Category Archives: Special Occasions

Weekly Pain & Gain: The Free Tree

The weekly pain & gain series has been a nice addition this year that has really spurned me to post more frequently. So I am going to try and finish the year off strong by not missing any posts for the rest of the year.

and the rest of the year sounds a lot like this…..

” for the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home”

ah its the Holiday season and the radio has been playing music it seems like non stop. We are hustling and bustling but mostly with unpacking tasks and not necessarily with gobs and gobs of shopping. Which segues nicely to this weeks pain.


We have since moved all our belonging to the new apt. However, this doesn’t mean we are all done. No we have still many, many boxes to unpack and sort through. This week I decided to tackle the task of sorting through a few of these boxes.

First I tackled some relatively easy ones that housed clothing for the kids but then I decided it was about time that I start sorting through the paper bins.

Now this year I have really associated myself with minimalism. I think I have had many of the general practices for all my life but this year I was starting to ask myself some tougher questions. Yet one practice, I am constantly reading about, that I haven’t been able to do. Is just tossing out boxes that you haven’t looked at in month or even years.

Yup, I just can’t muster up the courage to just throw those items straight into the dump. I am scared to throw out something important along with the trash. After all it isn’t unreasonable to believe that many a people have lost important things in the rubble of unimportant clutter.

One of my paper bins. So sooo time consuming to purge.
One of my paper bins. So sooo time consuming to purge.

I know when I was younger I didn’t have a very good organizing system and so I am compelled to review everything before it is tossed. Searching for things I know I have missed placed. ( Like the 2nd copy of my son’s birth certificate.)

And reviewing paperwork sucks!

And its so soooo time consuming.

In 2 hrs I barely made it through 1/10th if that of a bin. Of course when you review old paperwork you also get lost in reminiscing. An article here and some pictures of that there.

I completely understand why you shouldn’t even open those Pandora boxes. But I still persist.

So my goal is to consolidate all my memory and paper items and in so doing hopefully assure myself that nothing important (valuable) is mixed in.

And I am trying to be extra vigilant to purge things at the door. Keeping things from entering the house is the first step.

ūüėõ though this week I didn’t do very good on that.


This past week was full of activities and lots of fun pictures to go with it.

And we finally really got into the holiday spirit thanks to someones cast offs.

You see we are traveling for Christmas and we just moved…. So decorating wasn’t really high on my list… I mean we aren’t even really going to be here.

The free tree
The free tree

But I am actually really glad someone decided to give us their old artificial Christmas tree. When we finally decided to set it up it was like a light switch went on. Finally I was starting to get excited about the Holidays.

I’m not going to lie the stuff I’ve read this year has really zapped a lot of my carefree spirit. Now I see everything and I can’t help but think about the waste, excess and selfishness of it all. Specially in respect to resource consumption and Christmas was not free of this judgement. In fact Christmas seemed to be the epitome of the madness.

But putting up the Christmas tree made me realize I can celebrate with out being sucked into all the consumerism. After all what can be better then putting thing into practice. By accepting someones old tree we are reusing and saving it from the dump. It is also keeping us from buying a new one and hopefully somewhere down the line its also keeping one from being manufactured. Sure all the lights don’t work but to me it is serving its purpose. It has brought some cheer into the house and we are enjoying ourselves admiring it.

Oh, that's why they got rid of it. Minnie Roamer doesn't seem to care. She is still dazzled by the lights.
Oh, that’s why they got rid of it. Minnie Roamer doesn’t seem to care. She is still dazzled by the lights.

I also receive some early gifts by accepting some more hand me down clothes from a friend. Now my son is all set for shorts for next year and Minnie also received some more items.

We got to continue building on the holiday spirit by attending a Santa breakfast event that a friend invited us to attend.

All in all we did a very good job of keeping costs down by saying yes to some cast offs and yes to invitations from friends.

How are your days going? How is holiday prep going?

The Roamer traveling wallet


Guest post on the Plutus Finalist blog, Even Steven Money

Lots of great things come from starting up a blog on personal finance and some of us even venture into the realm of Financial independence.

The biggest benefit is hearing about other people who are making big changes and reaching their goals. It’s reasuring to know there are people out there just like you and me dreaming big and making those dreams a reality.

I got to meet a bunch of these inspirational people at this year’s FinCon and one of them was Even Steven. And let me tell you something, when people blog anonymously or behind a caricature its always an anticipated moment to see what people really look like.

So if¬†you were ever wondering what Even Steven looks like, let me break the tension. He looks just like his caricature especially where the dollar bills are exploding out of his coat pocket ūüôā . Unlike me an my stick figure logo.

