Archive for February 2016

8 Inexpensive Date Night Ideas

date night

love-316640_640It?s not hard to go out for a date night and come back with your pockets a little lighter, especially if you stick to a traditional night out with a meal out and then an activity. Sometimes your pockets might end up a whole lot lighter!

Sure, you probably have a few standard, less expensive date night alternatives that you switch it up with from time to time, but maybe some fresh new ideas would spice things up a bit. Here are a few inexpensive date night ideas to help you save money.

Starlight Date

You and your date could walk under the stars at the beach, if you are lucky enough to live near one. But if you don?t, get creative. You could meet at a nearby park for a hand in hand, moonlit walk. If that isn?t an option, maybe you could camp under the stars in your own backyard. Or, leave your partner a note, or send a text, to meet somewhere for a nighttime stroll.

Plan a Game Night

This could be done a variety of ways. [easyazon_link keywords=”Video games” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]Video games[/easyazon_link] could be an option, but thinking old school might bring back a little spark. Pick out some two player [easyazon_link keywords=”board games” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]board games[/easyazon_link] to choose from and fix a few snacks, or build a puzzle together.

Take a Class

Almost any list of inexpensive date alternatives will include this. But don?t limit it to a cooking class. Your date could be interested in photography or pottery. Explore the options available at recreation centers and even some retail stores where you live. Pottery and other art classes are becoming a more popular choice for date night.

Visit a Flea Market

A fun way to reconnect with childhood memories is to visit a flea market or antique shop. You might even learn a thing or two about each other that you didn?t know before. Plus, you don?t even have to spend any money or buy anything on this date night.

Get Silly Date

Yes, I said get silly. Make blanket forts and defend them with [easyazon_link keywords=”nerf guns” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]nerf guns[/easyazon_link]. Or, get out some silly putty and Slinkys. Run through the sprinklers. Blow soap bubbles together or try out a hula hoop or a jump rope. Play hopscotch. Visit a hobby store for more silly or fun ideas. There are no limits, and no rules.

Get Physical

You don’t have to workout at a gym to get some exercise. You might even be able to get your sweat on during your next date night. Take your date outdoors with a Frisbee or a kite. Or, go for a bike ride or a hike. Sledding might be an option, depending on where you live and the season. Another good choice could be roller skating or ice skating. Or basketball ? touching is allowed. 😉

Plan a Tech-Free Picnic

When having a dinner date, you don?t have to go for the obviously overused candle lit dinner. You could plan a backyard picnic, an indoor picnic, or a park picnic. But whatever you do, keep your phones shut off so you can focus on each other. Well, maybe you could take just one photo?

Dessert Only Date

A date doesn?t have to include dinner and dessert and a movie. Instead, you can save money on eating out by going out for dessert only. Or, you could fix a special dessert together and stay in for a movie.

Obviously the activities mentioned in this article are only a small sampling of ideas you could try for a fun but less expensive date night. The point is to think outside the box so you don?t bust your budget. You should try it – it can be fun out there!


How do you save money on date night? Have you tried any of these suggestions? What are some of your favorite go-to options for an inexpensive date night?


Photo courtesy of: PublicDomainPictures

4 Overlooked Ways to Pay Off Debt

pay off debt

pay off debtIf you are carrying a significant amount of debt, you probably have thought about a million different ways in which you could pay off those bills. It can be difficult to make ends meet while also trying to pay off debt, so the challenge may seem impossible from time to time.

However, it can be done, as long as you are willing to work hard and think creatively along the way.

Here are four ways?you can pay off debt once and for all.

Make More Money

You might have rolled your eyes a little bit at this point ? of course you would like to make more money!

Surprisingly, many people don?t really pursue this option when they are trying to get out of debt. As they are so focused on ways to save money, they fail to pursue the options that are available for bringing in extra income.

You could pick up part-time work online or in the ?real world?, you could ask for a raise or overtime, or you could consider searching for a higher paying job. Don?t assume you are stuck making your current salary forever ? with a little hard work and persistence, you may be able to find that extra income that you need.

Make it a Priority

Quite simply, it will be easier to pay off your debt when you prioritize that part of your financial life. For example, if you choose to skip your next vacation or two, or opt for a staycation, in favor of putting extra money toward the debts, you can get rid of them that much faster.

Sure, there will be some degree of sacrifice in the short-term, but that sacrifice will be made up for in the long run when you can live a debt free lifestyle. Setting aside your present day desires to make your future better is a decision you are unlikely to regret.

Consolidate Debt

Interest is the one thing that makes it so challenging to pay off your debts in a reasonable amount of time. If your interest charges are racking up each month, try to consolidate your debts into a single loan?with a lower overall rate.

By saving money each month on interest, more of your money will be dedicated to the principal of the debt balance, which means you will be getting closer and closer to eliminating it once and for all. There are many loan consolidation options available, such as Avant, that make it possible to significantly cut rates so more of your payments goes against the actual debt.

