Budget

Costa Rica: The Details

Well, let’s wrap up these Costa Rica posts, shall we?

I love reliving the trip, but all good things must come to an end!  Besides, the faster I get these posts out, the more I can focus on the next trip – a weekend trip to Austin, Texas in June!

Costa Rica was short and sweet.  It was a bit too short for our liking, but definitely worth it.  When I first booked the flights, I knew the trip was going to be to short to do everything we wanted to do, but that definitely wasn’t going to stop us from going!  Between work, family, friends, and all those other things on my list, it can be hard to find the time to travel.  Now that my girlfriend is a full time high school teacher, and the kiddo is getting older and more involved with school too, I’m trying to take advantage of school vacations.

Unfortunately, everyone else is too, so the price difference between flying home on Wednesday rather than even one day later on Thursday was huge.  We opted to save the Rapid Rewards points for a rainy day, and take the earlier flight home on Wednesday.

(more…)

The Baltimore Budget

One more post to wrap up last month’s adventure in Baltimore!  You know I always like to give you all the numbers, so I’ve detailed all of the spending (cash and points) below.

If you’d like to see more on Baltimore, scroll down, or check the links here and here.  (And my first overnight train ride here.)

(more…)

Frugality Challenge Results

“A whole month of extreme frugality!?”

(I can hear my girlfriend laughing at me from the other room.)

“C’mon, it won’t be so bad!  We’ll just – ”

She cuts me off, “I mean, I’ll do it.  I just don’t understand why you want to cut even more money out.  It’s not like we’re big spenders.”

“Well, the point isn’t really to stop spending money entirely, just to get a feel for where we are.  You, know, just kind of measure things.”

That’s how it began.  I little resistance, sure, but she came around!  And now, the results are in.  So, just how did we do with our extreme frugality challenge?

Drumroll please…..

(more…)

En Route to Costa Rica

gcmap-bos-bwi-sjo

We got the green light!

Had to make sure a few things lined up, but I’m happy to say we’re planning our first international jaunt of 2017.  We’ll be flying down to Costa Rica for a few days in April, just at the end of the dry season!

Hopefully by then we’ll have more trips planned too, but this is all we have on the calendar so far, so I’m extra stoked for this one.  We’re going to try and squeeze another international trip in towards the end of the year if we have time, and I’ve got a few shorter domestic trips on the list for 2017 too.

Costa Rica, here we come!

(more…)

January Extreme Frugality Challenge!

Happy new year everyone!  I hope 2016 was successful for you, however you define that in our own life.

A lot of folks start off the new year with a “new me” approach.  Some resolutions, a new gym membership, that sort of thing.  While I’m not a formal resolution type of guy, I do have plenty of goals for 2017.  Among them are my current yearly goals.  Every year, my list includes seeing a new country, visiting family, reading more, and volunteering.  In 2016, I didn’t quite hit my volunteering goal, but everything else worked out great!

One of the things on my list for 2017 is to cut back a bit on my spending.  I’m relatively frugal already, but it’s one of those things in my life that’s important to me, so I want to keep getting better.  Every so often, I find myself getting stuck in a consumer whirlpool, and my quality of life decreases directly with the amount of junk I have.  Time for a check up!

If you’re not familiar with the Frugalwoods, they’re very much in the same genre as Mr. Money Mustache, whom I mention from time to time here on the Financial Hippie.  I’ve added their site to the Resources page, so be sure to check them out more often!

They’ve put together a great little challenge, called the UBER FRUGAL MONTH!

(more…)

Washington DC 2016

We have a roughly annual trip to DC, usually in the fall.  This is actually our third year heading down to visit some close family friends, and the 2nd year doing the trip over the long Columbus Day weekend.  Check out the small report on last year’s trip!

I find October to be a particularly nice time of year in DC – not too hot, and not cold either.  The long weekend itself is a bit busy, but you definitely don’t have the tourist traffic that DC sees during other times of year.

Usually we drive, but that was before travel hacking.

Now, we fly.

(more…)

Mexico: The Details

If you’ve been following along thus far, you know we had a great time exploring the Yucatan Peninsula a few weeks ago.  True to form, I couldn’t just have fun…I had to get home and analyze the entire trip.  But let’s be honest, this is part of the fun for me anyway. (more…)

Florida & Disney 2016

As I mentioned a last week, I planned a little trip to Florida for the end of February!  The main idea was to visit some family that lives outside of Orlando, but it kind of fused with some more family staying at Walt Disney World the same week.  Since they live out in South Dakota, I jumped at the opportunity to get everyone together.  One of the first times we’ve had the South Dakota family, Florida family, and Boston family together in a long time, and only the second time in my son’s life!

Obviously, we couldn’t leave without spending a bit of time at Disney World with them…

We’ve also benefited hugely from the South Dakotans on this trip.  They do Disney (in part to visit the Floridians) almost every year, so they know the all the ropes.  I do not.  And Disney has a whole mess of ropes to learn.

Give me a timeframe, location (read:  not Disney), and budget and I’ll plan you a great trip!  But Disney?  Kind of complicated…and expensive.

(more…)

Volunteering and Exploring in Peru

What's more Peruvian than llamas?

What’s more Peruvian than llamas?

I had the pleasure of spending over 2 weeks in Peru this past August/September.  We flew out of Boston on August 28th, 2015, and didn’t come back until the 14th of  September.  We spent one week volunteering in Cusco, and the rest of the time we just explored.  Peru was absolutely amazing.  We were able to do the most of the “Gringo Trail” as the locals call it, and see the all of Southern Peru.  We spent time in Lima, Cusco, Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Arequipa, Huacachina/Ica, and Paracas.

Further down the post I’ll outline my budget and packing list for anyone that wants to plan a similar trip.

(more…)