About thethriftymanblog

I'm a 26 year-old who has decided to dive headfirst into the world of blogging and YouTube. Here I go- woohoo! My blog and YouTube channel cover topics related to living simply and budgeting as a young 20-something.

6 Rich and Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Thrifty

This post contains affiliate links

You may think of penny-pinchers as people that are that scrapping by out of necessity, but it turns out there are many famous and wealthy people that despite their extravagant earnings, choose to live modestly.

Here are six of those people.

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence

Image Source: By Gage Skidmore (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

What’s not to love about everyone’s favorite Hunger Games star? Her down-to-earth demeanor has made her one of Hollywood’s most likable celebrities, but it turns out this extends to her money-spending habits as well. She likes to hunt for bargains with coupons, drives a modest car, and once ordered a $1.99 Happy Meal as a pre-Oscars snack. As she said in a Fabulous (U.K.) magazine interview, “I was raised to have value for money, to have respect for money, even though you have a lot of it. My family is not the kind of family that would ever let me turn into an a**hole or anything like that, so I am fortunate to have them.”

Hillary Swank

Hilary Swank 2009

Image Source: Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

She may be an Academy Award winning-actress, but Ms. Swank is also an avid coupon-clipper. As she said in a 2010 interview with Regis and Kelly, “When you open up the paper and you see those coupons it’s like dollar bills staring you in the face!” When asked if she ever feels embarrassed to use coupons she said she was not, adding, “Why not? It’s how I grew up. It’s in my bones.”

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett at the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

This legendary investor is reportedly worth more than 76 billion dollars, according to Forbes magazine. That hasn’t stopped him from staying frugal, however. He lives in the same Omaha, Nebraska home that he’s lived in since 1958 that he originally purchased for $31,500. He also doesn’t keep a cell phone on him or a computer at his desk, enjoys cheap fast food meals, and once had a license plate that said “THRIFTY.” A great thing about Mr. Buffet is that his frugality seemingly isn’t motivated by greed as he has pledged to give more than 99% of his wealth to charity.

Mark Zuckerberg 

Mark Zuckerberg TechCrunch 2012

Image Source: By TechCrunch [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

The founder and CEO of Facebook is infamous for wearing the exact same thing to work every day– a simple T-shirt, hoodie, and jeans. According to him, always wearing the same outfit helps simplify his life by helping to minimize basic daily decisions. Rather than going for an expensive Tesla or Ferrari, as of 2014, he was driving a manual-transmission, four-door hatchback Volkswagon car that cost less than $31,000.

Jay Leno

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Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain photo)

 

It might be hard to believe, but the entire time Jay Leno hosted “The Tonight Show,” he never spent a penny of his salary from NBC, instead putting it ENTIRELY in savings. For his expenditures, he relied on his earnings from stand-up comedy shows (which he continued to do on the weekends in addition to his hosting duties). As he told Jerry Seinfeld on “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” “You know, when I was a kid I always had two jobs. And I would bank one and I’d spend the other. Then when I got ‘The Tonight Show’ I just continued that.”

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell by Gage Skidmore

Image Source: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Frozen was one of the most successful films of all time, and Ms. Bell most certainly earned a pretty penny as a leading voice actress in the beloved Disney movie. Despite that, she still is an avid coupon queen. As she told Conan O’Brien, “I almost exclusively shop with coupons. The best coupon you can get, possibly in the world, is the Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon. And you know it’s the best one! Because it’s like 20 percent off, and if you buy a duvet or an air conditioner, you could be saving upwards of $80!” Amen, sister.

Check out these great deals from Coupons.com!

