A while back, I mentioned my plan B for the teenager going to college. It involved an excel spreadsheet and an ambitious savings plan that does not allow room for us to go the Hollywood Bowl, or some of the other fun summer things we like to do. Part of the reason for that includes the second part of plan B, that I did not mention. The excel spreadsheet breaks down savings into more than one goal with more than one timeline. The other goal on the spreadsheet: Paris 2013.
Basically I am pouring 20% of my net income into savings to take my girls (and husband) to France next summer AND still send a kid off to an affordable college. I am really blessed to be able to do it. I know during these difficult times people are squeezing by to pay their bills. But I am also surprised at what I can accomplish.
A while back when we realized we would owe taxes, we halted certain spending. My husband cancelled the gym membership we never use, looked at lowering phone and satellite tv bills, and eliminated things we didn’t need. I started saving like crazy and stopped going to Starbucks. I rearranged my retirement contributions to eliminate my Roth IRA and add some to my regular IRA. This meant a little more a month in my paycheck. After we paid our taxes, I realized we could apply this strategy to other goals. Imagine yourself saving 20% of your income. Sounds like a lot, right? How about 10%? What does 10% look like? A cell phone bill? Satellite tv? Is it something you could live without? Are you getting a raise? When my raise goes into effect this month, I’ll live like I never got it and add it to my savings.
So France 2013 is well underway in planning. In my planning I am checking out affordable ways to hang out. I am also planning an apartment stay from places like Homeaway.com to save money and allow us to have a kitchen. And no Paris trip would be complete without visiting out exchange student. My friend Vivian at work is planning her own family vacation to New York and Boston. She sent me another excel spreadsheet for trip planning. I love it!
Do you have any special tools for planning?
I am ecstatic about it. It’ll be my last summer with the teenager before she goes to college, my 10th wedding anniversary and one more affirmation that anything is possible.
*picture is from Legoland in California