Feel like you need a break from the daily grind? Sometimes, the call for fresh air and the outdoors is so strong; there’s just no time to waste. As a rule of thumb, those who set their travel plans in advance are typically rewarded with saving a lot of money. But nowadays, you’ll find many savvy, adventure seekers constantly enjoying last-minute getaways that don’t cost an arm and a leg. To see how it’s done, check out some of the following travel tips and tricks!
Did you know you can put your house, apartment, or any residence that you own to good use when you’re out of town? The extra cash that comes from being an AirBnb host can help soften the blow of any last-minute travel expenses. Guests make a reservation to “rent” your place while you’re away having the time of your life. The fees you set are charged before their arrival, and after an official check-in, you’re paid within 24 hours. That’s easy money earned for your latest outdoor adventure.
With a little muscle and some superstar packing skills, you can save over $50 on a round-trip flight just by saying ‘no’ to the convenience of checked baggage. Most airlines don’t charge travelers to board a plane with one carry-on and one personal item (like a purse, laptop cross body from eBags, or briefcase). If this means you have to downsize your travel wardrobe by packing two pairs of jeans instead of five, so be it. A bonus carry-on trick that helps you bring more items: roll clothes and stack them in your bag instead of folding them, which creates creases that take up unnecessary packing space.
Whether you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail or exploring the concrete jungle in New York City, there’s no question you’ll work up a hearty appetite…three times a day! Make it a habit to hunt for coupons for at least five minutes before deciding on the next restaurant. Voucher sites and apps, like Groupon, provide endless opportunities for travelers to refuel with deeply discounted food and drink offers. Fill up on sushi, enjoy half-price Taco Tuesday, explore the new Italian restaurant in town, or unwind at a local bar or winery for a steal. Perfect for last-minute travel, you can use these digital and printable vouchers on the same day of purchase.
If you’re trying to travel on the cheap, booking a hostel room is probably the first thing that pops into your mind. Yet, before committing to a hostel room, be sure to compare other potential expenses that’s complimentary at most hotels. Will the hostel you’re eyeing charge you for WiFi, towels, sheets, lockers, and bike rentals? Will there be complimentary breakfast or airport transportation that most hotels offer? Do you actually have a credit card that you’ll receive miles or points if you book a specific hotel brand? After learning the perks and doing the math, you might find that booking a comfortable room at the Marriott is actually just as affordable and way more convenient.
We’ve all been there before, when our stomach starts to rumble, and that tiny $6 packet of peanuts on the rack doesn’t seem like such a bad idea anymore. It’s easy to fall victim to vending machine splurges, roadside convenience store markups, and overpriced gift shop snacks at airports and hotels. A dollar here and there can quickly add up and can start to chip away from your “travel experiences” budget. Purchases like this can really add up, which is why it’s smart to bring along your own refreshments for a trip. Be sure you have the right carry on luggage and outfits with pockets from Hudson’s Bay for easy access to snacks at the airport or during the plane ride. Homemade trail mixes, fruit, and granola bars go a long way, and are particularly handy for long car trips, layovers and travel delays.
Purchase tickets with longer travel times can save you a lot of mula, yet that does mean more layovers! Of course, you’d rather step off of a plane and be at your intended destination. Yet, in most cases, airline tickets offering the convenience and speed of a non-stop flight usually cost a whole lot more. But don’t fret, long layovers can come with its own perks. During a layover, see if you have time to hop on a shuttle or train to the nearest outdoor attractions to enjoy a bit of bonus sightseeing. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes for this type of day trip, like a pair of Toms, while making the most out of your getaway plans.
Instead of flying, you can energize a travel budget with more cash by taking the scenic route and driving yourself for a spur-of-the-moment outdoor getaway. Hit the road in an Enterprise Rent-A-Car for your latest adventure, and save even more money (at the pump) by selecting just the right ride to rent. Pass on gas-guzzling trucks and specialty cars. Instead, opt for a fuel efficient vehicle, like a Nissan Altima, Ford Focus, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Aveo, or Toyota Prius.
