New Favorite Dining Out App: Spotluck

Everyone needs to download Spotluck to their phones now. I will take a moment for you to click on your apple store or google play store and make the best decision you've made in a while. Spotluck is a money saving, dining out app that allows you to choose your "hub" or location by neighborhood of where you want to eat and spin a wheel to see where you will receive 20% off of your entire bill. It will also give you 10% off of the other restaurants that the wheel did not land on. Spotluck is free to download and it holds a special place in my heart because one of the creators went to my Alma Mater of JMU. I use Spotluck almost every week and it has introduced me to some great food all over the city where I reside, Baltimore. It is expanding into new markets and cities constantly, but as of now Spotluck is primarily concentrated on the East Coast. Test your luck and give Spotluck a spin to see where your next date night will take you. Find our more information and download here: http://www.spotluck.com/

10 Free Entertainment Apps That Save Money

 

Stubhub

The cheap Ebay for all of your ticketing needs. Whether you have made a last minute decision to see your girlfriend’s favorite band or your football team is in the playoffs, Stubhub is the way to go. It has become the largest and most well known secondary market ticket marketplace in the country. Stubhub is known as the ticket scalper of the digital age and if there is one thing that scalpers do best, it is cheap tickets.

 

Groupon

Groupon is without a doubt the most useful and in my opinion biggest money saving app that I am featuring in this post. It allows users to search for fun events, things to do and products based on the location of where the user is in the world. I recently purchased a Groupon for a local winery where I got tour, sampling, chocolates and wine glasses for two people all for $20! I saved around $80 so I highly recommend this app if you are bored one day and do not want to break the bank.

 

LivingSocial

Much like Groupon, LivingSocial is an online marketplace where users buy heavily discounted coupons for activities and events in their surrounding areas. Events such as beer and wine festivals, discounted dinners, discounted museum tickets and anything of that nature. LivingSocial is different from Groupon in a sense that it is heavily focused in the east while Groupon focuses mainly on the Midwest and Western parts of the country. With that being said, they both are convenient money saving apps to have on your smartphone when looking for new, fun and cheap adventures.

 

Air bnb

Much like Uber, this app will aid the user when partaking in anything entertainment related. Air bnb has mostly to do with when you are traveling places and let me just say that it is much cheaper staying at a person’s house in a major city than an overpriced hotel. I personally have never sued this app but my father lives by it. He tells me stories of being shown around New Orleans and Nashville when staying at an Air bnb’s house. In addition, the best part as my dad described it is that they more often than not will cook you food free of charge. This is not as creepy as it sounds though because other people rate user’s profiles who have stayed at their houses to let potential visitors know it is safe. Overall, my dad has told me Air bnb has saved him hundreds of dollars on lodging all over the world.

 

RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot is a great app to have in your possession because it is the largest accumulator of coupons for almost every store in the country. It goes even further where it can detect what store you are entering ad it sends you a push notification of coupons for that store. It distributes over 500,000 coupons for over 50,000 stores ranging from clothing, electronics, furniture, beauty products, pets, jewelry, home products, toys and travel.

 

Uber

Uber is a concierge cab driving service. It is not so much entertainment as it is a cheap way to get from point A to point B. It will help you get to your fun activity in a nicer and cheaper fashion than a regular cab. The first ride of up to $20 is free as well! And the best part is you pay through your Uber app and you request a close-by driver through your Uber app. I recently took an Uber in Atlanta and it saved me around $40 because Uber’s rates are that much cheaper than a local cab company.

 

Thriftbuddy

Thriftbuddy is a fun app for any thrift store connoisseur. It also takes the user’s location and shows every thrift store within a 50-mile radius. Thrift stores are a great commodity when buying clothes and I know that have found some lost treasures scattered around in my local thrift shops! Do not sleep on this app because when you need that last minute costume for some event, a thrift store is your best bet!

 

Seatgeek

Much like Stubhub, Seatgeek offers its users heavily discounted tickets to sporting and music events. The way in which it is different is that it is more user friendly and peer-to-peer in a sense that the sooner the date gets to the event, the cheaper the tickets become. This is one of my favorite apps to use to buy tickets and I would highly suggest it!

 

Gametime

Gametime is almost identical to Seatgeek but it focuses solely on sporting event tickets. This app prides itself on its digital interface and the fact that a user does not have to print the ticket out beforehand. It also deals with very cheap sporting event tickets because of the last-minute phenomenon that is sweeping the ticket world. A user does not have to purchase their tickets way in advance before the big game because the prices will drop the closer and closer it gets to that game.

