The 4 Best Places To Visit On America’s East Coast

The 4 Best Places To Visit On America’s East CoastThe east coast of America is an exciting part of the country to visit, with so much to offer every traveler. Steeped in history, and full of stunning scenery, the east coast is the ideal vacation destination.

According to Outdoorsy, an RV rental marketplace, anyone traveling to the east coast should spend at least 1-2 days visiting each destination, as there is usually so much to do.

But what are the best places to visit on America’s east coast? We’re going to take a look at that now:

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is thought to be something of a hidden gem. Found on the Maine coastline, the Park has been open for 100 years and is home to a wide variety of ecosystems and terrain.

Covering more than 47,000 acres, and with multiple islands, Acadia Park is home to the tallest mountain on America’s Atlantic coast, and incredible scenery.

Sit on the rocks by the sea, and listen to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. Alternatively, hire a bicycle and ride the historic roads, and experience all that this incredibly beautiful national park has to offer.

Ellis Island, New York

Take a trip to Ellis Island, New York, and visit America’s most important gateway, where more than 12 million immigrants passed through between 1892 and 1924.

A trip to Ellis Island would not be complete without visiting the Immigration museum that brings the museums collection to life.

Once you’ve made your way around the museum, hop aboard the boat that takes you on to Liberty Island, and get a closer look at the Statue of Liberty that began to welcome millions of immigrants to the United States more than 100 years ago.




Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia

Shenandoah Caverns can be found deep underground in Quicksburg Virginia, and are a sight to behold.

Welcoming visitors for more than 90 years, the caverns are home to crystalline formations, amazing geology, and an underground tour that will take an hour to complete.

Discovered in 1884, and with a year-round temperature of 54 Fahrenheit, the Shenandoah Caverns make the ideal destination if you love a bit of history, or you simply enjoy exploring the earth’s natural wonders.

The Florida Everglades, Florida

The Florida Everglades is one of the east coasts most stunning landscapes. Established in 1947, and spanning an impressive 1,542,526 acres, the Everglades National Park has something for everyone.

Home to 40 species of mammals, more than 300 species of fish, and 50 reptile species, in addition to manatees, panthers, and crocodiles, the Everglades will help to make your vacation one to remember.

Go hiking, canoeing, take a tram or boat tour, or enjoy a spot of camping, before taking a peaceful stroll around the boardwalk trails so you can enjoy the Everglades’ sights and sounds at your own pace.

The east coast has so much to offer, from stunning national parks to incredible museums, underground caverns, and stunning landscapes. If you would like to have an unforgettable vacation, head to America’s east coast, and experience all that it has to offer.

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10 Posts That Every College Student Should Read

10 Posts That Every College Student Should ReadCan you believe that it’s already August? For college students, that means that the summer break is almost over. Hopefully, you had a chance to make some money and travel if you’re a student that’s reading this. In a few weeks, it will be time to put your game face on and get focused on your classes. Whether you’re a new freshman or if you’re a returning student, it’s time to get ready. For today’s post, I want to share with you some of the best college related articles on my site. Let’s get started with the first post.

Back to School Tips For College Students

I was in school for 5.5 years. During that time I learned a few things. In this post, I share with you nine back to school tips. They include things such as making sure you know where your classes are located the day before and establishing rules with your roommates. These tips will help those first few days in college go smoothly.

10 Things Every College Freshman Should Have in Their Dorm Room

I created a list of 10 items that I think every college student should have in their dorm. Dorms tend to have some furniture such as beds, desk, and chairs, but that’s about it. I share with you ten essential items that every student should have in their dorm. Most of the items are very affordable.

Saving Money on College Textbooks

College textbooks are expensive. Many of them cost over $100. That’s ridiculous. With tuition already being expensive, you’d think students could get a break on the books. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. The good thing is there are ways out there for you to save money on the textbooks. You just have to know what you’re doing. In this post, I share five ways that students can save money on textbooks. There is no reason that you should pay too much for your books every again.

7 Tips For College Freshmen

Many first-year students are wide eyed and lost when they get to college. Thankfully, I had a mentor to help me out and put me on game. Many people don’t have that. A lot of individuals are first generation college students. They have to learn things on the fly. I wrote this post to give freshmen a head up. The seven tips that I discussed will help them get through the first few weeks of college.

5 Ways to Have a Good Semester

Most of my semesters in college were good. I passed my classes most of the times. There were a couple of semesters where I struggled. I was focused on the wrong things and lacked discipline. I don’t want students to make that mistake. In this post, I share five ways that students can have a good semester. The things that I have listed should be common sense, but not everyone does them. During the couple of semesters that I struggled, I didn’t do them.

