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How to Find the Cheapest Flights

How to Find the Cheapest Flights

Have you ever experienced this scenario? You’re talking to a friend or colleague about the flights you’ve just booked to some exotic destination for your next vacation, only for them to turn around and tell you that they’ve booked flights to the same destination for hundreds of dollars less! It can be infuriating; just think of all the things you could spend that money on when you arrive at your destination.

This doesn’t have to happen to you ever again! With the tips below you can ensure that you always get the cheapest flights in any circumstance.

1. The early bird saves money.

It’s not really a secret but, as with most things, the earlier you book, the more you can save. The magic number is 60. Prices rise on average about 60 days before the departure date. But don’t book too early. FareCompare research shows that airlines don’t release their cheap seats until about four months out.

2. Being flexible pays off.

If you’re not picky about the exact date that you fly, you could slash a huge amount off your fare. Mid-week flights are less popular than weekends, and Wednesday is historically the cheapest day to fly. Catching the red-eye will also save you a packet. Consider traveling to destinations in their off-peak seasons; his is will vary by location, but a quick Google search usually reveals the answer. Not only will everything be cheaper, but you will get to experience a different side to your destination that most people never see.

3. Size matters.

The nearest airport to you may not be the best one to fly from if you’re looking to save some extra spending money. Bigger and busier airports often have cheaper flights, as there is more competition between airlines and a higher frequency of flights. Compare the price of taking a cheap domestic flight to a bigger airport versus flying straight from your local airport. In my case I was able to fly to another domestic airport for $59, and the international leg was over $200 cheaper from there!

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Try using a website like Adioso to compare the price of flying into different airports near your destination. As you can see below, it was $400 cheaper for me to fly into LA instead of San Francisco–something that can make a huge difference to your hip pocket (plus maybe you could fly to LA and then take an awesome road trip to San Francisco in a rental car).

adioso

    4. Short trip? Save even more.

    Most of the budget airlines charge a low base rate, and then charge for add-ons like checked luggage. If you don’t need to take much with you, you could save quite a bit by only taking carry-on luggage (this is usually included in the cost of all tickets).

    5. Take advantage of historical price data.

    Using some great historical pricing tools like Kayak’s Price Forecast, you can work out whether the ticket price for your flight is more likely to rise or fall. This tool will show you whether to book immediately or if you’re better off waiting.

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    kayak-price-forecast

      6. Compare the comparisons.

      All comparison websites are not equal. Some have access to airlines and fares that others don’t, and booking fees can vary greatly between them. Just because two sites compare flights from the same airline doesn’t mean that the prices will be the same! From experience, there’s no one site that’s better than any other. The one that has the cheapest flight this time may not be next time, so it pays to compare at least two of them.

      Some comparison sites to consider:

      7. Go direct.

      Just as some comparison sites get access to fares that others don’t, there are many special fares that the airlines save for their own customers. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by booking with the airline direct; signing up to their mailing lists is an easy way to be notified of specials as they come up. Be aware–the really cheap ones are usually limited and go quickly, so be prepared to book as soon as you see them!

      8. Remove pre-selected items.

      Websites often try to make a few extra dollars by pre-selecting certain items and hoping that you don’t notice. Seat selection, various insurances, “green” options are some of the usual culprits and can add $20 or more to your ticket if you don’t un-tick the boxes.

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      finding cheap flights
        photo credit: Doug Waldron

        9. Avoid booking fees.

        Booking fees are fairly standard on most websites (even the ones that say no booking fees will often build them into the price) but you can sometimes avoid paying any booking fees depending on the payment method you use. Payment by direct deposit/bank transfer, PayPal or Poli are often cheaper or free.

        10. Cheap flights can become expensive.

        When looking at budget carriers, make sure you add in all the items you need before comparing the price. Flights that are a little more expensive but include things like baggage or meals may actually end up cheaper by the time you add them on to a budget flight. Also make sure you’re aware of how inflexible some cheap flights can be. If your plans change, or something comes up and you can’t make it, the change fee can often be as expensive as the actual tickets. If you’ve got good travel insurance, this may not be an issue.

        11. Call in an expert.

        FlightFox is a great service that will connect you with travel experts to help find the cheapest flights for your needs. They’ll do the hard work and then tell you how to book the flights, or they can arrange to do it for you. At just $49 it can quickly pay for itself many times over, especially for international or complicated trips (multi-stops, etc).

        12. Use your points.

        Perhaps an obvious one, but if you have frequent flyer points, you can use these towards your flight cost, or to upgrade to a better seat. Many airlines have partnerships with credit card providers where you can earn frequent flyer points for every dollar you spend. It’s a great way to earn points for things you would be buying anyway (groceries, gas, etc.) as long as you pay it off on time.

        13. Get your money back.

        Have you ever been bumped off a flight? Did you know that you may actually be eligible for some compensation from the airline? New website AirHelp can advise you of any potential compensation and help you apply for it. You may even be eligible for a refund if your ticket price drops after you purchase! Another website, Yapta, will track your flight details and let you know if it drops after you purchase.

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        There you have it! Want to save even MORE on your trip? Check out our tips on how to get the best hotel deals, and car rental hacks.

        Do you have any other tips? Share them with our readers in the comments below!

        Featured photo credit: Traffic/Don McCullough via flickr.com

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        Published on July 4, 2018

        Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

        Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

        Don’t want to overspend your budget, swipe your credit card too many times, and feel like a financial mess? Instead of beating yourself up for the bad financial decisions you’ve ever made, create a new plan!

