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10 fun things to do this summer that won’t break the bank!
Ahhh, the lazy days of summer, it’s your kids’ favorite time of the year—no school and no homework! But the novelty only lasts so long. It’s only a matter of time before you hear the all too familiar question, ”What can we do? We’re bored!”
With two whole months of summer vacation left, you’ll have to find some activities for the family that will keep them entertained but won’t break the bank. We’ve rounded up some frugal fun that will earn you big points without spending big bucks.
1. Dollar Movie Days
Many of the larger movie theater chains offer a summer program of weekly $1 family-friendly movies. Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express 2017 includes Kung Fu Panda 3, The Boxtrolls, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing, to name a few. Stop at the Dollar Store or the grocery store for some movie-themed snacks, and you’ve got a fun and inexpensive morning out!
2. Let Target Pay
Target sponsors FREE admission to events and museums across the nation. Check out their site to see what’s happening near you. Maybe next time you won’t feel so bad when you can’t leave the store without spending $100.
3. Apple Camp
Have a child that’s interested in technology? Apple retail stores offer Apple Camp, where kids 8 to 12 can learn to make a movie or interactive book. It’s FREE so register here.
4. Kid Swap
Have a friend that’s a good baker, painter, or movie-taker? Make plans to swap days and kids. The kids will love it because they’ll have fun with their friends and maybe learn or experience something new. You’ll enjoy it because you’ll have some free time to run errands, get some work done, or get a manicure!
5. Go for a Hike
Not all hiking trails are designed for experienced adventurers. Download the All Trails app, and wherever you are, you’ll be able to find the perfect hike, bike ride, or trail run by length, rating, and difficulty level. Filter by dog or kid-friendly trails, or find trails with great views. Bring a bird watching book, pack a picnic, and make an afternoon of it.
6. Visit a Fire Station
Most local stations will be happy to arrange tours for kids. This is an exciting field trip for both preschooler and school-age children. They’ll love learning about the different fire trucks and meeting real live heroes.
7. Crafting Classes and Workshops
Check out some of your local big chain stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot for their FREE kids’ weekly wood project workshops. Michaels craft stores also sponsor inexpensive classes for kids that encourage imagination and allow their creativity to shine!
8. Camp out
It’s always fun to sleep where you normally don’t, so whether it’s in a national park, in the backyard or under your dining room table draped with sheets, you can still call it camping!
9. Family Bowling
Bowling is always a fun time for families. Register your kids at Kids Bowl Free, to participate in a nationwide program where kids get to bowl two games for free every day during the summer at their local bowling alley.
10. Host a Scavenger Hunt
This may sound like a lot of work, but you can make it as simple or as elaborate as you like and Wikihow is just one of the many sites with instructions and great ideas.
Whatever your summer plans are, go out and enjoy yourself. Just know that all fun doesn’t have to break the bank. There are tons of things you can do that will create lasting memories and still allow you to stay within budget. Be creative and resourceful, and you’ll have the best summer yet!
6 tips on how to travel cheap
Memorable vacations can come with a price tag you’d rather forget. But with proper planning, smart research and a flexible attitude, you can travel cheap and still have an experience worth remembering. Here’s how.
1. Cut transportation costs
Before planning your trip, have a rough budget in mind. A vacation calculator can help. If you know how much you’re willing to spend on airfare, this map can give you ideas for destinations that are within your budget.
Traveling cheaply isn’t just about cutting costs — it’s also about getting the most out of what you spend. You may discover, for example, that the $400 you thought could pay only for a flight within the U.S. can actually take you to Paris and back.
If your travel dates are flexible, you may find an even bigger selection of places you can afford to visit. If you’ve already picked a destination, changing the departure dates could lower your airfare.
Setting up alerts for when prices drop should also be a part of your strategy. Try apps such as Yapta or Hopper, which will send you price notifications on flights you’re tracking. (Booking fees may apply.) You can also follow Twitter handles like @theflightdeal or @FareDealAlert for limited-time deals. If you find a price you like, scrutinize the airline’s baggage policy before booking. Some offer cheaper ticket prices, but have strict carry-on requirements or tack on sizable fees for overweight and oversized luggage.
If your destination is within driving distance, consider hopping in a car instead of on a plane. Use a trip calculator, like this one, to make sure it’s worth the tradeoff. Add in the cost of renting a car, if necessary.
2. Compare lodging options
Finding a cheap hotel room can be tricky and takes a bit of effort. Start by shopping around on sites like Expedia, Priceline.com and Kayak to find hotels in the area, and then search for hotel promotion codes online. Contact hotels directly to negotiate a lower price. Also consider staying in a hotel outside the center of the city and looking for last-minute deals.
If you’re open to alternatives, skip the hotel and book a room through a site like Airbnb, Homeaway and OneFineStay. Not only could those be more affordable, but often you’ll stay with a local resident who can point you to cheap restaurants and activities that aren’t in travel guides. Hostels can also be a money-saver if you’re OK with bare-bones accommodations and potentially sharing a room. Keep in mind that they may have age restrictions.
