Travel

Would You Move To A Completely New Place?

Would You Move To A Completely New Place?Last year here on Making Sense of Cents, I talked a lot about us buying a new home. However, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we have not bought a new home yet. Some of you have even emailed me asking if something went wrong.

So, what gives? Why haven’t we bought a house yet even though the plan was for us to buy one in 2013?

Well, the thing is, we don’t know what we want to do. Do we want to stay here in St. Louis? Do we want to move to Memphis where W’s parents just moved? Do we find an entirely new place that has awesome weather and is beautiful?

Now that we are both location independent (because of the business), we can really live anywhere as long as we can afford it. We don’t have to feel stuck in any one area. We have a lot of options and a lot of things to think about, so we are trying to take our time and not rush the process.

There are many different factors that we are thinking about:

 

Living where you are comfortable and have a life already.

We have both lived in St. Louis for a very long time. I lived in Chicago for a little bit when I was younger (from the ages of around 8 to 13), but for the most part I have always been here in St. Louis.

Many people have asked me why I would even want to live in St. Louis. Well, I like it here! It’s affordable, there are outdoorsy things to do, all my friends are here, I grew up here, and it’s a great place to eventually raise a family.

However, I have lived in St. Louis for all of my adult life, and it sometimes makes me wonder if I am missing out by not moving somewhere else and trying something new.

I wish I could just pick up my friends and move them with me honestly! A recent article on Newlyweds on a Budget pretty much summed up what I’m afraid of – leaving my awesome friends and being lonely wherever we move to.

 

Moving to save money.

St. Louis is a cheap place to live. However, there are even cheaper places to live. We were looking at homes in Memphis, and the homes are incredibly cheap. They are a great value compared to what you can get in many other cities, including St. Louis.

I will say that I am not interested in moving to a place where housing is super expensive. Just can’t do it. I’m too cheap :) I like my low cost of living cities.

 

Moving for the perfect weather.

Hawaii would be amazing, but it’s expensive. If you are interested in Hawaii (many people are), I recommend that you read Budget and the Beach’s article The Cost of Living in Paradise, and also Young Adult Money’s article Why Living in Hawaii Sucks.

We’ve ruled Hawaii out of our list (it’s expensive and far away), but we are now thinking about Florida. I’ve been reading a lot about it, and there are many positives, but also many negatives that I found as well. If you live in Florida, tell me what you think about where you live!

 

Moving somewhere to be closer to family.

W’s family moved to Memphis earlier this year, and we have been thinking about following them there. My sister is planning on moving to Chicago, and once that happens I won’t have any other family here in St. Louis. We will have W’s side of the family here still, but we still want to be closer to his parents and his younger siblings.

 

Do you plan on moving eventually? Maybe for retirement? Why or why not? 

 

Are Rewards/Bonus Credit Cards Right For You?

Are Rewards/Bonus Credit Cards Right For You? We have a lot of expenses coming up in the next few months (wedding, home repairs/renovations, travel, etc.), and because of that we are looking into new credit cards to apply for so that we can take advantage of better rewards and new bonuses.

It seems like using credit cards for a reward/bonus is becoming more and more popular. However, is it for everyone? I think there are advantages to using credit cards, but there are also disadvantages.

Side note: I also think that credit cards can be used responsibly. If you want to learn more about how to use credits cards responsibly, read my staff post on Credit Walk about How To Use Credit Cards Responsibly.

 

Positives of using credit cards:

Credit cards are easy to use.

Credit cards are not hard to use. All you have to do is pull it out of your wallet and the exact amount will be swiped. No need to look for change or carry any coins.

You also don’t have to worry about losing your credit card as much as losing cash (you still shouldn’t try to lose anything though). If you lose cash, then it’s pretty much just lost forever. However, if you lose your credit card then you are mostly protected as long as you report it right away.

You also have credit card protection. You can dispute a charge with your credit card company if the place where you bought something from won’t refund your money.

 

You can earn points for normal spending.

Using your credit card means that you can gain points and get things for free or cheap such as airplane tickets, gift cards, hotels, cash, etc., all for using your credit card. If you are going to pay for something anyways, then you might as well get something for free out of it, right?

Credit cards can be used to pay for many things – almost everything you can think of besides your mortgage. We have a lot of expenses coming up, and using credit cards can be a way to get something back in return.

We have around $10,000 in wedding costs that can all be put on our credit cards, a few thousand in expected travel, and probably a few thousand in home repairs/renovations. All of that adds up very quickly!

 

Easier way to track your transactions.

I like credit cards because I can easily track my transactions and see where my money has gone. With cash, I always find myself wondering what I spent all my money on.

 

Disadvantages of using credit cards:

Credit cards are easy to use.

Yup, I have this on both the advantages and disadvantages side of my debate. Credit cards may mean that you spend more because it’s there. It can be easy to get approved for a really high balance on a credit card.

