loans can save you a ton of money and help you pay off your debt faster.

One goal that couples have when they want to build their finances is getting rid of their debt. High-interest ones, like credit cards (whose interest rates can be around 20-25%), can especially drain you.

Using a debt snowball while lowering your interest rate on those debts can have a huge impact and peer to peer lending can be a practical way for you to reach that goal.

What is Peer to Peer Lending?

At its core, peer to peer lending is about people directly lending to other. It is a form of crowdfunding, but instead of money for a business, it’s for an individual.

Two fo the biggest ones in the United States are LendingClub and Prosper. Borrowers may have a very affordable solution to help consolidate high-interest debts into something more manageable.

With current rates ranging from 6.4% (A grade)-16.2% (C/D grade), there’s a good chance that you can have more of your debt snowball is going more towards the principle. This can significantly cut down on the time it takes to get rid debt.

Another benefit is that these loans are at a fixed rate, allowing you to budget accordingly and not worry about rates skyrocketing.

How Peer to Peer Lending Works

Having a peer to peer to loan doesn’t mean you’ll just be handed over money. Like bank loans, borrowers must apply and their finances should justify the loan they requesting.

Unlike a bank, getting a P2P loan is a fairly straightforward and quick process (here’s a review from Simon about his LendingClub loan).

  • Submit an application: You give your general information and finances along with the loan amount you’re seeking.
  • Look at terms: You may be given a couple options on the rates and loan length. The longer you carry the loan the higher the rate.  Run the numbers again and choose the best terms for your situation
  • Provide additional documentation: You will most likely be required to send in bank statements, taxes, and pay stubs. You’ll also be asked to verify that your bank account is correct with a small transaction.
  • Results: If approved, the money is deposited into your bank account. If you’re rejected you’ll receive an explanation so you can improve your numbers.

The entire process can take about 5-7 business days, fairly quickly when you’re looking to consolidate.

Thoughts on Peer to Peer Loans

I’d love to hear from you – have you ever used peer to peer lending sites like Prosper or Lending Club? How did it go for you?

If you don’t have debt, but you like the idea of peer to peer loans, you may want into being an investor. Investing in peer to peer loans can be a wonderful way to earn a return on your money and help others.

 

What Money Questions Do You Have?

I want to share some news about the Couple Money Podcast.

This year has flown by, but as I was preparing next week’s podcast show, I did a double take as I realized that we had over 60 shows up in the last 6 months!

I’m so grateful for the support that you have given and it’s my goal to continue covering financial questions and situations that couples go through. Right now I’m working on several episodes, including:

  • Investing in Peer to Peer Loans to Help Yourself and Others
  • Leveraging the Power of Community to Dump Debt
  • Tips and Tricks to Renovating Your Home to Stay on Budget
  • How Spouses With Opposing Money Habits Can Win With Their Money
  • Saving Big Money on Smartphones

If you have ideas on questions or topics you’d love to hear on the podcast please let me know in the comments or email me!

Couple Money Around the Web

Here are few things I’ve been busy with on the podcast and around the web this past week:

Money and More Posts I Loved This Week

I found a few gems about managing your money this week that I wanted to pass on.

Have a great weekend!