How to Budget for Travel

I want to go on vacation so bad right now. These cooler temperatures are especially making me want to travel north and see all the fall leaves that I don't really get here in Oklahoma. This time last year, Jordan and I were in South Dakota having a great time seeing Mount Rushmore and staying in our little cabin in the woods.

Every single vacation we've been on since we got married has been fully budgeted for before we left. There are plenty of blog posts about traveling on a budget, but I thought I would share with you how we budget for travel throughout the year and why (we think) it's a good idea. Some people act like traveling is no big thing and everyone can do it easily, but I feel like that's not true for everyone. Traveling is a big deal for us, and it's something we save up for and don't do very often.

The advantage to budgeting for your travel before you go is this: completely guilt-free spending the whole time you're gone. If you know you have enough money in the budget to go on vacation, you don't have to worry about going to a fancy restaurant for dinner one night or buying some souvenirs. You won't get back from your trip to wherever and spend the next six months paying off your credit card... it's already paid for!

In order to budget for travel, we do a few things:

1. Set up a separate travel savings account.

I've talked before about the Capital One savings account we have set up. It's a bank account separate from your credit card or regular bank where you can create multiple accounts for different things. So, for example: we have one Capital One account with smaller accounts within it. One for our house fund (which is now our 3-6 months living expenses), one for travel, one for Christmas, etc. This keeps your travel money completely separate from any other money you have, so it's easy to tell how much you have to work with. If you're interested in hearing more about our Capital One account, let me know! I can refer you, and we both get a bonus.

2. Make an automatic payment into the travel account every month.

How much you put in is up to you. We have it set up to automatically move $50 from our regular bank account into the travel fund every month. If we happen to have extra at the end of the month after paying our bills, we can decide if we want to put some of that money into our travel fund. Sometimes we put a couple hundred dollars extra; sometimes we don't put any extra money into the fund, but by putting a certain amount automatically, we're always putting something into the travel fund, and it can sit there and accrue interest. Fifty dollars isn't a lot, but it's something, and every dollar adds up!

Here is a recent example where doing this paid off for us: 
This past June, I went to the Bahamas on a work trip, and at the last minute we decided Jordan was going to come along with me. He was staying in the hotel room with me (paid for by my work), but we were responsible for paying for Jordan's flight, which was going to be over $500. At first I freaked out and was like, "We don't have an extra $500 to spend in the budget!" But then I looked in the travel fund and realized we had more than enough to cover the flight. We just transferred the money back into our bank account and paid for the flight without any problems.

3. Start saving early for specific trips.

Okay, so we automatically put money into the travel fund each month, but that's just so we can keep something in there and use for short-notice trips and short, inexpensive weekend vacations. If we know we will be going on a specific vacation, we start putting more money each month into our travel fund (on top of the automatic payment). 

For example: Jordan and I are currently saving for a trip to Europe in the fall of 2016. We don't know any logistics like exactly when we're go, if we'll take R, or even if we'll end up going, but we want to go and we are saving money to go. We started saving at the beginning of this year and will put money into our travel fund the rest of this year and next. The plan is that by the time we go to Europe, we will have enough money saved to pay for our trip!

Of course, when we go on vacation, we don't know exactly how much we will be spending while we're gone. It's impossible to know how much you'll spend on food and things like that, but you do know how much your flight or hotel will be and whether or not you plan on buying tickets to a museum or other local attraction. The idea is just to have enough money to cover the basic expenses and things we think we'll be doing so that we don't have guilt about spending money and having fun.

So that's what we do to create and maintain our travel fund and save up for trips. We love not having to pay off our credit card after we come back. That's no fun at all.

Here is a great way to jump-start your savings if you aren't used to putting money aside. It's a 52-week challenge where you save one dollar for each week of the year ($1 for week 1, $2 for week 2, $3 for week 3, all the way to $52 for week 52). By the end of the year, you have over $1,300! You can even double this and put aside $2 for week 1, $4 for week 2, etc., and have $2,600 at the end of the year if you plan on going on a more expensive vacation.