        The solution is simple, save more and spend less. But, we all know it’s easier said than done.

        One problem is finding quality apps that save you time and money, and aren’t just hype.

        Luckily, there’re many great money management apps available at your fingertips. Here are 10 reliable money management apps that can help you save money, and crush debt.

        1. Personal Capital

          When was the last time you’ve tracked your net worth? Probably months ago or maybe never. Personal Capital allows you to easily track your net worth and plan for retirement.

          Here are some of its main features:

          • Sync many investment accounts, and expenses (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) in one place
          • Discover hidden fees and how much they’re affecting your retirement plan
          • Wealth management for investors requiring a long-term strategy

          With Personal you’re free to track your expenses and net worth.

          Available for: iOS and Android

          2. Mint

            If your smartphone could only install a few apps, Mint would be one of them. Why? Because Mint tracks all your balances and bills in one place.

            Here are some of its main features:

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            • Effortlessly track all your bills and balances in one dashboard
            • Categorized expenses to understand where you spend your money
            • Uncover hidden fees, and determine your investment style with sophisticated retirement tools.

            Feel at ease with managing your money by a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere.

            Available for: iOS and Android

            3. YNAB

              Everyone needs a budget, there’s no way around it. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an easy to use app that will change the way you think about money. Their motto is to “give every dollar a job”, and you’ll quickly discover why.

              Here are some of its main features:

              • Easily sync all bank accounts in one place
              • Visually see your debt paying progress with eye-catching charts and notifications
              • Customized categories setting saving goals

              The best part about YNAB is the community that comes along with it. You can hop on the YNAB forum to receive support, listen to the YNAB Podcast or stay tuned for their weekly videos.

              Available for: iOS and Android

              4. Wealthfront

                Albert Einstein once said “compound interest is the eight wonder in the world”, and for a very good reason. The problem is, most people are scared or unwilling to learn the basics of investing. This is why Wealthfront is the perfect solution for the hands-off investors.

                Here are some of its main features:

                • Variety of investment account options including IRA, Roth IRA, and more
                • Your portfolio composed of 7 different asset classes
                • Automatically rebalanced portfolio
                • Daily tax loss harvesting

                Wealthfront is perfect for people requiring investment guidance, or prefer a hands-off solution.

                Available for: iOS and Android

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                5. Clarity Money

                  If you’re staying on top of your budget but want to take your finances to the next level, Clarity Money can help you. Clarity Money helps you stay under budget and build a personalized savings plan.

                  Here are some of its main features:

                  • Easily cancel subscriptions with one click
                  • Synchronize bank accounts fast
                  • Transfer money effortlessly between different accounts

                  Clarity Money isn’t an app that does it all. But, it does make transferring money and canceling subscriptions fast and efficient.

                  Available for: iOS and Android

                  6. Acorns

                    What if there was a way to quickly gain confidence in investing your money, without too much risk? There is, and Acorns is your solution. With Acorns’s technology, you’re able to make investments as small as $5.

                    Here are some of its main features:

                    • Automatic contribution option
                    • Customized portfolio tailored to your needs
                    • Low management fees ranging from $1-$2 per month

                    Stop wasting dollars on expensive coffee. Instead, invest them towards a brighter financial future.

                    Available for: iOS and Android

                    7. Albert

                      Do you budget by only subtracting your expenses from your income? If so, how would you discover any overpayments or extra money you could save? This is where Albert shines, and it does it all free.

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                      Here are some of its main features:

                      • Receive notifications for overpayments, hidden fees, and low balances
                      • An Automatic budget that’s built around your spending and income
                      • Easily track debt and set new financial goals

                      While Albert does offer a paid option, most of its core features are FREE. So, what better option to save?

                      Available for: iOS

                      8. Prism

                        Have you recently forgot to pay a bill because life got in the way? Prism automatically tracks your bills and syncs your bank accounts in one place.

                        Here are some of its main features:

                        • View all your account balances in one glance
                        • Bill due dates are automatically pulled and tracked
                        • Receive early reminders for upcoming bills

                        If your budget is on “fleek” but can’t seem to stay on top of your bills, Prism is your go-to app.

                        Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon

                        9. Mvelopes

                          Remember hearing about people using envelopes to budget their money? Well, Mvelopes is the new envelope system for this generation. Easily create monthly budgets and track your saving goals.

                          Here are some of its main features:

                          • Connect unlimited bank accounts
                          • Real-time budgeting with auto transaction syncing
                          • Low monthly $4 fee or $40 annual

                          Mvelopes can help you crush debt, save more, and help you stop overspending. With its low monthly fee, it’s worth a try.

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                          Available for: iOS and Android

                          10. Wallaby

                            Most people don’t have time to track their credit card’s changing rewards and interest rates. Because of this, you need help reaping the most of your credit card’s rewards. Wallaby is the app that will help you do just that.

                            Here are some of its main features:

                            • Automatic recommendations for the best credit card to use for each transaction
                            • A friendly user interface, displaying credit cards with their corresponding images
                            • Free to use

                            If you’re using the same credit card to make your purchases, you may be leaving money on the table. Give Wallaby a try if you’re ready to maximize your credit card’s rewards.

                            Available for: iOS and Android

                            Take control of your finances and experience financial freedom

                            Picture yourself staying on budget and saving more money than you’d ever imagined.

                            It took hard work and dedication but you’d finally learned how to manage your money. You have to start taking control of your spending and saving habits.

                            You now have a list of reliable apps that can help you build better money habits, what are you waiting for?

                            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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