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Faith, Family, Finances, Funnies, and Flarps

To keep… or to toss?

That’s the REAL question.

My husband and I sat down at the kitchen bar and went over EVERY little thing we could think of that we spend money on. Having these kinds of real discussions regarding your finances is a vulnerable and wonderful time! It’s hard ya know? Finances are very personal and they weigh differently to men and women. What I value and want to see happen financially is not always what my husband wants. Finding that common ground is SO important!

Our list of random things we spend money on went like this:

Gym membership

Netflix

Hulu

Apple Music

Amazon Prime

Sam’s

Dish Network

bills

Let’s start with the gym. It is ONLY $22 bucks a month. And we have NOT been in 3 months. {FACE PALM}

We had the discussion of what to do with it. It’s very inexpensive but we are NOT using it… yet we both WANT to. It is hard for us to find the time between our busy schedules, my husband traveling a large portion of the time, having a child who isn’t old enough to be IN the gym, and let’s not forget having the TRUE motivation to go work out. We talked at length and decided to keep it until February. If we haven’t used it at least twice a week (on a GOOD average) then it’s gone. If we start using it like we desire to–then it stays.

Netflix. We can’t get rid of that! That was a pretty quick conversation. However, we DID make a change. Our bill is going up in January to $13.99 a month. I looked at the plans and we are currently on the 4 screens at a time/ability to download on 4 devices plan. We lowered it to the 2 screen plan for $10.99 a month. The ONLY time we ever need more than 2 devices is when we go on trips…which happens often. On an airplane we will each have our phones watching a downloaded tv show/movie from Netflix. That cannot happen on this new plan. However- Netflix is AWESOME in the fact that you can change your plan at any time and just pay the prorated difference. For now, this plan works. “But is is JUST 3.00 a month you saved.” You are correct. But that’s 3 dollars that WE get to keep. That’s a redbox movie and a 20 oz Dr Pepper to split. That’s a date night. And THAT is worth it.

Hulu. It’s going “Bye-Bye-BYE” as Justin Timberlake would say. {Well-now you know my age bracket!} For $7.99 a month we can get 99% of the same shows that are either on Dish or are on Netflix. My daughter will NOT be happy because she loves her some Cake Wars on Hulu… but I bet you anything we can find some of those episodes on Youtube. #THATISFREE

Apple Music. My husband doesn’t have an iPhone {which drives me crazy} so this one was up to me. I use my Apple Music every single day of the week! It is $14.99 a month and I DEFINITELY get my moneys worth… but I set that to cancel at my next payment date. I have used Pandora a lot this holiday season and though I cannot be AS selective with the music, it really is okay. I’m a big girl. I can do this. I think. I hope. I pray.

Amazon Prime. My number is up with them. They discovered [through their detective ways] that I am no longer a student. I purchased Prime last year as a student so it was half price. Starting in January it will go up to $99 a year. That’s not bad-right? But we don’t use the Prime Video often at all as most of the content can be found on Netflix or tv, and due to our cutting back on spending we really don’t have a lot to order this year. We got our moneys worth last year and ordered some large items, but I don’t see us doing that again this year so— buh bye!

Sam’s Club. I need to verify but I believe we have a membership through March. I jokingly {not so jokingly} told my husband that before our membership runs out we are going to stock up on some TP and paper towels! That is all I REALLY buy there! I mean if I am there I will be a gigantic bag of almonds because they are cheaper than Kroger, but overall, I don’t buy much there. I have found that for a family of 3, we can’t eat the yogurts before they expire, and I can’t eat all those bananas! I hate bananas… but I buy them because they are healthy. {yuck} So all in all, we might spend a LITTLE more on TP and other paper goods but not enough to cover the membership. I never buy gas there even though it’s a little cheaper because it is out of my way. So– there goes another savings of (I think) around $100!

Dish Network. Every month I pay for a TV service provider so that I can watch something I’ve either already seen or own the DVD of. {FACE PALM} It’s so true! We watch 20/20, Dateline, This is Us, Teen Mom [hey- this is a judgement free zone] and reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. We pay a significant amount for that and even though my husband recently got them to lower the bill by $40 bucks, we pay over $80 each month! So here is the plan- I called to find out when our contract is up. Valentines Day. I confirmed this… we will cancel on that day and 30 days later we can come back as “new customers” and receive the same equipment and channels for 1/3 of the price. Basically this means that in January we will be doing the Whole 30 plus fasting social media for 21 days with our church, and then turn right around and have no cable for 30 days. Sounds like a stellar start to the New Year, huh?!