 

Redlaser

Redlaser is a unique app which scans the barcode of almost any product and gives the user more information about that product and what other stores including online retailers are selling it and for how much. This state-of-the-art technology was made specifically for smartphone cameras and I know I have saved hundreds of dollars using it because let us be honest, almost all products are cheaper online.

The Last Weekend

The dreaded week is coming up...finals. 

As this awful, exhausting and brutal week approaches, we need to take our last weekend and make it our BEST weekend. Grab a group of friends, hit the bar, dance, karaoke, party like you never have before! (safely, of course)  

Before you hit that bar though and spend all of your rent money (check out our previous article on this for tips, here), make sure to PRE-GAME!! 

Below, I'm going to list some of my favorite mixed drinks and tell you how to make them cheap! This way, you'll still get the same great tasting drinks that you would get at the bar, but for half the price.

The Force (my personal favorite- for bigger gatherings)

  • 24 pack of PBR 
  • 1 handle of Aristocrat 
  • 1 1/2 jars of the powder pink lemonade (Walmart brand, of course)

Cranberry and Vodka

  • This is probably the easiest mixed drink on the planet
  • $2 bottle of cranberry juice
  • Any type of vodka- cheap as you want! 
  • Feel free to add other juices (grapefruit, pineapple, orange) to make a whole new drink!

Daiquiris and Margaritas 

  • Go pick up one of the pre-made mixes
  • Add your preferred liquor (tequila, duh) and taste the magic!
  • If you don't really like the taste of these mixes, you can always go get the fruits needed for a margarita- it really isn't that expensive
  • Lemon/lime juice
  • Triple sec 
  • Tequila 

Whiskey and Coke

  • C'mon...do I really have to explain 
  • Jack works too! 

Lemon Drops

  • My other personal favorite!
  • All you have to do is combine lemon juice, vodka, and sugar for a delicious (no really, it's good) shot

Mojito

  • Believe it or not, this drink is actually not that expensive!
  • Club Soda
  • Mint leaves
  • Lime juice 
  • Rum (white)

Check back later this week for more mixed drinks and different tips!

Thinking About Traveling this Summer?

Only a couple more weeks until students will be done with classes and finals, which means everyone will be ready for the summer. While most students will have to work during the summer at various internships or other establishments to earn some extra cash, vacation is another priority. College students obviously don't want to send all the money they make on traveling for vacation, so here are a few tips so you can travel on a budget this summer.

1. ROAD TRIP!

If you have access to a car and some gas money, you’ve got a vacation. Gather some friends, pick a destination, jump in the car and see where you end up. Road trips are great because everyone can pitch in and you get to see so much along the way. For instance, make a deal that everyone will swap driving every few hours and take time to explore every couple places you drive through. Pick random restaurants to eat at, explore attractions and learn about a new area. 

2. BEACH 

Going to the local beach, even for the day, is a great vacation. You can sit out in the sun, play in the ocean, go out to dinner, and walk on the boardwalk. The beach is full of great times and everything is fairly cheap. Also everything is super close! For instance, I am from PA and the closest beach is the Jersey Shore. My family goes every summer just for random days and we have the best time. You save money if you are just going for the day or an overnight, compared to a week when you have to rent a house. 

3. CRUISE

This one might take planning some time in advance, but cruises can be cheap if you find the right deal. Also you should be open to when you go and where you travel. Tickets are usually all inclusive, therefore your trip, food, housing and entertainment are all covered. Also you will get to travel to various destinations and explore different areas. Just remember that tickets could start around $300, but that only includes what I just mentioned. Be sure to bring some extra cash for drinks and extra stuff at the destinations. There are so many different cruise types offered, so it makes an amazing summer vacation for students.

4. CAMPING

Camping is a super cheap way to get away, travel, and still go on vacation. You don't have to go on a fancy and luxurious vacation as a college student, so save your money. Camping is fun because you can be adventurous with family or friends and just enjoy the outdoors. Just make sure to plan ahead with the location, food, and gear. My family goes camping every year and we love it so much. Also we try to go to a different area or state every time, so we get to experience different travel sites. You might enjoy just roughing it outside because it  can be an experience that teaches you some amazing life skills. 


Tax Day!!!

