Thursday, February 28, 2008

We are back!

What a fun weekend! It's always good to get away and amazing how the stress just melts as soon as you get into the car . . . I promised a few tips on how we saved money so here we go.

We love to travel and do it a lot, so a few years ago I bought some Fairfield timeshare points on ebay. I bought 105K for pennies compared to what they sell for at the resorts. I then break it up and deposit it into RCI for multiple weeks - I can easily get three weeks a year. The trick is we don't go to Hawaii or anyplace hard to trade into, but for this time in our life it's perfect. So, I got us a two bedroom at Boyne for about $300 for the week. This enabled us to bring my parents along - free babysitting and gave us plenty of room along with a full kitchen.

We typically ate out once a day and ate breakfast and lunch in the condo. Mostly because it's tough to eat out three meals a day with a preschooler and a baby and also because we wanted to get going on our activities and didn't want to take the time for a restaurant meal. The bonus is our food costs were very low.

When we arrived we looked at the prices for skiing and took advantage of the best times - this enabled us to ski for $29 each from 12 - 4:30 on Sunday (unbelievable and actually $26 when we got our AAA discount) and $30 Tuesday morning from 9:00 - 1:00. We were able to take our daughter skiing for $14 (ski rental) as Boyne has one lift that is free for everyone!!! She spent several happy hours learning to ski with us. We did splurge for one official lesson for her that was $50, but we wanted to make sure she learned some actual techniques.

The rest of our entertainment consisted of movies and popcorn in the room, a few hours of gambling at the nearby casino (nickles and pennies only of course) and some window shopping. While we were skiing, my parents and the kids took advantage of the many activities at the clubhouse - most were free and a few cost only $1. We figured out that the total trip - gas, condo, food, entertainment was around $700. In the old days our ski trips would run into the thousands, so this was quite a bargain!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The day before vacation

Why is it the day you leave on vacation is always stressful! There are so many things to get done - pack, finish up work, clean up the house, etc. It seems like we always leave mid to late afternoon, so I spend the morning scrambling around trying to get ready. Sometimes I wonder why I do it!! But then, once we are officially on the road (plane, car or whatever) I get such a sense of relaxation and happiness that I realize the extra stress was worth it. For a few days we get to do what we want to do when we want to do it. To me, that freedom is pure happiness - hence why I named my blog "saving money and being happy" - I feel that the more money we can save the less I can work and the more time I'll have to create happy moments for myself and my family.

So, when we return, I'll share some of the things we did on vacation and how we saved some money doing it!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Off on an adventure

Tomorrow we are heading off on a family adventure! My DH and I love to ski, but haven't had the chance to go out West in years (due to the two little ones). We decided our DD is old enough to join us now, so we are heading out to Boyne, MI for a long weekend. We're taking DS also and Nana and Papa along to watch him while we ski - maybe we'll even get a date night out of it! :)

Look forward to a fun trip report when we return.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hello World!

Wow! This is my first post ever - very exciting (but obviously just for me so far!). It's snowing outside and and I have a ton of work I "should" be doing, but this just seems more fun. I'm not sure yet where this blog will go - I have a ton of projects I'm working on that I'm sure we'll talk about and hopefully learn from each other. In the meantime - be happy!