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Your Honeymoon Could Bankrupt You Before You Even Get Down The Aisle



Whether you have traveled together before or not, your honeymoon is your first trip together as a married couple.

Since you don’t want to enter married life super in debt, it’s a good idea to plan a honeymoon budget before you set off.

An inexpensive honeymoon doesn’t have to be a less-than-ideal trip. You can go on the vacation of your dreams without spending a fortune.

Register for Your Honeymoon

Once considered in poor taste, honeymoon registries have become more popular over the past few years. They are a great tool for couples who might be older and already set when it comes to housewares such as bedding, towels, and kitchen gear.

Having guests contribute to your honeymoon dreams can be a bit more rewarding for them than simply giving you cash.

Depending on the registry you work with, guests can either give you cash for your trip or purchase a component of your honeymoon, such as a number of airline miles or a night in a hotel. Honeyfund is one registry to check out and is free to use.

Work with a Travel Agent

People joke that no one uses travel agents anymore, thanks to the rise of online travel sites. But the truth is, working with a travel agent is a great way to get your vacation budget under control. Agents do charge fees, but they also have access to deals you can’t get anywhere else.

Plus, since agents make travel their business, they often have invaluable tips when it comes to planning an inexpensive honeymoon. You won’t find personal, useful advice like that online.

Travel Off Season

If you are traveling immediately after your wedding, try to go somewhere that’s currently in the “off-season.” Off-season travel often costs a lot less, plus you don’t have to deal with a crowd of people when you see the sites.

While people often think “off-season” means poor weather, that’s not necessarily true. For example, some places, such as the Caribbean, have lovely weather almost all year.

Research locations well in advance of your trip so that you know the ins and outs of the weather at your  preferred destinations.

Save Here, Splurge There

When planning your honeymoon budget, it helps to know what you can save on and what you absolutely must have. For example, if you need to sleep in the most comfortable of settings, you might consider splurging on a hotel, but saving on your transportation costs.

If you are working with an agent, give him or her your list of “must haves” so that the agent knows what to focus on.

Put Your Credit Cards to Work

If you have a credit card that awards airline miles, your honeymoon can be the perfect time to cash those miles in. You can also make use of other rewards that your card offers, such as gift cards or cash back.

When you are planning your vacation budget, check with your credit card company to find out about any fees they charge. Some cards charge a service fee for international transactions.

If your honeymoon has you leaving the country, you might want to find a better way to pay for things than your card or look for a card that doesn’t charge international fees.

Look at Deals

A lot of companies, such as GrouponTravelzoo, and LivingSocial, put daily travel deals at your fingertips.

If you find a deal that works for you, either book it or show it to the agent you’re working with. Your travel agent might be able to match that deal or find you a better one.

Tell Everyone It’s Your Honeymoon

When you go out to eat on your birthday, a restaurant might give you a free dessert if you let them know it’s your special day. The same is true if you let the hotel know you and your partner are on your honeymoon.

You might not get a free dessert, but some places are willing to throw in a free bottle of champagne or even a free room upgrade for honeymooners. You don’t know what might happen, so it never hurts to mention it.

SEE ALSO: 9 things you should always haggle for >

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An 84-Year-Old Woman Won The $590.5 Million Powerball Jackpot


Gloria Mackenzie

Gloria Mackenzie, an 84-year-old woman from Florida, has been announced as the winner of a $590.5 million prize in last month's Powerball lottery.

She is believed to be the largest sole winner in U.S. history, My Fox Tampa Bay reports.

The identity of the winner had been a mystery since the draw on May 18. Mackenzie's winning ticket had been bought at Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, about 30 miles northeast of Tampa, leading to widespread speculation in the town of just 13,000 .

USA Today reports that Mackenzie did not attend the press conference announcing her win, but her name was disclosed under Florida law. A statement from Mackenzie was read that said another customer "was very kind enough" to let her cut in line and that she bought a quick-pick ticket.

According to My Fox Tampa Bay, she refused 30 annual payments for the full $590.5 million, instead opting for one lump cash payment of $370 million.

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The 15 Most Valuable Liquor Brands In The World


For the second year in a row, Johnnie Walker is most valuable drink brand in the world, according to brand valuation agency BrandFinance, which ranks the spirit brands by value.

