When Noele was born, nearly 8 years ago, something in me rooted deeply. I felt a connection to my space in a way I hadn’t before and my home-body tendencies sky rocketed. Maybe it had something to do with her being born in the cozy-fall weather, or just the natural slow-down and isolation that came with a first baby. But whatever it was, I didn’t want to go. . . anywhere. We went on walks around town, but my home base was it for me. Travel was far from my mind, and I quickly assigned myself the title of “home body. No wanderlust here.” It made it all the easier that we couldn’t really afford to do. . . anything. Let alone travel.
We watched our friends wander, adventure, fly, and explore while our family grew and my love of home rooted in even deeper. As the years went by and my girlies grew, I started to see the forest through the tree’s and realize. . . we can Go a bit. The hold I had on naps/schedule’s and my fear of travel was beginning to lift. The weight of the cost of travel was wet blanket on the whole ordeal. I was excited. . .but my excitement didn’t create a new income and achievable line in the budget. The first issue we came to was that travel meant spending. Even inexpensive travel meant buying a tent, warmer layers, sleeping bags, etc. etc. To budget for this, from a budget that couldn’t grow, Charlie and I began to research a credit card that gave cash-back rewards.
We weren’t ready to fly, so miles didn’t mean much to us, but a high % of cash back at the end of the year? That could be a travel budget. That was the space where we could find money that wasn’t already allocated to a bill. And in fact? We could actually use our bills, grocery budget, and spending to our benefit. We began to study CreditCards.com . Charlie got into it. . . finding the right card for our goals, and it became a game. How much *can* we put on our card, pay if off each month, and then use the cash rewards to fuel our new plans? The answer. . . quite a lot more than we thought! Through the site we were able to compare cards, read reviews, and find just the right fit for us.
It started with camping, with a couple hours away and a night out. A long leash to my front door, and lots of reassuring myself that ‘we can always head home in the middle of the night if we need to.’ We began with trips to Birch Bay State Park, and free spots near Mt.Baker, always staying within two hours from home. As our camping trips grew, out confidence soared, and we found out that magically. . . both of our daughters sleep BETTER in a tent than anywhere where. My love of traveling began to be a title I embraced. I put out there into the universe, to my little family, and to my friends. . .we want more of this!
This past summer has been one of road trips, camping, hotel adventures, first experiences with vacation rentals, and going into a different country (Canada! We start small around here!) I wanted travel, and it was showing up for us! We continued to put all our bills possible onto our rewards card, and redeem our points to fund our adventures. It add’s up quickly, and feels a bit like magic to pay our phone bill, and endless grocery trips as a means of getting us to Portland and an Eclipse Adventure. But as this summer came to a close, our itch to cut the leash and explore further. . .grew.
Seemingly overnight an opportunity to fly dropped into our lap. A chance to explore an entirely different part of the country, and a place that none of our little family has ever seen. What was our first step when we realized that our first flight was on the horizon? We needed to find a card that would give us MILES. Not just cash, but translates into tickets and miles. The girls are growing up, excited, and so so ready. We went right back to CreditCards.com and found the perfect card for us. . . one that gives you lots of miles for your spending, and also? The real stitch, one that can get us a big dent in 4 tickets in just a few months. We searched the site knowing that in the next few months we have a few trips to cities planned (in fact, we just got home from Vancouver BC a couple days ago! And, uh, gave our card a workout…oops). We ended up landing on the the Chase Sapphire card and have LOVED it. It had huge rewards for adding a second card (me!), and for spending a certain amount in the first month (we used it to pay ALL the bills for a month and were able to meet that easily). We also knew, with all our travel plans between now and when we fly, we would be eating out quite a bit, and this card gave us double points for restaurants.
We are well on our way to having one of our 4 tickets fully covered, and hopefully a good chunk of one more. This means we have more wiggle room for site seeing, adventuring, and exploring when we touch down on our adventure (I’ll share more about where we’re heading soon!) Spending wisely, with the right card for your habits, can open up doors of opportunities in significant ways. For us, it began with camping nearby home and the ability to fund that with rewards from grocery shopping and Christmas gift buying. And now it’s expanding further and fanning the tiny flame I had for “maybe we can travel further?” into a raging fire of WHEN can we get OUT there!
Growing up kiddos, door’s opening, and us realizing that we don’t have to get a pay bump to travel, we just need to spend wisely on a card with rewards that match our goals. I can’t hardly believe all the opportunities for adventure there are. After this trip we have coming up, I’m setting my sites decidedly further and going to get us all some passports. . . where should we go first?!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.