A situation came up recently where I was stressed out about money. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to but it still comes up occasionally. Next year, my mom will be turning the big 5-0. For her birthday, she’s decided she wants to go to Disney World. We plan to go in February even though her birthday is in June to try to avoid the crowds. As some of you are probably aware, it is not cheap to go to Disney World. There are many costs associated with it including the flight, hotel, tickets, food, and fun. I originally thought I would be able to pay for the hotel with points as I normally do but work has changed how we are allowed to book hotels and it will affect the number of points I earn throughout the year which really sucks. The flight will cost around $325, the tickets cost $400 per person for four days, and I am always a bad guesser when it comes to food/fun budgets as evidenced by how much we went over budget for A and my anniversary trip. Disney will easily be a $1200 trip.
On top of the Disney World trip, A and I had also expected to visit Arizona in May for our friend’s wedding. We occasionally talk about moving to Arizona so we had decided to take a week off and do some exploring also. Then we walked to A’s dad who mentioned potentially wanting to take a cruise for his birthday which is also in May. Going on a cruise is about $1000 minimum. This is when I started getting stressed. I want to be able to do all of these things but obviously I only have so much money. So what do you do?
Normally I would try to cash flow the trip which for me means that I use whatever excess funds I have that month and the month before to pay for it and so far it has worked out ok for me. But that’s because we’ve never had multiple trips come up this close together. I don’t have the excess money to pay for a $1200 trip to Disney, a $1000 cruise and who knows how much hanging out in Arizona. So I started looking at my budget to see what I could do. We have 4 months til February and I need to save $1200 in those months. It would be easy to set aside $300 November-February to make this trip happen. Then I started thinking, what if I always put $300 per month aside for vacations? $300 per month is $3600 per year which makes for two $1800 vacations or one baller vacation. If I had this money set aside for going on vacation, I wouldn’t have to stress about the excess funds. And if we didn’t spend some of it, I could roll it over into doing a vacation a different year.
Being able to set aside $300 a month may seem daunting for some but A and I have almost paid off all of our consumer debt and I am tired of denying myself the things that I want. We have some wiggle room in our budget and we both enjoy traveling so I’m excited about this plan. We still have a lot of places we would like to see including going back to Mexico, seeing Australia/New Zealand for this first time and even in the continental US, there is still so many places for us to go. I look forward to letting you all know how it goes!