2017 Spokester Search: Kiara T.

Kiara is a 19-year-old from Romulus

Kiara's Situation

Hello! My name is Kiara Thompson and currently I am reaching for dreams! I'm a couple classes away from receiving my associates degree at Wayne County Community College, i'm uploading YouTube videos on my channel frequently, and i'm working a couple jobs. My goal is to become an amazing beauty blogger so I won't jut have a job, but i'll have a career that I love.

Blog Post

What's more fun than to explore the state you live in? Michigan has so many things to offer and so many hidden gems as far as destination getaways. There are beaches, city life, and historic places where there are many things to learn, so if you want to explore Michigan I have a couple ways you can do so and save some money!

1. Visit Museums
Michigan is so rich in history and knowledge. There is a museum to learn anything you would like and the best thing about them is you could spend a whole day there or museum hop! Below I have listed some of my favorites and some free options!

My favorites:
-All of the Henry Ford Museums
-Charles H. Wright Museum
-Hands on Museum
Free Museums:
-Cranbrook Art Museum
-American Museum of Magic
-Yankee Air Museum

2. Beach it up!
Michigan is surrounded by water so take advantage of it! When the weather is nice (which may be hard to tell considering Michigan weather) head to the nearest edge and you'll be sure to find a beach there! spend the day relaxing in the sun and don't forget to pack a lunch for even more saving!

3. Explore Downtown
Over the years downtown Detroit has blossomed into an adventure. There are so many cool shops and buildings, and the Riverwalk is so beautiful for pictures. One of my favorite parts about downtown is the food. There is something for everyone with any craving and on any budget. My favorites are Bucharest and Coneys both with plenty of options under $10.

4. Go to festivals.
Over the summer there is an insane number of festivals everywhere in Michigan. With most festivals admission is usually free. You can walk around, enjoy carnival food, and good music. Whenever I find I have time to go to a festival I google one and go! I personally recommend Arts, Beets, and Eats in Royal Oak and The Jazz Festival in Detroit, but you can find more here: http://www.michigan.org/fairs-festivals  

5. Visit Belle Isle
Belle Isle is amazing! You could spend all day there! They have everything such as a zoo, a museum, and an aquarium. You could save even more by packing a picnic! It's everything in one on Belle Isle! I could tell you how beautiful it is but you have to go see it for yourself!

I hope that all of my suggestions helped you find a perfect place for your next fun day in Michigan with out breaking the bank. Go out and enjoy our great state!

2017 Spokester Search: Altemecia M.

Altemecia is a 25-year-old from Warren

Altemecia's Situation

Hi guys, I'm the 1 and Only Altemecia Martin. 

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I submit my interest for the position of 2017 Young and Free Spokester! My passion and success within the Media and Video Production (Don't forget my extrovert personality) makes me the perfect candidate for this position. Throughout the course of my career, I have successfully completed internships with various television stations and currently work as a Camera operator for a Television station called The Word Network. I also previously held a position within Google as a optimization specialist where I guided and advised various business owners with marketing and advertising for their company. My most recent job was for Financial Education Services, I was an adviser for credit restoration. My job was to help people dispute negative inquiries that were on their credit report. I would be a great asset to your company with my proven professional and business oriented work ethic, my enthusiasm, and positive attitude. I am a team player but also take pride in any leadership positions I have held. My goal is to apply my skills and talents to Rep the Young & Free Brand to add value to the brand and accept and achieve all learning opportunities that I encounter while holding this position.

Thank you for your consideration. 
Hope to see you soon.

Blog Post

I know everyone wishes that they could just hop in their car and go. Ummmmmm Not so easy speedy Gonzales lol . You have to be smart and plan it out. No worry that’s what I’m here for.

Five ways to save money on a Michigan vacation:

1. Transportation: How are you going to get there? 
Take Ground transportation for instance a Train or a Bus, Traveling on ground is way cheaper than a plan ticket. Tip: Don’t forget your headphones, a blanket and a Bag full of snacks. Lol I had to learn the hard way.

2. Plan you Meals: Groupon it! I absolutely love Groupon.
Omg! Groupon has Amazing deals you can literally feed four people for the price of two. I know it sounds unbelievable but you have to believe me. Whether you have an Android or an iPhone the app is free. SO please go download the App Groupon you will become a saving guru. You can save money and get deals for the top Restaurants, Spas, Events and so much more. 

3. Car Rental Insurance: If you decide to rent a car use your own Insurance that you have on your personal vehicle. A lot of people don’t know you don’t have to purchase insurance thru the company you can add the rental car on your Insurance policy. COOL RIGHT? That alone saves you between $100-$200 depending on where you go. 

4. Uber or Lyft: The best creation to mankind yet, if you decided to drive don’t worry Uber or Lyft got you covered. The cost is super cheap. Example to go maybe a mile away my total was only $5.50. Now Uber is awesome but Lyft will save you more money. Why you ask? When you sign up with Lyft for the first time your first 5 Rides are free! FREE! Sign up TODAY! WHEW I SHOULD BE GETTING COMMISSION FOR THIS LOL

5. Last but not least Souvenirs! Ughh everybody wants you to bring them something back, knowing dang well you barely had money to eat lol. It’s ok ALTEMECIA to the rescueee!! 
So the plan is to take Super dope pictures of all of Michigan’s most popular landmarks such a (Detroit Institute of Art, Tigers stadium, Henry Ford Museum). Take your pictures to A Wal-Mart or Cvs etc. print them out and mail them to everyone you love. Inexpensive way to show them you care. lol

I hope you guys enjoyed these five ways to save money on a Michigan vacation. Any questions you may have I'm only an Email away! From your fellow Michigander Peace!!


