Best Ways to Travel to Las Vegas without Breaking the Bank

Las Vegas is one of the most expensive cities in the country.  It is home to some of the best restaurants, entertainment, night life, not to mention its extravagant casinos and hotels.  It is no wonder why over 42 million people visited last year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.  It will cost you a pretty penny to have fun over the course of your trip so why not save some money on accommodations.

Stay Away from the Latest and Greatest Hotels

With roughly 40 hotels in and around the Las Vegas strip there is no shortage of rooms.  The most expensive rooms are the newest and greatest hotels, such as Cosmopolitan, which can be upwards of $300 a night regularly on the weekends.  While it is no doubt an excellent hotel, just about every other of the 40 hotels are in the good to excellent range, so any other hotel will do at a fraction of the cost.  It is Las Vegas; you will not be in your room much anyways.  For half the price of the new hotels you can still have excellent rated hotels such as MGM, Mirage, and TI, still receiving updated rooms, in hotels with plenty of amenities.  Part of the fun in Vegas is walking through each hotel casino, so there is no reason why you cannot still visit to the new casino-hotels.

Be Flexible With Travel Dates

The most expensive time to travel to Las Vegas is in the peak summer season on the weekends, typically traveling from Thursday night and checking out Sunday night, so if you are flexible with your travel days you can stay for a fraction of the cost.  Just by going Saturday to Tuesday, you pay only Saturday’s premium nightly charge, significantly less on Sunday night’s, and next to nothing on Monday night.  Imagine if you traveled Sunday – Wednesday, or Monday – Thursday, you could have $50 a night, not to mention flights will be cheaper not flying on premium travel dates.

Book Direct on the Hotel’s Website

Third party sites claim to have the best deals, but the truth it, the hotel’s actual website will offer the best price, often changing based on demand and discount offers.  The best thing is that you typically do not have to pay in advance, so you can continue to shop around for better rates, which I recently found my rates to decrease three times, of which I cancelled and rebooked.

Credit Card Habits That Are Hurting Your Budget

How many times have you heard or been given this advice; use your credit cards wisely? If you’re an adult older than 25, you’ve probably heard that hundreds of times but, frankly, probably still aren’t heeding the advice either. Below are a number of bad habits that many people have when it comes to credit cards and, if you are one of them, curbing that bad habit is a definite necessity. Enjoy.

Bad credit card habit #1: Charging everything mindlessly. Many consumers foolishly believe that, if they use a credit card when they make a purchase, it “doesn’t count”. Many consumers these days have 4, 5, 6 or more credit cards and more than a few have 10 or more. In fact, some people will continue to spend on credit as long as credit companies continue to give them credit cards, setting up a vicious cycle that can take years to pay off.

Bad credit card habit #2: Paying only the minimum. Let’s be honest, if you have a month or two where things like an emergency car repair or illness has put a big dent in your budget, paying the minimum on your cards for one or two months isn’t going to make a big difference over many years. Some consumers get into the habit of simply paying the minimum always however, which is a surefire way of wasting hundreds of money. Not only that but, in some cases, the amount of debt can build to such a high amount that it’s almost impossible to pay off.

Bad credit card habit #3: Purchasing nonessential items on revolving credit. let’s say that you have an emergency car repair and don’t have the cash to pay for it. Putting that on your credit card only makes sense because, obviously, you need your car to get to work and make a living. On the other hand, if you have a closet full of clothing or a perfectly functioning smart phone, do you really need more clothing or the newest smartphone on the market? Many consumers make their financial situation much worse by purchasing nonessential items on credit rather than waiting until they actually have the cash available (or not purchasing the nonessential items at all).

Bad credit card habit #4: Taking out cash advances on your credit card. This is possibly one of the worst mistakes that you can make with credit cards. In fact, possibly the only thing worse than using your credit card to purchase something that you can’t afford is to use it to borrow cash. Not only will you have to pay interest on that cash, in most cases, a transaction fee also, upwards of 5%.

Bad credit card habit #5: Keeping too many credit cards. Sure, having 1 or 2 credit cards, and maybe even 3, isn’t too bad. Having 10 or more not only means that you probably are spending way too much on credit but also makes it much more difficult to keep track of those cards, keep track of payments and keep up with payments as well.

If any of the bad habits above is a habit of yours, kicking that bad habit(s) is one of the best ways to get your finances back in shape, increase your credit score and, most importantly, stop wasting money on interest and fees.

Are 0% Auto Financing Deals For Real?

You see the billboards, hear the advertisements on the radio and see them on TV all the time; 0% financing on car loans that, from what the advertisements say at least, will get you a 3, 4 or 5 year loan with no interest for your new automobile.

But here’s the question; are those deals for real?