Happy Tax Day 2k15 ya’ll!! I hope you guys did not forget to file your taxes like me. The moolah you can get back on your return outweighs the struggles of actually doing your taxes in the first place. Am I right? Well in case you are searching for those last minute W-2’s, here are ten things that are more entertaining than filling out tax forms:

 

1) Grooming your cat

2) Calling your great-grandmother

3) Who am I kidding, literally anything…

 

Here’s a better list of what to spend your return on:

 

1) Obamacare

2) An Apple Watch

3) A Netflix Subscription

4) Stock in private prisons

5) A Staycation

6) Google Glasses

7) Anything in a Brookstone Catalog

8) A Record Player

9) Chipotle, Lots of Chipotle

Going Abroad? Going to London?

How to do London on a Budget

London repeatedly makes top 20 lists for travelers. The city often ranks high on diverse culture, amazing food, millennia of history, and an overwhelming number of great attractions. But it also ranks as one of the world’s most expensive cities. In fact, Skift ranked London second for most expensive hotel rooms in 2014, and US News placed it in their top 15 priciest cities for travelers.

This doesn’t mean budget-minded travelers should avoid London. There are lots of ways to save money while still having a great time in one of the world’s great cities....

Visit http://www.budgettravel.com/blog/budget-travel-tips-how-to-do-london-on-a-budget,53018/#commentsdiscussions for the rest of the article!

10 FREE Travel Apps That Save You Time and Money

Check out the travel section to learn about the best FREE apps to use while traveling! 

Do's and Don'ts of Madipalooza

Madipalooza is a great time to get together with friends and have some great entertainment for free. Although all the fun is provided, it’s important to still remember a few rules of outdoor concerts. Just showing up isn’t the best way to go about the day, here are a few tips to make sure you're safe while having fun.

Do:

Use sunscreen 

Bring a blanket or chair

Drink lots of water 

Dress comfortably 

Take lots of pictures

Use the hashtag #Madi2015 to document it on social media

Don’t:

Show up drunk

Stress over your outfit

Stay on you phone the whole time

Madipalooza Performers

Carrying on with the theme of the week, Madipalooza, the line-up was just recently announced with Strongwater starting off the day, MisterWives (the headliner) going on next, Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown following the headliner, up and coming country artist Chris Lane going on fourth, and then Great Caesar, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and Steal The Prize are the final three acts! Take a look at a brief profiling of each of these bands to make up your mind as to whom you want to see:

 

1. Strongwater – Harrisonburg native folksy band, Strong Water is a four-piece string band with fiddle, cello, banjo and guitar. They have a slight bluesy-esque feel with a female lead singer. In addition, they rightfully earned their spot at this Festival by winning UPB’s annual Rumble Down Under competition. These guys are a great opening act and surely not to be missed.

Popular songs: Awhile, Scary Man, The Lion Comes (https://soundcloud.com/strongwatermusic)

 

2. MisterWives – This indie pop dance group hailing from NYC is the headliner of Madipalooza. They have opened for some big name artists such as Twenty One Pilots, American Authors and The Bleachers. MisterWives is only three years young but has risen to fame very quickly. Their songs Vagabond, Our House and Reflections have been featured as the theme song for MTV’s Finding Carter and Budlight’s “Whatever USA” commercial. Much like Strongwater, MisterWives has a female lead singer but unlike Strongwater, MisterWives is more upbeat and fun!

misterwives.jpeg

Popular Songs: Reflections, Our House, Vagabond (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwQIPsdr-FATQqJkXgQGNKw)


3. Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown – This edgy Rock N’ Roll band from Nashville has killer guitar riffs and solid lyrics to boot. They are the closest thing to the more classic rock genre that Madipalooza offers this year and if the classics are your thing, then check them out! You will not be disappointed.

TylerBryanttheShakedown-600x330.jpg

 

Popular Songs: Where I Want You, Say a Prayer, You Got Me Baby (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGRvnL_jzOI&list=PLXujnHinicQfbgJbVGXdBE0UvfJRM4v5x&index=2)

 

4. Chris Lane – An on the rise Country singer who will bring energy and a down south good time to the many fans of this genre at JMU. He has a more college vibe than the other two and of course talks about heartbreak and more importantly drinking! He has opened up for The Band Perry, Lee Brice, Eli Young Band and many more of these country royalty. He comes on fourth in the line-up so be sure to see him!

chris-lane-florida-georgia-lane-660x364.jpg

Popular Songs: Broken Windshield View, Starting Tonight, All I Ever Needed (https://www.youtube.com/user/celane)

 

