How We Can Afford to Travel

How We Can Afford to Travel

Why does traveling have to be so expensive? And why do I love it so much?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s just something about traveling that brings out the best in me! I feel alive, happy, and ready to take on the world! That’s why Brett and I make a point to save up for our next adventures.

How can we afford to travel as often as we do?

  1. We have a travel fund. I work in finance and I’m a big advocate for having a budget and saving for items you want to purchase or trips you want to take. For that reason, Brett and I always have a travel fund and are saving for our next trip. We put a percentage of our paychecks into this account and save it up until we are ready to go on our next adventure. Even if we aren’t currently planning a trip we are still putting money away for travel.
  2. We make travel a priority. It’s super easy to get caught up in all of the other things life throws your way. Brett and I make traveling a priority. In 2019 we weren’t able to plan a big Europe trip like we had hoped but we still set aside time to travel to places in the United States instead. This way we saved money but were still able to visit some new places and make memories together.
  3. We travel on a budget. When we go on a trip we aren’t staying in the fanciest hotels or splurging on new clothes and accessories for our travels. During our planning process we are mapping out all possibilities of places to stay, eat, visit, etc. We set a budget and stick to it. I do like to splurge for once in a lifetime opportunities but we always plan for those ahead of time and make room in the budget.
  4. We compromise. Planning a trip with another person can be difficult. Brett and I take turns picking the places we want to go. I planned our Europe trip in 2018 so he’s planning our 2020 trip. We can’t go everywhere at once so we compromise and take turns. Luckily, we both want to go to many of the same places so this has been pretty easy!
  5. Brett’s Job. We have been incredibly blessed by Brett’s current job for an airline. This allows us to travel at a very discounted rate but we haven’t always had this perk and have traveled many times without it. Brett’s job has allowed us to go on a few trips that we wouldn’t have normally been able to go on without spending more time saving our money. We are super grateful and don’t take this blessing lightly. We know that we won’t have these opportunities for long so we always try to make the most of it! I do want to stress that it is possible to travel without breaking the bank even without these flight benefits!

It’s not always easy, but we are determined to travel as much as possible before we have children. Traveling is one of our top priorities right now and I can only imagine how much that will change in the next few years. For now, I’m constantly on Pinterest planning our next adventure.

Do you have any budgeting tips for traveling?

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Annual Day of Caring

Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

Monday was my company’s fourth annual Day of Caring. Every year on President’s Day all 125 of our employees have the opportunity to volunteer at a place of their choice instead of working. President’s Day is a bank holiday which means that the stock market is closed. I work in finance so bank holidays are a great day for my company to give back to our community without missing out on the chance to serve our clients.

My department chose to volunteer at a local food bank that helps provide meals to families in need and weekend packs for school children who only get food at school during the week.

This is my third year volunteering at this food bank and I can honestly say that I really enjoy it! My team loves to make everything a competition. We usually break into two teams and race to see which team can create the most weekend pouches or who can package the most cereal containers.

I love that my company encourages us to go out into the community and make an impact. We have various other events throughout the year that focus on individual non-profits in each of our markets.

Our Day of Caring really means a lot to me because there were many times in my life where I was unable to donate money and resources. As a college student especially, the only thing I was able to donate was my time. No matter how big or small, you can still make an impact.

This year my team packaged over 1300 weekend pouches! This beats the record of 987 that we set two years ago. We hustled and worked together to create an efficient packing system in order to pack as many weekend pouches as possible in our time at the food pantry. It was also great team building!

Do you enjoy volunteering in your community?

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Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

My Dream Job Isn’t My Dream Job Anymore

Girl Boss: Finding your dream job after college

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much my life has changed since I graduated from college almost three years ago. I’m not at all where I thought I would be, I’m actually in a much better place than I could’ve ever imagined. I know many people have the same struggle as me after graduation so I wanted to share my experience in finding my dream job.

