Tag Archives: budget

Humacao Natural Reserve

Humacao Natural ReserveThe Humacao Natural Reserve is located on the East Coast of Puerto Rico near the community of Palmas del Mar.  Behind the small unassuming entrance awaits big adventure exploring the lagoons, swamps, and wetlands.  The walking and bike trails are well maintained throughout the reserve.  Kayakers can enjoy the calm lagoon waters in a secluded section of the reserve.  Fishing is a common sight from the bridges and docks.  There are multiple floating docks along the lagoons for fishing and unobstructed views over the lagoon water.  The majority of the natural reserve is shaded by the lush foliage making it a pleasant destination year round. Continue reading Humacao Natural Reserve

Arizona Renaissance Festival

Step back in time and into a world of fantasy at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, full of Knights, Royalty, Mermaids, Pirates, Gypsies, and more.  2016_FrontGate

Don Juan & Miguel with Zilch the Torysteller
Don Juan & Miguel with Zilch the Torysteller

The festival operates every weekend in February and March, President’s day and a few select school days.  The base ticket price includes entrance to the festival grounds, ample parking, petting zoo, and all shows, including the joust.

Helpful Information for your visit: Continue reading Arizona Renaissance Festival

Explore Your Own Backyard

For as long as I can remember I have had the Travel Bug, my Dad calls this my “itchy feet” since I could never stand still.  I loved going on road trips and vacation getaways with my family as a child, then exploring on my own as I got older.  I was excited to get my Passport so I could travel to distant lands and experience the World!Explore Your Own Backyard

After two trips outside the United States I realized that my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona was an exotic location for many people.  The locals that I was visiting were just as fascinated by USD currency, desert climate, and the “wild, wild, west” as I was with their home.  Some of my new British friends even made the trek out to Phoenix to see for themselves.  Treating my home as base camp, we explored my neighborhood through tourist eyes.  And I discovered treasure in my own backyard! Continue reading Explore Your Own Backyard

How I Paid Off My Debt with a Reverse Budget Strategy

We all have enough time and money for something.  We just may not have enough time and money for everything.  So, we prioritize.  I hear people talking about priorities, what is important to them, then I watch spending habits.  Often what people say is important is different than what their money is spent on.  To me, the best way to understand what is truly important is real spending habits – where someone allocates their time and money.Reverse Budget

I have followed a reverse budget for the last 15+ years.  Meaning that for my income I start allocating money at the top tier and work my way down the list.

  1. Taxes, retirement, and savings (regular savings, plus at least $1,000 emergency fund) are taken out first.
  2. Then I pay mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance (home and auto), and health insurance (or may be included in paycheck deductions).
  3. Third is where minimal fuel and food expenses are allocated, no splurges, yet.
  4. Next are payments for any debt (Dave Ramsey’s Snowball strategy to eliminate debt is effective and easy to follow). This is debt not attached to a mortgage or primary vehicle, such as student loans, medical bills, credit card debt, and other non-secured loans.
  5. Finally, anything left over is for dinner out, books, movies/tv, electronics, clothes, travel, or whatever else you feel like.

Continue reading How I Paid Off My Debt with a Reverse Budget Strategy

Weirdly Frugal Part 2

Weirdly Frugal – Part 1

Cutting back on committed monthly expenses (Mortgage, car payment, monthly cable bill, big ticket electronic, and other “things”) is not a sacrifice, is it liberating!  My frugal ways leave more money for retirement savings and discretionary spending on the fun stuff!

My splurges

Not only do I have a gym membership, but it is one of the most expensive in the area.  After selling our house with a pool and hot tub, I get my water fix with the 3 outdoor pools, 2 indoor pools, 2 indoor hot tubs, sauna, and steam room at the gym.  I use the exercise equipment facilities, as an added bonus.  Membership for 2 people is less expensive than weekly pool service alone, not to mention electricity savings to run the pump and the higher water bill that comes with every pool.  And there is no need to save up for pool resurfacing, kool deck repair/resurface, or any of the unplanned expenses that occur with a pool (I spent over $25,000 in pool repair & maintenance in the 10 years I owed that pool).

Every year we save up for a big lavish vacation, and a few mini getaways.  Travel perks from reward credit cards supplement our vacation which allows us to spend more on sightseeing and activities, food & drink, and any other add-on treats (afternoon couples massage followed by Champagne).  Through careful planning, we get the first class upgrades on flights, hotels, and other travel experiences.

I love to shop!  I have a weakness for designer shoes, handbags, and clothing.  The majority of my wardrobe comes from 3 stores, and two of them have excellent loyalty programs (free shipping, coupons, discount codes, and other perks).  I regularly purge my closet to keep the overflow in check, but it is full of high-quality up-scale items that I adore.

We spend more money on active entertainment.  This includes annual season tickets to the Symphony, Theatre league, concerts, comedy shows, and other live performances.  We support the arts and have a fantastic evening of quality time, above & beyond the typical dinner & a movie date night.

Charity donations are easier when you do not feel like a charity case yourself.  We are able to donate money directly to our favorite charities, and spend more money on fundraisers and purchases (auction items & raffle tickets).  I have won some amazing prizes through silent auction that I never would have gotten otherwise and supported a good cause.  My 30th birthday party was dinner at Disney’s Club 33 that I won at a silent auction to support Education!

Overall, I splurge on activities and experiences.  There is no maintenance fee or on-going cost for a memory.