How To Start a Wedding DJ Business in 9 Essential Steps

Want to hone your DJ skills? Or maybe show them off?

Wedding DJs are in high demand these days.

Industry experts expect 2022 to be the busiest wedding season in 40 years, thanks to lockdown romances and postponed ceremonies during the pandemic.

A wedding DJ is the focal point of great wedding receptions. They set the mood, engage with the crowd and keep the couple happy.

They make good money, too. Wedding DJs make $1,000 per gig on average, according to WeddingWire, with experienced pros fetching upward of $2,000 or more.

But it takes a lot of hard work and planning to DJ a wedding. To start a successful wedding DJ business, you’ll need seed money for gear, reliable transportation — and great people skills.

How to Start a Wedding DJ Business in 9 Steps

Nick Smith started DJing weddings in southwest Indiana when he was 20 years old. His first set of speakers and audio equipment came from a bar that was going out of business.

Sixteen years later, Smith’s business has booked over 200 weddings.

“It’s a great gig if you love people and music,” he said.

Ready to spin up your own side hustle? Follow these nine steps to start a wedding DJ business.

1. Research and Talk to Other DJs

Before you invest major money into gear and advertising, make sure you’re comfortable with this type of gig.

Talk to other wedding DJs and ask what challenges they faced in the beginning — and how they overcame those hurdles.

If you’re new to DJing in general, it’s a good idea to shadow a professional wedding DJ. Search Google, Yelp or the Knot to find some in your area.

Send a friendly email asking if you can help them out at an event or two because you’re interested in being a wedding DJ.

On the day of the wedding, show up early and stay for the entire event. Observe how the wedding DJ interacts with the crowd and the type of music they play. Take notes.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do they make announcements?
  • What do they do when the dance floor thins out?
  • How do they handle requests?
  • What equipment do they have?

In exchange for the experience, offer to help the other DJ by unloading gear from the car and setting up the speakers.

2. Hone Your Skills

Practice makes perfect. You need to be comfortable behind the booth before you’re ready to book gigs.

Play for family and friends first. You can also book other, smaller events — like birthday parties and company parties — to get your feet wet. Online classes are another way to grow your knowledge base.

Practice playing songs, using a microphone and flowing from one song to another.

If you’re not ready to start your own wedding DJ business quite yet, consider working for a multi-op — a mobile DJ company that employs several disc jockeys.

3. Create a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is important if you plan to invest time and money into becoming a wedding DJ.

Your business plan should include:

  • Your business name and location
  • Customer demographics and target audience
  • Price points
  • Suppliers for your equipment
  • Initial start-up costs and how long until you’re profitable
  • Competitors

You can use one of these templates from the U.S. Small Business Administration to create a more detailed business plan.

Looking for more tips? Check out these 10 things you should know before you start a business. 

Setting Your Rate

The best way to set your initial rates is by researching prices for wedding DJs in your area, then offering a lower price.

How much you charge also depends on where you live: A wedding DJ in a big city earns more money than a wedding DJ in a small town.

Still, a good starting rate for a novice wedding DJ is roughly $500. You can raise your rates as you gain more experience. According to The Knot’s Real Weddings Study, couples spent an average of $1,400 on a DJ in 2021.

Wedding DJs usually pick one or more of the following pricing structures:

  • Flat fee or hourly rate
  • Packages
  • A la carte services
  • Custom quote

You should also be open to negotiating when you first start out.

Decide What DJ Services to Offer

Smith said offering additional services to clients is one of the best ways to make extra money as a wedding DJ.

“Additional services can really help add value,” Smith said. “You can offer things like uplighting, or doing sound for both the ceremony and the reception.”

Consider add-ons that earn you extra money with minimal effort. For example, some DJs offer photo booth services for guests, but Smith said photo booths are labor intensive to transport and set up.

“Unless you have someone else helping you, you want to keep things simple,” he said.

4. Buy Your DJ Gear

A big hurdle for many new DJs is acquiring equipment. It can cost a couple thousand dollars to purchase all your DJ gear.

“It’s a big cost up front for sure,” Nick said, “but you’ll earn it back quickly with gigs.”

While you don’t need state-of-the-art equipment to be a great wedding DJ, you do need a solid foundation to get started.

Wedding DJ gear checklist:

  • Laptop with at least 6 GB of internal memory and three USB inputs
  • DJ software, like Serato or Traktor
  • PA system (amplifier and speakers)
  • DJ controller / mixer
  • Over-the-ear headphones
  • Cables
  • MP3 music files

On a budget? Smith recommends looking for deals on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Check out sales at your local music store, too.

You could even borrow equipment from a friend or neighborhood church for your first couple gigs.

“You can start with a cheaper set-up, then upgrade it up over time,” Smith said.

You’ll also need to be comfortable setting up and tearing down your own DJ equipment. Figuring out how to efficiently store and transport your gear is also important if you want to be a mobile DJ.

Buy the Music

Buying music is important if you want to run a successful wedding DJ business.

Professionals caution against using streaming services like Spotify or YouTube. It isn’t technically legal and you shouldn’t rely on anything that requires Internet access anyway.

You have several options to legally purchase music for your wedding DJ business:

  • Buy mp3s through Amazon or iTunes/Apple Music.
  • Subscribe to a DJ pool like Promo City. This is a paid service that gives you access to volumes of modern music for download.
  • DJ subscription service like Virtual DJ or Pulselocker.
  • Buy used CDs and rip them to your laptop.

Set aside a little money from each gig to buy more music, and it won’t take long to compile a competitive professional DJ library.

5. Market Yourself

You have the gear. You have a plan. Now it’s time to get some customers.

You’ll need to create a DJ website and social media accounts to attract potential customers. Look at websites for other wedding DJ businesses to get ideas.

At the bare minimum, your website should include:

  • Your rates
  • Where you’re located (and how far you’re willing to travel)
  • A contact email address and phone number
  • What makes you unique from other DJs in the wedding industry
  • Testimonials and positive reviews

You can use a service like Wix or Weebly for free, or hire a professional to design a website for you.

Word of mouth is huge in the wedding business, Smith said. It’s about who you know and who knows you.

“Recommendations are everything,” Smith emphasized.

Give discounts for referrals. Make it easy for the bride and groom to leave glowing reviews about your wedding DJ business on Google and Facebook.

You’ll want to create some business cards and maybe some flyers, too.

Leave a space in your budget for marketing costs. Advertising on sites like The Knot and WeddingWire can really help pull in new customers because couples often visit these sites to find venues and vendors.

6. Meet the Couple for a Consultation

Meet up with the wedding couple several weeks before the event to discuss the playlist.

Ask about their favorite genres and bands, then create a short list of must-have songs, including their pick for the first dance and other important dances.

Perhaps more importantly, get a list of songs they don’t want played. The Chicken Dance, for instance.

“Get an idea of what they’re looking for,” Smith said, “then execute that to the best of your abilities.”

Print a questionnaire for the couple to fill out at the consultation with a timeline of the wedding, names of important people in the wedding party and other key details you should know.

You’ll also want to create contracts you can customize for each couple.

Your business contract should cover things like cancellation fees and damaged equipment policies. Make sure to discuss these policies with clients during the initial consultation.

Finally, prepare to spend several hours communicating back and forth with the couple before the wedding. Smith said he usually spends about 10 hours total preparing for the big day.

Two brides dance at their wedding reception.
Getty Images

7. Create the Playlist

Your goal as a wedding DJ is to create a memorable experience for the couple and keep the party going.

Don’t slide your original deep house remix into the wedding playlist. Remember, focus on the bride and groom — not your personal taste in music.

Play music to match the festivities. Break your songs into different blocks for the ceremony, cocktail hour, introductions, dinner and dance floor.

Each block should have different music to the atmosphere: Classical music at the ceremony, light jazz for the cocktail hour and soulful tunes for dinner, for example.