Last year, the company was valued at $2.4 billion, but this year it nearly doubled in value, to $4.37 billion, according to the ranking.

While the second most valuable brand, Chinese baijiu maker Kweichow Moutai, also experienced serious growth, it did not expand nearly as fast as Johnnie Walker. The scotch brand increased its lead over the second-place brand from $400 million to $2 billion in just a year.

Much of Johnnie Walker's success can be attributed to the growth of exclusive products, such as Blue Label, and the introduction of new products, such as Double Black.

Here are the 15 most valuable drink brands in 2013:

drink brands

SEE ALSO: 5 Delicious Cocktails You Can Make With Moonshine >

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Lady Gaga's Fake Fingernail Just Sold For An Insane Amount


lady gaga fake fingernail

Lady Gaga's fake fingernail — a dangerous accessory to her signature "monster claw" — auctioned off for approximately $12,000.

The black pinkie nail, emblazoned with gold glitter and beads, completed the Mother Monster's over-the-top outfit at last year's launch of her Fame Fragrance. It was hand painted by her personal manicurist Aya Fukuda.

A photograph taken the following night during a "The Born This Way Ball" tour stop in Dublin shows Gaga missing the acrylic nail on her left hand.

A crew member found the mini dagger backstage at the Aviva Stadium after Gaga's performance.

"I noticed an object on the floor of the stage, which at first I thought was a guitar plectrum," the crew member said, according to the auction listing. "When I picked it up, I saw it was an acrylic nail."

The lucky, if not obsessed, buyer will receive the nail, a letter of provenance from its rescuer, two photographs of Gaga with and without the nail at the perfume event and on-stage, an Aviva Stadium staff handbook, an event crew wristband, and a Lady Gaga "The Born This Way Ball" grey crew t-shirt.

Dignity sold separately.

SEE ALSO:  See Lady Gaga's 24-Karat gold wheelchair >

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The Restaurant Scene In Philadelphia Is Totally Underrated


Amada, Philadelphia

If I'd been asked about my expectations of Philadelphia's food scene before my first visit there, I probably would have confessed I didn't have any: I'd heard about the cheesesteak and pretzels, but not much else.

So I was definitely in for a surprise when I visited for the first time two years ago, and left raving about the meals I'd had. And given that I've lived in New York City for years, the bar was set high.

I returned to Philadelphia for the third time last weekend on a trip with three girlfriends from college. Like I always do before a trip, I researched the best restaurants in town and we set up reservations.

My friends and I did some sightseeing, but a lot of our weekend involved catching up over really great food.

We started off with afternoon tea at The Dandelion Pub, a British pub by Philadelphia restaurateur Stephen Starr. We spent at least three hours there catching up, and they never rushed us.

The Dandelion Pub, 24 S. 18th St. Philadelphia

The afternoon tea menu included specialty cocktails. One favorite was the Summer Beer Flip: Bacardi rum, apricot marmalade, chocolate bitters, a whole egg, prima pils, and cinnamon.

The Dandelion Pub, 24 S. 18th St. Philadelphia

The Dandelion's "Queen Mary" Bloody Mary was also amazing, and reminded me of home as it included a Brooklyn brine pickle.

The Dandelion Pub, 24 S. 18th St. Philadelphia

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The Key To Happiness Is Earning More Than Your Neighbors


joneses-640Call it the "keeping up with the Joneses effect." Many people report that they would be happier if they earned more money, but for the middle class in particular, it's not so much a specific number that matters, but whether they are doing better financially than their neighbors.

A study that includes U.S. Census income data and surveys comparing income levels to happiness found that a widening gap in income is also pointing to differences in how Americans equate happiness with money.

Authored by Enrichetta Ravina, assistant professor in the finance and economics division at Columbia University, and Karen Dynan, a vice president and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, the study reveals that, in particular, those in the middle class and slightly above (the merely affluent) say their level of happiness depends on how much they have financially, compared to those around them.

Ravina explains that individuals who earn less than the median U.S. Census income do not equate a higher income level to happiness. One reason, she believes, is that they are more focused on day-to-day needs and don't compare themselves financially to their neighbors. At the other end of the scale, the wealthiest 10 percent of the population also don't define their happiness in terms of income.