SAVE $3.50 on ONE (1) Dynamiclear™ Cold Sore Treatment
50¢ OFF ONE Cascade® Rinse Aid Product (excludes trial/travel size)
$2.00 OFF ONE Crest® 3DWhite™ Glamorous White, 1 Hour Express, Professional Effects OR Supreme Flexfit Whitestrips™ (excludes trial/travel
SAVE $1.00 on any ONE Newman’s Own® Organics Salad Dressing
SAVE 75¢ on any ONE (1) Windex® Multi-Surface Product (excludes travel and trial sizes)
75¢ OFF ONE Crest® 3D Whitening Mouthwash 237ml or larger (excludes trial/travel size)
GET $2.00 OFF any ONE (1) package of HUGGIES® Diapers (Not valid on 9 ct. or less)
SAVE $1.00 on the purchase of any one (1) HORMEL™ NATURAL CHOICE™ Snack
Save $1.50 on any TWO (2) Seeds of Change® Certified Organic Food Products
SAVE 75¢ on any ONE (1) OFF!® Product (excludes travel and trial sizes)
SAVE 50¢ on any ONE (1) VELVEETA Loaf or Mini Blocks
Save $4.00 on any FLONASE® 120ct spray or larger
Save $2.00 on 60 Spray FLONASE® or Children’s FLONASE® or larger

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow this blog for more updates on frugal living, as well as stay updated on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

What is DailyPay and How Can It Benefit On-Demand Drivers?

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This post contains affiliate links from DailyPay

As you may have seen already on my blog, I have worked as a delivery driver for GrubHub. This was an overall interesting experience for me and a great way to pick up some extra income. I can say as a driver, though, that when you’ve worked a bunch of hours to earn some extra cash, having to wait until payday to actually get that money is a huge bummer.

Which brings me to DailyPay. DailyPay is a service that lets on-demand drivers for companies like GrubHub, DoorDash, and Instacart get their daily earnings up-front rather than having to wait till payday. This isn’t a loan and you don’t have to pay it back. All of your money will come to you through DailyPay, and then GrubHub will send them your earnings total for each pay period to make up the difference.  Be aware that because DailyPay can’t see your tips total with GrubHub, tips for GrubHub drivers will still come after one business day of your normal payday. The cost for it comes from a small transfer fee each time you elect to receive your payment.

How it works

After you’ve worked your blocks for a day with GrubHub, they will officially record and report your earnings to DailyPay two days later. There is a slight delay because of the way GrubHub reports your earnings, but all other apps will have your daily earnings reported the same day you worked.

Once DailyPay knows your daily earnings total, they will then in turn put this money into your “Available Balance” the following business day, which is almost like a checking account. You can choose to transfer from your Available Balance whenever you wish– automatically each day, every other day, as needed, etc. (take note, though, that if you initiate a manual transfer after 5:30PM ET it will transfer in two business days).

Once you’ve set up your transfer, DailyPay will get the total of the earnings you made for that day, subtract out the fee, and send you your hard-earned cash. Transfers up to $150 are $0.99 and transfers over $150 are $1.49. You can always save money by only taking out the money as needed throughout your week and there are no other fees. The money is direct-deposited into either a bank account or prepaid debit card and there are no contracts so you can cancel whenever you wish. Plus, there’s no credit check and it’s FREE to sign up!

If you are among the over 10,000 on-demand drivers currently using their service this could be a good way to get some money early when you have bills to pay or unexpected financial situations occur before payday.

Try it out and get two weeks FREE!

If you are a driver that is interested in trying it out, click on this link here. Because I’m all about saving you money, you can get TWO WEEKS FREE by following my link!

If you are a restaurant owner, there are some services offered to you as well. If you are using GrubHub or Seamless to accept orders at your business, DailyPay offers you the ability to receive the money owed to your restaurant from the food delivery services in advance. When you’ve got a staff to pay and supplies to order this could be super helpful!

It operates similar in structure to what the drivers have- no contract, no credit checks, no early termination fee. The fees are slightly higher at $2.49 for transfers up to $250, $5.99 for transfers at $250-$500, and $9.99 for transfers greater than $500.

For restaurant owners, click on this link to get TWO WEEKS FREE as well!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow this blog for more updates on frugal living, as well as stay updated on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

I Made Money by Going to Church. Here’s How.

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I’ll admit I’ve done a lot of strange things for money at various points in my young adult life. Yet I don’t think anything has prompted a more polarizing response than when I tell people that I got paid to go to church.

How did this happen, you might ask? With a research company called Faith Perceptions. What this company does is work with churches that want to evaluate the experiences of first-time visitors.

They send contractors out to the churches on assignment who attend a Sunday morning service, observe specific things such as if they were greeted properly and if the parking lot was easily accessible, and then fill out questionnaires afterwords about their experience. Thus, it is very similar in concept to what mystery shoppers do with for-profit businesses.

