I tend to drink too much so I have cut back to drinking only on weekends and even then try to keep it on the low down. This does two things for me. One saves a ton of money two helps me get into speedo shape for my August trip. We save all our aluminum cans for recycle. I guess that money will be reduced due to the reduction in empty beer cans....
I wish I had the discipline to really budget and plan. But the problem is, I want it all. I get sort of sad when I have to sacrafice because I work a lot and I work very hard. I feel that I deserve nice things because it justifies how hard I have to work. And Couples of course is a very very nice thing. I realize that IF I sacraficed more, I would be able to go to Couples maybe once a year, but I like to have all the other things I like too, so therefore, I try to go every two years or so to Couples. It's not enough, but it's better than nothing. Once I get some of my other debts paid off...namely my car...I can maybe go to Couples more often. I'd like that. Congratulations to you on your discipline though. Its always a good thing.
Tom and I both quit smoking 13 years ago, so we both put $30 each a week into a special account. That gives us the bulk of the amount needed. We also have the 5 gallon water jug that we put ALL our change into. But that takes a couple years to fill up so we only can use that when it is full. We also started an envelope that we try to put an extra 20 a week into. And we did cut down on a lot of things this past year. We don't go out to eat as much as we use to. I have cut down on every expense that I could this year and that has helped tremendously. We are determined to go to Couples every year and I will do whatever I have to make sure that happens! If there is a will....there is a way!!
I recently gave up my birthday, christmas, ebay, and Kid Rock (that was last night in Houston). That alone will be enough funds for us to go once a year. I really haven't missed anything very much as of yet. We were only going for 4 days but I managed to get the good ole hubby to agree to 8. WooHoo.... It will all be worth it in February. We now beleive that going to Couples once a year is a must. We spent so much time together that we just don't get @ home.
We give up electronics. We do not have the latest flat screen TVs (we don't watch that much TV anyway). Bob doesn't even have a cell phone. Our DVD player is a couple of years old (no Blu Ray, no Wii, no Guitar Hero). And don't even get me started on our home computer. We found that we just don't need these types of toys to be happy. I know they are important to many people, just not to us.
We try to book early when there is a special going on, and then we slap it on the ol' credit card. Then we spend the time before we leave paying it off. Most of the times it is paid off before we leave, sometimes it not
We never buy each other gifts for Christmas, birthdays, or anniversaries. Hubby doesn't even bother to ask what is on my "wish list". I'd rather have a trip to Couples anyday as a pair of diamond earrings. Those memories last forever & I'd probably lose the earrings anyway.
We also don't splurge that much. Eating out at "fancy" places is not important to us. Expensive perfume, purses, or shoes is not anything that matters to me. Having the newest model of car or cell phone or gadget is not something we are into. We don't have expensive hobbies.
We usually travel someplace 2-3 times a year - one trip always being Couples & one trip always being the mountains someplace in the western US & if we can swing that 3rd trip, it'll be to Couples again. The last few years have been hard on that schedule because hubby lost his job & had to take a big pay cut at the only job he could find just after we built a new house & went from no mortgage to a having one but we have made it to Couples twice in that time as well as taking our mountain excursion in the fall so guess all is going pretty well. If we can only go once a year, though, it'll be Couples - definitely.
We set up our bank accounts so that every payday, it transfers $150 to savings each for our trip to couples. This trip is a little special as we are getting married and honeymooning and staying in the Hibiscus Cottage, but even with all that we were able to save the needed money by saving $300 every 2 weeks. When we go back to Couples, we will obviously not live it up that much and go for a standard room. But if we keep that savings going, we'd save close to $7200 a year + whatever goes in from Keep the change ($20 a month). Thats 2 trips to couples a year if we were so inclined. Our logic in putting away $150 each was that we spend so much frivolusly in general that might as well tighten our budget by going on trips. Its one less night out to eat, less lunches out at work, less trips of retail therapy. If we could ever quit smoking, we could save like $300 additional a month. I'll also state that we basically live check to check so its not like we have extra money floating around and we have a mortgage and 2 car payments.
My best advice would be to save it before you see it and then you learn to basically have a new budget to work with and a nice trip or two a year. Then you can do all the little things mentioned previously as well and pretty soon you will be swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck.
We are considering selling our teenagers to get money for our next trip....anyone interested??!!
It's quite a bargain...along with the "looks" and attitude...you can also get loads of laundry, hair products and make-up everywhere, dirty dishes, broken curfews, empty snack cupboards, half full cans of soda pop, texting bills, and shoes of every style and color.
I have money deposited into my savings and I just increased that again. We have the vaca coffee can also.I pack my lunches and quit smoking 5 years ago. Also, since I quit playing softball, I don't go out as much and drink as much either.We always use our tax refund for our trips and hubby is tightening up again, don't think we will get to CSA this winter,I am so depressed! I am spoiled now and I don't give up easily. I will keep on prodding!
We just can't make it every year, but our goal is every other year. We both drive older model cars, and keep our spending to a minimum. We take our lunch to work every day, and have cut eating out to once per week. We also have a "Couples" envelope that we both try to add to each week. Last year, my mom asked if we would like money for our envelope for Christmas. Of course! So now our parents give us "Jamaica dollars" instead of gifts for Christmas and birthdays. We also put money in the envelope instead of other gifts for each other. I can't think of anything I'd rather have than a week in Jamaica with my honey! So far, we have our August trip paid for, and now we are working on 2011. Woohoo!
I am going to start off with a disclaimer that we are fortunate our kids are grown so we do not have the kids expenses like younger folks do. When we were raising kids it would have been much harder to travel like we do now.
But here is what we gave up to enjoy the ability to travel:
We gave up up-grading to a bigger, more expensive home. We are very happy in our smaller home, with much lower utility expenses and a much lower mortgage.
We gave up driving new cars and we would never lease. We buy used, pay off relatively quickly and drive for years with no car payments.
We gave up "status" buying. No expensive designer labels. Most of our clothes come from Ross or Marshalls or other discounters.
It is a little easier for us because we are at the stage in our life where we have more disposable income. But by giving up the idea that we need a bigger house, a newer bigger car, or a 'Coach" handbag, we have put ourselves in the position to not have to give up a year at Couples.
In addition to sticking to a pretty strict budget throughout the year, we bring our lunches to work more often, we don't eat out as much and surprisingly to some, we only exchange very inexpensive gifts for b-days, anniversary, etc. I'd rather go on a trip than get a fancy bouquet or a new piece of jewelry any day!
Good question! We've been back every year since 2002 (save one) and I will give up anything/everything to make it happen. We don't eat out unless someone gives us a gift card (which cuts the cost in half), we save coin, I don't color my hair and fortunately for me the gray has come in a manageable way, my husband has $100 taken out of his check and shoved into a credit union every week and we use that, plus for spending cash we use the money we collect by using our credit card and I just apply for that a few weeks ahead of the trip. Whatever it takes.
I don't know about the rest of the ladies, but at my age I don't really give a ---- about how many clothes I have anymore. I've been out of work, more or less, for over two years so I have no need to buy them. So if you see someone walking around in the middle of February with a very dark tan and crappy clothes, it's probably me!