The middle class and the merely affluent, on the other hand, have enough resources to cover the necessities and are envious of the rich, she says. As a result, she adds, they often seek to interact and relate to wealthier individuals by buying their way up the wealth scale with more visible purchases such as flashy cars.

Danger in keeping up with the Joneses

Comparing themselves to their wealthier neighbors means that, as the wealth gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen and swallow the middle class, the middle class could take on more debt to compete with consumption of the wealthy. A similar scenario occurred during the years leading up to the recession, when easy credit made it possible for people to spend beyond their means.

Aside from taking on more debt, other options for those at the wrong end of the wealth gap could include giving up conspicuous consumption and putting less effort into moving up the wealth scale, or working a second job, Ravina says.

In Europe, for example, income inequality has existed for longer than it has in the U.S., but there's little mobility within the wealth scale. One reason is that countries in Europe have more social safety nets for citizens compared to the U.S., so the inequality is felt less, Ravina says.

The U.S. is also known for conspicuous consumption and for a desire to move up. The widening income gap will require a dose of reality. "Eventually, people have to face that they are falling behind," Ravina says.

And that's a problem they won't be able to solve by living beyond their means.

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The 50 Sexiest Cars Of The Past 100 Years


1968 Mustang Fastback GT 390 bullitt replica

Cars may be machines, but they can still be incredibly sexy.

Curving lines, powerful engines, and outrageous luxury can draw people in just as much as a pretty face.

That's why we've assembled this list of the 50 sexiest cars of the past century.

We've got American muscle, Italian speed, and British luxury. We even have Swedish power.

Some of these cars were lemons, some were total flops. Others were wildly successful and are still on the market today. But every last one is packed with sex appeal.

50. A rather hefty ride, the Hummer H2 has none of the sleek characteristics that often note a sexy car. Its appealing, brawny look marked the heyday of the big American SUV.

49. A product of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Miura was one of the first cars Lamborghini built to rival Ferrari (Ferruccio Lamborghini founded the car company after making his money in tractors). The model pictured here once belonged to Frank Sinatra.

48. Maserati was founded in 1914, but it didn't build a grand touring car (for luxury and long drives) until 1957, when the 3500GT went into production. With room for four and a straight-six cylinder engine, it was a beautiful machine.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The 12 Most Challenging Running Trails In America


running outside

Running is one of the most popular means of getting fit for a reason: It gives you a whole body workout, almost anyone can do it, and the only gear you need is yourself.

Today is National Running Day, and in honor of the holiday, we've put together a list of the 12 most difficult running trails in the U.S.

Let us know if we missed any.

Double Oak Trail, Pelham, Ala.

Distance: 17 miles

The Double Oak Trail in Pelham, Ala., is a 17-mile loop covering not just beautiful, lush valleys, but many steep, uphill climbs.

The terrain is rocky and has many tree roots emerging from the ground, which make for a tough obstacle course.

Grand Canyon Trails, Coconino, Ariz.

Distance: 42 miles

The elevated temperatures and high altitude can make running along the trails in the Grand Canyon a bit perilous.

But the difficulty of the route is definitely made up for by the beauty of the Canyon views and the bragging rights afterward.

Olmstead Loop Trail at Auburn S.R.A., Cool, Calif.

Distance: 8.6 miles

The Olmstead Loop Trail climbs up and down a number of steep canyons and is laborious to maneuver, especially when the trail is muddy. The Olmstead Loop is the longest trail in the Auburn State Recreation Area, a park also known for the K2 training hill, where top runners train.

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Why Riotous Istanbul Is Still The Coolest City In Europe [PHOTOS]


istanbulWithin the last week, a rash of intense and violent protests have broken out around Turkey.

The protests began in Istanbul over a plan to demolish the last park in the city, but soon escalated into widespread protests around the country directed at the Turkish government.

In Istanbul, protesters have taken over Taksim Square, a major hub in the city, where they have continuously clashed with police in riot gear.

Yet just outside the chaotic square, life in Istanbul continues as normal and the city continues to be a playground for the young and hip. The city's tourism industry isn't particularly worried about the riots, which are largely confined from the areas where violence has broken out. And the U.S. State Department hasn't issued any warnings about travel to Turkey.

