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Travel

Why I’ll Never Move to Florida

As a bit of a break from personal finance today, I’ll share a story from my past. All of our experiences shape the person we are today. From this experience, I certainly learned lots about myself and that I never want to move to Florida! In the final year of optometry school, students chose internship sites throughout the country to complete their training. It’s kind of like having a job, except you have to write up all kinds of case reports and still pay tuition. My Mom was super excited because she just knew her baby was coming home. Any true respecting Southerner would go back to their hometown, find a couple of internship sites within driving distance, and go home and eat Mom’s cooking. I really think she must have dropped me on my head when I was little, because all I wanted to do was go somewhere I’d never been. Mom took it personally, and just like with my trip to Hollywood, she just knew I was going to be maimed or killed out in the big ole’ world.

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Back from Spring Break

We made it home from a great trip this past week. We got to visit the Grand Canyon, camp in a cute cabin at the KOA, and hang out in Phoenix in the wonderful 90 degree weather. I  It was so nice we decided to stay an extra day. We also visited the zoo, a wild animal park,  and got in some quality pool time. I almost had my head taken off by a swooping owl at the bird show! It’s good to be home, but winter weather is supposed to head back in this week. I’m going to freeze for sure.

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Camping at the KOA

Do you love to take trips, but hate paying for hotels? Love the outdoors, but aren’t one for roughing it? Well, you could churn some credit cards to get free accommodations, but if you are paying off debt or into saving money, you could learn to love the KOA. What is the KOA? Kampgrounds of America was founded by a business man named Dave Drum in 1962. He was inspired when he saw people heading for the Seattle World’s Fair and he set up a campground on his land by the Yellowstone River in Monata. He offered showers, restrooms and a small store. KOA turned into a franchise and now has over 450 campgrounds in North America. KOA’s vary in ammenities and locations. There is actually a KOA right by Circus Circus in the heart of Las Vegas, and there are many, many more in rural and remote places. While all have the same showers, restrooms, and stores as the original, many offer unique experiences like staying in tee pees or train cars. Some even offer free pancake breakfasts or live entertainment.

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Credit Cards Are Giving Me a Free Vacation

One spectacular advantage of having no credit card debt is that you can use your credit cards as a tool to earn money and rewards for your family. If done correctly, using credit cards to pay your regular and necessary expenses can net you hundreds of dollars in free money. While you can use free money for anything, we’ve earmarked ours for travel. I’ve learned over the years that many things we purchased during our spending frenzy were not really meaningful. As we’ve changed our habits, I realize that vacations and sharing experiences is a very valuable commodity to our household. Now that we are walking the financial straight and narrow, we are going to let credit cards pay for our upcoming vacation. No, we aren’t charging the vacation on credit, but the credit companies are going to pay us to travel. Here’s how. Disclaimer If you currently carry a balance on your credit cards or are not able to use credit within your means, you first need to find out how to break the debt cycle. Once you make your way out of consumer debt, I totally get the need to use cash for everything if you don’t want ...

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My Most Memorable Christmas

  Over the years, I have had some wonderful Christmas memories, from the time Santa  visited a family reunion when I was a kid, to our holiday visit to Italy as an adult, to seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes with my own daughter.  However, the most memorable Christmas was the year when we almost spent the holiday in our car on Interstate 40. My husband and I don’t live near our families. Over the years, it has worked best to spend Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine. We live in Colorado and my family is in Kentucky, about 1600 miles away. We usually fly, but if the airlines are too pricey, we don’t care to drive. If you have enough time, road trips can be really fun. About ten years ago, we were in the midst of driving across the country, when we  hit frigid temperatures and an ice storm in Arkansas. If you’ve never experienced winter weather in the Southern US, it works like this: It usually isn’t cold enough to last long, so they just wait until it melts. Why bother the plows? Everyone stays home until it melts. No one expects anything different. Arkansas ...

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