Each assignment typically earns the mystery shopper… er … church evaluator (?) about $45, although at the time I did it they had assignments that would pay slightly more if you went to college group meetings and special events in addition to the Sunday service (paying somewhere near $75 total).

The churches with available assignments were primarily in the Midwestern United States and almost entirely United Methodist congregations, for some reason. It did feel a little odd essentially having to lie about why I was visiting the church I was assigned to when talking to the different church-goers.

It also felt odd having to look with a critical eye for things that I knew were on the questionnaire, such as “was the pastor’s sermon clear in its message and communication style?” and “was it easy to tell where the nursery was located?”

The people they typically look for are individuals that believe in God, but don’t have a church home. Essentially the demographic a would-be congregation would be trying to reach.

Despite the peculiarity of the job, it isn’t a bad experience overall. Keep in mind that you are helping churches do something they themselves hired Faith Perceptions to do. If you enjoy going to church and are also looking for money, I suppose I’d recommend it and wouldn’t judge you for it. But what if you are solely doing this to make money rather than attend a church service, you might ask?

I’ll leave that one for a Higher Power.

You can check out the Faith Perceptions website or apply to become a “mystery guest” here

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow this blog for more updates on frugal living, as well as stay updated on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

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6 Things Job Ads Say That are Total Lies

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Not every job seems as appealing as others. Just as you pitch your skill set and work qualifications in a job interview, companies must pitch why you should apply for their positions so they attract the best talent.  There can be certain jobs that may ordinarily be a challenge for companies to get applicants for, so they’ll use codewords to make a position sound more enticing. Be wary when you see these terms, and make sure you understand what they could REALLY mean.

Here is a list of ten such terms to watch out for in job ads.

1. When they say: “Entry-Level Marketing” 

   What they could mean is: Sales Representative

There are many young, impressionable people looking to have their big break in the marketing field. Whether you went to college to get a marketing degree or are just looking to change careers, the promise of an entry-level job to break into the marketing world can seem enticing. Be warned, though, because many commission-based sales representative jobs, perhaps even door-to-door sales jobs, are masked behind this “entry-level marketing” label.

Sales jobs aren’t for everyone- the pay is inconsistent and the workload is stressful. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t actually break into a marketing career with such jobs, but do your background research on the company and job position before applying so you know what you’re getting into.  

2. When they say: “Accounts Receivable Specialist”

     What they could mean is: Collections Agent

When people think of accounting jobs, they might assume it means sitting quietly at a computer, posting journal entries into Quickbooks and preparing financial reports. However, when it comes to Accounts Receivable jobs this could be a clever way of wording something that’s really a call center-based Collections Agent instead of a gateway into a finance career. 

If you have ever been on the receiving end of a collections call, you know it isn’t usually a pleasurable experience. So consider if you really want to be the person calling cranky people to remind them to pay their bills. 

3. When they say: “Choose your own hours.”

     What they could mean is: You’ll be a contract worker.

With the rise of rideshare apps and the “sharing economy,” there are many side gigs that offer the ability to work whenever you want. Take note, though, that if you don’t have set hours it could be an independent contractor position instead of a job where you are an employee. This means that you don’t have the same rights as a worker if you get injured on the job, for instance. And you won’t necessarily have health insurance or other benefits associated with full-time employment. 

If you are unsure don’t be afraid to reach out to the company and ask whether or not it is a contract job!

4. When they say: “Fast-paced environment.”

     What they could mean is: This job is STRESSFUL!

A “fast-paced environment” could mean they want someone who is going to be able to juggle a large amount of tasks that are thrown at them with little time to complete such tasks. You may see this term used for jobs related to customer service or the restaurant industry. Some people enjoy the excitement of a job where you remain active throughout your shift, but for others a quiet environment is better suited for their needs. 

Consider whether you are ready for a work environment that is noisy and frantic when you see these words in a job ad.

5. When they say: “Preferred Qualifications”

     What they could mean is: If you don’t have these, you ain’t getting it.

