Money Talk: Saving for Travel

Money Talk: Saving for Travel

Oh, two very different seeming things: money and travel. One is really fun to talk about and the other is quickly avoided. I shared a glimpse about our approach regarding money awhile ago and hope to continue to write more about money in the future as a way to encourage and inspire.

Money Talk | Moving Peaces

Can I start by saying that I love traveling? I really do. So much so, that it is definitely given more weight in my budget than the average person might. There are days I just want to say, “let’s go!” and completely ignore all financial repercussions. I see travel as important. But I also believe we should be good stewards of our money (aka take care of what you’ve been given).

So what’s a girl to do when she loves to travel but it’s crazy expensive? Be realistic about it. I can’t pretend it doesn’t cost money to travel, just like I can’t pretend that I’m done traveling. By being honest about both of those things I can better move forward and budget accordingly (so if you have a love for travel…or shopping or sports or music, I’d recommend taking the same approach). In the past I’ve found that if I pretend that something isn’t important to me and leave it out of the budget that doesn’t actually end up saving me money. Instead, it ruins my budget because that love inevitably gets my money but I never accounted for it. See what I’m saying? Start by being honest.

Now, just because I love traveling (or shopping, sports, music, etc.)  does NOT mean that all self-control goes out the window. I don’t get a free pass just because it’s a passion of mine. There was a plan and a budget to take our trip to Argentina, as boring as that might sound. Oh and trust me, there were days that it seemed like that plan was going to take forever.

A few years ago, we said this trip was important to us. Before we even knew where we wanted to go, we started saving. Our plan was to put aside all “extra” money. All Christmas money, birthday money, tax refunds and freelance money went into a separate account set aside for this big trip. Once we had saved up a 3-6 month emergency fund with our income (that’s 3-6 months living expenses in case who-knows-what happens) we said we could start allotting some of our income towards the trip fund as well. There were times that it was really annoying that all of our extra fun money was already marked for the trip when we wanted to use it for something else, something that brought a little more instant gratification.

If you want to spend money on a passion/hobby/interest/goal, instant gratification has got to go. Drop the impulse buys, start saying no to good things–things you like but aren’t as important as your financial goal. Things that don’t go and you do keep spending money on: groceries, rent/mortgage, utility bills, medical expenses, paying off debt and saving for a rainy day.

Because guess what? I was without a full-time job for the better part of last year. That did not fit in the plan. It was SO frustrating to feel like my goals were on hold, not only professionally and personally, but financially, too. The good news? We had a few months of an emergency fund saved, and we had already rearranged our spending habits to live on much less than our income. We tightened up our budget a bit more and had to make some tough decisions, but we were also able to keep the trip savings mostly intact during the time it took to find other employment.

Saving for your goals, for the fun stuff, is important. But making sure you also save for the unknowns is vital. Just like you can’t ignore your passions and dreams, you can’t ignore your responsibilities either when it comes to finances. So, that meant we saved for years and that might not sound very inspiring. But what is inspiring is that we don’t have any debt from that trip so when we took it, we got to completely enjoy it.

There are things in life that come up and I don’t want to pretend that everyone is able to just save and go in a few years. There are big financial commitments, health emergencies and limitations out there that are real. Sometimes I hesitate to even tell these stories because I don’t want it to sound like I take these opportunities lightly. Instead, I hope to encourage and inspire you that with patience and planning, more is achievable than you think.

Travel | Moving Peaces

Money isn’t an easy topic and frankly, writing a series on it is super strange for me. But I know it matters and has an impact, which has compelled me to be open and available for the conversation with anyone who wants to have it.


The Big News

The Big News

2015–this year’s going to be a big one. It will bring change and challenge, questions and joy. I mean it. As much as I haven’t quite figured out all of this year’s goals, I know it will be a big one in our lives. We’ll be coming up on five years of marriage and will have been in North Carolina longer than Iowa in our married life. Change is inevitable in our jobs, as it is with our friendships and families.

Were you expecting something else? Oh, yeah.

It seems like half the people I know are buying houses or having babies. It makes sense, I suppose. It’s the “next step” and I am so, SO excited for all of them. They will all be wonderful parents and homeowners, families and neighbors. I really mean it, too. We’re fortunate to be friends with some amazing people, and I am thrilled for their next steps and adventures.

Our news?Us | Moving Peaces

Well, we love each other a lot. So, we decided it was finally time.

We’re going to…

South America | Moving Peaces


We’ve been wanting to take a trip outside the country for awhile now and have been saving all of our pennies (read: all money from birthdays & Christmases, tax refunds and freelance gigs) for years. So, we finally bought the tickets, and we will be visiting this beautiful country for two weeks this spring!

At first you might say, “Aren’t you looking for a job?” and then question, “Is this really the best timing?”

You are not alone. I had all of these questions and more. But then we thought about a few key things and decided this was the best timing. Things have not all gone according to my plan this past year, but that’s not to say that it hasn’t brought some incredible opportunities along the way. We have been wanting to take a trip to explore the world a little, just the two of us, since we got married. There was always been something else keeping us, whether it was time or money or other logistics (oh I don’t know, like moving halfway across the country).