Be Thrifty

Being thrifty on a day to day basis is about looking for deals, using coupons and not purchasing items that you simply don?t need.

Take a defensive approach to spending money ? only spend what you must, and keep the rest. This is a lifestyle choice that will take some getting used to for some people, but it can pay off big time in the end.

There should be more money in the bank account?at the end of every month to point towards your debts as long as you can stick with this defensive approach on a daily basis.


Have you used these ideas to help pay off debt? What else can you do to pay off debt faster?


Photo courtesy of: edar

3 Things to Consider Before You Decide to Invest in Forex

calculator-385506_640While the average daily trading volumes are always likely to fluctuate in any market, those in the foreign exchange remain relatively consistent. This market is also home to the highest level of daily trading activity, with an estimated $5 trillion exchanged over the course of a typical, 24-hour period. With daily trading volumes reaching regular peaks of $5.29 trillion, the forex market has certainly earned its reputation as the single most liquid and popular investment vehicle across the globe.

Although it is understandable that this margin-based, derivative market should attract millions of traders from all over the world, there is a pressing need for caution among beginner?investors. After all, the forex market is also extremely volatile and vulnerable to economic and political trends, while its margin-based nature can trigger losses far in excess of what you originally invested. Success in this market demands considerable knowledge of currency and the underlying laws that govern change, while you will also need to understand the attributes that separate accomplished traders from average ones if you hope to forge a profitable or professional career.

What is the Forex Market and what distinguishes it from other investment vehicles?

This process should begin with developing an innate understanding of the forex market. The best way to achieve this is to first appraise the market in detail, and consider what sets it apart from alternative (and less volatile) trading options such as dividend investments, stocks and commodities. Currencies tend to be traded in pairs, for example, where investors buy or sell a chosen option in exchange for another. There are also a number of diverse ways in which you can invest in the forex market, including spread betting where traders speculate on the performance of one currency in comparison with another.

In this instance, currencies are often traded as derivative products where the investor is relieved from the burden of ownership. This offers them greater scope for success regardless of the state of the market or the prevailing economic climate, as traders speculate on currency trends by buying long or selling short. In simple terms, traders go long by purchasing a currency in the hope that the price will rise over time, while they go short by selling the base currency in a particular pair while investing in a second.

In the case of the former, traders are speculating that the market price will increase. In terms of the latter, however, they are backing a short-term market decline and hoping to profit from this accordingly. This opportunity is extremely appealing to investors, as it means that they can generate returns even as the market depreciates. When you consider this alongside the liquidity that exists within the market and the margin-based returns available, it is no surprise that experienced traders favor currency over other derivatives and products.

What are the Demands of Forex Trading and the key Attributes Required?

Once you understand the mechanisms and opportunities in the forex market, the next step is to understand the practicalities of trading. The forex market is open for 24-hours each day and for six days in the week, for example, with three separate trading sessions taking place consecutively around the world. This underlines the need to select currencies that suit your own trading hours and schedule, while it also highlights the challenges facing those who want to make a profession out of investing in international currencies.

We have already touched on the volatile nature of the forex market, which remains extremely sensitive to geo-political trends, economic sentiment and international data releases. The state of local and global economies has a direct impact on the value of specific currencies, meaning that traders must have their finger on the pulse of international news if they are to execute their orders efficiently. This is why comprehensive, online brokerage firms such as ETX Capital have become so popular in the modern age, as they provide traders with real-time and mobile accounts, in-depth news resources and live analysis from industry experts.

While the complexity of the market and its volatile nature place huge demands on traders, there are also a number of underlying laws that govern change. Positive data releases in major economies such as U.S or Asia-Pacific nations will always create greater sentiment in the market, for example, while geo-political conflicts including influential nations such as Russia will have the reverse effect and cause depreciation in prices. Understanding these rules and having the ability to forecast specific trends will therefore be pivotal if you are to succeed over time.

In this regard, intuition and an aptitude for learning are crucial attributes of all successful traders in the forex market. Critical and strategic thinking is also a beneficial character trait, as this enables traders to invest without emotion and make clear decisions with regards to individual currency pairs and orders. Traders must also be flexible with regards to their applied strategies, as this makes it far easier for them to adjust successfully to sudden market shifts and price movements.

Is the life of a Trader right for you?

With these points in mind, you should have enough insight and information to make a decision regarding your professional future. While the life of a professional forex trader can certainly be lucrative and financially rewarding, for example, it also places huge demands on individuals and requires them to develop a huge knowledge base before they make their first investment.

Above all else, forex traders require at least one of the attributes mentioned above if they are to succeed. Traders who are overly emotional or impulsive are unlikely to succeed in such a volatile and changeable marketplace, for example, while those who lack an analytical brain will also struggle to decipher crucial technical analysis.

In this respect, choosing to become a forex trader is akin to the actual process of investing in currencies. After all, while you must trust your instinct and knowledge to some degree, a great deal of thought and knowledge is also required to make the right decision.


