Why Memories Deserve To Be Part Of Your Budget

My budget looks pretty much like everyone else’s: a mortgage, utilities, car, and food. Of course I always put dollars aside for surprises. I write everything down, but it’s not etched in stone, and I’m not one of those really good budgeters that categorizes everything, like pets. So putting memories in my budget is definitely foreign to me.

Check out how my friend Kimberly vacationed in Italy for 2 months!

BY FAR MY LARGEST EXPENSE, AND I SAY THAT MOST LOVINGLY, HAVE BEEN MY CHILDREN.

When my children were young, a huge part of my income went for things like clothes, shoes, extra-curricular activities and school incidentals like class trips and pizza on Fridays for them. For 15 years, things I needed or wanted were at the bottom of the list, if they were there at all. I would try and find something in my closet, or borrow from a friend for the occasional wedding or event. I would wait until I looked like a grey squirrel before I dyed my hair. I would eat out at a restaurant under duress from my husband. I never celebrated my birthdays and never let anyone fuss. I was too busy planning and spending on my family’s important moments like graduations, anniversaries and holidays.

When I turned 40, my parents and siblings surprised me by purchasing me a flight to the UK to visit my oldest sister. I was shocked! All I needed was spending money and a passport, but all I could think about was how that money could be better spent on other things. It was all booked so what could I do? My kids were teenagers. They could survive without me for two weeks. Besides, they had their father. I was sure he could keep on top of things and if not, when I got back, I could just burn the house down instead of clean it.

My budget looks pretty much like everyone else's: a mortgage, utilities, car, and food. Of course I always put dollars aside for surprises. I write everything down, but it's not etched in stone, and I'm not one of those really good budgeters that categorizes everything, like pets. So putting memories in my budget is definitely foreign to me. But after my trip to the UK for my 40th birthday, I have decided that memories in my budget are as important as food. Not as important as chocolate though. :)
At the big wheel in London.

So off I went, anxious, worried and excited. This trip would be all about me. Where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I hadn’t thought of myself in so long, I wasn’t sure I knew how.

Check out my suggestions for day trips in Cape Cod.

My other sister helped plan an itinerary with everything on my wish list, including a trip to Paris. We went to everywhere I’d seen in the movies: Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame Cathedral and the top of the Eiffel Tower. Some days we just shopped or lounged outdoors at a restaurant. There is nothing like people watching on a sidewalk cafe in Paris, having a croissant and a glass of wine at ten in the morning.

Our trip included a visit to the Louvre Museum. The place is huge! It would take a week to see the rooms and rooms of art and sculptures. Luckily you get a free map when you enter, because they could easily charge big money when you need to find your way out. Of course the most famous pieces had the most traffic, and usually you had to wait your turn to get up close.

Now I’m not what you would call an artsy person. I like art, but I don’t LOVE art. By late afternoon, my dogs were barking, and I’d had about enough of Monet or Manet or whatever, but we still had one thing left on our list.

Why Memories Deserve To Be Part Of Your Budget

The room was stuffed with tourists, but I’d come this far. I was going to see it. Patiently, I waited my turn. Even from a distance, I could see it was the only thing in the room. It was behind bulletproof glass. Finally, there it was, two feet in front of me, smaller than I’d anticipated. I’ve seen it in print a million times, and yet, I don’t know what came over me. I started to cry. I was so overwhelmed.

My budget looks pretty much like everyone else's: a mortgage, utilities, car, and food. Of course I always put dollars aside for surprises. I write everything down, but it's not etched in stone, and I'm not one of those really good budgeters that categorizes everything, like pets. So putting memories in my budget is definitely foreign to me. But after my trip to the UK for my 40th birthday, I have decided that memories in my budget are as important as food. Not as important as chocolate though. :)
My sister took this right after I started crying.

Last year I turned 50, and I’ve decided I’m going back. This time I’m planning on a month. I’m so thankful my family opened my eyes so I could see I needed to put me first. I need to budget for memories, not things. As you get older, you realize possessions can’t make you happy. It’s about great memories with the people you love.

I will always cherish my 40th birthday; the day Mona Lisa’s smile made me cry.

Here is a great blog post on how to find cheap airline tickets through an app called Next Vacay.

