Luxury Bali For Less

This year we took one of our most favorite trips ever celebrating several important life milestones.

We went to Bali for 2 weeks and spent $6,310 total for 2 adults, in luxury accommodations, eating at some of the best restaurants around and taking advantage of many incredible tours, traveling in business class.

Here is the breakdown:

  • 2 flights business class – Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong (and access to all their amazing lounges!): 140k AA miles + $314 in taxes.
  • 2 nights hotel at Sofitel Nusa Dua – free with Citi Thank you points. Try their weekend buffet! Amazing hotel room with private plunge pool
  • 6 nights LUXE Villas, Ubud (best hotel we have ever stayed at, ever!) inclusive of several excursions, below, all breakfasts, private transport, couples massage in our own roof deck and many surprises that wow you along the way – $3,180 (could have been cheaper using 4th night free from Citi, but booked this in advance and did not take advantage).
    • Eco bike tour
    • Canyoning
    • Cultural tour
    • Balinese dance performance
    • Volcano (Mt Batur) hike at sunrise, coffee plantation and terraces
    • Chef’s table – custom made 6 course meal – Yum!
  • 4 nights Seminyak Equilibria Villa and 2 one hour massages, inclusive of breakfast and canapés each day. We had our own butler and plunge pool!  – $695 using 4th night free from Citi Prestige
  • 1 night Hong Kong Regal Airport Hotel on way back – free with Citi thank you points.
  • Food and transportation, plus an extra massage, a bottle of duty free champaign and drinks at the beach a few times; including some of the best restaurants in Asia like Mozaic (omg yum!) and Locavore. $2,120.

Highly recommend this trip as a highlight!

2018 Life Goals Mid Year Report

Time for a mid year review of the wider life goals – how am I doing? Let’s take a look:

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Health: I need to do way better in the eating department, all else keep doing what I am doing. Despite my best intentions, I don’t go for fruits or veggies so hope juicing as a supplement helps.

Mid Year Review: I would give this a meh! Earlier this year I took one of the best vacations ever and I ate like it was my job. And no, it was not healthy. But since I have been trying to get back on track; perhaps second part of the year will be better. Definitely need to focus here now. So far a C.

Professional: Keep hitting my day job goals. I will also like to focus more on the blog, aiming for one post a week, on average. This is definitely a guide only, I don’t want to add content where it adds no value or it becomes a chore, so this goal will likely evolve a lot.

Mid Year Review: Not good on the blog goals; I have been slacking! That said, I am absolutely making up for it at work. I am doing better than expected and really hope things pay off at end of year with a promotion. Blogging, I give a C-, work I give myself an A +

Relationships:  Purposeful time allocation to those most important to me. This was going well in 2017 so keep doing what I am doing!

Mid Year Review: I have kept this up to an acceptable standard. Happy with my results. I am even going to go on a trip alone with my favorite friend; a first one for me (just me and a friend trip). I could still do a little more with my kids, but it has significantly improved. B+.

Financial: More specifics here, but the summary above hits the major points. The biggest change is our expense side (need to cut $5k from 2017 budget).We also must complete our will and testament – we have the paperwork just not notarized and with young kids this keeps me up at night.

Mid Year Review: On the financials excellent, on the will and testament; slacking! Urgh. A and D. lol.

Wants: Putting money away specifically for our used electric car fund for replacing our old second carUpdate: Our old car died end of November 2017, before we even got to 2018 goals, so we bought a car. I guess we can cross this off the list!

Mid Year Review: Achieved!

Experiences: What I am MOST excited about and where my planning helped most to do a ton in 2017. Here some ideas for 2018:

Mid Year Review: See crossed out items below; getting there! A for progress.

  • At least 5 bucket / travel list items:
    • Bali (with husband)
    • Canyoning,  private dinner at own villa & volcano hike (with husband)
    • Colonial Williamsburg (with kids)
    • Snow Tubing, ice skating, sleeping on a dome, theater play (with kids)
    • Rescue a non puppy dog
  • At least 3 personal challenges:
    • No buying clothes or ‘stuff’ for a year for me except personal hygiene and food items. Experiences and travel are allowed and encouraged.
    • Vegetarian for a month.
    • Reduce closet by 10 items by EOY (without replacing).
    • Rental of convertible (the one thing I failed to complete in 2017!)
  • Five zero waste changes:
    • In 2017, we traded plastic bags for reusables, changed to waste free period pads cups and underwear and entered a journey into minimalism. In 2018 we have to find 5 small changes towards a less wasteful way of living.

How are you doing with your goals this year? 

Q2 2018 Financial Progress Report

It has been a while since my last post, I know. I have been very busy traveling, working hard and had a bit of an issue with my computer breaking down then got too lazy to blog on my phone. However, I am back now just in time to catch up see were we are at the end of Q2:

Assets & Debt

Liquid assets stand at $641,5k; an increase of $16,700 against Q1 this year. We have also put aside an additional $15k for an alternative investment we are eying, but not going to divulge the details just yet… more on that next time!

Our original EOY goal was $704k, however, we are still pushing through on our decision to  start putting more money towards our mortgage vs fully funding post tax accounts. As a result, we are falling behind on our asset goal. That is ok, we are killing our debt goal already!

Our combined 529 balances (not counted above) remain stable, at $61,440, or an $870 gain from Q1, all from market gains.

Our total remaining debt, mortgage plus car loan, stands at $67.7k, or $24.9 less than end of Q1 – destroying our original EOY debt balance goal of $101.7k! We hope to be done with the mortgage payments by Jan 2019 (about $50k of total debt, approx $290k-$300k market value); let’s see how we go!


Our goal remains to cut down from last year’s $75k to $70k this year.  We have been slowly lowering our costs for the past few years and it has been relatively easy until now.  Our new expense goal is still very doable (heck so high still compared to most people’s budgets I know!), however, we are starting to feel a little bit of the pain of having to make conscious choices more often to keep on track. All in all however we are still generally on track and think we can hit our expense goal.

With half of the year behind us, we have spent $34.2k, or about $5.7k per month; putting us on track for the $70k spent (inclusive of having to pay car and life insurance); details below.

 Category Budgeted YTD Avg Variance
Mortgage $1,400 $1,400 $0
Utilities/cell phone $500 $462 $38
Groceries $500 $500 $0
Restaurants $200 $125 $75
Personal /entertainment $570 $610 -$40
Gas/Car expenses $750 $635 $115
Medical expenses $480 $363 $117
Vacation/travel $580 $829 -$249
Kids $500 $480 $20
Pet $300 $247 $53
Other $50 $51 -$1
Total Monthly $5,830 $5,702 $128