Turning the Page

I recently had the awesome opportunity to write a guest post for one of my favorite personal finance sites Budgets are Sexy, in which I did a review of my favorite budgeting app YNAB. If you haven’t done so just yet, please check it out! If you’re a new reader as a result of the post, welcome! I hope you enjoy reading the random musings of this cheap dad…


I’m a bit late here, but I hope that everyone had a happy holidays and a wonderful new year! I spent most of the time at home in Southern California. We then spent a week in New Orleans to celebrate New Years with my brother’s family. Traveling with a toddler is a journey in itself! Packing a stroller, carseat along with your bags is madness. The flight was four hours so we did our best to keep Addie entertained with our phones and iPad loaded with Mickey Mouse videos for her. Fortunately, Addie slept a good portion of both flights.

Luggage
Left – Car seat backpacks. Right – All our luggage for four adults and two kids
Let me tell you, that place IS NOT the most baby friendly place. I guess that seems pretty obvious when they have Bourbon Street ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. There’s no place for strollers, everyone smokes, and people seem indifferent to having children around. Yes, I know I sound like a crabby old man. 😉

NOLA

Still, New Orleans was amazing (and exhausting). Vacationing with kids is definitely worlds different than what my wife and I used to do before. Our days would begin at 6 am and end around 8 pm when the kids go to sleep. We went to museums, parks, and coffee shops. We ate and ate and ate. Seriously, I gained like 6 lbs in a week. For New Year’s we celebrated Noon Year’s Eve at the Louisiana Children’s Museum, where instead of counting down to midnight they count down to noon.

Photo Jan 14, 8 14 10 AM
Noon Year’s Eve
Now, to non parents those activities might seem lame compared to a night on the town, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When you’re a parent, you could do the most boring activity, but the second your kid lights up in excitement it’s all worth it. 🙂

NOLA Food.jpg
Some of the yummy food we consumed

Turning the Page
In my last post, I reflected on the past year. This post is about moving forward and “turning the page”. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be tough to be have a productive routine with all the celebrations, gatherings, and whatnot. January is a good time to reset and look at some of the things I want to do. Here are a few of the things I want to accomplish this year:

Professional/Financial Goals

• Get a Job
While I’ve written about how being unemployed hasn’t been too horrible due to the power of the budget, I do need to go back into the workforce eventually if my wife and I want to hit some of our longer term goals (early retirement, funding Addie’s college, paying off our house)

I’ve had a few interviews and callbacks since I was unemployed, but so far nothing has stuck. I just gotta get back into full job search mode again until I eventually land something. Thank you emergency fund for having our backs.

• Start a Side Hustle
I’ve dabbled into some side hustles here and there. Yard sales, craiglist, and credit card sign up bonuses are some of the things I’ve done before to make a few bucks. I’d like to figure out something I can do on a regular basis to make some additional money when I can. Something that might be a possibility is freelance writing, as I’ve made a few contacts in the past few weeks that might turn into some work.

• Buy Less Crap
I’ve been telling my wife that I “need” a new iPhone to replace my aging iPhone 5s. The reason why I haven’t pulled the trigger? Because in the back of my mind I know that my phone works well enough. Plus, I don’t really wanna drop the equivalent of a mortgage payment on a shiny new iPhone 6s Plus. I want to make sure that most of the things I spend money on line up with what I value most.

Personal Goals

• Become a Better Father/Husband
I’ve been with my wife for 16+ years (married almost 8). Now THAT is a crazy long time. When you’re with someone that long, it can be easy to get too comfortable. It gets especially tough when you have a little one and they come first. When I’m with my two girls I want to put all my energy into taking care of both of them and keeping them happy.

• Go On Another Vacation
My wife and I had such a great time in New Orleans that we want to keep bringing Addie on adventures. While we’re not sure exactly where we wanna go, It most likely will involve flying and a hotel stay somewhere. Maybe I’ll give travel hacking a try to save some serious dough on the trip!

Blogging Goals

• Post More Consistently.
I’d like to get to a point where I’m posting once a week, which is easier said than done. Between looking for a job, and being a father and husband, it’s been a challenge. I don’t know how you bloggers do it. Doing a blog can be an all consuming venture.

• Transition to a Self Hosted Site to allow me to have a lot more control over my blog and the ability to put ads of my choosing instead of the random ones that people see from time to time.

