3 Ways to Save on your Summer Vacation

Summer Summer Summer Time!!

In the words of West Philly’s own Fresh Prince.Even though old man winter is still here, summer is just a few months away. For most this is the best and most fun time of the year.  But how can you enjoy the summer without taking at least one vacation? 

Many tend to believe there is some secret bank account that uses a formula that helps friends and family (who you constantly watch travel channel) save up their money for a vacation.  Now don’t get me wrong some folks do have it like that (I’m not one of those people… lol), but most folks need to do some planning before they hop on a plane!  
No matter where you want to go for vacation, there are plenty of ways to save and reduce your expenses while still enjoying the beautiful sunny beach or cold alpine mountains.  I am going to share three easy ways to Save Money on your vacation!

LODGING:  It is no secret that transportation and lodging can be the two biggest expenses while traveling.  Here’s how to beat the 5-Star Blues.  I’ve never heard anyone say, “I can’t wait to go to LA just to sleep at the W.”  Vacation is all about the destination.  I hardly ever stay at the big expensive hotels.

 BED AND BREAKFAST– I have fallen in love with the quaint vibe at a B&B.  They are very comfortable, clean, inexpensive and great for meeting people.   B&B (Bed and Breakfast) locations provide a kitchen for you to cook and store your food which substantially reduces your food costs while saving on your lodging.  In some instances, I have been able to rent an entire apartment for less than a one night stay at a 3.5-star hotel.  Some great resources for finding alternative lodging are AIRBNB.COM and BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM   
HOUSE SITTER – I know this one sounds crazy…lol.   Some people will barter free lodging to care for their home while THEY are gone away on vacation.  It’s a win-win for everyone involved.  Free lodging to watch over a residence…. EASY!  Here are some great resources to get you started HOUSECARERS.COM and MINDMYHOUSE.COM.   

I was guilty of this just like I am sure most of you are.  We always want to avoid “the deals “or “giving out our email” but don’t be so quick to walk away from one of these opportunities.  Rewards can come in different forms, but they are all REWARDS.  

•    Credit Card- You have to use a credit card to reserve or charge some part of your trip.  Why not sign up or start to use the card that offers you the most rewards and incentives.  Start to build and redeem the points you accumulate.  
    Lodging/ Car Rental- Many hotels and rental car chains offer returning customer awards and discounts.  Be sure to sign up for these benefits especially if you know you enjoy using a particular company for your services.  I like to call this “Keeping it in the Family.”    

Being able to enjoy a cost effective vacation is all about planning and research.  You have to know what your budget can and can’t handle.  Being FLEXIBLE is the biggest way you can save.  Determine where you would like to go and start looking peak and off-peak dates.  Off-season dates will provide you more flexibility and greater options for your vacation pleasures.  Also, consider leaving a day earlier or a day later.  These small changes can big differences in cost.  However, don’t spend too much time debating prices and trying to find a dirt-cheap option because you may miss out on really great deals.  

You could ignore everything I just said, but that’s the surest way to spend more than you need.  A little more patience will pay off in a big way.


What Not To Do In Your 30’s

What Not To Do In Your 30’s

Clarence “CJ” Thompson

For some strange reason, I couldn’t wait to get out of my 30’s and into my 20’s. Not because I was ready to say I was “30 and over”, but simply because I just KNEW my financial situation would improve after working and being out of college for a few years.  

Your 20’s is when you are pulling the long hours to make a name for yourself. You work hard to be considered a valuable worker, whether self-employed or working for a Fortune 500 company.  However, your 30’s is when life gets real, and you’re faced with some of your toughest financial decisions. The decisions you make in your 30’s will be very indicative of how well you will be live in your retirement years!

 I made a few mistakes along the way, which have allowed me to be able to give you five mistakes your SHOULDN’T make and must avoid to achieve financial freedom. 

Avoiding dropping the “F” Bomb–   You happen to find the love of your life, and you are ready to commit to that person, however, LOVE gets in the way of wanting to bring about the uncomfortable word of FINANCES!  The average cost of a US wedding is $30, 000.  Being in love seems so simple until the Finances become an issue.  Combining your life with someone can be a very costly partnership.  Start to have the conversation with your significant other early and often.  I am a firm believer of Prenuptial Agreements.  They aren’t just for the wealthy.  They are for those who have acquired assets before holy matrimony that could be affected if a divorce were ever to occur.

 The Loans don’t just Disappear– The reason most Americans acquire bad credit, and debt is because they avoid dealing with their financial obligations.  Statistics show a record 40 million Americans have student loan debt.  Student Loan debt is like a salvaged marriage.  You know it’s over, but you just can’t get away from it.  It’s easy to ignore a person but not debt.  The six month grace period goes by fast.  Don’t allow your good credit to be compromised by not paying your minimum balance no matter how painful it is.  The government is one of the most forgiving debtors you will ever owe so be sure to communicate and negotiate as much as possible so that your good credit remains untarnished.   

Stack that Paper– Time starts to fly once you hit your 30’s if you haven’t noticed yet.  Start putting 10% or more into your 401(K) or another tax-deferred investment vehicle like a Roth IRA.  Once you start making the automatic deposits consistently, you won’t even realize it’s gone.  

Homeowner because you like the sound of it  I tell many if not all my clients’ home ownership is not meant to be used as your primary investment vehicle.  If you haven’t noticed or heard, most people are now upside down as it relates to their mortgage versus home value.  Things just ain’t the same anymore!!  Cash is way more valuable to have available as opposed to collateral on a home.  Look both ways before you cross the home ownership street.  Don’t spend what you are approved for and don’t buy if you are not willing to be committed to that home for at least 7-10 years.

I WILL– Who wants to think about their Will at 30?  I know it sound’s obsolete, however in your 30’s is when you begin to acquire assets and possessions that need to be protected.  You need to have certain designations in place that your assets are given and provided to who you would want them to be.  Also, please make sure you have a responsible Power of Attorney.  This is the person who will ensure that everything in your is executed the way you set forth.  As you acquire more possessions, your Will needs to be updated.

Our Contributor: Mr. Clarence “CJ” Thompson – Owner of Capital Connoisseur Group

If you would like more information please check out his webpage at:

Capital Connoisseur Group

or email him at