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)

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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Tips for Selling on Craigslist

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For my YouTube video on the topic, click here!

We’ve all probably sold things on Craigslist at one point or another. At times, I had issues getting my products sold. Here are a few tips I’ve developed that have helped me improve my Craigslist selling skills. Hopefully you’ll find them just as helpful as I did!

Take Really Good Photographs

Nothing will be a bigger red flag than having cruddy photos (or none at all!). Without good pictures, no one knows if you’re being honest. Taking several clear, well-lit photos that highlight the relative size and features of the product you’re selling will help draw in potential buyers.

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Include a Good Description

Include as much detail as possible, but still be concise. You don’t want to have to go back and forth with a million emails from your buyers. You want to answer as many questions as possible in the ad itself. Including the dimensions of the product is very helpful. Remember proper grammar and spelling, too! Keep it professional sounding.

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Cluster Small Items Together

If you have smaller items, especially media like books, movies, and video games, this can be hard to sell individually. No one wants to set up a meeting with someone they met online to buy a DVD for $1. Clustering items that appeal to similar tastes (a box of sci-fi books, a bunch of comedy movies) and selling them as a unit can get your products sold easier and for higher prices than at a used bookstore.

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Set a Good Price

Prepare for the reality that most people will try to haggle the price down. For this reason, I recommend adding 10-20% more than you would prefer to sell the product for so when they ask for a lower price you can do so and still get what you originally wanted. Don’t feel guilty doing this- you are protecting yourself from getting ripped off. Remember your products are still used, though, so you can’t sell them for outlandish prices, either. And if anybody gives you a bad offer, don’t be afraid to tell them “no,” because someone else is likely to give you a better one in time.

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Beware of Scammers

Unfortunately, Craigslist is crawling with scammers! Sometimes when I’ve sold products, the MAJORITY of the responses I’ve gotten have been scams. There are “people” (probably just robotic programs) that respond to your ad with very generic messages and then ask if they can pay via wire transfer or cashier’s check. Don’t respond to these messages and take CASH ONLY. If they offering some other payment method it likely won’t go through. For higher priced items, require a bill of sale.

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Pick the Right Time of Day to Post

On Craigslist, the people who have posted most recently have a huge advantage over those who have posted in the past because the site will list everything from newest to oldest by default. Within 20 or 30 minutes your ad might get buried into the nether regions of Craigslist. Your prime time to get interested buyers is right when you post the ad, so pick a good time in the evening or on the weekend when it will reach the most eyeballs. If your ad has been up for a while, delete and repost it so it will get knocked back to the top.

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Happy Craigslist selling, everyone! Please make sure to follow my blog and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more updates 🙂

Welcome, all ye peasant folk

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It’s a tough world out there for a 20- or 30- something person today. Adulting, as it turns out, is much more difficult than we could have anticipated. This blog will help those looking to navigate the treacherous waters of adult life by showing you tips, tricks, and other life hacks so that you can live stress-free! (okay maybe there will still be SOME stress, but we can dream, right?!)

I hope that everyone finds this blog, as well as my YouTube videos*, helpful as we journey together towards our future financial awesomeness!

*Shameless plug: please visit my YouTube channel at this link where you can watch my latest videos as well as subscribe. Be sure to “like” my videos because liking stuff is cool/fun/sexy/all the cool kids are doing it.