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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Philadelphia's Elfreth's Alley

When I travel, I love to visit historical sites. I find them to be full of beauty and interesting architecture. No place is that more true than in Philadelphia. Everywhere you look there's something gorgeous to look at, and Elfreth's Alley was one of my favorites. This is the nation's oldest residential street that has only been occupied by private citizens since it was built. 


Elfreth's Alley was not included on the original plans for Philadelphia, but being the port city it was, artisan's and merchants bought up so much land close to the waterfront that overcrowding happened pretty quickly. Two landowners decided to combine their properties to create Elfreth's Alley for residential housing and also a path for carts to use to get goods to and from the river.





People have lived in Elfreth's Alley continuously since 1713. 29 of the 32 homes are residential, 2 make up the Alley's museum, and the last hosts special events. The sheer colors, brickwork and feel of the alley make it a place you want to just wander all day. 






Amazingly, Elfreth's Alley is just a few steps from other historical attractions, like Benjamin Franklin home and museum and Betsy Ross's house. You can take tours of the Alley on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as check out the museum (open 12-5pm). We visited on a weekday evening, so we just wandered through by ourselves. The best part is that it's totally free! (Guided tours are $8 and museum admission is $3.)

If you want another taste of history, there's the original Olde City Coffee Cafe right around the corner. Yum!

What's one of your favorite historical places where you live?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

There's Still Time to Plan a Spring Break Trip

Much of the country is under snow or having terrible extended winters. It's March and we have had two snowfalls and weather in the 40s in Portland and I'm sick of it! I'm really just excited to head to Las Vegas, even if I have to work much of the 4 days I'll be there. All I want is to not have to coat when I go outside. If you're in this boat also, there's still time to plan a Spring Break trip, and on a budget.


Here's where to go:

Las Vegas

This isn't just on the list because I'm going there, but rates drop pretty good during this time of year. Your only problem with finding a cheap flight may be if where you live is a great Spring Break destination. Apparently, Portland is a place people want to come and my return flight was going to be outrageous, so I changed my return to Seattle and am taking the train back, and still saving hundreds or half a day. 

I've been seeing really low flight deals to/from other cities to Sin City, plus great rates on hotel rooms. Enjoy the weather, hit the pool, party your butt off and then save money on other activities and dining. Don't forget to get some rest and stay hydrated between all your foot-long margaritas.

Photo by William Carretero on Unsplash

Miami

Florida is getting some hot weather right now, which seems about right, but also really necessary for some people to get in on. I was just happy to get some sun this week, even with the abnormally cold weather, but I wouldn't say no to having to put on some shorts and taking a stroll on the beach. Spring flights to Miami are dropping more than 40% this Spring and you can even take advantage of Miami Music Week the last week of March. Miami is very popular for Spring Break though, so if crowds are not your thing, you may want to skip it.

Orlando

If you want to hit some theme parks on your Spring Break, flights to Orlando are dropping to as low as 70% regular rates. Not only can you spend all that money you saved on Butterbeer, but you can also get in on Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras celebration, which lasts through April 4. If theme parks aren't for you, head to the beach instead, hit up Gatorland, visit the zoo, take a city tour, or check out the aquarium. 

New Orleans

With Mardi Gras being finished, the swarms of people visiting Nola leave, meaning the city is seeing a downturn in tourism, despite the New Orleans Bourbon Festival and the Tennessee Williams Festival going on for the last two weeks of March. There's a lot to do even without these things. Here were some of my favorites.

Honolulu

Hawaii is on a lot of lists for travelers, so why not head there over your Spring Break? The weather is gorgeous, the beaches aren't packed full of people like they can be, and you can actually get a table at that restaurant you've had your eye on. It's been some time since we've visited Honolulu, but if you actually want to get out and do things in between bouts of getting some sun on your body, you can check out my post here on how to save.

Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash


New York City

If the chill weather isn't a concern to you and you want to take a non-traditional Spring Break, NYC flights can dip below 20% off this time of year. If your top must-do is a Broadway show, that's cool, but you're going to bust your budget fairly easily that way. Don't worry though, because Lonely Planet has a list of 45 free things to do in NYC.

Los Angeles

California has some fantastic weather much of the year, or at least better than other parts of the country. I've never turned down a trip to LA, because Disneyland, Universal, Hollywood, delicious foods, amazing art. I mean, the list goes on and on. Couple that with flights that are almost 25% less than other times of the year and you really can't go wrong. My friend and I spent two days in LA last year when we did theme parks and we were never disappointed by what we found to do.

Obviously, there are plenty of other places you can head to this Spring to get away and also save money, but these are some easy ones to get to. I've been packed for weeks for my trip, because I, honestly, can't handle anymore snow or freezing rain or icy winds. 

What is your top destination for Spring Break?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Get Free Money!

Do you like free money? I mean, don't we all? Well, right now you can get a free $20 for doing almost nothing! Who's giving all this money away? Qapital!

Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash

Normally, when you sign up using a referral link, you get $5, which is still pretty awesome, because that's five more dollars than you didn't have before, but right now, when you sign up through my referral link, you get four times that amount! 

Maybe you're thinking "what the heck is Qapital and why would I sign up for it?" That's valid. Qapital is an awesome app that helps you save for things in life you want, like that amazing trip to Greece you've been thinking about. Signing up is easy. You link up your accounts to it, create "rules" for yourself, and then start saving! 

Photo by Kody Gautier on Unsplash

Some of my favorite rules are the Round Up, the Payday, and the Spend Less Rule. Round Up rounds up all your purchases to the nearest $2, so if you spend $23.45, $.55 will automatically go to your Qapital account. The Payday Rule gives you a way to put aside a set amount of money each payday. The Spend Less Rule has you set a budget for certain things and if you come in under that budget, the remainder gets saved to your Qapital account. It's super easy to save, but also super easy to move your money back to your bank account (or your spending account if you use the Qapital debit), so you can use it on your goals. 
What if you don't have any money in your bank account? That's okay! Qapital monitors your accounts and pauses your saving when you get below a certain threshold so you don't end up in the red. They look out for you in all the important ways, and before you know it, you've got money for those things that are on the top of your list. So....not overlimit fees. 

There are TONS of rules you can set up, so there's always something that's going to work for you, plus you can pause savings when you need to, or you can add a little extra to your savings when you have extra to put away. When you make a milestone, Qapital throws you a little party on your phone to let you know how you're doing and make you feel good about yourself. I love it. I've been using it for two years now and have saved about $1200 just by rounding up my purchases with my debit card. 

Start saving now and soon you'll be planning that trip you've been dreaming about! What are you saving for right now?


Disclaimer: When sign up and get money, I also get money. Once you sign up, I encourage you to refer all your friends and make even more free money from Qapital!
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