Monday, August 29, 2016

Opinions



Today I'm here to share some things I've seen and heard  lately. Some make my jaw drop and some are just opinions of mine. I keep thinking that some of these things are new since being back from Asia but let's be real, I've been back 9 months so this must just be new stuff happening.

These are also just my opinions. They aren't meant to be directed at one person but rather just some collective thoughts of things I have seen lately. 



1. Fundraising / Begging 

Okay, let me start by saying I understand that people beg because they have a difficult lot in life. This is not what I'm talking about. 

The begging I have seen was when I was driving down the road and saw a basketball team standing on the side of the road holding signs asking for money. I immediately wondered what happened to car washes where you actually earn money? Since when do you just hold a sign and expect everyone to drop their cash in your hand. I think the kids could learn so much more by doing some sort of job rather than just expecting a handout. It was also someone I knew from a long time ago that was directing this (don't worry she doesn't read my blog). I tried to secretly take a picture but then one of the kids was like "That girl is taking our picture!!!" Busted. Has anyone else seen this in their community? 

Dave and I like to give too so I'm not trying to sound stingy. We had someone ring our doorbell asking for a little bit of money and we could get a calendar for donating. I appreciated that because at least they are going door to door trying to sell something.

***update: After writing this post I was out and about and drove through that same intersection. Instead of basketball they now have football. AND, get this, they have their lawn chairs and just sit there. There were a couple of kids walking around too with their helmets asking for money. End of rant.

Speaking of money let's move to point number 2....

2. Go Fund Me

Seriously! I would love a Canon6D maybe I'll just start a Go Fund Me page. I 100% understand raising funds for a funeral or a medical expense but I feel like people slap up a Go Fund me page for just about anything. Then to top it off, after they ask for money they post about a vacation they went on or they post about a fancy restaurant they ate at. My jaw drops. I mean if you really needed that money what happened to savings? or picking up an extra shift or two at work? or perhaps eating at home rather than eating out.  I'm baffled you guys!

Again, I totally support the campaigns where the need is genuine.


3. Birth Stories / Hard Motherhood Tales

Okay, I know I might be walking a fine line when I write this one out but I hope you'll hear me out. It honestly really freaks me out when people write about or when people tell me every detail about their birth. I just don't think everyone needs to hear that. It especially freaks me out when women rage on about how their women parts are just never the same. The fear that that can create in someone like me who hasn't had a kid isn't fun. I don't mind talking to close friends and listening to them at all but I have had people I don't know well at all tell me some horrific stories and I honestly just don't even know how to reply??? What are your thoughts on this? Mom's how do you feel about telling your story?

The other part that gets me is when Mom's make a comment about how tired they are, how much they have been pooped and barfed on, how sleep deprived they are and can never do what they want again BUT they sure do love their baby! That does not help those of us who don't have kids. That freaks me out. Sometimes they will then ask or wonder about when we are having kids. I have no idea how to answer that. 

Lastly, birth pictures. Not okay. I get that a human entering the world is a miracle and I have indeed seen a birth in persona and it is a beautiful and sacred moment. What isn't sacred is when you post that picture on FB, especially graphic ones. Not okay, people.

Moving on.


4. Facebook

FB baffles me. I just can't make up my mind about it. However, here is something I notice: people will post how busy and tired they are followed by 20 million more posts. I wonder if the logged off of FB if they would rest and be able to tackle their busy life? Just a thought.


5. Online Grocery Shopping

This is a new thing happening in Kansas. Youc an go on-line and order your groceries and just pick them up. You can also order your Starbucks on-line now too so maybe you could do a coffee grocery run at the same time. 

I think this is a great thing for someone that is handicap or has an injury. I also think it is a great thing for working Moms as this would utilize time with their kids at home verses the grocery store. However, part of me just doesn't like that our society is so 'order on my app and pick it up'. I mean we don't even have time to walk into Starbucks or heaven forbid, drive thru and get a cup of coffee? I also don't understand what is so hard about getting in your car, driving to the store, walking through some aisles, placing things in your cart, having someone bag it and then you drive those things home?

I think part of my opinion on this comes from living abroad. Grocery shopping in most countries is not easy. Just getting out of your apartment requires much more effort (think pad locks and gates) to weaving through crowds, finding a taxi, walking, shopping, hauling your groceries to finding another taxi, getting home and then having to bag and freeze everything that same day before it goes bad. And to be honest, I'm so thankful for those experiences. It taught me to be grateful.

If I get to the point where I'm ordering everything on-line then I hope I move back to Burma for a reality check. Not kidding either. 

Side note: I will say that Walmart has a $10 off of $50 right now with on-line shopping so that is a $10 savings and I'm all about coupons and savings. Plus, if you combined that with Ibotta coupons and Checkout51 your bill could be super cheap.

Again, if ordering on-line is for you then that is your choice and is totally fine. I'm just voicing my opinion.