It comes down to your priorities. Maybe you have those perfectly in line. Or maybe you need to reevaluate them. I know that for US, this year is about paying off as much debt as humanly possible. If that means not having Apple Music and Dish for 30 days (And who knows? Maybe we will end up 6 months and just get it back in time for football season?), then those are sacrifices we are willing to make in order to reach our GOAL!

What is your goal? Figure that out NOW! Maybe it is to pay off one credit card and move right along. Maybe you can’t sleep at night for fear that you won’t be able to pay your bills. Whatever your situation is, decide what your GOAL is. Once you have prayed/meditated over that goal and decided this for SURE what you want… NOTHING will stand in your way!

Thanks for reading.

For now,

Cara Roxanne

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Going through the Big D…

And I don’t mean Dallas. Or Divorce.

DEBT!!!!!!

Debt will drown you, suffocate you, beat you up, ruin your marriage, wreck your life, and cause discontentment like you have NEVER known before.

Debt will KILL you…emotionally, physically and financially.

Okay so you think i’m being intense? I get that… maybe the WOW factor will work for me like it does for Dave Ramsey? Nah… i’m being extreme. But Debt… guys, it has GOT to go.

The day we looked at our debt.

debt

So I mentioned before that in a long car ride my husband and I had a true/intense conversation about debt. We were listening to Dave’s podcast and discussing topics he was covering that day. We decided that we were FINALLY on the same page and wanted to do something about our debt. Here’s the thing… like many people in the world, our debt doesn’t really effect us. Together we make a comfortable living and having a few credit cards, car payments, and student loan debt is not something that keeps us up at night. {All the praise to HIM for He has blessed us beyond what we deserve.}

That being said… we decided a year ago to become faithful tithers. We have been tithers before but somehow along the way we slacked. I’d forget to bring the checkbook, promise to double up next month, and just forget. Then I felt like I couldn’t pay off my debt to God so I kinda felt defeated and didn’t want to tithe anymore. We decided in our spiritual lives and walks with the Lord that we wanted to get back to tithing. So we made that a goal this year. It’s been wonderful! I can honestly say that I have not missed the money we are tithing on. When I stop and LOOK at my budget I recognize that a large chunk of our money goes to the church… but when it comes down to it, we aren’t missing it. And praise the Lord for that! He has allowed us extra income when we needed it and He has been faithful to us as we are attempting to be faithful to Him.

My point… while our debt doesn’t keep us from living life, through the process of tithing and wanting to be Godly with our money, I began getting convicted about our debt. This topic came up during the long car ride {i’m such a baby… it’s only 4 hours but WAHHHH! I hate that drive} we began talking seriously about working on our debt. So we started!

We wrote down ALL of our debt. House, cars, student loans, credit card, furniture card…anything we could think of! That was scary! To see the bottom line of how much we OWE people was scary. Sure, we can pay our monthly bills but I don’t want to OWE anyone anything! In reality, it is partially a way of life (Don’t scream at me DAVE RAMSEY!) We couldn’t have bought a home and paid cash for it. We couldn’t have paid cash for our vehicles. For us at least, having some debt was “normal.” But like Dave says… having debt IS normal… BE WEIRD! I want to be weird. Weirder than the day is LONG!

Back to it:

Write down all of your debts.

Write down the minimum payments

Start from the smallest to the largest ignoring interest rates

Go to town!

We were fortunate to get a nice Christmas ($$) present from my parents. They may or may not be happy to know that we used that to pay off small bills. I had a TJ MAXX card that carried a small balance (Why not– for every $100 I spend I get $10 gift cards!… gosh i’m dumb) I had a Victoria’s Secret card that carried a fairly small balance (But I get a free pair of panties every month when I spend $10) and so on… we were faithfully making payments each month to two medical related events and we paid those off as well. Oh and Verizon [don’t get me started on how we ALL pay full price for our phones and they screw up before they are paid off]. We paid off that as well.

We took that Christmas gift and paid off 5 creditors!!!!!! So now…

I take the minimum payments from each of those and pour those over into the next creditor. It looks like this:

VS- $27 monthly

TJ- $35

Doc 1- $50

Doc 2- $50

Cell phone: $42

So now I have $204 dollars “extra” each month to pay on the next creditor. That creditors minimum payment is $116. Now I pay them $320 a month which means I am more than doubling up each month. That is how the snowball is created. This month we will pay that creditor off and then take $320 to roll over in the next creditor which has a minimum payment of $111. Once we reach the point of working on this one we will have $431 to pay each month… that’s how you get it done!