Though tourists should be careful, especially near places like Taksim Square and Besiktas where protesters have gathered, the city is still a worthwhile place to visit.

Tourists are still visiting Istanbul despite anti-government protests that have broken out. If you go, be sure to avoid Taksim Square, at the far end of Istiklal Caddesi, where protesters and police have been clashing.

It's gotten very intense in Taksim Square, with two people dead and many injured.

There have been frequent clashes with the police. Nothing captures this more than the iconic photos of the "lady in red" — a woman who was sprayed directly in the face with teargas by a policeman on May 28 in Gezi Park of Taksim Square. She has since become the symbol of the dissidents.

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Inside The New Marble-Filled World Trade Center Subway Station [PHOTO]


As construction on the One World Trace Center is drawing to a close (at least on the outside of the tower), work continues on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. The transit station is designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and will serve more than 200,000 daily commuters using New York City's subway system and New Jersey's PATH train.

Today, the Port Authority of NY & NJ, which is building the hub, published a photo of what's going on underground. It's a view of the east-west corridor that will be home to retail shops when the area opens, according to the Architect's Newspaper Blog.

World Trade Center WTC transportation hub

And here's what the station will look like from the outside:

World Trade Center WTC transportation hub exterior rendering

SEE ALSO: 15 Tips For Surviving On A Bike In New York City

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9 Elements Of The Perfect 'Man Chair'


old couple recliners

If you used to watch Frasier, you know that he suffered the ugliness of his father's grossly overstuffed, battered "man chair" for 11 years.

But the really painful part came in the series finale when Frasier's father moves out and Frasier finally gets to put his beloved Eames recliner in the living room.

His father comes to visit, sits back in the Eames recliner and says "Hmmm ... this is pretty comfortable. I would have been okay with this!"

So what makes a chair a "Man Chair?" Does it have to look like a pillow fight is going on underneath worn out upholstery? Does it have to be so large it takes up most of the living room?

Click here to see what a man chair needs >

More From Houzz:

1. Comfort.

When choosing a chair, a man's number-one concern is comfort. One of the things most men love is a high back so they can lean their head back to relax. The iconic Eames recliner is softly padded and has a nice high back and angled head rest. Frasier's dad liked it ... maybe your man will too.

2. Leather, leather and more leather.

Have I mentioned that men love leather? I'm a designer, not a psychologist, so I can't tell you why — but there is something about the look, smell and feel of leather that is irresistible to most men. Maybe it goes back to the days when the men were the hunters. Whatever it is, give him a rich, brown or black leather and he'll love it. Cream color? Not so much.

3. A place to rest his arms.

Notice how the chair on the right has armrests that extend all the way to the front edge of the chair. He can sit all the way back in this chair, and his hands won't be dangling over the end of the armrests.

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The Best Places For Guys To Shop


banana republic men's pants

A month ago, we asked you to vote for the best places for guys to shop. 

The results are in, and we're ready to reveal where men like to get their apparel and accessories. 

Nearly 1,000 Business Insider readers took the survey. Not surprisingly, 97% of the respondents were men, most of whom are city dwellers in their twenties.

Preferences were split between department stores (35%), online retailers (34%), and independent retailers (30%), but it's clear that these guys have some strong opinions about the best places to shop. 

We have winners for categories including suits, dress shirts, sunglasses, and more. 

Thanks for voting! 

Best Work Pants: Banana Republic (43%)

Other options included J. Crew (31%), Express (10%), Gap (9%), and Club Monaco (8%).

Best Button-Down Shirts: J. Crew (36%)

Other options included Banana Republic (34%), Johnston & Murphy (12%), H&M (9%), Topman (4%), Gap (4%). 

Best Suits: Hugo Boss (41%)

Other options included Brooks Brothers (38%), Jos. A Bank (11%), and Men's Wearhouse (10%). 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Weird And Awesome Perks Some Tech Companies Give Their Top Execs


Meg Whitman

Getting ready to negotiate a new job or a pay raise? Don't forget the perks!

