Thursday, April 24, 2008

Vacation Decisions and "Seriously, how can I be so broke?"

So Tim had a really great idea and we are going to spend the weekend in Houston looking at mid-century homes and shopping, eating, going to cool bars, etc. and then spend Sunday and Monday night in Galveston. I think this will truly be the best of both worlds and be seriously low-stress since I know how to get around in both cities. We should be able to get a good deal in both places since hotels downtown are cheap on weekends because they're intended for business people and hotels in Galveston are cheap(er) on weekdays. If you have any suggestions for places to stay in either local, send them my way. Yay for decisions!

In the bad news department, we got our tax appraisal. And it was a LOT more than I'd expected it to be. Totally reasonable considering what we paid for the house, but they never appraise your house at what you paid for it, you know? Anyway, I was saving enough to cover the amount as my "worst-case scenario" amount, but now we'll need all of it. Grump grump grump. I think "broke" is a bit misleading, but I do feel like every last cent is already accounted for, especially since we're about to have to start paying off the A/C improvements. I was going to lower the 401k and savings contributions a wee bit to cover that, so we didn't feel the burn, but Tim totally freaked me out and said we still weren't saving enough for 401k. Apparently we are going to be eating catfood and need to actually eat catfood now in order to save for retirement. I still think the calculators for that sort of thing must be incredibly conservative. I mean, for example, I don't plan to have a house payment then, so that is a huge chunk of change I won't need every month. And I feel really guilty that I am not putting any money in Stella's college fund right now. And she doesn't go to school or classes or anything. My investment in my child's future this week? $5 on a Play-doh Animal Activity Bucket I bought at Walmart yesterday. (She loves it by the way).

What a ramble! I shouldn't complain, I just always thought that if my family were making as much money as we do I'd not have to worry about a thing. I don't even know what people who are making way less than us with families of 4 do. And they usually have gas-guzzling behemoths and car payments. We share a paid-for car that gets 30 miles to the gallon. I really worry this recession could be BAD. Because we are feeling the burn and we are truly blessed when it comes to our financial means.


yer mama said...

I am freaked by the price of groceries. We will get what we want and need but man, they are getting pricey! I went to sun harvest on the way home and was pleased to see their prices are still lower than HEB but they did go up some.

Thats shitty about your taxes. I guess the "avoid the form" scheme didn't work.

Kate said...

My opinion on hotels downtown-- Hotel Icon was nice, but not nearly as nice as they think it is. Magnolia was disappointing--cookies and milk was some lame group thing at some random time that we had the hardest time figuring out. And the elevator was broken and then a/c was screwed up and they only gave us one robe with an empty hanger and an ugly note about not stealing it and never brought us another. Oh, and they couldn't find our reservation. Blah.

Rising gas and food prices are really freaky. We're putting off a new car indefinitely and are able to do that now that Ryan can take the bus. But we're doing well now. I really feel for people like my kids with their giant junkers that they have to drive to work and school.

Kate said...

P.S. I hear you about the taxes. We actually were successful in protesting last year down to the price we paid the year before. Also, the info they had was that our house was a 3/2.5--um, no.

Mindy said...

ok, I have to say that in the grand scheme of things, pay more attention to your retirement and less attention to Stella's and future offsprings' education expenses. The government will give them grants to go to school. NO ONE will give you a grant to retire.

(friendly reminder, you do have friends that are registered investment consultants, don't charge commission, and aren't trying to sell you anything ;o)

Sarah said...

If you're up for seeing an old friend while vacationing...I would love to see y'all for dinner or coffee or something.

Jooley Ann said...

There's a place in Galveston called the Victorian Condo Hotel. It's nothin' fancy at all, but it's right on the Sea Wall, and the nice thing is that all of the rooms have a (teensy flyspeck) bedroom separate from the main room (kitchen, bath, sitting area).

Our photo set from Galveston includes some photos of the room:

If you go to Galveston, you gotta go to Colonel Bubbie's!!

That's all I got. I love vacationing in Galveston! And Houston, for that matter (though I don't know of any good hotels there). Y'all will have fun!