You can flex more creativity and play new music for the dance floor. But remember: You’re playing for a diverse audience. Don’t be afraid to bust out crowd favorites like “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.”

“People are at a wedding to have a good time,” Smith said. “Your job is to play the right music and create a fun atmosphere for everyone.”

8. Be On Time and Professional

You can’t be late to the party when you’re the DJ. Get there early, set up on time and prepare for a late night.

Before the wedding, write out a script of everything you plan to say. Practice pronouncing names. You don’t want to butcher the best man’s last name on stage.

Make sure to bring backup chargers, cables and other necessary gear. Things go wrong, break and run out of battery. Don’t let something unexpected (but easily preventable) ruin your wedding gig.

9. Work the Crowd and Keep the Party Going

Successful wedding DJs set the tone and vibe for the entire reception.

Be friendly, energetic and don’t forget to smile!

It’s not all about the music, though: You’ll be in charge of making announcements, calling for special dances and fielding song requests from (often intoxicated) guests.

You’ll need to communicate with other vendors at the wedding, too. You don’t want to start playing music for a special dance, for example, without the photographers and videographers in place.

Be observant, flexible and keep the party going.

It’s a lot to manage but pulling off your first successful gig can be the start of a rewarding and lucrative wedding DJ business.

Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder




The Cheapest Neighborhoods in Las Vegas for Renters in 2022

Come for the fun, and stay because you just can’t leave!

If you want to have some adult fun, Las Vegas is the place to go! But many people are looking for something a bit more permanent and are choosing to turn this city into the place they call home. In fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing cities with an annual average growth rate of 1.21 percent. In the past 10 years, the population has grown nearly 16 percent.

It’s no wonder why so many people want to move here. A New York Times article recently reported that Nevada is one of the top destinations for Californians trying to escape the high cost of living on the West Coast.

While the cost of living in Las Vegas isn’t one of the lowest in the country, it’s still significantly lower than on the West and East coasts. And you’ll find that even the cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas have some beautiful apartments that just might fit all your needs!

What is the average rent in Las Vegas?

The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment for rent in Las Vegas is $1,847 per month. Rent prices rose by nearly nine percent over the past 12 months.

While no one likes a price hike, some renters might find comfort in the fact that this rent increase is one of the lower increases. Many neighborhoods across the country had 15, 25 or 30 percent increases. Salt Lake City, UT, saw a rise of over 40 percent, while New York City prices rose nearly 50 percent.

Thankfully, this is just an average, which means there are plenty of cheaper neighborhoods in Las Vegas where you can find apartments that won’t break the bank.

The 10 most affordable neighborhoods in Las Vegas

If you’re on a tight budget, apartment hunting can seem daunting. Thankfully, we have you covered! Here are some of the cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas and why you should consider checking them out.

10. Southeast Las Vegas

Southeast Las Vegas

Southeast Las Vegas

  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,162
  • Rent change since 2021: +112.78%

Despite having the second-highest increase of the 15 neighborhoods we evaluated, Southeast Las Vegas is still one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Las Vegas.

There are some fun attractions in the area, like The Neon Museum, a non-profit organization started in the mid-90s to preserve something Las Vegas uses extensively, the neon light.

If you’re a nature-lover, you’ll be happy to know that Springs Preserve is right within the boundaries of your neighborhood. This 180-acre institution features botanical gardens and an interpretive trail system that takes you through scenic wetlands. The Preserve also hosts outdoor events (like amazing concerts) and is also home to several museums and galleries.

9. The Canyons

The Canyons

The Canyons

  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,108
  • Rent change since 2021: +41.44%

The Canyons is a residential neighborhood home to young professionals and retirees. Not many families live in the area, which means the neighborhood is relatively calm and quiet. The average commute takes approximately 25 minutes. Nearly everyone owns a vehicle because public transit in the area isn’t that great. Thankfully, it’s one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas, so you’re better able to afford to own a vehicle.

Nearby is the Chamberlain University College of Nursing, an accredited, three-year nursing school with a 97 percent National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX®) first-time pass rate. Thankfully, since this is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Las Vegas, students can focus more on their studies and less on rental rates.

8. Peccole Ranch

Peccole Ranch

Peccole Ranch

Source: Avondale
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,929
  • Rent change since 2021: +39.30%

Parents looking for highly-rated public schools in the area should visit the Peccole Ranch neighborhood. The area has a good mix of families, retirees and young professionals. A slight majority of residents rent properties, which means there’s a variety of homes in the area, including single-family homes with yards and garages, as well as townhouses, condos and apartment complexes.

In addition to having some of the best schools in the city, Peccole Ranch is one of the cheapest places to live in Las Vegas — a win-win for parents!

Residents enjoy daily walks along the Paseos walking paths, which are great for exercise or just to enjoy the beauty of the area.

7. Lone Mountain

Lone Mountain

Lone Mountain

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,828
  • Rent change since 2021: +39.17%

Lone Mountain is one of the top-rated neighborhoods in Las Vegas, in part due to its proximity to Downtown Las Vegas and the North Las Vegas Airport.

You’ll find two parks in the area that just might become your home away from home. In addition to the usual park amenities (picnic pavilions and playgrounds), Lone Mountain Regional Park also has walking trails and an equestrian center. The other park in the area is Majestic Park. This park has plenty of open space for frisbee, soccer and playing with your kids and pets. The park also has picnic areas, softball fields and playgrounds.

Though the area has a higher cost of living than the national average, Lone Mountain is still one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas.

6. Centennial Hills

Centennial Hills

Centennial Hills

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,711
  • Rent change since 2021: +22.48%

Centennial Hills has diverse home options, so there’s something for everyone. If you like townhomes, this neighborhood has them. If you prefer apartments or condos, you’ll find them here, too. Of course, there are also single-family homes, new construction, vacant lots for custom homes and resale properties, as well.

Because the community is growing, businesses are starting to move into the area, increasing growth. In addition to some locally owned businesses, you’ll also find well-known, national stores like Trader Joe’s. Because of this, there are more jobs in the neighborhood, and it’s easier for locals to run errands and get their daily essentials.

One of the perks of this neighborhood is that it’s not close to The Strip. The benefit of living about 30 miles from Downtown is that the Centennial Hills is more tranquil than communities closer to Las Vegas. It also means that Centennial Hills is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Las Vegas.

5. Southwest Las Vegas

Southwest Las Vegas

Southwest Las Vegas

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,688
  • Rent change since 2021: +33.72%

For those who want to live in a large community, we recommend checking out Southwest Las Vegas. It’s one of the largest areas in the entire Las Vegas Valley. Though it’s close to The Strip, it’s still far enough away to stay safe and to keep its rustic charm and rural character.

Despite its proximity to The Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, home and rental prices in the area are quite low, making this one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas. If you’re a fan of Mediterranean-style homes, you’ll find lots of eye candy in the area, with stucco and red tile roofs in abundance.

Close to the I-15, it’s an easy commute from Southwest Las Vegas to other parts of the city. While there are some bus routes — as well as Lyft and Uber drivers — in the area, most residents prefer to own a vehicle.

4. The Section Seven

The Section Seven

The Section Seven

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,547
  • Rent change since 2021: +23.53%

The Section Seven neighborhood is ideal for people who want close proximity to City Center but like suburban living. The residential community has apartment complexes, in addition to single-family residences. Apartments in The Section Seven are affordable yet have all the modern conveniences and amenities you could want.

The neighborhood is in close proximity to plenty of entertainment, shopping, dining and employment opportunities. The area is also close to freeways, making the commute faster and easier. You’ll find beautiful walking trails nearby, too.

Residents appreciate the strong sense of community in the area with plenty of community activities, like movies in the park.

3. Canyon Gate

Canyon Gate

Canyon Gate

Source: Cove
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,425
  • Rent change since 2021: +24.32%

Young professionals make up the majority of residents in Canyon Gate, and there’s a 50/50 split between renters and homeowners.