6. Burmese Earthquake

Okay, this is kind of random but last week Burma had an earthquake. Did you heat about it? It was actually bigger than the one in Italy but caused less damage because it was in a remote village called Bagan. Dave and I have visited Bagan and you know what is there? Thousands and thousands of evil Buddhist temples. Seriously, you can feel Satanic presence when you walk in there. Well, last week the earthquake knocked the tops off of around 200 of those temples and I have to tell you, I was so glad! I feel like Satan got a kick and that is always a good thing. Dave and I visited those exact temples that got knocked over. Here is a picture.



And that is the conclusion of my opinions, for today. =) Feel free to comment with what you think about the things I've shared about. Even if you view something completely different I'm up for hearing about it. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Colorado Budget


Thank you Groupon for sponsoring this post. It's fun because I had planned to share a majority of this content anyways and then Groupon contacted me about writing for them. My only regret is that they contacted me the last day of my trip to Colorado rather than the beginning because I forgot to check for Groupon deals while we were in Denver. And the Groupon link they sent me was indeed for Denver. Fail! As always all opinions are my own.


Today I want to share about our budget for Colorado. I have been on a big kick to revamp our entire budgeting system these past few months. It was really hard in Myanmar to budget well, especially when funds were depleting and we had no steady income. It was fine because we planned for that, but doing a monthly budget overseas was really really hard.

These past few months I have been doing a Dave Ramsey class on-line. I've done one before but my Dad purchased us a class for our wedding and I'm finally getting around to watching the lessons. I think my favorite thing about the class is learning more about budgeting. I know budgeting doesn't always sound like fun, but I do well with structure and knowing exactly how much I can spend on what. I don't plan on going in depth in this post about our budgeting but if you want to know more of my process (I combine some of Dave Ramsey's ideas and implement things that work for us) let me know and I will share more about that in a different post or via e-mail as well.

Back to our Colorado budget.

Dave and I left on a Monday evening and we got back Sunday afternoon. We had a total of 6 travel days. Here is a graphic of what we spent.


Lodging - $247.16

We spent 6 nights either camping or in a hotel. It averages out to $41.19 per night on lodging. The first night we slept in the back of our SUV. I roll my eyes as I type that. It isn't too bad to sleep in your car but yet it is. Our seats do lay down in the back of our SUV so we we can actually lay down but I just don't like sleeping in a car very much. Moving on. Tuesday - Thursday we camped. The camping sights were $26 / night. Friday and Saturday we stayed at a nice hotel in Denver because after camping I need a nice clean hotel. I had a $50 Expedia voucher plus $40ish dollars in rewards so that took about $90 off of our lodging bill. All in all I think $41.19 per night is pretty good for traveling in the US. 

Food - $132.10

I made food before we left for this trip and I didn't include that in the price of food here because that money came out of our grocery budget rather than traveling budget. I made soups and froze them and we took sandwich stuff and snacks. We ate out several nights and then bought some snack stuff as well. Food averaged out to $22.01 a day. 

Gas - $107.77

Gas averages out to a whopping cheap amount of $17.96 a day! Once we arrived at Rocky Mountain National Park we didn't do much driving. Most of that gas came from driving to Colorado and back. 

Miscellaneous - $43.50

This item came in because Dave and I had a big miscommunication on when we were leaving. I thought we were leaving Monday evening and Dave thought we were leaving Tuesday morning. I had everything ready and packed when he come home from work on Monday evening so he threw his stuff together and we left. And because we were rushed we left things at home. I forgot a coffee maker, and I don't care if this sounds snobbish, but I wasn't going to camp without coffee. I purchased a percolator and I just have to say, it is awesome!

We also had to pay for showers when camping. I told you before that I went 5 days without showering and by the 5th day I NEEDED TO SHOWER! It cost $2 for 6 minutes and I shower longer than 6 minutes. And by that time I didn't care how many quarters it cost to get me clean. #firstworldproblems

Freebies

Something that also helped cut down our cost was free things we had. Dave purchased a National Park pass back in January when we traveled the west coast. It cost $80 up front but saved us a bunch of money in the long run. Just to get into RMNP it costs $30. The pass was also good for the entrance fee to Mt. Evans and that saved us $15. 

I purchased  Botanical Garden Pass in Wichita and I was told it worked at other gardens too and it did in Denver. The passes were $12.50 / person so it saved us $25. 

Again we had that money from Expedia and that was a total of about $100. 

So total we didn't have to pay $145! That's a pretty good savings. 

Coupons 

And here is where I wished I would have used Groupons. Something I really wanted to do was to go kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. Dave hiked a 14,000 foot mountain and that takes from 3am - 3pm. I just kind of chilled out but I wished I would have used this Groupon for paddleboarding or this one for kayaking. They are half off the normal cost so definitely would have been worth it. 

Groupon also has a lot off offers for family events or theme parks so it would work well if you are traveling out there with your family.  


How do you budget for travel? 

What are you best money saving tips for traveling? 

Have you ever used Groupon when you travel to other places? 

Do you think our traveling amounts or low or high? I'm curious. 

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