More Scholarship Search Websites

I’m a financial aid counselor at my full-time job. The number of students that take out student loans is ridiculous. The US student loan debt is over 1.2 trillion dollars. To keep it real, we will never pay that debt off. A lot of folks will have student loan debt forever. I don’t want that to be the case for you. I shared thirteen different scholarship websites in this post. If you are a student check them out and if you qualify for any of them, apply. Your future depends on it. I don’t want you to have crazy amounts of student loan debt. As of this writing, I have a little over $62,000 worth of student loan debt. I could do so much more with my money if I didn’t have it. Apply for those scholarships today!




8 More Tips for College Freshmen

Earlier I shared with you a post on seven tips for college freshmen. After I had written that post, I realized that there were a lot more tips out there. I put together a list of 8 more tips for the students. I didn’t hold back on this one. I kept it real about topics such as friends and the dreaded long term relationship.

Why Some Students Get in Student Loan Debt

I hate student loan debt (What’s up Sallie Mae). I do understand that for a lot of students that they have to get it though. Some colleges are so expensive that students have to take out multiple loans. Depending on your background, college is a safe haven for you. In this post, I detail a few reasons why some students get in student loan debt.

5 Ways Students Can Make Extra Money

I hear many people say that they were broke college students. For many people in college, that is the case. They don’t have that much money, and they are living on Ramen Noodles. Luckily, I didn’t have to go through that. I never really experienced life as a broke college student. I always had a hustle or a part time job. As a freshman, I sold candy and mix CDs. I did that all throughout college. I also had a great part time job at Paula Deen’s Restaurant. In this article, I share five ways that students can earn some extra cash. I can imagine that eating Ramen all the time would get boring.

The Do’s & Don’ts of College Refund Checks

I’ve seen people do some crazy stuff with their refund checks. Students get that money and splurge like there is no tomorrow. I received several refund checks when I was in college. For the most part, I didn’t go on a spending spree or make it rain. I also didn’t send the money back to the loan company like I could have done either. You live, and you learn. I discuss some things

4 Last Minute Exam Tips for Students

The final post in this round up is a good one. Every student will have to deal with final exams. Not every student knows the best test taking strategies. In this post, I share with you some last minute tips that will help you do your best. I know that everyone isn’t a good test taker. I know that these tips will help students out though.

 

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July 2017 Debt & Life Update

July 2017 Debt & Life Update Happy Friday y’all. Another month is nearly finished. July was a busy month for me. I took a trip to Detroit. I’ll have a post about that up in a couple of weeks. I also increased my eBay sales. I continue to find more items to sell. I’ve also been working on my beginners eBay course. The course is for anyone that is interested in starting an eBay side hustle. To get updates about the course, sign up here. It will be live sometime in August.

In my June life update, I started focusing on Pinterest. My Pinterest traffic almost doubled for May to June. I’ve been using Tailwind to help me schedule my pins. If you’re a blogger, that has a Pinterest profile; you should check it out. You can get a free month of Tailwind by signing up here. I’m sure that you will enjoy it.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, make sure that you check out my step by step guide on creating a website with Bluehost. Use my link to get your hosting for as little as $3.45 per month (this low price is only available through my link). It usually costs $7.99 per month. You also get a free domain when you sign up through my link.

I also received a raise at my job.  I’m glad that my income increased, but I’m still looking for opportunities. The more that my income increases mean that my debt will be eliminated faster.


Top Posts of the Month

5 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

5 Reasons You Should Be Investing With Stockpile

Common Credit Card Mistakes People Tend to Make

10 Posts That Will Help Your eBay Business

My total debt went down from $62,660.22 to $62,158.69. That was a decrease of $501.53. After two subpar months, I feel like I’m making strides again. I should be able to add more money to the debt very soon.  Let’s look at the numbers in detail.

Loan 2 – Down from $4200 to $3845

Navient – Down from $23,634.17 to $23,493.54

Nelnet – Down from $34,826.05 to $34,820.15

My debt is getting lower. I have to find a way to speed the process up though. It will be 2018 before we know it. I have a feeling that my side hustle income will increase within the next month. Once that happens, I’ll be able to make more payments on the debt.

How was your July?

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July 2017 Round Up

July 2017 Round UpWhat’s going on everyone? Every other month I do a round up. In this post, I share with you blog articles that I enjoyed during the last couple of months. I hope you enjoy the July 2017 round up.