As you prepare to explore outdoor pursuits off the beaten path, one of the most inexpensive ways to travel is by purchasing a one-way bus, train, or airline tickets. With a little flexibility, you can organize a pretty affordable excursion by juggling the cheapest options offered on a given day. Keep in mind that traveling early-morning or in the middle of the night tends to cost a lot less. There are also additional discounts if you’re a student, senior, in the military, or a AAA member. Remember to have something on hand, like this Gearbest travel pillow, to make sure your trip is comfortable as can be!
During a last-minute getaway, sticking to a workout plan can be a real challenge. But, you don’t have to waste money on daily passes at a local gym (which can really add up), especially when Ace Fitness has an online library thick with total-body exercises you can complete outdoors (when weather permits). And, if you’re still looking for the guidance and company of others, allow their network to connect you with instructors and programs for individual or group workouts in between.
Every little bit helps when you’re trying to save money for travel. If you haven’t already, download our Giving Assistant Button, and we’ll make it even easier for you to stay on budget for your next getaway.
Every year, fashion shows in New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Paris, and London give us clues to the clothing styles and designers we should anticipate and pay attention to. As a fashionista on the prowl for the latest looks that impress, it’s important to keep up with the trends that turn celebrity heads, cause a commotion, and set a precedent for what you should be wearing this year. When you’re ready to upgrade your wardrobe, here’s a heads up on the runway trends you should explore in 2018!
Expect lace and sheer sleeves to flourish in 2018 as a year-round option – worn on its own, or paired with fur vests in colder weather. Warmer months call for styles that are lightweight, like lace dresses or tucking in a sheer top into a pair of shorts. Don’t want to commit to sleeves, but love the sheer look? Find plenty of lace styles at GILT.
One of the street styles to make its mark on this year’s fashion forecast is the oh-so-bashful color: blush. Whether you want to go for a casual everyday look or need a power suit for the office, blush or pale pink is a great color to choose versus the usual black, grey, or navy. From blazers to high heels, Lord & Taylor is well-stocked with many pink-tone styles that should definitely make its way into your closet this year.
From classic-style jeans to mid-rise shorts, dark wash denim will be a favorite look in 2018. Runway trends also suggest that two pieces of denim are better than one, so if you pair a jean jacket with a coordinating skirt – you’re good to go. Kate Spade not only offers darker shades of denim jackets, shirt dresses and skirts, but also has a line of embellished denim accessories (handbags, wallets, and iPhone cases).
Wispy, blunt, short and/or choppy, micro bangs are cut a couple inches above the eyebrows, and create a retro-chic look that channels the confidence of pin-up sweetheart, Bettie Page. This modern take on the bang opens up the face more, and lets you make an edgy statement that still oozes with femininity. A celebrity pro tip for achieving a fringe that lies flat is applying mousse at the base. Kerastase has a range of luxe products packed with Moroccan Argan Oil and Samoan Coconut Oil to help revitalize your beautiful locks through out the week, like “Bain Micellaire” or “Soin Fondamental”. Tres chic.
This year, trends in footwear will focus on shoes that speak for themselves. From eye-catching metallics to extra-shiny patent styles, look for an abundance of ‘statement’ sneakers and boots. There’s even a continuance of last year’s sock sneaker trend because their comfort level and creativity cannot be denied. Platform shoes will take on bolder prints and shapes. And, a fierce pair of stilettos still does the trick in making a statement that’s loud and clear. Stuart Wietzman is a red carpet favorite that comes in suede, leather, woven fabric, silk satin, and snakeskin.
You can take a cue from Pantone and embrace the official color of 2018 (ultraviolet), but runway trends suggest that for this year – the softer shade of lavender will make quite the impression. You’ll see this pastel hue in pantsuits, dresses, and oversize knits. And, don’t forget that lavender and other pink and purple tones, like the ones offered in Shu Uemera pressed eye shadows, can help achieve fun retro look that keeps all eyes on you.
Bold print year after year is always put into a box that only a certain personality can get away with wearing it. Yet, this year we dare you to try on a few patterns, and even mismatch your prints! you might be surprised on how well it compliments you and actually boosts your confidence. It can be intimidating for some, but don’t count it out of your wardrobe this year just yet. To lock in a more everyday look, Trina Turk designs colorful suits, flirty sleeveless tops, beach-ready shirt dresses with loud and proud bold prints everyone can get on board with.
