posing in front of the Grand Canyon

Hi, I’m Abby and I love a good deal.

I was raised to have good money sense with the lens of “why spend more today to have less tomorrow”, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and one of my favorites in recent years, “if I spend more on this, I’ll have less for travel”. My parents handled money smartly, and in doing so, were able to open my brother and I up to many opportunities beyond our small town bubble.

My parents saved in a way that is counter cultural to this day and age. We rarely ate meals out and we brewed coffee at home instead of going to cafes. We got excited when our car hit 200,000+ miles and still had life to give and experiences to be had. We were the family that enjoyed amusement parks and ski trips, but also often enjoyed home packed lunches while we were at those places because the food was just so expensive, even back in the day. 

Therefore, by the age of 10, I had been to almost all 50 states and more national parks than many people can name or know exist, thanks to my parents’ love of adventure and exploration, which became a living part of my DNA.

The Four Corners - My brother and I having some fun in four states at the same time
The Four Corners – Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona
My brother and I having some fun in four states at the same time

My dad and I climbed 16 miles to summit Half Dome together before I entered high school – talk about father daughter bonding! This was before social media, before the lottery system for the hike was in place, and before many people my age, especially those from the east coast, even knew about Yosemite, let alone Half Dome. We hiked it as a way to simply scratch our mutual craving for adventure. I was on cloud nine with a spark ignited inside me to reach greater heights – literally and figuratively.

My dad and I at the base of Half Dome before ascending the cables to the top for a spectacular view of the Yosemite Valley
My dad and I at the base of Half Dome before ascending the cables to the top for a spectacular view of the Yosemite Valley

In high school, two fateful opportunities took me beyond the US/Caribbean and introduced me to a world of wanderlust beyond my imagination. In 10th grade, I performed in High School Musical at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the biggest arts and media festival in the world. This trip took me to Scotland and England, subsidized significantly through school fundraisers.

In 11th grade, I was selected as one of 10 students from four high schools to participate in a German exchange program, fully paid for by my county. This experience afforded me the opportunity to develop a cross-cultural relationship with a German peer while hosting her in my home/school and then conversely experiencing life in and around Germany with a return visit to stay with her and her family years later.

First day of school with my German exchange student, Katrin
Sickingen-Gymnasium, Landstuhl, Germany
First day of school with my German exchange student, Katrin
Sickingen-Gymnasium, Landstuhl, Germany

That’s it – I was hooked! Hooked on adventure, exploration, and travel with a particular desire to travel beyond the US and discover new cultures, cuisines, languages, and people.

By the age of 30, I had traveled to 33 countries. By the end of 2023, I am aiming to have traveled to 45+ countries – all with my money-saving sense.

Car on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
My dear 12-year-old “Silver Jet” on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah with me at the wheel after driving across country from Virginia en route to California.

I was about to embark on a six-month travel Occupational Therapy contract in the San Francisco Bay Area that turned into full-time work, leases instead of sublets, marriage instead of boyfriends, and five years of blissful exploration of the wild wild west.

Inception of Good Dimes

The inspiration for this blog came from a culmination of several things. The big spark occurred after my boyfriend at the time, now husband, and I went to a concert at the famed Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California. We were wandering among the illuminated columns one night under a starlit sky, marveling at the beauty of the space as we had done many times before, but somehow that time was different. A thought popped into my head: this would be the most amazing place for a wedding… can you even get married here?? A quick Google search revealed that yes, in fact, you can get married at the Palace of Fine Arts, and the search continued to reveal how inexpensive the gorgeous venue was. I then started thinking about making a list of inexpensive wedding venues in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond… which ultimately morphed into the idea of curating information about inexpensive experiences around the world. 

It’s no secret that San Francisco *can be* one of the most expensive cities on the planet. Another secret is that you can choose to live in San Francisco with less of a financial footprint than people who live elsewhere but choose not to be as fiscally responsible. I’ve lived this experience first-hand. And that’s why I was so passionate about starting this blog – to show people that there are ways to live in San Francisco affordably.

And if you have a dream to live somewhere unimaginable OR to travel the world, I want to show you that it’s much more attainable than you might think.

My intention is that this blog will continue to morph into a broader venture, pairing affordable ways to do life in your own locale, while traveling stateside, and while traveling internationally – good times on just dimes – Good Dimes. 

Affordable doesn’t always mean budget, but rather something that’s comparatively a good deal. In addition to Good Dimes, I also reference Silver Dollar Splurges that are more expensive but have a lot of bang for the buck – great deals on luxury feels. Thus, this blog runs the gamut from budget to luxury.

I hope this blog provides you with lots of value and helps you live out the life of your dreams. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Wedding photo at the Palace of Fine Arts
Where It All Began
The day my husband and I wed at the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA –
less than one year after I first dreamed of this place as a wedding venue which subsequently became the inspiration for this blog.