Being Grateful: Fifty-Fifth Edition

The reasons I have for being grateful this week - 55th edition. Hi everyone! I hope you’re all ready for this series to start up again. =) I’ve been seeing more and more posts about the importance of gratitude popping up, and I think you all know how I feel about that by now.

Hint: it’s awesome!

I should mention, before we get started, that I’m grateful for being back at my parents’ house this weekend. We haven’t seen my parents since Christmas, as things have been a little hectic.

I also may or may not be making the transition to being a redhead this weekend. =) In light of that, I’m grateful for the freedom to dye my hair whatever color I want (I seriously contemplated purple for a bit) since I work from home!

Okay, let’s get on to the main reasons I’m being grateful this week.

The Ability to Travel

The first thing I’m being grateful for is the fact that I can take advantage of a crazy sale on plane tickets without hesitating.

I mentioned in my last post that I’m going back home to visit family and friends. Truthfully, I had been planning on going back at some point, but when tickets were $35 one-way, I knew I couldn’t turn it down.

There was a catch, though: there were certain dates you had to fly on (of course).

Being that I’m self-employed, this wasn’t an issue. For a moment, it kind of blew my mind. If I were still working, taking time off might not have been possible.

I’m so grateful I no longer have to answer to vacation time. It can be a hassle to deal with! Thankfully, R’s company is very lax about when employees take off, so between the two of us, there aren’t any issues.

I decided to stay longer than R because there’s simply no reason for me not to. Honestly, I wanted to stay for 2 full weeks, but because of the way the dates fell, that wasn’t really an option. Maybe next time!

My Grandma & Friends

I’ll be staying with my grandma the entire time. I don’t even have to ask her – I could show up at her doorstep tomorrow and she’d be happy to have me.

Obviously, this is a huge money-saver for us, as hotels aren’t cheap. Besides that, she’ll be making sure we’re fed (she already requested a list of food to buy).

Her birthday is the day after I leave, but we plan on celebrating early. I’ll either be making her dinner or taking her out!

I also have to mention my friends. For those that don’t know, R and I met through mutual friends. I met them in college, and he had met them in high school.

No one else has moved away, so we’re really excited to meet up with everyone again. However, because R is leaving before me, getting him to the airport was going to be tricky. My uncle normally picks us up and drops us off, but I felt bad asking so much of him (LGA is about 50 minutes away).

Instead, we asked our friend if he would mind driving R and myself (at a later date) back to the airport, and he said no problem. As thanks, I’ll either be baking lots of goods for our friends to eat, or taking our one friend out to lunch a few times!

I’m just really grateful to have friends and family who take care and look out for us.

Community

I’m always grateful for the personal finance community, as I think we all are.

When I was away on my “blogging hiatus”, I came to the realization that while I love personal finance, I have other interests, too.

I try to stay on the topic of PF here, but I intentionally named my blog Journey to Saving because it’s about the experiences I have as I pay off my student loans and (slowly) work my way toward financial independence.

These experiences won’t necessarily always be related to personal finance, and I want that to be okay. As part of my “goal” to be more personal on here, I’ll be sharing those experiences with you, and I hope you’ll stick with me.

Regardless, I joined another community (gasp) that encompasses a lot of different things, but at the core of it, is centered around gaming.

Video games are something that people are quick to frown upon. It’s akin to watching TV and wasting your life away, right?

While I do acknowledge that video games can be dangerously addictive, I don’t believe they’re inherently a bad form of entertainment, and it’s been nice being surrounded by others who feel similarly and embrace being nerdy/geeky/what-have-you.

Everyone in this community has been absolutely wonderful and welcoming, and I’m really looking forward to connecting with others outside of the PF world (and then hitting them with awesome money saving tips. That’s what it’s about, right?).

Video Games

So I’ll go ahead and throw it out there – I am grateful for video games. They’re a cheap form of entertainment when done right, as so many games have great replay value.

R recently dedicated about two or three months to Skyrim. It’s an old game now, but we got it for around $15. Very much worth it.

My parents actually gifted R a year subscription to Xbox Live, so he’s been getting back in touch with his Call of Duty alter ego. I played with him a few times and hilarity ensued, mostly because I’m horrible at first person shooters.

While he’s been busy with that, I’ve been playing games on my 3DS that I purchased for Christmas. Yep. It was on sale at Target for $150, and by using our REDcard, we basically saved on tax as it came out to $152. Awesome.

I might make a more detailed post on this, but I thought long and hard about how I wanted to spend money this year, after having what seemed like a tight 2014 (with moving and gearing up freelancing).

I came to the conclusion that video games are something R and I truly value. I’ll still stick to buying used games and waiting out new releases, though. No reason to go crazy.

I mean, when R took a week off back when we were first dating, we had a video game marathon that featured Fable, Assassin’s Creed, and Golden Sun. No regrets.

I like to think of video games the same way I think of books – both are a means to escape to another world, and playing with magic is fun (I mostly play RPG’s).

What are you being grateful for this week? Do you have certain values other people tend to look down upon or not understand?

Let’s Catch Up: Blog & Life Updates

Let's Catch Up! Blog & Life Updates on Journey to SavingHello everyone!! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Happy New Year, even though we’re close to the end of the month already! I hope all of you have been having a fantastic January so far.

I’ve had a post sitting in the queue that I wrote weeks ago, but something didn’t feel right about it, so I let it sit.

Blogging had started to feel like a chore on top of my other work, and I had to take a step back. If I’m not having fun, I don’t think you guys will have fun.

Thankfully, I’m finally getting adjusted to a few things and I’ve figured out where I want to go with my blog, so let me fill you in on what you can expect to see here!

