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Lending Money to Family Members: Yes or No!

Lending Money to Family Members

Should You Lend Money to Family?

A loan is an investment, and you need to be sure that lending your hard earned cash to others doesn’t put your finances at risk. Dave Ramsey says, “don’t do it! People who let family members borrow money have their hearts–not–heads in the right place.

When we love people, we want to see them succeed, and we want to lend a helping hand. Strong emotions can quickly derail the best of intentions when dealing with family or close friends.  As a result, when family members come to us for a loan, we empathize; thinking about how we would feel having to ask for cash. And, if life got tough for us, we would expect others would have our back and help us! But that is not always the case.

Is It Safe?

It’s best to use caution when lending money to family. And it is wise to determine if the money is a gift or a loan. A loan should have requirements or agreements regarding the dollar amount and the payback schedule. The IRS allows $14,000 as a gift among family members so that a couple could give a family member $24,000 ($14,000 apiece). And theoretically, you do not pay a gift tax unless more than $5.23M is handed out over the course of your life. If you elect to loan the money, it’s best to set the interest rate, along with a payment plan for tax purposes.

Is it always the same person who needs help? Or do you have multiple requests from both sides of the family? If you are “the bank of choice,” you may need to re-think how you help relatives. In today’s turbulent economy, many older Americans are loaning money to their children. But is that the right call? Essentially, anytime someone asks you for money, it is fair to ask, “why do you need the money?”

Does the Loan Empower or Enable?

When an adult child relies on Mom and Dad to come in and save them from the latest crisis, but the root of the problem is overspending, or under earning, the parent becomes an enabler. This habitual pattern of letting other people take care of one’s careless financial choices, will never stop. It is important for all parties to learn a new set of habits. By clarifying the request for money without emotional turmoil, parents maintain enough money to retire and adult children will become more independent and began making more intentional choices.

On the other hand, a valid need such needing help with tuition can boost the earning power of a graduating student. Or lending money for a substantial down payment to purchase a house can provide a safe opportunity to invest the future. Providing the funds for a loved one to create a better life can be empowering!

Shall We Shake on It?

Take time to talk about the obligation and requirements of borrowing money. Prepare a formal agreement defining the amount loaned and details for repayment. Putting the financial commitment on paper gives the transaction more weight – often resulting in a positive outcome. The majority of people that sign a written contract are much more inclined to fulfill that agreement. For more personal finance info: Follow the Money Nerve 

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Put the Cold Freeze On Shopaholic Spending

 

Put the cold freeze on shopaholic spending!

This is a challenge for all of us who battle overspending on the latest trends:

You May Say

I really want to own a home, not just an ordinary home – but a gorgeous one that I LOVE! But with a credit card in your wallet that has a growing balance, it won’t happen. Making small changes to your spending habits will free up more cash to invest in your bigger life goals. Owning a home is more important than having every color of the newest designer shoe or “tricking out” your 1969 Dodge Charger.

Fear Can Hold You Captive

If the only thing keeping you from cutting up your credit cards is fear that you might desperately need them in an emergency, this tip is for you. Using credit cards to manage your daily budget can quickly lead to high monthly bills – with little cash in the bank. Making minimum payments maintains your credit standing, but will never make a dent in the outstanding balance. This habit is one of the universal recipes for long-term debt.

Deep Freeze Technique

Here’s a simple solution! Fill a large container half full with water, and put it in the freezer. Wait twenty-four hours, put your credit cards in there, fill it up with water, and place it back in. The result? A giant ice cube with credit cards stuck in the middle. The benefit? You have set yourself up to be more intentional with your financial choices. And, you still have your cards in the event of an emergency. You have put the cold freeze on shopaholic spending!

Plastic vs. Cash

Many Americans are spending far too much of their “perceived money” with credit cards. When you use the cards for unnecessary purchases, your shopaholic spending habit places more value on “wants” rather than long term needs. Put your money to work for value-based decisions. You need to add a saving habit, and lower card balances to ensure that you can handle costly emergencies. That’s why this easy concept works. Instead of cutting up our “plastic,” you put the cold freeze on those cards.

By freezing credit cards, you still have a line of credit, but it’s harder to use.
The best part: It’s an ingenious and effective psychological trick to get yourself out of the plastic mentality.