5. Great Caesar – This indie-rock band drawing sounds that can compare to Arcade Fire, Great Caesar, has some of the most beautiful lyrics that address real issues such as love, race and gender. They are from NYC and have a chill, sultry sound that is very easy to vibe to. Don’t sleep on these guys because they have been on the rise since their hit song, “Don’t Ask Me Why.”

great-caeasar-0382.jpg

Popular Songs: Still Love, Hey Jolene, Holiday (https://www.youtube.com/user/greatcaesarband)

 

6. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop – This LA based rap duo infuses the traditional hip-hop beats and infuses them with modern lyrics. They remind me of The Beastie Boys with the amount of energy they bring to the stage and using actual instruments such as trumpets and saxophones to make their beats adds a whole new dimension to their music. These two are not just another set of white rappers, they a fresh breath of air in this growing genre.

cant-stop-wont-stop-600x400b.png

Popular Songs: Scrape The Sky, Cool Summer, Up and Away (https://www.youtube.com/user/CSWSMusic)

 

7. Steal The Prize – Closing out the show, is this groovy rock n’ roll band from just outside of Harrisonburg in Lynchburg, VA. They pride themselves on their ability to improv and have a really mellow vibe that is a perfect way to cap of Madipalooza!

53c58d26bfebd.image.jpg

Popular Songs: Don’t Judge Me Jesus, Aware Wolf, The Cost of Freedom (https://www.youtube.com/user/stealtheprize)

Madipalooza- the day that (almost) all JMU students look forward to. Whether it be for the bands, the free food, free t-shirts, awesome activities, or after parties- Madipalooza has something for everyone! 

While it is a known tradition to do a little day-drinking before this amazing festival, make sure to be careful! Unfortunately, it is against the Madipalooza rules to bring any alcohol or illegal substances, and if you are visibly intoxicated, you will be kicked out of the festival! No one wants to miss all the games and free stuff just because they couldn't stand up straight, right? And besides, don't you want to remember the amazing time you have at Madipalooza?

Also make sure to be careful if you do decide to day drink before the festival (only if of legal age, of course)! The sun will be strong that day, so those few mixed drinks could catch up to you a lot quicker than you were expecting.

Even though you aren't allowed to drink at this spring fest, DON'T WORRY! The after parties of Madipalooza are known to be just as awesome as the festival itself.  

So...how do you budget for these after parties? Well, you didn't hear it from me, but I heard that Madipalooza hands out some awesome drinks...drinks that could be used as mixers...catch my drift?

Make sure to have fun, be safe, eat lots of food, and check back in to the Ramen Budget for more budgeting tips during Madipalooza! 

Starbucks, McDonald's Expand Tuition Assistance Programs

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks says its workers can now have four years of tuition covered for an online college degree from Arizona State University instead of just two, marking the latest sign that companies are rethinking their treatment of low-wage workers.

The Seattle-based coffee chain says the decision is part of its commitment to "redefine the role and responsibility of.......

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/07/starbucks-tuition_n_7017112.html

Madipalooza Week - Travel to a FREE Event

Looking for some fun entertainment this weekend?

Know anyone attending James Madison University?

If you said YES to both of those questions, travel to JMU this weekend because on Saturday, April 11 Madipalooza is happening!

Madipalooza is a FREE annual spring festival on James Madison University campus, with tons of live music, giveaways, free food, carnival-like games, prizes, inflatables, and FUN!

All of this is taking place on East Campus, Festival lawn, making it a “Festival at Festival”! You just need to be with a student that attends JMU because each student it allowed up to one guest!

Also if you are a JMU student or your friend is, remember that since it is the weekend, you can park anywhere with a parking pass. Don’t know the parking lots? Let me help you! These are the closest lots to Madipalooza that you should part at:

D2, D3

R4, R5

C10, C11, C12

Convo A, B, E, F, G

Just look and follow the map!

Remember the address is 800 South Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22807 and you are going to Madipalooza on Festival Lawn!

Where are you traveling from? Need directions? Click the button below! 

