Dress shopping for Sub Ball was so stressful and, when I look back on it, it really didn’t have to be. I spent hours looking through my military girlfriend Facebook groups for advice and I signed out feeling more confused than when I first logged in.
For two years now, Charleston has become my second home and it wasn’t too traumatic on my wallet most of the time. My airline tickets averaged around $300 and if I couldn’t do that I could drive.
The next stop on our military journey, however, is going to be Hawaii, a trip that will most definitely not be too kind on the old wallet. But I have recently put in place some tips and tricks that will get me, stress-free, to Hawaii and back… I might even be able to afford a nice dinner while I’m there.
The key to making all of this easier on you is to answer four questions:
How much will your trip cost?
The first step is knowing how much your trip will cost for the big stuff such as hotels, rental cars, gas, plane tickets, food, souvenirs, etc. Keep in mind that it is best to over guess prices than under guess. Also, keep in mind that many places, if you are married to the military, you can get discounts! You can make a rough calculation based on these prices…
Food: I know that, personally, I spend about $20 on each meal when I go on vacation. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it is less depending on where I am going and what meal it is. All in all, I give food about $60 per day. Take that and multiple it by how many days you are staying.
Plane tickets: A round-trip ticket to Hawaii is about $850 give or take. Look around on Google or there is a really helpful app called Hopper that will tell you pricing and pick a median price that sounds good to you.
Gas: If driving is your choice of transportation, find out how many miles it will be and find out what your car’s miles per gallon rate is. Divide the miles it will take to get there by the miles per gallon of your car. Then find the average gas prices in your area and multiply it by the numbers you just figured.
EX:) It used to take me 923 miles to drive to Charleston, SC. My little Honda Civic drives about 33 miles per gallon.
923/33= 27.97 gallons of gas to get to Charleston
I usually round up just to be safe so we’ll say about 30 gallons of gas. (I tend to get lost a lot.)
The gas prices around Chicago are about $2.20. So, 2.20×30=66. It will cost me about $66 in gas to get one way to Charleston.
Also, keep in mind that you will be driving around while you are there. Take that into account when finding out how much you will spend in gas.
Rental Cars: This one you should do a bit of research on. This all depends on the company, the type of car, the size of the car and how many days you will be renting it for. This will require a bit of your own research to figure out, however, USA Today wrote a good article to see what the averages are.
Hotels: Again, this will require some research on your part. Based on where you stay and how nice you’d like your hotel or motel to be, these prices can range greatly.
Ex:) Whenever I go to visit my boyfriend, I already have my transportation and sleeping accommodations taken care of so really that just leaves my plane ticket, food and souvenirs and money for the things we want to do.
Plane ticket: I averaged this out to $850.
Food: I will probably spend about a week in Hawaii so my food will come out to about $420.
Souvenirs/things to do: I gave myself a budget of about $75 a day for things I want to buy and things we want to do. This adds up to about $525.
All in all, my trip to Hawaii will cost me $1,795.
When are you planning to go?
Whew! You’ve now have the first and maybe hardest step done! Next comes planning when you’d like to go. Pick a month and calculate how many months that is from today.
Ex:) I would like to go to Hawaii at the beginning of September. That is about 3 months from now.
How much money do you make a month?
Take your paychecks and add them together! If you are a bartender, waitress or anyone who has varying paychecks a month, figure out an average. About how much a day or a week do you normally bring home in tips.
Ex:) One of my paychecks a month is about $800 and the other one is about $900. I also freelance a little so I added in about an extra $50.
Turns out to be about $1,750.
After paying your bills, how much “fun” money do you have to spend?
I have a whiteboard next to my desk that lists out all of my bills that I have to pay, when they come out and have a space for me to check mark them when they have been paid. I know, I know, I’m a really big dork.
But it helps! Write out all your expenses, take what you make monthly and subtract them.
EX:) I make about $1,750 and lets say, for the sake of this post, that my bills come out to be $1,000 a month. That leaves me $750 to spend on whatever my little heart desires.
Put it all together!
Take how much your trip will cost and divide that by how much time you have between now and then. Take that number and look to see if you can feasibly afford to put away that much every month. If not, you may need to think about moving your trip a little farther back.
EX:) My trip is going to cost $1,795 and I have three months to save up.
$1,795/3= $598 per month that I need to save.
We already figured out that I have $750 to spend on what I would like every month. With that being said, if I put away about $600 a month toward my trip I would still have about $150 dollars to spend on going out with friends, new clothes, etc. which is fine for me.
Once you have figured out a good monthly budget for you, now it is time to start saving! Once a month, place that money into a savings account, under your bed, a piggy bank, and save up for that trip you’ve been dying to take.
Life is way too short to not travel. Don’t let your financial status stop you.
My parents are the kind of people that literally have everything which makes holidays a bit of a challenge. Gift cards get old. Clothes are boring. And this year for Father’s Day I wanted to do something different. Something hands on and from the heart.
My father owns a business and his office is right next to my bedroom. I went in there the other day and noticed that he has absolutely no place to put pens or any other writing utensil for that matter. They all kind of just hung out in a pile off to the side.
