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Life Updates

Glenwood Springs tourist attractions

Hanging Lake, CO

Hopefully today, I’m hiking up to Hanging Lake or biking along the Colorado River. Jim had a work trip this week and we are joining him for a little mini-vacation. Sometimes the best vacations are in your own backyard! I thought this would be a good chance to share some life updates. I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat.

Foster Dog Update

Foster dog Blake got adopted right before Memorial Day. We usually give adoptions a few weeks to make sure they stick, and it looks like this one is a done deal. His new family loves him and have renamed him Dobby after the house elf in Harry Potter. I would be lying if I said I didn’t almost have a mini panic attack turning him over to strangers. They had a big dog with a history of aggression toward other alpha dogs. This dog was not a alpha, so we were hopeful. I still had dreams about Blake getting ripped to shreds. It seems they get along fine and my fears were for nothing. It’s so good not to be a foster failure!

Saver Express Probably is a Scam

If you remember, Jim and I went to a vacation club presentation last year to get two free flights and a hotel stay. The promotion made it sound like we could go anywhere in the US. In actuality, the rules were a bit more complicated,and we had to pay a deposit and choose two possible destinations greater than 45 days apart. Then, we had to ย wait until a month before our requested dates to find out if our trip was approved. Well, neither of our first two picks were available. We chose Albuquerque to San Francisco in April as our first choice and ABQ to Philadephia in June as our second pick. The letter that denied us said we would have better luck if we chose a destination that is not across the country. I do agree that Philly is cross country, but NM to CA would all seem to be in the West to me. I guess I never was that great at geography.

I emailed the company to ask if we could just take the hotel stay and provide our own transportation. ย I was told that wasn’t possible. The rep encouraged us to cancel and take back our $100 fee that was required for our “free” trip. I think that’s how they play the game. Deny people and hope we’ll cancel. Since I am determined to play this out, I requested two new destinations and am back to the waiting game. Maybe it would work better if we lived near a hub airport? Anyway, it’s much easier just to use points and miles for free travel. I would never do this again.

I’ve Been Working Too Much

Because I’m pretty much a part time doc these days, I get asked to fill in when other docs I work with take vacation. A few months ago, this sounded great. Now, it’s not so fun. I know it’s a first world problem to be complaining about working full time, but when you’ve been 3 days a week for over a year, it’s hard to go back. The good news is that I will have quite a bit more income once summer is done. The bad news is that I am not getting to spend as much time with my daughter as I thought I would.

This summer has really made me think about priorities. ย I really want to be financially independent so I won’t have be a yes man to every extra day of work that comes my way. I can side hustle all I want, but my day job still pays much better than anything I’ve found. I feel like a hypocrite to turn down more money. Maybe if we had fewer bills, I’d be better about it?

Investing VS Paying Off Our House

I know I’ve been worse than a politician when it comes to flip-flopping and the great debate about paying off our mortgage. On paper, it makes so much more sense to sock away as much as we can into my solo 401K for the tax benefits. In reality, if we had no mortgage, I could probably quit work today. I’m not saying I would, but I could work much less. If I wait 6 to 8 more years, as our current mortgage payoff plan dictates, my kiddo will be a teenager and probably won’t need me around so much. Looking from another perspective, if I was home every day now, would we take our time for granted and feel like we had more fun when I worked more?

If we put all my income into paying off the mortgage, I think we could do it in 2 years, but we’d lose those investments and pay lots more in taxes. What is the right choice? I’m sure all working mothers have this dilemma. I guess until the house is paid off, we’ll keep having this discussion,whether that’s 2 or 8 years. I hope you don’t get tired of my wishy-washiness!

Great Posts From This Week

If you need a bit more reading, check out these posts.

Seeking Our Definition of Financial Independence at Color Me Frugal

How to Streamline Your Side Hustle at Young Adult Money

Financial Fitness Steps From My Kid at Financially Blonde

What’s going on in your life? Any big decisions on the horizon?

Image: Wikipedia Commons

About 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.


  1. Sorry to hear about the issue with Saver Express, it does seem like it is a scam especially as how can they consider ABQ to San Fran cross country? That is a tough call on the house vs. 401k. I think you could argue both sides and do well, so I can understand how it wouldn’t be an easy decision. We don’t have any big decisions on the horizon, we’re just slammed with work. I guess that’s a good problem to have. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • It is a good problem to have, and I don’t ever want to seem ungrateful. I just hoped summer would be more relaxing that it has been up to this point.