The neighborhood is nearly 12 miles southwest of Downtown Las Vegas, and most residents have a 20-30 minute commute to work or to go shopping.

One of the reasons Canyon Gate is one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas is that it has a dense, suburban vibe. It consists primarily of residential communities, small shopping centers and locally owned businesses. It doesn’t have quite as many amenities as more urban neighborhoods. And yet, that’s something that residents appreciate because it makes the community feel safer and more tranquil.

2. Rancho Oakey

Rancho Oakey

Rancho Oakey

Source: Neon Apartments
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,365
  • Rent change since 2021: +6.25%

Located less than four miles from the Las Vegas Strip is the community of Rancho Oakey, which is in the heart of the arts district. Though there are plenty of restaurants, museums and fun nightlife activities, Rancho Oakey doesn’t have the same busy vibe as the Downtown area. And that’s what makes it so popular.

If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, you’ll be happy to know that this neighborhood is close to Springs Preserve. So, you, too, will get to enjoy the trails, botanical gardens, outdoor exhibits and so much more the Preserve has to offer.

1. Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes, the cheapest neighborhood in Las Vegas, NV

Twin Lakes, the cheapest neighborhood in Las Vegas, NV

  • Average 2-BR rent: $947
  • Rent change since 2021: 0%

Of all the cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas, Twin Lakes is the most affordable. The cost of living in Twin Lakes is less than the Las Vegas average and the U.S. average.

Residents in the area say the neighborhood makes it easy to run errands on foot — like going to convenience stores or the post office. It’s also close to the Interstate, which makes it easy to get to Downtown Las Vegas and restaurants and attractions in the area.

Locals say they like that Twin Lakes is a pretty neighborhood with very friendly neighbors.

The most expensive neighborhood in Las Vegas

We’ve looked at the cheapest neighborhoods in Las Vegas, but what about the most expensive? Is it really out of your budget?

The most expensive neighborhood is East Village. In this community, the average monthly rental rate is $2,975. Rental fees rose in this area by 1.99 percent in the past 12 months, which is one of the lowest rates of all the Las Vegas communities we evaluated.

East Village serves as one of the entrances to Downtown Las Vegas. The community has undergone rejuvenation and renovation projects in recent years, including updating parks and remodeling/reusing old motels for new uses.

Residents like the neighborhood’s proximity to several public transit options. They also like that it’s a quick trip to get to their favorite restaurants, bars and nightlife activities. And even though it’s close to the Downtown area, residents say it’s a quiet area with friendly neighbors.

Find an affordable neighborhood for your next apartment

Finding the ideal apartment is only half the battle when you’re moving to a new area. You also need to know that your apartment is in the best neighborhood for your needs. Things to consider include whether it’s the most affordable neighborhood in Las Vegas and if it’s close to the amenities you need (doctor’s offices, shopping, restaurants, work, etc.).

You can find the best neighborhoods and apartments for rent in Las Vegas with our listings feature. Using our search filters, we can help narrow your search to make finding a rental faster and easier.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from’s multifamily rental property inventory as of January 2022. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets. The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.


9 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Working Wedding Gigs

Nearly 2 million couples tied the knot in 2021 — but 2022 is projected to be even bigger, with the most weddings since 1984.

That means lots of opportunity to work a side gig helping couples throw their grand affairs.

9 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Working Wedding Gigs

Here are nine side hustles and weekend gigs to earn some extra cash while love is in the air.

1. Take Engagement Photos

If you’re a shutterbug, this is a great way to build your portfolio and earn extra cash.

Your friends may want to hire a professional photographer for the wedding itself, but they might like to save a little money on their engagement photos.

Be sure to look at professional engagement photos beforehand to get ideas for poses, and then upload the edited shots to a photo-sharing platform so the couple can easily download them and order prints.

If you’re an experienced photographer, you probably already have what it takes to start your own wedding photography business.

2. Address Envelopes

Many couples want the address on their save-the-dates, invitations and thank you cards to be perfect. And many are willing to pay top dollar for perfection: professional calligraphers charge $3 to $4 per envelope!

If you have good penmanship, offer to address envelopes for a fraction of the price.

Even at $1 per envelope, you’ll still earn $100 for a 100-person wedding.

Two people create cupcakes.
Getty Images

3. Bake Desserts

Wedding cakes cost an arm and a leg. If you’re talented in the kitchen, here’s an area where you can definitely profit.

Choose a dessert you excel at making, or one that’s meaningful for the couple.

Cupcakes are an obvious choice — they’re cheaper than a cake, easier to transport and trendy. Bake a few different flavors to please the varying tastes of the guests, and decorate them to wow the crowd.

4. Provide Musical Entertainment

Help make the day special with your musical talent.

If you’re a guitarist, play and sing while the bride walks down the aisle, or during the cocktail hour. If you have a band, get the crowd going at the reception.

Love to sing? Consider working weekends as a wedding singer to earn $400 and up per gig.

Or if you have the gear, spin up a wedding DJ side hustle.

Nick Smith from Southwest Indiana bought his first set of DJ sound equipment when he was 20 years old from a local bar that was closing down.

Sixteen years later, Smith runs his own successful wedding DJ business where he pulls in upwards of $1,000 a gig.

DJing involves some initial upfront costs, like music licensing fees and reliable transportation to move your gear.

But finding work is easy, Smith said. He’s performed at over 200 weddings, most of which came from friend referrals and word of mouth.

5. Create Decorations

Crafty people, rejoice! Weddings provide an abundance of opportunities for you to get your glue gun on.

Everything from centerpieces to place cards to favors is cheaper to make than to buy, so offer to design and execute all decorative needs for the wedding.

Shop at discount stores and buy in bulk to save money on your supplies.

6. Pick Up Catering Gigs

With wedding season in full bloom, now is a great time to find catering side gigs.

From bartenders and cooks, to servers and general kitchen staff, catering gigs run the gamut. Most shifts take place on the weekends and last seven to 10 hours per shift.

Catering staff tend to get paid better than restaurant staff. Expect to earn around $13 to $17 an hour, with some high-end events netting upwards of $25 an hour.

A woman looks happy as she looks in the mirror while getting her hair and makeup done on her wedding day.
Getty Images

7. Do Wedding Makeup and Hair

Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day. That’s why people who do wedding makeup and hair earn big bucks.

If all your friends come to you for beauty advice, this might be the perfect job for you.

Be sure to do a test run a few weeks before the wedding. This gives you and the bride a chance to agree on a style, and helps avoid unwanted surprises on the big day.

If you want to take your bridal makeup business to the next level, get licensed and obtain limited liability insurance.

Make sure to Google the cosmetology laws in your state as well.

8. Love to Sew? Do Alterations

Sewing is a rare skill these days, but if you know your way around a needle and thread, you could earn major money altering clothes — specifically, wedding dresses.

Brides want their dress to fit like a glove — but don’t want to pay the high alteration fees charged at bridal shops.

Market yourself as an independent seamstress who can offer the same quality at a lower price, and you’ll have brides knocking at your door in no time.

9. Be an Officiant

If you aren’t shy around large groups and don’t mind delving into a few state and local laws, becoming a wedding officiant could land you a few hundred dollars per gig.

Becoming ordained is simple. It takes about five minutes and is usually free.

But according to, Alabama, Connecticut, Virginia, Tennessee — and certain parts of Pennsylvania, New York and Las Vegas — don’t recognize online ordinations.

To be certain, you should ask a clerk at your county courthouse. You can also use this interactive map of state licensing requirements from the American Marriage Ministries.

If you want to start performing ceremonies on a regular basis, you will need to set a rate: $75 to $100 is a good starting point for officiants on average.

Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.




[Expired] Check Your Chase Cards For Spend Bonuses (1/15-3/31)

Deal has ended, view more Chase deals by clicking here.

