How to Fund Your Interactions With Others?
Caring For How We Interact – Part 3
While we don’t like to talk about money when it’s leaving our hands, but rather when it’s entering our pockets, we must talk about funding our interaction with the people outside our four walls. There aren’t many activities or events that cost nothing, but with a plan you can manage it. You next need to know how you can pay for what’s planned. Sometimes your money might not match the idea you have in mind for your travels and planned events. So you’ll need a plan for that as well. Figure out based on your plans, how much it will cost and how you will save or pay for it.
The Thought or Concept:
We’re discussing how we interact with the people we do life with outside the four walls of our home. While this is the primary focus, keep in mind that the practices, tips, and ideas we offer in this segment can also be applied to how you interact with those inside your home as well. In this web-post, we must discuss the most dreaded part of interacting with others, funding activities that cost, such as picnics, parties, cruises, vacations, family reunions, etc. It’s for the activities that cost more than a few dollars. Let’s get started.
On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. – bible.com/bible/116/1CO.16.2.NLT
Any time a financial need arises and no plan is made as to how you’ll achieve the financial goal brings financial hardships. Isn’t that a fact? Whether we wish to admit it or not, when you need to pay an extra 1, 2, or 3 thousand dollars outside your normal spending, that can create a problem. So how do we avoid the pitfalls that most people find themselves in when planning to interact with family and friends in this way? We have five actions you can take to reduce such financial hardships.
- Make it a bill. Now that you know what’s planned, you have an idea of what it will cost. Sometimes what’s planned doesn’t match what you had in mind to pay. That’s always the case for me. I think everything should cost less than it does, but it always costs more. So what can we do about it?
Once we know the cost, then we need to know how much time we have so that we can calculate a monthly payment structure. Make a budget item out of it, this is code for “make a bill out of it.” You see, we’re going to turn this into a bill that we must pay monthly. That could mean you start a forced savings plan at a bank or you pay into a vacation club. Whatever it takes to make this planned event’s expenditure feel like a bill.
- Use your extra income. If I know anything about people, we’re always looking for ways to earn a little extra money. Maybe you could sell something or your services. I remember the days where I used to prepare tax returns for people just to make a little extra much needed money. Today, should we receive a tax refund or have a bonus, Pamela and I like to use it for fun stuff; we never plan to use these funds for personal or home operating use. We call this “extra money.” That way no matter what the amount, it’s what we have to use for interacting outside our home. As you can imagine, this was developed from a plan. You can’t get around planning if you want to succeed.
- Create a better way to save. Not everyone is good at saving. I’ve tried putting that money into my shoe-box in the closet, but somehow it always begins to disappear as I reach into it for other needs. Actually that’s not true for me, but it is for most. If I decide I need to save for something, I’m disciplined enough to make it happen. Not everyone has this gift, that’s not the norm. However, I save with a plan. Because I, like everyone else, know my own pitfalls, I plan around those. If I know I’ll reach into that shoe-box, then I need to come up with another way to save. You need to know your shortfalls and your strong-suites so that you can use them to your advantage.
Think of all the ways you’ve tried saving in the past that didn’t work. For some that means you need to get that money as far away from you as possible. For some you need someone else to control the account so that you can’t get your hands on the money. For others, you need to use a travel agent so that you have to pay the travel agent’s company with no way to get the money back. At any rate, you need to create a plan that works so that you avoid the financial pitfalls that come without having a plan, like borrowing the money and having to pay for a trip that occurred in the past. No one likes to pay for a trip they’ve already been on. Don’t do that to yourself. Plan.
- Separate your travel spending. Pamela hates when I use this phrase, “we can’t mix money.” In other words, we can’t use Tamia’s tuition to pay a car-note. We’re not going to mix the money. It sounds like a good idea until you don’t have money for the car-note and need to borrow the money from somewhere else. I make sure our family’s travel expenses are done on a card that’s not a part of normal household operating funds. Remember, your home, your life, it’s a business and you must know how to run your business. I’m not going to ever put my family in a position where the lights are going off because we over spent vacationing. Not going to happen. Also separating the funds serves a dual purpose as you’ll see in the next bullet.
- Track the funds. After it’s all over, there needs to be a way to track your spending. It’s so easy to spend out of control. Track what you’re spending so that you can see what your financial damage is as you go. True-up each night or after each activity if that’s what it takes. The beautiful thing with tracking is we can take the costs associated with past vacations and give us a better picture for future travels. I can use the tracking of one trip to get a great idea of what we need to plan for on the next, such as average costs of meals, spending on gifts and souvenirs, ideas for excursions, etc. I can go back, look at every expense and plan for the same type on the next trip. After you do this a number of times, you become a pro and your family can enjoy their interactions outside the home without the number one joy killer, money, being the problem.
We start out with good intentions, then our desires, and our appetites begin to cave in little by little and day by day until you’ve spent more money than you ever planned on or wanted to, but what if you planned for that on the front-end? What if you included your meals, shopping, and splurging in the plans for your vacation? What if you could spend less because you’ve saved too much? Unheard of right? Wrong, you’re hearing of it now. All it takes is a plan. Over the last several years, we’ve managed to plan in such a way that whatever activities we’ve decided to do have not caused us any hardship, neither has it impacted our normal household operating spending. We leave and come back the same way, with no financial pitfalls. Does that sound like something you could benefit from?
Today is Friday!
Certainly you could benefit from it. Have a plan. Make a bill of the projected cost so that you can easily make payments toward it. Use any extra money that comes into your hands towards your plans. Create a way to save that actually works with how you’re wired. Separate your travel spending so that it doesn’t bleed over into your household normal operating expenditures. Lastly, track your funds so that you’re not spending off the top of your head, but actually truing up what you spend as you spend. Remember all of this is to accomplish one goal which we must keep in the forefront of our minds, we’re interacting with the people we love that are outside our home. It’s not to make interacting complicated but rather make it beneficial for the intended purpose.
Question: What type of event would you like to enjoy with your extended family if money was not a problem?
Thanks for visiting Kerry A. Clark & Co. Until next week remember your life is your business. Do me just one small favor, share this with on those persons you love to do life with that are outside your four walls.