  2. Hanging Lake looks so beautiful! I hope you have a lovely time, and forget about the work overload and travel scams. I wouldn’t mind extra work if it were seasonal, but understand that it is not ideal when the days are beautiful and you just want to enjoy summer with your family.

    • The weather was crappy when I said yes to extra days. I will have to remember that next year if I’m in the same situation. The reality is that I have enjoyed being in the office more and seeing some of my old patients, but I want to be home more as well. If only I could clone myself!

  3. I sometimes pass up on “free” opportunities because there are too many hoops to jump through. I agree that I think they set it up so people just give up on the idea. They are banking on that. Good for you for sticking it out. I’m debating a couple things this summer. I’d like to do some kind of documentary, but I don’t know about what subject, or how I would set the whole thing up. I also am considering learning more web stuff through Lynda.com as a way of earning more down the road, but at the same time also considering learning the Ukulele, something I’ve always wanted to do. My producer has one I can borrow, and I was thinking of just trying to learn through low cost apps. No harm, no foul. I’m such a libra! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Here’s what I’d work through with clients back in “the day” that had a similar situation: find out how much you need to put into the 401k to make sure your retirement plan is on pace, THEN sock the rest into the mortgage. You’re then choosing to not give up your long term goals for short-term wins….which should give you the best of both worlds.

    • If I could only know for certain when I want to retire. I can’t see myself working until my late 60’s but who knows? When I figure that out, it will make things lots easier.

  5. That’s great that the foster dog found a good new home! Always good to hear.

    We were actually thinking about doing Hanging Lake, but they don’t allow dogs ๐Ÿ™ So we had to take it off our list.

    • It would have been a crazy trail for dogs, super steep and very rocky with people going up and down. They also seem very strict about not allowing people in the water. I’m sure dogs would jump right in and that would certainly take some of the serenity out of the place.

  6. The picture of Hanging Lake looks amazing Kim! I live less than a mile from a large state park and I love when I can take advantage of it since it is right in my backyard. The other day I realized I was working like a crazy person and had not taken a break, so I stopped everything and went on a 5 mile walk and it was the greatest “gift” I had given myself in a while. And I hear you on the working vs. financial independence. I love working, but I can’t wait to have the flexibility on how hard I work. Thank you for sharing my post this week!! Have an awesome weekend!!

    • It is so easy to get caught up in the crazy person mode. I have been there way too much lately. We did the hike up to Hanging Lake today, and it was amazing. It was like finding a hidden gem for sure. I need to slow down more and enjoy the hidden gems when they come along.

  7. First off, I want to go to that lake. It looks awesome. Second, I agree with the working too much. I need a vacation!

    • You should take a vacation to Colorado and hike up to Hanging Lake. The pictures did not do it justice. Maybe one of the best hikes I’ve ever done.

  8. That lake looks gorgeous! Seems like a nice way to enjoy the weekend. I’m happy to hear Blake was adopted and that everything is going well. It can be hard to pair dogs together; the animal shelter I worked for did meet and greets with other dogs owned by the potential applicants, and you never knew how they would react. I hope your workload decreases a bit! I don’t blame you for wanting more time with your daughter. My mom worked part-time when I was younger, and it was nice to have her there when I got home from school.

    • I love dropping off and picking up from school. I will be so sad when she’s a surly teenager who doesn’t want me to get out of the car!

  9. Thanks for mentioning Cat’s post and also thanks for letting us know about Saver Express. It’s great information to know – for better or for worse – the reality of certain deals/promotions. I have a post coming up soon about taking money out of a 401k to pay down debt and will likely do a similar one about investing money versus paying down debt. It’s an interesting topic for sure!

  10. Max out the 401k, that will save taxes. Then pay of the mortgage.

  11. Hanging Lake looks SO beautiful, Kim!! Hope you have a great weekend. I’d pay off the mortgage if I were you, but that’s just me. ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW, I think we found a good eye doc up here!! Took the little kids in last week, and Maddie and I are going in this week. We’ll see.

  12. Oh, forgot to add how excited I am that Blake found a good home – yay!

  13. Oh you look after foster dogs? How wonderful. We’ve been thinking of fostering Standard Poodles, but hubster says he thinks he will get too attached. It could be a blessing in disguise because we kind of want to get another one anyways. We’ve been putting it off due to debt and expenses. I feel like I flip flop about the dog like you do about your mortgage / investments! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • We’ve fostered a few times and usually end up keeping the dog because we do get attached. I think we are to a point where we want to travel as much as possible and having multiple dogs makes that very hard. We really were determined to find this one a good home, and we did. I feel better about my abilities in the future because this one worked out really well.

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