Update 2/9/22: More people targeted, individual registration links for different cards are also available:

  • IHG: 1, 2,
  • United: 1, 2,
  • Hyatt
  • Southwest
  • Marriott: 1, 2,
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Disney: 1, 2,
  • Avios
  • Amazon: 1, 2,

The Offer

Chase Bonus checker link

  • Chase is offering various cardholders spend bonuses from January 15 through March 31. Sample offers:
    • Get 5x points per $1 on up to $1,500 in purchases at Grocery Stores, Restaurants, and
    • Get $50 cash back when you make 15 purchases each month from January through March 2022 with your Card. (Each purchase must be at least $2 to qualify.)
    • Some people are getting 5x back on Groceries on their Freedom card on $200 spend. That stacks nicely with the 5x Q1 2022 Grocery category and also – if you’re new – the 5x Grocery cardmember signup bonus for a whopping 13x.

Our Verdict

We’re seeing reports of offers on Freedom-line cards, as well as Southwest, Hyatt, and Disney cards. Worth checking all your Chase cards since there are likely other cards seeing offers.

Hat tip to ITS_A FIRE sale and mikep4


5 of the Biggest Celebrities Living in Calabasas, One of LA’s Most Affluent Neighborhoods

Located in the southwest corner of the San Fernando Valley, Calabasas is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Calif.

Including a portion of the Santa Monica mountains, Calabasas is located just over 30 miles from the downtown core.

The swanky suburb is bordered by Woodland Hills to the northeast, Topanga to the east, Malibu to the south, Agoura Hills to the west and Hiddens Hills to the north.

And the pretty people love it there! In recent years, the city of Calabasas has upgraded its amenities to cater to the luxurious lifestyles of the rich and the famous.

The exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood offers a variety of attractions such as the popular retail and entertainment complex Commons at Calabasas, the Malibu Creek State Park and the Pet Memorial Park, to name a few.

Entrance to The Commons, an upscale shopping center in Calabasas, California.
Entrance to The Commons, an upscale shopping center in Calabasas, California. Photo credit: Lux Blue / Shutterstock

Not to mention the swanky gated communities with spectacular mountain views and large lots for multi-million dollar mansions.

And that’s why a growing number of famous folks have set up residence in this upscale Los Angeles neighborhood. On that note, here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest celebrities who currently live in Calabasas.

1. Kourtney Kardashian

In 2014, reality star Kourtney Kardashian purchased a Calabasas compound with her former partner Scott Disick.

Spanning 12,000 square feet, the stunning Tuscan-style estate cost $8.5 million and had previously been home to NFL star Keyshawn Johnson.

Kourtney Kardashian house in Calabasas
Kourtney Kardashian’s house in Calabasas. Image credit: property – Architectural Digest; Kourtney Kardashian – Toglenn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Featuring 6 bedrooms, 9 baths, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a massage room and gym, the Calabasas compound was designed by lauded architect Richard Landry.

The celebrity house was built in 2011 and sits on a nearly 2-acre lot that offers plenty of room for a huge backyard — that includes covered patios with outdoor fireplaces, a cabana and gazebo, sunken basketball court, pool, spa, fruit and shade trees and a barbeque center.

Buying a house nearby is completely out of reach to those that don’t have a million dollar paycheck; mansions on the same street as Kourtney’s house cost between $20 to $30 million.

Most of Kourtney’s famous family lives nearby in the neighboring city of Hidden Hills.

2. Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith

Power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have one of the most luxurious homes in Calabasas. So much so, it has its own zip code!

The sprawling ranch nestled in the Santa Monica mountains has a man-made lake with views of Saddle Peak.

Jada and Will Smith’s house in Calabasas draws inspiration from Persian, Moroccan, Spanish, and Southwest American cultures.
Jada and Will Smith’s house in Calabasas draws inspiration from Persian, Moroccan, Spanish, and Southwest American cultures. Image credit: Roger Davies for Architectural Digest, inset DFree /

The couple purchased the 150-acre lot in 2003, and the 25,00-square-foot home — designed specifically for the Smiths by architect Stephen Samuelson — was completed seven years later, in 2010.

Now worth an estimated $42 million, the highly customized Calabasas compound boasts 9 bedrooms, a home theater, meditation lounge, 8-car garage, tennis court, basketball court and outdoor pool, to name a few of the fabulous features.

To read all about it, head on to our dedicated article on Jada and Will Smith’s many houses.

3. Rebecca Romijn & Jerry O’Connell

Joined by their twin daughters, longtime couple Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell live in a secluded home in Calabasas.

Celebrity couple Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell live in a 1939-built Calabasas house. Photo credit: Google Maps, inset Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Originally purchased for $1.3 million in November 2000 with her ex-husband, Full House star John Stamos, Romijn kept the Calabasas home that was built in 1939.

In an older interview, the model-actress said cowboy star Randolph Scott was one of the former owners. She also shared an interesting tidbit about the private property.

“[The house] used to be a whorehouse!” Romijn said. “When I found it, two old hippies were living here, and they were like, ‘There’s a lotta sexual energy here.’”

Together since 2004, Romijn and O’Connell were wed at their Calabasas home in 2007.

4. Nas

In 2021, rap star Nasir ‘Nas’ Jones joined the ranks of Calabasas celebrities by purchasing a sprawling estate for $3.5 million.

Rapper Nas' 6,500-square-foot Calabasas mansion he bought in 2021 for $3.5 million.
Rapper Nas lives in a 6,500-square-foot Calabasas mansion he bought in 2021 for $3.5 million. Photo credit: Redfin, inset DFree / Shutterstock

Built in 2007, the 6,500 square foot home features 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths and 10.5+ acres of land with majestic mountain views.

The newly acquired Calabasas compound also boasts a gourmet kitchen, fireside family room, formal dining room, office, wine cellar, billiards room, wet bar, pool, waterslide and beautiful roof deck with views for days.

And it seems to be a perfect fit for Nas; the rapper, whose debut album Illmatic (1994) is considered to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all-time, has an estimated net worth of $70 million.

5. John Travolta

Legendary actor John Travolta lives with his two children in a Mediterranean-style mansion in Calabasas.

Built in 1993, John Travolta's house is a Spanish-style home
Built in 1993, John Travolta’s house is a Spanish-style house that features an ultra-generous 7,500 square feet of living space. Photo credit: MLS, inset Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Tragically, the Pulp Fiction star lost his beloved wife, and the kids’ mother, actress Kelly Preston, to cancer in 2020.

Just before her untimely passing, the couple purchased a stunning estate for $2.65 million in the celebrity-filled suburb of L.A.

Spanning 7,500 square feet, the mansion boasts 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 4 fireplaces, a library, wine closet, dining room, home office, chef’s kitchen, pool, spa and spectacular mountain views.

The romantic Spanish-style home has plenty of outdoor amenities that make the most of the picture-perfect location. It comes with an extensive patio space with a fireplace, a detached pergola lounge, a pool and spa, and gardens with meticulous landscaping.

More stories you might like

Counting Down the Most Expensive Celebrity Homes in Recent History: Top 10 Priciest Pads
Serving Up Naomi Osaka’s Budding Real Estate Portfolio: A Look at Her Two Beautiful Los Angeles Houses
Where Does Tina Turner Live Now? Her Swiss House and $76 Million ‘Weekend Retreat’
Inside Ellen Pompeo’s House and Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate Portfolio


The Cheapest Neighborhoods in Portland for Renters in 2022

A gem of the Pacific Northwest, these Portland neighborhoods will put you in a position to embrace all the city has to offer.

While some say Portland is a weird city with unusual people, residents don’t mind these descriptions. They embrace the weird and they have fun doing it, while at the same time, managing to keep the vibe totally low-key! That’s one of the things that makes living in Portland so wonderful.

In addition to the colorful people in the city, Portland is known for its plentiful green spaces. You’re living in a city, but you get the peace of knowing that trees and grass and all the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer abounds around you.

And let’s not forget about the food. The food in Portland is so good that people come here on vacation solely for a taste of the city’s delicacies.