If you need ideas on the kinds of perks companies are offering these days, here's a few granted last year to some of the highest paid tech execs.

They range from things you would expect: hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of time on the corporate jet to oddball things like "personal" use of a company administrative assistant.

HP's Meg Whitman enjoyed the company's many jets

Billionaire Meg Whitman doesn't need her own private jet these days. HP maintains its own fleet of airplanes.

As its CEO, one big perk is using those jets for private travel for herself and her family. She accumulated $198,000+ worth of personal aircraft usage last year.

She earned $15.4 million last year, including perks.

IBM's Ginni Rometty REALLY enjoyed the company's jets

IBM's CEO isn't a billionaire, yet, but she knows how to enjoy IBM's fleet of jets, too.

She spent $304,376 for personal travel on the company-owned aircraft last year.

She earned $16.1 million in 2012, including perks.

TIBCO'S Vivek Ranadivé got his employment contract legal fees paid

Vivek Ranadivé founded TIBCO Software in 1997 and is still the company's CEO.

Last year, he renegotiated his employment contract and the company picked up his $35,000 legal tab for that.

He earned $11.2 million total last year, including perks.

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10 Of The World’s Most Challenging Spots To Land A Plane


Russian WIlderness

Aircraft, and their licenses, come in all shapes and sizes – from small micro-lights and gliders, to Cessna 150’s, 172’s and 182’s, all the way to instrument licenses, commercial licences and airline transport qualifications that allow you to fly the biggest of jets.

But what if we ignore all this? What if we look at the sheer excitement and pleasure of flying – of being able to choose where you go, who you go with and how you arrive? This is in essence the pinnacle of what everyone who travels wants.

So here are ten exotic locations where the majority of pilots would dream of flying to test their skills in the most challenging and exciting conditions available.


As far as remote flying goes, South America is among the toughest places in the world to be a pilot.

Airlines and pilots have to be kings of improvisation – as this latest news of an emergency flight’s runway being lit by motorcycles proves.

Thousands of tourists take to the sky in light aircraft every year to see the spectacular ancient Nazca Lines from air – and many operators can be less than trustworthy when it comes to maintenance and safety.

As with everything when traveling, if you’re going to do this, go with a reputable company.


As fans of Flying Wild Alaska will know, this area can be more than treacherous when it comes to light aircraft.

The runways and dirt strips here are often far too short for larger planes to go in and out of, so small Cessnas and Beechcraft are used – often battling extreme weather for the sake of what in many cases is the only link to the outside world.

Okavango Delta (Botswana)

This a popular spot for wealthy safari travelers who want to ‘escape’ to the bush in exclusive luxury safari resorts.

And what better way to arrive at your resort than by bush plane?

A number of companies in the area operate small Cessnas – but frequently battle with tropical storms, dust clouds, and extreme turbulence along the way.

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Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon Is Selling His Waterfront Vacation Home For $10 Million


Aubrey McClendon Michigan House

The founder and former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, Aubrey McClendon, is selling is gorgeous vacation home on Lake Michigan for $10 million, says the WSJ.

McClendon stepped down from his post last year amid intense government scrutiny and the crash of his company's stock, but he still has a lot of cool stuff — this house is just a small part of that.

In fact, he's selling because he and his wife have another vacation house nearby, so don't feel sorry for the guy.

The house is built on the Singapore Dunes, a proposed mixed-use development that McClendon owns in its entirety. Two other parcels of land on the property are being sold for $3 million and $1.5 million.

But the house is the real star. It has breathtaking views of the water and you can check out through wall to wall windows. There are six bedrooms, five bedrooms and a guest house.

Dick Waskin of Re/Max Saugatuck-Douglas and Andrea Crossman of Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt have the listing.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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McDonald's Comes Even Closer To Offering A 24-Hour Breakfast


mcdonalds egg white delightMcDonald's is expanding its "Breakfast After Midnight" menu outside of testing regions. 

This brings the retailer even closer to potentially offering a 24-hour breakfast, reports Chris Morran at The Consumerist.

McDonald's customers have long lamented that they can't get breakfast after 10:30 a.m. 

The company revealed the news in a recent statement, but didnt' specify what regions would be getting "Breakfast After Midnight." 

