Okay, I will have to admit…it took me an awfully long time to finish this blog article that I started in January. Life definitely goes that way doesn’t it? Before I get going down that rabbit hole (that’s a whole other article!), let me finish my thoughts of what I learned and applied on last year’s New Year’s trip to Sedona, AZ. If you didn’t catch my first part, check it out here.
I ended the first part talking about how and why we as a family of 5 drove. The last comment I made was about our Vacation Budget. Yes, that’s right. We as a family value our vacations. It is time for me to unplug and get away as I work really had the rest of the year. It is about making memories with my wife and boys. And boy oh boy, did we make memories on this trip. Before I discuss that, let’s chat a little about the Vacation Budget.
One of the best things that Vicki and I have done financially speaking was set up 2 accounts at our credit union: 1)Christmas Club and 2)Vacation Club. These are share accounts where each month, or at least throughout the year, we are saving small amounts into these accounts for the purpose of using the funds. You can’t touch the money until certain times of year. The Christmas club opens up in October and the Vacation Club opens up in May. We get slightly higher than normal (which isn’t saying much) interest, but it is the cash flow savings concept that matters.
Recall the 2nd of my 3 Financial Keys: Save for a rainy day and wisely for known items. This provides you with the funds that help your family build and manage your own priorities. No one can tell you what these areas are, but you should have a great conversation with your spouse and build a system that works for you and helps you manage your family priorities. Remember, money is a tool and it should be controlled but you should also live….if you plan ahead and work it in.
So, on this trip, we have our funds saved up with the purpose of spending it wisely (by the way, that’s the 3rd of my 3 Financial Keys). This alleviates the burden and eliminates the vacation from following you home in the form of a bill when you get back.
So now, let’s get back to the application. Remember, we saved about $1,700 on the travel expenses by not flying. Now, in Sedona there is plenty to do outdoors (which is free) and we took advantage of this. Take a peek at the picture above. You typically don’t go to Sedona, if you don’t like the outdoors. Well, we were able to climb the mountains of red rock without snow one day, then go for a snowy hike the next day. This provided some great snowball fights, until my oldest son fell into a snow covered cacti….Dad’s try not to laugh immediately at your son…they don’t like that too much. But it was funny!
With that savings, we used some funding to go out to a couple nice dinners…I am having trouble remembering where but we had 4 courses of dinner…one of which contained rabbit and rattlesnake…interesting to say the least. Now, tell me that my boys won’t remember that experience and I can laugh immediately. Another night we went out to a great southwestern dinner and ate like kings. Yes, we are a family of boys-eating is in our destiny! My point being, amidst the memories of swimming and relaxing in the hot tub during an Arizona snow storm we enjoyed each other and talked. Yes, there were a few tense moments (as always happens with kids), but we had a blast. We enjoyed each other and life. We made lasting memories and we travelled within our means and even came home with money to spare.
When you plan ahead, you can get really creative. You can be frugal on items that don’t make sense (like spending $ on 5 plane tickets) to enjoy the journey (good ol’fashion road trip) and even get a taste of celebrity. Okay that last one is for me….we stopped at a Diners, Drive In and Dive’s restaurant in Albuquerque. So by applying what I teach, we had a weeklong vacation and had some really nice amenities and dinners. And we did it all for less than the original cost of plane fare. If you want to know more about either my vacation budget tips or how to effectively plan your journey to Financial Fitness, contact me today.
Give because you are a blessing to others; Save for rainy days and known events; Spend Wisely with a Plan. Assess Your Current Financial Fitness!