Men, it’s time to step away from boring solids and get ready to dive head first into a pool of lively shades of checkered and plaid jackets, fleecewear, and button-up, collar shirts from brands such as Rag & Bone, Polo Ralph Lauren, HUGO, and Obey. Checks and plaids will rule menswear in 2018. Expect suits, especially wool ones, to rely on geometric prints and plaid patterns. Add plaid to formalwear with pocket squares, ties or a cashmere tartan scarf from East Dane. You’ll also see vintage checks playing a prominent role in this year’s men’s trousers, jackets and caps.
Fringe is a fashion trend that’s made endless comebacks, and this year, there’s more to love. In 2018, you’ll definitely encounter plenty of dramatic looks and intensely glam interpretations of fringe inspired by the latest runway looks. Not one to rock fringe on your main garments or dresses? How about adding this style into your accessories like earrings, handbags, or a pair of eye-catching Saks 5th Avenue stilettos. Va va voom!
One of the trends that’s made a lasting impression is the cape. Nearly every designer unveiled at least one wedding dress featuring a full-length cape or striking capelet. It doesn’t matter if it’s long, mid or mini…the look gives off serious queen vibes. BHLDN is more than happy to make your fairy tale dreams come true with a lineup that includes sheer capes containing pearl embellishments; bohemian-like embroidered capes; and lace-adorned, floor-length tulle capes. Whether this is for your wedding day over a simple white dress or for a night out in town over a plain tank top with a pair of jeans and heels—this look demands attention.
You know what’s better than feeling luxe in the latest runway looks? Scoring these trends for less, which is what happens when you download our Giving Assistant Button. We’ll help you keep a better eye on promotions, cash back and deals from your favorite brands.
Run your own small business? Selling crafts on Etsy? Freelance for local media outlets? There are definitely a lot of benefits that come with being your own boss. However, being self-employed also means you’re the one in charge of calculating a budget, keeping track of costs, and making sure your invoices are paid. The less time spent on becoming tax ready and maximizing your deductions means you can focus more on growing your business, making money, crossing items off your to-do list, playing with the kids, traveling, and just plain ol’ enjoying life.
What really helps out is using something created specifically to make life easier for small business owners and freelancing creatives, like QuickBooks Self-Employed – it just might become the only tax tool you need to manage all your income and expenses. Known as one of the best finance apps and accounting programs for the self-employed, it’s accessible anywhere where there’s an Internet connection.
Now, let’s get down to some of the self-employment tax deductions and time-saving tips you don’t want to miss:
Imagine all the time wasted deciphering and sorting monthly credit card statements, bank records, mountains of receipts, and tons of handwritten reminders. Lengthy paper trails usually lead straight to a headache. To make things easier, take snapshots of receipts from expenses, and use software that pulls the data and digitally categorizes it. QuickBooks Self-Employed does this, plus organizes your income and expenses to create monthly, bi-weekly, and quarterly finance reports that include profit and loss reports, tax summary PDFs, and tax details in Excel.
You’ll also be able to sync all of your credit card and bank accounts; as well as import transactions from applicable financial accounts, like Chase, Capital One, Discover and PayPal.
One of the largest deductions available to a self-employed individual is having a home office. And, we’re not talking about the dining room table you use to pack shipments. You can only claim expenses related to a workspace or dedicated spaces reserved exclusively for your self-employment activities, including rooms used for the storage of inventory, product samples, art supplies or equipment – think spare room, basement or attic. No one else can sleep, eat or work there. Home office expenses also include utility costs, rent, mortgage, and homeowner/renters insurance.
The gallons of gas and miles racked up traveling back and forth for supply runs and client meetings aren’t the only business expenses related to a car or truck that self-employed individuals can claim. In addition to using an app that puts your smartphone’s GPS to good use (automatically tracking mileage and logging in business-related road travel), QuickBooks Self-Employed also categorizes deductible expenses you probably never thought of into subcategories that include auto repairs, vehicle loans, car insurance, parking/tolls, and even wash/road services.
