Home > Author Archives: Kim Parr

Author Archives: Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

Family Trip To Europe With Points and Miles

Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

This post is part two in a series about how I’m taking a family trip to Europe with the help of points and miles. If you are not into travel rewards, feel free to go back and read about debt or retirement. Part 1: My Ambitious Plan To Get 3 People To Europe With Points and Miles When when we last discussed this trip, my family was booked on flights from Durango, Colorado to Boston, then from Boston to Dublin. Now that we’re across the pond, the real fun begins. Let me say, it’s very hard to find basic hotel rooms in Europe that accommodate more than two people. You can’t even sneak in a cot. It’s a money making scheme fire safety rule that you have to either upgrade to a suite or pay for two rooms if you have a family. Since we ARE NOT putting our daughter in a room by herself, I’ve almost made my eyes bleed doing research to find hotels that we can book with points and be able to have 3 people in a room. Some of them are not right in the main tourist center, but that’s OK. It will give us ...

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How Many Years Of Retirement Will That Cost?

Spending can cost years of retirement

Obviously I have retirement on the brain lately. Turning 40 will do that to a person! Even though we probably have at least a decade before pulling the trigger, I’m already thinking about where we’d like to live and what sort of life we’d like to have when 9-5 doesn’t matter anymore. One rule that I’ve also tried to practice since we started down the correct financial path is to look at today’s purchases and think about how they will impact the future. A good exercise I would recommend for everyone is to ask how many years of retirement will that cost? Thinking Long Term Especially with recent events in my family, I want to enjoy every day and live in the here and now. That doesn’t mean I’m not always thinking about the future. A huge reason people stay in debt or can’t save money is that they live too much in the present. While it might be fun to finance that huge flat TV to watch football this winter, what is that worth in retirement years? If you don’t want to work until you drop, it’s time to start thinking long term. How Many Years Common Purchases Cost ...

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How To Afford Fun On A Budget

affording fun when paying off debt

You’ve finally done it. The whole family is on spending lockdown while putting as much money as possible toward a goal. That goal might be paying off debt, saving for a big expense, or even early retirement. Since most of us can do basic math, it makes sense that every dollar not going toward this goal means a longer journey. It’s exciting at first, but what if your journey takes months or even years to achieve? Should you cut out all unnecessary spending for the duration? I believe there are ways to still afford fun while on on a budget, even if you have some expensive hobbies. Can You Cut All Unnecessary Spending? I have often said that we cut out all unnecessary spending while paying off debt, but that’s not true. What if you want to save money, yet love to buy expensive coffee, go golfing, do legal online gambling? In our case, we still went out to eat. We gave gifts. We even took a vacation in the middle of debt payoff ground zero. If you cut out all unnecessary spending, then you’re eating for sustenance only, drinking water, and walking to work every day. For most of ...

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Where Is The Best Place To Retire?

Delicate Arch in Moab, UT

A few years ago, we were in so much debt that the thought of retirement was as far away as Siberia. We drank the Kool Aid, worked really hard to keep up with our payments, and had distant hope that we’d eventually get to quit the work force, maybe by age 65 if we were lucky. Well, the philosophy that society holds as normal is just bunk. There are many ways to retire early. They all involve what some might call sacrifice, but if living below your means, purposeful spending, and doing without all the latest and greatest is sacrifice, then I’m in 100%. Now that we can see retirement on the horizon, I’m wondering, where is the best place to retire? Our Retirement When I say retirement, I don’t necessarily mean not working. I will consider us retirement eligible when our rental and passive income can cover our monthly expenses. That should happen in about 5-7 years, depending on how fast we decide to pay off our house. At that point, we’ll probably continue to work, at least until our daughter graduates from high school in another 11 years. After that, we can choose to stay put or move ...

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October Goals Update

Fall color in Telluride Colorado

There have been a few goal posts lately as we’ve entered the last quarter of 2014. It’s always fun to see how others have done toward their goals. As I’m about to put my 40th year on this earth to bed, it’s time to see how I’m doing with my goals. 2014 Goals 1) Set up a solo 401k and contribute 25% of my income.  Pass One of the great benefits of being self employed is that you can open a solo 401k and contribute more than you’d be able to with a traditional employer sponsored plan.  Since one of the worst things about self employment is taxes, it’s nice to be able to offset as much income as possible into a tax deferred account. With a solo 401k, you can contribute the standard $17,500 PLUS 25% of your income up to $52,000 for people under age 50. I wasn’t able to do that much, but should be right on track for investing 25% of my income into my solo plan this year. 2) Max out our family HSA. Pass This year we decided to invest our HSA into Vanguard funds. We don’t plan on touching this money until retirement ...

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