Roundup and Link Love – Back from Vacation 2008 Edition

This was my first week back and I’m STILL in vacation mode mentally and still on Mountain Time physically! We went to Yellowstone National Park and Mt Rushmore. Folks, if you ever get the chance to go, take it. We drove around 4,700 miles and spent about $800 in fuel, but it was cheaper than $3,000 in airline flights and another $1,000 in rental car + fuel! My kids were “stretched” too. One leg of our trip was 17 hours in our Honda Odyssey minivan! I say they were stretched because they used to complain about a 5 hour drive, but now, that’s nuthin’!

Look for a picture post next week where I’ll disclose how we spent our money and what all we saw on this wonderful family vacation. It’s funny…after you’ve been rafting down the Gallatin River, seeing elk grazing in a meadow, people riding horses over some gentle hills, seeing the giant spruce and pines, with warm sunshine on your face that just got splashed with 41 degree water, turning a bend in the river and seeing Big Sky Mountain with its snow capped peak, everyone laughing and the kids squealing with delight…how completely UN-important work becomes. I’ve had to ask myself, “Why DO we work so hard?”

Let’s take a look at some fantastic links for the week.

Jeff @ My Supercharged Life wrote How to avoid buying things you do not need. I personally need to implement his ideas and squeeze down my spending on unnecessary stuff. I’m getting there though!

Madison from My Dollar Plan is thinking ahead! She wrote about deducting mileage from your taxes while using your personal vehicle. I know I can always count on her to help me make good plans for the future.

Frugal Dad told us about a real family’s quest to slash their monthly expenses. This was amazing. It really made me think about what unneeded expenses I could cut.

One way I could slash expenses is to follow the Simple Mom’s advice and cook more from scratch. This post of hers has some fabulous and surprising tips.

Marc and Angel hack life once again and give us a list of ways to work less but still impress my boss. This is the essence of working SMARTER not harder!

Gibble at Gather Little by Little wrote his powerful story about his blog and his life. He hit the one year mark recently and relates how his blog and his financial life have changed in that time.

Patrick from Cash Money Life wrote about defining financial freedom. This is a very personal issue for everyone since we all define financial freedom differently. I encourage you to read his article and add your comments.

Pinyo from Moolanomy wrote a graphical post (I love visual illustrations) on the 5 stages of financial health. What stage are YOU in?

Finally, do you take ALL your vacation? According to Bankrate, most Americans DO NOT! We typically get 14 days and use only 11. The French get a whopping 37 annual vacation days and use all but 2, the English 26 vacation days; Germany, 27; the Netherlands and Austria, 28; Spain, 31; Italy, 33 and with the exception of Italy, most countries use all but 2 to 4 of those days.

Why don’t Americans take their full vacations?

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