2017 Spokester Search: Vearra C.

Online

Vearra is a 22-year-old from Southfield

Vearra's Situation

I am Vearra Campbell, a 22 year old senior at Western Michigan University, and I would be honored to be your next Young and Free Spokester! 

Blog Post

5 ways to save money on a Michigan vacation!

1.) TRAVEL BY TRAIN
Leave the car at home! Most people forget Michigan has a very convenient train system that will take you all over the state of Michigan. And, most of the tickets are within a very affordable range. Forgot about flying across state or worrying about gas and expensive maintenance to get your car ready for a road trip.

2.) AIRBNB
Skip the expensive chain hotels and rent out people’s rooms, or entire houses with AirBnB. The AirBnB app and website shows lodging options in your area of people who are willing to rent out their homes for a lot less than renting a hotel. 

3.) GROUPON
The website/ App Groupon allows you to experience things and events in your area for sometimes up to 75% or more. They offer discounted prices for almost everything under the sun, from massages to bungee jumping.

4.) GO WITH A GROUP
Try going places with 3-4 friends (or other couples). That way you all can split the price more ways.

5.) BE CREATIVE
The most expensive places to travel are usually the more popular places. Research the area and find places similar to what you had in mind. Try something new and explore there instead for half the price.


2017 Spokester Search: Sydney D.

Sydney is a 21-year-old from Macedonia

Sydney's Situation

My name is Sydney Davis, My passion is to draw, I enjoy to read and also go out to have fun with my friends

Blog Post

Five ways to save money on a Michigan vacation

1. Save money! I think this is a given, but you would be surprised! It’s always important to have some money saved up for a vacation. If you’re the type of person who always ends up touching your savings account like me, than a good idea is to open a holiday savings account. A holiday savings account is an account set up with your bank where they set a future date in which this account can be accessed. Check with your bank to see if this is available for you! If your bank doesn’t, there is another option! Just create a new savings account with your current bank. Don’t have them give you any checks or debit cards that are linked to this savings account. 

2. Use Amtrak train system. This train connects too many cities in Michigan, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, it even goes as far as Chicago! They have a website you can visit with a map of the rail way lines and the ability to purchase tickets from the comforts of your home. They also have this attraction button that rates which city is the most popular for the attractions they have, which I think is amazing!. What’s really cool is that they have this awesome “other discounts” tab that gives you a list of available discounts that you can get by traveling around Michigan! If you’re far away, you can take this train system as an alternative to flying. 

3. Go to Detroit! I think this should be on everyone’s bucket list, my own included! Downtown Detroit is beautiful, lively and has so much to offer! There are free museums, community theater, as well as many active events! They give discounts for events and activities in the metropolitan Detroit area. You can also get cheap admissions to different events that go on in the summer. For people who are interested in the arts, this is a city you can't miss! 

4. Discounts on different opportunities and activities through your credit union. They offer discounts on home and auto insurance! As a college student, it is really hard to save money while juggling the responsibilities that come with it. Tuition, car payments, phone bills, housing, the list is never ending! Taking the time to look into what your union offers not only saves you money for a vacation, but daily expenses as well. 

5. Groupon! You can get discounts off of hotels, restaurants, shows, events, clothes anything! With discounts up to 70 percent off, this isn't a website you want to skip on. With the ability to organize their available offers by location, you can explore and plan your day around where you are visiting! You can also get exclusive local deals in any Michigan area. Being partners with similar companies such as Kyak, a hotel booking site, the possibilities for savings are endless.


2017 Spokester Search: Dominique B.

Dominique is a 24-year-old from Ypsilanti

Dominique's Situation

My name is Dominique Byrd. I am 24 yrs old and currently a graduating senior from Eastern Michigan University! I majored in Electronic Media and Film Studies and was an Anchor, Producer and Technical Assistant for my department and local campus channel. I recently finished an internship with Bloomfield Community Television and still act as a volunteer. I LOVE people and LOVE being in front of and behind the camera. I like to tell people it can be a high stress field, however, this is the best stress I will ever enjoy! This spokester position is my dream. It encompasses everything I love about media.

Blog Post

5 Ways to Save Money While on Vacation in Michigan!

Hello everyone! I don't know about you but when I was a kid I thought being in my 20's would be amazing. I was sure I would have a wonderful job, with a fabulous place of my own and an unending amount of funds to travel and do all the amazing things only adults could do. Unfortunately, as I reached the age of 18 and started my journey in life I was smacked in the face with the reality of "Adulting". If you don't know quite know what that is, it's the truth of all the not so great factors that make up being an adult. This would include responsibilities, bills and work topped with more bills.

BUT I am here to tell you that this doesn't mean you can't still have fun and make meaningful memories while on a budget. I have compiled five ways to save funds while vacationing in the wonderful state of Michigan. 

1.TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY MICHIGAN HAS TO OFFER

According to the Pure Michigan blog, Michigan is home to 101 state parks, 17 state operated harbors, 133 forest campgrounds and thousands of miles of trails. Some of these parks even are free to access or if you are a resident you can pay a one-time fee for a state parks recreation passport. Gaining yourself a one-way ticket into any park.

2. BRING LUNCH FROM HOME

It’s nice to take pictures for the Gram or Snapchat of your awesome lunch at that nifty restaurant with your friends. However, you can get a selfie that is just as awesome by packing your favorite foods and a blanket and rocking it picnic style.

