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Less Stuff – More Memories
Did you know that 90 percent of mums are more likely to splurge on something for their child than on something for themselves?
We just returned from a magical 7 day trip to Cape Town with our kids. The days were filled with exploration, laughter, sun and amazing food which made coming back to Kenya in the dull weather all the more depressing. It was halfway through the drive to the house that both my kids looked up with sad faces. “How many weeks until Christmas” my daughter asked. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it’s not until the end of the year or that her father and I haven’t planned anything more because Cape Town was this year’s treat.
While returning from an awesome trip is never easy, the trip is definitely worth it. You see, my husband and I had planned for this trip since we got our last born 4 years ago. We got an Endowment plan that allowed us to indulge every 4 years on something of our choice. This was more than just a treat, it was our family bonding experience.
It turns out giving your child an experience as a gift instead of a thing (which let’s be honest will end up in a pile with the other forgotten toys) forges stronger bonds between people. Unfortunately for us, this advice came a little bit later. My husband and I started scheduling special experiences on the weekend when our daughter was 5. It was not until we realised how happy this made her and she would blurb all the way home, that we decided it would be a family tradition to take a mini-vacation every year. When her brother came along, we thought of doing something bigger when he turns 4.
How we Managed to Afford the Cape Town Trip
● Make sure you and your partner are on the same page regarding spending and saving. My husband and I pay bills together and manage a joint account that caters for the family budget.
● We learnt how to operate with a budget so we didn’t need to cut down our costs.
● We prioritised saving towards a goal rather than for the sake of it. It was made easier when we took a Super Endowment plan from Standard Chartered Bank that ensured our money remained untouched and accumulated over a period of 4 years.
● We didn’t stay in a hotel. We chose a quaint AirBnb in a really good location, fully equipped for a family and allowed us to spend quality time together at an affordable cost.
● Organisation is key when travelling! We planned the excursions in advance so we knew how much we would pay for daily tours around the city and who our tour guide would be.
● We created a bucket list and plan to tick off Disneyland Paris in the next 4 years. Ssssh! It’s a surprise!
As working parents, weekends can become a blur of obligations and errands if you’re not careful. But you can avoid this by scheduling special experiences. Build vacation-like experiences into your daily life, visit beautiful places like national parks or malls, near your house. Think of what you love most about family trips. Is it the lazy hours uninterrupted by beeping cell phones and emails to return? If so, try incorporating your own family electronic-free day.