Invest in Lasting Memories
Here’s one of my best money tips ever:
Invest in Lasting, Positive Memories
We’ve become a society where we tend to associate Quality with Price. We always reach for brand names because… well, they’re better. They also cost more. I’m guilty of it myself. When faced with having to make a choice between different unknown brands, I usually assume the one that costs more is the safest option. And sometimes it true, but more often than not, the cheaper options were good enough.
However, when it comes to producing memories that stick with us for a lifetime, it’s not about the money.
Some of my best childhood memories were on a lake in Maine.
I remember being about six or seven years old and being on a canoe with my dad, fishing. It was a hot summer day and some moose charged the lake that we were in. They weren’t upset with us. They were probably trying to cool off. I remember being in awe. I recall these memories from time to time because I cherish them. I just attached emotion to the experience. The whole trip couldn’t have cost more than a couple hundred dollars. Today, you can go soup to nuts and rent a log cabin for the family for the entire weekened for about $500. You can go canoeing and kyaking, rent a boat and go fishing, swimming, etc. In the winter you can go snowmobiling and ice fishing!
Fancy cruise trips are an amazing experience. You get treated like a king -and eat like one, too. And while they’re priced to appear affordable, they’re actually quite costly -even for a 3 day trip. A decent trip will have a sticker price of $500 to $1000 per person, but there are so many things not included in that price tag. For starters, it doesn’t include airfare, transportation to the port, travel insurance (as life tends to happen), your shore excursions, taxes, photos, spa, beverages, extras… and the list goes on. Oh, and don’t forget the gratuity of around $80. Here’s a guide to help you calculate the actual costs of a cruise.
I’ve also been on a number of trips to Disney. I’ve driven down from Connecticut with the family, and I’ve flown into Orlando. I’ve stayed in the resort, and I’ve stayed out of town. I’ve also just gone for just the day. Staying just for the day is the cheapest route to go, you just pay the ticket fees and lunch. My latest trip cost around $4,500, and I stayed in the resort. And staying out of the resort, but nearby, cost $3,000 the trip before that. If you did some form of these trips over the course of the next 15-20 years, that would net you around $75,000, without adjusting for inflation.
If you’re looking to produce some positive, life lasting memories, try camping. Camping is a great way to just slow down and enjoy the great outdoors and connect with family. It’s also a great way to spend quality time with the family and lead to outdoor adventures. The best thing is, there are all different types of campsites out there. There’s wilderness camping for the more adventurous types, base camping for those that just want to relax; and there are places that offer base camping with local amenities like pools, activities for the kids, jumping zones, mini-golf, etc. There are even roller coaster and amusement parks that have tent and cabin camping nearby.
Personally, I think it’s the slowing down part that really lets memories bake in the mental oven. Camping is also very economical. Just like your spouse would most likely prefer smaller acts of kindness throughout the year over just one big one, taking a series of relaxing mini-vacations could make for a better year than one big expensive vacation. You also end up with more memories. This year I started a Father/Son camping trip and we have great plans for hiking, fishing, and just being boys together. I invested in good quality camping gear, like the tent, some cots, sleeping bags, etc. They’ll last over the years and the kids can grow into them.
So before you stress yourself out with planning some big, expensive ordeal to get away for the week, consider planning a few weekend getaways, like camping. It will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and produce more memorable moments. Let me know what you think. As always, any capital expenditure like vacations and weekend getaways should be planned for in your budget. Make it a habit.
I’d love to hear what your most memorable vacation or getaway was. You can share it in the comment section below. If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletters, please do so. I’d be happy to send you my best financial tips. We don’t believe in spam.