3. HOLMES

If you haven't forgotten we are surrounded by water! According to Pure Michigan's blog Michigan is home to 11000 inland lakes! Yes, 11000 who needs to fly to Miami when you can get a beach vacation right here in Michigan.

4. COUPONS

Also, you can't forget about coupons. I am a sucker for a good deal. With apps like Groupon you can plan everything from lodging, events and even receive discounts on meals at local establishments.

5. COMMUNITY

Last but not least don't forget to look into whatever the local community has going on at the time. Here in Michigan we love to support our local communities and embrace the diverse heritage Michigan has to offer. From community plays, choral ensembles, festivals and good old fashion Motown grooves there is an endless amount of entertainment right in our backyard.

So, next time before you let "Adulting" get you down take a look at everything Michigan has to offer that won't break the bank.


2017 Spokester Search: Hannah H.

Hannah is a 20-year-old from Saint Clair Shores

Hannah's Situation

My name is Hannah Haynes and I am a senior at Wayne State University where I double major in accounting and communication studies. As an accounting major I've acquired skills in the field and as a student that I believe will help further my ability not only in the professional world but as a spokesperson for Michigan First credit union. I currently work for DTE energy in the central billing group, and this summer will work for Deloitte, the number one big four accounting firm, in the audit group. While in school and working I spend my spare time working out, this summer I will compete in my first powerlifting competition. I love fitness, finance, and having fun!

Blog Post

Its finally summer and you’re excited to spend a weekend in Traverse City, Visit the sand dunes or take in the beautiful Mackinac Island, the sun is out and you’re ready. You plan your trip and when you see the estimate your eyes pop out of their sockets! Fear not! Although traveling can be expensive try these five tips to lower costs when planning your next Michigan getaway. 

1. First and foremost, have an expense chart, a travel budget, gather the hotel rate, mileage/gas, food expense, and entertainment etc. and create a chart of all of those expenses so you have a clear and precise idea of how much money you will need! Find a sloid number that you will allot for each category and stick to that budget to ensure you have the best stress free vacation.

2. Plan ahead! When I travel I google each restaurant to make sure they are in my price range. Food is often more expensive during dinner, so plan ahead, have lunch be your primary meal instead of dinner! (Get that lunch rate!!!) Also, If I plan on renting something, for instance a canoe, go online first, many places have a place where they may charge a different rate depending on the time of day or a cheaper rate if you book in advance. This will allow you to save money and time! Also Groupon it UP! Groupon is a website that compiles deals based on your location, this will help find cheaper activities! 

3. Organize your finances, once you plan ahead and create an expense chart, you will then execute your plan. Leading up to your vacation, financially discipline yourself, stay at home instead of going out with the gang, cook your meals at home instead of eating lunch/dinner out. Utilize the free Michigan First Budgeting tab on your online banking account. This will itemize your expenses in two categories; income and expense, and will also allow you to create your own as well. And from there you can view it as yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly daily budget. By staying on top and on task you will have the ability to track your spending and make cuts where necessary to prepare for a fun and financially savvy trip!

4. Now that you’re almost there financially, if possible, check the city website for events. Sometimes different events or holidays may cause a drastic increase in prices as it is a peak time. If at all possible look to book your travel during the week, try to avoid large events or a holidays to ensure you save the most money! Remember it’s the same place just less busy time.

5. HAVE FUN! You’ve booked, budgeted, organized, and planned! Tts finally time to take off! Enjoy a stress free vacation in Pure Michigan. Stay within your budget by downloading the Michigan First Credit Union app to manage your money real time, and set spending alerts on your account now sit back, relax, and have blast! 


2017 Spokester Search: Taylor D.

Online

Taylor is a 23-year-old from Southfield

Taylor's Situation

Currently taking chances, appreciating the memories, learning from the past and finding happiness.

Blog Post

Vacation season is upon us and the question that everyone wants to know the answer to is how to save money while vacationing. Our generation loves to travel, in fact we take about 4 trips per year and that number is only expected to grow. So what does that mean for us? That means we aren’t going to let expenses crush our summer plans. So here are a few tips on how to save on your trip.

1. Always look for packaged deals, and specials
Travel deals are always around, you just have to find the right one. Consider how long you want to stay at your destination, maybe there is a package deal on nights. Also, think about what activities. Flo says, “Bundle and save!”. Make this your new motto, be on the lookout for deals and savings, they can really help.
2. Consider your time frame
Traveling during the peak season will test your patience and your pockets, so consider going in an off season, when rates are lower. Cheaper tickets can be purchased to fly during the middle of the week, Try to stay away from flying on weekends, avoid the lines and extra costs. Additionally, ask about discounts such as student discounts, they come in handy.

3. Try alternative lodging
So, maybe you really want to go to the beach so traveling off season doesn’t work for you, no problem! You can still save a great deal of money instead of trying to find the perfect hotel try renting a beach house. Sites like Airbnb offer places to rent, Often times these places can offer bigger spaces, more freedom and better amenities. Remember to read the reviews, and no price is set in stone on these sites. 
4. Think location

Think about staying just outside of the actual area where you plan to visit. When traveling for events and festivals it is always a good idea to stay 10-15 minutes away to save money. Check out the area to see if they have a metro area transit much like a subway. Consider the possibility of renting bikes for the day and sharing an Uber for night time travel. 
5. Open a dedicated savings account and let your credit card do its job.