 

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28 thoughts on “Why Memories Deserve To Be Part Of Your Budget

  1. This is so true.
    As a 48 year old single Mum of a 6 year old I understand only too well the temptation to spend all my money in my daughter.
    I was well travelled before I had her, having lived in Italy twice and spent a summer in Crete, plus travelled round Australia and Bali, as well as numerous vacations abroad.
    I definitely subscribe to the memories over material things school of thought. My daughter has been to Italy twice and to Bali, plus holidays in Wales and Cornwall. This summer we are going to Crete for 10 days and will be spending Christmas in Italy. We go to day trips to the Coast and countryside and I try to give her culturally diverse experiences, such as live theatre, music events etc. I am planning to take her to an Opera too (which can be done cheaply). I want her to have fabulous memories and I want the same for myself. In the meantime I will continue to drive a scruffy old car and buy clothes a lot less than I used to

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  2. That is what it does, travelling beyond your country’s borders … “opened my eyes so I could see …”
    Especially when you do it on a budget.
    It’s about perspective.
    Finding joy in the basics of life.
    You learn that people who are “different” from you are quite normal. Especially when they don’t speak English.
    Perhaps it puts you on another adventure: learn your next language. Serious!
    We get so caught up in our “busy lives” back home, not realizing we have stopped “living.”
    Thanks for the post, Elena!

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  3. Loved reading this post! Like you 95% of my $ goes into my kid’s extra curricular activities and things for them! My poor kids must always look a sight because my friends are always giving me hand-me-downs from their kids which is greatly appreciated. I cut their hair to save money and have even cut my own a few times which has gone better than expected – it’s a stretch to bring up 3 kids in Sydney!! Every once in a while though I take a little time out for myself, last year I went to New York for 10 days and slept on a friend’s couch – it was such a fabulous experience – the MoMa in New York was fabulous and I was inspired to write a blog post about what is so fantastic about Modern Art.
    Much Love, Katie

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    1. I love New York. It is not quite the journey for me as it is for you though. lol I can drive there. I am so glad you had a great time and I encourage you not to let too much time go by before you take a trip away just for yourself again.

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  4. I went in high school – they ran us past the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa – and I cried too – there was so much I wanted to see, but the rest of the group wanted to go shopping. And I didn’t make it the second time because I ended up having my appendix out instead. I’ll go back some day too. You’ll have a great time.

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  5. Fabulous post, Elena! I was similarly overwhelmed when visiting Greece, a lifelong dream. Making wonderful life memories is so much more important than material things. The older we get the more we realize this, yes?

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  6. What lovely memories. I think that doing things for yourself make you a better mother, wife, and sister. We all need to take some time for ourselves and enjoy life before we’re to old.

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  7. This is awesome, Elena. Too many people put their efforts into material things instead of making memories that last a lifetime. I hope you enjoy your trip!

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  8. Isn’t it amazing how our emotions can surprise us with a reaction to a beloved item (or person) when seen in person! I have never been to Europe, but my hubby has, so one of these days! Congrats on preparing to make new memories!

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    1. I am such a sissy. Sometimes I can cry at the drop of a hat at something really stupid. Conversely, in times of great strife, I am usually the one keeping it all together. I have no idea why that is. You absolutely must go to Europe!

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  9. I love the wisdom here. When my grandma died last year, my grandpa said he was thankful they spent so much time building memories, not collections. They traveled a lot and lived on less so they didn’t have to work as much. Experiences are worthwhile expenses.

    Enjoy your next adventure!

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    1. That is so nice to hear. Too many times I have heard the opposite story where people made plans for “later” and later did not come in time. Please make sure you do the same in their memories.

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  10. What a delightful post! Elena, I live in the UK and have seen less of London than you lol
    I’m glad you have such lovely (love instigated) memories banked 🙂

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    1. That happens all the time. People never see the things that are close to them. Like, I have never been to the CN Tower in Toronto and yet it is so close.

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  11. That was lovely Elena – I did a European trip with my mum when I was in my 40’s and it was really special seeing all those places (I just wish the flights to get there from Australia weren’t so long!) I’ll be going back one day with my husband this time and I intend to be there for long enough to see everything properly. x

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