Family, Frugal Living 

6 ways to save on food costs during road trips with family

Friends planning road trips.

If you’ve been considering taking road trips with the kids, now might be a great time to put it into gear.

In April 2016, American drivers had saved nearly $12 billion on gas during the first months of the year compared to what they spent on fuel during the same time period in 2015, according to a recent AAA survey.

Furthermore, drivers are expected to pay the lowest gas prices in 12 years while traveling in summer, noted AAA.

As a result, 55 percent of Americans say they are more likely to take road trips this year. In fact, road trips are the most popular type of vacation for families planning to travel, followed by national parks and theme parks.

Without the need to worry about high prices at the pump, you can focus your savings radar on another key travel factor: food.

Food costs can fluctuate greatly, depending on when you stop to get a bite to eat, where you dine and what you pack before heading out.
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Best Gasoline Cashback Credit Cards

Getting a good gas cashback credit card is the easiest way to save on gas, bar none. With gasoline prices increasing every single day, everyone is looking for ways to save on driving. Since you probably can’t sell your car and get one of these highest mileage cars, the next easiest thing is to get a credit card that gives you a little extra cashback on gasoline purchases (always try to get the best credit card for you). At the moment, besides specific gas station branded credit cards, I think the two best options out there is an American Express card and a Discover card.

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 Personal Finance 

Five Accounts You Absolutely Must Have (And Four You Don’t)

There are five finance related accounts in the personal finance world that I think every single person must have and they should get it as soon as possible. They run the gamut of the obvious, an accessible checking account, to the not so obvious, a high yield savings account (as surprising as it sounds, this is not obvious to most people because they are amazed when I tell them you can get 5% from a regular savings account). So, please enjoy this list of five accounts you absolutely must have and three that you absolutely must avoid.

These Five Accounts You Absolutely Must Have

1. High Yield Online Savings Account

Number one definite must have account is a high yield savings account getting you at least 4%, at the very very least. If you assume inflation at around 3%, anything less and you’re losing money. Take your pick of ING Direct, FNBO Direct, Emigrant Direct, Citi, and you’ll get over 4%. My recommendation is that if you have a Citi or an HSBC bank account, go with one of them because your transfers will be instant between accounts. If you don’t, I use FNBO Direct but both they and HSBC offer 5.05% APY.

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Reward Credit Cards – What’s in My Wallet?

Every year around this time, I don’t re-evaluate my reward credit cards but since a whole bunch of other bloggers do, I figured I might as well do the same. My basic strategy is that I don’t really want to use more than three or four credit cards and each one of the cards has to serve a distinct purpose in order to make it into my wallet. Here are the three that currently make the cut and why:

1. Citi mtvU Platinum Select – For Movies & Restaurants
Usually a points credit card is a deal breaker for me, I prefer cash all the way, but I can convert Thank You Reward Points into payments towards my student loan debt so for the benefits I let this one slide. I chose the Citi mtvU card because it offered 5% cash back on bookstores ( included), restaurants, and movies. The mtvU card also has the added benefit of giving me points for good grades and paying my bill on time.

3. Citi Platinum Select MasterCard – For Supermarkets
Speaking of the Platinum Select card, I keep this in my wallet because it still offers 2% on supermarkets and drugstores (better than nothing I suppose) and because there really is no reason to cancel the card.

4. American Express TrueEarnings Costco Card – For Everything Else
I shop at Costco when I can and the only cards they accept are debit cards and their own American Express. This card doesn’t have an annual fee if you’re a Costco member (I don’t see a reason why you’d get it if you weren’t) and it gives you 1% on everything payable annually. It’s really just my catch-all card when I don’t get bonuses on anything else.


Discover Gas Card Limiting Cash Rewards

Is it me or have many of the 5% cash back credit cards begun to scale back their promotional offers? First, AT&T Universal Cash Rewards gets shut down (many of their customers never received the letter). Then, Citi Dividend Platinum Select decides to end the 5% promotion (I never got that letter) and scaling it down. Now the Discover Open Road Card, which offers 5% on gas and automobile related purchases, will be reducing their rewards as well. Now, the Discover Gas Card will only return 5% for the first $1,200 in gas and automobile purchases and 1% thereafter.

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