I will say that ANYTHING extra we have received this month (husbands bonus from work, sold a few things on eBay) we have applied to our debt snowball. What’s so crazy is that with each thing we have paid off up snowball has grown but so has our momentum!! I guess that’s the point Dave Ramsey has been making for years. Sure-you could start paying off debt by looking at the highest interest rate but by attacking the big ones first, but it is the momentum that keeps us going! We are celebrating with each payment and enthusiastically checking the balances of our debt and our accounts to see if there is something left over for us to use toward debt.

If you are JUST beginning to even think about changing financial habits let me tell you that as corny and crazy as this all sounds– it’s kinda been fun! I am constantly looking for ways to shave off money in my grocery budget. I’m finding things to do around the house to avoid taking a quick trip somewhere. (I want there to be money left in my gas envelope so I can go to Starbucks!!) It’s kind of a game, and it’s a challenging one.

I am consistently reading financial blogs and making notes of things to try. Maybe that’s how my blog can be for you. Take what works for you and throw the rest away!

We still have our things that we will NOT give up. I’ll write about those later. But I say that to encourage you. If you are thinking that getting out of debt and living on a budget means you NEVER have any fun– I want you to know that you are WRONG! I want you to hear someone who is living it tell you that I still have fun! We went to the movies Friday night with some friends and had a blast. And we had popcorn and coke too 🙂 I’m not giving up every single thing in life that I love in order to get out of debt. But I AM willing to make true sacrifices NOW so that I won’t have to LATER.

Thanks for reading.

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

CA$H

Living on cash is not always easy.

I wish I could say that it was but sometimes it requires a lot of discipline.

I am SUPER forgetful.

I will make my grocery list, have my coupons organized, have my list organized by aisles and sections of the store… I will do my best to stay within my budget and I will straight up let the cashier ring it all up only to realize I left my cash at HOME! This WILL happen.

Living on cash for us means just that–we only spend cash. Now I will say that the scenario above has happened… and I swiped my debit card. {OH THE HORROR!!!!} I also came home, got the cash I MEANT to take with me and went straight to the bank and deposited it. That wasn’t a “Freebie”… I had to replace what I had just used.

We use cash for the following things:

Groceries

Gas

Fun

Extras

Clothes

Each pay period a set amount of money goes into each envelope.

“What happens if there is money left over?” You decide.

Our plan is to keep the extra money in the envelopes and not use it somewhere else. For example, I put $100 dollars aside each month for clothes. I don’t spend that each month. That will often pile up because we may not need anything. But when it is TIME to need something there is money to spend. I rarely have extra money in groceries left over.. and occasionally I have borrowed from the gas envelope to pay for a quick trip to Kroger. That’s okay! {for us anyway} The bottom line is that this is the cash we have and if we choose to spend the clothes envelope to go out to eat and to the money we CAN… but can’t buy clothes that month.

SPENDING CASH MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

cash

I don’t know why, but it does. I don’t think of myself as an over-spender by any means but even for me I spend less when I use cash. Even if I had a pre-paid debit card with money on it, I would spend more by swiping. {Can someone explain that to me??} Cash makes a HUGE difference for us.

We have income coming in each week. Fortunately we are on opposite pay days but it that happens to mean we get paid each Friday. So after I pay my bills each Friday I then go withdraw the set amount of cash designated for that week. And then it goes straight into the envelopes.

EXTRAS

Dave Ramsey will tell you to plan for emergencies by having $1000 saved up. DO THAT! Do it now–today–this week!! But the point of that is to recognize that things WILL happen. So our EXTRAS envelope helps with that. We have our $1000 in savings for the emergency fund but I also recognize that things happen we can’t/haven’t budgeted for. In my budget binder I have a sheet titled “Things to plan for that we can’t really plan for”. {I am so creative–riiiighttt?} My list has things on it like: oil changes, air conditioner vent things (legit how I have it listed), light bulbs, birthdays, essential oils, hang-outs.

