Travel Hacking to St. Maarten (With Pictures)

st maarten 17

Me. In My Bathing Suit. You’re Welcome

If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely love beaches.  Of course, not all beaches are created equal.  I love the soft, white sand found on the beaches of the Florida panhandle, for example, but I prefer the crystal clear water you find in the Caribbean.  Bonus Points for a soft, sandy bottom you can walk on, but Super Bonus Points for nooks and crannies where I can snorkel.

All beaches are different yet beautiful in their own way, and I truly enjoy any moment I can spend on one – anywhere. [Read more…]

You Should Never Pay Full Price for a Vacation

A plane coming into the airport near Sonesta Maho Beach.

A plane coming into the airport near Sonesta Maho Beach.

Yesterday, I turned 35-years old, and today I’m on a plane heading to St. Maarten to celebrate.  I’m really excited, and not only because I’ve never been to St. Maarten, but because we are heading to a brand new resort that just opened on December 25th.

We are only staying for five days, but we plan to make the most of it by spending quality time together, snorkeling, and probably eating and drinking more than we should.  My plane lands at 2:00 p.m. EST and I cannot wait to take off these winter clothes and ease right into vacation mode. [Read more…]

December Budget Breakdown and Savings Updates

xmassweaterGood morning, thriftaholics.  I honestly cannot believe that it is December already.  Where did this year go?  It seems like I was just plotting out our goals for 2014!  Craziness.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with how our year went both financially and personally.  We did really awesome when it came to creating a zero-sum budget each month, and we were able to stick to our plan the vast majority of the time (aside from at least one epic budget fail).  [Read more…]

Epic Budget Failure: When Everything Goes Wrong

failedI try to be an open book about our budgeting process.  For example, I post our monthly zero-sum budget each month and do my best to share the ups and downs as the month goes on.

And most of the time, there is honestly nothing exciting to report.

Sure, we occasionally dip into our miscellaneous category for excess grocery spending here and there.  And yes, we are sometimes stuck eating boxed food and can goods for a few days towards the end of the month.  And everyone once in a while I forget to budget for some random expense and end up transferring an additional $50 over into my account to pay for it.  [Read more…]

Frugal Travel: Where Would You Go for Five Days?

The view from the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto...

The view from the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto…

Do you ever think about where in the world you would travel if you had an unlimited amount of money and time?  I’ll tell you were I would go.

First of all, I’ve always wanted to go to the Maldives and I know the clock is ticking since it is basically sinking into the ocean.  And second, I would probably go to see the Great Pyramid of Giza because I think it’s crazy.  Other regions of the world I want to visit include nearly all of Europe that I haven’t seen, the Norwegian Fjords, basically all of Iceland, and several regions in South America.  Of course, parts of Asia would make the list as well.  I would love to go to Thailand, for example, and I have always wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors in China. <Fun Fact: I am slightly obsessed with the Terracotta warriors> [Read more…]

Trip Report: Europe On a Budget

We placed our lock on the Pont des Arts bridge.  That means he's mine FOREVA

We placed our lock on the Pont des Arts bridge. That means he’s mine FOREVA

As I shared a few weeks ago, Greg and I recently went on a credit card rewards-fueled vacation across the pond.  And now that we’re back, I thought I would share how the trip went down and, more importantly, how much we spent.  Let’s start at the beginning. [Read more…]