McDonald's CEO Donald Thompson revealed in April that he was considering the idea of an all-day breakfast. 

McDonald's Egg McMuffins, McGriddles, and breakfast platters have been named as top growth categories for the brand. 

The brand has also started phasing out salads and other healthy options in favor of burgers. 

But The Consumerist pointed out that serving breakfast and lunch at the same time could stretch employees too the brink. 

Still, if McDonald's can figure out how to do all-day breakfast right, consumers are sure to respond. 

SEE ALSO: 17 Of The Highest-Calorie Chain Restaurant Menu Items >

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The 20 Most Expensive Cities In The World


TokyoTraveling to certain countries can put a nice dent in your wallet, but how about living in them?

ECA International, a global management consulting firm, just came out with its semiannual cost of living survey, which calculates the cost of living based on prices of various day-to-day goods and services.

Tokyo has always claimed the number one spot as the most expensive city for expatriates to live, but this year, for the first time in three years, it was outranked by another.

All prices are reflected in U.S. dollars.

Just as a reference, Manhattan placed 43rd, the highest of any U.S. city.

Ranked #41 in 2012

Movie Ticket: $13.95

Can of soda: $1.64

Dozen eggs: $4.42

Beer at a bar: $8.38

Source: ECA International

20. Helsinki, Finland

Ranked #19 in 2012

Movie Ticket: $16.00

Can of soda: $2.29

Dozen eggs: $4.75

Beer at a bar: $11.66

Source: ECA International

19. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Ranked #28 in 2012

Movie Ticket: N/A

Can of soda: $2.25

Dozen eggs: $3.82

Beer at a bar: $7.51

Source: ECA International

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Yes, It Is Possible To Take A Weekend Family Getaway For $500


Family at beach

One of the best vacations my family ever had was the one we never took.

Two years ago we were saving for a down payment and had a brand-new baby, so a lavish beach holiday was not in the cards.

But rather than lament our lack of a getaway, we doubled down on the idea of staying put and had ourselves a five-star staycation.

We quickly learned that there are rules to follow if you want a fabulous staycation and not just a week spent vacuuming the living room.

If done right, a staycation offers perks that can actually trump a week spent lounging on the beach.

You can save money, splurge on local attractions and end the vacation more rested than you would if you’d traveled. And the best part: no unpacking!

RELATED: These Trends Could Make or Break Your Summer Vacation

First, consider the downsides of a far-flung holiday: According to a recent American Express Travel poll, the average family of four spends about $4,000 ($1,000 per person) on a family trip. Said trip is bookended by an exhausting day of travel.

If you have small kids, you may not have babysitting available in Bora Bora, which means that you never get a date night on your week off. And, after shelling out lots on food and lodging, there may be little left over for other splurges to keep everyone entertained.

Which is why, with a savings goal like a down payment on a forever home in mind, we opted for our staycation. To do it right, we even made a rule book we stuck to.

Rule No. 1: Treat it like a real vacation

The biggest risk to a staycation is that you never take it seriously and don’t bother to put in for the vacation days at work or set aside a budget. If there are no airplane tickets to buy, it’s easy to treat it haphazardly. To avoid that, we picked a week midsummer and circled it in red.

My husband put in a vacation request, and I told my clients that I would be away for the week. We also made a budget. We wouldn’t need money for a hotel, travel, rental car or endless meals out. But we did want to treat ourselves. So, we budgeted $500 in gas for day trips, a few meals out and other incidentals.

RELATED: 8 Travel Budget Traps to Look Out For

Rule No. 2: Plan your itinerary

Next, we went to the bookstore and bought a guidebook for our area and a hiking trail guidebook for nature trail options. We live within commuting distance of Manhattan, but there are also plenty of places in New Jersey we had never been to and decided this was the time to discover them.

We found a lake that was a 45-minute drive from our house; a homespun amusement park that was an hour away; and a beach on the Jersey Shore that we could reach within the day. Even off-the-beaten-path areas often have books on hiking trails and where to take the kids. Cost: $20.

We brought our camera everywhere and took loads of great family pictures. It helped us all feel like we were enjoying something truly special.