Traveling Wallet

Well thanks to this happy meeting at FinCon I ¬†have had the opportunity to participated in Even Steven’s financial independence interview series. So head over to learn more about the Traveling Wallet retirement plans.

Then poke around and read more of Even Steven’s writing. It’s good stuff.

Welcome to all Even Steven Readers

If you’ve made it here thanks to the aforementioned interview thank you so much for coming over to check out the Traveling Wallet and the Roamer Clan. I am so happy to have you here.

If you want to learn more about me and my relationship to finance. Check out my aggressive yearly financial and life goals. Where I shoot for the stars in regards to our money goals.

You can also read about how we spend the average American dollars for vacationing but we squeeze more out then the national average. While most spend 4 grand on one  7 day vacation. We spend a similar amount on over 3 weeks of vacation to different locales.

Feel free to leave me your thoughts and questions as I really enjoy hearing from you.

And if you’d like to stay up to date on my latest posts don’t forget to follow me on twitter.¬†

Much love

The Roamer traveling wallet




In case you missed it here’s the link to check out my interview on Even Steven Money.

Weekly Pain & Gain: Halloween and Dancing

This month is really one of my favorites. I really have lots of fun during Halloween.


October has had some un welcome surprises in the automotive department. Like I mentioned we are in the process of getting ready for a move and things have gotten a little harder thanks to car issues. Currently we are down to one vehicle and because of our imminent move this has caused a lot of issues.

This automotive issue is being felt with time limitations and later will be felt with our wallet. ¬†However, the dollars are less of an inconvenience then the time constraints. Right now we are in serious need of flexibility but instead we are now more constrained. UGH! the timing couldn’t be more off.

It is frustrating and truly a pain.


Of course on the bright side this weekend has had lots of fun.This weekend we got to start celebrating Halloween fun and donned our costumes to go dancing. It has started to become a tradition for Mr. Roamer and I to attend contradancing* for Oct as our date. It is held every 4th sat of the month which was this past sat.

Mr. Roamer and I ready to steal the ninja treasure! ;) Actually, ready to dance.
Mr. Roamer and I ready to steal the ninja treasure! ūüėČ Actually… ready to dance.

Even though it was a family affair it is still a date for me because Mr. Roamer is taking me dancing. Its also a pretty affordable date $8 per adult. So we spent $16 total. Not bad as date costs go. Now the reason this has become tradition is that in Oct it is a costume contradance and I really love dressing up, and Dancing! So if Mr. is being pushed to go dancing, at least in Oct we get to kill 2 birds with one stone. #WIN!

For me Halloween is a time of creativity and that for me equals fun. But I also know Halloween is  another of those times when having a good time is normally equated to spending money.

Halloween fun ‚Ȇ Big $$$ spent

Here is how my family lowers the cost of Halloween.

Tips for Keeping Halloween costs down.

  • Use the internet for ideas. The internet is a great source for ideas on how to re-purpose items for a costume. For us this meant discovering how to make a t-shirt into a ninja mask.
  • Use what you have. After hunting for ideas you might find that all you need to do is think outside the box. Once you do that you might discover you have everything you need to make a fun costume. See t shirt= ninja mask. Also saved paper towel tubes for nunchucks.
  • Plan ahead. Granted this should be the first thing and one week before Halloween is not planning ahead. But if you start thinking about your costume in advance you can make decisions to save. One year I found a cute Chinese outfit at a thrift store in June for $5. Yup that’s right June. And this year I held on to 4 t shirts, that¬†we were going to donate, for some ninja accessories.
  • Remember made at home = unique. Buying stuff for Halloween means you’ll most likely end up looking like someone else. ( I am not a fan.) The little quirky additions to your ensemble that happen from making it at home will mean no one will be your exact copy. YAY!
  • Purchase real clothes instead. If you are going to buy something make it something that can be used for more than the costume. It will be cheaper and versatile. For my son’s ninja costume we bought some blue sweat pants and a blue t shirt for a total of $10.78. A quick search led me to a blue Ninjago costume that cost only $14 but was really $25 after adding shipping and handling. So I saved and the clothes I bought will actually serve him for the fall and winter season. Which if you want to get all mathematical means the the cost per use is going to drop way down. As appose to a one trick pony pre-made costume.
  • Made at home = family time. Another reason to in-source the costumes is that making them becomes a fun way to spend time with your family and builds no cost traditions. Instead of feeling like you need to go out and watch the latest scary movie you can cut, glue, sow and paint up your costumes.
  • Find out whats happening in your community. If you aren’t scared of standing in long lines with a bunch of kids you might be able to score some free stuff. One year we went to the malls Halloween celebration and receive 2 free full sized carving pumpkins to decorate with stickers. Sweet. Tip: most event are held the weekend before Halloween.
Sparing or dancing? I don't know but I do know smiling is going on under our ninja masks
Sparing or dancing? I don’t know but I do know smiling is going on under our ninja masks.