Business cards, flyers, and other visual shout-outs used to promote and sell your services and products are deductible advertising expenses. Online sellers, you’ll be happy to know that listing fees also fall under this category.
Other examples of advertising that small business owners and freelancers can claim on taxes:
- Website advertising, like banner ads and pay-per-click fees
- Business logo design
- TV commercials, billboards, newspaper inserts, and magazine ads
- Promotional giveaways, like hats, T-shirts, cups and pen
Did you know that studies have shown that around 60% of invoices are paid late with more than one-third of clients taking at least 2 weeks to pay up? That’s why it’s important to clearly state (in writing) your payment terms, time frames, late-payment penalties, and upfront fees. Something extremely helpful that makes QuickBooks Self-Employed shine are the notifications sent to let you know when an invoice has been viewed and when payments are being processed. No more guessing games! And, if by some unfortunate chance you’re never paid by a client, you can still deduct out-of-pocket expenses associated with the work you completed.
Treating a client to fancy Italian restaurtant or discussing a potential partnership over a game of golf are types of expenses directly related to current and future business endeavors that are deductible at 50%. You don’t need to save receipts for these expenses when they’re under $75, but it’s highly recommended to keep solid records on the reasons why you’re claiming such events and food.
You can also claim:
- hosting a group business dinner at your home
- meals bought at conferences, trade shows, and conventions
- court and greens fees for activities with business associates
- the costs of meals and entertainment for a business associate’s spouse
As a self-employed individual, you may feel overwhelmed with all of the tools and services promising to save you money and time. So, why not take them for a test run? For instance, QuickBooks Self-Employed is free for 30 days. You don’t even need a credit card to try it out. Once you’re satisfied with the results, you can sign up as an official monthly subscriber, and take advantage of multiple benefits. Business subscriptions are deductible expenses too!
Another way to keep your occupational pursuits running smoothly is to download the Giving Assistant Button, which connects you to the latest ways to save money on the products and services that help expand your self-employment dreams.
Electronics: the gift they love and your holiday budget hates. But wait—hold the smartphone!
We’re getting a head start on holiday shopping by packing this post with super hot deals on electronics that will shock you…so you can shock them this year.
The Deal: Get up to $300 Off New Galaxy S8 With Trade-In + Cash Back
Tell all your friend’s about the Galaxy S8’s incredible ability to dig up info on anything you photograph, like where to buy that fancy bottle of wine on Aunt Jen’s holiday tablescape.
The Deal: Up to $300 Off Laptops + Cash Back
When the kids come home for the holidays with their old laptops, ship them back out to college with a shiny new one. (Maybe they’ll come back home with better grades.)
The Deal: 15% Off Sitewide + Cash Back
Skip the stores and save when you order your electronic gifts online with Staples. Snag computers, tablets, and more right now while prices are merry and bright.
The Deal: Up to 60% Off Tech Deals + Cash Back
Pick up innovative, quirky, and super-cool tech and electronics at Aliexpress, sometimes as low as $5. Who knows what you’ll surprise them with—and save on!—this holiday.
The Deal: Up to 50% off Top Brands + Cash Back
Mega deals on top electronics are out there. Grab a Groupon now and go sleuthing for deals on electronics you won’t have to camp outside a big box store for.
The Deal: Up to 80% Off Electronics + Cash Back
Speaking of camping outside a big box store, here’s another line you get to skip—save 80% and earn cash back on electronics when you shop online with us at Walmart.
The Deal: Up to 40% Off Appliances + Cash Back
Refrigerators have feelings—um, are electronics too. Discover deals on brand spankin’ new household appliances boasting some incredible innovations you gotta see to believe.
The Deal: 10% Off Games + Free Shipping + Cash Back
Thanks to you, the gamer in your life can be the first to own some of the newest, creative games on the market. Now’s the time to save on the games they’ll remember.
The Deal: Up to $300 Off Laptops + Cash Back
Go direct to the source and save huge money on top-of-the-line Microsoft laptops. This year’s innovations make Microsoft laptops some of the most shockingly intuitive electronics on the market.
The Deal: Up to 15% Off Refurbished iPad Pros + Cash Back
Good for the wallet, and the environment. This holiday season, surprise someone with Apple. They’ll never know it isn’t new, and you’ll have room in your budget to spoil them even more.
