How to Be Broke and Still Have a Fabulous Vacation


If you’re a person who truly loves to travel and your debt is holding you back, then you need to think outside the box for creative ways to have a memorable travel experience. A resort getaway is not the only way to have a fabulous vacation.

As a former broke graduate student, I had to think of different ways to travel without breaking the bank. I know it’s possible to make your limited funds stretch to far off places and for new and crazy adventures.

You’ve found your flight deal and booked it without thinking about the actual details, so now what? Figure out what’s left in your budget and don’t feel bad if it won’t cover the estimated $200/night for a hotel cost. If you’ve embarked on this trip to find adventure, meet local people, and have amazing stories to tell your friends and family when you return, then keep it simple and local with these travel tips.

On This Day: NationsBank and BankAmerica announced a $62.5 billion merger


On April 13,1998, NationsBank and BankAmerica Corporation announced a $62.5 billion merger to create Bank of America, the country’s first coast-to-coast bank. The merger was the largest bank merger in American history at the time. Bank of America became America’s first national bank big enough to compete with Japanese and German banks in global markets, introduce computer banking to consumers, and become a player on Wall Street.

Founder’s Story with Jeremy Smith of SpotHero


Jeremy Smith is one of the co-founders of SpotHero. SpotHero is an on-demand parking app & website that helps drivers find parking and reserve a spot with convenient garages, lots, and valets for up to 50% off the drive-up rate. They received $7M in funding from several VC firms including Chicago Ventures and Bullpen Capital. You can find them on iTunes and Google Play App Store.

RFZ: Can you tell us a little background about how you decided to start SpotHero?

Jeremy: The idea of SpotHero actually stemmed from my own personal problems.  I used to live in a Wrigleyville, which is located near the Cubs Stadium in downtown Chicago. I amassed literally thousands of dollars in parking tickets during game days, and I knew something had to be done.

How Low Self-Esteem Could Be Keeping You From Paying Off Your Debt


When we talk about low self-esteem in our society, we often tie it back to body issues and negative feelings about our outer appearance. But self-esteem doesn’t just dictate how you feel when you look in the mirror, it can be the driving factor in how you show up in relationships, what you think you can achieve in your career, and how you handle your money.

Self-esteem is that not-so-quite voice telling you your worth for that day, or month, or lifetime. If you don’t think you’re worth much, your decision-making will ultimately reflect your negative self-talk.

So how can emotions impact the physicality of your financial picture? Here are just few ways.

Money Lessons I Wish I Knew In My Early 20s

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

I’ve had my fair share of mistakes when it comes to personal finance. Last week I wrote a post about how online poker changed how I view money. I was spending money like there was no tomorrow, splurging on unnecessary items, and didn’t save a single penny of winnings.

Ten years later, I look back and think about how things would’ve been different. I play out these “what if” scenarios in my head thinking that I’d have a more sizable retirement account, or I’d be traveling around the world  in the most exotic destinations.

This certainly isn’t the case. I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t regret some of the poor financial decisions that I’ve made, but what I’ve learned from these mistakes helped me pave a new road with very minimal road blocks.

How Starting a Fitness Routine Helped Improve My Finances


Athleticism was never my strong suit in school. In fact, I still have flashbacks of the times I was held after gym class to practice stepping with one foot and throwing with the opposite arm. Clearly these were not my proudest moments.

This formed the story I told myself all through high school and my early 20s – I wasn’t going to attempt much of anything requiring physical strength, talent, or endurance because I would never be good at it.

The Tax Refund Waterfall: Your Step-by-Step Guide on What To do With Your Refund

It’s tax season, and the only good thing about it is the refund you get a few weeks after you file. It’s so easy and tempting to take that check and splurge on a wild weekend or well-needed vacation. Before you decide to spend a single penny of your refund, read this first! I’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how you should be spending your tax refund.

Pay off High Interest Rate Debts First

Whether it’s credit card debt, a car loan, or a personal loan, anything you owe that is accruing high interest should be a priority. The faster you pay off your principle, the less interest you incur in the long run. Why not use a tax refund check that you already treat as “free” or “surprise” money to help relieve long term financial stress? Not only will this reduce your debt, but it’ll also help improve your credit score since your debt load accounts for 30% of your score.

Positive Changes at ReadyForZero


It’s been a challenging and exciting time for the ReadyForZero team. As usual, we wanted to keep you – our dedicated readers, partners, and users – up-to-date on what we’ve been working on and how it may affect you.

You’ve probably noticed that we haven’t been releasing new functionality as frequently as we did in the past. This will be changing soon and we’ll be picking up momentum again on our award-winning financial tools. Because we believe strongly in ReadyForZero’s products and technologies, our team has dedicated the last 6 months to finding the best long-term partner (a team who believes equally as strongly about ReadyForZero and transparent financial services as we do) to help us grow.

Luckily, this past month we found the right partner and today we’re announcing that ReadyForZero has been acquired by Avant. This is a big change for our team but, fortunately for you, many things will remain the same and many others will improve!

This type of relationship with a modern technology-driven online platform for consumer loans like Avant – a partner who can provide access to competitive rates and terms for our customers – has always been a part of our broader vision for ReadyForZero. Our tools are designed and proven to have a measurable, positive impact on people’s financial situations and now we can provide additional products and services that will more directly save users time and money.

5 things you can expect from us the next 6 months:

  1. Your ReadyForZero account and service will not change.
  2. ReadyForZero will continue to release new, exciting functionality with a particular focus on mobile devices.
  3. ReadyForZero will expand its financial product offerings to include additional money-saving offers.
  4. ReadyForZero will continue to focus on empowering people with personal financial tools that measurably improve your financial situation as well as become your trusted source for transparent, up-to-date educational content.
  5. Our team will now be based in Los Angeles, moving down from San Francisco and expanding our team rapidly. Please find us if you want to work with us.

With over $200 million in personal debt paid down, we expect that this next chapter – in partnership with the Avant team – will bring our users even more powerful tools and improved financial health. We never could have accomplished what we have without your loyal support – thank you! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly if you have questions about what’s ahead:

We’re hiring in Los Angeles! Join us.

Rod, Ignacio, Benny, Marshall, Kristina + The Entire Past-Present ReadyForZero Family

On This Day: The U.S. Purchased Alaska for $7.2 Million Dollars 148 Years Ago

On March 30th, 1867, the U.S. officially purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars.  It’s hard to really imagine how big Alaska is.  Alaska is the largest state in the United States in land area: 663,268 square miles, which is two times bigger than Texas. If you’re more of a visual person like myself, maybe this will help:


30 Second History Lesson

So here’s the quick back story on the purchase of Alaska from Russia. In 1725, Russian Czar Peter the Great sent Vitus Bering (hence, the name of the Bering Strait) to explore the Alaskan coast. Russia had interest in this region due to its rich natural resources.