Rule No. 3: Go off the grid

Even though we weren’t going anywhere, no one else knew that. We told our friends and family that we were going on vacation. We set vacation responses on our email and voicemail. We decided that computers and iPhones would be restricted to vacation-related activities. No checking of work emails was allowed.

RELATED: What’s the Real Cost of Your Smartphone?

Rule No. 4: Treat your home like a hotel

One of the best parts of staying in a hotel is that someone else cleans it. I did not want to spend my week cleaning my house. So, as part of the budget, we splurged on a cleaning service to come at the beginning of the week. This meant that we could start the week relaxed and not feel the urge to scrub the toilet. Although we didn’t own a home at the time, if we did, I would have splurged on a gardener too, so we wouldn’t have to mow. Cost: $150.

RELATED: When Is (and Isn’t) a Task Worth Your Time?

Rule No. 5: Get a sitter

Since we were going to be at home, we wanted to make sure we had time for a date night (or two.) So we lined up the kids’ favorite sitter to come not once during the week, but twice. We had her come one evening and once during the day so we could have a day out hiking at a grown-up speed. The kids were comfortable because they knew the sitter, and we didn’t have to scramble to find a stranger in a strange town. Cost: $80.

Rule No. 6: Splurge

Since this was our vacation, we splurged on a restaurant that was normally out of our budget. It was a great chance to try the newest eatery in town, and since we had planned for it, there was no guilt about spending too much. Rather than drive, we took a taxi so no one had to be the designated driver. Cost: $150.

RELATED: Why You Need to Splurge On Yourself

Rule No. 7: Go to the beach (or lake)

We took lots of day-trips, including midweek trips to nearby lakes to avoid the crowds and take advantage of midweek entry-fee discounts. Because we were traveling from home, it was easy to pack lunches and bring whatever accessories were needed for the day. At the end of the day, we got to come home to our own comfortable house. Cost for fees and gas: $100.

Rule No. 8: Take pictures

We brought our camera with us everywhere and took loads of great family pictures. It helped us all feel like we were enjoying something truly special. And we were. It was time together, which is priceless.

RELATED: The Best Photos: How to Take Good Ones of Your Family

Total cost: $500

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Supersonic Jumper Felix Baumgartner Reveals How He Kept Himself From Freaking Out


It's been close to nine months since Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner floated above Earth in a small, pressurized space capsule and became the first person to break the speed of sound in a free fall.  

In an interview with Business Insider during a visit to New York City, the 43-year-old revealed how he mentally and physically prepared for his record-breaking October jump.

Fear can be your friend as long as you're able to control it, Baumgartner explained, but "as soon as fear turns into panic, you lose it," he said.

To maintain focus, Baumgartner paid attention to his breathing and thought about "good things," like success, he told us. 

The Austrian also talked about his meeting with iconic astronaut Neil Armstrong before the supersonic leap, a conversation that focused on what to eat and how to pee.

Watch the interview below:


Produced by Robert Libetti

SEE ALSO: Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains How We Can Stop Earth-Destroying Asteroids

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Here's What Every Lucky Lotto Winner Should Do If They Don't Want To Blow It


Gloria MackenzieOn Wednesday afternoon, the winner of the largest sole jackpot in U.S. lottery history stepped forward to claim her winnings. Gloria C. Mackenzie, 84, bought the winning $590.5 million ticket at a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, Florida.

Mackenzie will take a lump-sum pretax payout of $370 million. And while the odds of winning that much money are steep -- 1 in 172.5 million in this case, according to one estimate -- it's not uncommon for people to come into a sudden windfall, such as an inheritance.

We won't presume to begin to tell Ms. Mackenzie what she should do with her winnings, but she might want to consider these first steps, compiled for DailyFinance by financial expert Lynette Khalfani-Cox.

1. Do Nothing for a While

If you get a particularly large windfall -- like a six or seven-figure payout -- you might be tempted to take major steps, such as making a very expensive purchase, offering a huge donation to your favorite charity, or even investing a large portion of money in the stock market.

But experts warn against hastily doing anything with a financial windfall. Instead, take at least a few weeks, preferably even a few months, before making any significant economic decisions.