The Deal: Up to 56% Off Cellphones & Cameras + Cash Back
If they can dream it, DHGate has it—take advantage of the lowest prices on tech and electronic gifts you can’t find anywhere else, and satisfy the most curious holiday wishlists.
The Deal: 13% Off Electronics + Cash Back
Take your pick of top notch electronics from Gearbest, and save even more with cash back when you shop with us. Lift off with RC airplanes, helicopters, drones and more.
The Deal: Up to $300 Off w/ Tech Savings + Cash Back
Knock out two birds when you shop for holiday tech gifts and place your usual Sam’s Club orders at the same time. With cash back and up to $300 in savings, you can surprise the whole family.
The Deal: Up to 50% Off Accessories + Cash Back
Stock up on the highest quality phone cases in dozens of designs fit for everyone’s mobile device. Stuff stockings with accessories they need at half the price.
The Deal: $50 Off First Order of $200 w/ Fingerhut Credit Account + Cash Back
Surprise them with the products they’re drooling over now—pay for it later. Save $50 on your order with a new Fingerhut Credit Account, just in time for the holidays.
Wait that is not all!
Check out all of our electrifying hot electronic deals here!
Summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean your future travels have to! If you’re looking for a more affordable way to travel the world, then you’ve landed in the right spot. When you take advantage of the Hotels.com Passport Discount Coupon, you can travel anytime between now and the end of 2017 with a discount worth $110 and earn up to 7% cash back savings from Giving Assistant.
Why $110? Hotels.com is giving back the price of a passport to encourage more Americans to apply for their passports and travel internationally!
It’s simple to use. When you book your hotel with a price tag of at least $800, type in the coupon code Passport2017 at checkout and you’ll receive $110 off your booking price. And voila! You’ll be one step closer to your dream vacation. Toss the “I still need to apply for my passport” excuse out the window and check out these top destination hotel deals below.
7 Nights at 7 Top Destination Hotels
The following are seven hotel booking examples for seven nights, yet the Passport Discount Coupon works for other hotel options and it can be for 1 to 28 nights as long as the price tag hits at least $800. Please note that the prices mentioned are after the Passport Discount Coupon is used.
- Royal Hotel, Paris, France. Just $716 for 7 nights at this four-star hotel on the famed Champs Elysee in Paris. Enjoy the charm of this hotel within sight of the Arche de Triomph and feel like you’re staying with friends in a private home.
- Urban Lodge Hotel, Amsterdam. $667 for 7 nights in the hotel billed as the place for Urban Cowboys. Located in Sloterdijk Station portion of Amsterdam, Urban Lodge mixes city and country life with spacious guest rooms and restaurants serving a variety of Dutch foods.
- Abbey Court, Notting Hill, London, England. $723 for 7 nights in this Victorian Villa first built in 1860 as a private residence. You will be at the center of it all in central London near Notting Hill and Paddington Station. The very best place for the big city experience, whether you travel on business or pleasure.
- Artist Hotel, BnA Koenji, Tokyo, Japan. $674 for 7 nights at the hotel that connects you to the art world for “a creative cultural experience” where an individual artist designed each room. If you love art, you will never forget lodging in a work of art while you support local artists.
- Retrome, Barcelona, Spain. $896 for 7 nights at this hotel with a lobby decorated in art nouveau. Just a short walk to the beach from this home away from home and yet you will have all the advantages of a big city. You will enjoy the five-minute walk to shopping in Passeig de Gràcia and ten minutes to Plaça Catalunya (the busiest square in Barcelona) and the Sagrada Familia Basilica.
- City Garden Hotel, Hong Kong. $653 for 7 nights, this hotel offers special deals on traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies that care of everything for you. If you’re not getting married, you can relax in the Jacuzzi, work out at the hotel’s fully equipped gym, or enjoy spicy Malaysian and Singapore cuisine at the Satay Inn.