When you don’t have a job, you suddenly find yourself with a lot more time. As far as money, well, that’s something we’ve been saving for this specific purpose for years now. This last year without a full-time job has been tough and we’ve had to make certain financial sacrifices. But thankfully, we have been debt-free for a few years now and try to maintain a very frugal lifestyle. It’s a bit of a risk because of course we’re hoping that I have a job soon, but one thing I’ve realized this past year is that we don’t know what’s next. When the hubby asked for the time and it was approved, we decided to just jump at the chance and hope for the best with whatever else is to come this year.

Okay, so why two weeks in Argentina?

Why not? Alright, I know that’s not the answer you were looking for. To some, this seems like a lavish trip and to others in might seem like a small vacation, no big deal. Sure, I wish we could go for a month or more, but the reality is this is still more time than most people get to take all at once. I was able to study abroad twice when I was in college and knew then that it was not something everyone got to do or an opportunity that would present itself again. I feel similarly about this. Of course there are people who travel all over the world and have these awesome experiences, but to us, this is a big deal. This is something we’ve been dreaming about for a while. We see it as an opportunity to explore a different culture, see some different scenery and really invest in our marriage through a unique experience.

As to the location itself, we’ve heard a lot of good things and think it looks like a beautiful part of the world to see. It gives us a chance to brush up on some of that high school Spanish, see an epic waterfall and explore a continent neither of us have ever been to. We’re still figuring out what else might be in store during our time there but are also open to just finding out a bit while we get there.

That said, we’d love to hear any tips or suggestions should you know the area! We’re really excited about this, and I look forward to sharing about it more with you!



Thursday Three

Well hey there. What a week to review. It’s pretty hard to top a week of vacation, so obviously, I didn’t. This week has been fairly stressful in an odd assortment of ways but the weather has been beautiful, albeit pollen-filled. For those of you who don’t live in North Carolina, you should know that when I say pollen-filled air, I mean you can literally see it. Giant yellow pollen dust clouds that leave a visible layer on everything outdoors.


1. The more rushed a person is to seal a deal, the less I trust them. For a whopping 24 hours there was some sort of freelance deal that I was a part of that made my head spin. I was sooo glad it didn’t come to fruition in the end. Business can be funny and sometimes it is hard to know who to trust. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what can be considered acceptable business practices and where the line should be. I’ll own up to being a millennial wanting to find meaning in my work, but I won’t apologize for it. So, what kind of business do I want to be a part of and represent? What are the red flags and why do they seem so alarming? What motivates the decisions?

2. You’re not in it all alone. Sometimes I take on the weight of everything happening around me. I wouldn’t recommend it. For a few days this past week I’ve just felt frantic in my stress. Sure, they were stressful things, but it’s not all up to me to handle alone. This is why we have friends and family and a God who cares for us. It’s not worth me hanging on to all the things that wear me down.

3. Saving up always pays. I’ve mentioned money things once or twice before, but I’ll give you a little more background. When we got married, we did the Financial Peace University video series with Dave Ramsey. To be honest, I think anyone who does the class should take it with a grain of salt. At the core, it’s a decent system though, one that encouraged us to pay off our school loans quicker and save up an emergency fund. It wasn’t always easy or fun and meant a lot of saying “no” to things. But it has enabled us to live with so much more freedom and flexibility. It allowed us to move without having jobs lined up and provides us with a buffer when we need it. Would I sometimes rather travel the world and worry about the money later? Heck yes. Instead we’re slowly putting money away to take a big trip in a few years. Neither of us have super high-paying jobs, but we live within our means and save what we can. All that to say, I am so grateful for this mentality to save for a rainy day. Because it will rain, but now we don’t have to live in fear of that day.

Less is More

There are things I want. And sometimes I want them now. Or at least, I think I want them now.

I could blame it on our culture and say the world has convinced us that instant gratification is the way to go, the way to be. But really, my own selfish desires get in the way as I think I can get my way now, just because I want to.

We don’t know what the future holds, and we can’t and we won’t. We can dream. We can hope. We can try to prepare. But it might still mean an entirely different life than we first imagined. All of that’s okay, but we’re going to have to wait it out.

With that waiting, must come discipline. I’m talking particularly about our finances. A little less than a year ago, we kissed debt goodbye and were able to save, allowing us the possibility to make this move across the country. While in the past few months our budget has been all over the place, we are going to buckle down now and save whatever we can. I can’t say that I totally love it, but I think it will be worth it…not now, but later. To me, it feels like we’ve already been living the life of a frugal young couple. In some ways, we have, but it’s time to make some serious sacrifices.

This means living with less. Less trips to the grocery store just to grab some ice cream or a chocolate bar. Less impulse buys at H&M. Less eating out. Less scouring craigslist “just because.” Less Groupon purchases. Less “needs” at Target. Less waste. Less chasing after empty promises of a better image or “success.”

It also means more. Living with more intention. More meal planning. More trips to Goodwill, Aldi and the dollar store. More research on our purchases. More thought about what’s at stake down the road in lieu of another $20 item at Target. More working together to meet our goals. More creativity. More opportunities to give. More opportunities to live.