Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why and How I make Vacationing a Priority



 
Vacationing is a big priority in my life. I couldn't imagine going a year without a vacation; I don't think I've even gone six months without at least a mini vacation. Vacation to me is leaving home; now sometimes for us that involves vacationing to see family. We've done a few staycations, but I feel I end up on repeat with housework so it's not the vacation I need.. Home at times is more work than work so we like to even escape the responsibilities of home as well when we take a vacation from work.

There are multiple reasons I think it s necessary to vacation at least once a year:

Without the yard work, laundry, cleaning, and other things on the to do list we get to completely focus on enjoying each other.

We explore and learn about new places together as a family

The cultural and geographical experiences are valuable learning experiences they can't find in a classroom or book.

We work hard at work and even harder at home so I believe we deserve to treat ourselves to a vacation.

Vacation is a mental refresher and leaves us in a more positive happier place to begin tackling the challenges of home and work when we return.

Some have wondered how I financially make vacationing a priority when we have now three kids, mortgages, car payments, and school loan debt on top of the usual other smaller household bills on two teacher salaries. Even though I save for our trips there is usually a meal or activity that gets put on the credit card. I save and budget everything else.

An older friend of mine once said when I first started my career to always pay yourself first. That's more a less what I do. When I calculate our annual budget and yes as teachers I do an annual budget to get us through the unpaid summer months, one of the first things I budget is what to save for the year's upcoming vacations I want to make a priority in our family life. I budget for two Missouri trips a year which is a $1000, then I budget for a one week vacation to somewhere new which I usually set at $1500-$2000, and then I usually budget for 1-2 decent 2-3 night weekend mini vacations at $500-$750 for the two. That's a total of $3000-$3750 a year I need to reach my vacation ambitions. What I do once I know what I need for the year I then divide that by the ten months we get paid so $300-375 a month goes into our vacation savings.  This money saved is usually primarily for accommodations and gas to get there. With our one weekly vacation I usually add in a couple extra hundred dollars for spending.

It may or may not seem like enough money to save or for a vacation budget depending on the person. Our vacation accommodations have changed over the years as my main goal has never been to stay in the nicest most expensive places but to just have somewhere to crash while we explore somewhere new. The important thing is getting away to spend quality time together without the demands of everyday life.

Do you make vacationing a priority? How do you fit it in your budget?




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