Spring at the Bailey’s

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Spring is in full swing here at the Bailey’s! There is so much going on here I haven’t had a lot of time here to post much at all, and I’ve been mostly using Instagram, but I’m trying to get better with that.

IMG_3353Preschool and kindergarten are winding down and we’re getting dates for move up ceremonies and back packs full of completed workbooks and projects. Abby will be in pre-kindergarten next year (basically the same thing as preschool) because of her December birthday, and I can’t believe it but Sam will be in first grade. When he started preschool I was a “My Baby is Growing Up” mess. Kindergarten I was ok. Now he’s a “grader” and I’m a mess again.

The weather here has been on and off hot and sunny followed by cold and rainy. We’ve been having so much fun doing outside things on the hot days. The other day I bought an 8 foot kiddie pool (not a budget friendly purchase but one that will definitely get lots of use). We’ve also done mini golf, IMG_3335lunches at the lake since there’s no charge for admittance for another few weeks, and visited the playground near our house that no one is ever at.

The rainy days have been for spring decluttering and working my side hobbies like crochet and Poshmark. Poshmark has been pretty dead this month but crochet actually picked up a bit so that’s nice. As far as decluttering, I’ve tackled our bedroom closet and the kid’s playroom (again). Jeff is working on a beautiful shelving unit for the playroom complete with reading bench that I can’t wait to install.

IMG_3422We’ve been participating in a No Spend May challenge with intermittent success. We have a couple of events that call for gift giving this month. Especially Mother’s Day and my sister’s High School Graduation, and of course some (not really) mandatory summer purchases like a float vest for Ben for when my mom opens her pool, summer shoes for all three kids after striking out at the consignment shop, the kiddie pool, and a dress for myself for the grad parties we have this month, which I actually got on sale for $9.99.

We’ve faltered a few times with our spending ban, but earlier this month I was still ableimg_3428.jpg to pay off my Mohela student loans and making some awesome progress with my next debt, a different student loan through Navient. At the beginning of the month it was at $3,220 and 7.25% interest, which is 2% higher than my next highest student loan. As we sit it’s at $2,800, and Jeff got some travel reimbursement through work, and all of that $245 is going right towards this loan. I’m really hoping to be able to pay this off by the end of the summer, and then I’ll be down to ONE student loan! I can’t believe it.

Last but definitely not least, the most exciting news for the season is that we’ve decided to have a family vacation next year! I’ve written about a previous family vacation before here. Other than over nights and day trips, we’ve never had a family vacation. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that growing up, I was used to week long camping trips and trips to the beach every summer. We had a camper and then bought a bigger one, went to amusement parks, ate out and did whatever we wanted. My parents were also drowning in credit card debt that they remortgaged the house three times to cover, became upside down on their mortgage, eventually divorced and last I checked, there are foreclosure proceedings beginning for my childhood home (my dad still lives there and we haven’t spoken since 2011 due to his alcoholism and other poor choices that I won’t go into).

IMG_3321Anyway, we were sitting looking at adorable lake cabins on the computer the other night, talking about how great it would be to take a real family vacation. We’d have our own place to stay and not worry about noisy neighbors or finding an affordable place to eat. A nice calm lake with no waves and a private beach is perfect for someone like me that is constantly worried about big waves knocking little people over and who’s running in which direction. We could cook our own food and grill out and take the kids out in a canoe. Then we looked at each other and said, you know what? Let’s do it! We’re thinking my loans will be paid off by then, leaving only Jeff’s student loans and the mortgage for debts, and the kids are only little for so long, its time to make some memories! We created a separate savings account, created a ballpark budget and figured out how much per month we would need to save up over 12 months to make it, adjusted our current budget and away we go!

I’m working on a Mid-Year Report type post based on the goals we set on New Year’s, so stay tuned for that! Happy spring!

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Bailey Family Summer Vacation

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Well another summer in the books. Tomorrow is the first day of fall.

Because Sam was in school all summer (due to developmental delays and sensory processing disorder that I’ll write about later), we really didn’t get away that much. Which is really ok with me because we weren’t tempted to spend bags of cash on vacations, which is SOOooo Temptinnnggg!!!!!

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We did make one day trip to the beach and then a long weekend the second week of September. Just enough to get away and enjoy the ocean. And eat a lobster roll. And have ice cream for supper.

The big kids love the beach so much. We get down there from the hotel by 8am. For real. I actually don’t mind the early wake up calls on vacation because early morning and after supper hours are my favorite times on the beach. So Jeff and I finish our coffee and the kids play, and Ben snuggles. Usually all with sweatshirts and blankets on (its cold up here!).

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The beach is so good for Sam. He can run and jump, roll around and crash into things, feel the cold water and splash. Usually he rubs sand in his hair and all over his body. Its such good sensory stimulation for him and he’s usually so incredibly calm and relaxed after a beach day.

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That being said, who would I be if i didn’t give my Vacation Money Saving Tips?

  • Budget for Your Vacation– and stick to it. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on a trip before you even book it. Then account for it in your monthly budget as if it was a bill that has to be paid.
  • Go Off-Season– We never do anything during peak season; too expensive and too people-y. Vacationing even a few days before or after can be huge savings.
  • Do a Long Weekend– vs. a week or more. This one just makes sense; less days in a hotel, less dining out, less time off work. You still get to get away. Remember you have a goal you’re working towards.
  • Brown Bag It-Going out to eat is expensive. Plan to bring at least 2 meals per day along with you. If your hotel has free continental breakfast, all the better. I usually plan and bring breakfast and lunch. Just make sure to call ahead and make sure you have a fridge, or fridge and microwave would be ideal.
  • Get Your Discounts– Military, AAA, student ID, check the discount policies for where you’re staying and see if you’re eligible. Then don’t forget to ask for it once you get there! Most discounts can only be applied at check in so don’t forget and leave money on the table!