• Network More
I’d like to reach out a little more to other bloggers by commenting on their posts and reaching out using social media. Maybe this shy guy can actually go out to a blog meet up one day? FinCon 2016 perhaps?

Those are only a few of the goals I had in mind for 2016. I know they’re pretty general right now, but I’ll be writing about some of these goals in more detail in the future. I’m sure through the course of the year I’ll add and revise this as I go. While I had a great 2015 (despite the layoff), I look forward to what 2016 will bring!

How about you? What are your goals for 2016? And why did The Martian win Best Picture for Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes? 

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24 thoughts on “Turning the Page

  1. Those are some great goals – good luck! I look forward to hearing about your progress. For me, I just want to pay off my $12k home equity loan. It’s pretty ambitious for my circumstances, but I’m pumped about trying. We’ll see how it goes! I’m armed with YNAB so anything is possible, right?! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Those sound loads of goals, and all really meaningful!! I particularly hope you`ll soon find another job that will inspire and fulfill you. It`s nice to have lots of spare time, particularly when you`ve got children, but unfortunately, most of us cannot completely retire in our 30ties 🙂

    I bought my new phone in a pawnbrokers a couple of weeks ago. Like you, I was wanting it for ages but couldnt justify the price, and then I saw it there in their window for a steal. Do you have pawnbrokers over there?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I took it a little slow during the holidays – but now I’m all in with the job search again! I won’t stop until I find that job that will inspire me. How are you doing? In your blog I don’t think I saw if you ended up taking that job.

      We do have pawn shops – but there’s not a lot in my area (that I know of). There are plenty of places where I could get a good used phone though. I’m just trying to talk myself out of feeling the need to buy a brand new phone. I actually like the small size of my iPhone 5s! Much easier to handle than the bigger phones they sell nowadays. 🙂

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      1. I guess everyone is taking it slow during holidays – employers as well, so chances are nothing would have happened, even if you had kept working at it.

        I landed lucky on 14 December and was offered a part time job (was applying for both, as I`m also studying towards a degree now – I wanted to do sth amazing with my situation that I never would have done without it!), but I`m still waiting for my Police Check to come back, so haven`t started yet.

        I just sold my Galaxy Note 3 (about the same size as large IPhone6) for a smaller phone. When I first got it I thought it was the best thing ever, but believe me, they are a pain to hold during a long telephone conversation, and they don`t fit into your pocket either. You`re so right not to bother and stick with your small one!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to see you back on the keyboard! Traveling with kids is a different experience… makes you start to appreciate how much easier it was before the car seat strapped to your back. And stroller. And all those bags. Makes you wonder why anyone else is crabby all the time. 🙂

    FinCon this year is in San Diego, you have no excuse. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m back!

      One time in New Orleans while I was pushing the stroller someone half opened the door in front of me AND then let it go so the door hit the stroller. So that was awesome. You just realize how much society doesn’t accommodate kids. I know they’re freeloaders and don’t pay for anything, but still 😉

      I am eyeing that San Diego FinCon! I’d have to see where I’m at with a job at that point to see if it’s something I can do. Last year they had a scholarship program for newbie bloggers so I’d like to get in on that if they have it this year. I’m also thinking about signing up for some travel rewards cards so I could stay somewhere in SD for free. It’d be nice to meet you in person!

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  4. I love the idea of “Noon Years Eve.” I’m tempted to celebrate even though I don’t have kids! I think this will be a great year for you. I’m very introverted, but blogging events have been pretty awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Noon Year’s Eve was a blast. There’s quite a few family friendly places that do that (at least in my area) so maybe that’s something you can look into!

      Blogging events do sound pretty fun! It’s been nice so far connecting with a few people to talk all things personal finance.

      Thanks for the kind words!

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  5. Maybe for travel, drive to save on costs! My husband and I drove to New Orleans with our older two daughters back in 2011 and we had a blast! Seattle is another great place to visit, especially Pike Place Market! 🙂

    Here’s to hoping for many adventures for you and your family in 2016!

    (P.S. I’m still working on my versatile blogger post… Anxiously awaiting tax return to purchase a working computer!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seattle is a great place to visit!

      We actually drove to Las Vegas last weekend with our daughter. Drives are tough for us so far. We plan our long drives for when she sleeps. So we did the 4 hour drive from 8pm – 12am both ways. Maybe when she gets a little bigger we can go even longer!

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  6. Vic, I love all the food pics! I’m drooling all over myself. 😉 I’m super impressed you vacationed in NO with the entire family. That takes guts and loads energy…heh.

