Prom on a Dime

According to the 2014 Visa Prom Spending Survey, American families spend $800 – $1,000 to cover prom costs. Here are some ideas on getting the night you want without breaking the bank.

Establish a Budget

Whether your parents are helping to cover the cost or you plan to spend your own money, it is best to establish a budget. One easy way to do so is with the Plan’it Prom App for iOS and Android. The app helps you to create a budget and keep track of your spending. It also provides a timeline and countdown feature so you don’t forget any important details.

PromApp2 PromApp1

 

Save on Threads

Thanks to the internet, both guys and girls can rent formal wear online to avoid over paying for an outfit you’ll likely wear one time. If you plan on renting your attire, start window-shopping and reserving now since the hottest trends go fast. You can also check out consignment shops or thrift stores.

To Limo or Not to Limo? That is the question.

Renting a ride can be a luxury, but is it worth the cost? Call around and price-check different businesses in advance to make sure you get the best deal. Also, consider sharing the cost with a group of friends. If the rental is $600 for the night and you have six friends sharing the ride, you end up spending much less money than if it was just you and your date. You could decide to drive yourself at a huge cost savings so you can use your resources elsewhere.

Dinner Options

You and your date could choose to go out to dinner, but that can be a really large expense. Consider doing something low key or find a swanky restaurant with thrifty prices. Another option that you may consider, especially if you plan on having a group share a ride, is to have a little dinner party at home. It could be in the style of a potluck, but you could have parents provide the food or have it catered and then split cost with your friends.

 

Keep these things in mind whenever you are planning for prom. Remember that things can still be luxurious without all of the costs. What are some tips that you can think of to save money for these events?

 

About the 2014 Visa Prom Spending Survey

The survey results are based on 4,000 live telephone interviews conducted nationally from January 24 – January 26, January 31 – February 2, February 7 – 9, and February 14 – 16 in cooperation with GfK Roper OmniTel.

Quick Tips for Buying your First Car

Buying a car is typically an inevitable purchase many of us have to make at some point in our life. New car excitement; unfortunately, is often balanced with the dread and stress of loans and dealerships.

There’s good news.

With a little prep work you can nearly eliminate the uncertainty you feel. Here are a few tips to help you lessen your stress, pay what you can afford, get the best deal and fall in love with your new set of wheels.

Find out what you can pay each month.

Take a look at your cost-of-living. Calculate what you spend on rent, food, insurance and what you would like to have in the way of “fun money.” What can you afford to pay for a car each month? This will include not only the car payment, but the insurance cost as well. Next, determine how long you want to make payments. Loan terms can be spread out from 36 to 72-months depending on how much money you put on the down payment, how much you are financing and what you can afford.

Figure out your cost of ownership.

Loan payments, insurance costs, gas, oil changes, maintenance costs and taxes should all be considered when calculating your monthly cost commitment. When you have better knowledge of where your money is going, you keep from being surprised in the long run.

Get pre-approved for your loan.

Don’t waste your time looking at cars you can’t afford. With a pre-approval you can focus on options within your price range.
Research your options. Keep an open mind. You may have your heart set on a $35,000 vehicle, but you can only afford to spend $10,000. Consider new and pre-owned options within your price range. Test drive several vehicles before you buy. You and your car will have a long relationship, you want to make sure it’s the right fit.

Get the negotiations out of the way.

You may hear conversations about how sitting through your first car deal can be daunting. Well, buying a car just got easier. There are free car buying services that allow you to shop online and avoid all the dealership negotiations and haggling ? often saving you money in the process. Simply, choose your make and model, pick the color, options/specifications and view all of the available incentives. The process is similar for used cars too. After you have decided on the car you are interested in, you get a certificate showing you the guaranteed price from a certified dealer. This includes the TrueCar® Price Curve which shows others have paid for the same vehicle. This information will help ensure you are getting a great deal.

Go finalize the deal.

At the dealership always review your contract details. Before signing, make sure you are comfortable with the terms. Ask the dealer to remove any add-on fees that you did not agree to.

Follow these steps and you will feel an overwhelming sense of pride knowing that you made smart choices, got the deal you deserve and did it completely on your own. Good luck.

Student Discounts Save Big Bucks

Did you know that simply by showing your Student ID, you could be taking advantage of a variety of amazing, money saving deals?! So, dig it out and start shopping.

Student discounts are available at a variety of retail locations. Many locations don’t advertise their student deals, so before you pay, ALWAYS ask. Here are a few places where you should have your card handy.

Computers.

If you wish to purchase a computer to get you ready for your college days or even started with your career, now is the time. You may be thinking, why should I even worry about that now? Well, if you see how much you can save with these options, especially whenever you are wanting higher dollar tech items, this will come in handy! If you have recently graduated (high school or college) you may want to take advantage of your student discount ASAP!

Cheaper Eats.

Some restaurants like Subway, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Chipotle and Burger King will have unadvertised student discounts. They can range from 5-15% off or maybe just a free beverage with purchase. Offers often depend on location, so don’t be afraid to ask what discounts are available.

New Threads.

Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters offers a variety student savings. Plus, Target.com provides discounts for clothing, home goods and groceries. Visit Target’s website and look up “target student coupon” to see what select items qualify for the student discount program.

Extras.

Save a few bucks at the theater or gym. AMC Theaters cuts student ticket prices. If you are looking for more than what is available from your campus gym, 24-Hour Fitness provides membership savings for students. Save money when you take your car to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change or any other service so you can keep your car healthy for the trips home or for a getaway.

Student discounts are available if you take the time to look for them. Try asking some other students if they happen to know any hidden gems or research what is available out there on the internet. And of course, there’s “an app for that”! The University Network (or TUN) can show you some local deals.

If you find another coupon to add to any of the deals above, you are truly a thrifty saver.

Help your fellow reader and share what deals you have found while out and about the area.

 

Source: Pisani, Joseph. “College Student Discounts Can Save Money For Shoppers with School IDs” Huffington Post. 23 Aug 2013. Huffington Post. 16 Jun 2014 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/college-student-discounts_n_3805667.html>.

4 Ways to Save for College

As college tuition prices continue to rise, it becomes more difficult to save and prepare for the cost. Here are some tips to help you get your funds together for the big investment:

Pick the right account. Look for special savings accounts that have higher dividends to help your money grow while you are tucking it away for a later like Apple’s Education SuperSaver Account. This is a good way to have your money work for you by allowing a financial institution to assist with your major goal.

Put money away often. Setup a direct deposit with your part-time job paycheck and set aside money into a savings account like Apple’s eXtras Student Savings. Even small amounts of cash stack up quickly when forget it’s there, especially if you’re earning dividends (also known as interest, more cheddah, cha-ching, etc.). You will still have funds to go out and catch the latest flick or have dinner with your friends. It will just be a little less with the money you are saving.

Apply for scholarships & grants.  Take the time and research what scholarship and grant opportunities exist for you.  Sites like Scholarship.com explain what to do and how to do it.

Look into “realistic” options. Consider a community college before transferring to a traditional 4-year college or university. Get your “base” classes in and then make the big move. This way, you can continue to save or limit your student loan balance. Plus, check out the different cost options between in and out-of-state schools.

One thing is for sure, the sooner you get started, the more money you will have when it comes time to enroll.

 

Sources:

http://www.fastweb.com/financial-aid/articles/4025-tuition-saving-tips
http://www.mefa.org/saveforcollege/saveforcollege.aspx
https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-funding/