Friday, October 18, 2013

Fiscal Friday: Two Steps Forward. Two Steps Back

When I was writing the title to this post, I couldn't help but think of this guy:

Picture courtesy of

While I was on maternity leave, I used my sick and vacation time to continue receiving a paycheck. After some calculations, I determined I only needed to pay myself around 60% of what I normally made to pay the bills. It was during this time that I landed my current role, which paid more than my old job. So when I returned to work, the increase was not only the difference in salary between the old and new job, but I was used to only 60% of my old salary.

J started a new job as well and we committed to not get used to the increases. Instead, we would pour it all into debts: credit cards and car payments. We paid our cars off and paid off a large amount of debt. Things were progressing better than I anticipated!

That's when things took a turn. While we were in Asheville, J's car went kaput. His car was around 8 years old. The money we would have had to pay in for repairs just didn't make sense financially. Long story short, we got a new car. Eight months of blissful (aka zero car payment) had ended.

It is a setback for sure. However, I am positive we will continue our progress. We just have to stay on task.

It's Fiscal Friday and I'd love to hear if you've ever experience a setback in your road to #fiscalresponsibility! Join in the conversation by commenting or using the hashtag #fiscalresponsibility on Twitter.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Multigeneration Family Vacation in Asheville, NC!

J, Jack and I along with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend traveled to Asheville, NC for a lovely, albeit too brief vacation in a lovely mountain home (found on - message me if you want the exact listing!). As I wrote here, a multigenerational vacation is a different ballgame than a couples' getaway. There is much more downtime and true relaxation, a big difference from my previous trips. 

The home itself was a perfect location for our needs. We had 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, with each bedroom/bathroom on a different floor. This provided privacy if needed.  The common areas were not large, but were great for playing games and hanging out. The main level deck was simply amazing. Aside from the wonderful western views, the deck was fully screened. For this momma, that was a plus as my fears of Jack jumping off were tempered. 

I mean, look at this view (forgive the screen!)

Here are some of activities:

Asheville Gray Line Trolley Tour - I actually did not plan this one in advanced. My sister brought it to my attention. She thought it would be a good way for my dad to see Asheville without having to walk. She was right. We all had a good time. Jack had a blast riding in the trolley. It allowed J and I to get a good overview on the lay of the land, especially since we were going out to dinner sans Jack that evening.

Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway - J discovered that if we continued up the mountain where we were staying, we would end up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even though the faciilties were closed due to the government shutdown, we were able to enjoy the natural beauty of the Parkway. Again, this did not require my dad to walk. He could relax and enjoy the views like we all did!

Grandad's Apples - A trip to Western NC would not be complete without a visit to an apple orchard. I did quite a bit of research to pick where we would go. I wanted a place where there was a good variety of apples (already picked) and a pumpkin patch, fun kids activities, and finally, apple cider donuts. We were all really pleased with Grandad's! They had some fun props to take pics with Jack. There was a little animal section, where we fed a llama and a baby goat. Jack had a blast in the pumpkin patch. My parents' enjoyed the rocking chairs on the porch. And yes, I did get my donuts!

Asheville is a wonderful town! I highly recommend it as a great location for a family vacation!

In my next post, I'll share details on our date night in Asheville!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fiscal Friday: Coming Clean

Before I get started, does this blog post title make you think of the song by Hilary Duff??

For this week's Fiscal Friday, I'm inspired by C's post from a couple of weeks ago.  Just how did I get into debt?

I'm going to be as honest as I can deal with. :)

Girls' Weekends

In the late 1990's and early 2000's, I went on a lot of "Girls Weekends". Usually, my friends and I would head to Orlando to see a concert (ching ching), stay at a nice hotel (ching ching), eat at Macaroni Grille (hey, we were young!), and shop at the Florida Mall. I'd say every other trip would include going to Pleasure Island.

Do the math.

I don't regret the concerts, just the money! I think we saw N'Sync at least 5 times. Then 98 Degrees. Savage Garden. Enrique Iglesias, BB Mak, Christina Aguilera, Britney....and on and on. Oh, I also saw Dave Mathews Band, Barenaked Ladies (at least 3x), Billy Joel, etc etc. HOw crazy to even recall any of that!


I'd say it started when I lived in Chicago. I was going out all the time (well there goes the money) and feeling like I just HAD to purchase a new top, earrings, jeans, etc etc for those occasions. I've always had a small case of the wants, but it really blossomed in Chicago. I also got introduced to the makeup counters at Nordstrom. Help me!!!

Long Distance Relationship

I did a lot of flying when J and I were in a LDR. I believe this was money well spent. However, it definitely added up. Investment with an emotional return?

This is the first time I've written these reasons out. This was not as scary as when I added up my debt for the first time a few years ago. But still.

Do any of these reasons sound familiar to you?

Be sure to follow our conversation on Twitter by using #fiscalresponsibility !