So there you have it, having fun for Halloween doesn’t mean spending loads of $$. We have honestly only spent the $10 listed above and I don’t foresee anymore spending.

How do you save on Halloween? Tell me in the comments below.

The Roamer traveling wallet



*click if you want to see a contradancing example.

Found this entertaining and helpful. Share on twitter!

FinCon 2015, Help!

Just a little over a month away FinCon 2015 is hot on my mind.

I’m starting to get nervous for multiple reasons. You see like any good personal financier I am getting worried about the numbers.

What is going to be my ROI? How will I make sure its good?

Though we can afford it in one sense, it is a big investment. I mean there’s the conference pass, the hotel stay, the plane ticket, lifts to and from the airport, food. There’s a lot of money tied into this thing. But its not just that, there are other costs too, specially in the realm of time. My vacation time and weekend both things that are for my family won’t be. My husband and I will have to go 12 days without really spending any time together. It’s a sacrifice, and I need to make sure its worth it. I need to make the most of it. That’s a lot of pressure.

So I’m hunting. Hunting for any information to make sure I do the right things.

Cost so far

  • Airplane $480.70
  • Hotel $515.17
  • Fincon pass $408.95

That’s a total of $1404.82 and that’s not including food or lifts.

Though I did save with the pass because¬†I signed up for FinCon mailing list and so I saw the note about the 48hr sale. Hey if I’m going to go I might as well get the best deal. I’m not sure if I should have saved more by purchasing a regular pass instead of the pro pass. Am I at a point that a pro pass is necessary?

FinCon 15

Purchasing so far in advance is also a big commitment and back then I wasn’t 100% sure I would be going. But it was ¬†their policy that allowed for transfers that put my mind at ease about purchasing 9 months in advance.

Though I probably could have saved more on the pass I think I did pretty good. However, I really messed up with the airfare. My poorest financial decision and biggest regret was not pouncing on $282 for flights. Seriously. Uber fail on my part. Securing the best deal on flights is usually my number 1 concern when I travel.

Accomodation costs are also high but I signed up during group pricing.¬†Are you heading to FinCon? Message me I am looking for roommates. Ladies only though. ūüôā I booked the 2 beds room in anticipation of finding roommate(s) to cut down costs. It will be a fun adventure and its only for 3 nights. As Finance bloggers I’m sure we can all agree that cutting costs is valuable.¬†I am looking for roomies to cut costs down all around.

¬†At this price this is not just for fun it is for business. I mean if it’s just for fun that is really expensive fun for just myself. My husband and I could have done over 10 organized races(fun runs) for that, taken classes and paid for babysitting, or even taken a week long family trip somewhere.

All alone

I guess another reason I’m scared, worried is that I’m going by myself. It’s intimidating. I have had the good fortune of attending conferences before during college ( shout out to SHPE) but it was always in groups.

Not having anyone to fall back on means I am going to have to be super proactive, so that I’m not that weirdo standing at the edge of the room. ¬†Luckily I never had a problem with that and most say I’m very outgoing. But it has been a long time since I’ve been in this situation.

Being outgoing and making connections is what’s going to make this trip a success.

As preparation I have read/watched and re visited these 2 resources. I really recommend you check them out.

Pat Flynn’s Spi TV conference tip

Bugetblonde’s conference hustle advice¬†

So let me know in the comments about any other good work I should read before September 17. Not only will you be sharing with me but any other readers aswell. Planning ahead and being prepared will benefit us all.

Mixed bag of feelings

Even with all the nervousness weighing on my chest. The  excitement is steadily building as well. This is going to be a big adventure.

Ahhh! ūüėÄ how amazing!

I am going to hopefully see more then just the inside of a fancy hotel room. I will have the chance to explore a new city I’ve never been too. Traveling! Hooray!

Then I am going to be surrounded by people who share similar interests. ¬†Making connections and meeting all these inspirational people who have impacted my life. Never before have a gone to a conference where I know people even though we’ve never met.

Are you going to FinCon? Let me know it would be nice to meet in person. Are you looking to cut cost ? Send me a message. And don’t be shy with any recommendations. More good tips on maximizing the experience are highly welcome and greatly appreciated.






