My husband and I honeymooned in France and assumed we would return every year. Then life happened. Graduate school, unemployment, a baby, a house, miscarriages, more babies, more debt, more stuff got in the way of our newlywed dreams of travel.
After we paid off all our debts, we started dreaming big dreams again — a trip to France for a month with our six children to commemorate our 20th wedding anniversary was one of them.
Folks looked at us like we were crazy!
Not only had we dared to do something big like to travel with kids, we notched up the crazy by saving up the money to do it. It took two years, but we pulled it off.
Here’s what we did to make it happen:
1. We said it out loud.
Part of the success of a goal is to be brave enough to put it out there publicly. We talked about it enough that we would have been really embarrassed if we didn’t pull it off. Sometimes, pride is a good thing.
2. We envisioned our kids.
Just like when we did the really hard work of getting out of debt years earlier, we explained our plans to our children so that they would understand why we were making cuts to our spending or doing extra things to increase our income.
3. We created a budget.
I planned a hypothetical trip and calculated all the price quotes. The total was staggering, particularly when I added extra to allow for inflation and a weak dollar.
4. My husband worked overtime.
Getting up at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday wasn’t his favorite thing to do, but my husband did it.
5. We opened a separate bank account.
I opened a dedicated account in a different bank from where we do our regular banking. I also chose not to get an ATM card. I wanted that money liquid but as inaccessible as possible.
6. We put all other vacations on hold.
We put off other travel plans, instead banking the money for France. Staycations and family visits were a great way to do family travel while we worked toward a bigger goal.
7. We socked away all extra income.
Even though we have two incomes, we choose to live on one. Any income that came in over our regular expenses went toward the France fund.
8. We deferred lots of “extras”.
There is a lot of excess in our lives, lots of things that are fun, but that we can certainly live without. We cut back so we could divert that money toward our vacation instead.
Now that we’re home and finally unpacked, it’s been so encouraging to look back at what we pulled off and the great memories we created as a family. It was an amazing trip, one we plan to do again in 2016!
Jessica Fisher is a happy wife and a homeschooling mom of six kids under 18. She loves French cheeses, sandy beaches, good books, and Jesus. Not in that order, of course. Catch up with her on her blogs, Life as MOM and Good Cheap Eats.
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