I recently taught my girls an important lesson in savings, even though it was an unintentional act on my part. Lucky for me they “got” it, and I hope it stays with them as they learn more about money themselves.
For many, many years, I’ve had this burning desire to go to Australia and New Zealand. It’s become the ultimate dream vacation for me. I don’t really know what prompted the initial interest, but I love what I do know about the countries. Beaches along the northern coast as well as the Great Barrier Reef…cute koalas you can actually hold…the Australian/New Zealand accent that I could listen to for hours — it’s all just held a kind of romanticism that has made me eager to go and experience for myself. I doubted I’d ever truly make the effort while living in the U.S., being so far to travel with jet lag putting a serious dent in the vacation. But living here, when the time zones aren’t that far apart? Too tempting.
An Australian and New Zealand trip for four is not cheap, mind you. It’s still a great distance to travel, and from what I understand, once you get there your money spending continues freely on food, entertainment, shopping and more. Not deterred, I made a goal for myself. I planned to save every single jiao of money earned solely for the payment of a three week Australian/New Zealand vacation. Knowing that the money was set aside for this purpose made paying for it a little easier, certainly easier than if it came out of a regular rolling bank account. It would take time – about a year, actually – but I knew it’d be worth it.
All travel plans were made using cold, hard cash. Flights were booked on an odd, non-round trip route. Cars were rented, hotels were booked, and entertainment tickets pre-purchased. Now, we simply wait for the date to arrive (Friday!), and we’re off to what I hope is the perfect vacation. It almost appears to be an inexpensive trip, because our regular bank account sees no difference. It will hopefully make for a more relaxed time away, too, not being concerned about how much the vacation is costing us.
The lesson I taught my girls was that if you really, truly want something, especially something expensive, you have to work hard for it and save your money. It brings me great personal satisfaction to know that this trip is a reward for hard work. And it’s icing on the cake for me to see my girls learn that as well.