This is the final post in a series of articles by CommunityAmerica Credit Union. The series tackles personal debt by planting the seeds of savings and making smart downsizing choices. For some, this may be a way to get started on a positive foot. For others, it’s a chance to start over after years of overspending. Regardless of your reason, we’ll help you navigate how to downsize realistically.
Whether it’s an all-inclusive resort or the zoo, how you perceive your experiences is connected to your level of enjoyment. We’re exploring how to plan experiences that will mean the most, not cost the most.
Other posts in this downsizing series:
- Is Your Hobby Too Expensive?
- How to Realistically Downsize Your Home
- Downsizing Your Food and Dining Out Expenses
One Big Trip vs. Year-Round Experiences
It’s really hard to resist the temptation to book big-ticket trips. If you don’t invest in traveling frequently, you may feel like you’re missing out on a lot of experiences. But, keep in mind that many people put trips like this on a credit card. You never truly know how people fund these “dream vacations.”
The problem with not saving to take big trips is many people return to frivolous spending when they get home. The vacation debt rises with expenses on eating out, concerts, festivals, sports events, you name it. What would really ensure more fun and financial security for your family throughout the year? Several local experiences each month, or one or two big trips every year?
If you’d like the bigger trip, can you realistically curb the temptation to do things throughout the year? You may find that your money is better spent here at home!
Or, consider a quick regional weekend trip. This allows you to get away while spending a fraction of what you would on a pricey getaway.
Put the Phones Down
Have you noticed people seem more interested in capturing the moment than actually experiencing it? As a society, we are pulled to Snap, Tweet, filter or post everything that happens. And we all know that what you see on social isn’t always indicative of reality.
Challenge yourself, just one time, to an outing without a social post. It could be anything simple – a trip to the park, a picnic, etc. You’ll likely find that you’re more in the moment when you aren’t focused on capturing the moment. We aren’t suggesting that you ditch social media altogether, but simply be aware of its elusive draw. Having a genuinely wonderful time with those you love is worth every penny.
Research Crowd Levels
Every time we turn around, there’s another ‘ding’ from a Facebook friend ‘interested’ in attending a local event. But nothing kills family fun quicker than a huge crowd. Long lines, sporadic bathrooms, overpriced food and souvenirs… it’s nightmare inducing! Especially if you have little kids.
We suggest researching crowd levels from previous years. Popular usually means packed, so keep that in mind! If the event is in its first year, that could also mean a big turnout. We just experienced this during Independence Day. A large town nearby had a fireworks show with other entertainment, and people were wall-to-wall. Meanwhile, a rural town not 15 minutes away had an equally good show with much smaller attendance. Going down the path less travelled led to a significantly better experience all around!
As we wrap up this series about downsizing, we encourage you to truly explore and define your definition of happiness. It’s rarely about spending money. Yes, spending will always provide a momentary high, but it can also cause long-term problems when left unchecked. Seek the non-traditional and the unexpected to feed the soul without feeding a debt habit.
The blog and its opinions are expressly that of its author and does not convey the opinions or strategies of the Credit Union and should not be considered financial advice.