Month: September 2014

September 2014 Recap

September was fabulous, but it always is. It started in London where I got to spend a evening with my cousin. I haven’t seen her in years and it was so fun to catch up. Then to Scotland! What a beautiful country. I’ve never met so many nice people in a row! If you have the chance to go to Scotland, go. It’s the best.

Shortly after we got home, my dear friend got married. The ceremony was so sweet. In a wonderful sequence of events, she met her husband at Hubs and my wedding. 5 years ago, she introduced me to Hubs.  Can the circle of introductions get anymore awesome than that? I submit that it cannot.

I had my final 5k of the summer this month. I didn’t have time to train properly over the last month so I didn’t know how I’d do. Well! With the help of an incredibly fast course,  gorgeous scenery, leaves in full color and a great support system, I took 1:56 of my PR time! *happy dance*

In the biggest news on the blog this month, after your encouragement on my 7 Facts about Me Versatile Blogger post, I came out to Hubs! At first he didn’t care. After 24 hours, he’s been nothing but supportive. He’s read all of my posts and some of my tweets! Sometimes he uses my own words against me, but I’ll take it. A happy supportive husband makes for a happy supported me!

….now to the numbers!

Debt Progress

End of August Debt: $27,594

End of September Debt: $25,485

That’s $2109 paid off this month!

It is kind of surreal how fast these loans are going away. When I signed up for these loans back in 2010, I knew I wanted to pay them back on an accelerated schedule, but I didn’t expect them to go away this fast. I’ve gone from $45,330 in debt to $25,485 in 10 months. That’s $19,845 of debt gone.  Anyone have $155? 🙂

How was your September? 

My Painful Money Mistake

I made a mistake.

It’s my biggest money mistake. It is also my most painful one.

I’ve let this mistake have too much control over me, my emotions and relationships.

I try not to think about it, but it’s really hard to let it go completely. Especially as I’ve been in the throes of paying off my debt mountain, I’m constantly reminded of the money wound I’m trying so desperately to put behind me.

What’s my mistake?

My dad owes me a lot of money.

I stopped counting when it passed $30,000.

The money is a combination of a lot of things: money I advanced on his behalf, a loan I was too naive to understand, work I was never paid for, and things I was told were covered or paid for only to realize that I was stuck with the bill.

I try not to think about how different my life would be if I had that money.

Sometimes I’m amazed with myself that I’ve been able to keep myself afloat. Nearly all of this occurred when I was unemployed (read: working for free because I was never paid), couldn’t work due to law school or couldn’t find work in a tight market.

I’m angry with myself that I kept extending credit.

I’m angry at him for taking advantage of me.

Life has been difficult for him over the last 4 years, but I’m angry at him for making no effort to pay me back.

Everyone around me tells me that I need to let it go, but I can’t.

It makes me feel like my whole relationship with my Dad is a lie.

From conversations with him, I think he believes I only deserve to be paid back if I’m financially struggling. He told me I should stop paying back my student loans so aggressively to free up extra money if I need the money.

Right now, my dad and I aren’t speaking.

I don’t really know what else to do.

Do you have any advice? Have you ever let money wreck a relationship?

UK on a Budget? Part 2: The Results

Well, London and Scotland are amazing. We had such a fantastic time.  We had nearly perfect weather the entire trip, which is pretty unbelievable considering this is Great Britain we are talking about.

Here’s how we did!

What we thought we knew

Lodging

We spent 5 days in London: 3 nights at an AirBnb and 2 with my cousin. We then flew to Scotland, spending 2 nights in Inverness, an unexpected night in Perth followed by 3 nights in Edinburgh.

The 2 nights with my cousins saved us $345 on AirBnb. However, we ran into a little trouble in Scotland. I absentmindedly left our passports in Inverness and didn’t discover this until we were a 2.5 hour drive away. In the process of retrieving them, our car got 2 flat tyres in the middle of nowhere in the beautiful Scotland Highlands.

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We didn’t have enough time to get to Inverness and make our original reservation near Glasgow, so we ended up staying in Perth on our way to Edinburgh. Due to the last minute cancellation and reservation in Perth ($97), we had to pay for both reservations. Ugh.

Expected: $1407       Actual: $1159        

Car Rental

Apparently our payment for the car was not “IN FULL.” When we arrived, there were several extra charges and they didn’t have the GPS I reserved. Thanks Europcar! I was charged an additional $25.15 when I turned in the vehicle.

I’m still waiting to see what I’ll be charged for the 2 tyres.

Expected: $264.04        Actual: $289.17

What we didn’t know

Petrol

I guessed high, but I guessed right. Even with our extra 3 hour drive across the highlands, we only used 1 tank of Petrol.

Estimate $100.    Actual: $95.74

Activities:

The trip felt like a good mix of splurge and save. We maxed as much free and cheap as we could, but we also spent.

In London, we splurged to ride on the London Eye for £42 or $68. We should have booked our tickets online ahead of time, saving 14%. The website made it seem like buying the tickets online pigeon holes you into a specific time of the day. I think you can go whenever you want once you have the ticket. Oops.

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We also splurged at the O2 Arena. On a whim, we spent £52 or $85 to climb and walk over the O2. It was a perfect day weather wise and standing on top of the O2 provided a beautiful view of London.

In Scotland, we splurged on a bus and boat trip around Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle. It was £49 or $80. We also splurged to go into the Edinburgh Castle.  That was £32 or $52.

Other Activity expenses: Tower Bridge £15.30/ $25, Carnival Freakshow £12/$20, London Olympic Swimming Pool  (MICHAEL PHELPS!) £2/$3.50.

Estimate: $200       Actual: $333.50

Food & Alcohol:

Food was the biggest unknown on the trip, but we didn’t end up breaking the bank. I think I’m an excellent guesser, because we spent $611 on food and alcohol.

Breakfast was included everywhere we stayed. Several days we were able to do lunch for £10 and dinner was typically no more than £20. We caught a break twice on food. First, my cousin treated us to dinner the first night we stayed with her. The second “break” was during our disastrous day. The staff at the Glencoe Visitor’s Centre where we broke down felt bad for us and gave us sandwiches and snacks for dinner (this may have also been our lunch. I’m choosing not to recall this day). This break continued into the next morning where we were still frazzled enough that we forgot to eat breakfast and lunch. That saved a whole day of eating!

As non-foodies, I think we did really well.

Estimate: $600    Actual: $611

Public Transport:

London Tube: We spent $97 on our Oyster Cards. Unfortunately, there is still £5 on both cards. We were planning to turn in our Oyster Cards when we left, but due to a tight train schedule, we couldn’t. That too is worth £5 each. That means there is $32 unclaimed 😦

Thames Clipper: What a fun way to see London! $22 well spent!

Emirates Air line: We combined the Clipper with the Emirates Air Line and it was beautiful. I highly recommend this! $11.

Maximum $180   Actual: $130

Airport Transfers:  

We took the tube in from Heathrow, so I counted that charge above. It cost $30 to take the train to Gatwick. In and out of the Edinburgh Airport on the Tram cost $26.

Estimate $95         Actual: $56

Miscellaneous

Souvies: £4.40 for Harry Potter Buttons from Platform 9 3/4 for my seesters and 2 postcards.

Magazines: £9; Calls: £3.20; Bathrooms: £1.20; Foot Pads £1

Total: $32

Total Estimated Trip Cost: $2846

Total Actual Trip Cost: $2706

Holy Crap! That means we came in under budget. Wahoo!