    Hope to see you at FinCon 2016 in SD. It’s just down the street for ya!

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    1. NOLA probably wasn’t the best place to take a toddler, but we figured that we wouldn’t feel cheated if we ended up not doing too much on her first trip out of the state. All we really wanted to do was eat the food there 🙂

      It did take loads of energy! We didn’t rent a car so we walked EVERYWHERE. Lugged around a huge backpack and my wife carried my daughter for the most part. It was great though!

      FinCon depends on whatever happens with my job situation ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I’m sure if I get a job right before that it might make things difficult to take some time off. I’m already in the process of getting into travel hacking so if anything I should have some free hotel nights lined up by then!

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  7. These are all great goals! Job searches are often a slow process, but I have no doubt that you will find something soon. Good luck! I

    I like how you were able to recognize that you don’t need the iPhone. It shows that you have all of your financial ducks in a row so to speak. I look forward to reading some more posts and following along with your achievements!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Madison!

      I’m not too worried about the job – I’m sure something will come up. Until then I’m enjoying the time with my daughter.

      I don’t need an iPhone, but sometimes I feel like I want one! haha. It’s one of the reasons why I put it in the post, to put it out there that it’s not super necessary for me. I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite if I buy one next week! Unless my phone craps out on me then a shiny new phone is fair game 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Forgot one last thing…congrats on your great guest post! I was in the hospital this past week (Yay for great health insurance) and had fun passing the time reading your AWESOME article. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope everything was ok with your hospital stay!

      Thanks! J$ was one of the reasons why I started to blog so it was an honor to be on his site. He has such a natural and funny style of writing that I figured if a guy like that can write a blog, maybe I can too! Now, I’m not saying I’m better than J$ (or as good), but I was so used to reading finance articles with no personality. To me, he made reading about finance fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. OH my goodness, your food pictures (and all of your pictures are fantastic)! I honestly told my fiance I want to go to NOLA just so we can eat – is that terrible? It just looks incredible lol!

    Also, P.S. I know your experience with the Whip Nae, Nae & Addie! Have you seen the Disney version where it says “Now watch me Dole Whip….watch me beignet” – I thought you would enjoy that. 🙂

    You have great goals lined up, Vic – and I know 2016 is going to be a great year for you & your family! You are well on your way to accomplishing them, and January hasn’t even ended yet! I can’t wait to hear about your accomplishments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My wife is such a foodie. This was our second time in NOLA, and she wanted to return because of the great food. So no, that’s not so terrible of you to think that! Another great food place we went to was Chicago!

      Haven’t seen the Disney version – I’ll have to check it out!

      Thanks for the kind words Alyssa. I have no doubt that 2016 will be a great year for both of us! I still want to be on your Financially Audacious series – I just want to be there once I land a job again so I can talk about that experience as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, Vic! I loved your post on Budgets Are Sexy. It looks like you had a blast in New Orleans. My partner is British and obsessed with visiting there, so I think I’ll have to take the plunge and visit soon 🙂 (Also, I didn’t know you lived in Southern CA! I’m in San Diego, so we’re basically neighbors!)

    I love all your goals for the year. (and a HUGE congrats on being together for 16 years. So amazing!) My main goal for the year is the same as one of yours: side hustle and earn more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Taylor! Thanks for the kind words about the BaS post!

      New Orleans is great! It’s a pretty unique city – both of you would have a blast!

      Yep! I was raised in NorCal but eventually moved to SoCal. Don’t think I’d ever move because the weather is awesome year round.

      So since you’re in San Diego you’ll probably be in FinCon? I’d have to see how my situation is around that time but I’d love to go!

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  11. Haha I’m totally with you on the new phone Vic. I have an iPhone 5 that has half the screen cracked when I dropped it. I haven’t been able to justify dropping $700 on a new phone so I live with this one – it works perfectly fine, just have to read through the cracks lol!

    Awesome goals btw!! Good luck this year, I’m sure you’ll rock it 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jamie! It’s been a pretty crazy week for me (hence the delay in posting) and I’ll blog about it soon. But my iPhone 5s just started being weird! It wouldn’t hold a charge right. So now I have to get another phone. I hate it! After debating endlessly in my head to get a shiny new iPhone 6s for $750, I decided to get one from ebay for $440. Hope it works out for me!

      Thanks about the goals – I’m working on it!

      Like

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