If I Could Change One Thing…

Today's challenge is to think about what you would change about yourself if you could. Luckily, my change is something I am currently working on and implementing into my life.

Back in January, I decided to take control of Justin's and my finances. In the southern US, people are very religious; they often feel that the man of the house should be in control of everything, a plenipotentiary* of sorts, and the woman should just follow his lead. Justin is a busy man though, and he simply didn't have the time to necessarily go through our finances and budget. Plus, I'm pretty stubborn, and I tend to go after what I want. Luckily for Justin, what I want is in our best interest. That thing I want, the change I desire to see, is that of paying down debt and improving assets while not missing out on (vital) life experiences.

Yet it never occurred to me that travel did not have to be expensive; that has been the biggest discovery I have made since January. I mean - yes, travel is expensive. I like staying in nice hotel rooms with amenities, and when I fly my preference would be to fly first class. But overall, just getting the opportunity to travel is what I enjoy most. In the past 6 months, Justin and I have been to New York, Boston, Charleston, Chattanooga, and we will soon be visiting Asheville, NC. We are still quite new at traveling on the cheap, but we are learning how to get points from the hotels we stay at, restaurants we eat at, and even taking our clothes to the dry cleaners! As a result, this next trip to NC will only cost us food and entertainment. I have to say that this discovery, that travel doesn't have to be expensive, has made travel so much easier and more exciting than it has ever been. :)

Our discovery that travel could be cheap was only truly made when friends of ours became engaged and invited us to their wedding. Since that time Justin and I have been trying to figure out how to get to Europe for cheap(er). At first the expenses for the trip were difficult to make and hurt a lot financially. We have to buy passports?! How are we going to afford plane tickets? Then a friend of mine told me that plane tickets are even more expensive at the time we were planning on going. Great. AND she said we were going to one of the more expensive parts of Europe. That's when I started to freak out.

However, after 6 months of following travel blogs, I finally got the hang of it. Every time a sale was posted, I would check to see how much a flight for Justin and myself would cost. And every time it was the same. I had all but given up when Delta came through for me posting a sale that would get Justin and I to Europe for the price I was expecting to pay for just one ticket. ONE! It's like when you go to Payless for BOGO or to Macy's with a $10 off of $20 coupon. You feel awesome, because you have saved approximately half the cost. And even better? That money I saved on tickets can go toward hotels, clothes, rental cars, baggage fees, WHATEVER! Yes, I am pretty proud of my find. :)

Even more awesome is that the savings were so great Justin decided we could leave a few days early for our extravagant** nearly 3 week tour of Europe. Not only will we be able to visit another country during our stay, but we will also be in Europe early enough for a holiday that is specific to the area of Europe we are going. I am extremely excited that somehow we were able to make this work.

As if things could not get better, I was even more thrilled to assess the status of our assets vs. debts.



As you can see, our assets are going UP and our debts are going down. I'm quite happy with this outlook. It makes me feel like I know what I'm doing. Somehow or another, even with all of the travel, Justin and I have still been able to spend less than we make. I am quite happy that my change is actually working out the way I want it to.

Now that you know more about the change I would make and how I'm making it happen, I would love to hear about what you would change. Are you trying to lose 10 pounds? Learn to cook? Get a stronger handle on your finances? Share with me! :)

Word of the day
** It's extravagant that we're even going, in my opinion!
*** This post is thanks to NaBloPoMo, offering bloggers tips on blogging, monthly blogging prompts, and chances to win prizes! :)

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