One of the drawbacks of the city is the higher-than-average cost of living. However, that’s not to say that if you’re on a budget, you can’t live in your dream city. We’ve compiled a list of the cheapest neighborhoods in Portland, and the rental costs just might surprise you.

What is the average rent in Portland?

The average monthly rental fee in Portland is $1,795. In the past 12 months, the cost of rent has increased (on average) approximately 6 percent. Portland has recently been one of the top 10 cities with the highest rental increases in the past 12 months.

The 10 most affordable neighborhoods in Portland

Are you ready to start a new chapter in Portland? If so, check out our list of the 10 cheapest neighborhoods in Portland to find a community that fits your budgetary needs.

10. Hawthorne District

Hawthorne District

Hawthorne District

Source: Fifty at Division
  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,359
  • Rent change since 2021: -11.88%

Located in Southeast Portland is the Hawthorne District. According to some people, the Hawthorne District is not a neighborhood but rather an area within two neighborhoods – Richmond and Mt. Tabor. However, others view this area as a neighborhood in its own right with a unique personality and charm that make it a desirable place to find an apartment for rent.

Hawthorne Boulevard is one of the must-visit destinations of Portland because it’s full of some of the best shops and eateries in the city. And because there are so many visitors, shoppers and eaters, we can guarantee that Hawthorne Boulevard is perfect for people-watching.

The neighborhood is full of coffee shops, restaurants, sweet shops, bars and more, making it a foodie’s paradise. There’s also plenty to do, like go out to the movies with friends or your partner to the Cinemagic theater. Built in the 1940s, this theater still has its original charm and shows fantastic classic films.

9. Buckman

Buckman Portland

Buckman Portland

  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,359
  • Rent change since 2021: -12.80%

Though Buckman ranks higher on our list of the cheapest neighborhoods in Portland, we think this community deserves special consideration. The reason for this is that Buckman had the most significant decrease in rental costs over the previous year of all the Portland neighborhoods we reviewed.

Most of the residents in the area are young professionals who rent their homes and commute to Portland, which is just under two miles away. Because Portland is so close, you’ll have easy access to the city’s great restaurants, entertainment, shopping and employment opportunities.

Residents love the area’s industrial feel and appreciate that the neighborhood doesn’t have a bunch of cookie-cutter houses. They also like the amazing street art, the level of safety in the community and the fact that there are plenty of green spaces.

8. Lair Hill

Lair Hill

Lair Hill

Source: Court
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,997
  • Rent change since 2021: +2.96%

Are you looking for a neighborhood with lots of lush greenery and privacy? That’s precisely what you’ll get when you find an apartment for rent in the Lair Hill community.

The cozy, residential neighborhood doesn’t have a lot in the way of nighttime entertainment, but it has some lovely coffee shops, stores and restaurants with beer on tap and great places to stop and grab a bite to eat.

And if you’re looking for some fun in the way of posh shopping experiences, fine dining or bars, clubs and live entertainment, Downtown Portland is less than three miles away.

Lair Hill is pet-friendly, and the neighbors are kind and take the time to get to know you. The community is great for walkers and bikers, with nice sidewalks and good lighting.

7. Arbor Lodge

Arbor Lodge, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Portland

Arbor Lodge, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Portland

Source: N. Dekum St.
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,920
  • Rent change since 2021: +1.23%

Another one of the cheapest places to live in Portland is the Arbor Lodge neighborhood. Residents like it for its historic homes, quaint shops and coffee houses. People who live here say it’s ideal for walking and bike riding. You can see people jogging or taking their pets and/or babies out for a stroll. Plus, it has incredible views of Mount Hood and Downtown Portland.

Residents in Arbor Lodge say one of the reasons they love living here is the small-town feel. Neighbors get to know one another and care about and help each other whenever they can. People have worked hard to make their community safe and beautiful by putting a lot of money into restoring individual houses and the neighborhood as a whole.

Another perk of living in one of the cute apartments for rent in Arbor Lodge is that the MAX light rail runs through the neighborhood, making your commute faster and easier!

6. Argay



  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,702
  • Rent change since 2021: +24.46%

About 11.5 miles NW of Portland is the suburb of Argay, one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Portland. Many families live in the area, and the schools here are average-to-above-average.

Residents appreciate the proximity of their neighborhood to the airport and grocery stores, which are a mix of mom-and-pop shops and bigger chain stores. The chain stores tend to have lower prices, while the mom-and-pop stores have a wider selection and familiar employees. The area has some nice restaurants, too. Though, if you’re looking for a variety of cuisines, you’re going to have to drive into Portland.

Neighbors in Argay aren’t overly social, so you don’t have to worry about nosey people getting into your business. That said, people in the neighborhood are friendly and kindly welcome new residents.

5. Southgate

Southgate Portland, one of the cheapest neighborhoods

Southgate Portland, one of the cheapest neighborhoods

Source: Park Apartments
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,651
  • Rent change since 2021: +27.60%

If you want to move to one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Portland that’s easily walkable, you need to check out the apartments for rent in Southgate. Locals love that you can walk to shopping centers, coffee shops, banks, gyms and restaurants. Interestingly, the walkability score in Southgate is lower than the bike score (67 and 74, respectively). Most residents say the area is safe enough to run errands on your bike or take a nice ride to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Additionally, there are several lovely walking trails for you to walk your dog, get a workout or just enjoy what nature has to offer.

Residents also love the affordability of the community, as well as the fact that most commutes are under 30 minutes.

4. East Portland

East Portland

East Portland

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,514
  • Rent change since 2021: +14.65%

East Portland is five minutes across the river from the Downtown area and it’s one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Portland. The community is a mix of residential housing and commercial buildings, as well as some affordable housing options and apartments for rent throughout the area. In addition to residential and commercial properties, you’ll also find plenty of farmland, too.

Residents love the personality of the neighborhood, with its quirky shops, food carts and farmer’s markets.

You’ll find that the area’s walkability depends on which part of East Portland you choose to live. Thankfully, public transit in the area is good, with buses, MAX and streetcars. However, most East Portland residents have access to a vehicle they use much of the time to get around. The average commute is approximately 25 minutes.

3. St. Johns

St. Johns Portland, one of the cheapest neighborhoods

St. Johns Portland, one of the cheapest neighborhoods

Source: N. Lombard St.
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,302
  • Rent change since 2021: +3.32%

When you’re looking for an apartment in Portland, be sure to check out St. Johns, one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Portland. Though the community is over 10 miles away from Downtown Portland, you’ll still have access to great local bars, pubs and coffee shops. There are a few restaurants here that have delectable menus, though you’ll have to head into Portland if you want to vary your culinary routine a bit. Stores – including grocery stores – are within a five-minute drive for most area residents.

Residents love the quiet of this quaint suburb and say it’s a safe neighborhood. They love the community spirit and the fact that there are several locally-owned shops. It always feels good to support your neighbors and put money back into the community!

2. Montavilla

Montavilla Portland

Montavilla Portland

Source: SE 84th Ave.
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,279
  • Rent change since 2021: +0.35%

If you’re a fan of mature neighborhoods with historic homes, be sure to check out apartments in Montavilla. Located on the east side of Mount Tabor, Montavilla is a hidden gem with a nice mix of residential areas and businesses.

The area has a very relaxed vibe, and some describe it as a “Sunday kind of neighborhood.” Downtown is only six and a half miles across the river. And some neighborhoods within a similar distance need to travel into the city to get access to great food. But foodies will be happy to know that you don’t have to go far to enjoy delicious foods, beverages and treats. Locals love that they have access to a farmer’s market, bakeries, coffee shops, ice cream shops and restaurants within their own community.

Another perk of living in this neighborhood is that it’s bike-friendly. There are bike routes throughout the area that can take you just about anywhere, including a hilly ride through Mount Tabor.