Where is Journey to Saving Going?

This is a question I pondered a lot over the last month.

Do I want my blog to be more of a business, or do I want to maintain its personal roots?

I’ve been searching for different themes as my blog needs a facelift, which forced me to think about what kind of user experience I want to provide here. I came to the conclusion I want this place to feel like home to anyone that stops by. I also want it to feel like home for me.

After that, I spent some time reflecting on the content I want to write and share on here. I originally started this blog to share my personal journey with all of you. I wanted to share it to inspire others, because that’s what many of you did for me.

Lately, I feel like I’ve gotten away from that. Freelance writing has taught me that actionable content comes before “fluff” that is often our personal stories.

While I’m a huge believer in actionable content, my blog hasn’t always been about that. I want to strike a balance and tell you all what my thoughts and feelings are on financial issues, while also making sure you’re either entertained, educated, or inspired.

You can look forward to seeing a lot more of “me” on the blog. We’re going to get personal and try to leave the cookie-cutter headline posts to other blogs.

TL;DR – I’ll be redesigning the blog within the first quarter of the year, and I’ll be writing more personal stories here, but with takeaways. Yay!

Miss My Writing?

As a little sidenote, if you’ve been going through some withdrawal here (anyone?), I’ve taken over Young Adult Money for this week and next week, as DC is off enjoying the sunny shores of Hawaii.

I’m really happy to have the opportunity to interact with you all over there, and if you see me leaving comments under YAM, that’s why. =) It’s just temporary!

To be honest, it’s helped me get back into the blogging swing of things. Check out: How Unplugging Can Save You Money and Is It Worth Living in an Expensive City?

#FinCon15 is in…Charlotte!!

Oh yeah! How can I not be excited about this? It’s fricken awesome! I had already purchased my ticket after FinCon14, but obviously, I am going. I will also be going for camp, because…why not? I’m here, might as well dedicate more of my week to financial nerdiness. :D

So…party at my place?! No, just kidding…I’m still looking to downgrade to a 1 bed, 1 bath, so I don’t think I’ll have enough space to host a bunch of people. BUT, if you plan on getting here early or something, I’m down for pre-FinCon meetups.

Truthfully, I’m torn on what to do. It seems wasteful to pay for a hotel room, but driving into Charlotte and paying for parking isn’t great, either. (I think the garage near the convention center maxes out at $20/day, in case you’re wondering.)

I want to be around the craziness, and I learned last year that it’s a good idea to stay central to the hotel. I could ask R to be a chauffeur, but that’s kind mean. Maybe. Plus if I drive, that means no partying. We’ll see!

If you have any questions about Charlotte, I’ll do my best to answer them. I’ll probably do a series starting in June/July highlighting things to do. I also know we have a great airport – I’ve been in it once. ;) Really though, it’s great compared to LGA.

Going Back to New York

Speaking of which, I will have to face the chaos of LGA in February when I go back home to visit my family and friends! I’m SUPER excited about this. Why? Because I haven’t been back home since July, and truthfully, it feels like much longer.

Also because my grandma has made 3 separate plans to come down and visit, and they keep getting pushed back. I decided I wasn’t going to wait for people to come to me anymore.

My mom was notified Spirit was having a crazy flash sale – tickets would be $35 one-way. WHAT. Yeah, that’s right. I hopped on that. Family is priceless and all, but damn, being able to see them for less than $100 is great.

And you know what? I’m a freelancer now. I don’t have “vacation” days, I can pick up and go whenever I want. I haven’t really taken advantage of that, so now I am. Woo!

I’ll still be working, but I’ll be leaving Feb. 12th and coming back on the 22nd. However, the tricky part is R…we actually planned out our entire year as far as traveling goes, and he was okay with taking a few days off for this. So he’s coming with me, but leaving on the 16th.

My grandma is already planning all our meals out as per usual grandma. My friends basically said they’re dedicating the entire weekend to us (we’re that awesome), and I’m sure a bunch of other shenanigans will happen.

(Sidenote to NY bloggers — if anyone wants to meet up, I don’t mind trying to find a way in the city. I’d love to get together!)

I have no idea how much everything will add up to outside of plane tickets, but considering R hasn’t been back since we moved, I’m not going to worry too much. This vacation is about reconnecting with people, not pinching pennies.

As a bonus, I had enough points on my credit card to cover most of my flight, so I’m essentially going for free!

You Said Other Travel Plans?

There’s nothing big planned, really. R is restricted with his vacation days, but we’ll be taking a trip to Austin, TX in August to scout it out and attend a convention.

Are we thinking of moving again? Well, I am, and yes, I realize I’m slightly crazy. Charlotte is great and all, but it just doesn’t feel like our “forever” place.

Besides that, I’ll probably be visiting NY again around June, as one of my cousins is graduating high school, and one will hopefully be giving birth! Exciting times.

Let’s catch up. What have I missed in your life?! Any exciting plans for this year?

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from Journey to Saving

Hi everyone! I know I haven’t popped on here in a while, but I wanted to let you all know I haven’t forgotten about you or the blog!

Many of my fellow bloggers are taking a little hiatus to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones. I’ve (mostly) unintentionally managed to do that these past few weeks. Things have gotten a little crazy, but I can’t complain about having work at all.

I’m hoping to be posting regularly after the new year, but if you miss my writing, I’m still being published weekly over at Young Adult Money, and monthly at Careful Cents. Thank you to those who have shown their support by leaving comments there!

I hope you all get to enjoy these next few days with your family and friends, or your pets. They count, too! If you can, unplug and just enjoy the people you’re surrounded with.

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday! Stay safe and enjoy some time off!