Snow In Arizona? Budget Tips on Winter Break (Part 1)

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So as the heading goes, yes, my family and I experienced snow…and a lot of snow when we recently travelled to Sedona, AZ at the end of 2014.  It was amazing, my wife and I scheduled this road trip to do something fun and exciting with the kids at the end of the year and travel to somewhere “warm”.  And boy, were we excited and surprised to go from sunny and 50’s to a blistery winter snowfall accumulating over 8 inches…in Arizona!!  Oh, and for 20 minutes on Phoenix area news at night…the snow was the headlines! Imagine that Chicago (where I’m writing from we just got 18 inches dumped over the weekend).

However, with all things considered, it was an amazing trip.  With this blog, I will demonstrate the key takeaways that this road trip provided as far as vacation budget tips:

  1. We, as a family, got to unplug and share some really unique times.
  2. We, as a family, were able to relive some of my favorite childhood memories (my father passed away when I was young…for more see past Blog post: My Why)
  3. Last but not least, I experienced firsthand that young millennial’s DO NOT NEED electronics in the car to be entertained.

Wait a minute….”what at all do these points have to do with you as a Financial Consultant, David”? Are those thoughts running through your head? If so, then great.  Because, my response is as follows: My vacation has everything to do with my vocation….but more importantly, my vacation has everything to do with being a close knit, and values based family.  Don’t believe me? Then keep reading.

My 3 Financial Keys that I use with clients and as a basis for my overall Financial Fitness Strategies are Give, Save and Spend Wisely with a Plan.  So, in order to go on vacation at year end, my family had to do all three.  The last one was in fact what helped dictate that we plan a road trip from Chicago area to Sedona, AZ.  This was over 3,000 miles round trip and with my 4, 6 and 8 year olds in tow.  WHAT?? “Why wouldn’t you fly? That was the reaction that I received from… let’s just say a few people.  Well my first response is…hmmm let’s see:

  1. Roundtrip plane tickets for 5 people: ~$468 each x 5 = $2,340
  2. Parking at airport: $78
  3. Rental Car for 6 days: $198 (without all the upcharges, etc)

Total Cost to Fly: $2,616

That’s over $2,000 just to get to Sedona and come home?

Now, compare that with the following (please note that average gas prices dropped at the end of the year…which helped my efforts)

  1. Gas Costs to Drive: $373
  2. 2 night hotel stay during drive: $189
  3. Food on trip: $264

Total Cost to Drive: $826

So, if we had an extravagant time, spending foolishly, then we would have a lot of ground to cover in order to just make it to what we would have paid to fly.  That, my friends, is Spending Wisely with a Plan.  So now, what would have been a very costly trip now gets us to a great family vacation for a reasonable price.  Not to mention that we had some money saved up in vacation fund….Saving helps also!

Well, I don’t want to keep you hanging, but I have been told that people can’t stand reading really long blog posts.  So, I will continue on in the next edition.  Stay Tuned.

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