Now, emotions aren’t driving your spending habits. You are making a conscious choice to manage your money.

Instant Willpower

Freezing several lines of credit gives you instant willpower, even when you are blindsided by emotional impulses. Now, if you feel the urge to use credit, you have to wait until the ice melts. Hopefully, during that time you may come to your senses and realize you don’t need one more “widget.”

Try it! Let me know how it goes.

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Easy Hacks For A New Financial Habit

The Money Nerve

Easy Hacks For A New Financial Habit

Today is the best day for starting a new habit. Try these easy hacks for a new financial habit. You may have decided that it is time to do “things” differently, but the thought of making lots of significant changes at the same time can be overwhelming. Let’s break it down to make it easier to stick with a new mindset.

Keep It Simple

Let’s say you have decided to start an emergency fund and your long-term goal is to save three months of salary. When thinking about such a big hairy goal, it would be so easy to admit defeat before you ever started. So, take $50 and open that savings account. Tell all your friends that you are working on saving more money. When you talk about your goals, you plant the idea more firmly in your head.

Now automate a small amount of money, how about $25, to be directed into this new account with every paycheck. You will be surprised at how quickly your account will grow, and how little you miss that small amount you may have been spending on “junk.”

Starting with small steps makes a change of financial habits easier.
One glass of water a day. One extra vegetable. Three pushups. One sentence of writing a day. Two minutes of meditation. Voila! You now have a habit that lasts.

Keep Your Focus Positive

We all know a friend or colleague that seems to be “practically perfect!” They work out every day, eat healthy, volunteer at the local shelter and blog about their good deeds. It’s easy to compare yourself to others and begin to tear apart all the good work YOU are doing.

Keep your positive attitude; you are making one small step toward a more positive outcome.
Only you can make a personal change. When seeds of doubt begin to grow, you need to squash those negative voices that pop into your head; demanding you to quit, taunting you with past failures or demoralizing you with doubt and fear. Shove those thoughts into a box and mentally throw the box out! Embrace your new habit and nurture your small wins.

Keep It Real

Every week or two, hold yourself accountable and move forward a few steps. If you didn’t do as well as you wanted, jot that down and try again with a slightly different approach. Did you spend your “emergency fund” money on a movie and popcorn? Next week, add fifty percent more, you will still be ahead.

Did a great job of saving each paycheck for the past month? Tell yourself what an awesome job you are doing. Acknowledge your good work, reward yourself, and enjoy the success. Share your success with others, it may motivate them to start a new habit too. It often takes less time to create one simple habit than it does to make excuses for your inability to change.

For insight and motivational tips to create a healthy relationship with your money, AND for easy hacks to develop a new financial habit – sign up for the monthly Money Nerve newsletter.

You can do anything for one month!

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The A B C’s of Setting Up Your 401(k)

 the money nerve

The ABC’s of Setting Up Your 401(k)

What is a 401(k)?

Essentially, a 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. This plan allows workers to select whether they want a larger paycheck now or to defer some of their money by saving and investing a portion of revenue from their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Different from pension plans where companies managed employees assets, 401 (k)s give workers more autonomy to manage their retirement funds.

Matching Funds, Take It! It’s Free Money.

Many companies also match contributions, often with a 3% or 6% cap. With this type of 401(k) account, taxes are paid when a person begins to withdraw money. If you put in 3% of your $50,000 salary, or $1,500, your company puts another $1,500 in the pot. You can add more than that $1,500 yourself, but the company won’t match beyond 3%.

What is the best type of 401 (k) to open?

Choosing whether to use a Roth 401(k) or a Traditional 401(k) is often determined by age and by salary level. If you are in a higher tax bracket, you may prefer lowering your salary by investing now and paying taxes later, thus the traditional approach may work best. For many people already in a lower tax bracket, it may make more sense to open a Roth 401(k) where you pay the taxes now. This plan also offers some qualified tax-free withdrawals. Just be sure to select a beneficiary or the person who gets your money if you die when you set up your 401(k). And, find out the percentage of fees for your account. You want to keep that below 1 % for maximum savings power.

How Much Can I Invest?