I do NOT want an envelope for light bulbs. And I don’t want one for things like propane tank for the grill. So I summed it up and called it EXTRAS. Extra stuff WILL come up. You will have planned perfectly and bought your groceries, filled up your car, bought your kid a new coat, and then someone will call and invite you to dinner. Well you don’t wanna show up empty handed now do you?!?! #EXTRAS

The neighbor who is just too cute to turn down will ask you to buy popcorn for his school fundraiser. #EXTRAS

You will burn something in your oven and you MUST buy a candle. #EXTRAS { I mean- that’s never happened to ME but I’ve heard of that…}

Have you ever gotten to the end of month and realized that you don’t recall a fun night out or buying anything extravagant yet you have $18 dollars to your name? {My hand is raised… you just can’t see it} If you are TIRED of that happening then you MUST make a change!! Maybe you make really good money and so creating a budget and/or cutting back hasn’t crossed your mind? I get that! But what if you could have MORE?

hand

Maybe the cash plan isn’t for you. Just find what works. I PROMISE you that each little thing you do will have an impact on your financial health.

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

Starts with a B

And it ends with… UDGET.

fiancnes

The dreaded Budget. Sigh. No one likes that word.

For me, it’s something that I KNOW helps me keep my focus and makes the WORLD of difference… but it still sucks. {Can I get an AMEN}

Creating a budget is the FIRST step to getting control over your finances.

And EVERYONE will do it a little differently.

We decided years ago that I will be in the one who pays the bills, balances the checkbook, etc. My husband is not much for the tiny details. He’s more like “i’ll keep a mental list of what I’ve paid and round up/down and there ya go.” I don’t work that way. Early on there were some careless mistakes [which I have made PLENTY myself] that cost us an overdraft fee, or a late fee due to not having a written plan.

Paper versus online

I like the written word. I’ve been told about some amazing online budgeting tools that will help keep everything in order, but at the end of the day I want my notebook paper in my binder telling me what bills are due. That’s just how I like it. *To each their own.*

Write down your income {NET}

Write down every bill you have and the date it is due

Write down how it is paid {mail a check, pay online, auto-drafted}

Then from there is when you go to town.

How much is left? Do you spend what’s left? Saved what is left? Cash out what is left?

Up to YOU!

Just because we do cash doesn’t mean that you should. We tried several things and even discussed having a pre-paid card for each of us so that we were using the same principal but not actually carrying cash. We opted for cash only but you do what is best for YOU!

This is a long process. It took us a few years of sticking to our budget to really be in a place where we wanted to go further and do more. I’d give anything to have started this process years ago so that’s probably the one piece of advice I would offer up. If you are wanting to make a difference in your financial life and do MORE than just work to pay bills… don’t wait to get started. Start TODAY! In some capacity, with one tiny little step… start NOW!

It’s been a while…

I despise not being able to blog a lot.

I could give you 101 reasons WHY I can’t blog like I want to… but I’ll just assure you I intend to do better.

Let’s see… where to start. I’ll start where I feel like most people would want me to. Adoption…

Not much has changed. No progress. We’ve done our part and I guess now we wait? I’m comfortable in the waiting where I once was not. That’s progress, right? I’m okay. I still have moments of impatience but overall we’re in a good place just waiting for that door to open. Prayers are appreciated!

Probably the biggest change is that we are ALL in on Dave Ramseys plan. We’ve done it before and we tend to get frustrated along the way. Not this time!

On a long car ride to my parents house and back I turned on a Dave Ramsey podcast. I’ve been listening to him on occasion but sometimes-he just wears me out. He’s ruined my life before ya know. He sucked the fun out of everything and I kinda love/hate him. But we listened anyway. And then got to talking…

Long car ride full of long discussions=the debt free plan.

Surprisingly we are both on the same page. We mapped out a plan that works for BOTH which had never happened in the past. I’m a saver-he’s a spender. How could this possibly work?

In 6 weeks we have paid off over $2800! Now that’s just a dent in the problem but can I get some hand claps? We got back on the envelope system and have hit the debt snowball with “gazelle like intensity.” It’s been fun and it’s been difficult.

I’ll share specifics in another post on our envelope system and what that looks like.

As a therapist I often have to remind my clients to cling to what works/sticks for them and throw the rest away. I’ve done that with Dave Ramsey and you will do that with me… and that’s okay.

I’ve missed the blog-o-sphere. Glad to be back!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Trippin’ on a dime

We went to New York City for under $1k. That’s right! Such a fantastic getaway on a BUDGET! 

