A few weeks ago I decided I was going to start putting my money where my mouth is when it comes to one of my goals: to travel. I started actively saving so I can do this.
I'm tethered to the small town where I grew up. Live here, teach here, still see the same people and things I've always seen. I've never been anywhere too far away, unless we're counting one teeny, tiny quick trip to Vancouver by myself to take a qualifying ballet exam, and a family cruise to Mexico when I was 19. That ain't nothing, but those trips were both pretty light in terms of cultural immersion, and both happened before I was really an adult. There are so many places that call to me. I just think it can only benefit me to see more of the world and how people live in it.
I want to go, so I started saving. Even if all I do is see some more of the US, that's something.
Saving for this is a big step for lots of reasons. First, because I suck at saving money for any reason. Well, also this act is remarkable because of the very new fact that we even have money to save. I realize that's a luxury, even when I'm adjusting priorities. Finally, FINALLY, a year ago we actually were able to stop living paycheck to paycheck and begin some basic family savings. Having kids so young, not having two incomes for a long time while E was in law school--those things took a toll. I'm happy we're in a good place.
So this--something that's just for me--is an even bigger deal.
That's right. Just me. One of the obstacles to even daydreaming about travel, for me, has been that it's not on E's list of things he wants to do. He does not have this travel urge. He'd like to do it someday, but not now. Not until much later in our lives. Waiting for him to say he wanted to go was keeping me from believing I could do it. Or from even saving for it.
The thought of waiting until I retire to travel kills me. But when my friend Maggie's piece about her year of solo travel ran in the LA Times this May, it inspired an important conversation between myself and the E man. One where we decided maybe this is something I need to do sooner, rather than later. Maybe alone, or with friends instead of him--since his heart isn't there yet.
So I'm saving. Setting some priorities that fall in line with what I want to do, which is not spend my whole life blowing all my spending money on Starbucks.
(Let's be real about it, too: there's more than one way it benefits me to buy less crap from Starbucks.)
I have a specific monetary goal for the year. I'm hopeful that I can get anywhere close to it. I don't know where I'll go just yet. I have some ideas. But last month I saved a good amount to put toward this for the first time in my life.
Here's where the duh comes in:
This afternoon I wanted to put this month's chunk of change with last month's and take it to the bank. I knew I put it in a super-secret/super-important place in the house so I wouldn't spend it last month. I knew I didn't spend it last month--I was sure of that much, because of the total lack of stuff.
I looked right where I'd "remembered" putting the money for safekeeping, and it wasn't there.
I looked in my other super-secret hiding place in the house, and it wasn't there.
I dumped a random series of objects out of things, rummaged through them like an angry ape, panicked, and promptly remembered I'd decided to keep the money in an extra pocket in my wallet so I wouldn't put it somewhere and forget where I put it.
Yeah. From now on this money goes directly into my savings account on payday. Squirreling things away is not gonna work.