Cash The Checks

Personal Finance Blog With Advice On Making Money And Saving Money

This post will discuss how you can save money in three unusual ways: on travel, coffee and college.

Travel – Free Airline Tickets

Regardless of whether airline ticket prices are high or low, traveling is expensive, especially for those who travel frequently. But there’s a way to get airline tickets for free. While sitting at an airplane terminal waiting for a flight it is common to hear an airline employee ask for volunteers to get bumped to a later flight. If you volunteer, you receive free airline vouchers for usually between $200 and $300; voucher prices differ based on how busy airports are and whether a flight is domestic or international.

The great thing is that the airlines do not limit how many vouchers you can collect in one day. So, if fliers are not in huge hurry, they should take the airline up on its offer. I’ve personally gotten $800 in airline vouchers in one day after using a free voucher for my initial flight, and I haven’t paid for an airline ticket in over a year. And in regard to trips, this is a huge savings. When airline ticket prices are high, this can mean saving money on a good 25 percent of your trip; when airline ticket prices are low, it translates to 3 to 4 days of eating out while you’re on vacation. And many times when fliers get bumped, they get to fly in the first class cabin on their next flight, which alone makes it worth catching a later flight. Some airlines have even begun allowing people to volunteer to be bumped when they check in for their flight.

Fliers get to negotiate how much they want for their volunteer bump by entering the amount at check-in; people can easily put more than the airlines would normally offer. And if no one else is willing to be bumped, the airlines will pay fliers the amount they entered at check-in.

Coffee – Save Money on Your Caffeine Addiction

Everyone says that to save money, people should give up their daily Starbucks and make a pot of coffee at home, or give up coffee altogether; this plan is futile. Giving up coffee is never an option, and watery, American coffee at home never tastes as good as Starbucks; and both of these effects lead people to end up at Starbucks anyway. The best alternative is to buy a semi-professional automatic espresso maker; these machines produce espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos, and you can purchase Starbucks beans to use in them. The initial cost can be expensive, but the long-term savings are worth it.

The price of a semi-automatic espresso makers ranges from a little over $100 to $1,000 depending on the brand and features one wishes to have; a modest one, like Saeco machine in the picture above, runs for $479, shipping included. Over a three year period, this coffee machine can save you approximately $1,332.

College – Alternatives to the Traditional

There are two ways to save on undergraduate college, and they’re pretty simple.

1. Graduate early. Students typically take 15 hours per semester, but the majority of colleges allow students to take 12 or 18 hours for the same tuition price. If a student takes 18 hours per semester and 6 hours at a community college every summer, they will save one year’s worth of tuition, food, and room and board.

2. Go to a community college for two years. Here is what students can save in tuition costs alone. Going to a private university for 4 years will cost you $119,400. But going to a community college for 2 years and then transferring to a private college for 2 more years will cost you $65,132. This equals a savings of $54,268. Likewise, going to an in-state public college for 4 years will cost you $33,300. But if you go to a local community college for 2 years then transfer and complete your education at a public college your total would be $22,076. This equals a savings of $11,224.

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