1. West Portland Park

West Portland Park, the cheapest neighborhood in Portland

West Portland Park, the cheapest neighborhood in Portland

Source: West
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,209
  • Rent change since 2021: +2.24%

The absolute cheapest neighborhood in Portland (as of January 2022) is West Portland Park. Considered one of the best neighborhoods in the city, West Portland Park consists mainly of young families and professionals who travel into the city for work. It’s southwest of Portland, and the commute to the Downtown area can take up to 30 minutes for most residents.

The walkability and bike scores hover around the 70 mark, making this a great neighborhood for those who love to run errands on foot or can’t pass up an opportunity to peruse the area on a bike.

Despite its proximity to Downtown, this area is quiet and low-key. Beautiful, mature trees, fantastic mountain views and several parks surround the neighborhood. Finding an apartment to rent in West Portland Park is a must if you’re a nature lover!

The most expensive neighborhood in Portland

Just how affordable are the cheapest neighborhoods in Portland? To get a good idea of the amount of money you can save by looking for apartments in the cheapest places to live in Portland, let’s look at the most expensive community.

In the Pearl District, near Nob Hill and north of Downtown Portland, rentals cost $3,613 on average per month – nearly $1,500 more per month than the city’s average.

The good news about rental costs in the Pearl neighborhood is that they fell by 4.88 percent over the past year.

Find an affordable neighborhood for your next apartment

Once you’ve found the cheapest neighborhoods in Portland that fit your personality and budgetary needs, the next step is to find an apartment. Use our search feature to find apartments for rent in Portland that not only fit your budget but also fit your needs in terms of space, location and amenities.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from’s multifamily rental property inventory as of January 2022. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets. The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.


Celebrate Filing with 2022 Tax Day Freebies and Deals

2022 Tax Day is April 18. While most companies have announced their freebies and deals, we’ll continue to update if we learn of any new ones. Some businesses seem to be procrastinating too!

We’ve had two years of tax filing extensions because of the pandemic but so far in 2022, the deadline to file is back to April.

The deadline to file your 2022 federal taxes is April 18.

If there is any such thing as normal anymore, April 15 is the traditional Tax Day. When the 15th falls on a weekend, the deadline is pushed forward to the next business day. The 15th is a Friday this year but it’s also the day that Washington, D.C., will observe Emancipation Day. Federal offices will be closed so that’s why the move to Monday, the 18th. That’s an extra weekend for all of you who’ve waited until the end.

In the meantime think about saving your refund for another time and start planning which Tax Day freebies and deals you will seek out. Oh, and there are lots of deals on tax prep software.

Tax Day Freebies and Deals

We’ve scoured the internet to figure out what companies are offering deals, discounts and freebies on Tax Day this year. Every little bit helps, right?

Retail Tax Day Deals

Most retailers offer discounts on specific tax software sold in-store, and others just offer great deals around Tax Day. Head to your favorite local grocery or apparel store around Tax Day to see what deals and freebies they have. For now, we’ve rounded up the following general Tax Day deals in retail stores:

Best Buy

Best Buy is offering several discounts off tax software, including popular products like TurboTax and H&R Block.


Buy TurboTax Deluxe for $10 off on Amazon and get a $10 Amazon gift card. Note: This an Apple Mac download.

Office Depot

Take advantage of free in-store shredding at Office Depot (and Office Max!) locations, now through April 23. Each customer can bring up to 5 pounds of documents to shred — just make sure you have this coupon.

Tax Software/Filing Tax Day Deals

Talk about waiting until the last minute! If you still need help ahead of Tax Day, check out some of these deals on software and tax prep:


Get 35% off your federal tax return, valid through April 18, 2022. You can find additional TaxSlayer coupons as well.


TurboTax  gave $20 off its tax prep software through March 31, 2022. If you’re a TuboTax person, remember this for next year and get in on the deal before April rolls around.

Trees offer shade around an H&R Block building.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

H&R Block

Get 25% off select H&R Block online tax filing products.


Get 20% off your federal tax return through TaxAct, valid through Oct. 15, 2022.


Get 30% off tax filing through E-File using the code SAVE30.

Food and Drink Tax Day Deals

Celebrate the end of tax season with a free meal or a free round of drinks. Here are some of the best 2022 Tax Day freebies for food and drink.

Perdue Farms

From April 15 to April 18, Perdue Farms is offering 15% off all purchases on Just make sure you use the code TAXDAY22. The site offers a range of hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, including beef, lamb, poultry and pork, plus special product bundles.

Smokey Bones

Attention, Bones Club loyalty members. For this tax season (April 1 to April 18, 2022), loyalty members can get a $10 off coupon for any dine-in or online order over $25 at Smokey Bones. Not a Bones Club member? You can sign up during the promotion and still get the coupon.

Kona Ice

Kona Ice has once again dubbed Tax Day “National Chill Out Day.” Its motto? “No taxation without relaxation!” You could swing by your favorite location for a free shaved ice.

Great American Cookies

Got a sweet tooth? Check out Great American Cookies for one free original Chocolate Chip Cookie on Tax Day. (This promotion has not officially been announced, but it is one that Great American Cookies has run consistently for several years. We’ll post an update as we get closer to Tax Day!)

Noodles & Company

Each weekend during April, Noodles & Co. Rewards Members have access to special deals. From April 1 to 3, members can get a free side of Mac & Cheese (or a side salad, but where’s the adventure in that?). Then from April 8 to 10, members can claim a free shareable when they purchase an entree. Actual Tax Day Weekend (April 15 to 17) brings free delivery, and then the April 22 to 24 offer is BOGO on small entrees.

Boston Market

Boston Market is offering a Tax Day Special on April 18 only. You can get a Half Chicken Individual Meal with two sides, cornbread, regular fountain drink and cookie, all for just $10.40 (get it? like Form 1040?). No coupon needed.

Miscellaneous Tax Day Deals

The tail end of a southwest airline flight is seen flying over the water in Hawaii.
Photo courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

If you have a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards account, login and click the link for TurboTax. If you file using that link, you’ll earn 1,000 points when you file by April 18, 2022.

Straight Talk

Get massive savings on a new phone during tax season. Straight Talk has excellent Tax Day discounts: up to 25% off a new smartphone. Tax Day 2022 is the last day of this promotion.

Planet Fitness

Need to work off all that stress? From April 15 to 18, Planet Fitness is offering a free workout and HyrdroMassage at any of its 2,200+ locations across the country.

Potential Tax Day Deals

In previous years, we wrote about some of these Tax Day deals. We’re cutting it close to 4/18, yet these brands haven’t updated their promos as of yet. It’s worth checking their sites in the coming days, however, to see what Tax Day freebies you may find:

