For our wedding last October, we were supposed to working with this wedding florist who came highly recommended. However, not only did it take several months for her to return with a quote, she exceeded our $1,000 budget and gave us a quote of ~$4,600! The most expensive item in the quote was my bridal bouquet which cost $225! We were shocked and angry. It was two months before our wedding and we now had to work with her to adjust our budget, find someone else, or do it ourselves. After a few days, we cancelled our contract with her, checked out other vendors, and eventually decided to do our own flowers (for the most part). Our total cost: ~$700.00.
“The Debt-Free Spending Plan” by Joanneh Nagler provides a step-by-step guide to figure out your budget, have enough money for your needs, pay down your debt, and save for your wants. It is a different way of looking at personal finances. Instead of just mindlessly tracking your expenses (which make budgeting so depressing), you learn how to create financial goals to achieve your dreams and gain a life of financial security. Read more
Japanese curry is an easy dish to make in the crockpot and on the stove. I make so many variations because it depends on what’s in my fridge at the moment. I don’t usually add pumpkin and corn but we had leftover pumpkin from last week’s dish and we got some sweet Ewa corn that we picked this past weekend. I know it sounds weird but it tastes pretty good. I got the idea of adding all kinds of vegetables when I make this dish because, at the rare times we go to Curry House, I usually order mixed veggie-shabu shabu beef curry plate, which come with kabocha (pumpkin), spinach, corn, carrots, peas, green beans, and lotus root. On a side note, I added garlic to this curry (because I love garlic!) but I realized that it changes the flavor a bit so I am not adding it again. Finally, I wish I added something green like peas or spinach (because it’s so orange!) but I didn’t have any in the fridge so I had to do without.
Last July/August, my husband and I traveled with some friends to Vancouver, BC, Canada and Seattle, Washington for 10 days. We originally planned this trip to attend our close friends’ Seattle wedding but we decided to visit Vancouver first since one of our friends had family there. This was the first time my husband and I traveled with friends so we often joked with each other that we wouldn’t survive the trip. We’re still alive and are all still friends! 😛 We had a lot of fun planning and traveling together but we had to work extra hard to communicate better and be accommodating with each other since we were together for almost 24/7.
“The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living” by Anna Newell, creator of the blog AndThenWeSaved.com, was one of the first personal finance ebooks I borrowed from our public library. Even though my husband and I are not big spenders (anymore!), the book caught my eye with the words “debt-free living”. Her book provided an honest look into the life of a spender and revealed her struggles and accomplishments in paying back close to $24,000 of debt in 15 months with little to no help from her husband, friends, and family. Anna talked practical methods of adopting a needs-only spending habit, finding new ways to earn money, paying down debt, understanding our own spending habits, and how to navigate family and social life through a spending fast. As I read the book, I realized how much of her story mirrors my own and I learned what tools I could use in my own life. Read more
Gintaang Kalabasa, Hipon, Sitaw at Talong is a Filipino dish of kabocha squash, shrimp, green beans, and eggplant cooked in coconut milk. It’s a hearty stew that you can make with basically any vegetable or meat so I made this dish based on what I had in our fridge from a previous recipe. I also added a bit of crushed hot pepper to make it a bit spicy but this dish is not usually spicy at all. Read more
Japan is one of my favorite countries to visit because of the blend of tradition and modern. I traveled there several times when I was younger as a short term exchange student but never as a regular tourist with a budget. Our trip last April was our honeymoon and my husband’s first visit to Japan. We spent 15 days in Japan: stuffing our faces in Osaka, seeing the traditional Japanese culture and architecture in Kyoto, experiencing sensory overload and hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in Tokyo, and playing in the snow in Niigata. We spent around $4,000 total for the both of us, which includes airfare, accommodations, transportation, food, and miscellaneous expenses.
My name is Cherry Lacsina. I am 28 years old and I live in Honolulu, HI. I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a BA in Philippine Language and Literature and an MEd in Educational Administration in Higher Education. I work in higher education while my husband does signs and banners for a local print shop. We just got married this time last year.
As our first year wedding anniversary is coming up, I began this blog to chronicle our financial journey to debt free living. We owe thousands of dollars in student loans, credit card debt, and personal loans from moving here for college, car accidents, the wedding, helping our family, etc and just poor financial management. For the past 10 years, we’ve made a lot of financial mistakes and have been juggling multiple jobs to fix it but it keeps growing. After a long hard look at our debt and our life, we are done with it all. Done with living paycheck to pay check. Done with debt. Done with letting money dictate our lives. We’ve decided to finally face our monstrous debt and pay it down more aggressively so that we can finally have control of our lives. We know it won’t be easy. There will be lot of mistakes. We have a lot of sacrifices and behaviors and attitudes to change but we have a goal to eliminate at least 80% of our debt in five years.