Have you ever thought about investing in forex?


Photo courtesy of: stevepb

4 Ways to Save Money Furnishing Your Home

save money

furnishingAlthough being a homeowner isn’t all fun and games, one of the things I was most excited about when I became a homeowner was being able to paint, furnish, and decorate my home however I wanted.

Prior to buying my home, I had lived on my own for two years already, but I was in college with almost no money for furnishing my apartment. Plus when you are renting there’s only so much you can do to make a place your own. Some landlords won’t allow you to paint or hang things on the walls, even if you plan to live in that location for years to come.

Unfortunately my excitement to decorate and furnish my home ended up costing me quite a bit of money because I wanted all new, high quality furniture. While wanting high quality furnishings isn’t something to be faulted, they do last a long time, that doesn’t mean you need to buy everything new or full-price.

Here are four ways you can save money on furnishing your home.

Watch Where You Shop

Shopping at big name furniture stores will likely come with a big name price. If you want to save money?you need to know where to shop for furniture. One place to get started with some shopping, price checking, and browsing of styles is online. After you know what you are looking for in terms of style and price you can really start to shop for furniture and decor for your home. A great site to start out when looking for home furnishings is [easyazon_link keywords=”home furnishings” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”wisedollar-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link].?I also really like for smaller decor items.

Shopping at thrift stores, estate sales?and garage sales can result in finding some really good pieces at low prices. But finding furnishings at these places is kind of hit or miss, so you might have to check back often or be less picky about style. Furnishings found in these places may also require a little elbow grease before you can put them on display in your home, but it will be worth it if you find a good deal. Just watch out for used items with serious damage that can’t easily be fixed.

Be Patient and Less Picky

When trying to furnish your home on a budget you need to either be very patient and wait for the right pieces to come along at a price you can afford, or you need to be less picky. As I mentioned earlier, the less picky you are in terms of style, the easier it will be for you to furnish your home on a budget.

Save Up

Another really good strategy to employ is paying for your furnishings in cash. By saving up and taking cash with you when you go shopping for furniture and decor, you will more than likely be able to ask for a cash discount. Stores and individuals alike are more willing to haggle on price?if you have cash to give them right then.

Be Mindful of Delivery Fees

When buying local furniture, you may be able to get delivery fees waived to help you save money. Another option to save money on delivery fees is to find a friend with a large vehicle, like a pickup, to help you move your furnishings yourself.

If you don’t shop locally for your furniture, it may actually be worth it to pay a delivery fee. In the past I’ve gone furniture shopping at the same time as a friend or family member and we’ve been able to split the delivery fee to save money. Some furniture stores will also allow you to pay one delivery fee that will cover any deliveries made in the next 12 months. This can save you some money if you plan to buy furniture again in just a few months.

Saving money on furnishing your home isn’t difficult if you take these tips into consideration. I know I will definitely use them the next time I need to furnish part of my home.


How have you saved money on furniture and decor in your home? Have you ever over paid for furnishings?


Photo courtesy of: ErikaWittlieb

5 Things to Avoid in College that Will Keep You Debt Free

collegeThere?s something about the financial struggle of a college student that can make you learn how to get creative. However, sometimes students creativity can get them into financial trouble. When you leave college, chances are you?ll already have enough?student loan debt to occupy your bank account for a few years. That bill is hefty enough, and you don?t want to pile on any additional expenses. So, if you truly want to stay debt-free in college, here are some things you should avoid.

Eating Out

Sure it?s easy to hit the dollar menu on the drive-thru, but this will add up eventually. If you continue to spend money on fast food, that?s money you don?t have for other important items. Instead, use your meal plan or stick to grocery shopping and cooking at home. Ramen can go a long way and is much cheaper than dining out.


Sure you may be a social butterfly, but the cost of clothes, drinks, and those late-night snacks can put you over the edge financially. Not to mention, if you ever make the unintelligent decision to drink and drive, you could find yourself facing serious financial burdens with a DUI and the?cost of a DUI lawyer. So, the way to avoid this is to minimize your partying and spend time at school focusing on the degree.

Credit Cards

Nothing is more attractive than the shiny plastic that allows you to buy things without having any money. However, credit cards are a bad idea for poor college students. Don?t get a credit card while in college. Sure it may help you build your credit, but if you?re not financially responsible for paying it back, it will have a very negative impact on your financial future.


Sure it may sound great to live on your own with no rules, but the?cost of rent and utilities is enough to put you out on the streets. Instead of wasting money, opt to live on campus or commute from home. More and more college students are staying with parents for longer periods of time in order to save money, and this is a great idea.


Wait until you graduate college to buy a new car. A monthly vehicle payment can be expensive, and more delaerships have special deals for those who graduate. Plus, if you can?t afford the payment, you run the risk of having the car repossessed, and this will haunt your credit for a long period of time.

Make the smart financial decision for your future to avoid these debt risks and instead graduate from college with a clean slate.


Photo courtesy of: klimkin