Travel Now While You’re Young, or Save and Travel Later?

travel-while-young-and-able-life-quotes-sayings-pictures Have you seen this quote circulating the internet? I’ve seen quite a few people post it on Facebook and I have mixed feelings about it.  On one hand, I love it because I love to travel and I’d much rather spend money on traveling than crap that will clutter up my house.  On the other hand, I don’t agree with it because I don’t believe in spending money you don’t have or going into debt just to take a vacation.  We’ve been kicking around the idea of traveling to Colorado for a week to visit family but the logistics and money issue has been making us hesitant.  We want to be responsible but I also don’t want to regret our choices later.  Here are some of the things we’ve been taking into consideration:

Money has been tight because we’re a one modest income family.  Every day I wake up thankful for what we have: a roof over our heads, food in our fridge and pantry, health insurance, good health, happiness, family, etc.  However, each month we don’t have hundreds of dollars left over.  We’re totally fine with that and don’t feel deprived at all.  We feel like we live really well for what our income is!  The only downfall is that there really isn’t extra money to pay for the three of us to fly to Colorado, and driving 17 hours  (not including stops) with a three year old does not sound like something I’m up for.  I could totally be wrong, but just the thought of it makes me feel a little loony. I’ve done the drive quite a few times without a child, and I know how badly I want to escape that car after I’ve been in it for a few hours!

The thing that I worry about is regretting not going.  Family won’t be around forever, and Penny hasn’t seen her one set of grandparents in a year.  That really makes me sad.  I feel like spending time with family is very valuable and don’t want our lack of money to overrule that.  However, taking money out of savings or going into debt just doesn’t seem like a good solution to our problem.  We should be saving for Christmas, for when Mr. Money’s paychecks don’t have overtime, etc.  There are many things we should be saving for and pulling money out of our emergency fund for a non-emergency just doesn’t sound sensible.

I know that a lot of the time I personally overanalyze things and worry too much about whatever so I’m afraid my judgement is clouded on this one.  I guess one good thing is that both Mr. Money’s mother and father plan on making trips to see us within the next 3-4 months so that will be nice!  It would be easier for us to all go out to Colorado so all of the family members could see us, but I guess we have to make sacrifices!

What is your opinion- do you think you should travel while young and just not even consider the money, or should you save and travel later?

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One and Only Child

After the birth of our daughter Penny, I said I wanted at least two more babies.  My thinking was that since we had such a hard time conceiving the first time (we were even considering adoption at one point) surely the second time it would be much easier.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.  Last year about this time we decided we would like to try to have another baby.  I met with a new doctor who is a fertility specialist, and she devised a plan to help us get pregnant.  I went through various medications, shots, hormones, ultrasounds, etc. and no progress.  Mr. Money and I decided after me not responding to fertility treatments that maybe we were just meant to have Penny and be satisfied at that.  It took me awhile (and sometimes it’s still really hard for me to go through her baby clothes or our cloth diapers) but as of today I am satisfied with my beautiful daughter and am trying to move forward.  One of the things that helps me cope is focusing on the positive parts of having only one.  Here are some of the pluses to having an only child:

-Time and attention to the one child.  By default, when you have another child the attention gets divided amongst children.  I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing because I think it’s important for kids to realize the world doesn’t revolve around them.  However, with us just having Penny we can focus our attention on her.

-More resources available to the child.  Children can be expensive, and by only having one it can make more resources available to them.  For instance, if we do end up with just one child, we may be able to pay for all of Penny’s education whereas if we had two we may not be able to do quite as much.

-Less stress.  Having kids can be stressful! Naps, bath time, feeding, whining, entertaining, all of it can drain you.  By having one child life can be a little less chaotic and stressful.

-It’s cheaper.  Obviously it’s going to cost us less money over the long run to have just one child versus more.  (Duh)

-More travel. One of the things I’m looking forward to as Penny gets older is traveling. We went to Colorado last summer, and it was not hard to travel with her at all!  I think with two kids it would be more challenging, especially if we had to drive to places.  Also, we will hopefully be able to afford more travel because we’ll have more money (see above).

I’m not saying that being an only child is the best thing in the world because I worry a lot about her not having any siblings to share that bond with.  I think the experience of having siblings is invaluable and wouldn’t trade mine for anything.  Who knows, maybe we will end up with another baby sometime in the future and that would be okay too.  But for now, these are the positives I have to focus on to make myself feel okay with everything.  🙂

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2015 Goals

Now that it’s 2015, I’d like to get our financial and life goals written down so we’ll have focus.  It is really hard for me when I don’t have some idea of what my goals are.  I feel like I’m lost!  Mr. Money and I discussed the things that are important to us, and where we’d like to be in a few years.  Here are some of the things we touched decided we’d like to accomplish:

Pay $5,000 down on the principal of our house.  According to the amortization, this puts us ahead.  We decided that paying off our house is probably not the number one priority for us.  There are other things we need to do with our money: save for retirement and Penny’s education, to name a couple.  $5,000 is still good progress, and I’ll honestly be happy if we accomplish this!

Save more money for retirement each month.  Mr. Money and I have IRAs through Vanguard that we’re going to be contributing to.  This year I finally consolidated ALL of our retirement accounts so I have a Traditional IRA and ROTH IRA, and Mr. Money has a ROTH IRA.  It’s such a relief to have all of our retirement assets in one place.  I should have done it earlier but oh well!

Save more money for Penny.  We put money in her savings account when her piggy bank gets full, and my parents/family will send her a few bucks every once in awhile and that gets deposited in there too.  I don’t think kids need a ton of toys, so we’re very appreciative when she gets money instead of toys!

Take a nice family vacation/anniversary trip.  Our 10 year wedding anniversary is this year, and I’d love to be able to do something to celebrate.  My ideal vacation would be to go back to the city in Colorado that we met and fell in love with but we’ll have to see what we can afford when the time comes.  I should start saving for that now 😉

Get outdoors more.  It’s hard to get out with the weather where we live sometimes, but I need to stop making excuses and just do it! As a bonus, we’ll all be healthier and can spend some quality time together.

Get really good at meal planning/cooking.  I do feel like I’ve really improved over the years, but this is a huge source of stress in my life and I’d like to simplify it as much as I can. I need to come up with a good system and stick with it.  It’s a vicious cycle when I don’t meal plan because then I’m stressed out every day about what we are going to eat!

It seems as though over the years I’ve gotten more simple with our goals.  I don’t know if there’s ever been a year where we’ve accomplished everything on our list that we wanted to, and that’s okay.  Sometimes I feel like I put way too much pressure on us and then get let down and that’s not good!

What are your 2015 goals?

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