When I was around 5 years old, I flew out of the US to Ecuador where my father was born. I lived there for about 2 years in a house and went to school. Though I was young, the experience is etched in my mind. It’s an important part of my identity and it ignited my desire to travel.
As I grew up, I wanted to fly to El Salvador where my Mom was born. It would happen when I graduated high school, I told myself. Then it turned into after college and then it was just “some day”. Someday I’ll make that dream come true.
Hey there, if you’re new I am going to be publishing a monthly series where I document our journey to this years One Goal. The goal: to take a Mini Retirement where we take 4 months off of work to travel internationally and permanently move to a new state. The launch date of this adventure is October 1, 2017. This is our first time going through the process of planning a mini retirement. By the end of this series I hope to have a tried and true checklist to go by for all our future mini retirements. Wish us luck and follow along on the journey.
This year all I really need to focus on is getting from here to that mini retirement. A major component of the mini retirement is going to be travel. I want to take an international trip for 2 months. Visiting Ecuador and El Salvador. Before that we are going to take a 3 week road trip across the U.S starting in California. At the end, we are planning to take a month to settle in to our new home state of Michigan. All in all, I need to prepare our family for 4 months of unusual living.
Of course to get this one goal accomplished there are a lot of other tasks I need to tick off. But, that is my focus. The question this year is: Is this helping me plan my trip? (Is this getting us ready for our Mini retirement?)
Time is ticking fast and some of you may have noticed the count down clock I added.
Yearly goals are a thing for me. They have been since I got pregnant with my son in college. I really do attribute my success in finishing school, after having a kid, to the focus that goal setting gives me.
Back then I used to do it every semester, but now I set yearly goals. I have a tendency to over do it, but this year I am not. This year I have ONE goal.
Usually I separate goals into categories: family, money, work, travel. Then I choose 3 or 4 or more for each category. ( If you don’t believe me, check out my goals for 2015) This year just ONE.
Mr. Roamer made a beautiful desktop background of our recent California road trip. I look at it and remember.
Oh yeah, I still haven’t told you how it went.
So today lets talk travel & family.
If you haven’t heard. We are moving to Michigan in about 1 year. This caused us to rethink our yearly vacations. We decided to cancel our Michigan trip, in favor of checking out California. It’s funny how that works. We’ve lived here for over 5 years and have only seen a few places. Opting instead to fly out of the state during our time off.
Not jump on a plane, gone for a week living in a hotel travel. I want sell-all-your-stuff don’t know when I’ll be back, kind of travel. Reading about nomadic families seeing the world makes my heart burst. Mouth water, tingly all over.
But lets face it. Or I guess I should say not “lets” but “I”. I need to face it… Mr. and I just have different temperaments. Along with different upbringings. Non-stop travel is a super hard sell. For more reasons then you can even imagine.
As a young adult in college hearing about a family’s need to take yearly vacations was odd. Hearing about yearly cruises or trips to Disney world didn’t make me think of the middle class. The people who spoke this way were surely raised in an upper class life style.
Growing up our family took some vacations but they were not a yearly occurrence and we weren’t jetting off to far off places. Actually they were few and far between and mostly involved camping.
We like to go on vacation. In that sense we are just like the average american. But googling “average american vacation budget” tells me that the average american spends way more then we do on vacation. What’s up with that?
This post is part of my 30 day writing challenge. Each week I will be focusing on one topic. This week I have chosen to focus on travel. If travel is your thing don’t forget to come back everyday until Monday when I choose my new topic for the week.
There are lots of costs associated with travel the plane tickets, food, knickknacks, activities. Oh yeah and accommodations.
This month is really one of my favorites. I really have lots of fun during Halloween.
October has had some un welcome surprises in the automotive department. Like I mentioned we are in the process of getting ready for a move and things have gotten a little harder thanks to car issues. Currently we are down to one vehicle and because of our imminent move this has caused a lot of issues.
This automotive issue is being felt with time limitations and later will be felt with our wallet. However, the dollars are less of an inconvenience then the time constraints. Right now we are in serious need of flexibility but instead we are now more constrained. UGH! the timing couldn’t be more off.
It is frustrating and truly a pain.
Of course on the bright side this weekend has had lots of fun.This weekend we got to start celebrating Halloween fun and donned our costumes to go dancing. It has started to become a tradition for Mr. Roamer and I to attend contradancing* for Oct as our date. It is held every 4th sat of the month which was this past sat.
Even though it was a family affair it is still a date for me because Mr. Roamer is taking me dancing. Its also a pretty affordable date $8 per adult. So we spent $16 total. Not bad as date costs go. Now the reason this has become tradition is that in Oct it is a costume contradance and I really love dressing up, and Dancing! So if Mr. is being pushed to go dancing, at least in Oct we get to kill 2 birds with one stone. #WIN!
For me Halloween is a time of creativity and that for me equals fun. But I also know Halloween is another of those times when having a good time is normally equated to spending money.
Halloween fun ≠ Big $$$ spent
Here is how my family lowers the cost of Halloween.
Tips for Keeping Halloween costs down.
Use the internet for ideas. The internet is a great source for ideas on how to re-purpose items for a costume. For us this meant discovering how to make a t-shirt into a ninja mask.
Use what you have. After hunting for ideas you might find that all you need to do is think outside the box. Once you do that you might discover you have everything you need to make a fun costume. See t shirt= ninja mask. Also saved paper towel tubes for nunchucks.
Plan ahead. Granted this should be the first thing and one week before Halloween is not planning ahead. But if you start thinking about your costume in advance you can make decisions to save. One year I found a cute Chinese outfit at a thrift store in June for $5. Yup that’s right June. And this year I held on to 4 t shirts, that we were going to donate, for some ninja accessories.
Remember made at home = unique. Buying stuff for Halloween means you’ll most likely end up looking like someone else. ( I am not a fan.) The little quirky additions to your ensemble that happen from making it at home will mean no one will be your exact copy. YAY!
Purchase real clothes instead. If you are going to buy something make it something that can be used for more than the costume. It will be cheaper and versatile. For my son’s ninja costume we bought some blue sweat pants and a blue t shirt for a total of $10.78. A quick search led me to a blue Ninjago costume that cost only $14 but was really $25 after adding shipping and handling. So I saved and the clothes I bought will actually serve him for the fall and winter season. Which if you want to get all mathematical means the the cost per use is going to drop way down. As appose to a one trick pony pre-made costume.
Made at home = family time. Another reason to in-source the costumes is that making them becomes a fun way to spend time with your family and builds no cost traditions. Instead of feeling like you need to go out and watch the latest scary movie you can cut, glue, sow and paint up your costumes.
Find out whats happening in your community. If you aren’t scared of standing in long lines with a bunch of kids you might be able to score some free stuff. One year we went to the malls Halloween celebration and receive 2 free full sized carving pumpkins to decorate with stickers. Sweet. Tip: most event are held the weekend before Halloween.
So there you have it, having fun for Halloween doesn’t mean spending loads of $$. We have honestly only spent the $10 listed above and I don’t foresee anymore spending.
How do you save on Halloween? Tell me in the comments below.