David from Young Adult Money tells us Who Should and Shouldn’t Start a Side Hustle?

Chonce from My Debt Epiphany gives us the scoop on How She’s Saving Up for a Summer Disney Vacation.

Chad from Coach Carson shares with us Real Estate Investing 101 – 9 Steps to Get Started. This is a must read if you are considering getting into real estate.

J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy has an interesting post titled Financial Confessional: I used to be an Escort.

Kristi from Kristi Aoki shows us 6 Ways to Improve Blog Traffic & Grow Your Audience.



Tia from Financially Fit and Fab tells us 7 Ways to Earn Money With Your Car.

Kim for Work Hard Travel Well shares Misconceptions About Travel Blogging.

Anum from Current on Currency has a post titled Here’s How Much You’re Spending By Being a Wedding Guest.

U.S News has a post on the Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit of 2017

Chris from Debt Free Geek tells us the 5 Benefits of Being Debt Free. I can’t wait until I’m able to write a debt free post.

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How I Made $3215 in Side Hustle Income the 2nd Quarter of 2017

How I Made $3215 in Side Hustle Income the 2nd Quarter of 2017This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission on purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting this site. Read the full disclosure here.

It’s amazing that we are already in the third quarter of 2017. It seems like January was just yesterday. In April, I did what was the first of four quarterly income reports that I planned on doing for 2017.

I enjoy reading other bloggers income reports. They help keep me motivated. They also give me new ideas so that I can diversify my income even more. In the first quarter of this year, I made $4900. Unfortunately, I didn’t do as good in the 2nd quarter. It’s better than nothing though.

How did I do?

I made $3214.62 during the months of April, May, and June. This is after PayPal fees but before taxes. Bringing in an extra $3200 is cool, but I know I can do much better.

The Breakdown

Freelancing – $2350.87

For the second quarter in a row, freelancing was my highest form of side hustle income. It was down a bit from the first quarter for two reasons. The first reason was that I lost two clients during that time. One was expected, but the other one was a big surprise. I’m not mad or anything because I’ve used my extra time to work on some of my other side hustles. The results from a couple of them will show in the third quarter. The second reason was that I didn’t pitch for many new clients. I focused more on growing my other streams of income such as eBay.

eBay – $495.70

eBay was my second highest income stream during the 2nd quarter. In the 1st quarter, it was fourth on the list. I will contribute the increase to me focusing more on it. I started taking better pictures of my items. I spent more time in the thrift stores. Also, I researched and started selling different items. In the past, I stuck with what I knew (shoes & sports related things). I’ve branched out a bit. I’ve started selling dress shoes, more clothing items and more. I have a great feeling that my eBay sales will get even better.



Sponsored Posts – $202.52

I only accepted a couple of sponsored posts last quarter. I get multiple emails a month where people are asking if I accept sponsored posts or not. Most of them either pay too low or the topic doesn’t even relate to my website. I want to provide value to my readers and give them good info and advice. I can’t just post anything on the site. That may make me lose readers.

Affiliates – $85.53

Affiliate income is something that I’m still working on. This type of income can be made while you sleep if your content is good enough. When it comes to affiliate marketing, I only promote products that I’ve used or things that add value.

Offer Up – $40

This income stream wasn’t on the last income report. I pretty much gave up on Offer Up at the beginning of the year. I thought that it was a glamorized Craigslist. In June, I decided to give it a second chance. I sold a bobblehead for forty bucks. Hopefully, I can get a few more sales this quarter.

Craigslist – $40

Craigslist was not on the last income report either. I was able to do some design work and post a flyer on Craigslist for someone. It was probably the easiest amount of money that I earned in the second quarter. I’m not sure if design work will turn into a main side hustle of mine, but I would do it again.

I can’t lie, a lot of my side hustle income is possible due to starting a blog. Four years ago, I took a risk and started TBJ. If you’ve considered starting a blog, do it. You don’t have anything to lose. Check out this post I wrote on how to create a website with Bluehost. Butler Journal readers can their website hosting and a domain for as low as $3.95 with this link.

My side hustle income was lower this quarter. The third quarter will be much better. I’ve planted quite a few seeds that I know will bloom. I’m ready to complete more goals and eliminate more of this damn debt.

Did you have a good 2nd quarter of the year?

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10 Ways to Save Money on Travel

10 Ways to Save Money on TravelThis post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission on purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting this site. Read the full disclosure here.