Lets give thanks

Happy Thanksgiving

Hi everyone. We prepped the Turkey today and got other things ready for tomorrow night. We are hosting our thanksgiving and I’m looking forward to having people over for delicious food and family games. Maybe we’ll play Pictionary, Euchre or some Wizard.

Since it is Thanksgiving time, today I wanted to take the time and talk about the things I am thankful for. There are many things.

My Children
Roamer babysitting costs
Have to make sure the little ones are taken care of.

To be able to come home to my kids and spend time with them. It doesn’t happen everyday that I get this feeling, but I still get days where I look at them and am blow away and so overwhelmed. It seems unbelievable, I have children and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude floods over me and it bring tears to my eyes.

My pregnancies and my labors with both my kids I was fortunate that nature was on my side. I recently heard 2 stories at work that ended with babies and mommies being alright, but it still made me realize how nothing is guaranteed. I’m just happy I had 2 healthy babies and was able to follow through with a natural birth since it was important to me.

Husband Time

This year we made some good memories and we made sure we spent some alone time together. It can be hard with kids not because you can’t make time but because it is a trade off of time. Still we made sure we had at least sometime to date each other.

So I am also really grateful to carpool with Mr.Roamer. Got to love how close our jobs are. When we take advantage of it we get to have some extra grown up time together when we don’t we at least get to be in close proximity.

The PF Community

I am so thankful for discovering this PF bloggers community. I have grown so much this past year. I have pushed outside of my comfort zone. Being able to read other people’s stories for inspiration and support. Its great to know I’m not the only one out there with aggressive dreams.

Our Financial Health

This year was a roller coaster and I will write again about our debt to wrap up the whole picture. We made some changes and now are sitting in a much better position. Mostly I am happy being 100% Debt free. It’s an amazing feeling.

 Living a more Passionate life

Rekindling old loves. I use to read so much before and I am so happy to be doing it again. It is in the forms of blogs but I’m so happy it includes paper backs. Currently trying to finish a book on Buddhism and starting the 7 habits. ¬†I had stagnated for a bit earlier this year so I am glad to be learning again.

Oddly enough this part wasn’t going to include traveling. I want it so much but I guess I don’t need it. ¬†Still I am thankful for all that I have been able to experience so far in my travels.

Our Families

My family. It hasn’t always been pretty I grew up through some tough times but no mater how rough I realize that it has built me to who I am today. Whether they were things worth keeping or traits I had to fight to break. Today I am a strong person because of it.

Mr. Roamer’s Family. I am thankful to have models of what a healthy marriage looks like. I know there is lots I can learn. ¬†Plus hanging out with the entire side of that family is an amazing and new experience for me. To see cousins and uncles, aunts and just have big family gatherings is pretty awesome.

Well I’m getting sleepy so I will call that good. Still I am happy I went through this. I want our family¬†to learn what the holidays are really about. Family, friends, togetherness. So I have to lead by example.

Take the time today to write down what you are thankful for. Share it with your family if you want. But at least take the time to acknowledge and share it with yourself.

Life flies by take the time to soak it in. It doesn’t have to be thanksgiving so even if it has already passed. It’s never to late to show gratitude.

Leave a comment about something you are thankful for.

This Year Lets Focus on Thanksgiving not Gift Giving

On today’s travel we walk carefully, opening and closing our wallet through the treacherous holiday season.

An open letter from the Roamer about the Holidays.

Just recently I was thinking about how Thanksgiving is getting closer and that of course means that Black Friday is around the corner.

As the holidays get closer you are probably starting to think about all the gifts you need to purchase. You are excited! Shopping is so much fun and gift giving is even better. Right?

And all those bills you’ll have to pay off next January, those are just a minor inconvenience. Right?

What about getting gifts?

Just thinking of all the gifts you’ll get, makes you so happy! You never get stuff you don’t like.

Well except for those silly salt and pepper shakers. Oh and there is that atrocious sweater, it was even 2 sizes too small.¬† And why would anyone think it’s a good idea to give someone cleaning products? Useful gifts? Come on people, be more creative!

Does this sound like you?

Well I don’t want that to sound like us, To be my family.

Mr. Roamer and I don’t own many things (we couldn’t even fully furnish an apt. ) but we still feel like we are drowning in stuff. We ¬†have actually walked around our small apartment and said ” Man, I wish we had less stuff.” We have actually said this and honestly feel this way.

So for me the idea of gifts on special days is a double edged sword. First it puts the importance on the wrong thing. (Material goods) and then it also results with items I don’t need. Items most of us don’t need.

