Category Archives: Finances

How do we afford this trip?

Well, saving for travel comes at the expense of certain other areas of our lives.

1.  My car


The ceiling is kinda falling down. George at the garage tacked it up for us.

Many readers are no doubt familiar with my good old Saturn, 20 years old and going strong.  When I bought it as a 22-year-old college graduate starting my first job, I was not envisioning that I would still be driving it around 20 years later with three kids in tow.  It  has many interesting “features” but it JUST KEEPS RUNNING.  And it seems like throwing money away to get rid of it — it’s not like anyone is going to pay us a lot of money for it.  (Note: if in fact you WOULD like to pay us a lot of money for it, please ignore this paragraph and see below for unique and valuable features.  Personal checks accepted.)

That duct tape has lasted for YEARS!

That duct tape has lasted for YEARS!

Of all the things that are broken, the best on is the gas door.  It no longer pops open when you pull the little lever.  Instead, you have to punch the car next to the door.  Every time I fill up I get to feel like Fonzie.

So much going on here. First, you can see the antique crank window. Also, that the upholstery fabric has long since peeled away. Finally, the side mirror that is attached with Gorilla Glue (through no fault of the car).

Next best is the passenger seat.  The lever that controls the back angle was stuck, so Bob attempted to “fix” it, resulting in it breaking off entirely.  Therefore anyone in the passenger seat who doesn’t hold themselves strictly upright gets thrown backwards and finds themselves looking at the peeling upholstery on the ceiling.  Our friends Wendy and Chris are teaching their son Sam to drive, and we’ve been trying to convince them that this car would be perfect.  As passenger, you can stare serenely at the ceiling, blissfully unaware of what is going on outside.  Very low stress!

Now that it’s 20 years old, my coworkers have been urging me to go for the antique plates.

2.  Our technology

Youre jealous, admit it.

We’re practically hobos.

Here are our cell phones.  That’s my cool flip phone on the left.  Hello, 1997!  Bob broke his flip phone, so I got him a fancy new $10 phone for his birthday last year.  As you can see, he has now broken that one too.  (This despite the fact that it survived lying in the middle of our road for approximately 12 hours one day.  It fell out of Bob’s pocket one night when he was pushing the Saturn, whose battery had died, into the driveway — see #1.)

At the moment he can only call phone numbers that are entirely composed of 8’s, 9’s, and 0’s.  (If you have a number like this, let us know — we’d love to chat!)  Texts are right out.  So we may need to fork out another $10 in the near future.

Our phone plans are $150 every two years.  You don’t see kids’ cell phones here because they don’t have any.

It says "Digital channel strength is low"

It says “Digital channel strength is low”

Our one TV is this cool 19-incher, that I got for free as an award at work.  Bonus is that it fits right inside our little cabinet.  No, we don’t have cable.  We used to have this cool service called Aereo that cost $8 a month.  It had a giant antenna that would suck in all the channels that were broadcast over the airwaves in Boston, and then stream them to us.  The Man took it down, though.  So now we must rely on netflix.

Our other technology devices have all been free, thanks to workplace gifts.  In addition to the TV shown above, we have acquired two iPods, an iPod touch, and a Kindle Fire this way.  At the moment the iPod touch is non-functional.  I put a passcode on it due to overuse by a certain child, and this same certain child appears to have made too many attempt to guess it, resulting in this situation:

We bequeath this iPod to our great-grandchildren.

We bequeath this iPod to our grandchildren.  It should be good as new in approximately 44 years.


3.  We don’t exactly overheat our house.



IMG_46854.  We’re not terribly concerned about the state of our furniture.  This is the work of our late cat, Fang.  We figure he will always live on in our memories as long as we still have a souvenir of him.

We find it’s best to be late adopters of new conveniences and technologies — because once you have one, something that you were previously perfectly happy without suddenly seems to become a necessity (I’m looking at you, Amazon Prime).  Though when I do eventually get a new car, it’s totally going to have some of those newfangled “anti-lock brakes” I keep hearing about.