Cut the Chaos out of Vacation Planning
Next month, my husband and I will be taking a vacation to Nebraska with my parents. I was a little nervous at first. My overthinking was causing an unsettling sense of dread. Now, though, I’m pretty excited to travel somewhere I’ve never been. To tell you the truth, I’ve only been north as far as the Kansas-Oklahoma border. Shocking, I know!
All too often, many of us find ourselves, lost in the chaos of our minds. Swarms of fear, doubts and “what if’s”, mess up our way of thinking. Thinking alone, at times, can lead us to total panic. I mean, going a couple of hours away for a weekend is one thing, but a week away in another state, is entirely different.
What if we blow a tire? How much will the gas cost? I don’t personally know the people with whom we will be staying!
While fighting through my flood of emotions and concerns, I remembered one of my favorite scriptures; “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I love this verse. Having anxiety is a nightmare. This promise from God, reminds me to calm myself and “cast my cares on the Lord” (Psalm 55:22). My heart is set on keeping this verse close to me as a constant reminder, through the planning process.
Today, I began breaking down the necessities, and decided to uncomplicate vacation planning, by preparing one day at a time. I don’t like chaos, in anything. It’s unsettling and frequently ends with my backing out. In an effort to avoid that this time around, I intend on sorting everything into a day-by-day plan to keep me from going insane.
Budgeting and Groceries
Starting today, I will be focusing on two of the biggest necessities for our home: budgeting and food between now and vacation time. We don’t make much money, so budgeting is definitely not my favorite part of planning, but is obviously necessary. Our funds have to roll over to each pay period to cover each cycle of bills. For instance, rent will be due the first of July, but our pay checks hit the 22nd and 30th. The check on the 30th will not be enough to cover rent, so the one from the 22nd will have to roll over. Fun stuff, NOT! (I cannot wait until this is a thing of the past).
Creating A Budget
In budgeting for the month, of course, I have to consider food. Now that it is summer break, my kids will rarely be at home. In fact, my daughter has been out of town with her aunt since Tuesday, and my boys left Thursday. I hate this, however, it will help cut down on food cost, to save up for the trip. (Finding positives) Meal planning will be my definite go-to for this. (If you would like some tips for meal planning check out my post Meal Planning Made Easy).
My “meal plan” (more like “approved foods plan”) will be slightly different this time around, as my husband and I are working at getting a little “healthier” before our trip. No breads, sugars or carbonation for us. Here’s a quick example:
Budgeting for Meals
We still have quite a bit of food left from our last grocery trip, so I’m going to plan around finishing up what we have. Since the kids are leaving in a couple days on their own vacations, I’m only giving the two of us a budget of $60. Honestly that should last us two weeks, if not longer.
You can save so much money on groceries if you spread it out a little, watch the sales adds and remain patient. After a while, you learn how the sales work and how often they occur on certain products. I pay close attention to my ads and my fridge or pantry inventory. Sure, I’m a big cheapskate, which is not always such a great thing, but it definitely is for my grocery bill. Here’s how I shop for my groceries:
- Inventory– I have a fridge and pantry inventory. It isn’t always written down, often, I just know what’s in there. How? Because I plan my meals. It makes it so much easier and keeps me from having tons of food thrown out each month.
- Make a list– what I need for each meal of the week. It’s very likely that at least one of our planned meals, turned into something different. When that happens, you just double check to see what needs replaced.
- Determine a grocery budget– If you grocery shop often, as most of us do, you get an idea of general cost for certain items; i.e. Milk averages $3.06 per gallon. Unless you check all of the bottom shelves in each section, where you usually find one cheaper, wink-wink.
- View the ads– Learn to recognize the really good deals in your ads. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, put off purchasing what’s not included until the next when it’s on sale.
- Don’t be afraid – Make more than one stop for a really good deal. We have our two biggest grocery chains right across the street from one another here. What one doesn’t have on sale, the other usually does. Take advantage of this. If you worry about using more gas doing so, then think of it this way: If I am purchasing more than one item from the second store, it’s probably going to be worth the drive (if it’s within 5-10 min drive or less). If it is only one item, unless you’re getting another free, don’t do it. Just pay the extra change where you are, no big deal.
So, that’s my basic overall beginning plan for lowering my “vacation anxiety”. I’d love to hear some of your own tips for budgeting, meal planning and easing your travel fears. Let’s keep in touch! Follow me on Facebook at The Simple Joys of Less, Twitter, Pinterest or subscribe to my blog for new post updates.
I’ll see you soon