The holidays or any other special days are about more then just presents.

Holidays to me are about spending time together as a family. A day mom and dad don’t have to go to work and instead can spend time with the kids. I wish for that amazing moment to not be over shadowed by gifts. But you know what, sometimes…… Most times…. It is.

Everyone is mostly focusing on the gifts. The stores. The Deals.

I use to too, but not anymore. I am aiming for a simple life, a life rooted more on values of community, time, togetherness . Not things. They are values I want my kids to learn.

As such I am requesting a gift giving cease fire.

Now I fully understand that idea is to extreme for some. It just wont fly.


So you still need to give a gift?  May I direct your efforts.

Earlier I wrote how silly useful gifts are. I was actually being sarcastic. The best gifts to me are the useful ones. So read along for wholesome valuable gift ideas.

  • Cook us one of your specialty dishes, this will likely involve us coming over, ¬†value of community? Check
  • Write us a letter revealing the secrets of a long happy marriage.
  • Schedule a play date with us for the kids, my son loves seeing his friends. ¬†Value of togetherness? Check
  • Call us and let’s have a long talk.
  • Gift us time to Clean out a closet. Time? Check

okay you say.

That’s you. What about the kids?

I’m a millennial so sorry if I use a reference outside of your time.

Have you read Harry Potter? The feeling of entitlement is a real issue with most kids these days. As for me, I don’t want to have a Dudley Harry potter moment.

Where Dudley on his birthday ask ” How many are there?”( speaking of his presents)

His father says ” There are 37, counted them myself this morning”

“37, 37? ¬†but last year I had 38 gifts”

” Well this years gifts are bigger”

” I don’t care”


No. That is not what we want as parents.

¬†So let’s not give a free pass when it comes to the kids. Here too we should ask the question. Does this gift have value. Other then the thrill of “hey! Look at this new thing that is mine!” Just to be caste off for the next ¬†brightly wrapped box.

The best gifts are those that encourage creativity. Not those toys that dictate use, like push this button for a song. Not those toys who if the battery dies are discarded.

A great toy that encourages creativity? building blocks ( to not be brand specific).

If you must give gifts to kids I hope they are meaningful and remember quality not quantity. So please limit your gift giving to the kids as well.

Yes Gifts? Well lets consider where you stand financially

So you maybe really enjoy the gift thing. Or maybe you’ve felt pressure by society to participate even as you struggle financially. Let this be your absolution.

For if you are in a bind your family likely knows. Those people exist in my family and when I see people strapped for cash hand out so many gifts the thought runs through my head,  why did you buy this if you are having financial issues. A better present for you and me would be to not have to worry about you financially.

If the thought of January’s bill cause you a twinge of discomfort maybe it a warning sign. So just say no to the obligation, you don’t need to sacrifice your financial security.

If you need to get a better idea of where I am coming from check out all these amazing articles.

I am starting to trend towards minimalism so help us live the simple stuff life and the full of love and experiences life. Do you want to live this life too?  Share this letter with your family and start your own new tradition.

Comment now and tell me what is your favorite holiday memory. Did it include a gift? What are you looking forward to this Holiday season?

I’ll start… my favorite thanksgiving was when my family actually sat together to eat it. (maybe that sound normal to you but it wasn’t for my family) And during we played some word and memory games, there was actual laughing involved. It might of happened again the year after that but I only have 2 memories of a thanksgiving like that. It really is a cherished memory, and I can tell you, I sure as heck don’t remember any of the gifts I got that Christmas.

So again.  leave me a comment below and share with me your favorite memory.

Design your own Wedding dress

Hi everyone today at Traveling Wallet we will be talking about wedding dress design.

Design your own wedding dress

  • Let’s talk about why you would want to
  • Tips for how to
Why design your own dress?

The Cost

Do you know the range for the cost of already made wedding dresses?

The average is $1,100

But designer dresses can even be north of $6,000. ( Boing, as eyes pop out of sockets)

The average cost would have been 20% of my budget.

I designed my own wedding dress and as it were my actual dress cost was $173. Which was more like 4% of my total cost.

Its funny I thought that designing your own stuff meant it would be more expensive. Guess I was wrong. 


I’m going to play to the crowd here and say most women ( major generalization I know) are mortified about going to a party and someone else wearing the same dress. Not likely to happen at a wedding, but if you design your own dress then no one else will have it!¬†Plus you can insure you have all the different features, something that is very hard to do when shopping ready made.

It would be one of a kind.


Come on, how awesome would it be when someone says “oh I love your dress its so beautiful ,where did you get it? or who’s it from?” And you say I designed it myself. Extra point if you make it yourself too.

