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.