Planning out your entire trip will help you save so much in the long run. Once you have an idea of what it is you want to do, you can save. Michigan First has great options when it comes to opening a savings account. A good account, the holiday savings club, there is no minimum to open, no annual fee and the account helps you save for big purchases. Always remember to pay yourself first!

Make sure you take the right card. A card with Low interest rates and no annual fees for starters, much like Michigan First’s visa rewards card. What’s great about this card is that every purchase you make in Michigan gives you 1.5 back in reward points per dollar, which can be used towards travel.


2017 Spokester Search: Michael B.

Online

Michael is a 22-year-old from Belleville

Michael's Situation

I currently am a senior at Michigan State University. I also work full time at a clothing store and part- time as a soccer coach. Between those other thing I do in my life I free-lance video edit. I love getting to travel around and see new people and places. If that mean's I get to fulfill a passion of mine shooting and editing videos; I honestly don't know if I could even consider it work because its something I enjoy doing so much.

Blog Post

Five ways to save money on a Michigan Vacation
1. Set a budget
2.Visit one of Michigan's beautiful parks or Orchards
3.Go Downtown to the River Walk or to Campus Martius
4. Enjoy many of the free to cheap feastivals in Michigan every year.
5. Visit http://puremi.ch/2r9Buzi for more Ideas on how to save money on a Michigan vacation


2017 Spokester Search: Cala H.

Online

Cala is a 20-year-old from Farmington Hills

Cala's Situation

I'm currently a full time cosmetology student a Douglas J Aveda.

Blog Post

Vacations are a great way to relax and enjoy family and friends. Its official summer 2017 is right around the Conner let’s make this summer unforgettable, keep reading for some cool ways on how to save on a vacation in my Home town Detroit Michigan. It’s the year 2017 and it’s about your money.

If you’re in Michigan, looking for places to see? Things to do? Well turn to the great city of Detroit. Just when you thought it was nothing left fun to do The Motor city has some “Hidden Gems”. Not only are they fun but yet affordable. The city of Detroit gets a bad rep, and people don’t realize the history, culture and glorious architecture that lie within. This is a great way to see just what the city is made of.

It’s all about getting more bang for your buck, well if you haven’t heard yet it’s all about Groupon . Offers killer deals and taking advantage is the only right. This way not only are you checking out hidden gems within the city but you’re catching the latest deals.

2017 is in full affect, well if you haven’t jumped on the uber bang wagon yet hop on. Can’t beat these convenient prices they offer. Its super easy just download the app and you’ve got a ride around the town just like that. 

I’m a student and I’m proud I’m a student and proud, say it loud and clear. When going on a vacation never forget your student id, yes you can save money just because you’re a student it’s that easy. Just remember ask about the student promotions wherever you at. 

The best parts about vacations are making those unforgettable memories. An expensive part on a vacation is where do you stay, and how much money you spend on eating every day. A solution to that problem is instead of getting a small hotel room which will cost tons just rent out “airbnb” it’s where you and your friends can rent a local home, really nice homes and guess what no need for the expensive dinners when you can make dinner in your own loft.

Finally when you go on vacation you want to splurge and you deserve to splurge. It’s a vacation after all but it’s about being smart about how and when you spend your money so you can have more of course to keep going on vacations. A good vacation doesn’t get better than that.

2017 Spokester Search: Chanté J.

Chanté is a 23-year-old from Warren

Chanté's Situation

Hello, my name is Chanté Jackson. I am 23 years old. I live in Warren Michigan with my parents. I am a medical claims specialist at my current job and I start at Wayne State University in the fall for the social work program. I am also the next Young and Free Michigan Spokester.! Nice to meet you.

Blog Post

Planning a vacation can be very stressful. As far as where to stay, to rent a car or to not rent a car, where to go or not to go. However, what if I told you that it doesn't have to be.? Yes, that's correct it doesn't.! No need for any stress on planning the ultimate Michigan vacation. I am going to give you five ways on how you can plan this ultimate vacation and save money all at the same time. First, we are going to focus on the doing some research on the where. Hotels can be pretty pricey; however depending on the area you book the hotel in and depending on how early the room is booked can help. Waiting to the last minute to book a hotel room can be a big no no. So let's make sure you do the research and book early. Secondly, we are going to prioritize as far a budget. What are some things that are super fun to do in the area that you are in and cheap too. In Michigan there are plenty of activities to do, especially in the inner city Detroit. There is the famous Motown museum "HitsVille USA" there is the science museum. The third thing to do is travel light however travel according no need for extra things that you do need becaus that will make you spend more. He fought I want to touch basis on is a car rental; nowadays we have upbers who needs a car anymore because then you have to worry about gas and that ain't cheap. The last thing is make sure on his vacation your are open and flexible to trying new thing to have fun.


2017 Spokester Search: Spencer M.

Spencer is a 21-year-old from Bay City

Spencer's Situation

Hey, I'm Spencer! 

I'm 21 years old and love learn new things! I'm going to school for a degree in Computer Information Systems at Saginaw Valley State University, but my passion for film will always be apart of who I really am. I'm a self taught musician and have been playing for about 10 years now. Once I have a vision of something I want to do I give a 100% at doing it. I have years of theater experience from high school and even got to play some lead roles! I hope you enjoy the video I made because I sure did have a blast making it!

Blog Post

Michigan Vacation? Budgeting Tips That Will Save You Bank!

