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.


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?



  1. Mrs. Maroon January 24, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    A community is a community, no matter what common thread ties you together. It’s an important aspect of our lives. If you find it fulfilling, then you’re in the right spot!

    1. Erin M. January 24, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      Thanks Mrs. Maroon – very true! There’s also nothing wrong with being a part of several communities.

  2. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom January 24, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    Congrats on coming out as a gamer.

    Man, I’m so terrible at first person shhoters too! I tend to just run in circles with my gun up in the air. It’s embarrassing. When I game, I’m much more comfortable pc gaming.

    My Mr. used to buy the latest and greatest releases for both big systems. Now he can usually wait a bit and buys used or gets to borrow a friend’s copy when they’re done with it. He doesn’t have the time to play all games anymore anyway.

    1. Erin M. January 24, 2015 at 1:49 PM

      Thanks! I can’t stand the first person perspective; I’m always paranoid about what’s happening behind me, haha. I don’t mind playing on the PC, but R prefers the Xbox.

      For the most part, all the games we’ve purchased last year were either gifts or were used from GameStop. I also have the titles we want to play on my Amazon price watch list, so I never pay full price.

  3. Nicola January 24, 2015 at 9:02 AM

    I do this on my weekend edition posts – list things I’ve been grateful for or enjoyed throughout the week. I think it’s important to look for positives, even when there seemingly aren’t any! I have a lot of books at home, as I am an avid reader and perhaps spend more on them than I should at times, but it’s one of the only things I spent money on just for me, so I don’t worry. As you say, it’s an escape to another world :) Have a good weekend!

    1. Erin M. January 24, 2015 at 1:48 PM

      Agreed! I’ve always loved reading, I just haven’t made the time for it lately, which is sad. It’s something I’d like to get back into. I hope you have a good weekend as well!

  4. Tonya@Budget and the Beach January 24, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    I’m grateful for for the yoga exchange deal I worked. It’s so incredibly easy and all for unlimited yoga! It was all a matter of luck and timing because positions don’t open up often. I think gaming is like TV. Even though I don’t play (and I worked at a video game company for eight years!), I like TV. I sit my butt in my computer chair so many hours a day being productive, AND I work out 6 days a week, so I don’t feel a bit guilty about catching an hour of TV and shutting my brain off. :)

    1. Erin M. January 24, 2015 at 1:47 PM

      I saw that, very awesome deal! I wouldn’t mind doing something like that. I agree that gaming is pretty similar to TV, it’s just a way to unwind!

  5. Christa January 24, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Being able to travel whenever is amazing. As a school counselor, I can only take time off on school breaks. However, I am so very grateful for having about 2 months off in the summer.

    1. Erin M. January 24, 2015 at 1:30 PM

      Thanks for stopping by, Christa! My cousin is a teacher and I’m definitely a little jealous she gets two months off in the summer. It’s nice to be able to look forward to that!

  6. Traci January 24, 2015 at 1:55 PM

    35 dollar plane tickets? That’s AMAZING! Congrats on that deal!

    1. Erin M. January 25, 2015 at 10:57 PM

      Thank you! Spirit comes through on crazy deals sometimes, even though I don’t like their pricing model. =)

  7. Ms. Mintly @ MintlyBlog January 24, 2015 at 6:23 PM

    Ha! My husband’s game of choice is the FIFA World Cup game on PS4. My favorite game used to be Beatles Rock Band (woot!) but for a while it was Civilization. I’ve never gotten into online RPGs… something about the thought of other people perhaps relying on me to log in so we could play together always made me feel pressured. (But I probably don’t even actually understand how online RPGs work….)

    Also, yay for cheap flights and great Grandmas!

    1. Erin M. January 25, 2015 at 10:56 PM

      I’ve never been able to get into any sport games! Oh Rock Band…that was always fun to play with friends.

      You’re not incorrect – I’ve played MMORPGs where attendance was mandatory, and it can be a lot of pressure, which takes the fun out of things. However, you can totally play solo as well, or just find a group that’s more casual. I tend to like any RPG – online or off!

  8. Alexis January 24, 2015 at 7:36 PM

    Huge RPG fan here! I’ve been playing video games since I was 5 years old and twenty years later I still play them regularly. Most recently I played New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS) and Persona 4 (PS2). I feel it’s one hobby you always get your moneys worth from, especially if you play RPG games.

    1. Erin M. January 25, 2015 at 10:54 PM

      Yes! We have that in common. =) I remember watching my dad play games when I was about 3 or 4, and I always tried helping him out, haha. I eventually started playing games on my own.

      Ah, will you be reviewing Super Mario Bros 2 as well? =) Just peeked at your blog – Dragon Quest looks like another I’ll have to add to my list!