Hence, a pencil holder… which is inexpensive to make and actually kind of fun (I spent an hour and half at Michael’s planning this thing out!).
What you’ll need:
A jar or can- I chose a mason jar but you can use cardboard, go to the craft store and pick up a wooden container, anything!
Paint- I chose to use acrylic.
Decorations- This is where you get to be extra creative! I thought about putting a picture of me and my dad on there, you can grab extra paint and paint on decorations, get ribbons to tie around the top, glitter, stickers, etc. I chose to buy some decorative gears at Michael’s to paste on along with a sticker that I can write, “I Love You” on.
Glue- Make sure to buy something that dries clear in case you get glue somewhere that it’s not supposed to go. Tacky Glue worked wonders for me!
I bought everything at Micheal’s for a grand total of $15.28. Print out a coupon off their website and it’ll be even cheaper!
Step one: Paint your container
Lay out some newspaper on a table and get the paint ready to use on a plate. I wet my brush and painted on one layer, waited an hour and painted another layer. I continued to do this until I was satisfied with the color and what it looked like. Let it completely dry over night.
Step two: Add the decorations
Pretty simple step. Start adding on you decorations! Plan out where you’d like things to go, whip out the Tacky Glue and start sticking!
Let the holder dry for another day before handling it.
Taylor has been pretty grumpy lately (for good reason too) so I went last weekend for two days to cheer him up a bit. It was a normal morning when we woke up. We got up, took a shower, got dressed and went to Waffle House for breakfast. As we sat at Waffle House waiting for our food I asked, “Do you have tape at home?”
“I need to tell you something. Before I get into it, I want you to know the reason I am telling you this. I want you to save this or screenshot this or whatever it takes to hold onto this for a couple different reasons.
When you have days where you need a little extra lovin’, I want you to look at this. When we are in the midst of a disagreement, I want you to look at this. When I am deployed and gone and you haven’t heard from me in days or weeks, I want you to look at this.
You, my dear, are the absolute greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Either there’s no scale of comparison or if I put you on a scale, nothing else comes close. You have been my rock, paper and scissors. When I needed someone to just bitch, moan and groan to, you have been there to listen. Whether it’s literally been just to hear and say nothing or to give advice, you’ve been there to lean on.
When I’ve felt broken or defeated, you’ve told me it’ll be okay and you’ve motivated me to push forward and you’ve held me together. When I’ve been wrong or been an asshole, you’ve been there to tear me apart (in a good sense) and make me grow as a man and mature and learn to admit when I am wrong.
I’m not going to lie, I think most people do this in relationships but I’ve searched for something about you that I don’t love and I haven’t found a thing. Not. One. Damn. Thing.
We have our disagreements, we have our fights, we have our near break ups but I wouldn’t trade it for the world and there is no other girl I’d rather struggle through life with than you.
I love that we don’t have everything in common. If we did, it’d be boring. We’d have nothing to introduce each other to.
I love your independence. I am more than willing to support you on anything you need but I love the fire inside you that drives you to support yourself.
I love your laugh. I remember the first time I heard it and fell in love with it. It was the first time you visited me in Charleston and that guy dropped his gas can on the expressway.
…You fit perfectly in my arms. I love your thighs. They are the perfect drumming pads when we’re jamming in the car. I love holding your hand and kissing your cheek in public. I want the world to know that I am the luckiest man alive to call you mine.
I love your dedication to me and my job. Your constant support and sacrifice is unwavering and I am undeserving yet everyday it’s there without hesitation.
I love your career progression. You are finding yourself and your purpose and fighting through all the obstacles that stand in your way.
I love that you are the strongest person in my life and in the world. You balance so many curveballs day in and day out but wake up every day ready to swing away.
I love that you are mine. I love that you are my definition of perfection and you are on my side. Through all the ups and downs, through the brutal fights from miles apart, I wouldn’t trade a second of it. I want to do everything there is to do, see everything there is to see in the world with you.
To summarize all of this in three words, I love you.”
I heard that the United States had bombed Syria while sitting at my dining room table eating my breakfast. In the next room, the news was playing as background noise while my mom washed the dishes and our Keurig pissed out my morning cup.
I splashed some creamer in and walked into the dining room to plop into a chair. After taking a few seconds to wake up, I realized what was happening on the news.
I struggle with this question every so often. Do I tell Taylor about something or will it be an unnecessary frustration to him? I know the Navy is no walk in the park and it consumes a majority of him. Being so far away there isn’t much he can do about things back home anyway. I never want to cause him unnecessary distress.
Normally, I don’t really tell Taylor when I get cat called or some random guy hits me up on Facebook. I simply tell them to kindly screw off and they leave. Rarely do these things happen anyway considering my whole Facebook is filled with Taylor and no cat call ever really leads to anything. These things are unnecessary hassles.
However, trust is a key foundation to any relationship so sometimes it’s necessary. Sometimes bigger things than a random Facebook message or cat call happen. A couple nights ago I got some really unwanted, unwarranted attention from an acquaintance that I was friends with on Facebook due to my job.