"Don't make any life changing decisions for at least the first six months such as quitting your job or moving," recommends Mark Cortazzo, a Certified Financial Planner and founder of MACRO Consulting Group in Parsippany, N.J. He adds: "Don't spend more than 10% of the total lump sum in the first 12 months."

But that's not to say you can't have fun -- just do it in moderation.

2. Enjoy Yourself -- Within Reasonable Boundaries

Diahann Lassus is a Certified Financial Planner and the president and co-founder of Lassus Wherley, a fee-only wealth management firm headquartered in New Providence, N.J.

She thinks it's a bad idea for windfall recipients to put themselves into a financial straitjacket and never enjoy the money. Instead, she says: "Plan on taking some percent of it, maybe up to 5% or so depending on the size of the windfall, and then just go out and have fun to get that out of your system."

Afterwards, Lassus says, you should get serious thinking about the longer-term opportunities your windfall could provide.

3. Put Your Financial Windfall Into Perspective

Once you have your fun with a windfall, it's time to put your newly acquired money into perspective. "People often think, 'I'm getting all this money and I'm going to be rich,' but that's often not the case," Lassus says.

So consider this question: How much money are you really working with? For example: $500,000 is a huge sum of money, but it's a far cry from $5 million. The latter would be enough for most people to retire on quite comfortably. But depending on your age, personal goals and current levels of savings and debt, $500,000 might not be a sufficient nest egg to ensure a secure retirement.

Whatever the case, you should also think about what you want the money to do for you.

"Will it pay for your kids' education, pay down your mortgage, or pay for next year's vacation?" Lassus asks. Bottom line: consider what are the critical goals you have, and determine how the money can help you meet those goals.

4. Set Up a Separate Account

When big money comes your way, it's easy to focus on one aspect of the money: how to spend it. But you should also think about where you'll keep it. Experts say it's best to separate it from all your other accounts -- especially your checking account.

"Get it out of your checking account and put it into a special savings or brokerage account so that it's treated separated," Lassus says, "because we all know what happens to our checking account dollars. That money kind of goes into a black hole and gets more quickly spent."

5. Get Professional Tax and Financial Advice

Numerous financial complexities will likely come into play if you're the recipient of a large financial windfall: everything from gift taxes to income taxes, estate issues and more. Therefore, it's definitely advisable to seek out some professional advice concerning properly accounting for your cash, managing it wisely and using it to build wealth.

You may need to establish a trust, secure special type of life insurance, or perhaps get basic documents like a will created to make sure your beneficiaries are provided for in the event of your death.

For all these reasons and more, if you get a windfall don't be penny wise and pound foolish, and mistakenly think that it would be a "waste" of money to hire a qualified CFP or financial adviser for help and advice.

"Be aware of the tax impacts of all large transactions," says Cortazzo, the Parsippany, N.J., CFP. "What you have in gross dollars and what you net after taxes can be a very different number," he adds, "and if you are budgeting based on gross amount, there can be a big shock when the tax bill comes due."

6. Put a Buffer Between You and Family/Friends

Lastly, try to avoid becoming a human ATM machine for those around you.

As anyone who has come into sudden wealth can attest, the act of receiving a huge pile of money often leads to requests for financial gifts or "loans" from needy family members and friends -- including some relatives you didn't even know you had.

Because many of us don't know how to establish financial boundaries with relatives and friends, it can be emotionally taxing to deal with requests for money, especially those that come with hard luck tales or sad sob stories about how another person got into a financial bind. (Just ask Sharon Tirabassi.)

Still, it's important for windfall recipients to shield themselves from a constant stream of people requesting handouts. Otherwise, your kindness can be exploited. You may wind up making unwise economic choices due to your own feelings of guilt, or due to the emotional pressure and manipulation exerted by others. Either way, you may later resent your generosity, feeling that you squandered money by giving it away so freely.

One way to avoid this problem is to have a trusted third-party serve as an intermediary to handle all requests for money. This person can be a close, responsible family member, or a neutral, financial adviser who can offer you some perspective.

Winning money, inheriting assets or somehow reaping a big financial windfall can seem like a dream come true. But if the money is too quickly spent or is just flat-out mismanaged, even hitting a multi-million dollar lottery jackpot can become a bittersweet event.

SEE ALSO: 19 lotto winners who blew it all >

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