A few weeks ago my work sent out an internal job position in the marketing department. I immediately opened the job summary because I’ve always thought the only way I’d leave my current position would be for a marketing position. I found myself smiling along at the description and getting excited because the job summary was exactly what I’d always imagined myself doing. My fingers itched to fill out the job application and to start sprucing up my resume. But then reality hit me.

Things have changed a lot since I graduated from college in 2016. My  goals and my dreams aren’t the same as they used to be. I used to dream of planning events and managing social media for companies but now I am more than happy to help clients achieve their financial goals. I’m not client facing but I make an impact on our client’s lives and that means a great deal to me. In addition to that, I am a part of an amazing and hardworking team who always have my back. I have two strong female bosses who are willing to do anything to help me succeed. My dream job has changed because it’s no longer a role, it’s a team.

Success comes in many shapes and sizes but it can be lonely. Many people have success because they overcome failures and learn to be better than their peers. Success to me now means being on an efficient, cutting edge team. I’m one of ten people who show up each and every day ready to serve our clients and make a difference. We each play a part in the success of our company and each love what we do and what we stand for. Is there anything better than that?

So yes, my dream job has changed and it very well may change again. One day I may wake up and decide that marketing is the right move for me. Or I may retire in this very department. All I know is I am moving in the right direction and at 25 years old that’s all I can really ask.

If you are searching for your dream job and finding it to be a challenge, I hope that this post helps you. Your dream job may be right under your nose and you don’t even know it because you are looking for something else. It’s okay to take a risk and try something new. It might not always work but there’s a chance you could find exactly what you are looking for.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Photo by Hey Beauti Magazine on Unsplash

My Legendary 25th Birthday!

John Legend, 25th Birthday

Hey friends!

My 25th birthday was at the end of October and yes I know this post is super late but I really wanted to share it with you!

Birthdays are always so special and this one was even more important because of this blog. Life of Hayley began as a way for me to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. I started blogging right after my 20th birthday and it really evolved from there into a hobby that I love.

I had been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading my 25th birthday for the past couple of months. I wasn’t worried about reaching my goals that I set for myself when I was 20. In fact, I haven’t been worried about those goals in years. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and all I have accomplished in the past five years. I’m looking forward to the next five!

So let’s talk about why this birthday was so Legendary with a capital L.

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Have you heard of John Legend? Well, my work throws some pretty sweet parties and for their 20th Anniversary Gala they invited John Legend as the surprise musical guest and the Gala happened to fall on my birthday! Which meant that I got to get all dressed up in black tie apparel, get my hair and makeup done, and spend the evening eating, drinking, and singing along to John Legend with Brett and my favorite co-workers. Talk about Legendary!

I couldn’t think of a better way to start my 25th year!

Thanks so much for reading!

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2018: Fourth Quarter Goals

2018 goals

Hey friends!

Woah… this year has gone by so quickly! I can’t believe it’s already time for another set of quarterly goals. This is the final quarter of 2018 and I really need to make every second count. So far it has been an exciting and challenging year. I’m looking forward to 2019 but I’m not quite ready for 2018 to be over yet.

Third quarter was probably my favorite so far this year! We slowed down a bit at work so I got to enjoy more time off and normal work hours. Brett and I traveled a lot and spent time with our family and friends. I got a lot done in the last three months so I feel good about going into the final months of 2018.