How many of y’all like to travel? Hopefully, everyone raised their hands. If you’ve been a reader of TBJ for a while, you know that traveling is my anti-drug. I’d rather travel than waste money on an expensive car or a ridiculously large mansion. To me, life is all about experiences. Last year, I had the chance to use my passport for the first time. It took me five years, but the wait was worth it.

A lot of people think that it’s super expensive to travel. I’ll be the first person to tell you that it’s not. There are several tools out there that will help you save money. Today, I want to go over ten ways to save money on travel.

Priceline

Priceline is one of my favorite websites to book travel on. I’ve been using Priceline for years. They have a great platform that allows you to view flights, hotels, and rental cars. You can compare the different prices and the different brands. Priceline has a feature called “Name Your Own Price.” With this feature, you can get bid for a hotel room or a rental car. If Priceline accepts that deal, you can get the room or hotel for that price! I’ve made numerous successful bids on multiple hotel rooms and rental cars in the past. They used to let you book flights with this feature, but they discontinued it in 2016. I guess people were saving too much money.

Booking.com

Booking.com is a site that also has a lot of travel deals on it. You can book hotel rooms, flights, and cars with them. Booking.com has travel guides for many of the top destinations throughout the world. They also have a section where you can view different restaurants in the city that you are going to.

Expedia

Expedia is another site that I’ve used before. They have a section that features bundle deals. If you are a fan or cruises, you should check Expedia. They have a feature that allows you to book cruises through them. When you book a cruise with Expedia, you get their Price Guarantee, and you don’t have to pay any cruise booking fees.

Best of Orlando

Orlando, Florida is one my favorite cities to visit. I lived there for seven months when I interned at Walt Disney World.  There is so much to do in Orlando. Besides Disney World, you can visit Universal Studios, SeaWorld Orlando and more. You can also go to an Orlando Magic basketball game during the basketball season. Best of Orlando is the number one site that you should check out when you are looking to visit Orlando.  They have sections for hotels, theme park tickets, shows, attractions, and tours.

Travelocity

Travelocity is a travel site that is similar to Priceline and Expedia. If you find a lower price, Travelocity will refund you the difference. Also, you can search over 400 airlines and more than 321,000 hotel rooms worldwide. They have a section on their site called Get Inspired. Once you click on that tab, you can view several topics such as beach, city and romantic.



Groupon

Virtually everyone has heard of Groupon. If not, I’ll give you a brief explanation. Groupon is an online marketplace that specializes in offering activities, goods, and travel for people. Groupon is great for finding deals for massages, restaurants and more. Groupon has getaways section where you can purchase travel deals.  There are all kinds of trip deals that you can buy. For example, Groupon is offering an eight day London, Paris & Rome trip with hotel and air for $899. Damn. That’s a good price.

HomeAway

HomeAway is a site where you can book lodging. You can choose from rental houses, condos and more. I booked a room through HomeAway a few years ago in Miami. The trip was during Memorial Day Weekend. The cheapest hotel that I could find cost $660 for the three day weekend. I booked a room for $330 through HomeAway. I saved over $300 bucks. That was a steal. If you don’t want to pay for expensive hotels, give HomeAway a shot.

Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor is one of the best travel websites out there. You can do many things on their including searching for things to do in different cities such as top attractions. Something that’s unique about Trip Advisor is that you can leave reviews to hotels and businesses on their site. I like that they have that feature. Sometimes companies or hotels can be biased when it comes to their descriptions. A fellow traveler won’t be. They will tell you the truth. If a hotel or business is bad, they will let you know in the review. You can also upload pictures of the business or hotel in your review as well.  This is great because you get a chance to really see how things look instead of just viewing the professional pictures. Trip Advisor is a site that you must check out when you’re thinking about traveling.

Airbnb

I’m a huge fan of Airbnb. I used them for the first time to book a place to stay when I went to Cuba in 2016. If you are trying to save money, you should check out Airbnb. They have several unique booking options. You can book homes, apartments, a bedroom and more. If you don’t feel like paying hundreds of dollars for overpriced hotel rooms, you should sign up for Airbnb today. Readers of The Butler Journal can save $40 during their first stay over $75 by signing up at this link.

Google Flights

Last, but certainly not least is Google Flights. If you are flying somewhere, you must check out this site. They show you different flight info such as how many connections you’ll have and the best flight option that is available. You can also filter out airlines that you might now want to fly with. Google Flights also has an explore map that allows you to see the price of a flight from your home city to the other cities on the map.