Oftentimes if you don’t have their preferred qualifications, such as a college degree in a specific job field or a certain type of certification, your chances at getting an interview are slim to none. Your best bet will be if you have an alternative qualification such as years of related experience. Thus proves a bit of a conundrum: you need experience to get a job and you need a job to get experience.

If you can’t come up with an alternative qualification or a good angle for pitching yourself in the cover letter and interview process, it might be better to channel your energy towards applying for a different job.

6. When they say: “Flexibility and adaptability are preferred skills.”

     What they could mean is: Our office is dysfunctional.

Offices can struggle when there are inconsistent or contradictory expectations from different supervisors and employees, or a lack of communication between departments. This results in a work environment where one manager gives you a set of instructions and another gives you a different one. Thus proves a need for “adaptability.”

These contradictions can put a strain on productivity and result in an office that is somewhat disorganized. Think of how “adaptable” you really want to be.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow this blog for more updates on frugal living, as well as stay updated on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

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Jobs Like GrubHub: 8 Alternatives for Delivery Drivers

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For my YouTube video on this topic, click here!

One thing’s for sure: rideshare apps and the the “sharing economy” are booming right now. After the rise of Uber, there are many countless tech startups looking to capitalize on services that offer customers work from freelancers with the touch of a smartphone. I’ve previously written about alternatives to Uber , but in this blog entry I’m going to specifically focus in on delivery driving alternatives that are similar to GrubHub.

I’ve previously worked as a GrubHub driver (read about my experiences here) and think it can be a good way to pick up some extra money, as long as you’ve got a vehicle and a phone. It is worth noting that in larger cities you can also deliver by bike or even by walking, so those are options as well. GrubHub isn’t the only option out there, however, and I want to show you the range of choice available.

Please note that each company operates in specific metro areas, so check on their respective websites to see if its available in your city before applying. 

Here are 8 alternatives for delivery drivers:

Orderup

Orderup is a service very similar in its structure to GrubHub. Customers order through an app, and delivery drivers working as independent contractors deliver the food to them. The website says you can make up to $20/hr. as a driver and the hiring process can have you on the road in as little as 7-14 days.

Apply here

Caviar

Caviar offers a more curated experience to customers from restaurants that are more upscale. Their delivery workers, called “couriers,” can make up to $25/hr with flexible schedules. They are currently in 12 metropolitan areas but plan to expand. You can deliver with a variety of different vehicles (car, truck, motorcycle, bike) as a courier.

Apply here

DoorDash

This service is similar to GrubHub and Orderup in its structure. It’s worth noting that they offer their drivers (called Dashers) insurance while on their shifts. So if you were in an accident while working you could potentially file a claim though DoorDash’s insurance. You can drive, bike, or walk depending on the city as a Dasher.

Apply here

Munchery

Munchery operates much differently than the other companies mentioned so far. Instead of picking up food from various restaurants, they have their own in-house team of chefs that make the meals. The meals are then chilled, boxed up, and delivered to the customers by the drivers (or bikers) after they order through the Munchery website or app. What’s also different is they hire employees rather than contract workers. With this you will have a specific, assigned schedule rather than the flexibility to work whenever, but you get full worker’s benefits- including a mileage reimbursement and data reimbursement for your phone.

Apply here

Sprig

Sprig is much like Munchery in its structure of delivering meals by a specific team of chefs instead of picking up from multiple restaurants. They pay $14.50/hr. plus tips with their workers, who are employees rather than contractors. Their company focuses on healthy and natural foods and it is currently only available in the San Francisco area but may expand over time. New workers can be eligible for a $250 sign-on bonus.

Apply here

Postmates

Postmates is similar to GrubHub in that it focuses on food delivery, but it is much more versatile in terms of the job responsibilities.  Whereas GrubHub only delivers from restaurants that partner with their company, Postmates allows delivery from ANYWHERE the customer requests. Additionally, they can also request errands where you might be picking up products from a store or even picking up a customer’s dry cleaning. Their website claims you can make up to $25/hr. so it could be a good way to pick up some extra money.

Apply here

Favor

“Runners” for Favor do a variety of tasks such as get food and run errands for customers who request them through the app, similar to Postmates. You must have a car, bike, or motorcycle to be a Runner and are guaranteed a minimum of $10-$18 per hour depending on the city. Currently they are based out of several cities in Texas. Workers also wear distinctive blue shirts with a tuxedo design on them (see the website for pics).