For 2017, the maximum amount of compensation that an employee can defer to a 401(k) plan is $18,000. Employees aged 50 by the end of the year and older can also make additional catch-up contributions of up to $6,000 for a total of $24,000. The maximum allowable employer/employee joint contribution limit remains at $53,000 for 2016 and $54,000 for 2017 (or $59,000 for those aged 50 and older). The employer component includes matching contributions, non-elective contributions, and profit-sharing contributions. Via Investopedia

401(k) resources

This 401(k) calculator can help you figure out how much you should be saving
The 401(k) fee analyzer can show you how the investment fees in your plan stack up to others
The NerdWallet IRA vs. 401(k) guide can help you maximize your retirement savings dollars in both types of accounts at once

Make it Easy to Save
Make your 401(k) contributions automatically. You can even set up your plan to raise your level of saving each year. The more automated your financial plan is – the more likely you are to have a substantial nest egg when you get ready to retire! Check out this list of investing and saving hacks.

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Raise Your Credit Score

Raise Your Credit Score

Raise your credit score for better interest rates and easy lending from banks and financial institutions.
If you have never checked on your credit score, it is now easier than ever to see how you rate when lenders are looking at your financial record. Your credit score is based on your financial history in your credit record with all activity, both good and bad, influencing your score.

Three easy tips for maintaining or raising your credit score:

Pay off debt

Okay, I understand! That sounds much easier to say, but you can do it! I advise my clients to look at all of their credit card balances and pick the smallest debt. Changing your habits with small steps and small wins will increase your confidence and give you a chance to pat yourself on the back for a successful step toward financial health. Pay off the smallest debt and then tackle the next lowest bill. It is so gratifying to know one account has been paid off and with each paycheck, you whittle down more debt without intense emotional pain.

Keep low balances on bank-issued credit cards and revolving credit cards

According to Nerd Wallet, in 2016, the average U.S. household had nearly $17,000 in credit card debt. You are not alone. But you can reduce that debt. Pick one of your accounts and be sure to pay more than the minimum balance each month. Get one card down to a reasonable amount and then lower the balance on another card.
Not able to pay more than the minimum? It might be time to put those credit cards on ice. Literally! Take all but one of your credit cards, throw them in a container, fill it up with water and DEEP FREEZE those plastic cards. Now you can make payments on the cards each month and get that balance down.

Don’t open an excessive number of credit cards you don’t really need, in an attempt to increase your available credit.

If you have recently established credit, opening up four or five new accounts within two-three years could hurt your credit score, because you don’t have enough of a “track record” for the loan companies to make an educated decision as to your ability to manage your finances. In comparison, when a person has a few credit cards for eleven to fifteen years and later opens several new accounts, it may not have an adverse effect. What is more important than a lot of credit cards is the ability to make payments on time and demonstrate self-discipline in spending activity.

Don’t close several unused credit cards at the same time attempting to raise your credit score.

Positive credit scores are enhanced by a long credit history, so even if your account is not active, keeping an old card in your credit history gives you longevity and counts for about 15% of a FICO score.
A closed account will fall off your credit report sooner than an open one. In most cases, negative credit information will remain on your credit files for seven years from the time the debt first became delinquent. Here’s the good news: Positive credit information can stay on record indefinitely; however, closed accounts in good standing often drop off the credit report within ten years.
You can check your three credit reports for free once a year. 

Here’s a timely bonus that will raise your credit score this year.

Beginning September 15, 2017, the three credit reporting companies will phase in a host of changes that will lower the number of “mixed files,” which often had a negative impact on credit reports of people with similar names, and will update procedural changes aimed at improving the accuracy of these reports.
Find more tips for investing in you!

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Investing In a Volatile Market

Guest Blogger George Diaz

Investing In a Volatile Market

Ever since the election of Donald Trump, markets have been very volatile, hitting record highs one minute, and then experiencing massive selloffs the next. For this reason, it is imperative to know “how and where” when investing in a volatile market.

We are living in turbulent times.

Market volatility should be a reminder to regularly review your investments and make sure you have a diversified investment strategy that matches the overall risk in your portfolio to your personality and goals. Here are some guidelines for you to invest in an unpredictable market.

1. Stand firm: Crises happen on a regular basis and are usually of short duration.

Market crashes can be annoying, but history shows that the stock market has been able to recover from declines and can still offer investors a positive return in the long run.

In fact, in the last 35 years, the market has experienced an average decrease of 14% from highest to lowest during each year, but still had a positive annual return more than 80% of the time.