Summer time is right around the corner and I love a good relaxing break from school or work. Especially when it’s nice and sunny! But vacations can get pricey pretty fast! Here’s five quick tips on how you can save some extra coin planning your next adventure in Michigan.

1.Free events

Ah yes, budgeting at its finest. Going to free events for a vacation is a great way to have fun and support local communities! Michigan is full of creative and inspiring people that want to demonstrate their abilities. Not only are you saving a couple bucks, but you’re also investing time in admiring someone else's hard work! The best part is that there’s such a broad range of free events around Michigan, that it would easily satisfy every unique taste in the book!

2.State Parks

Woah, total throw back to the time before technology right? No, I’m not crazy! State Parks have so much to offer for people of all ages. If you want to spend time with the family or chill out with some friends, State Parks are an easy and cheap alternative! The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers the Recreation Passport for $11 (which gives you access to State Parks around Michigan). What a steal! 

3.Meal Prep

Another great money saver is preparing meals before you go on your vacation. Let’s be honest here. Eating out is great, delicious, and fun, but as your stomach gets full the pockets get empty! Taking a little bit of time to prepare a cooler full of food is an awesome way to save some extra cash on your vacation. 

4.Bikes instead of Cars

Picking a location where you can ride a bike to get around instead of a car is easy in Michigan. Not only are you saving gas money, but you’re also going to get a much more enriching experience. Michigan is full of cities that offer options for quick bike transportation. So get out there and live a little!

5.Party with Friends

Probably my favorite way to save money on a vacation is doing it with friends. Sometimes that vacation is just out of reach with affordability and splitting up expenses with friends would get you there. This has to be one of my favorite ways to vacation! Not only are you saving, but you’re also getting to relax and have fun with the people that are close to you! 

So get out there and have an Adventure!

Until next time,

-Spencer

2017 Spokester Search: Qiayel H.

Qiayel is a 20-year-old from Ypsilanti

Qiayel's Situation

I am currently working full time to pay for school. I enjoy making YouTube video,( Channel: Prime TV). Aside from making youtube videos, I volunteer at the Humane Society in Ann Arbor. I am working towards my goal of hosting my own talk show.

Blog Post

Summer Savings!
Five Ways to Save your Money

With the summer coming up, you want to go on trips, enjoy the weather, maybe even stick a toe or toe into the pool. This is the time to explore the world but your funds seem like there is no way to get around to it. That’s why I’m here! Below are five ways for you to save money on a Michigan vacation!

Big Groups! Ask as many as your friends to go on a trip with you! If everyone splits the total cost, then you won’t have to take more money out of your pockets. The more people you have on the trip, the less money everyone has to put in. Not only does everyone get to keep chump change, this should make the trip more fun and memorable because there are more faces and more ideas for everyone to contribute for fun!

Coupons are your Friends! Find coupons online that you can use on your trip. I like to use this app called Groupon. It has a bunch of coupons for just about everything you can think of; food, activities, and entertainment! I also like to use Shopular. It’s also an app but it’s more for shopping rather than activities. Both of these apps saves tons of money and both are completely free. 

Pack your own Food! I know eating other people’s food is really tempting. Especially if it Burger King or Ronald McDonald. However, packing your own food will save you some money. I know that making your own food can be a hassle, but packing your own food, especially for a road trip, give the more money in our pockets for cool stuff like souvenirs. Not even will you be saving your money, you’re also saving your health! 

Cash or Card! I know keeping money on a card is probably the fastest thing to do, however as humans, we tend to just keep swiping a car carelessly because we do not realize how much we are spending. Personally, it pains me to have to “break a bill” so I often keep cash on me.

Budgeting! This is probably to most “boring” yet the best way to save money! If you put a cap on the money you are allowed to spend and stick to you, could could save a lot of money. When budgeting your money, make sure you are very specific with how much you can spend in each category. Remind yourself why you made the budget list in the first place. Try staying at a hostel instead of a hotel. They make things a lot cheaper and you can make some irreplaceable connections as well. 

2017 Spokester Search: Abriana W.

Abriana is a 18-year-old from Detroit

Abriana's Situation

Hey! I'm sure many of you can relate when I say that life gets wild. I am enrolled at Wayne State University studying Broadcast Journalism. Aside from my academic responsibilities I also intern at Oh So Radio and pursue other opportunities to expand my knowledge and experience like launching my website BriFromTheD.com and collaborating with other platforms and creatives. Juggling the several hats I wear is a challenge but it's my passion and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Blog Post

How To Survive a Weekend Vacation in Michigan with $100
By Abriana Walton

Are you ever truly “bored”, or are you just not aware of all the fun things available to do? Maybe you know of things to do but can’t fathom coughing up money on an overpriced excursion. Don’t worry, here are a few steps of how to save money during a fun weekend with your friends!

1. Groupon is your friend!
Coupons are no longer just associated with baby boomers in grocery stores. Services like groupon are gold mines of deals and packages for restaurants and fun activities. $100 on groupon will put professionals like Joann The Scammer to shame. 

2. We’re surrounded by 5 lakes…Use Them!
Native Michiganders, especially city dwellers, often overlook the states natural geography as a source of entertainment. A day trip on any interstate in Michigan will land you at 1 of the 5 lakes that surround it. Spend a day swimming, fishing, and having an overall good time for next to nothing. A trip like this requires gas, food, and maybe a few games that could definitely cost less than $100.

3. Free is Key!
Another overlooked, and possibly cliché, option would be to attend the museums and galleries that are free to Michigan residents. Learning and immersing yourself in cultural environments provide meaningful experiences. It’s also a great photo opp. 