Apply here

Instacart

This is a grocery delivery service that is currently operating in numerous metro areas throughout the United States. They partner with different grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, and some stores have dedicated Instacart check-out lanes. What’s nice about this service is that you can work either as a part-time employee or an independent contractor, with or without a car. If you have a car you can work as a driver, while if you don’t have a car or don’t wish to drive, you can work solely as a shopper who prepares orders for customers in a particular store. So overall it can be very flexible depending on your needs.

Apply here

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow this blog for more updates on frugal living, as well as stay updated on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

 

Get 25% off EVERY Online Order from Papa John’s with this Pizza Hack (Courtesy of RetailMeNot)

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I am happy to report that I tried this code and it WORKED. Take note, though, that it can’t be used with other offers (trust me… I tried) and there are individual locations and franchises that can opt out of the offer- so make sure you enter in your address first and choose the correct store to see if it works at your local Papa John’s.

I’m always a little skeptical of coupon codes I find online. They have usually not worked and provided tremendous disappointment. As they say, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!” When they do work, it restores a slight bit of my faith in humankind.

Just enter:

25OFF

Then the discount will be applied at checkout. 1/4 of your pizza is on me tonight, guys. Boom.

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(Via RetailMeNot)

10 Free Things to do in While Traveling in Chicago

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Chicago is an awesome city with a distinct culture, tasty hometown food, and friendly people who manage to bring a Midwestern hospitality to a busy metropolis. From their famous comedy clubs like Second City, to the legendary sports teams like the Chicago Cubs, all the way to the big city glam of the shops on Michigan Avenue you’ll find something that anyone can enjoy in the Windy City.

Like any travel destination, though, it can be easy to get sucked in to expensive and sometimes unnecessary purchases and attractions. To help you travel in a thrifty way, I’ve assembled this list of things to do for FREE while traveling in Chicago.

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Millennium Park

Yup, this would be the park the infamous “bean” (technically called Cloud Gate) that has become an icon of Chicago in just a little over a decade. That’s not the only free thing to do here, though. Throughout the year, particularly in the warmer months, there are events and music festivals housed under the Jay Pritzker Pavilon from the country’s only free outdoor classical music series of its size  to the Chicago Blues FestivalChicago Gospel Music FestivalJazz FestivalWorld Music Festival, and the Chicago Air and Water Show that are all completely FREE! If it’s the winter time, don’t fret! They also offer a free ice skating rink.

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Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center, which just so happens to be in walking distance of Millennium Park, can be something of a best kept secret for travelers to Chicago. It’s a large, historic municipal building that is not only beautiful to look at but filled with a number of arts and cultural events that are completely FREE. If you like art exhibits, there are a number of exhibits from many renowned artists at the Center, in addition to free film screenings, kid’s events, and music performances. You can  also catch a free daily tour of the building (great if you are an architecture buff) and check out the world’s largest Tiffany-stained glass dome that is quite the sight to see!

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Lincoln Park Zoo

A trip to the zoo can be a great outing for families (or a group of scrappy 20-somethings!), but what can make it even better is if its free. The Lincoln Park Zoo happens to be free 365 days a year for each and every visitor. There are exhibits that are open in both the warmer months and colder seasons. During the holiday season, make sure to check out ZooLights- a fun Christmas light display.

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Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a famous shopping and entertainment district with beautiful views of Lake Michigan. Now this one comes with a bit of a disclaimer- technically it is free to walk around it but this heavily visited attraction has all of the typical markings of a tourist trap. The parking is expensive, the food and souvenirs are pricey, and if you aren’t careful you can end up spending quite a bit of money on things like boats tours and riding the ferris wheel (which costs $12 a person). I’d recommend taking public transit to Navy Pier rather than parking directly near it and maybe even packing a sack lunch to save money on food. If you walk far enough down the pier you can also normally find some cheaper priced boat tours. Plus twice a week during the summers they do a free fireworks show.

