Tag Archives: vacation

Monday 106: A Summer Weekend

Monday, 26 June 2017

We spontaneously left town for most of the weekend.  It was a great way to enjoy the summer, to see friends, to spend time with each other.  Summer, more than any other time of the year, is our favorite time – and most convenient time – to just do things.

Saturday morning I was sick of looking at the familiar areas of the neighborhood.  New scenery, a different place to be, a desire for something outside the usual weekend were on the agenda.  The problem was what to do, where to go?  With temperatures in the low 90s, there was no desire to go someplace possibly hotter and little desire to go where there would be unruly crowds of people, all attempting to escape the heat.  Mr. 182 suggested the zoo!

And off to the zoo we went.  There are two zoos near us – by near, I mean within an hour’s drive.  We chose the smaller of the two, the one on the coast, the one we could get to without driving into a congested city.  And off we went.  Total cost (not including gas) was about $64.00, including a sandwich for each of us.  We spent the day wandering around a beautiful park-like setting, enjoying the sea breezes, and not feeling crowded and rushed as we got there when they opened.

While driving up, we thought of calling up some friends who live halfway along the route.  One day, they invited themselves to dinner, and since then it has been a running joke about inviting them to invite us to dinner.  We didn’t do that . . . but I chanted as we drove past their neighborhood, “Invite us!  Invite us!”

I’m not sure if that had any influence, but that night we got a call:  “Come up for a beach day and a barbecue!”  Sunday we did, and the cost was gas and a couple of bottles of beer.  $7.00.

Our total expenses for our weekend were $71.00 for a lot of fun.  There were no motel rooms or expenses for fancy meals.  We could have packed a lunch and saved $18.49.  We could have brought some home brew and saved $7.00.  The weekend was a mini-vacation spent outside, with friends, at the beach, with each other.  I feel like I’ve been off for a week!

Monday 111: Taking a Day (or Two) Off

Monday, 22 May 2017

After a crazy week at work, I decided to kick back and do nothing too hard.  Instead, I am spending it with family and friends, doing things I enjoy, and not thinking overly hard about frugality and its place in life.  The weekend will be filled with cheap and / or free thrills that won’t be impinge upon the finances more than a couple of bucks!

Week 121: The Value of Planning Ahead

Right now, Mr. 182 and I are chafing under our debt pay-off plan.  It would be nice to be able to go out and do whatever we want, spend whatever we want, and not think about it.  That’s what we have done for years, and here we are, proverbial nose to the proverbial grindstone, and not really happy.  We have two more years to go, unless we up the program.

What is it about spending money that feels soooooo good?  Freedom?  Love?  What is that little hook that gets so addictive?  Not spending money also feels good – but it’s a different type of feeling.  It’s addicting in its own way – more intellectual – certainly a lot less emotional.  Perhaps that is the hook of spending – it is an emotional rather than intellectual feeling.

I don’t think there is anything wrong about our feelings of frustration right now.  It is probably part of the program with spending addicts.  It’s uncomfortable because it is new.  Being on a leash is not fun.  What is important is to recognize the feeling, acknowledge it, and then have the self-control to not give in, even when the little voice inside starts hollering, “I want!  I want! I want!”

Planning Ahead for Vacation!

Now, this is fun to come.  We have a budget, and we have a goal.  We are traveling for two weeks with Mr. 182’s parents, to visit the wild west and family history.  We have booked all our lodgings, come cheap, some not, and organized our route.  This is all for August!  The nice part is, we know what and where we will be, and we can figure out what we are going to do.  Even better, we know the costs.  And we can plan for those costs.

It’s good to plan and take vacations.  So is paying off bills.  Every month, the amount owed goes down, and the money in the bank, in equity, in investments, go up.

The long term debt payoff is important, but so is the short term.  What I mean by short term is the day-to-day stuff.  One thing that helps us out is to make sure we have play money.  We need to be able to indulge our hobbies, which, fortunately, don’t cost a lot.  They are in the monthly budget.  We also get a small monthly allowance which we don’t have to explain to the other how we spend.  These tactics take the edge off our chafing when we feel it.

There is true value in planning ahead, but planning ahead is not just for debt pay off.  It includes planning ahead for contentment with one’s daily life, one’s little pleasures, and the daily things which keep one connected to one’s true inner being, to one’s soul.

Week 151: Back From Vacation

Mountain Flowers

Monday, 15 August 2016

We are back from vacation!  It was so nice to get away, and to completely stop looking at all the stuff we have to for work.

Was vacation expensive?  It depends on what you consider “expensive.”  The total cost came to about $1500.00, which includes B&B for 5 days, dinner out every night, a gondola ride to the top of a mountain, gasoline to and from home to vacation destiny, and snacks for lunch.  All this for a total of 6 days.  We are glad we did it!  We are very fortunate to have a most fantastic friend who dog and house sits for us!  (If you are reading this, you know who you are!)

Coming back from vacation meant catching up on a few things, like laundry or what have you.  Bills are paid at this time of the month (around the 15th) as well as the first.  We put a part of the vacation on the credit card we are paying off, just to avoid having to not be able to see where our debit card goes.  That entire card is now paid off!

We return to work today.  I am back on my awful schedule, and the other half is in a position he does not like, and is not a good fit.  He was put there in a moment of corporate reorganization which was not well planned.  And with this return to the routines in life will come better detail on our debt reduction and listing of expenses.  And the realization that in 3 years we hope to be debt-free (150 more Mondays, but who is counting?) and retired.

Monday 152: Thirty Mondays And What Have We Accomplished?

