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Hope Nardini
Hope Nardini is a freelance writer who enjoys saving money. She once opened a Roth IRA with the earnings of her first summer job. In addition to full time bargain hunting, Hope plays Ultimate Frisbee, makes homemade sorbet, and loves to salsa dance in her free time.

14 Best Credit Card Perks & Benefits You Never Knew You Had

By Hope Nardini

credit card perksI have a love-hate relationship with my credit cards. I can understand how they can be very tempting for shopaholics to use – especially those on a tight budget – because they’re a convenient way to pay without making the psychological commitment required of paying with cash. Swiping a piece of plastic is easier than counting out the change, and gives buyers less time to change their mind about making a purchase. Remember, if you can’t pay off your balance at the end of the month, you can’t afford to use credit cards, regardless of the convenience.

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32 Hidden Travel Fees and How to Avoid Them

By Hope Nardini

couple vacation travelI’m a big believer in budgets, especially when it comes to leisure expenses, so nothing irks me more than saving up a great sum for a vacation only to get nickel and dimed during the trip.

I always try to build some extra padding in my budgets, so I can cover additional expenses and unforeseen costs, but more and more I’m noticing that the travel industry is gradually adding fees on services that used to be complimentary.

In light of these new charges, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of hidden travel fees – and tips on how to avoid them – so you can steer clear of budget pitfalls on your next vacation.

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7 Ways to Learn a New Foreign Language for Free

By Hope Nardini

woman learn foreign languageLearning Italian has always been on my bucket list. I’ve traveled to the romantic country of Italy once before, and while it was a wonderful experience, I couldn’t so much as order a coffee in the foreign language. I hated feeling like just another American tourist.

Speaking a second language doesn’t just make international travel easier. According to Science Daily, a Tel Aviv University study suggests that children who speak a second or third language test better for cognitive abilities. Moreover, learning a new language has been shown to help slow the aging process in the brain.

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Top 10 Cheap International Travel Destinations in the World

By Hope Nardini

international travel mapI love to travel, but as a college student, jet-setting doesn’t always fit my bank account. Weekend getaways, staycations, and last-minute discounts help me make the most of my travel budget, but what about budget travel to more exotic destinations?

I’ve found that visiting places with favorable exchange rates has worked out well for international destinations – especially when I can also find the best airline ticket deals to get there. Some of the main factors I consider when evaluating a potential destination are: cost of living, visa fees, airfare, activities, culture, and safety. Using this strategy, I’ve been able to travel to five South American countries in the past two years on a relatively tight budget.

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5 Quick, Easy & Healthy Blender Recipes – How to Make Smoothies & Soups

By Hope Nardini

blender recipesI can’t count the number of times I’ve gone grocery shopping and bought fresh fruits and vegetables with the intention of eating healthy, only to have them sit in the bottom drawer of my fridge until they go bad.

I feel guilty every time I throw wilted celery and rotten apples into the garbage, not only because they’re good for me, but because it feels like I’m throwing money into the trash!

That’s why I love these 5 blender recipes that utilize fresh fruits and veggies. I can make them ahead of time, they taste great, and most importantly, I’ll actually eat them so I’m not wasting my hard-earned money. All you need is a blender and a few minutes to spare.

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10 Free Public Library Services & Resources (Besides Just Books) You Should Take Advantage of

By Hope Nardini

public library services resourcesPublic libraries have more than just shelves of free books for loan. In fact, most offer different types of media, free community programs, and other valuable resources.

With my credit cards and debit cards taking up so much space in my wallet, it’s nice to know that my library card actually saves me money. My public library has served as a money-saving substitute for Starbucks, Blockbuster, and Showcase Cinema, just to name a few.

Here are ten library freebies you should take advantage of.

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4 Bathroom Ideas for Small Spaces That Save You Money – Multi-Purpose Toiletries

By Hope Nardini

small bathroomGrowing up, my sister and I shared a bathroom. She loves toiletries and beauty products, so our cabinets looked like the health and beauty section of a supermarket. She had straightening shampoo for curly hair, deep conditioners for dyed hair, and frizz control serum for humid days, in addition to creams, lotions, powders, and boxes of makeup.

When I went to college, and eventually found an apartment for rent, I realized that I had to find ways to save money on beauty products and maximize space in my tiny bathroom. I found that I could get the most value by using multi-purpose products.

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What is a Netbook vs. Laptop Computer – Pros and Cons of Netbooks

By Hope Nardini

netbook computer girlMy laptops have the habit of crashing repeatedly, year after year.

Freshman year of college, I learned to back up my files the hard way when my computer died and I had to send a panicked email to ask friends in my classes for their notes.

Sophomore year, my laptop had a really loud fan that was expensive to fix. It overheated in a matter of days afterwards.

Junior year when the BSOD (blue screen of death) appeared once again, I was done with laptops.

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How to Afford College Study Abroad Programs with Scholarships & More

By Hope Nardini

study abroad chalkboardDuring the fall semester of my junior year of college, I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, and I can’t believe I almost didn’t go. I knew I wanted to study abroad, but I wasn’t sure if I could afford it. On top of regular tuition, I’d have to pay separately for housing, meals, and entertainment.

As it turned out, my study abroad program saved me money: I ended up shaving off a third of my usual on-campus expenses for the semester.

If you’re interested in studying abroad but you’re worried about affording it, consider these four ways you can make it work.

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