Jessica Caldwell, of car buying website Edmunds, says yes. “Sometimes consumers think 0% loans are some sort of scam, but they’re actually legitimate. It’s not a “bait and switch” situation,” she says.

The fact is, 0% financing has been used as a tactic to attract shoppers for years, helping automobile manufacturers to sell certain brands or models of cars. Buyers with good to excellent credit can get 3, 4 and 5 years to pay off their new car purchase, interest-free, if they qualify.

For car manufacturers, a 0% financing deal can actually cost them less money than either a rebate or special lease, but in the end it still saves the consumer a lot of money.

Edmunds estimates that, for those consumers who purchased cars during the first 9 months of 2014 using a 0% financing option, they’ll save over $3500 compared to consumers who don’t and have to pay off interest during the life of their automobile’s loan. This is based on $28,000 principal, 67 month term and 4.31% interest rate, on average.

Interestingly, those savings are small in comparison to historic terms, mostly due to the low interest rates that are available to consumers today on car loans. In 2007 for example, when interest rates were approximately 7.3%, a typical new-car buyer would have saved approximately $6000 in interest rates on the lifetime of their car loan using the same dollar amounts.

0% interest rate car loans are becoming more difficult to find

Actually, while 0% financing deals are still available, and legitimate, finding them today is getting much more difficult. In fact, Edmunds found that just 10% of all dealer provided financing in the United States is with a 0% loan.

In March 2010 it was 23%, in part due to special incentives that Japanese automaker Toyota was offering in response to the scandal they were enduring due to their “sudden acceleration” car problems. Adding to the shortage of 0% finance deals is the fact that most automakers use them to get a quick upshot in sales and, once that’s been accomplished, rescind those offers quite quickly.

With that in mind, and if you’re the type of consumer that purchases a new car and holds onto it for a very long time, finding a 0% interest rate deal on your next new car, if you can get it, makes a lot of sense and will save you a few thousand dollars at least.

6 Ways Shoppers are Deceived!

Well it’s long been known that brands and advertisers use specific marketing tactics to convince shoppers to make purchases, there are some tactics that they use that, while not illegal, border on being unethical. If anything, they’re certainly not fair to American consumers and, because of that, we’ve rounded up 6 of the worst deceptions that are foisted on shoppers regularly. Read them, take note and, as always, enjoy.

Deception #1: The Packaging perception trick. The old saying about “not judging a book by its cover” could also be used when it comes to purchasing products, especially food products. Simply put, many consumers are fooled into thinking that a taller or narrower product package holds more product then it actually does. A great example of this is the large boxes used for cereal and ice cream, which look big but generally contain much less product that it would appear.

Deception #2: The “Up To” trick. This is a tactic used by many department stores when they are having clearance sales. They place a sign in a prominent location that says “50% Off” but, upon further inspection, you notice that site also says “up to”. This fools many shoppers into thinking that they’re going to find lots of items at half price but, in most cases, there are only a few while most other items are marked at 5%, 10% or other, lower, percentages off.

Deception #3: The Rebate hoax. While “extreme couponing” makes headlines, there’s very little talk about rebates that department stores offer when you buy a specific product. The reason is simple; redemption rates for rebates are far lower than for coupons. Even worse is that the price usually seen on the sale sticker already has the rebate price deducted, a rebate that most consumers will never receive and thus a lower price that they won’t receive either.

Deception #4: The “Buy X amount for X dollars” fake-out. This happens in grocery stores all the time. They post sale signs advertising, for example, 10 items for $10. Most consumers, seeing that advertisement, will purchase 10 items in order to get them for $1 apiece. The fact is however that, in almost all cases, they could just as well purchase 1 item, or 3, or even 6, and still get them for $1 each, without the need to purchase 10.

Deception #5: The ‘Price Anchoring’ scheme. This consumer deceit was brought to light in the last few years when department store JCPenney actually tried to stop using it. When their sales plummeted they changed their tune (and fired their new CEO) and went back to ‘price anchoring’, whereby they take a $32 retail price for a shirt (for example) and increase that cost to $56 in the store. Then they put the shirt “on sale” for the original retail price of $32. This has the effect of convincing a consumer that they’re getting a “great deal” when in fact the department store is getting exactly the price they wanted for the shirt to begin with.

Deception #6: The ‘low payment focus’ scam. This scam can be found on numerous advertising campaigns. For example, you’re listening to a TV commercial that says “for the price of a cup of coffee each day, you can get the insurance you need”. These companies don’t focus on the overall price but instead the “low payment” cost. Many car dealerships do the same thing, asking their customers how much they can afford to pay every month rather than focusing on what the total cost of their automobile will be when it’s finally paid in full.

Now that you’ve seen how marketers and retailers try to fool you, hopefully you’ll be the wiser and keep your eyes fully focused on the actual price you’re going to pay, not the fake one they try to focus on. Best of luck shoppers!