4. Visit your city’s official website for events
VisitDetroit.com, for example, lists the festivals and fair that occur throughout the summer. Most events are free and include live music and an opportunity to support small businesses!

Remember when embarking on your journey to always allot a portion of your funds for emergencies and transportation, avoid spending every cent of your money, and most importantly have fun.


2017 Spokester Search: Shanacee S.

Shanacee is a 25-year-old from Detroit

Shanacee's Situation

Hey everyone! I’m Shanacee Shreve a multimedia geek who loves to create and story tell in cool innovative ways. I went to MSU for undergrad and earned a degree in Journalism. I’m now becoming an expert behind the camera as I finish up a masters at WSU. I’ve been in school for a while now and managed to travel the world and chase my dreams on a student budget. I know all too well the financial ups and downs of being a student/young adult and cannot wait for the opportunity to teach you guys how to stretch that cash and make it last!

Blog Post

SAVE ON A MICHIGAN VACAY

Don’t sleep on the amazing traveling options right under your nose. Michigan is a great place to vacay but who wants to spend hundreds on vacationing in their own state? Here are some quick tips to save and play right here in Michigan. 

Mi casa es su casa

My favorite way of saving money is to stay at a home away from home. I’ve had tons of fun booking cabins or luxury apartments with family/friends while saving hundreds of dollars. In Northern Michigan there are gorgeous lofts that start at $120/night and can accommodate 3+ guests. Not to mention the fact everyone can stay under one roof and create lasting memories. Sites like Airbnb.com or Tripping.com allow you to choose a place and get the 411 on the owner/host of the property. There are also reviews from other peeps who have stayed there. So, if you want to stay in a apartment, beach house, or cozy home and save there’s no better way to get the true travelers experience than to book a home away from home! 

Get Techy Wit’ It

The best part about traveling in 2017 are all the apps that allow us to save and play. Apps like Gasbuddy (tracks gas mileage), Yelp (gives reviews & pricing on local cuisine) , and Alongtheway (shares bars, shops, & landmarks). My absolute favorite is Groupon because it allows you to search your Michigan trip locations and gives deals on a range of activities in that area. Ex: A four hour winery tour in Grand Traverse worth $189 goes for $99 on Groupon! Amazing right? A quick search will save you so much. Cedar Point gives discounts just for booking online and has deals like discounted tickets after 6pm! 

Groupies

Traveling in a pack is a full proof way to have fun and split costs. I’ve been on group trips globally and it was all made possible by traveling with friends. Experience a lazy river or water skiing adventure right here in Michigan with those closest to you.

Chef BoyardFREE

If you’re like me you spend most of your money on food but guys there are was around it! The best way to experience Michigan’s cuisine without the huge tab is to cook. While you’re staying at your Airbnb you can look up local recipes and use local ingredients to make an authentic meal with your fellow travelers. What better way to bond and save?

Free Entertainment

A lot of us sleep on free entertainment but it’s definitely worth looking into more closely. Michigan has free museums, concerts, and festivals. It’s all about research. Michigan Activity Pass allows Michigan residents to use their library card as an access pass to gain free entry to certain destinations. Visit Michigan Activity Pass on Facebook for more info. 

I hope you guys take these tips and make this summer amazing! 

Safe travels.
Xoxo Shanacee 


2017 Spokester Search: Alexis A.

Alexis is a 24-year-old from Clinton Township

Alexis' Situation

Hello, everyone! My name is Alexis Alfred and I am a fun-loving, and hard-working journalist, blogger and host! I am currently back home in Michigan trying to figure out what's next for me in my career while also working a part-time job. I want what I do next to be in a field where I can express my creativity and individuality. I want to wake up every morning excited to go to work! Thank you so much for checking out my video!

Blog Post

It's finally starting to heat up in Michigan, and soon it will be time to get the summer festivities started! Are you planning to travel this summer? Well, I’ll have you know that there are tons of things to do and see in Michigan! Literally, Michigan is home to some of the coolest museums and national parks! I'll give you a couple of seconds to google Michigan attractions. Go ahead, google it. I'm still waiting. *twiddles fingers* Annddd were back! So much stuff to see, right? From the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Chippewa County to the Tahquamenon Falls in Lice County. Michigan is a traveler’s treasure chest. Try saying that three times fast! I know you're probably thinking, "I don't have the money to travel this summer, or planning a vacation is too hard." I'm here to tell you that you don’t need a ton of money to travel. *Gasps* The most important ingredients to successful vacationing is planning and budgeting! Are you not the best at planning and budgeting? No worries! I'm here to help you vacation smarter not harder. Below are five ways to save money on a Michigan vacation. 

1. Research- Where are you going? What is there to see and do? Are there any activities you want to do specifically? Asking yourself questions like these will help you narrow down the activities you want to do while also help you estimate how much money you’ll need to do them. 

2. Plan- When vacationing, I’ve come to find that some type of itinerary is needed. This is to help you budget your spending. Once you research the activities you want to do, you’re able to put money aside for those experiences and factor in vacation spending money. Planning also helps you save time. There’s nothing worse than winging a vacation. You want to get the best for your time and money!

3. Use Resources- The internet has tons of sites that help people travel smarter not harder. For example, websites like Groupon gives discounts on things like attractions, food, drinks and even lodging based off location. The coupons can even be bought before vacationing, making travel budgeting way simpler! Heck, even some insurance companies offer discounts on hotel stays and transportation! Don’t forget to check them out too!

