March 19, 2017

Life Money Goals

Hi Everyone,

Not sure if anyone out there is still reading this.  It's been almost a year since I last posted.  I started a new job about a year ago that included a 1 hour commute each way.  I love my new job and spent a lot of my extra time and efforts focused on working hard at it.

Now, a year later, my family has gotten into the swing of this new schedule and life has settle down a bit.  It's time for me to get back into focusing on my personal goals.  So I've started writing a new blog, Life Money Goals where I will be focusing on making my goals a reality and documenting how I get there.

These goals include traveling as much as possible while paying down our 2 mortgages, saving $20,000 for a down payment on a bigger home, and getting a better education savings plan into place for my 2 daughters.  Stop on over at and check it out.

March 29, 2016

Tennessee Spring Break Vacation

The Ripples Family
Ziplining in Tennessee
We just got home yesterday from a fabulous spring break trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Budget-wise I lost track of where we were at in each category.  Next time, I need to take my spreadsheet with me so I can keep better track.  But I do know we were under in some categories like eating out and groceries, but definitely made up for it by going over in other categories.  I think we went over budget just slightly.

We saved up all the money to pay for the trip ahead of time but charged everything to get the rewards.  So last night when we got home, I was able to pay the credit card off.

Here's a recap

Accommodations - We shared a 2,000 square foot cabin with my parents.  We split the cost of the cabin.  Our half was just under $1000 for 9 nights.  The cabin was beautiful, super clean and had 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2 kitchens and an indoor hot tub.  It was also right across the street from the resort's indoor pool and game room.

Entertainment - Over Budget

  • Dollywood has a special that if you go at 3 pm, you get the next day free.  So we spent a day and a half at Dollywood riding rides.
  • Magiquest - This was a decent deal.  There were 4 attractions: magiquest, mirror maze, mini-golf and laser room. With a coupon, it cost us $109 including the tax.  But we went 3 different days for a couple hours each day to use up all the tickets to the different attractions and Big R is now a Master Magi which was very exciting for her.
  • Shows - We didn't plan on doing any shows but decided to take the girls to The Hatfield's and McCoy's dinner show.  It was so much fun and Mr. R and I went up on stage to participate. When we purchased tickets for this show, we were able to add discount tickets for a magic show that was really spectacular.  Big R was mesmerized. 
  • Ziplining - This was another unplanned expense and was a bit pricey, but I'm so glad we did this.  It was a great experience and so much fun.
  • Mountain Coaster - This was another activity that we didn't plan for but ended up doing on the second to last day.  It was fun but I don't think I would spend the money to do it again.
  • Cabin - We spent a lot of time at the cabin watching rented movies, playing board games with the kids, swimming and doing puzzles.  My mom and I put 3 puzzles together that were pretty difficult.  Plus we had drinks on the porch almost every evening.
  • Mr. R and I spent a day riding the trolley and tasting moonshine and wine at different locations.
  • Easter - The Easter bunny found our cabin so the girls didn't miss out on doing an egg hunt and getting Easter baskets.
  • Reading - I read 3 books on vacation while Mr. R and the girls were swimming or playing at the park.
Food -  Way under budget We ate at the cabin a lot.  We picked up stuff to make nachos, salads, lunch meat sandwiches, spaghetti, hot dogs and breakfast items.  There were days when we didn't eat out once.  But we still got to enjoy a few good restaurants.  On the last morning, we ate at The Old Mill which was delicious.  I'd definitely go back for breakfast next time we are there.

Gas -  Under budget
I budgeted $200 for gas.  I think we filled up 4 times.  My car usually takes about $30 to fill up so we came in under budget.

I had planned on and budgeted for doing a ghost tour but once we were there, I totally forgot about it.  
This was the perfect mix of fun exciting activities, relaxing, and great family time making memories.

The girls went back to school today and I head back to work tomorrow. My last day at my job is only a week and a half away.  Then I get to start my new job that I am so excited about. 

March 14, 2016

When did you realize you weren't the cool girl...

I know I haven't written in a while.  I've been living life.   I actually thought about giving up this blog until I realized that I needed it.

I got a better job for 6 months.  Then a client offered me an even better job last week.  In a month, I start the job that was the job of my dreams.  I never would have gotten it if I hadn't worked there for the past 6 months as a consultant.  I suck at interviews.  But I am an amazing employee and I know that.  Now people expect money for nothing, but I will work my ass off.  I'm grateful for this opportunity to show my worth and that I can be invaluable to this company.

So tonight, I get home from work feeling great.  Going to get a pedicure with a gift certificate from Christmas before our 9-night spring break vacation. 

And my kids are at our neighbors' house.  Our tenants.  They are wonderful.  We haven't raised the rent since they moved in 3 years ago.  But apparently, because we aren't sociable, other owners are telling them they should buy whenever condos becomes available.  Because we can't possible be nice people even though they never made an attempt to know us.  Just assumed because we aren't as outgoing as some of the others.

So whatever.  We put in a $9,000 HVAC system for our neighbors because their electric bills were so high.  We haven't even made that much in rent, yet after the expenses, in three years.  Because I love having them as tenants and I understand that would be a huge reason that they would want to leave. So I'm willing to do that.

It just frustrates me.  Will I ever get out of high school?   Will this popularity contest ever be over?  Because I will never win.