Welcome to 2018, the month of resolutions, budgets, and plans. Do you ever wonder how your friend or coworker can have lavish family vacations year after year? Are you looking at finances and telling yourself there is no way? Hang on just a minute – there may be.
Print out your bank statements and start adding. Where is your money going? Not the big expenses but how about all those small purchases. The 5, 10 or 20 dollars here and there for unnecessary items. Ever go to the store and get a pile of “crap” only to hear “that will be $107.99”? Guess what – those little amounts add up. Go on, add up those fast food receipts, Starbucks, Sonic, pedicures, tanning….
Now lets study the big stuff. Seriously consider what you are paying for that is not a necessity. Boat, country club membership, high end vehicles, entertainment… Now I understand these things may be important but here is the a-ha moment – you are choosing to value X over Y, and the result may be that you can’t afford Y. Everyone has priorities in which they choose to spend their “want” money.
So let us say you come to the realization you are throwing away a lot of money on little wants. Maybe you realize those 5, 10 and 20 dollar wants added up to $500 in one month. If the money is there you will spend it, so here is your solution. On pay day, $100-$200 gets transferred to the special vacation savings account. $500 is a good amount to save. If you get paid weekly, $100 a week almost gets you there. If you and your spouse get paid weekly, only $50 from each check. As for my family, if we don’t move that money, we spend that money. In the vacation account, we will not touch it.
What if you are the family spending X and wanting Y? You have to make choices. What do you want most. Those people you see vacationing have chosen to make vacations their X and perhaps they are sacrificing in other areas that make up their Y. Of coarse maybe they just have a huge green budget, but those are not the people we are talking about here.
Every family handles budgets differently, so apply these suggestions to the way you handle money. In my studio career, I hear so often we could never afford nice portraits. Yes you can, save up for whatever it is you want. You have to make what you want a priority; we can’t have our cake and eat it too. Happy New Year and happy saving.