How to design your own wedding dress.

Find some inspiration

Roamer wedding inspiration inspiration 2 Wedding Roamer

I looked at pictures for ideas of features I liked and wanted to include. In my case a low back, mermaid silhouette and tiers? ( not sure if that is correct term). But the one thing I couldn’t find was an off the shoulders dress. So find yourself some inspiration.

Sketch up a design

Traveling Wallet Wedding dress design sketch
I drew many sketches but this is the one I provided to the seamstress.

I drew multiple sketches up trying to get my mind around the features I wanted to include. Perhaps you need a bit of drawing skills but as you can see by my picture it’s nothing like what you would see in patterns ( those things people buy at Joann to make clothes at home)

Add specific features. Outline the material, color , and any embellishment.

Find a seamstress

Once you decide you want to design your own dress and have it made, verbalize your goals to people. This will help you¬†use your network. I found my seamstress through a friend who was also getting married and who’s mother was getting services also.

Vet her/ his work most have other jobs in progress hanging from racks. Look at them. You don’t have to agree just because you are there already. Poke around and look at the quality of the work.

Ask the following Questions

  • Ask about the schedule?
  • Have you worked with this material before?
  • How many times would you meet?
  • How many fittings would you get?
  • Can she meet your deadline?
  • Find out cost based on material and time and know you upper limit?

Hire someone

Draw up a contract . Sorry but verbal is just not good enough. This is to protect yourself specially if its someone you don’t personally know. I was fortunate everything went well enough, but I did have some issues with a different vendor which I also didn’t have a written contract. It should include most of the information up top.

After this the seamstress gave me options. I had to pay some money up front so she could buy the materials. Or she said I could buy the material myself.

I bought material, this is where my dress color was decided. I wanted a color initially: red, orange, yellow. Champagne? I’m not going to lie probably has something to do with my infatuation with Asian culture.

Red is my favorite color
This would be more my style then a big puffy princess gown

But I also wanted a specific material cotton eyelet. This material is predominantly sold in white. As in I had more options with white. So white it was.

Don’t make these mistakes

Since this was my first time ever in this situation I was timid. Don’t be timid you are paying the agreed on price.

On the last day after she had finally put everything together and I stopped by I wanted to try on the final product, but she had dry cleaned it already she said. So I just pulled it out of the bag and looked at it. It look great. Then paid and was on my way.

When I got home I tried it on anyway. I was disappointed to find the shoulders were in the wrong place so I had to make some alterations. I’m not shy around a needle so I was able to fix it but I felt upset.

  • Put it on !¬†Check it again before you pay and leave.
  • Speak up during the process!

When you work with a seamstress you are working with a dress that is being built not a finished product that needs alterations. So stuff is being pieced together. Speak up ¬†during this process, I want the neck line lower, less ruffles. You have lots of opportunities to make the needed adjustments and when its done it should be made just right for you. You shouldn’t have to unstitch and resew.That is what I got hung up on. ¬†You have to put it on when its all done. Rookie mistake on my part.

Traveling wallet roamer wedding dress
Some pictures of the final product. Can you tell it wasn’t store bought?

Wedding or Marriage

To be 100% honest the real recommendation I should be making is wear a dress you already have. I got a bit wrapped up in the fantasy of it all too. But in retrospect most of it is just plain old unnecessary. But lots of people don’t want to let this dream go so I hope this helps you to save as much as possible while following the dream.

Guys send your ladies over to this post because even though it was lady centered, it really helps everyone out to cut costs on any item on the wedding budget.

 Can you include a picture of you in your wedding dress in the comments*? Seriously!

* I honestly don’t know if that is possible in the comments but thought I’d ask anyways.

Fun on the Fly: How not to Vacation

The fancy pants trip to Wisconsin.

We recently returned form a very short adult only vacation. We traveled to Wisconsin from California to attend one of my friend’s wedding. It was great to see people and catch up again. Since we were on vacation we threw caution to the wind and spent freely. I knew it was going to be painful to see the numbers added up later.

It was lovely!
It was lovely!

Vacations can be very expensive when you get caught with your pant down. In other word when you’re not prepared. I am not adept with purchasing flights with points but I still think we got a good deal with the flights. However, ¬†after that everything else was poorly planned.

Trip Costs

The Flights

This is almost always the most expensive part of our trips. From frequent travel I knew that purchasing tickets early was key. That is exactly what we did. I purchase plane tickets 3 months early and got what I thought a good deal.