  1. Pass a certification class. I’m in the process of taking a class for work and the certification test is in December. If I pass I will earn my very first finance certification. My goal is to pass the first time which means I really need to get to studying!
  2. Write 2 blog posts per week. It’s time I make blogging more of a priority. I want to grow this space going into 2019. It’s been almost 5 years since I started this blog and I’ve only recently started to take it seriously. I’d love to create a content calendar and some sort of schedule.
  3. Do a complete wardrobe refresh. I am in desperate need of new clothes for the fall and winter seasons. I need jeans, sweaters, jackets, and boots to get me through the upcoming colder weather. I made a Thred-Up order so I’m hoping that some of those items will work out.
  4. Explore Rome with Brett. I am SO excited to be visiting Rome in October! I have wanted to travel to Rome since I was a young girl watching the Lizzie McGuire Movie and I finally get to go. I’m going to try not to worry too much about my diet and just enjoy my time in Italy.
  5. Live it up for my 25th Birthday! I have been talking about my 25th birthday for a while now. This whole blog started as a way to capture my life from 20 to 25. My work is having their 20th Anniversary Gala on my birthday so I’m excited to wear a fancy dress and celebrate with my co-workers and Brett.
  6. Celebrate 5 years of blogging! I’m turning 25 which means Life of Hayley is turning 5! The past five years flew by and I’m excited to share my blogging highlights with you in November. I have captured most of my adult life on this blog and that makes me incredibly proud and happy.
  7. Put 50% of my holiday bonus into our savings account. My work is awesome and gives out holiday bonuses every year as profit sharing. I feel so lucky each time I receive a bonus and always save the majority of it for future purchases. We added my 2017 bonus to our down payment this year for our house!

Interested in the rest of my quarterly 2018 goals? Check out these posts! Q1, Q2, Q3.

Thanks for reading!

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8 Tips and Tricks to be more Financially Responsible

Learning How To Become Financially Responsible - How I graduated from college debt free plus more tips and tricks for saving money

 

Hey friends,

Today I thought I would share a little story with all of you. I get asked a lot of questions by friends and acquaintances about how I can be so young but so responsible. I always have a hard time explaining that I ended up this way based on the lessons my parents taught me growing up. I was extremely lucky to learn these lessons at a very early age. I didn’t always understand the “why” but I did understand what was expected of me.

I was lucky growing up. Both of my parents had jobs, we had a house to live in, drawers of clothes to wear, and there was always food on the table. However, I felt like the one girl in my class who did not have a Barbie Dream House. You know, the giant pink house with an elevator and fireplace with room enough for Barbie, Ken, and all of their friends?

I can remember going over to my friend’s house and playing with her Barbie Dream House. I wanted one so bad and made sure to tell my parents at every opportunity. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t buy me one. They had jobs and I had lots of Barbie’s to put in the house. Didn’t I deserve a Barbie Dream House?

The answer is no. I was surrounded by Barbie’s, American Girl Dolls, and numerous other toys. My parents did not have a lot of disposable income but we still received many gifts and toys at Holidays and for our Birthdays. I can now appreciate all of the sacrifices my parents made for us.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that my parents were putting money into a CD and a savings account for me and my sister. The money that they could have spent on more toys for us was put into these accounts to save for our college educations. When I babysat or got money for holidays, my parents made me put half into the bank. I could spend or save the other half on things that I wanted.

Now I realize that this is the most important life lesson my parents taught me; how to be financially responsible.

I started working my junior year of high school and worked all the way through college. Here’s the cool thing, I wanted to work. My parents never forced me to get a job. I saved my money for tuition, books, a new car, etc. I took a lot of pride in being the only person in my college orientation group not relying on their parents for everything.

I graduated from college debt free. Partially because my mom works at the university but also because I knew how to save my money and applied for scholarships to help make up the difference.

Here are a few of my tips and tricks for managing money:

