Lifestyle 29 May 2018
Everybody aspires to live the “good life” but, unfortunately, it comes with a price tag. Vacations are a great way for us to relax and get away from the stresses of everyday life. While traveling is often a “want” or luxury, it is possible to take the trip you’ve been yearning for without breaking the bank! Sticking to a budget plan is essential in order to be financially stable. In fact, budgeting can be the very reason you have funds allotted to take your trip.
Here are some tips that can help you get the rest and relaxation you’ve been looking for without plunging yourself into debt.
Most of the time, doing anything last minute means spending more money. Booking a trip the night of or even a week before will cost you. Give yourself time to really research different destinations so you can compare and contrast pricing. You may want to consider hospitality services such as Airbnb or research on booking.com, so you are not paying hefty commercial hotel prices. Also, try plotting out any excursions you plan on doing beforehand to ensure they fit into your budget. You can go on sites like Expedia to see what excursions are offered in the destination you choose.
You want to comprise a game plan, so no unexpected surprises are thrown at you! Take a little time and do your research beforehand on local restaurants if your trip isn’t all inclusive to get an idea of what your daily spending should be. Additionally, flight prices are normally significantly cheaper when booked ahead. You should consider vacationing on an off-season month. December and January tend to pricier months since schools are closed for winter holiday vacations. Just be sure to check you are not going during hurricane season if you plan on jetting to warmer areas.
Create a Vacation Budget
By planning ahead, you can create a budget that can make managing your vacation money a breeze. Once you have your destination and travel date, think about starting a vacation fund and put some money towards it every month. You won’t have to come up with a large sum of money at one time. Examine your spending and make adjustments where necessary. If there are things that you can do without, cut them from your budget. For example, if you purchase a daily coffee, consider skipping it for a while. You can take the cash you would normally spend on coffee or takeout food and put it toward your vacation fund. Making small sacrifices to allocate funds for your trip will enable you to vacation without financial stress.
Don’t Charge All your Expenses at Once
What many people fail to do when planning a vacation is spread out the costs associated with their trip. This could spell financial trouble. Even though using a credit card can be a great way to finance a vacation, they should be used responsibly. Consider spreading out your pre-vacation expenses.
You may want to book your flight one month and your hotel the next. This can help you avoid getting hit with a large bill that may force you to deplete your savings or pay the minimum resulting in paying more interest and losing money in the long run.
Consider a Staycation
Who says you have to go far to enjoy some time off? You don’t have to travel to another country or state to get away. You could take advantage of the sights and attractions near you and end up having a wonderful vacation – and save money, too. You don’t want to put yourself into debt just to be able to afford a vacation. Do some research to find out what your area has to offer; a hike in the mountains, landmarks, beaches, national parks, etc. A staycation could be just what you need!
While a vacation is a great time to relax and enjoy yourself, too many people swipe their credit cards for the sake of being “on vacation.” Smart credit habits should not be thrown out the window when planning your trip. There are plenty of ways to take a budget vacation without going into debt!
This post was first published on 2/23/2018
3 Min Read
Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.
It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.
At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.
So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.
Before You Dial The Ex...
First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.
What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?
You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.
Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.
If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.
Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.
Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.
If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.
As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:
- Do: exercise — taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
- Don't: be a couch potato.
- Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
- Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?