2 round trip tickets from LAX to MKE. Sadly with a connection in DFW but that was a trade off for the price.

Total travel cost for 2: $646.40

Just to put in perspective why I felt this was a good price. We have purchased last minute tickets from Michigan to California or vice versa for 1 person for $700 or a bit more.  (Thankfully we are much smarter then that now a days!)

The Hotel

I’ll be honest we normally do travel that allows us to stay with family so this year was a rude awakening when it came to factoring in accommodations. In our earlier trip to Colorado, I was like, we are spending what for hotels? This trip was no different.

Darn it! just realized we could have totally couch surfed with some strangers since we had no kids with us. (seriously thought about it just now, as I type this post)

Cost for 2 nights : $204.9

The Food

This is where we made a big mistake! Well at least that’s how I feel. We could have easily spent less if we had planned the details better. Eating at the airport is not wise, the food is not very good and its expensive. How many meals did we eat at the airport you ask? 4, because of the connection we spent long days in travel and needed to cover breakfast and lunch for 2 days. ¬†( I know its embarrassing).

Just on airport food we spent $38.58

However we made 11 food related purchases during this vacation.

Total cost of food: $113.88

I feel we could have easily save at least $52 with better planning. Which would have included cooking oatmeal the night before our flight out for our breakfast and made some Pb & J sandwiches for our lunch on our way to Wisconsin.  We could have also packed extra oatmeal to have for breakfast on the day of our flight back.

How We Saved


Now I know everyone doesn’t do this, but it has come to my attention that lots of people do like to find any excuse to buy themselves some new clothes. So I will say we saved here.

Actually I finally got around to taking in a dress my sister gave me, and the Mr. Roamer wore some of what he already owned.

My new to me dress! Finally fixed and ready to wear.
My new to me dress! Finally fixed and ready to wear.
Showing of the alterations. What do you think could I be a hand model?
Showing of the alterations. What do you think could I be a hand model?

To be completely honest I didn’t look up weather in Wisconsin. So I spent most of the night in a sweater since it was a stark difference from our California sun. ¬†The sweater¬†turned out to be good as I did not hem it tight enough around the bust. ¬†Live and learn.

Total clothing costs: $0


We saved big here! We got dropped of by my mother at the airport and since it was a work day we would have used the car anyway.

I did do some research when it came to getting around. Luckily my friend had planned the festivities within a tight perimeter so walking from church to reception was completely feasible.


When we arrived at Milwaukee airport we used public transportation to get to the downtown where all the action would be happening.

Through out the trip we spent most of the time walking and only had to pay for bus fares to and from the airport. $2.25 per person. On the day of the wedding we walked to the fancier hotel where other guest were staying and found that there was a shuttle to the festivities. Score!

Total transportation cost: $9

Babysitting/ Child Care

Since the party was adult only we also had to arrange child care. My mother watches the children while we work. However for non essential situations we pay her on top of what our current arrangement is. Since this was a non essential situation it did have some dollar bills attached.

Roamer babysitting costs
Have to make sure the little ones are taken care of.

Total cost of child care: $150

The Present

We re-gifted. ¬†That’s right I said it. Now that I’ve been learning about how important the earth is and all that I had no shame in re-gifting. It was some thing we had received for our wedding and we never even took it out of the package. I honestly feel bad for stuff that just sits around unloved.( Poor Woody and Buzz)The bride is a big Disney fan so I though it was perfect!

Exactly how they looked. Still in original packaging.

The only thing we bought was a card to go with it.

Total Cost for gift: $4.51

When you break it all down it doesn’t look so bad. So I’ll add it up for you. So you’ll understand why I think it was a Fancypants type of vacation.

Total trip cost: $1128.69

Or we spent  $19.46 per hour for the duration of the vacation.

Going on a vacation?

Some free attractions to consider

Go see a church. People are always traveling to other countries to visit churches. There is lots of stain glass and architecture to be absorbed everywhere and anywhere.

Visit the markets. The hustle and bustle of the local markets is lots of fun. Usually you find some local tasty treats. Bonus!

Just walk around. We saw a fire dancer at a park. No joke.

Check out  this article from the Frugalwoods their vacation was well thought out and they saved big buck because of it.

Are you going on vacation soon? How do you plan to keep the costs down? And what tasty treats will you enjoy?

A Wedding or A Marriage? Part 1

Here at the Traveling Wallet I am trying to talk about the journeys we go through in life, and one of the many stops people encounter is indeed the wedding. At 27 I’m at the age where everyone seems to be getting married or having babies. Seriously its every where.

