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Credit Card Points for the Win

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Our travel season has begun…and doubled up this year due to the addition of travel volleyball along with gymnastics. There are several weekends over the next three months that require us to be in two places at once. It’s going to get tricky.

Gymnast this past weekend after his competition in Knoxville.

And we all know, travel is expensive. But I am excited to say, I have covered ALL required hotels for this travel season using hotel points and credit card rebates. Woot, woot! (I’ve also reached out to family in some locations for occasional overnights.)

Princess is ready for her first volleyball tournament this weekend in Knoxville.

Using Credit Cards

There are two schools of thought when it comes to credit cards when you are trying to get out of debt. I have chosen it keep one credit card active BECAUSE of the security is provides. My checking account/debit card have been cleared out on multiple occasions, and I am not willing to go through that again. I use my credit card for everything and then make regular payments throughout the month.

In addition, a credit card saves a lot of head ache when you have to rent a car. And as mentioned above, the points I earn from my credit card have covered a great deal of the expenses for our travel this spring for the kids’ sports.

If you are on a “get out of debt” journey, what is your opinion on credit card usage?

 


More Car Issues

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Gotta love all these car issues popping up (said dripping with sarcasm).

On Sunday night, hubs and I took the girls over to a friends’ for dinner. Everything was fine. We go over there and come back fine. Hubs needed access to the garage, so less than 5 minutes after we got home in our perfectly working vehicle, he went to get back in the car and move it out onto the driveway. When he did so, the car wouldn’t start.

This is the second time in 6 months that we’ve dealt with this type of issue.

Thanks to our awesome car insurance, we got the car towed for free to a nearby shop. They had it for a day and a half trying to diagnose it. They have checked everything under the sun and everything has tested normal. So the only possible issue, they say, is that the car must have a problem with the factory alarm. It needs to be taken directly to the dealer.

So I call the local Ford dealerships around town. And all are looking at a 2.5-3 week wait before the car will be seen. They say they prioritize non-working vehicles (like mine), but they cannot guarantee a faster turnaround. I’m just out of a car for that period of time.

There’s never a good time to be stranded without a car, but with the start of semester craziness, I feel like it’s a particularly BAD time to be out of a car. I got a loaner for the time being, but this is a serious problem. We need a vehicle that fits our whole family that we can use to reliably get to-from work and school.

I do NOT want a new car. We cannot afford a new car. We’re seriously buried under a mountain of debt.

But the old Ashley, at this point, would say “F it” and advocate going to look for a new-to-us car. ¬†Our car is only 7 years old, but has over 130,000 miles on it. These issues that have been popping up on average 2-3 times per year (in which we have to take the car to the shop for multiple days and use a rental in the meantime) are incredibly stressful. Not having family around to help or having alternative transportation available is a big part of that stressor. We really need to have a reliable family vehicle to get us around and having this car die on us again just a few short months after it’s last major repair feels defeating. Like all the air flying out of a balloon. I’m barely keeping up with my tasks as it is. I don’t have time for this.

Sooooo, what do I do? Hubs and I can try to carpool as triage for a day or two, but that isn’t practical long-term. We have totally different schedules on campus and I rely on him to pick up the girls most days so if he’s stuck on campus with me, we’re stuck paying for after school childcare. Tucson is a smaller sized town. There’s really no alternative transportation in terms of busses, etc. that we can take from where we live.

Anyone have any tips about how to get low priced rental cars for longer term (e.g., 2-3 weeks)? What do we do?

Admittedly, this post is pretty knee-jerky. I just got the call from the shop about the car needing to be towed to the dealership, etc., so it’s all very fresh and I’m pretty stressed about the whole ordeal. I want to bitch and moan and buy a new car, but it’s not going to happen. The only solution I see is to pony up and pay for a long-term rental. Any other creative suggestions?


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