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Travel

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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Small Tips for Holiday Travel

  If you are getting ready to travel this holiday season, you’ve probably researched flights, hotels, and rental cars. It’s so easy to get caught up in the big things that you may forget to do some of the little things that can add up and save lots of money. If you are getting ready to hit the road, consider these small tips before you leave. Turn Down the Thermostat-Don’t forget to turn your thermostat down when you leave for a trip. You don’t want to turn the heat off in case it gets cold enought for your pipes to freeze, but you don’t need to heat the house for your furniture and clothes when you’re gone. We usually turn ours down in the fifties. It doesn’t usually get that cold in our house because we have a good amount of passive solar heat, but even if it did, things wouldn’t freeze. Bring Snacks- I especially like to bring snacks for the airport. Since you are a captive audience, they can charge whatever they want.  This also works well for road trips. Convenience stores can be almost as expensive as airports unless you are getting the 2/$1 chili dogs that have most ...

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