But today I’d like to focus on marriage, lets start with a story. Maybe you’ve had a conversation like this lately maybe not but what’s the first thing to talk about when there is a proposal and therefore a marriage on the horizon. Well The ring of course… what follows is an actual conversation

Coworker ” I’m going to propose to Jenny*, how much did you spend on your wife’s ring?”

“I spent about $300 on it”

Coworker “Oh I’m not that cheap.”

“It’s actually exactly what she wanted. ¬†Anyway,¬†Will she still say yes if you gave her a ring from the candy machine?..ok ?then it shouldn’t matter?”

Doesn’t that exchange just paint the picture perfectly?

I think in this day and age we all need to sit down and ask ourselves this hard question. As a man, would she still say yes if I gave her a cereal box ring? and as a woman, Would I marry him if he gave me a vending machine ring? Really you are marrying the person not the ring. It seems to me the perfect test. I mean if the answer is no , why are you even getting married?

Wedding rings Roamer
The meaning of the wedding isn’t lost in the simplicity of the rings. They are after all a part of the whole. The goal is a happy and long marriage.

So I will be writing a series talking about ways to save on the wedding but we all need to remember it’s just the wedding not the marriage. Wedding vs. Marriage these are not mutually exclusive but we do have to recognize there is a difference and a rather important one at that. ¬†When you realize that and remember it, it will be easy to cut and slash all the waste.¬†

Getting Married? Focus on what’s Important!

Save money on the wedding by focusing on the marriage.

Weddings have become big stage productions.  The wedding has become a show, a moment in your life to pretend you are royalty and to show everyone how amazing, fabulous and well off you are. God dammit this is the one day in your entire life that you deserve to be pampered and waited on. That is what a wedding is about, Right?


This might pain some people to hear but a wedding isn’t about showing off, you’ve already successfully found a mate. ( Who are you trying to impress? and why?)

A wedding really is just the door into the world of marriage, and what is a door really? Just a separation of one room from another. In this case from bachelorhood to married town.

Now think about that for a little longer.  How much time do you spend in a door way when walking from one room to another? A few seconds a minute maybe.. Is how fancy the door important? Not really, because in the great scheme of things you spend a negligible amount of time there. You spend your time in the rooms.

The same is true for the doorway to marriage. If you take the vow seriously you will be spending another ¬†50-70 years with this person. That’s 24 hrs x 365 days x 50 yrs= 438,000 hrs and ¬†a wedding takes what 6 hrs? ¬†That is so small in comparison its not even .1% of the time you’ll spend together. ¬†Yet there we are, most of us spend so much money and time for the wedding but not the same amount for the Marriage.

Now that we understand that a wedding is a doorway. Isn’t it just amazing and insane how people spend more time preparing for that 6 hrs celebrating then preparing for the 50 years after that day. So my advice lets all start preparing for a marriage not just a wedding. One of the biggest things neglected during wedding prep is having the difficult conversations before the I DO.

It’s been shown that the biggest tension between couples is indeed finances. Having an ostentatious wedding that caused you to get into debt is a sure way to start your marriage on the wrong foot.

So now that we know what a wedding is really for, saving should be easy. We can clearly look at each expense and acknowledge that ¬†what we are adding is just to create a show, but won’t actually make the marriage any stronger.¬†

The Wedding Cost

During this little series I’m going to address some of the main culprits in a wedding. I’ll talk about

  1. The Location (where we get married?)
  2. The Dress
  3. The Guest list
  4. The Food
  5. The Pictures
  6. Decorations (including flowers and all the other knickknacks)
  7. The Engagement Ring.

I pretty much cover my feeling about the ring in this post. The conversation up top and the video down below really illustrate how I feel about the engagement ring. But just in case I think its completely unnecessary. But if you are going to buy one it needs to be one that you can afford. As in no monthly payments. A bigger engagement ring is not going to insure you a long marriage especially if it causes you to go into debt.

So ,here is a picture of what my numbers were for my wedding.

Wedding Cost for the Roamer
Our Wedding Costs, Itemized. HEY LOOK! I was able to save almost $800 from my budget.

We budgeted $5,000 and while that is still loads of money it is quite small when compared to the “Standard wedding” costing $25,000 or more.

Let’s finish this serious conversation on a light note. Think outside the box check out this college humor video.

I’ve been wanting to write wedding posts for a while because I really just don’t understand what is going on these days. Reading the following article really made think and pushed¬†me to finish.

* name changed for privacy

Update: found this article about diamonds. Worth the read.

 If you had a big wedding was it worth it? What would you have done differently?

If you are getting married soon what are some of the costs your worried about?