10 things you need to know… 

1- nights we had to pay for in the hotel. Other 2 were covered by points 

2- Broadway shows we took in. Got day of (more like hour before) tickets to “Six Degrees of Separation” and found a great deal online for “Sunset Boulevard”

3- days we spent in my favorite city

4- planes we hopped on! (Which were FREE I might add) 

5- the amount I spent on my daughters Fidget Spinner from a street vendor

6- amount of cups of coffee we purchased daily 

7- Uber rides we took over the course of 3 days (plus the 2 cab rides) 

8- meals we ate out! Hells Kitchen and Tavern on the Green are our new favs. (And hey– don’t judge. It’s vacation. You can eat an extra meal on vacation) 

9- amount of times it took us to snap this photo 

10- amount of minutes I felt like I couldn’t form a sentence after seeing Cynthia Nixon just walk across the street like no big deal

New York City is such a magical place! I want to continue the spread the love of my city to anyone who will listen! I intend to write some posts to help first timers make sure they have got their plan down so that no time is wasted!! 

Stay tuuuuned!!

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne 

When will I stop asking why? 

I write this with big tears running down my cheeks. (Brb- gotta get that under control!!) 

Okay I’m better. So Ava and I are both sick and being lazy upstairs watching tv. She decided to play a game on her iPad so I flipped on live tv (oh the horror– commercials!!!) and Americas Got Talent is on. Why not? 

I see a girl who has obviously been burned walk out and begin to tell her story of surviving a plan crash, losing her best friend in the crash, her painful story of 100 surgeries and finding her strength in music. She survived a crash along with one other person while everyone else lost their life in a fire. 

I hate the month of June. June 1st is when I remember the events (from my perspective) of the day I found out my best friend had been in a plane crash and was in the burn unit at Children’s Hospital. June 10th reminds me of the day her parents had us (me and her other close friends) come to the hospital while the doctor explained everything that was going on with her and this allowed us to pray for her more specifically as we drew strength from each other. June 13th reminds me of when her oldest sister came to stay with me for the week so she could help out with VBS and get away from the hospital for a while. That same day reminds me of she and I checking out at Walmart and the cashier loudly saying “wasn’t that you that was in that crash” causing people to stare and us to leave. (Flipping small town) June 16th reminds me of the day that Rachel passed away. I’m reminded of knowing things had gone from bad to worse and the look on my dads face as he opened my bedroom door. I begged him not to say the words as the tears began to fall. June 19th reminds me of her funeral and the moment at the cemetery when her mom began singing “I have Decided to Follow Jesus” as she sat in her wheel chair from injuries sustained during the crash. And every day after that reminds me of trying to do life without my friend. 

I can’t help but spend this month thinking why. Why did God allow this to happen? Why to her family? Why to my friend? I’m sure God gets tired of me asking why, but I’ve promised Him that when we meet- I will drop it. 

For years I struggled with whether or not it was ok to ask WHY to the Father and Author of the world. It took me a long time to grasp the fact that it is ok. I probably shouldn’t do it, but I’m human and heck– I DO wonder why God took my friend. I wonder what she would be like if she were still here. I wonder what would life would be like if that pilot had just heeded the warnings and turned the plane around. I wonder how I would be different as a person who hadn’t endured such pain at an impressionable age. How different (and better) I might be if Rachel were still here. 

This I know for sure… God is all knowing, all powerful and can see the Big picture. So when I find myself asking WHY I remind myself of that fact. And my prayer is often this: Father I don’t understand but I will keep trying to. And while I try let me ask just ONE more time… why?

Give God your WHY’S. He can take it. He’s been taking mine for 18 years. 

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne 

Letter to my former BFF

Dear former “person”,

I think of you often… you must know that before you keep reading. I hear songs, see movies, or visit places we used to frequent and I think of you. And when I think of you, I smile. 

When you first “broke up with me” as your best friend I was hurt. Oh the hurt! It was so painful. I felt pain and confusion like I’ve never known. I questioned everything? What if I done this? What if I had said that? What did I do? Why is she doing this? The questions circled my brain for months. I dreamed about you. I’d wake up and think it wasn’t real… but it was. You had walked away from our friendship and left me broken and confused. 

The hurt faded and the anger hit. And when it hit- it was strong. I was enraged at times over the way you ended “us” without so much as an explaination. I became furious as I would picture times that I dropped everything to go be by your side when you needed me. I was so upset as I recalled times I had gotten you out of trouble with your parents by covering for you. I did these things out of LOVE… yet you just walked away. 

It’s been over 7 years since you called it quits on our friendship. Thankfully I’ve grown over these years. I’ve grown and matured and I no longer feel sadness or anger when I think about what you did to me. In all honesty?? I feel nothing. I look back on our 14 years of friendship and smile as I tell stories of our crazy adventures. I hear songs and smile and can picture me car dancing as you were mortified and hoped no one saw us! And then- when the moment passes- I feel nothing. You don’t hold a piece of my heart anymore… just a piece of my past. 