Try

Monday, 8 August 2016

And so it has happened:  We decided to try, and we have begun to accomplish.

Sometimes we succeed majorly, sometimes we don’t.

Overall, in 30 weeks, we have managed to pay off nearly $6000.00 in credit card debt in about 8 months. We had to buy a new car, but put $5000.00 down. We have saved for special occasions, such as graduation for The Student, planned the funding for vacation this next week, and several family events that, while not super expensive, did put a good hole into the monthly food budgets.  We do manage our money better in the big picture, but the convenience of Amazon is a problem.  We also have hobbies, and those do sometimes require money; still, we manage to allocate money and wait (most of the time!) for our bigger purchases.  And, we have money in the bank, and are saving $1000.00 / month.

We are off on vacation for a week, one we were debating about doing, but the fact is a change of scenery is very refreshing.  Time alone, away from the phone and work, time to rekindle our relationship, time away from the daily grind.

See you next week!

Monday 153: Still on Vacation Time, and Not Motivated to Write

OnVacation

Monday, 1 August 2016

These next two weeks are going to be interesting, at least as far as having time – vacation time.  No scheduled work time.  Me time.

To start it off, I’m going to go into the classroom this morning to pull some stuff out and put other stuff away.  The last three days have been spent just getting major things done.  Pretty sad, huh?  I said “vacation”????

The thing is, I like my head to be organized, and knowing that the classroom will be ready when I return is one of those things. Then I can relax.  Working summer school and other life things, such as multiple dental visits, took up more time than I wanted, so it couldn’t get my classroom done.

And the best thing to really start off the next two weeks of no work hours is that the other half is off on a camping trip with male relatives for 3 days, and so I will have the house to myself, and that is going to be great, and weird, as I am not used to being alone anymore.

Even on vacation . . . watching our money is important.  There is only $500.00 left on one credit card . . . money is going into the savings account . . . but there is less going into bills and such in order to pay for the vacation and much-needed time off and a change of scenery.  All work and no play are not things in which we believe – but we do believe in thinking about how and where we go on vacation so we don’t break the bank.  The Ramsey gazelles need a bit of rest.

Charts and tables about our finances have fallen by the wayside on this blog over the past few months, but I don’t really care.  This is summer!  But I do know that seeing the progress on our pay-offs has been great, and am playing with graphs.  Those make it even more fun.  I do want to consolidate the summer’s costs into a chart or table, but not just right now.  Or maybe never.  This is time to be lolling around – The Graduate Student is finished with school, work days have been very short, and there has been no real desire to sit in front of a computer to write these posts.  I think August will continue to be something like June and July as far as structuring and organization, but September should be better – get the wind back into the sails when the fall term begins. These weekly posts, even this insipid one, do help remind me of our goals both personal and financial.

So, over and out for now.  Off to play!  That is, after I get home from school.

Monday 158: Progress is Made!

LED LIghts

Monday, 20 June 2016

With judicious budgeting, and despite some necessary expenses, we did manage to put $2000.00 toward  a credit card in the past 3 weeks.  In a way, it was rather ironic, because our debit card was declined at a store when we purchased some lighting fixtures to replace the ones in the kitchen – our bank was protecting us from fraud.  So, we did pull out the credit card, rather than calling the bank right away.  $400.00 went on the card, but in the next couple of days, we paid for that expense and added some as well.  That is a good feeling.

My mother once said, “You don’t own a house.  It owns you.”  That seems to be only too true.  There is work we want to get done around the house, as well as in the house, but we are budgeting that in slowly as debts are reduced.  The primary goals are the debts, but there are some things that need to be done regardless.  For instance, our kitchen, while a really fabulous kitchen, is dark.  Under-the-cupboards lighting is a necessity.

When we bought the house, the lighting fixtures turned out to be expensive whenever a bulb burned out.  One small, thin fluorescent bulb costs about $12.00.  Until now, we did not really do much more than replace the bulbs because we had a number in stock.  As the prices of LED lighting dropped, we did an experiment with some lighting for $10.00, but did not like the results – mostly the inconvenience and color (bluish).  When 3 of our bulbs burned out and we had none left to replace them, it was time to go shopping.  We found the perfect ones – a warmish light, and only $35.00 a piece.  Some work and in a couple of hours, all 7 of the lights were replaced.  We have one as a back up.  Total cost:  $401.84.  Since these are good for 30,000 hours, we should get about 10 years of light . . . Thankfully, the other half can do the work.  I hate to think what it would cost otherwise, beyond the parts.

We have also booked 5 days for vacation in the northern areas of the state, and are scheduling other things, such as removal of the hot tub which has died a very permanent death.  (It was here when we moved in, and we used it a lot!)  After that, time to remove unnecessary and excessive trees.  Time . . . money . . . but we also cannot use our back yard at all because of the fact the trees are so numerous there is only dirt.  Once the hot tub is gone and the trees, we can begin to plan our next step in fixing up the back yard so we can enjoy it, rather than be annoyed by it.

Priorities?

Well, what are they?  It might appear that we are not that interested in paying off bills by the sounds of it.  Vacation?  Pay for hot tub removal?  Fix up the back yard?

There is always a need to balance necessity with necessity.  Debts are primary without incurring new ones.  The back yard is worthless – dirt, old hot tub, trees that are so dense they are rubbing on the neighbor’s roof and a potential fire hazard.  The hot tub blocks access to many of the trees.  One third of the property has no value to us.  It needs fixing for our safety and our sanity – but doing it over time is fine.  And finally, a vacation.  Not a big one, but one which is needed and has been planned for . . . all work and no play is not a life worth living!