  1. Like my parents taught me at a very early age, put at least 50% of whatever you earn into the bank ASAP. That way you are not tempted to spend the money before it has been fully accounted for. For me, this includes my bi-weekly paychecks which are automatically deposited into my bank account as well as any birthday or holiday money that I may receive. My personal preference is to deposit 100% of my money into the bank first and then decide how the money needs to be spent or saved.
  2. Set financial goals for yourself that you would like to work towards. My main goal right now is to pay off my car and build another bathroom in our house. Since I know my goals it is so much easier for me to save money.
  3. Put $1,000 into an Emergency Fund for any crazy things that happen along the way. Life is crazy and there are always expenses that happen that we didn’t plan for. It’s great knowing that you have an emergency fund to fall back on if needed.
  4. Have different accounts for different reasons. My bank allows us to have several savings/checking accounts with the ability to name them whatever you want. I have a “house fund” and an “emergency fund” in addition to a couple of others.
  5. Communicate goals with your partner or spouse. Brett and I are constantly talking about our goals for the future. It’s so important to be on the same page about financial decisions!
  6. Have a budget. I cannot stress this enough. I have a budget for pretty much everything including groceries, gas, clothing, and “fun”. Your budget can be flexible but try to give yourself a range to stay within.
  7. Be willing to say no. My co-workers ask everyday if I want to grab coffee and the answer is always no. I say no for two reasons. 1. I don’t like coffee. 2. I’d rather save the $2+ every morning for something else. It’s okay to say yes every once in a while but be willing to bring your own coffee or lunch to save a bit of money.
  8. Be flexible. These changes will not happen overnight and that’s okay! Keep working towards your goals and eventually you will get there!

I’ve mentioned before that I work in the financial industry and I can honestly say that my interest in finance started from the lessons that my parents taught me about money. While people around me love to spend their money I would much rather save mine for something I really want or invest it towards my future.

I am lucky to have started saving at an early age but it’s never too late to change your spending habits! I hope these tips and tricks help you reach your financial goals!

Thanks so much for reading!

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Image via Unsplash

We Bought Our First House!

Buying Your First House, We bought our first house

 

Hey, hey.

In my last post I mentioned that I had some exciting news to share! So here we go….

*Drum Roll*

Brett and I bought our first house!

In my first quarter goals I wrote about looking for our first house but I never expected to make an offer, have the offer accepted, and move in all before the end of March. I would say that we are lucky but it wasn’t all luck. We worked SO hard to be able to buy this house. It took a lot of dedication and teamwork to be able to afford a house at our age. We are grateful to continue our story together in our first house!

Here’s the story of our first house:

In early January I found a house online that I loved right away. Brett was a little hesitant but agreed to go look. We weren’t really looking to buy right away since we just signed a new lease in December. We saw the house, Brett fell in love, but someone else put in an offer and it got accepted. The house changed to pending.

Fast forward two weeks and the house came back on the market. We went again to look but I still had some anxiety about making an offer. We slept on it and the next morning had our realtor put in our offer. Right off the bat we knew that the house needed a new roof so we planned for that expense in our offer.

24 hours later and we still hadn’t heard from the sellers. It turns out another couple made a similar offer so the seller’s realtor asked us for our best and final offer. At this point Brett and I are both kind of over the house. We put in our final offer and pretty much knew we aren’t going to get the house.

I can remember sitting on the couch the night we made our final offer. I was browsing Zillow on my laptop when I came across this adorable 1941 Cape Cod in our dream neighborhood. It felt like fate.

The next morning we got the news that our offer on the first house did not get accepted. It was a weird feeling because I did really like that house and could imagine us living there for a long time. I was also happy because I wanted to see that Cape Cod that I found on Zillow. I texted the MLS number to our realtor right away.

48 hours later I hurried to the Cape Cod after work for our viewing. We brought my parents, sister, and our friend to help us make the decision. Right away Brett and I both knew that this was the house for us. There was no anxiety or second thoughts. We made an offer right away.

3 hours later the sellers accepted our offer and we broke out a bottle of wine to celebrate! We closed on March 5th and officially moved in on March 10th. Brett and I are overjoyed with the house.

We still have a lot of things to do and boxes to unpack but the house is coming along perfectly. We have already hosted a few cookouts on our back deck and have enjoyed many walks in our new neighborhood. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our little family.

This is the beginning of a new chapter in the Life of Hayley (and Brett) and I could not be any more excited. I will try to share some pictures along the way but for now it is mostly half unpacked boxes and empty walls.

Thanks for reading!

 

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley