I want to afford holidays

Donna Willan Money cents

shutterstock_106781708Holidays. I want them, I need them, I deserve them. But can I afford them? I am thinking about different types of holidays – perhaps a short, local, get away; or a big two week holiday; or simply time at home relaxing and doing fun things that we never have time to do. Yes I would love to do them all, but in reality I can’t afford the big holiday this year – so I am going to think about how to ensure that I can have two nice short local getaways, and some lovely relaxed time at home over the summer holidays – where I have enough spare cash to “be a tourist in my own town”.

First let me reflect on the summer holiday just gone – by mid-January I realised that I had spent more than I had planned to. How did that happen? I thought I was being careful with my money. We had no major expenses, no very big Christmas gifts, no expensive day trips anywhere. And yet we spent more than I had expected. Clearly I need to think more carefully about what we do and what we spend over holiday periods. I also need to remember that the end of the year comes with a number of other annual expenses: car services, renewal of annual aquarium membership, bonuses for our child minder, street guard etc. – this all comes into the December expenses.

Ok so here is my plan for – this year I want to have at least one small local getaway and at the end of the year have three weeks of lovely summer holiday in my own house and town, with enough disposable income to play. The plan – put away a little bit every month for the summer holidays. I think I can save at least 10% of my food bill by not shopping at Woolworths (sorry to Woolies shareholders) and instead go to Food Lovers, Checkers or Pick n Pay. That 10%, probably around R600/month, will go into my Bond for the summer holiday. That’s R7, 200, split between: a small local get away; a summer holiday at home that includes fun and frivolous activities; a few holiday clubs for the children; and inexpensive (but lovely!) Christmas presents. The trick will be making sure I actually save the money – so starting yesterday I put R600 into my bond (good returns) and I am keeping a spreadsheet called “Summer Holiday” where I will know how much we have in the Bond for our summer holiday. I’ll let you know mid-year what the balance is looking like – and this time next year I’ll let you know if it works.

What do you think? Does it sound like a plan that could work? Oh yes and I do hope that I could still do occasional ‘big holidays’ but those will need to be saved for on another plan (still to be thought of)… And perhaps my savings from the decreasing petrol price could be added to this Summer Holiday fund…

That’s it for this week’s column – I hope it’s made you think a bit about saving for your holidays. Next week I want to think about my retirement – am I doing enough to ensure I can retire at a decent age, or will I be working forever?


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