Tag Archives: budget

Home Exchange: Traveling on a Budget


-Emily Fraysse

The daydreams of lounging in a villa on a sandy white beach in Barbados or skiing to your hidden log cabin in the Swiss Alps could become a reality. And that reality is only a percentage of the price through home exchange. Ultimately, it is “you stay in my house while I stay in yours.”

There are two types of home exchanges: hospitality exchange and home exchange. Hospitality exchange means that the family who lives in the house allows others to stay at their home simultaneously at designated times. The benefit of this, besides the social aspect, is the in-house tour guide. Home exchange happens when each party switches houses completely at a time that is convenient for both to swap.

While many people can be leery about swapping houses for multiple reasons, the number of reasons why you should take the plunge exceeds those. It can be a scary concept to stay at someone’s house that you’ve never met before or allow others to stay at your house, so the exchange relies on mutual trust. With thousands of successful house exchanges per year, the exchange is rewarding in more than one way.

The swapping works best for people who have an alluring home to offer and those who are okay with having strangers living in the house and touching valuable items. Once you’ve found a potential host, get in contact, exchange information, and be clear about your expectations before the swap occurs. After all the nitty-gritty details are finalized, I’m sure you’ll feel less like you’re living in a stranger’s home and more like living in a friend’s.

So, now where would you like to go?

Home Exchange programs to look at:

Home Exchange

Love Home Swap
Trade to Travel
Home Link
Intervac Home Exchange

Some of my personal favorite spots:

Watamu, Kenya

Noosa Heads, Queensland

Whistler, British Columbia

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Buleleng Tejakula, Bali
Pecatu, Bali

Kilalloe, County Clare

Amelia, Umbria


Ko Samui, Surat Thani

United Kingdom:
Lewes, East Sussex
Beadlow, Bedfordshire

United States:
South Beach, Florida
Battery Park City, New York

Image from http://blog.barterquest.com

Decorating on a College Budget – Jewelry Board

-Sara Bianchetti

Let’s be honest.  As college students, we don’t have the luxuries (or the banks) to support lavish lifestyles—we can barely afford to buy groceries.  So, when we need to furnish an entire apartment or decorate bare walls, utilizing our creativity can be our greatest advocate.

When I moved into my apartment this year I had a vision but I didn’t have an unlimited budget to support it.  I needed to be innovative, resourceful and inspired, so I turned to Pinterest – a forum for social photo sharing of ideas, interests, and hobbies.  It was here that I officially became inspired to begin decorating my shabby chic room—on a budget, of course.

Fortunately for me, I started out with a solid basis of furniture from my sister’s old apartment: a bed, dresser, mirror, and vanity.  Anything that was in decent shape and could either be altered, painted, or reconstructed saved me both time and money.

One of my favorite pieces that I created and was Pinterest-inspired was my jewelry board.  It is simple to craft yet aesthetically pleasing and it fits in with the shabby-chic decor effortlessly.  Here’s a tutorial on how to make it:

First, start out with a corkboard of your preference. I recycled one that had a grayish blue border to coordinate with my room. Take out the corkboard and cover it with burlap using spray glue to attach it.

Burlap is popularly used today and gives the board a rustic feel while adding texture.

Once the board is completely covered, reattach the board to the frame and secure it with duct tape.  Most college students have duct tape.  It’s a basic necessity!

To display the jewelry, I went to a home improvement store and purchased an assortment of doorknobs and handles.  I placed them on the board, marked where I wanted them to go, drilled holes, and screwed them in.  Hang your jewelry and you’re ready to go. Simple. As. That.

To check out more ideas about decorating on a college budget, visit my blog.


How-To Save Your Money for those Big Purchases


– Heather Ah San

How often do you sit around wishing you had the money to jet off to Europe next summer? Maybe you’d like to be putting a down payment on a house or car?

As tempting as it is to whip out that credit card, one thing the recession has taught us is that credit cards don’t just magically create money. A lot of credit card users learned this lesson the hard way, getting themselves into unfathomable amounts of debt.

It’s never too late to learn good money habits, however.  And learning how to save your money for future use is one of the best practices you can get into. When you are saving money for a big ticket item, it’s important to watch your daily spending on smaller purchase items as well.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips and tricks for how to save your money for big purchases:

  • Create Budget For Yourself

If you’re saving for a future purchase, you must start being more conscious of your money habits. The first step is to distinguish between your wants and your needs. Make absolutely sure you have the funds necessary for all of your needs. House, food, clothing and transportation are the most basic needs. If going to the bars for the third time this week sets you back for rent money next month, you should reprioritize.

The second step you can take when you create a budget is cutting out unnecessary spending by tracking you purchases for awhile, then seeing what unnecessary purchases you may be making. You don’t have to cut out all the fun, or unpractical purchases in your life, but cut back a little and put the extra cash in your pocket.

If you feel like you need to save even more, cancel your cable (most TV is online anyway) or try splitting the internet bill with your neighbor.

  • Make sure you have a savings account

While you may have a savings account, you may not be utilizing it to its full potential. For one, make sure you are putting in your money in a bank where the interest rate is decent. It also might be wise to take a certain percent, or amount of money out of your paycheck every pay period into your savings and toward your future purchase. If you are able to, start by putting $100 every pay period towards in your savings. Try to increase that amount by maybe 10 to 20 percent every time you do it. The money won’t go anywhere, and you can always put it back in your checking later. But gaining at least some interest is always good.

  • Get a second job

Okay, you probably won’t rake in the dollars like Donald Trump by getting a babysitting gig, and you’ll most likely have to give up a weekend night. But by getting a little extra cash here and there, the road to your dream purchase will be so much faster!

  • Give yourself some fun money

Saving money doesn’t mean you have to sit alone eating Top Ramen on the weekends. The key is to allot a certain amount of money for certain “fun” purchases a week. If that money happens to roll out before Friday night, well then tough luck. It does, however, show how fast your money will disappear when you’re not careful with it.

  • Remind yourself what you’re working towards

Sometimes it’s hard to remember why you started skimping and saving in the first place. One reason is that it’s a good habit to get into; no matter how expensive the dream item, having backup funds in case of emergency or to pay off a large credit card bill is always smart.

Furthermore, imagine how satisfied you will feel once you buy it, and don’t have debt to pay off afterward. Research the item, print a picture and put it on your wall. If you’re planning a vacation, read up on the area. If you want an iPad, browse all the cool apps. Remind yourself of the rewards of your purchase, especially if you’re forced to tutor a kid on a Saturday night.

  • Wait a little longer

If you would love traveling in the summer of 2011 to Europe, but the price of it all is blowing your mind, maybe you should push the date back a bit, or change the date you leave for an off-season like winter or early spring. When buying something like a car, make sure you wait long enough to provide a substantial down payment, and have the money to pay off the minimum on the loan every month. Yes, while you feel like you’ve been waiting and wishing forever, keep in mind that no matter how fancy the car or how much you want that expensive dream purse, being in debt is not trendy at all.