  • Bruegger’s Bagels previously offered a $10.40 Big Bagel Bundle deal, plus 20% off catering orders for pickup or delivery with the code “twentyoff.”
  • When shopping for a used car, it’s a good idea to get a vehicle history report. CARFAX is not the only name in the business. Last year, ahead of Tax Day, Bumper offered 20% off vehicle history reports for anyone using that tax refund to buy a used car. We’ll update with details as we approach Tax Day.
  • California Tortilla used to turn into a taco speakeasy. The password “chippin’ in” while ordering on Tax Day got you free chips and queso with any purchase.
  • Cinnabon is known for giving out free treats with its Tax Day Bites promotion; however, the promotion varies by location, so be sure to check with your nearest Cinnabon before rushing out to cure that sweet tooth.
  • Chuck E. Cheese previously gave parents a Tax Day break with some food and fun. They could get a large cheese pizza for free with the purchase of any large pizza – and if you said “I need a fun break,” you could get 50 free tickets as part of the spring break promotion.
  • Dollar General has not yet announced a Tax Day sale, but the store historically offers great deals leading up to Tax Day.
  • Firehouse Subs offered a free medium sub with the purchase of a medium or large sub, chips, and a drink.
  • Got a sweet tooth? Check out Great American Cookies for one free original Chocolate Chip Cookie on Tax Day. (This promotion has not officially been announced, but it is one that Great American Cookies has run consistently for several years. We’ll post an update as we get closer to Tax Day!)
  • The Hand and Stone Spa offered a “Relax the Tax” sale on a 1-hour introductory massage starting at $39.95.
  • Hardees once had breakfast covered on Tax Day – all you had to do was stop by before 10 a.m. to enjoy a free sausage biscuit.
  • Hot Dog on a Stick once gave one free Original Turkey Dog or Veggie Dog to every customer. If there’s one thing more American than taxes, it’s hot dogs.
  • Last year, you could relax on Tax Day with a drink (or two!) at Kona Grill, which was offering up to two House, Skinny or Watermelon Margaritas for just $10.40.
  • Is ice cream more your thing? Marble Slab Creamery, the sister brand to Great American Cookies, typically offers a free Regular Ice Cream when you buy another Regular or a Best Value Ice Cream. Again, this is only good on actual Tax Day. We’ll confirm this promotion closer to April 18.
  • Schlotzsky’s treated guests to a free small original sandwich with the purchase of a drink and a bag of chips at participating locations on Tax Day – no coupon required. And its “Original” is anything but ordinary: It’s got ham, two kinds of salami and three kinds of cheese. Three kinds of cheese, guys.
  • Sonic Drive-In has, in the past, offered half-price cheeseburgers all day long on Tax Day. What better way is there to eat your feelings about Tax Day, aside from washing it all down with half-price shakes, floats and ice cream slushes if you visit after 8 p.m.
  • Sonny’s had a cheeky deal for Tax Day: The IRS (that’s Irresistible Ribs Special), a rib dinner plate, was half-price.
  • Tony Roma’s was “writing off” some kickin’ shrimp in a previous tax season. Guests who presented the offer received a coupon for an order of kickin’ shrimp to use on their next visit. If you’re a member of the Tony Roma’s Email Club, you may receive the coupon in your inbox prior to Tax Day.
  • Last year, WOWorks offered Tax Day discounts at all of its brands, including The Simple Gree, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, Frutta Bowls and Saladworks. On Tax Day only, you could get your favorite entree for just $5.17 (because Tax Day was 5/17). We’ll keep you posted if WOWorks announces a $4.18 deal this year.
  • Zeel offers in-home and on demand massage in over 85 cities and regions. During a previous tax season, it gave first-time customers $20 off their first massage for the entire month of April. Because leaving the house after you file your taxes is so overrated.

Contributor Timothy Moore has written about personal finance with specialities in banking and insurance since 2012. His work has appeared in publications such as, Ladders, WDW Magazine, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.


[Update] Q2 2022 5% Quarterly Categories: Activate, Offers & Suggestions (Freedom/Flex, Discover, Dividend, Cash+ & more)

(Update 4/5/22: This data point indicates that Whole Foods DOES earn 5x with the Freedom ‘Amazon’ category, despite that it’s not mentioned in the terms.  Only online orders work)

It’s now possible to activate/enroll all 5% category credit cards for the second quarter of 2022, including the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Flex, Discover IT, Citi Dividend, US Bank Cash+ and a few others. In this post we’ll provide the activation link for each card and links to track your spend, along with strategies to help increase spend in these categories.

Dates: April 1st – June 30, 2021. Store purchases can usually be done until the last minute while online purchases should be given a buffer zone of a day or two.

Chase Freedom – Amazon, Streaming

Activation Link / FAQ / Sample Stores & Exclusions / Our original post

With your Freedom and Freedom Flex cards, earn 5% back this quarter on up to $1,500 in spend on and at select streaming services.

  • – always a useful category. Purchases made at including digital downloads, Gift Cards, Fresh orders, Prime subscriptions, and items sold by third party merchants through’s marketplace. (Does not include in-store Whole Foods purchases.)
    • Amazon has a wide variety of gift cards (affiliate link) to places like Whole Foods, Best Buy, Visa, Lowe’s, Lyft, Southwest, Starbucks, Apple, Google, and dozens more. You can lock in the bonus for purchases elsewhere in that manner.
  • Select streaming services – Only subscriptions paid for, or purchases made with the following select merchants will qualify for this category: Apple Music, Apple TV+, Disney+, ESPN+, Fubo TV, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Paramount+, Peacock, Showtime, SiriusXM, Sling, Spotify, YouTube Premium, YouTube TV and Vudu.

Tip: Click this link (login required) to check how far you are along the $1,500.

Discover – Gas, Target

Activation Link / Our original post

With your Discover card, earn 5% back this quarter on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations and Target.

  • Gas Stations – nice for gas, and there might be some convenience stores that are considered Gas Stations as well.
  • Target – not too useful since most of us already earn 5% discount on Target with the Target REDcard. But it’s useful for Target gift cards purchased from Target which don’t get any discount with the Target REDcard.

Activate to earn 5% Cashback Bonus at Gas Stations (stand-alone) and Target from 4/1/22 (or the date on which you activate 5%, whichever is later) through 6/30/22, on up to $1,500 in purchases. Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible. Target purchases include those made at, through the Target app, or in-store at Target. Purchases from individual merchants and stand-alone stores within physical Target locations may not be eligible for this promotion. Purchases made online or through the Target app from Target affiliates, individual merchants or stand-alone stores may not be eligible for this promotion, including, but not limited to, and Target and the Bullseye Design are registered trademarks of Target Brands, Inc. Listed merchants are in no way sponsoring or affiliated with this program.

Tip: Login, then click this link to see you how far along the $1,500 you are.

Citi Dividend – Grocery, Drugstores

Landing Page | Our Original Post

With your Dividend card, earn 5% back this quarter at Grocery Stores and Drugstores. Citi is different than the other cards in that you have a $6,000 annual cap rather than a $1,500 quarterly cap. Thus, you can get 5% back on up to $6,000 in this quarter, you can save the entire amount for a different quarter, or you can use part up each quarter.

  • Grocery Stores – always a useful category; grocery stores also carry a wide variety of gift cards
  • Drugstores – they carry a wide variety of gift cards

A lot of people will want to max out their Dividend cards for the year with $6,000 in purchases this quarter given how easy it is to use the Grocery category or to buy gift cards from the drugstore and grocery store.

US Bank Cash+/Elan – Select your Categories

Activation link | Merchant List | Our Original Post

U.S. Bank Cash+ and Elan Max offer 5% cash back in two categories, up to $2,000 combined total per quarter. Keep in mind that Car Rentals was recently replaced with TV, Internet, and Streaming Services.

Here are the current options:

  • TV, Internet, and Streaming Services
  • Home utilities
  • Select clothing stores
  • Cell phone providers
  • Electronic Stores
  • Gyms/Fitness
  • Fast food
  • Ground Transportation
  • Sporting goods
  • Department Stores
  • Furniture Stores
  • Movie theaters

Tip: Login here, then scroll down and click on the red “View Your Cash+ History” button.

Bank of America Cash Rewards

Our Original Post

The Cash Rewards card from Bank of America offers 3% back on one selected category, up to $2,500 per quarter. If you don’t select anything it defaults to gas. Once you selected a category for one quarter, that remains your category in the future unless you change it. Each calendar month you can change it if you’d like, but you’re always limited to $2,500 for the entire quarter.

  • Gas (default)
  • Online Shopping
  • Dining
  • Travel
  • Drug Stores
  • Home Improvement/Furnishings

This category is especially lucrative for those who have Preferred Rewards status with Bank of America which can get you 5.25% back on one of these categories at the higher relationship level.

Lots of useful categories here. Important note: the Cash Rewards card also offers 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 per quarter, and that $2,500 limit combines with the Category Selection limit. After spending $2,500, you’ll earn 1% back on everything.

Other Cards with 5% Category

ABOC – Discontinued

Since August 27, 2021, the ABOC Platinum rewards card has moved to a new rewards provider and no longer offers the quarterly 5x categories.

Nusenda FCU – Furnishings, Home Improvements, and Gardening

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  • Earn 5% this quarter on up to $1,500 in purchases at Restaurants, Home Improvement stores, and on Movies.