  9. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank January 25, 2015 at 4:14 AM

    It’s nice that you are back Erin! I myself love video games. I dont’ find really addicting. Although I am older than 25-years-old, I still play it and am being a kid once in a while. I also let my kid play video games as I know it boost children’s learning, health and social skills.

    1. Erin M. January 25, 2015 at 10:50 PM

      Thanks Jayson! Hey, if it weren’t for my dad, I don’t think I would have grown up enjoying video games. He still plays them to this day. I don’t think there’s any age where you have to stop gaming.

  10. Brooke January 25, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    So glad you are back! I am grateful that we were able to pay off our very first loan account – get rid of a log in — yesterday. Whoo hoo!

    1. Erin M. January 25, 2015 at 10:49 PM

      Woo!! Congrats! The first of many awesome wins. =)

  11. Lauren January 25, 2015 at 3:51 PM

    I was starting to think that maybe you were going to give up your blog, so I’m really glad to see you posting again :) $35 flights are a steal! What a great deal.

    1. Erin M. January 25, 2015 at 10:44 PM

      Thanks Lauren! I would never completely go away without saying something. =) I couldn’t believe the price!

  12. Kara @ The Daily Whisk January 25, 2015 at 8:55 PM

    Wow, $35! Awesome! I love that you’re staying with your Grandmother, too! That must make her so happy :-)

    1. Erin M. January 25, 2015 at 10:43 PM

      Thanks Kara! Yeah, $35 one-way was just too good to pass up. My grandma is looking forward to having some company. =)

  13. Melissa @ Sunburnt Saver January 25, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    Erin, you know I’d stick around no matter what you talked about! :) That said, I totally love gaming too. It’s hard to find time to play right now, since almost all my free time is going to jump-starting my freelance career, but I love it too :) I almost took a job as a video game reviewer, but then I realized I don’t like enough off those first person games as a video game reviewer probably should…

    Can we ask what community you’ve joined (like, what game it’s for?) I totally get if you want to keep that private! I personally haven’t played Fable or Skyrim, but I know a lot of people who have. I’m a big fan of Steam sales, personally – 75% Civilization IV?! Score!

    1. Erin M. January 25, 2015 at 10:42 PM

      I would love to get paid to review video games! Though I know it can be difficult to balance – gaming is a hobby, and can quickly become a chore when you’re paid to play games. I haven’t been able to dedicate much time to it lately, either, but I try.

      My best friend loves Steam – for whatever reason, I never quite got into the platform. For most of my teenage years I stuck to one online MMO (you can probably guess), so I didn’t play much else. I’m just now basically getting together a list of games I want to check out over the year. It’s great because I can get all these old games for $5! The community is actually based around a company called Rooster Teeth – you might like their Achievement Hunter division if you’ve never heard of them. =)

  14. How To Save Money January 26, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    Being together with parents after a long time is really heart-warming :) Hope you had a good one with them!

    1. Erin M. January 26, 2015 at 10:14 PM

      I did, though I always wish the weekends didn’t go by so fast!

  15. Shannon @ Financially Blonde January 26, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    I am grateful for my college friends today. This past weekend I traveled to Louisville to spend time with three of them. We get together every year to catch up and we have been doing it for the past 10 years. The crazier thing is that we met the first day of move-in Freshman year 19 years ago. We have all been through ups and downs over the last 19 years, and I am so grateful that we have been together through it all.

    1. Erin M. January 26, 2015 at 10:13 PM

      Oh, that’s so awesome you keep in touch like that! I can imagine it’s fun to catch up and reminisce. I’m glad to be visiting my college friends soon, too!

  16. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini January 26, 2015 at 6:01 PM

    I have way too much to be grateful. My top three would be developing a new relationship with God, having a wonderful job, and having the opportunity to transition from the military in good health. I wish you the best of luck with your new found gaming adventure.

    1. Erin M. January 26, 2015 at 10:12 PM

      Those are all awesome things to be grateful for! Having an abundance of things to be thankful for is never a bad thing, either. =)

  17. Natalie @ Financegirl January 26, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    I am so grateful for my new job! While I am working 11 hrs / day, 5 days / week, I am so thankful for the opportunity. Good legal jobs are hard to find these days, and I’m one of the lucky ones.

    1. Erin M. January 26, 2015 at 10:11 PM

      Congrats on the new job! My fiance works around 50+ hours a week, and while it can be difficult, the overtime is nice, so we’re always grateful for that.

  18. Chonce January 26, 2015 at 8:20 PM

    You really scored a deal with the plane tickets and being self employed sounds so ideal for being able to travel like that and catch up with your family. I might be a gamer too :) I agree when done right it can be made affordable. Right now my bf and I are into old school games. Last year he bought a Nintendo with about 30 games for only $60. Recently, his brother gave us an original PlayStation for free and I’ve been hooked. Using gift cards and holiday money we bought up a ton of classic games that I used to play as a kid like Crash Bandicoot and the whole works. It’s super fun to just escape for a bit and have a kick back night playing games.