If you thought that it was expensive to travel, I hope that this article has changed your mind. With research, you can save hundreds of bucks when it comes to traveling. The ten ways to save money on travel will help you out. If you haven’t used them in the past, this is the perfect time to start.

How do you save money when you’re traveling?

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Financial Advice for When You’re Buying a Car

Financial Advice for When You're Buying a CarToday,  I have a guest post from David Walker, founder of CarUnderstanding.com

Buying a car, whether it is new or used, is the next expensive purchase to a house. The cost doesn’t end with the actual purchase, but there are other expenses to worry about such as insurance, financing, maintenance, repairs, and fuel. That is why before you shell out cash for a brand new or used car, make sure you have set your budget and done your research. This will help you avoid spending too much for unnecessary purchases and get a deal that is suited to your needs. Purchasing a car is another major decision that will affect your lifestyle. True, a car is a necessity, but it also depends on how bad you need it. Take note that owning a car takes a lot of responsibility, so you have to be psychologically and financially ready to own a car before you jump into that purchase.

Here’s some financial advice for when you’re buying a car:

Budget, Budget, Budget

Rule of thumb when making any purchases – always set a budget. There are still other expenses you have to worry about after purchasing your car so don’t go for the limit. No matter if it is a brand new car or a used car, there should be a limit on how much you are willing to pay upfront. In the case of used cars, make sure that the budget you set is less than the cost of a brand new car.

Here is a list of websites that may help you plan your budget:

  • Edmunds.com – Gives reviews and pricing information for brand new and used cars
  • Kelly Blue Book – Estimator for used cars
  • Carsdirect.com – Gives information including pricing; you can also compare different models
  • Truecar.com – Gives pricing information and deals from local car dealers

Once you have set a budget for a car, set aside the down payment, so you have it ready when the time comes. This also helps you adjust your budget accordingly. Remember, you still have to pay for the monthly installment and insurance premiums.

Research and compare

After you have set a budget, check the market for a list of cars suited for your needs. Consider the size of your family, how often you use the car, and where you usually travel. Be it a brand new car or a used car, make a list and compare their prices. You may also want to look into the extras such as GPS, airbags, transmission, and type of fuel. It is best to have at least five options to choose from.

Check your credit score

Banks, credit unions, and lenders look into your credit history and factor it when processing your loan. The better your credit history is, the better deal you get and the easier it would be to get a loan. The logic is that people with better credit history are good payers.


Financing options

Chances are, you won’t be paying cash upfront. Make sure you also look into financing options. Dealers offer financing options but may be more expensive due to commissions. Compare different interest rates with banks, local lenders and credit unions.

Shop for discounts

There are many discounts offered to those who want to purchase cars. There are cashback deals, student discounts, military members or veterans, and discounts for members of credit unions. Check the current offers of car dealers and see if you qualify for any of them.

Look for insurance

One way that you can save on insurance is to bundle it with your home insurance. Most insurance companies offer discounts for bundles. Ask your family or friends to refer you, too, so you can get referral discounts as well.

Decide if you want to buy or lease

When you buy a car, you gain true ownership as soon as the last payment is made. But if you lease a car, once your lease terms are done, you have the option of purchasing it so you gain ownership. If you are the type of person who changes cars every two or three years, a leased car is best for you. Consider how long you plan to keep it. If you are frequently traveling and have a habit of leaving your car in storage, leasing a car is better.

Inspect and test drive

Once you purchase the car, there is no turning back, so make sure you are comfortable driving it. Brand new or used car, give it an overall inspection plus a test drive. You should be fully satisfied with it before you purchase it, or else you might regret it.

Negotiate and say “no” if needed

Once you are equipped with facts based on your research, you already know what you want. When shopping for a brand new car, dealers may offer you another model which is more expensive. Don’t be blinded by the “extras,” make sure you really need them or are practical. When buying used cars, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller. Negotiate at least 10% to 15% of the offer. But don’t be too stingy because the car may have practical extras installed on them.

Miscellaneous

If you have an existing car, decide what you plan to do with it. Are you going to trade it in or sell it? It will help you finance the new car that you’re buying.

Now that you have seen the financial advice, do you think you are now financially ready to buy a car? If you’re thinking that, “I never knew there were so many things to consider!” – yes, there are a lot. That’s just the tip of the iceberg; be prepared for the rest of the costs.

What are your thoughts on this article? Please feel free to share this article with your friends. Who knows? You may have a friend out there who’s planning to purchase a car. I hope that I was able to answer any misgivings that you may have had. Feel free to air your comments and suggestions by sharing them.

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