3. Eat wisely (and not just healthy)
Many travelers underestimate the costs of meals, snacks and tips, says guidebook author James Kaiser. He advises bringing your own food or buying it at a store when you arrive at your destination to save money.
That doesn’t mean you have to skip restaurants altogether and haul groceries around. Dining out is one of the most enjoyable parts of travel. The trick is knowing when to indulge and when to save.
Start by looking at your itinerary. Break down your meals each day and identify the times you want to splurge. Then look for ways to save money on the other meals. For example, you can avoid inflated prices at the airport by bringing food and an empty water bottle that you can fill once you’re past security (passengers are prohibited from bringing more than 3.4 ounces of liquids, per container, in carry-on bags at U.S. airports). For breakfast, pack energy bars so you can save time and money in the mornings.
Your spending will likely fluctuate from day to day, so remember to adjust your budget to avoid overspending.
4. Research your currency options
If you’re traveling abroad, find out if the country you’re visiting is plastic-friendly. If so, a debit or credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees could be your best bet. Otherwise, research your currency exchange options to avoid the poor rates and numerous fees common at airport kiosks. Those will shrink your vacation fund before you’ve even had the chance to unpack.
Visiting your bank or credit union to exchange money before you leave may be the best option. Assuming it has that currency, you’ll likely get better exchange rates and lower fees. And, just in case you end up needing more cash once you’re abroad, ask if your financial institution has international branches or a partnership with a bank overseas. If so, you may be able to withdraw cash from those ATMs with low or no fees.
5. Get a prepaid phone or SIM card
A cell phone can be useful for navigating new cities, as well as staying connected to travel companions and life back home. But for international travelers, it may also come with data roaming fees. You’d save the most money by ditching the phone during your trip, but that may not be realistic. Your best option will likely be buying a prepaid phone once you arrive or having your carrier unlock your phone, if possible, so you can use a foreign SIM card when you land.
6. Keep souvenir spending in check
Like everything else, set a budget for souvenirs. Also consider doing some research on the best souvenirs and shops, so you’ll have a sense of what you might buy and the prices to expect.
If you find yourself on the verge of an impulse purchase, try an abbreviated version of the 72-hour shopping rule, in which you put off buying something for three days to see if you still want it. That amount of time is probably impractical when you’re on vacation, but if your schedule allows you to return to the store the next day or even later that same day, you may find that you can easily live without that $150 wool sweater from Iceland. You were only going to wear it once, anyway.
Behind the Mic with Brian Moote
A recent transplant from Los Angeles, Brian made the move across the country to join The Bert Show, alongside show veterans Bert and Kristin, a little over a year ago.
We chatted with Brian about how he’s adjusting to life in Atlanta, his work on radio and on stage, and his unique talents. Find out how this once-aspiring bulldozer operator became a radio and comedy star.
How did you get your start in radio?
I got into radio while living in Los Angeles as a comedian. I was on the road and an opportunity opened up to audition in Seattle. I sent in some demos from various radio shows that I had done around the country while touring in radio, and the station liked it a lot so they offered me a cohost position on their new morning show. It was called “Mornings with Jackie, Marco and Moote” on Click 98.9 FM.
Was being in radio a childhood dream? What would you be doing if you weren’t in radio?
My dream as a child was to play professional basketball or be a bulldozer operator. My mom was less keen on the idea of me driving tractors. If I wasn’t in radio, I would be touring the country as a comedian or using my master’s degree in social work to help at-risk youth.
You moved across the country to join The Bert Show – what about the show convinced you to make the move?
Making the decision to move across the country from Los Angeles to Atlanta was a pretty easy one. The Bert Show is nationally known as a unique and cutting-edge morning show in Top 40 formats. It is rare to find a morning show that has as much talk time and story development as The Bert Show does. Joining the show was the right choice for me because it is a place in where I can both entertain people in the mornings, as well as learn about radio and grow as a personality.
What’s the biggest challenge working in radio?
Balancing all the things that I do for the show and my life outside the show. It can get difficult to put the right amount of effort into all areas of your life and not let something suffer. Like for me, I perform stand-up comedy 3 or 4 nights a week, which can make early mornings tough on my creative process for both comedy and radio.
What’s your favorite thing about The Bert Show?
My favorite thing is how many great listeners we have and getting to meet a lot of them when I am out and about in the community or at my comedy shows.
What’s been the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do thanks to The Bert Show?
Hands down, the coolest thing that I have been able to do as a member of The Bert Show is attending the Super Bowl, even though the game didn’t go the way that we wanted. It was a crazy experience going to all of the fancy parties and goofing around at the NFL Experience. The coolest part of the whole trip was that my brother and I did not have game tickets — we were basically just out there to experience the parties and the vibe of the weekend. When we got to a tailgate party at the stadium in Houston, we met Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s security staff who he sent out to the game. We told them that we didn’t actually have tickets and they contacted Arthur and got two single tickets for us. They were all amazing people.
