When the holidays come to an end in December, the celebrating continues in our family. We have multiple birthdays and anniversaries in January, February and March. Of course we don’t go all out for every one but regardless of acknowledging events with a simple card, dinner or a blow out celebration the way we get through is by planning well in advance.
I try to plan my personal schedule at least 3-4 months in advance. First, because I have a calendar obsession and am completely OCD about planning but also because it gives us an idea of what months we may need to do a budget freeze and how much money we can anticipate spending. TIP: some people do a full twelve month trajectory of expenses, this is overwhelming for me because I know something will inevitably come up; so rather we tend to plan ahead by quarter. We have multiple bank accounts for various purposes but one is a simple planning account. Where we can move funds into for planning and family fun purposes.
How it works.
At the beginning of the quarter we look over our wants and needs and assess what our upcoming plans are. From there we draw up an estimate of cost and break down by how much we would need to set aside in the timing leading up. Essentially the savings we are looking for to make it happen. Then we set up an auto draft from our payroll (very easy to do with your HR rep) for the selected time frame and then move the desired amount over straight out of our paychecks. This way we never see it or miss it and when the time comes for whatever activity we are saving for we have all the money we need and most importantly we aren’t worrying about funds from our primary or long-term savings accounts.
Last year was the first year we did this and I can speak to it from experience in that our family was able to take multiple short and long road trips, two family vacations and Brent got to go on his much anticipated 10-day-Fowler-men hunting trip out west.
Maybe it’s because I am such a nerd about planning, well..anything, but in this case it really does work! We want to be able to provide the girls with wonderful experiences and quality time with us, their cousins, grandparents, friends, etc. and make time for a little fun for the grown ups too. So whether it’s a family trip, a special birthday excursion or even just a guy’s weekend, it’s important and reassuring to know that with a little bit of advanced planning you can have fun, make memories and not break the bank.
I have no idea what day of the week it is. Seriously. In one day, I have said “how was your weekend?” “on the agenda for Wed.” and “see you Monday;” the irony to the last statement is that we have a three-day weekend. Needless to say I’m a little worn out. Truth be told, I have yet to actually find my groove post-holiday break. Last week I was out with the plague, my to-do list is longer than the Green Mile and yesterday was Raleigh’s version of a snow day. Maybe this isn’t being worn out, maybe this is a failed attempt to reboot.
Tonight as I sit clasping a less-than-stellar cup of hot cocoa, watching BBT and and avoiding any and all things related to..well…anything… I realize I miss writing. I have been consumed by life, not always a bad thing but sometimes to reboot you have to power down completely. I’ve neglected my blog, the girl’s memory journals, even texting. January is a rough month. I’d like to just push through with little, if any, recognition but from birthdays, deadlines, and memorable anniversaries (of all types) powering down completely is not an option. So, my answer? Wine. Just kidding- well sort of. There will be plenty of that later. For now, it’s to write. Later it’s to run. Then the wine will commence. Even though I don’t have much to say I’d like to send this stream of thought into the world acknowledging that perhaps no one will read it and that’s okay. For now my baby steps are to start with putting thoughts into words.
Until next time…ox
Well, hello! How are you? It’s been a while but I have been consumed by life, in the best of ways, for the past month. A wonderful holiday season was had and now onward and upward for the Frugal Fowlers.
A quick recap on the holidays
Minnie the Elf never returned and the girls were none the wiser. In fact, our giving tree advent was a huge hit and Madz asked if we could do it again next year. Score! Per Santa, well, he stuck to last year’s 4 gifts only (a want, a need, a wear and a read) and for Brent and I because we traveled north this holiday we agreed on a max of $10. I think it’s safe to say we were both a little weary but we both stuck to it and unknowingly went the same route for gifts. I spent $9.99 on a *Groupon for a PrinterPix Magic Mug (a $30+ value) that is black until you pour something hot into it and a special photo of him and the girls appear; and then as his special gift from me I had NC State’s head men’s basketball coach sign a his personal basketball, which wound up costing nodda, and they aired it for me. Coach G is a good man. As for me, I received a new ceramic coffee to go mug and the really creative “props-to-the-hubby” gift was when he framed my race bib from my first half-marathon that I completed in early December. I’m thinking this $10 max is a pretty stellar deal when gifts are this thoughtful!
As for 2015, so far it’s off to a busy and stuffy start but that’s okay. This past weekend was a a wee-bit busy and I am down for the count with some sort of plague but this too shall pass. No resolutions have been made but rather a dedication to continuing to reduce our debt, stress and cholesterol, the same things we have been working toward for the past few years. For me, entering 2015 also means entering a new decade one that many are hesitant about but I am enthused for my thirties and looking forward to it…but that’s another post soon to come. Needless to say lots of great things are on the horizon, and I’m sure some new learned lessons to share, hope you join me for the fun!
Happy 2015! May it be your best year yet.
*If you have never used or heard of Groupon I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t live in an area with many local deals you can shop for family and friends for gifts and events in their area or you can shop for goods at great deals. Typically I’m always looking for the hidden fine print but really Groupon is simply THAT awesome. Check it out! Disclaimer: if you have children don’t download the app, they make shopping far too easy.