Budget Travel Tips – Eight Simple Ways to Stretch Your Vacation Budget

Budget travel has become a necessity for most people with the cost of gasoline and other consumer products on the rise. But when we start considering when, where, how and what type of vacation to undertake, we sometimes get caught up in the anticipation and excitement of the upcoming trip and let the more important financial side of things slip a little. After all, for most of us, taking a vacation may only happen once a year and for some, even more infrequently, so we tend to indulge and forget about our pocket book a little.There are many ways to save money, avoid unnecessary cost, ensure you take care of details end up a smart and perceptive traveler. Travel planning is easier that you might think and here are eight great budget travel tips for making your travel dollar go further!1. Cushion your budget – When considering a trip or planning budget travel, it is important to plan for the unexpected and consider the financial side of things early on. This ensures affordability, liquidity and having the resources to enjoy it to the fullest! Plan for the worst-case financial scenario and prepare for things to cost a little more than you expected. Allow up to 20% increase in cost to be on the safe side of things.2. Emergency money: Carrying some spare cash somewhere can also be a lifesaver. The rule of thumb seems to be around $50-$100 in small bills. This can be used for incidentals, ground-transportation like cab fare and/or your return home, tips and more.3. Set your priorities: Set some budget travel spending priorities and criteria in advance, like eating at a special restaurant or attending a concert, even if this means sacrificing a bit on lodgings or visa versa, depending on what is more important to you.4. Keep an eye on your credit cards: It is extremely easy these days to have access to your financial resources through ATM’s and credit cards. Just remember that it is just as easy to overspend because of it being so readily available. A little discipline will go a long way to protect your financial interest and help you stick to your travel budget.5. Maximize gas mileage and efficiency: If you’re planning a road trip, make sure that your car has been serviced at least a week before your trip. A well-maintained vehicle will go a long way to ensure carefree driving. If your budget allows, you may consider renting a vehicle to save wear and tear on your own. Small economy cars are better on gas and are much more comfortable than they used to be. Minivans and sport utility vehicles are practical only if you have to transport a large family with a lot of equipment or luggage.6. Gas fill-ups: For filling up your car en route, avoid pushing to the limit until the gas runs out. Gas will obviously be more expensive when filling up in remote locations. If you miscalculated and the light on the dashboard indicates that you are really in need, opt for filling just half a tank until you reach the next more densely or major populated destination, where gas might be a little cheaper.7. Pack-a-snack: Bring your own refreshments and snacks. Gas station prices on drinks and snack food are high. Avoid these during a pit stop, if you are counting your budget travel dollars. A cooler packed with lots of cool drinks, water and ice and/or a thermos of coffee or hot water for tea, some fruit, granola bars, or a sandwich, goes a long way to still the hunger and save you money by avoiding all high priced stops en route.8. Travel necessities: It is advisable to travel with basic necessities, like a cell phone and a first aid kit, since both can prove to be essential in emergencies. Most people have cell phones at their disposal, but in the event that you are not one of them, a prepaid cell phone may be the answer for your trip. The peace of mind it offers is worth the small investment. Cell phones can also save on hefty surcharges and higher long distance rates that hotels and resorts often charge.Budget travel requires close attention to all things financial before and during your trip. Planning a trip or vacation can be a little time consuming but following these travel tips will hopefully save you a lot of headaches as well as some unnecessary interest charges on your credit card balances later! You will thank yourself for your fiscal restraint and spending discipline, upfront planning, foresight and forward thinking!

What to Watch Out For If You Decide to Finance at a Dealership

I am going to make this a simple article to read. I want you to be able to read this whole article and understand it before you make your next vehicle purchase.

Yeah, the economy isn’t the greatest right now. Yeah, nearly all industries are down on sales.

You see commercials on TV all the time talking about how now is the best time to buy a car. It is, BUT…..

You see, the auto industry is struggling. So of course, to get people to come in and purchase a car they need to advertise these “great” deals and show you how you can get their employee pricing! Sounds exciting, eh? Well if you walk in there with cash, maybe you are going to get a great deal. Actually, you probably are assuming you can negotiate a good deal.

But what if you are going in there without cash? Or without your own financing? Are you really going to get such a great deal? Well you may receive your dream car at employee pricing and they may promise you that its the best they can do on price.

Lets take a close look at their financing techniques.

Did you know that dealers really do shop for the best rate for you? Yeah, they do! However, they won’t give you that best rate! They shop for the best rate then give you a higher one. How? They are allowed to mark up your interest rate up to 2% higher than what they were quoted. That means that they are making profit off of the financing too. That can lead to you paying hundred to thousands more for your new car.

So think about this:

The car you are looking at costs $20,000.00 after manufacturer’s rebates. The dealership said they would take off an additional $1000.00 to get you to employee pricing. Sounds good, right? It is good. Now, you go to the financing office, they finance you at an 8% rate when you could have actually had a 6% rate. That will end up making you pay more, a lot more. They could have you paying a couple thousand dollars more in just interest! It makes that $1,000.00 discount look weak, doesn’t it?

The whole point here is to tell you that you need to be cautious when using dealer financing as if you know they aren’t making much from the car due to the incredible deal they gave you, they are going to make it up on the financing end of it.

Always negotiate interest rates. You wouldn’t ever take them up on their first offer on the price of the car would you? Nope. So treat the first offer on the interest rates the same too. A lot of dealers won’t even tell you what the rate is. Be sure to ask.

They have their own special programs through the car manufacturers to make up for lost profit. Don’t let them fool you. It is called dealer hold back. It is tough to negotiate into that.

Intown Atlanta – Buyer’s Market

As real estate markets fluctuate around the country home buyers are seeking areas where the market is stable and favors the buying of homes. Occasionally they find an area that is hot for a few weeks but these spurts generally do not last very long. Sellers are likewise wondering if their area is going to pick up and see a shorter average listing time from open until sale. Intown Atlanta is a market to watch currently as there is quite a bit of action happening in this area. In fact Atlanta is showing definite signs of developing into a buyer’s market and there are some great deals to be had on beautiful homes.

Buyer’s markets are simply the best time possible to purchase a home. Atlanta’s current market is running somewhere around 5 available houses for each buyer that is out there so as you can well imagine there is some really attractive pricing happening here in order to garner the attention of buyers. So what can you do to get yourself ready for buying in a buyer’s market? The best thing to do is to be ready to react quickly. Homes can move pretty fast in a buyer’s market so you need to be ready to move at short notice. This will of course mean that your finances should be pre-arranged and pre-approved so that when the home you love comes available you can make a move on it.

The home buying climate is not the only attractive thing about Intown Atlanta, For years Atlanta has been one of the most lively southern cities and along with Miami, Dallas and Houston is a driving force in the “New South.” Atlanta is a growing city that is constantly adding new amenities and recreation facilities for the new residents that have flocked to this area over the past decade. Atlanta has dealt well with this influx in stride, providing excellent public services and employment opportunities with such notable companies as Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS and Cingular Wireless calling Atlanta home for their headquarters. Atlanta is a growing city with a lot to offer. With the current state of the real estate market it makes sense to check Atlanta out if you are seeking an area for a new home.