If you could interview anyone, who would it be and why?
Hmmm… That’s an interesting question. I am not a big fan of most interviews. They are difficult to do because our job is to get the person to say something interesting that nobody has heard and it’s their job to basically say nothing and promote something. I think if I had the option to interview anybody, I would go with Barack Obama right now. I feel like since he’s out of office now, you might actually get some good answers about what he actually thinks.
What’s a typical day in the life of Brian Moote like?
A typical day for me begins about 4:30am, and I head to the station at 5am. We have the show from 5:45am to 10am, and then I have to get into post-show stuff, like meetings, cutting commercial spots, preparing material for the next day, etc. I generally get out of the station around 12pm and I head home to take my dog Moxie (little Chihuahua mix) out for a walk, and then I get a nap in for an hour or so. Naps are huge for me because I generally do stand-up at night. At about 2pm or 3pm, I try to get some exercise in, sometimes a long run, or a workout class in the area. In the afternoon, I end up working on radio and comedy things for a couple hours and then about 7pm, I head to one of the comedy clubs in the city and work on some jokes.
How did you get into comedy? Is it hard to balance your comedy career with your radio career?
I got into comedy after I got out of college and moved back to Seattle to teach Special Ed. My mom had always told me to do comedy because I was a good storyteller. I was incredibly nervous to go on stage for the first time because I have always hated public speaking. After that, I kept getting on stage every night for the next few years and eventually started getting paid to do it. The balance between stand-up and radio is difficult. One reason is that the hours are opposite, so you’re basically living your life in a split shift with sleep in between. For me, it is really important to devote time to both individually, in terms of developing material. There is some crossover in both, but it’s important to approach them separately because the style of delivery is different. I try to devote an hour a day to stand-up writing and other stand-up projects completely outside of The Bert Show.
Which comedians influence you the most?
The comedian that inspires me the most is Bill Burr. His style and material, I relate to pretty well. He likes to take stories from his life and tough social topics and turn them into jokes, which I respect. He is actually the reason that I went to Boston instead of NYC for graduate school and comedy. He told me it was a city that would really help you find your comedic voice and he was correct.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your comedy?
It sounds cliché, but I get my material from my life and the world around me. Generally, all of the things that I talk about on stage come from an experience I had or thought about. Of course, the jokes get ridiculous because I embellish on them and add new aspects. The one thing for me is that I have to relate to the material or I find it boring. I am not a huge fan of just jokes for joke’s sake. I still write those types of jokes for social media, but they usually don’t make the cut for my onstage act.
You’ve previously worked in special education and with at-risk youth – is that something you’re still involved with?
I am still involved with a lot of organizations that not only work with special needs and at-risk youth, but a variety of causes in the greater Atlanta area. At this point in my career, I mainly work with helping organizations raise money and awareness for their cause. If people want to either get involved with non-profits, or have a non-profit that they want me to help out with, the best way to get in touch with me is through e-mail or on social media.
How are you adjusting to life in Atlanta? What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?
I love Atlanta so far, it’s a city with a ton of fun neighborhoods. My favorite thing to do here is explore since I am new to the city. I really enjoy riding my bike or jogging around exploring.
It’s no secret Georgia’s Own and Ne[x]t are all about making smart financial choices. Why do you think it’s so important for the younger generation to learn about managing money?
I think that it’s huge for young folks to manage their money because I think a lot of the financial resources that older generations have are starting to dry up and I think that it is important to plan for your future independently so you don’t have to depend on other programs.
Do you have any tips or tricks to help keep your finances in check?
The only tip that I have is not to ignore things. It can get too easy to just ignore your finances when you get stressed out by life. I let a student loan go into default when I was 23, and it took me a few years to get back on track and organized.
Just for fun – what is one thing about you that many people might not know?
I can juggle and ride a unicycle. I learned how to do those things when I was a clown in 4-H in third grade. Yes, that is right, I was a clown in 4-H and I dressed up as a hobo clown and walked around the Island County Fair entertaining people.
Listen to Brian live on The Bert Show on Q100 every weekday morning from 5:30 – 10:00 or connect with him on Facebook (@MooteComedy) and Twitter (@MootePoints).
Average Wedding Cost Reaches $35k
Thinking about having a wedding soon? Are you prepared for the cost? According to The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding in the US is $35,329. The study goes on to say that weddings today are less about the bride and groom, and instead are geared more towards entertaining guests. From the venue to food, decorations, and entertainment, couples are providing guests with unforgettable experiences. Don’t let this number scare you — it’s just an average, so there’s room for you to spend less (or more).
If you haven’t started saving for a potential wedding, now might be the time.