4. Travel Like The Locals- Many people can spend tons of money on renting cars while on vacation. A lot of times to really experience a new place rental cars aren’t needed. To save some coins, use the bus, train or whatever mode of transportation available. You can always call a Lyft or Uber if you want! 

5. Be Present- Make sure you are present and enjoy the moment! Remember, the best things in life are free!

2017 Spokester Search: William B. Jr.

Online

William is a 23-year-old from Harper Woods

William's Situation

On Saturday May 7, 2017 I graduated from Central Michigan University. However all last semester (August 2016-May 2017) I worked heavily in video production. I produced, edited and directed videos for CMU's student newspaper. I worked with my very own DSLR camera and edited all my video either through Adobe Premiere or Final Cut 10. I also was involved in our on-campus news station as a producer, cameraman, audio technician, and associate producer where we aired a 30-minute newscast every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m. That showed was viewed on television by three counties: Clare, Isabella and Midland.  

Now, I am currently looking a job working with video shooting videos and editing. I am very passionate about media production and hope to find a position in my desired field.

Blog Post

Traveling any state can be done at a minimum cost, so why not do it at that cost? Michigan is filled with a ton of different site seeing opportunities that allow you to capture it's true beauty and you can save a lot of money doing it. 

Places like Pictured Rocks, Lake Erie and Ludington State Park, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Landmark, Mackinac Island, Isle Royale all provide you with opportunities to see a great view of the great outdoors. All you need to do is pitch a tent and you will immediately save money on your living expenses. In rain conditions, you can always spend a few hours in your car that I am sure is bearable if you really want to travel for the cheapest cost possible. This leaves gas and food the only things you need to pay money for and you can still save money with your food expense by going to any local grocery store and buying groceries to store in a cooler and make sandwiches with lunch meat, Peanut Butter & Jelly, etc.

Now there are a ton more outdoor locations that you can travel too and I would suggest finding an area with 3-5 site-seeing locations all within the same area of Michigan and then your gas to travel from location to location is cut down exponentially. 

Traveling Michigan, or any state at that, can be done at a cheap cost, it all comes down to your planning. 


2017 Spokester Search: Sierra B.

Sierra is a 21-year-old from Farmington Hills

Sierra's Situation

Hi there! My name is Sierra Boone. I'm a graduating senior at Northwestern University. I'm a Detroit native. Most importantly, I'm a creative - I love communicating with diverse audience through multimedia. Storytelling is what I do - whether in 140 character or en una otra idioma. I think I would make a pretty sweet Young & Free MI Spokester...and I hope you do too! #Si4YoungNFree

Blog Post

Five ways to save money on a Michigan vacation
By Sierra Boone

Vacations are some of the best opportunities to put our cares to the wind and focus on relaxing. But shelling out cash just to have one can swiftly dampen the glee and turn it into stress. If you’re looking to get away and kick your feet up soon, follow these tips to have an awesome vacation that won’t leave your wallet in pain. 

One: Don’t underestimate the power of the #staycation
Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the ‘leaving’ aspect of vacations that we look past all the beauty that our respective home has to offer. There’s so much adventure out there in Michigan – from haunted theatre in the Upper Peninsula to wineries on the western border. You don’t have to spend the extra coins going across the country or world to have some much needed release. 

Two: Don’t be afraid of a solo trip
It’s become habit for everyone to only travel when it involves one or more other people. While there’s nothing wrong with bringing your beau or BFF, you can save hundreds of dollars by venturing alone. Tools like Travelzoo offer a multitude of deals to have just as much (if not more) fun vacationing alone. 

Three: Use technology to aid your planning endeavors
Apps such as Qapital or Empower are truly necessities when it comes to saving. You can enable rules that round credit card purchases up the next dollar or save selected percentages of paychecks, and have all the saved money go to specific causes (like that upcoming vacation to Benton Harbor). Listen, I know how tough it is not to touch that jar of quarters on your desk when you’re in the mood for ice cream, and that’s why passive yet intentional saving on digital platforms saves the day.

Four: “Shut up and drive”
Rihanna might have been on to something – driving to a destination is a huge win on saving money. Round trip flights can cost you at least $400. And that doesn’t even include extra fees on things like Uber. Driving to your destination is a great idea, plus with the right amount of planning, you can take a scenic route and have a fun road trip in addition to quiet time on the beach. 

Five: All that glitters isn’t gold
I know all of the movies portray vacations as swanky excursions at the finest resorts with rides on fancy yachts, but there’s so much more that Hollywood won’t show. You don’t have to stay at the most extravagant hotel and eat at Michelin star restaurants to enjoy your vacation. Part of the beauty of exploring a new place is finding those Mom N’ Pop burger joints and perusing the local sites, like a park or museum. 

Do you have your own tried and true tips for saving on Michigan vacations? Be sure to post them in the comments! 


2017 Spokester Search: Ada-Marie E.

Ada-Marie is a 22-year-old from Detroit

Ada-Marie's Situation

I am currently a part time student at the University of Phoenix in pursuit of a bachelors degree in Public Relations/Advertising/Applied Communication. When my head isn't buried in a book, I am working part time at my current employment in retail sales.