I'd love to know what you do to budget for travel (or if you budget for travel). We're always looking for good tips and ways to be even better about saving!

Do you have a travel fund in your budget? How do you budget for travel?


Checking In [Insert Clever Title Here]

It is absolutely true what everyone says about having a baby: it's worth it. All the stress and life crisis and change and added expense is so worth it.

As R gets older, she's becoming more interactive. Just in the last week or so she has started smiling. Like, real awake baby smiles! Not just smiles while she's sleeping. They still aren't at anyone or anything, but I seriously cannot even handle the cuteness.

So yeah, it IS worth it, I swear.
But you guys. Let's be real.
I have never in my life been so tired for so long.

Sometimes I'm like, "It's fine! I'm all good!"
Other times I forget how to spell words like scissors. TOO MANY S's! My job really shouldn't be letting me edit anything in my current state. I'm dangerous with a red pen right now.

Anyhoo. I thought I would pop in for a quick update of some of the stuff we've been up to lately since clearly blogging has taken a nosedive on my hierarchy.

Last weekend I went to Texas! R and I went by ourselves. Like, hello three hours alone in the car with a baby. I was nervous. I had to stop once to feed her in the parking lot of a Hilton. It was either that or a Braum's, but the Braum's looked kind of sketchy. I put up my windshield shades so I didn't accidentally flash anyone on the fourth floor, and R had her afternoon snack. NBD.
I took R into work with me again this week. She really is such a good baby! Look at her just hanging in her car seat. The ladies at work absolutely love her. Seriously, one time a few weeks ago I went in to the office and didn't bring R (my mother-in-law watched her for a bit), and they came rushing over, saw I was sans baby, and just shrugged and walked away without even saying hello! I'm chopped liver now that she's around.

On Wednesday we went over to a friend's house to watch the Cubs game. Since Jordan's Yankees lost their playoff game and are out of the running, he can devote himself entirely to cheering on my boys. The Cubs won, and it. was. awesome. Hello, World Series! I can feel it in my bones! Plus, R is 2-0 when wearing her team's jersey. She wore her Chicago Bears onesie on Sunday and they won! I have a magical baby.
In other news, this weekend we're headed back to Texas for my brother's wedding! I am playing violin during the ceremony, so that should be fun. And by fun I mean I'm freaking out and really should have been practicing. They asked me to play "Here Comes the Bride" while Bethany walks down the aisle. Um, okay because that's not a major moment or anything. Pray for me.

I did find a dress, so I'll have to share on the blog next week. I will shower and put on makeup and pretend to be a fashion blogger for a day. Get excited.
^^^I saw this on Facebook yesterday and can't stop laugh-crying about it. This is my life right now and forever. This month I'm finally trying to get back in the groove of my monthly meal-planning. It's a pain in the butt to make it, but it saves me so much time during the month that I can't not do it. Anyone have any easy and relatively healthy recipes they've tried recently that they want to share? Erin and Allison have some great freezer meals that I've tried and liked. I've blogged some of our favorites, which you can check out here.

I haven't run at all this week, which is depressing, but Jordan has been working late and R is too small to go in the jogging stroller yet for runs. I have, however, been doing a short daily workout of planks, leg raises, and a "muffin top" challenge that I saw on Facebook. The muffin top challenge is a timed series of burpees, ski abs, and a russian twist. I have skipped a day or two (because I forget until I'm already in bed and by then it's too late), but I am feeling the burn! I'm up to 3 minutes of plank, which nearly kills me every time. (Full disclosure: I'm doing the plank on my elbows, not full up on my palms.)

And... okay I think that's all for now. I so appreciate your comments and emails even though my posting frequency has taken a dip. I'm trying to respond in a timely manner, but I am usually reading comments on my phone now, and it's hard to type responses with one hand. First world problems.

Last but certainly not least, I took this video of R a few days ago during one of her cute awake times and thought I'd share. She's just so darn sweet I can't stand it, and I thank God for her every day. Happy weekend, friends!

*If the video doesn't work on your phone, try a desktop!



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