This is on top of the regular 1% for a total earn of 6% back.

Affinity FCU – Gas, Supermarket, Home Improvement

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  • Earn 5% this quarter on purchases on up to $3,500 in purchases for Gas, Supermarkets and Home Gardening.

The 5x is on top of regular earn for a total of 6x or 7x, depending on the card.

Abound CU – Travel

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  • Abound Credit Union Visa Platinum card offers 5% on up to $2,000 in purchases for Travel purchases.

5% off merchants classified as Airlines, Car Rental, Lodging, Cruise Lines, Air Carriers, Airport, airport terminals & flying fields, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Lodging Hotels, Motels, Resorts not elsewhere classified, Timeshares, Auto Rental Agency- not elsewhere classified, Motor Home & Recreational Vehicle Rental up to $100.00 in rewards earned per statement cycle. Offer valid April 1 – June 30, 2022. After $125 is reached in rewards you will continue to earn 1%. 

Vantage West [AZ] – Select your Category

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Get 5x points on the category of your choice, up to $1,500 per quarter. Eligible categories:

  • Travel
  • Restaurants
  • Utilities [water, cell, electric, etc.]
  • In-Store Wholesale Purchases [Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.]
  • Department Stores
  • Hardware & Home Improvement Stores
  • Charitable Organizations
  • Pharmacies & Drug Stores


The Cheapest Cities Near Austin

From food to music to the economy, there are a lot of reasons people love living in Greater Austin. For renters looking for cheap cities near Austin, check out these five Hill Country communities.

As the motto goes, “Keep Austin Weird.” But what’s not weird are the rent prices in Central Texas. While the region has seen some of the nation’s largest population growth over the last decade, rent prices around Austin remain relatively affordable.

Whether you’ve come to Austin for the music, the food scene, the university or the high-tech job market, finding an affordable place to live is within reach. No matter which Texas Hill Country county you reside in, there are rents to keep you in your budget.

Below are the top five cheap cities near Austin for renters. The rent for an average two-bedroom apartment determines the ranking. And all come in below two grand a month.

Cedar Park, TX

Cedar Park, TX

  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,062
  • Rent change since 2021: +57.9%

Thanks to a 200 percent increase in population since 2000, Cedar Park sits as the second-largest suburb of Austin. That population increase mirrored a rise in Cedar Park incomes by 28 percent and a 29 percent job growth. One study estimates another 52 percent job rate increase in the near future. It’s a small wonder that Cedar Park is one of the top 10 best small cities in America.

One large draw to Cedar Park is its world-class minor league sports scene. While a triple-A baseball team plays up the road in Round Rock, Cedar Park is home to two high-level minor league indoor teams. Both the Austin Spurs of the G-League and the Texas Stars of the AHL — the NBA and NHL’s top-tier minor leagues, respectively — play at Cedar Park’s H-E-B Center. The 8,700-seat facility also holds major concerts and fighting events.

Cedar Park is the top cheap city for renters near Austin northwest of the city. Despite a near 60 percent leap from a year ago during the pandemic rent fall, average two-bedroom rents here sit just north of two grand a month.

Pflugerville, TX

Pflugerville, TX

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,903
  • Rent change since 2021: +38.3%

The pfabulous city with the pfunny name. Pflugerville, with its silent “P,” is for its first settler Harry Plfuger, Sr. But it’s come a long way from a population of one. These days, Pflugerville was the third-fastest growing city in the nation just prior to the pandemic. And the growth has been staggering.

As recently as 1980, Pflugerville’s residents numbered just 745. By the turn of the millennium, the population had increased by 2,000 percent. As of today, the city has boomed by more than 275 percent since 2000 and 8,000 percent in the last 40 years to the north of 65,000.

Despite all that increase, Pflugerville rarely feels crowded. Part of that reason is its abundance of green space. The city offers nearly 30 parks, over 500 acres of open space and 40 miles of hiking and biking trail. On the east end of town is Lake Pflugerville and the eponymous park that surrounds it. The recreation area features fishing, swimming, kayaking and windsurfing on the reservoir and playgrounds, athletic fields, boat launches and a beach onshore. Single-family homes and apartment complexes are adjacent to the park.

Counter to an ever-increasing need for housing, rental prices are relatively affordable. Even with an increase in rents of nearly 40 percent since last year, rents for an average two-bedroom apartment still come in less than two grand a month.

Round Rock, TX

Round Rock, TX

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,855
  • Rent change since 2021: +43.4%

The second-largest city in the region, Round Rock has let it be known it’s not just a suburb, but a “super suburb.” The city of 120,000 refers to itself as an independent city, a destination all its own and not an Austin bedroom community. That’s all true. Round Rock is a Texas satellite city, similar to Plano in North Dallas or Arlington, VA.

If Austin is hip and chill, Round Rock is its hard-working little brother. Just a half-hour north of Austin in Williamson County, it’s a regional retail, economic and commuter hub. The city had quickly become a haven for high-tech companies and buzzy start-ups. The most famous, of course, is Dell Technologies, whose massive headquarters sits at the junction of I-35 and Route 45. The city is also a prime location for the clean energy, manufacturing, healthcare technology and life sciences industries.

Round Rock residents bring home a median household income of $86,121, and a lower cost of living than its weird neighbor. No wonder Round Rock is both one of the nation’s coolest suburbs and America’s second-best place to live. An average of $1,855 a month will lease you a two-bedroom apartment. That’s more than a 43 percent increase from a year ago, mid-pandemic.

Austin, TX

Austin, TX

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,802
  • Rent change since 2021: +35.3%

Surprisingly, the second-cheapest city near Austin is in fact Austin itself. An arts, culture, music, education, beer, food and government town, it’s extremely popular with young people. Despite everything Austin offers, rent for a two-bedroom apartment runs just $1.802 monthly on average.

Austinites note they just have more fun than other cities. The city is home to the colossal University of Texas, one of the largest in the nation. It’s also known around the world for its South By Southwest and Austin City Limits music festivals. And its ever-present progressive and hip “Keep Austin Weird” attitude young people differently than other cities in Texas.

But it’s not just the lifestyle drawing people to Austin. It’s also a highly-livable city for locals in the job market. It’s ranked as one of the top cities in the nation for current job seekers and future job growth. One initiative powering all that is the “Keep Austin Green” initiative. For the efforts, it’s been named “The Greenest City in America.” And as the state capital, it offers a robust infrastructure and well-maintained roads. Maybe it’s all those reasons why it holds the title of the best place to live in America.

San Marcos, TX

San Marcos, TX

  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,207
  • Rent change since 2021: +11.2%

If you’re looking for the top cheap city near Austin for renters, look a bit outside the city environs. The city of San Marcos lies about 40 minutes down I-35 from downtown. And that far south, it’s under an hour into San Antonio, as well. But with a little distance comes a quieter, more suburban vibe and lower cost of living and rents. The cheapest city near Austin offers an average lease of just $1,207 a month. That’s up 11.2 percent from a year ago, the smallest increase in the metro.

San Marcos is a growing city of nearly 68,000. That’s double the population as recently as the turn of the millennium. That’s attributed to its location, low cost of living and amenities. It’s also the home of Texas State University. It’s been ranked as one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities and one of its Most Exciting Small Cities.

The city is also awash with beautiful places to get outdoors. San Marcos offers several parks and green spaces near The Square downtown and TSU, among them Sewell, Rio Vista, Bicentennial and Stokes parks. These ring the city’s Blanco and San Marcos rivers, rising from San Marcos Springs.

Find an apartment near Austin

The music, the food, the industry, the livability. There are many, many reasons to want to live in Greater Austin. But if you’re moving to the region or looking for a local change, there are some spots that are more affordable than others. Explore other cheap cities near Austin and more right now on

The rent information included in this summary is based on a calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on as of February 2022. Rent prices are for illustrative purposes only. This information does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.