Blog Post

It’s the hottest day of the summer, the sun is shining, the perfect day to break out that new crop-top or those new kicks. Last weekend you were Netflix and chill’n all alone, and you refuse to let that be a repeat this weekend. So you’re wondering, “what’s the wave for the day”, but you remember it's not your pay week and you have to ball on a budget until next Friday. Well lucky for you, Michigan is choc-full of places and things to do for the low. From being a kid for the day and going to the Detroit Zoo, hitting the beach in Silver Beach County, trying something totally new with the CSI Homicide Detectives Escape Room; or head to downtown Detroit to visit the Riverwalk! Hungry? Get a deep dish from Pizza Papalis, grab a delicious shawarma from the well known Bucharest Grill, or satisfy your craving for a good ole’ coney dog and chili cheese fries from one of the many Coney Island's located around the city of Detroit. No wheels? No worries! You can ride anywhere in downtown Detroit on the Detroit People Mover for only $0.75, or hop on the new QLine Detroit and travel Downtown, Midtown, and the New Center for 3 hours priced at $1.50 or ride the entire day for only $3.00! And if you're looking for something lowkey, you can always just walk around with friends and create your own fun. There are so many things to do, this is just the surface. 

2017 Spokester Search: Amani P.

Amani is a 21-year-old from Clinton Township

Amani's Situtation

My name is Amani Pewitt and I can’t wait to be the next Michigan First Young and Free Spokster.
I am a student at Macomb Community College pursuing a degree in the skilled trade industry. I love the fact that I am a young woman who is following her dream career in a male-dominated field. I greet each day with “a dare to be different” attitude; ready to meet new people and experience new opportunities. My ultimate goal is own a manufacturing company which produces socially conscious and economically responsible equipment for the healthcare industry.

I am a crafter at heart who believes everyone has the ability to get in touch with their creative side. I use my creativity to crochet, sew, paint, and make delicious chocolate candies. 
In fact, I share information about my creations on my “Maggie Rae Crafts” Instagram page.

I am super excited about the opportunity to be the next Michigan First Young and Free Spokster ! I love to travel, especially exploring some of the hidden treasures in Michigan. I can’t wait to share my vacation tips and tricks with Michigan First customers.

Blog Post

Michigan is a great state with 5 great lakes and many beautiful beaches, parks and cities to visit. 
Here are 5 ways for the Young and Free crowd to save money on a Michigan vacation. 
Planning ahead is perhaps the most important part of saving money on a Michigan vacation.
As you prepare travel around the great state of Michigan you need to have a plan so you can save money. When you plan ahead you have time to research the fun places and activities in Michigan.

A great tool for saving money as you plan a fun vacation or even just an inexpensive day trip is the Pure Michigan website! This website has great information about the amazing cities and events in Michigan.

Here are 4 additional quick money saving tips for planning a “Young and Free” vacation in Michigan.
• Budget! Budget! Budget (The “Young and Free” need to save money )
• Visit “Hot Spots” at a low cost(free attractions and events)
• Do a day trip or vacation close to home. (Michigan has great beaches and parks everywhere) 
• Travel with a group(Get group discounts and enjoy traveling with your “Young and Free” friends.)
Visit Pure Michigan @ http://www.michigan.org/ to make your vacation a success.

2017 Spokester Search: Austin R.

Online

Austin is a 19-year-old from Riverview

Austin's Situation

After graduating from Cass Technical High school almost 2 years ago, I didn't get the opportunity to attend a four year university like the some of my classmates. Instead, I went out and tried to get a job and that search was tough not only did it take a full year for me to find one I honestly didn't want to be stuck in a job that I couldn't see myself at for the rest of my life. I saw the opportunity to apply in hopes of becoming a Young and Free Michigan Spokester and I definitely knew I had to take the chance.

Blog Post

5 Great Ways you can save money on a Michigan Vacation

Try finding places that offer free admission

You’ll be surprised how many local attractions in the state of Michigan there are, and some of them many even allow free admission. The Detroit Institute of Arts for example is a great place to go with families and learn art history and dive into the creative geniuses of the past. Yet, there is another option, by visiting the website, MichiganActivityPass.com, you'll be able to find free or discounted attractions all around Michigan.

Look for exclusive deals and features

Most, if not all, families can benefit from deals or special features especially when you can use them for exciting events for vacation. Utilizing michigan.org's page of special deals and features will enable you to find great attractions and features dedicated specifically for the month you’re planning your vacation. You even have the option to sign up for the websites free newsletter for even more opportunities for you to be able to plan ahead and take the leap into a fun occasion for your family to enjoy. 

Avoid spending excess amounts on gas

One aspect of living in Michigan is the history of the automotive industry. 
Being that we’ve technologically evolved from the Model T to now modern and safer transportation, the cost of using these modern vehicles can certainly burn a hole in your wallet especially with the rising cost of gas prices. So to avoid on overpaying to keep your tank full and traveling to a multitude of attractions you should try taking public transportation such as the bus, try renting a bike or even take use of the current rising of the ride hailing industry with services such as Uber or Lyft.

Look for local recreational centers

While heading to the exciting hybrids of water and thrill ride amusement parks, sometimes those places don't fit your budget for your vacation. So, instead of moping about not being able to hop on the newest waterslide, try searching for local recreational centers. Many of them allow visitors to take part in using their facility to play and take part in their very own activities such as swimming, rock climbing, basketball, etc. there’s so many activities available at such a cheaper price. 

Be old fashioned

This may come as a surprise to many but there is more to us than our cellphones and the technology that surrounds us. Many of us get so enveloped in our smart devices that we don't actually get the chance to sit down and get to know our own family members. So with that in mind, take the old fashioned way of spending time with family and head to the local park and have a family picnic. An awesome way to save money because parks are free and open to the public. While, spending time and getting to know your family is priceless.