I miss you and I still care about you in that I want good things for you. I forgive you for the hurt and I thank you for the memories. I’ve missed out on your life and you’ve missed out on mine. It’s sad, really, that we ended up here. But I wouldn’t change anything. I’m better for knowing you and having had you in my life- even if it was just for a season. And I’m stronger for learning the tough lesson that sometimes friends just walk away. That’s what I’m doing now, former friend. I’m walking away. I’ve spent years mulling over in my mind how to reach out and what I would say. I’ve written you countless letters that I didn’t send. So this is it… the closure I’ve needed and the closure than I’m finally giving to myself. 

You were selfish as you left me at a time in my life when I couldn’t have needed you more… and I’m putting my self first now as I say… goodbye. 

Wish you all the best in life,

Cara Roxanne 

Summer is for travel! 

I love to travel. WE love to travel! There is nothing cooler than going somewhere new and/or different. 

Everyone has their “thing”. Ours is travel. My husband and I often go to Lowe’s (I despise that place), furniture stores, flooring stores and so on to get ideas for our home. We come home and take a pen to paper to estimate the cost of a new purchase or project. 99% of the time when we see the bottom line one of us will say “or we could go to–” (fill in the blank with a fun destination) and we decide on a trip instead. It took us nearly 4 years to put down new flooring in our house because we kept choosing a trip instead. And ya know what? For us- that’s just fine. 

This summer we have: NYC, Dallas, Memphis and Cabo on the agenda. If only there were time to squeeze in one more. Due to our constant travel, I can safely say we have it down to an art. Here are some tips we have found that help expedite and iron out the trip kinks. 

1. Use a point credit card 

Yes I know that SOME are pathetic with their rewards programs… but not ALL. I am typing this post from somewhere in the sky between Little Rock and Charlotte from an airplane for which we paid $21.00 out of pocket to be here. We use AA Advantage but I’m sure there are others that are just as good. We booked with points (2 tickets to NYC) and we were only out the required $10.50 per ticket fee. Another PLUS: when you book with points you can change your flight. I originally had us booked leaving at 10:57 this morning because I wasn’t thinking about it being Saturday and I booked the flight thinking I would have to get my kiddo off to school. A week later I realized what I had done and I called and changed it with ZERO fees. Not too shabby! The points add up! We use it for everything. Pay everything you can on your credit card then pay it off. You get the points without the debt. 

2. Buy the TSA Pre-Check. It’s $99 dollars. My husband flys more than me (for work) so it’s in his name. But if you book a flight for more than the one who has the TSA pre-check, the rest of you get it too! That saves so much time in larger airports. Doesn’t make a difference out of a small airport like Little Rock but major airports- it’s totally worth it. It’s good for one year. (Possibly 2). 

3. Don’t check a bag! Now with our AA Advantage card we each get a bag checked for free.  That’s nice if we are all 3 flying or if we go somewhere that requires a TON of stuff, but otherwise we don’t check a bag. We go to Mexico every summer without checking a bag. We take a roll on small suitcase (carry-on) and you still get a personal item. So right now I have my carry-on suitcase full of clothes packed away in the over head bin while my backpack full of shoes, makeup and books is tucked away under the seat in front of me. This means that, yes, we have  to keep up with them, but we don’t have to wait on bags at La Guardia. No chance of losing our luggage or watching the luggage roller thing go around and around until we finally see our luggage THROWN onto the belt. 

4. Keep 3 ounce items handy! I’ve never understood the 3 ounce thing and I find it ridiculous, but it’s the rule. I hang onto samples that come with my Itsy or Mary Kay orders and stash them away in a travel bag so that when it’s time to go somewhere they are always handy.  My husband spends a ton of time in hotels and he keeps me stocked with the individual makeup remover wipes and lotion. Do it- you will be glad you did! 

5. Sign up for hotel points. Even if it takes you years to rack up enough for a free night, it’s FREE! I typically begrudge my husband being going so much but those free nights in NYC and Cabo make it worth it. Not only do we earn free nights on a regular basis but we get perks like free wifi, free breakfast (beyond what’s laid out for everyone to pick from), late check outs and early check ins, free drinks and snacks, and more! It’s all about the FREE! 

6. Map it  out. Sounds simple but few do it. Look up restaurants online, view menus and know what prices to expect, sign up for mailing lists from places you’d like to visit so you can get the free appetizer emails or discount coupons. Totally worth it. 

Touching down in Charlotte. Hope this helps you plan your next trip! 

Thanks for stopping by,

Roxy

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