2. Be at ease with your investments

If you are nervous when the market goes down, you may not have the right investments. Your time horizon, goals and risk tolerance are key factors in ensuring that you have an investment strategy that works for you. Even if your time horizon is long enough to justify an aggressive portfolio, you have to be comfortable with the bumps you will encounter.

However, you should be mindful of not being too conservative, especially if you have a long-term horizon because strategies that are more conservative can not provide the growth potential you need to achieve your goals.

 

Attempting to enter and exit the market can be costly.

3. Do not try to time the market

4. Invest regularly despite volatility

If you invest regularly for months, years and decades, short-term crises will not have a big impact on your bottom line. Instead of trying to judge when to buy and sell based on market conditions, if you take a disciplined approach to investing, you avoid the dangers of market timing. Seize opportunities!

Bear Market Strategies

During a general downturn in financial markets as a result of economic uncertainty, investors rush and seek security in their investments.

There may be some actions to take while the markets are down, to help you have a better position for the long term. These strategies are complex, and you may want to consult a professional before making any investment or tax decisions.

1. Avoid positioning yourself in volatile funds or ETFs of complex nature, even more so during a full correction.

2. Say goodbye to the losers. Now is the right time to do a portfolio cleaning. If these stocks did not perform well in boom times, why would it be any different now?

3. Reduce your stock positions. If the market continues to decline, you will be able to go hunting for undervalued securities, because you will have sufficient liquidity.

4. Buy bonds. Debt securities can be great allies in the midst of bearish gaps in the market.

5. If the stock market continues to move down, try to avoid constant monitoring, as fear will make you anxious and often results in people making hasty decisions about their assets.

6. Taking short positions is one way to make money in a bear market, such as selling futures, betting on declines or helping to reduce your portfolio exposure to the market.

Guest blooger George Diaz writes for finance sites: sobredinero.com and Myfinancialwisdom.com. He can be reached at george@sobredinero.com or via Twitter @sobredinero1

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Does Money Buy True Love?

Money vs Time

Does Money Buy True Love?

My grandparents gave my family so much! We knew they loved us best! We were their only grandchildren. Their money bought TVs, stereos, a vehicle when we turned sixteen – and we loved being spoiled by them. But as children, we never thought to ask “does money buy true love?” When I was a young adult, and my grandparents needed some help around the house, I spent a few days in their yard fixing things up. At the end of the weekend, my grandfather tried to give me a hundred bucks, which I politely refused. My grandparents were very confused and hurt. They felt they needed to pay for everything, all the time. They could not comprehend that I simply wanted to spend time with them because I loved them.

Do you use money to “solve” problems or to make people like you more?

It wasn’t until recently that I realized what my grandparents were really saying with their overly generous attention: “We don’t feel worthy of your love, but if we give you lots of money, will you pretend to love us?” I was taken aback, hurt and saddened by that thought.

Using Money to Mask Insecurity

What I came to understand is that my grandparents grew up feeling insecure and unworthy of attention. The only way they thought they could convince people to love them was through bribery. My grandparents taught my mother the same lesson, which not surprisingly trickled down to my siblings and me. Buying expensive presents, always treating friends or family to meals or providing luxuries that they cannot afford, to make others love you more, isn’t a “real” relationship.  Even though the money was always used for positive experiences to create a loving environment, the cash did not create a bond; it was the act of connecting and caring that cemented the relationship.

Explore the Emotions that Propel You to Use Money in Relationships

Going out to eat, attending special events, and taking your family to Disneyland are all positive things that we do with friends and family because we care about them. However, if the underlying emotion is based on fear and need, it might be time to explore your actions. Are you afraid people won’t like you if you can’t splurge on expensive meals and events? Do you need people to admire you or feel awed and impressed with your generosity?  Is your money serving you well when you “buy” people?

Investigate the emotions that trigger your automatic financial response in relationships.  Check out ways to examine your actions – set aside quiet time to reflect on what’s most important to you or begin to journal. Start making conscious choices that will generate an authentic connection based on love and trust. By cultivating genuine relationships with family and friends, you will construct a lifestyle of proactive abundance, and that makes all the difference in the world!

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Power Up for Positive Change

positive changePower Up for Positive Change!

