The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort on Ka’anapali beach in Lahaina was where we spent four nights on our big vacation for the year. I was pretty excited because I enjoy Hyatt hotels. A buddy of mine is a Globalist member (top tier elite) with the World of Hyatt program so I utilized his Guest of Honor benefit. This grants the guest most of the same benefits that a Globalist would receive. At the HR Maui, this includes Regency Club access for continental breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres, discounted/free valet parking, and room upgrades (or so I thought). Before having a kid, I was a Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond member so I’m pretty familiar with the benefits. I was looking forward to getting another taste of the good life at this resort but it’s possible I set my expectations a little too high.
One of the biggest concerns that parents will face is how to travel with milk for their baby or toddler. Fortunately, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) makes an exception for baby and toddler milk and formula, which means you can bring more than three ounces. Now the big question is, what’s the most efficient way to travel when having to deal with milk?
You’ve seen the travel blogs that advertise various credit cards with lucrative sign-up bonuses and how to leverage those points and miles into first class flights and luxury hotels. It’s pretty enticing and inspiring. Unfortunately, acquiring those credit card bonuses often require spending a minimum of $3,000 (per card) within three months. When you’re on a budget, that can be a challenge. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun. It just means you have to re-adjust your expectations and develop a credit card strategy that can benefit your family.
Growing up, chocolate milk was one of my favorite drinks. It still is. I remember watching a sitcom when I was younger where someone poured chocolate syrup in their mouth, took a swig of milk, and then swished the two ingredients around in their mouth. Of course I tried it. It was pretty awesome. I’m a little bummed that our little one won’t be able to do stupid stuff like that. With her allergy to cow’s milk, we wondered how or when she could taste the goodness that is chocolate. Fortunately there are plenty of options out there, but there are three products that particularly stand out in our household.
This was the first chocolate product that we gave to our daughter. Since she can’t have cow’s milk or actual chocolate, Chocolate Silk worked out fine. First, it’s soy milk. Second, the chocolate flavoring comes from cocoa. If you’re like me, you might be wondering what’s the difference between chocolate and cocoa. The main difference between the two is that chocolate includes cocoa butter, while cocoa does not.
I took a family trip to Disneyland back in 2007 and aside from some good times, one of the things I remember most was how much my feet hurt at the end of the first day. I wasn’t wearing the best shoes for Disneyland. It felt so good to take my shoes off at the end of the day. By the next morning, my feet felt fine. I was ready for day two at the park. I even stopped off to get some of those gel inserts you put into the shoes to make it more comfortable. About an hour in, my feet were in pain again. I don’t even know how I made it through the rest of the day.
Being unemployed with a family to take care of is a nerve-wracking situation. I was laid off from my job late in 2015. I didn’t think it would take that long to get back into the work force but was I wrong. I was wrong by a lot. It ended up being about 10 months before I was able to find my new (part-time) job, which I just started in the past week. They say everything happens for a reason, and certain things are meant to be. Although I’m not working full-time, I believe this opportunity is a great fit given the way things have evolved.
Citi Price Rewind is a feature of Citibank credit cards that scours the internet to (hopefully) save you money by finding a lower price on items you’ve purchased and registered with Citi Price Rewind. According to the website, nearly 124,000 refunds were issued in the first half of 2016, totaling over $3,000,000. You can receive refunds for up to $500 per item, and the maximum refund you can receive in a year is $2,500. It’s a very straightforward process. Charge your purchase(s) to your Citi credit card, submit a tracking ticket, and Citi will start looking for lower prices for the next 60 days. At the end of the 60 days, you’ll be refunded the price difference if a lower price was found.
I’m not too good with setting budgets. I generally just try to save as much money as possible by finding deals or being honest with myself about whether or not I really need something. Most of the time it’s a want rather than a need. One area where I could use some help is in the dining department. We tend to eat at restaurants a lot on the weekends since we’re usually out and about. With a family of three, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to dine out for less than $25 after tax and tip. Even fast food adds up to around $15 per visit. So why do we continue to do it? It’s convenient, and we’re mostly just being lazy. We rationalize that it’s easier to eat out and it’s less time consuming than going home to cook and save some money. When you add up all that rationalizing, we’re looking at $100 to $200+ each month in dining expenses alone. That adds up to thousands of dollars each year. Yikes! If we could all stop trying to justify our purchases, just think how much money we could all save every year. Here are three mistakes I’ve noticed people make when making purchases:
As a parent, I’m sure you’ve heard or read the saying, “You can’t spoil a baby,” or something to that effect. For me, this was a common theme every time I read about sleep training for babies. Since it was plastered all over the internet by e-parents and other anonymous people, I figured it had to be true. So for the first three months of parenthood, I cuddled my daughter at every opportunity. I cuddled her to sleep at bedtime, when she woke up in the middle of the night, and for naps. For the most part, she slept through the night but all babies evolve, for better and worse.
Around the thee month age, she was waking up several times a night, so of course one of us had to go in there and help her back to sleep. Apparently you CAN spoil a baby, because they want/need you to help them back to sleep from all of the non-spoiling love you’ve been giving them. It was exhausting. I couldn’t wait to start sleep training at four months old.
Each summer, the Disney Store holds its Summer Play Days event where they give away free stuff every week. The free items are part of a theme for the entire summer. This year it’s a Tsum Tsum wristband (as you can see from the main image, above). In order to receive a wristband, you have to participate in the event, which typically lasts about five to 10 minutes. The events are different each week. We’ve had activities such as learning how to draw a Disney character, a parade within the store, playing a match game, or learning how to do the Hot Dog Dance. Check with your local Disney Store to confirm the time(s) of their event(s). One store near me has two events daily, while another store has only one each day.
If you collect all 14 wristbands, you can get bonus Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Tsum Tsum wristbands. You’ll have to take your collection to a Disney Store between 8/31/16 and 9/5/16 to show them to a Cast Member so they can verify your collection.