Recently, I was approved for a high limit on a credit card – $30,000. I don’t even know why I was approved for such a high limit.

Can I afford $30,000 worth of credit card debt? NO! I don’t want that either. If someone who can’t control their credit card spending had a $30,000 limit, they might go crazy and buy everything.

 

Increased use to reach spending levels.

Many people find themselves spending more in order to reach a bonus, such as if you have to spend $3,000 within the first 3 months in order to qualify for a bonus. If you weren’t normally going to spend $3,000, then the bonus is not worth it.

 

Some stores charge a fee for using a credit card.

Not many places do this, but some companies do charge a fee if you want to use a credit card for purchases. The fee is usually around 4% or 5%, which then makes using a credit card almost always pointless (unless you have an amazing rewards program) because you won’t be earning the same amount in rewards back.

Also, some places will even give a discount on purchases if you use cash, so in these cases cash would most likely be best.

 

Possibility of hurting your credit score.

If you don’t use credit cards correctly, it can lead to it decreasing and possibly ruining your credit score. There are correct ways to use your credit card:

  • Always pay your bills on time.
  • Try to pay the full balance each month if you can.
  • Watch your utilization rate.

Do you have any rewards credit cards? Why or why not?

 

February Goals – Making and Keeping Them

Dad

 

Hey everyone! I found the picture to the left the other day in a photo album.

My dad LOVED taking photos and I still remember when we would go to the store all the time to buy a new photo album for all of the pictures that he would get developed.

I didn’t really think about it when I was younger, but I’m so glad that he took the time to leave me all of these photo albums (our guest bedroom and living room are filled with albums – there are probably around 100 or more).

I found this picture of us on an airplane (flying planes was his other love) and I can’t stop looking at it. Love you and miss you always Dad!

Anyway, I hope everyone had a fun weekend. No, I did not watch the Super Bowl. I feel like I’m the only one who didn’t but I never watch it so that’s nothing new :) Today is also W’s birthday! Happy Birthday!

January was another great month. It started off slow business-wise, but the last two weeks were definitely good.

Make sure to come back tomorrow for my monthly income update. I published my 2014 goals post last month. Read about them here.

Now that it’s February, some of you might have already forgotten about your 2014 goals. Many people drop their goals within the first month. However, don’t be one of those people!

Here are my tips to keep your goals.

  • Don’t push your goal off. It’s so easy to say “Oh, I’ll take today off.” However, whenever I do that, that almost always leads to me pushing it off the next day and the next day.
  • Keep track of your goals. Keeping track of your goals can be a great motivator. Keep a journal, start a blog, have a friend help out or find another way.
  • Don’t make too many goals. I’ve met many people who make so many goals that I don’t even know how it’s possible to remember all of them. If you have so many goals to accomplish within the next year, then they must not be very hard (how else are you going to reach your 1,000 goals for 2014, unless they are super easy?) or you are just hoping for an extremely successful year. There is nothing wrong with that, but I do feel that focusing on just a few large goals is usually best for most people.
  • Your goals should be realistic. Are your goals even attainable? If your goal isn’t attainable, then you may completely give up midway through.

 

January Goals Update

  1. Keep our food budget under $400 and meal plan. PASS. We have been doing great with this. In the past 8 days, we only went out to eat one time. That’s not a big deal for some, but for us it is. We have been eating at home more, eating tastier meals, and have been eating more healthy.
  2. Make $10,000 in business income this month. PASS. It wasn’t one of my best months, but it was a good one.
  3. Book the caterer and wedding rentals. PASS. We haven’t finalized the contract with the caterer, but we do know who we are using. We also paid for our wedding rental deposit as well. Read my crazy wedding rant from the other day if you haven’t yet.
  4. Run 3 miles, 5 days a week. PASS. I did great with this!
  5. Get completely organized for personal/business taxes. FAIL. I definitely did not get completely organized for my taxes. I plan on doing that this month though. I did gather everything together and throw it all in a pile though :) Better than nothing, right?

 

February Goals

  1. Keep our food budget under $400. This will always be on my monthly goals so that we don’t forget. We have been doing really well with this the past few months.
  2. Make $10,000 in business income this month. I’m hoping that February is a good month. I have many plans!
  3. Finalize the wedding invitations. This is something that I haven’t really started yet. I need to make the invitations and have them ready to go. I will probably send them out in early April. Does that sound like a good time for an early June wedding? I already sent out Save the Dates so everyone already knows when the date is.
  4. Find tuxes. We plan on finding our tuxes this month. We plan on renting sleek black tuxes, but I also don’t want to break the groomsmen’s budgets.
  5. Run 4 miles, 5 days a week. I increased this a little bit. I also plan on partnering this with T-25 again and some lifting. I love having a full gym in our basement! The high cost in the beginning of buying everything for our home gym has definitely paid off.

 

How did you do in January? What is your main goal for February?

What tips do you have to keep your goals?

 

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