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Get a Free Guided Tour

There are a number of tours in Chicago that charge money but there are still PLENTY of options if you want a free tour run by volunteers. Tours by Foot offers walking tours of Chicago for a range of themes from a movie and television filming location tour (if you want to see places where famous movies were shot) to a ghost tour of allegedly haunted places in Chicago if you want to get your ghostbusting on. In addition you can get an individual tour from Chicago Guide, but make sure to reserve a spot at least 10 business day in advance.

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Free Museums

There a number of free museums in Chicago ranging from the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, and the Hyde Park Art Center. There’s also the Money Museum, which happens to also be free (go figure!). Plus you can take a free tour of a brewery.

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Check out the Beach!

A great thing about a lakeside city is that there are a number of beaches to visit for free. If it’s the summer, go ahead and pack a swim suit so you can soak up the sun! And if it’s the winter, seeing a snowy beach with a frozen lake makes for a very surreal Instagram-worthy photo-op.

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Watch a Free Improv Show

There are a number of improv theaters to see in Chicago, but most cost money (side note- at Second City you can tickets that have a view “partially obstructed” by a pole at a discount FYI). There is one improv troupe that offers shows completely free of charge, though. The aptly named “Free for All” show is every Sunday at 7:30PM at The Playground Theater.

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Watch Some Free Theater Shows

The Free Street Theater was one of the first racially integrated theater companies in Chicago when it was founded in the 1960’s and aims to create theatrical productions that highlight a diverse range of experiences. True to their name, they offer free shows!

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Take a Stroll Through the Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden offers free admission and is open year-round (yes, including winter). Whether you are looking for a pleasant stroll or a tram tour, this can be a great place to check out if you’re looking to unwind and enjoy the scenery in this 385-acre destination. There’s also the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park or  for something indoors, there’s the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to follow my blog for more updates on frugal living. Plus be sure to connect with me on YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

Do-it-Yourself Thrifty Mouthwash

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For my YouTube video on this topic, click here!

Buying toiletries can be expensive! I know when I first was living on my own it was always a rather annoying and often unaccounted for expense. There are many things, however, that you can make at home using simple ingredients. Follow these instructions to make one such thing- your very own homemade, natural mouthwash!

You’ll Need

A small container (I used a recycle glass milk jar)

1 cup of distilled or filtered water

4 tsps. of baking soda (get it on Amazon here)

4 drops tea tree essential oil (get it on Amazon here)

4 drops peppermint essential oil (get it on Amazon here)

Funnel (optional, but recommended)

To Make it

Pour the water into the container then add the baking soda. Finally add the essentials oils, cover and shake, and you’re good to go. Use it like any regular mouthwash to clean your mouth.

Additional Notes

Baking soda has antibacterial properties and is a great (and cheap!)  item to have at home for a variety of frugal needs- from cooking to cleaning to personal grooming. The essential oils can be a little pricey, so you may need to shop around. They can typically be found at stores that sell organic and natural foods. I found some well-reviewed oils on Amazon that are $6.99 for peppermint oil and $5.99 for tea tree oil.

The oils add a minty flavor to the mouthwash and have additional antibacterial properties. It isn’t recommended that you make any more than one batch at a time because the oils can settle and change flavor over time. To save even more money, skip the oils all together and just use baking soda and water! This form of mouthwash isn’t medicated like the store-bought variety, so if your dentist has recommended other types of wash for specific dental needs, follow their directions.

If you enjoyed this blog post, make sure to check out my YouTube Channel for additional thrifty living tips and follow The Thrifty Man on Pinterest and Twitter for updates!

Traveling Across the U.S. on a Budget: Tips for the Young and Adventurous

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For my YouTube video on this subject, click here!

You might see traveling as an expensive luxury reserved for those with the pocket change to handle first-class plane rides and five star hotels. The reality is, though, that if  you set your mind to it, you can travel on almost any budget. When you’re young, it’s great to get out and explore new areas that you’ve never been before. Whether you are in college and taking a summer trip with friends, or a single, millennial 20-something like me, traveling can be a highly rewarding experience.

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Here are my tips for traveling across the continental United States on a budget!