    1. Erin M. January 26, 2015 at 9:36 PM

      Sounds like you scored a great deal, too! I actually kept my Nintendo 64, and I have a Super Nintendo as one of my mom’s friend’s had found it at a garage sale and sold it to us. Old school games are still a blast to play! The bonus is my dad used to play games, so I have a bunch from PS2 and Xbox 360 that he got that I’ve never played. =) Video game date nights are the best!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Holly@ClubThrifty January 27, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Being self-employed makes travel a whole lot easier. Like you said, you can take advantage of all of the deals that pop up! I wish my husband would quit his job so I could have some more flexibility in my travel plans too =)

    1. Erin M. January 27, 2015 at 4:03 PM

      You two will get there soon, I’m sure! I’ve tried opening R’s eyes to the possibility of being self-employed, but he’s not too thrilled about it, so not much hope there. =)

  20. Zina at Debt Free After Three January 27, 2015 at 8:53 PM

    I love this! I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in blogging and PF and forget that you have other hobbies, I always get frustrated playing video games and quit and then get mad when I’m so bad at them. So far Assasin’s Creed is my favorite!

    1. Erin M. January 28, 2015 at 3:36 PM

      Haha, I’m the same way sometimes. =) I will never play Dark Souls, for example. R dies enough in that game. I watched him play Assassin’s Creed and I have to say, Ezio is my favorite! I couldn’t get into the ship battles in the other games. R has his eye on Rogue, so we’ll probably end up playing that at some point.

  21. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer January 28, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Can’t wait to see your new hair color, Erin!!! My oldest daughter wanted purple hair for a long time too. :-) I’ll have to check out that other post and see about your $35 tickets!! We need a deal like that here. Just want to tell you too how uplifting these posts are. Keep up the awesome work. :-)

    1. Erin M. January 28, 2015 at 3:35 PM

      Thanks Laurie! Purple is awesome. I ended up going with a copper color which turned out really well! I’d love to experiment a bit more with it, but I don’t want to damage my hair too much.

      Spirit was having some awesome deals from a lot of airports, actually – it just happened to include the flight we normally take to visit NY. If they’re in any airports near you, it might be worth it to subscribe to keep an eye out.

  22. Andrew@LivingRichCheaply January 28, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    What a great price for a ticket! It costs more to get from the airport to LI! Having flexibility when it comes to travel is a biggie. So much easier to snatch great deals. My wife’s job used to be very inflexible as she was a teacher, but now that it is more flexible, we have a little one which makes it harder to travel!

    1. Erin M. January 28, 2015 at 3:32 PM

      Seriously, I’m very grateful I have friends and family willing to pick us up! My cousins are flying down to FL next month with their 1 year old – I can’t imagine how difficult it is to travel with a baby, but it’s not impossible if you really want to go somewhere!

  23. kay ~ January 29, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    I like your video game musings. What’s so wrong with escaping reality sometimes? You seem so much happier and more relaxed in these last 2 posts. I’m grateful for that! :)

    1. Erin M. January 29, 2015 at 3:30 PM

      Aw, thanks Kay! I’m glad you see my reasoning behind gaming. We all have different ways of taking a break, right?

  24. Amos @ Modest Money January 31, 2015 at 2:51 AM

    Its always great to think positively about your community and the idea of staying with your grandma that’s super cool.Am sure she has a great time and very happy also.I love video games too.Hope you had a great time with your parents too.

    1. Erin M. February 1, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      Thanks Amos!

  25. Fig February 2, 2015 at 12:11 PM

    The PF blogging community is pretty awesome and I’m constantly finding new bloggers that I’ve never even heard of before. There are so many of us!

    Loved this post and learning all the things you are grateful for! I love video games too but don’t play as often anymore.

    1. Erin M. February 6, 2015 at 2:45 PM

      It’s true – so many people are starting blogs, which is great! The more people that put themselves and their financial situations out there, the less taboo it becomes.

  26. Brian @ Luke1428 February 4, 2015 at 9:27 AM

    Haha…I love video games! Started all the way back when I was a kid and the first Ataris came out. Loved PacMan then and still do. Sadly they can easily be a distraction to me as I sit here and write at home. :)

    1. Erin M. February 6, 2015 at 2:44 PM

      My mom always loved PacMan, it was fun playing it with her as a kid! Video games can most definitely be distracting when you work from home, which is why I haven’t played much lately. If anything, I wait until nighttime, or I commit to only doing one level or something, this way I can go back to working after. =)


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