Training Your Brain for a Successful Mental Shift

Each day, we are given a gift of time. You know that you have 24 hours in a day, so let’s break that down into minutes. There are 1,440 minutes each day to work, play, make a difference in your life and be the person you secretly want to be. You have ample time to power up for positive change!

In fact, it takes about the same amount of time to make an excuse for why you aren’t living the life you desire – as it does to make small positive actions that will become live-changing.

One of the best ways to begin making a mental shift is to quit fighting the old you; those emotionally charged childhood memories, unhealthy habits or self-sabotaging actions don’t serve you well. Divert your attention toward building the newer version of you; Begin to focus on WHERE you want to be and how you WANT to behave. Start right this minute.

Action changes things! Many times people find a new action creates a ripple in a different direction or portion of their life. Ride the energy toward positive change. You can train your mind to be more fit with daily decisions that will directly impact the result you want to achieve. Your goals will define your actions. Write down one goal to get started on the new you.

Here are three tools for creating a healthy mindset and mental attitude:

1) Be Grateful

Look for reasons to be grateful. Take time on a daily or weekly basis to write down why these events, people or experiences fulfilled you and made you thankful. The physical process of writing down your thoughts creates a real change in your brain.

2) Be Mindful

In essence, being mindful is to find or maintain a non-judgmental sense of attention to the present moment. Instead of becoming angry, emulating other’s negative energy or turning inward and focusing on emotions that can consume you, stop! Observe, be “in the moment” and explore all the details around you without relapsing into old habits or reliving emotional drama. When you dredge up old memories, the situation now becomes “all about you.”
Stephen Covey shared a moving story about a dad and his rowdy children on an NYC subway in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is a fabulous insight into the effects of being mindful – which often results in a paradigm shift.

3) Fake it until you Become It

You can embark on a new adventure or career choice before you have achieved your vision of ultimate perfection. Don’t wait to lose ten pounds to attend a class reunion or feel you must have $500 in the bank before you look for a new job. Began to act the way you dream of being. As you make those subtle changes and actions each day, over time, you can become the person that you were dreaming of being. Just as Popeye boosted his power with spinach to be strong, you can power up for positive change and achieve your vision with intentional choices. Think about this famous Winston Churchill quote, “Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.” Aim High! You might just make it!

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Time Value of Money

Understanding The Time Value of Money

Today’s guest post is by Gary Forman, founder of the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and website. One of his clients asked Gary:

“Does anyone think that $20,000 will buy a new car forty years from today? Maybe it’s time for an article on the time value of money, accounting for inflation in long term investment plans, and related issues.” ~  Lester

Lester was referring to an article that I had written saying that when you buy something today, you’re agreeing not to buy something more expensive later. And, he’s right. You can’t simply take today’s prices and expect them to be valid for future purchases, especially if you’re looking more than a few years into the future.

The concept of rising prices is only one component of an economic theory called “the time value of money.”

Having money over a period of time is valuable. Money can earn more money. Suppose that you had $100 today and could earn 10% on it. A year from now you’d have $110. In two years $121. So having that $100 is valuable.

Also, I’d rather have $100 today than wait and get it tomorrow. I won’t earn much interest in one day, but it should be worth a little more tomorrow. It’s also safer getting it today. There’s always that possibility, however small, that you won’t get the money tomorrow. By getting it today, you’ve eliminated that risk.

Another area where the time value of money applies is in the area of retirement planning. Suppose that you expect to retire in 20 years. You know that prices will rise before then. But can you estimate by how much?

Rule of 72

A quick and easy way to answer that question is to use the rule of 72. The formula is easy. The number of years in the future times the interest rate you expect equals 72. That’s how long it will take for prices to double.

Let’s do an example. You want to know how long it will take prices to double if inflation is 6%. A little algebra tells us that you divide 72 by 6. Thus, prices will double in 12 years. So if you expect to retire in 20 years and inflation is 6%, prices will be nearly 4 times higher when you retire. ($1 x 2 = $2 in 12 years. That $2 x 2 = $4 the next 12 years. Or 4 times in 24 years)

Suppose that you had $100 today and could earn 10% on it. A year from now you’d have $110. In two years $121. So having that $100 now is valuable. Also, I’d rather have $100 today than wait and get it tomorrow. I won’t earn much interest in one day, but it should be worth a little more tomorrow. It’s also safer getting it today. There’s always that possibility, however small, that you won’t get the money tomorrow. By getting it today, you’ve eliminated that risk.