Consider Your Ground Transportation Options

Planes aren’t the only way to get around, it turns out. You can take an Amtrak train, a Greyhound bus, or, in certain areas, a discount double-decker bus line called Megabus. Megabus is a service that is popular in Europe and has now come to the United States. They are known for EXTREME discounts (they claim as little as $1) if you book ahead of time. Most transportation options offer a rate that varies depending on how early you book, but Megabus takes this to the max.

I was able to take a trip with a couple friends from Kansas City, MO to Chicago for about $10 round-trip because we booked several months in advance. While if you book the day of, the price skyrockets to what is often more than $100 one-way, if you plan ahead this could be a good way to save money. Do be forewarned, though- double-decker buses have a tendency to tip over when sliding and there have been a number of highly publicized accidents on Megabus rides. You get what you pay for, so pursue it with a cautiously adventurous spirit.

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Whichever option you take -plane, bus, or train, you can always save money by booking as early as possible. Or drive it yourself and make a road trip out of it!

Visit the Megabus website

Visit the Greyhound website

Visit the Amtrak website

Try Different Lodging Facilities Besides Hotels

When most Americans hear the word “hostel,” we probably have images conjured in our minds of the horror movie. Rest assured, though, that true hostels have NOTHING to do with this movie. I have had only amazing experiences in hostels and you could, too! Hostels, like the Megabus, are another European import that is picking up steam in the U.S. With a hostel, you have dormitory style lodging- think summer camp as a kid with a room full of bunk beds.

Hostels differ from hotels in that they function as more of a community space. There are often free events for travelers such as walking tours and community meals. It attracts a young, diverse crowd of travel-enthusiasts from all over the world. It can be really fascinating to meet the different array of people and, because you are sharing a room with others and pulling together resources, the fees for hostels are very affordable (think $30-$70 per night, depending on the city and size of room).

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In addition to hostels, consider Airbnb. This functions as a service where people can rent out their homes or apartments to travelers and is often much cheaper than a hotel. This requires a level of caution, though, so make sure you have received a good word about the host you are staying with. Plus, don’t ever feel afraid to ask family and friends if you can crash on their couches for a few days while you’re traveling- nothing beats FREE lodging.

Visit hostels.com for hostel listings

Visit the website for Hosteling International USA

(side note- Hosteling International offers a yearly membership that gives you discounted lodging and other benefits such as discounted car rentals, even tickets, etc. with any of their partnering hostels worldwide)

Visit the website for Airbnb

Eat In, Rather Than Eating Out for Most Meals

Now of course one of the best things about traveling to a new city is trying the food and I’m not saying you should deprive yourself of this experience. Rather, when it’s time for the “filler” meals, or those where you’re just eating because it’s lunch time and you need to grab some quick food, go back to where you’re staying and eat there.

Try to pack as much non-perishable food to take with you such as granola bars and soups, then when you arrive to the place you’re traveling to go grocery shopping and take the food back to your room with you.

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Even if the room you are staying in doesn’t have a kitchen, most hostels and hotels have a communal kitchen area SOMEWHERE, so look around or ask the management!

Food can be the one thing that if you really add up can get super out of hand against your budget, especially if you choose to eat out for every meal. Even if you tell yourself that you’ll just get cheap fast food, the prices at restaurants may be higher than you’re used to in the place you’re traveling to, so be wary.

Find Free Things to Do

Sure, there may be different landmarks and tourist traps in your travel destination that likely charge an arm and a leg to get in (not to mention outlandish prices for parking, food, and souvenirs). The real way to truly soak up the culture of a city, though, is to see where the locals are- walk around, window shop, see the different neighborhoods and soak up the ambience. This is totally free (if you resist the urge to buy things, that is!).

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You can also look up free things to do on Google. EVERY city has free things to do somewhere. You may be surprised at the depth of experiences you can have by just doing free activities.

163 Free Things to do in the U.S.

50 Free Things to do in North America

Your Adventure Awaits

Remember, you only live once! Get out and explore while you can and have fun. Don’t think that you have to be held down by a budget. With the proper planning, you can travel on ANY budget without draining your life savings.

If you liked this blog entry, make sure to check out my YouTube channel for more thrifty living tips, plus follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter for updates!

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Working as a GrubHub Driver- What’s it’s Like

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For my YouTube video on this topic, click here!