 

Student ID Discount

    As college students we are all trying to utilize everything in our means to make ends meet. There is no better way to do this than that little plastic card that all of us get during our orientation of our respective schools. This little card is a life saver but I bet you didn't know exactly how much of a life saver. Here are some unique ways to save money with your student ID card:  1) Amazon Student Discounts  2) Buffalo Wild Wings - 10% off entire check  3) AMC Movie Theatres - On Thursday tickets are only $8 all day  4) Chipotle, Chick-fil-a offer free drinks with your purchase when showing your ID Card  5)  These clothing stores offer 10%-20% discounts off your entire order with your student ID: - Ann Taylor - Ann Taylor Loft - Banana Republic - Club Monaco - Charlotte Russe - Madewell - J.Crew - Rugby (Ralph Lauren) - The Limited - Urban Outfitters  6) These food restaurants offer 10% off discounts: - McDonalds - Subway - Burger King - Qdoba - Dairy Queen - Dunkin’ Donuts  7) Gold's Gym and Planet Fitness offer a variety of student discounts  8) Alex & Ani gives you $10 off your entire purchase when you show your ID Card  9) Many major professional sports teams offer student discounts (Mostly Baseball - Nationals, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets)  10) Goodwill - On Tuesdays if you show your Student ID Card then you can get 20% off your entire order

 

As college students we are all trying to utilize everything in our means to make ends meet. There is no better way to do this than that little plastic card that all of us get during our orientation of our respective schools. This little card is a life saver but I bet you didn't know exactly how much of a life saver. Here are some unique ways to save money with your student ID card:

1) Amazon Student Discounts

2) Buffalo Wild Wings - 10% off entire check

3) AMC Movie Theatres - On Thursday tickets are only $8 all day

4) Chipotle, Chick-fil-a offer free drinks with your purchase when showing your ID Card

5)  These clothing stores offer 10%-20% discounts off your entire order with your student ID:
- Ann Taylor
- Ann Taylor Loft
- Banana Republic
- Club Monaco
- Charlotte Russe
- Madewell
- J.Crew
- Rugby (Ralph Lauren)
- The Limited
- Urban Outfitters

6) These food restaurants offer 10% off discounts:
- McDonalds
- Subway
- Burger King
- Qdoba
- Dairy Queen
- Dunkin’ Donuts

7) Gold's Gym and Planet Fitness offer a variety of student discounts

8) Alex & Ani gives you $10 off your entire purchase when you show your ID Card

9) Many major professional sports teams offer student discounts (Mostly Baseball - Nationals, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets)

10) Goodwill - On Tuesdays if you show your Student ID Card then you can get 20% off your entire order

How To Prep For Graduation

Graduation is right around the corner, for graduating seniors this time can be bittersweet. The days of exams and all nighters are almost over, but soon comes the responsibility of getting a job and becoming an even more independent adult. While the transition is hard enough emotionally, it is also a time to look at finances and figure out how to make life outside of school start to work.

Live within your means- Once you have set a budget stick to it, don’t make foolish purchases or go on spontaneous shopping trips.                                                                                                

Hang out with the right crowd- Stay with friends that know your budget and help you keep with it. Friends should help you stick to your budget goals, not encourage you to spend beyond your means.                                                                    

Pay bills on time- By paying bills on time you save yourself the hassle of paying interest on bills, but you also start to build a good credit score. While paying bills is a simple monthly process, it can really mean a lot later down the line.                    

Clean up your social media- When in school it may have been acceptable to post photos of your crazy nights, but now perspective employers are viewing your profile. You want to put your best foot forward to make sure they see you as a respectable person and potential employee.

Learn to cook and clean- Once you're out of school there is no longer a meal plan option or a neat freak roommate to do your cleaning. You have to learn how to do both to be successful. By learning to cook you can save money by avoiding eating out. Learning to clean is a good practice for your new housing, but also your work environment. 

The transition from school life to work life can be quite challenging. It is a struggle to balance a new way of life and adjust to the changes taking place. By just making small adjustments to your life after graduation you can help make the transition easier. 

Saving Money AND Calories

Freshman Fifteen...yikes

Not only are you gaining all that weight (more than likely) when you first get to college, but you're also losing all your money.  The culprit? More than likely: alcohol.

But don't worry, YOU'RE IN LUCK! Turns out- the alcohols that are lowest in calories are also the lowest prices!

So, the "best" choices for you to save money and calories are:

  1. Clear, unflavored liquors- cut out the unneeded sugar and flavors. 
  2. Shots! They get the job done and don't need any mixers
  3. Wine- Tasty and most are lower in calories

Stay away from:

  1. Cream-based alcohol (Bailey's)- These are expensive, and let's face it- coffee creamer is safer.
  2. Fruity mixed drinks/syrups- switch to some cheap, fresh juices (orange juice is my favorite)
  3. Amaretto Sours- holy expensive!
  4. Darker, heavier, "craft" beers- Stick with the Natural Light and Busch Light