Ever heard “Psych” show theme song? It goes : in between the lines there ‘s a lot of obscurity, I’m not inclined to resign to maturity. Well, that describes my blog. Even though sometimes I sound, like I am 16, I am actually in my thirties! Though I’m not the only blogger in the industry, who falls into the same trap. Trust me, when I tell you, I most certainly don’t want to be known as Dennis Rodman of miles and points world. Not even if it brought me a ton of publicity.
I really think, that this hobby and pure finance are closely intertwined. After all, you may get free airline tickets from sign-up bonuses, but you will still need money for some expenses. That money has to come from somewhere. You could jeopardize your family finances, if you carry the rest of expenses on a credit card with interest. So ironically you would get into financial mess as a result of that “free” vacation.
Something I truly believe in, is that debt is evil. Even more so for a middle class or lower middle class family. I’m not talking about mortgage or 0 % APR loan. But I think any other type of debt can keep you from enjoying life to the fullest. Also, if you have a huge amount in loans, you may not be able to quit a job, you hate and so on. It can literally make you a slave to the banks. That’s why we almost never go into debt, unless absolutely necessary.
We also chose to live in a low cost of living area. Partly, it was because my husband’s family lives here. And that is a huge plus, when you have kids, trust me! But also, so we wouldn’t have to work ourselves to death to afford just basic things. Our mortgage to build a modest 3bd/2bath house was only 64000 dollars, though we did some work ourselves.
By comparison, that amount might get you a parking spot in New York. Don’t get me wrong, I love big cities. I went to a university in a city of 2 million, that had theaters, parks and museums. But if we moved to New York for example, we would both have to work. And I would rather stay home with kids, if possible.
It is a matter of personal preference, so I’m not saying everyone should move to our rural town in a middle of nowhere. For one thing, there are very few jobs. There is a reason, the cost of living is so low. And I so do love New York city!
I’m also not saying that it’s wrong somehow to spend money on material things. A few years back we bought an almost brand new Ford Mustang for my husband, a very family unfriendly car! But he drives a lot for work and it’s enjoyable to him. Plus, we will keep it for at least 10 years or longer. My husband says, he loves getting in it every morning, that speed demon!
So in my book it was money well spent, even though probably not the most practical purchase. But we did pay cash for it and that’s my point. Just like with this hobby, it’s OK to enjoy things, but be aware of what you are giving up. If you have to work overtime to afford a new gadget or a car, your opportunity cost is your time with your loved ones. And time is the most precious commodity of all.
Not too long ago we took our savings and paid off our mortgage completely. The interest was low at 2.75 APR, but I just wanted to get it over with. I don’t like to gamble with the market, and the CD rates were paltry. So as of now we are completely debt free.
Our savings are low at the moment with only 5 months worth in emergency fund. But if a financial hardship occurs, like the loss of a job, it wouldn’t be as devastating to my family. We both could get minimum wage jobs and get by, if needed. That’s a nice feeling!
To be honest, I am actually more of a Fatwalleter, than Flyertalker. You have noticed me reference that site on occasion. It is more geared towards a middle class family. When a card with a decent cash back bonus comes out, the Flyertalkers might say “meh”, while Fatwalleters will say “yay”! Also, you might be surprised, but I am also a “Boglehead”. But another post on that later. Maybe.
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Photo credit goes to Dieselstation.com and mlogli.wordpress.com
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.