I’ve worked as  GrubHub Delivery Driver and thought I would share my experiences for those that are interested in applying for this job and want to know what’s it’s like. Hopefully you’ll find this helpful!

What is GrubHub?

GrubHub has been around a long time (since the late 90’s, which is ancient in internet years) and was originally a “hub” where restaurants could post their menus for online takeout ordering. As they have expanded and evolved over the years, this now includes GrubHub’s own delivery service that operates through an app.

GrubHub is able to provide drivers to restaurants that may or may not offer delivery on their own. Essentially restaurants are outsourcing their delivery to a third party. Not every restaurant is available for customers to order from (in contrast to Postmates) so as a driver you will only be delivering to restaurants that have contracted with GrubHub.

How Scheduling Works

You can pick your own schedule. It is totally up to you if you want to work 80 hours or 0 hours a week and you will not be penalized either way. You sign up for mini shifts (called “blocks”) that range from anywhere from 2-6 hours. They release all of the blocks at the start of the week and they are on a first come, first serve basis. So if you want to work you’ve got to snatch them up fast!

Unlike Uber, you cannot just get in your car and work anytime you feel like it. You do have to stick with the blocks you signed up for.  If you work during a time that you aren’t scheduled for you won’t get paid- so don’t do that!!

The Training/Requirements/Sign-on Process

The “interview” process was very easy- there wasn’t one! Basically as long as you pass the background check and have a good driving record (and there’s spots available) you can become a driver. With Uber and other similar services you have to have a recent (5-10 years old) car, but with Uber you do not. Thus, as long as you have a vehicle with four wheels that runs you are probably good.

Training varies depending on your city. Some places have regional offices where you do the training, but mine did not so I had to train through an online webcast thingy. Once you start working all communication with GrubHub occurs though their phone line or by email, which takes some getting used to. You have no direct manager so you get the benefit of not having someone looking over your shoulder. Yet you are also kind of in this thing without direct assistance so it has it’s pros and cons.

What Your Blocks are Like

You are assigned a specific geographic region and you HAVE to be in that region to get offers and get paid. You have to download an app on their website. If you have an iPhone there’s a GrubHub Driver app in the app store but this is NOT the current app so don’t download it, use the link they have in the emails they send you.

Once you are on your first block, you go to your region and sign in to the app. Your phone will ding whenever there’s an offer available. You’ll see the address on your phone of the restaurant, then you pick up the food and take it to the customer. If you are signed up for a block you work rain or shine, so remember that when signing up.

The Pay!!

Okay so you’re thinking blah blah blah get on with it, how much did you actually make!? I wanna make it rain! You will not get rich from GrubHub but can make SOME money. Here’s how the pay structure works- for every order you get a base amount (in my region it’s $3, but in larger cities like NYC or LA it will be higher), then they reimburse you for mileage (which is based on a straight line distance from the restaurant to the customer only, they don’t count driving to the restaurant itself), plus the tip.

So for example, if I got an order from a restaurant I would first get $3 automatically for delivering the food, the measly amount they give for mileage (let’s say I get $1.50), and then I get a tip for $3.50 I would have $8 total for the order. Usually I would get about 1-2 orders per hour.

So let’s say I was working a three hour block in the evening, and the first two hours I picked up three orders for a total of $27, but the last hour is dead and I get no orders the final hour as I sit in my car pondering existential life questions (it happens). Technically I would make $27 from the orders, but GH guarantees an hourly minimum (varies by region but can be 10-14/hr), so then GB would bump it up to at least $30 for the three hours.

Here’s where it gets tricky- you can decline an order that pings in on your phone. So if it’s too far of a drive you can decide against it, but if you don’t accept 75% of the orders you are NOT guaranteed the minimum pay.

Take not that you are an independent contractor so you don’t get benefits. Plus you have to provide your own car insurance. They don’t pay any extra car expenses.

Conclusion

One final note- some cities have GH deliverers who walk or bike so that’s an option, too. Working with GrubHub can be a good way to pick up some extra money so it’s definitely something to consider if it’s hiring in your area!

If you liked this blog post, make sure to check out my YouTube channel for more tips on frugal living and follow me on Twitter and Pinterest for additional updates.

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