- Kingswood Hotel, Dublin, Ireland. $821 for 7 nights at Dublin’s newest four-star hotel, formerly the Maldron Citywest Hotel. Just 9km from Dublin’s city center Kingswood has large rooms with modern appointments. McGettigan’s Cook House & Bar handles large events with special wedding menus, BBQ events, and locally grown meats/fish and produce. If you would rather just relax in the bar, you’ll enjoy the surround sound music as well as the modern setting.
And remember, on top of Hotels.com Passport Discount Coupon that’s worth $110, you can also take advantage of Giving Assistant’s cash back and earn up to 7%.
Caveats: These prices are only good if you use the passport coupon offer, book before August 31, and travel before the end of 2017. The $110 discount only applies to the first room in the booking. You will pay the full price for the rest of the rooms. The coupon will activate whether you own a passport or not.
Hotels participating in this promotion are Price Guarantee Hotels. The Passport Coupon is only good for your first five bookings and the coupon terminates after 2,000 bookings by all customers. There is a limit of one coupon per booking. The discount does not apply to taxes, fees, or additional costs of your stay. One more thing: you must pay for all bookings at the time you reserve the rooms.
Ahhh summer. There’s no better time to host a backyard bash, whether it’s for:
- A back-to-school gathering
- A wedding or birthday celebration
- Or simply a good excuse to get together with friends and family
Before you put your party hat on and start up the grill, be sure your backyard is party-ready. No one wants to run into the house multiple times searching for extra seating during the middle of dinner. And you don’t want your guests complaining it’s too hot or too cold. With the right backyard furniture and pops of decor, you can plan a stress-free event that is not only Instagram worthy, but super practical.
When it comes to shopping, saving a pretty penny is always a priority. Well, you’re in luck, because Walmart has partnered with Better Homes & Gardens to make these backyard must-have items affordable and accessible for everyone. Plus, Giving Assistant offers Walmart coupon codes to make your party an even better deal. With that in mind, here are five of our favorite patio items (all under $99!) for throwing a backyard bash when you’re short on cash.
In order to have a successful party, you have to make your guests comfortable. Better Homes & Gardens offers a wide variety of inexpensive seating options that will be the perfect fit for any outdoor space! When your guests aren’t comfortable, they will leave your party sooner than you prefer. Avoid that situation by trying one of these seating solutions:
1.) For larger spaces, try this wicker bench with a storage container underneath. It’s a beautiful, natural addition to your patio and it is much less expensive than most seating options.
2.) If you don’t have space for a full bench or you’re looking to cut down your budget even more, go beyond folding chairs and take a look at these industrial style gray chairs. They provide a rustic, chic vibe to your space without taking up too much room.
One of the most fun parts of an outdoor space is the lighting. With the right light bulbs, you can make space feel enclosed and cozy for your guests, even if it’s a large outside space. Plus, lighting gives you the ability to extend your party until the late hours of the night and keep the fun going.
3.) These strand lights are under $10 a pack and provide the perfect ambiance for your party. They are easy to use, and you can hang them virtually anywhere. When the party is over, you can take them down and easily store them. Or, you can leave them up to enjoy every day; they are built to endure the elements and last thousands of hours.
4.) If you’re looking for a more unique style for your party, try these glass lanterns. They are a perfect addition to a table centerpiece and provide a light source without going through the trouble of hanging them up.
Shade and Sun Protection
The last thing you want is a part full of sweaty, uncomfortable guests. But in the summer, it’s often hard to avoid that fate! If the sun will be beating down on your guests, make sure you plan ahead and buy one of the umbrellas that Walmart carries.
5.) This Market Umbrella is the perfect addition to a patriotic party or celebratory barbecue. It’s easy to set up and stores away nicely after the summer season is over.
BONUS! For the Cooler Nights
Perhaps our favorite all-season accessory is this fire pit to keep you warm year round. Perfect for roasting s’mores or sitting by the fire, you’ll be glad to have this patio accessory on those chillier nights.
The best part about this deal is that Giving Assistant offers Walmart coupon codes and cash back for members. That’s right–you could be getting these already low prices for even less! Take a look at what we offer so you can reduce the cost of your backyard bash even more.
Outdoor furniture and decorations are essential to any successful party and we know you’re in good hands with Walmart and Better Homes & Gardens. Happy party planning!