If you play with the formula, you’ll find that the rate of interest you choose makes a big difference in the results. For instance, 3% inflation would mean that prices would double every 24 years. Quite a difference compared to our first example – going up 4 times in the same amount of time.

You can also use the same formula to calculate how long it will take your money to double in an investment account. For instance, if you’re earning 9% on your investments, it will take 8 years to double. (9 x 8 = 72).

You may want to get more precise than our little formula will allow. For that, you’ll need something called a financial function calculator. It will do a lot more than the time value of money formula, but it’s easy enough to learn how to use it for time value questions. And, they’re not expensive.

Some people will subtract the inflation rate from their investment return to get a “real” rate of return on their retirement savings. For instance, if you earned 8% on the money and inflation was 3%, you’ve really gained 5% in buying power.

Another application for time value of money is when you’re trying to decide which payment plan you’d prefer. What happens if you were told that you could buy a car for $20,000 cash today. Or you could make $400 payments for 60 months. Or you could put $4,000 down and make $375 payments for 48 months.

You could add up all the payments you would make, and that would be a good rough estimate. But you’d get a more precise answer by using a calculator to bring everything back to today’s dollars so that you’d have a fairer comparison.

$1 today is more valuable

Don’t be intimidated by the concept. Just remember that having $1 today is more valuable that having one a year from now. And the same holds true if you’re paying. A dollar that you pay today is more valuable than one that you’ll pay next year.
With an understanding of the time value of money and the ability to use the rule of 72, you can help yourself in a variety of common money situations.

~~~~~~~

Thanks Gary! This article by Gary Foreman originally appeared in The Dollar Stretcher.com.

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He’s been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter or visit Gary Foreman on Google+. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

Time Value of Money Image via weakonomics.com

 

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Money-Savvy Travel Hacks

Money-Savvy Travel Hacks

Everyone deserves an escape from work now and then, and you don’t need to smash your piggy bank to have a good time. Refreshing visions of “getting away” are calling to you. Your vacation demands to be taken! Make the most of your R & R dollars using these money-savvy travel hacks to create an oasis of fun and relaxation. In fact, getting away is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health! Check out the healthy benefits of traveling via PositiveHealthWellness.

Plan Ahead

Be proactive and reap the benefits of your hard work without going into debt. Find discount codes for your favorite destination and pre-purchase museum tickets, boat rides or city-saver coupon books ahead of time. You will be amazed at how much money you can save!

Book fixed-cost trips

Explore and select trips that fit the exact dollar amount in your budget. No extra fees & no surprises. Another method for destination selection is to pick a theme. Base your trip on some of your favorite activities. Love wine? Tour a few vineyards or participate in a cooking class seminar. History buffs can find numerous forts and museums across the country while nature lovers have incredible opportunities to hike and bike, enjoying a personal experience in stunning landscapes.

Spectacular Vistas and Memories

Another fabulous way to see America is to take advantage of the breathtaking national and state parks here in the USA. Visit nps.gov to find a national park within driving distance. For even more road trip ideas, visit http://www.visittheusa.com.

Lower Hotel Costs

Travel with friends and family and rent a condo or house. One option is to find smaller independently owned hotels that are not part of a chain. You will often enjoy more personal service and spend less. Tired of high-rise condos with slow elevators and too many people? Investigate AirBNB or Vacation Homes By Owner for spacious digs at much lower prices and the opportunity to have more privacy.

Favorite Destinations

Find the “hot-spot” and stay in the nearest town for bigger savings. For example, you don’t mind driving an extra 20-30 minutes, when traveling to Niagara Falls, book a hotel room in Buffalo, New York – it’s only a 20-minute drive across the border. You can cut your hotel budget in half. Now you have the best of both worlds: you saved saved a ton of money while seeing all of the sights!

Taking an escape from work can be a great stress reliever, provide memorable time with family and friends, and bring a sense of renewal to your life. Reward yourself! Keeping your focus on a healthy relationship with your money while at work or play allows you to make the most of your vacation while taking advantage of smart,  money-savvy travel hacks.  Be sure to follow @themoneynerve on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more travel tips and tools.

Have a great vacation this summer — You deserve it!