Monday 101: On the Road!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Left town on Friday the 28th . . . not sure when the next post will be.

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Monday 102: Getting Ready for a Big Trip

 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Vacations are things we all need.  Time to get away.  Time to spend with family and friends.  Time to create memories.  And, vacations do cost money.

A lot of people will tell you that spending a lot of money on a vacation is okay.  Others will shake their heads at costs.  The fact is, everyone will have a different idea what is okay and what is not okay to spend on a vacation.  And you have your own ideas – as do I.  The key factor is to allocate the funds – appropriate funds – for those times you go on vacation.

This year – at the end of this week in fact – we are heading out for a two-week road trip.  Usually we do this by ourselves, but this time we are travelling with my husband’s parents.  One of the goals of this trip is to visit places involved in family history – to see places that great grandparents once roamed, to see where they lived.  There are family photos from the 1870s, and these places important to family history still stand, important in both local and national history as well.  Another goal is to simply see parts of the country we have visited before, and to take the in-laws places they have always wanted to see.  As we all age, these memories become important.  Safety and comfort are also important.

What are the costs going to be?  Somewhat more expensive than I would like, but by the same token I cannot be in charge of everything and make every decision!  Of course I will have some say – but this trip, more than anything, is for my in-laws.  We will stay in B&Bs and historical hotels in various national parks.  Altogether, I have about $6000.00 dedicated to this trip.

Monday 103: Yeah, Just Chillin’

Monday, 17 July 2017

Yeah, summer has me! I expect there will be few more weeks of not focusing on our financing – staying on top of them, but not going crazy about them – for another few weeks. On July 28, we leave for our road trip. My employer messed up my paycheck to “fix” their books – and messed up the checks of multiple colleagues – but they are “working on it” – whatever that means!

Monday 106: A Summer Weekend

Monday, 26 June 2017

We spontaneously left town for most of the weekend.  It was a great way to enjoy the summer, to see friends, to spend time with each other.  Summer, more than any other time of the year, is our favorite time – and most convenient time – to just do things.

Saturday morning I was sick of looking at the familiar areas of the neighborhood.  New scenery, a different place to be, a desire for something outside the usual weekend were on the agenda.  The problem was what to do, where to go?  With temperatures in the low 90s, there was no desire to go someplace possibly hotter and little desire to go where there would be unruly crowds of people, all attempting to escape the heat.  Mr. 182 suggested the zoo!

And off to the zoo we went.  There are two zoos near us – by near, I mean within an hour’s drive.  We chose the smaller of the two, the one on the coast, the one we could get to without driving into a congested city.  And off we went.  Total cost (not including gas) was about $64.00, including a sandwich for each of us.  We spent the day wandering around a beautiful park-like setting, enjoying the sea breezes, and not feeling crowded and rushed as we got there when they opened.

While driving up, we thought of calling up some friends who live halfway along the route.  One day, they invited themselves to dinner, and since then it has been a running joke about inviting them to invite us to dinner.  We didn’t do that . . . but I chanted as we drove past their neighborhood, “Invite us!  Invite us!”

I’m not sure if that had any influence, but that night we got a call:  “Come up for a beach day and a barbecue!”  Sunday we did, and the cost was gas and a couple of bottles of beer.  $7.00.

Our total expenses for our weekend were $71.00 for a lot of fun.  There were no motel rooms or expenses for fancy meals.  We could have packed a lunch and saved $18.49.  We could have brought some home brew and saved $7.00.  The weekend was a mini-vacation spent outside, with friends, at the beach, with each other.  I feel like I’ve been off for a week!

Monday 107: The Cost of Hobbies

Monday, 19 June 2017

Here chez 182 we have hobbies.  Mr. 182 brews beer and builds rockets.  I like photography, writing, and drawing.  Time permitting, I also design things and clothes, and sew them.  Certainly brewing beer and building rockets have more out-of-pocket expenses than drawing and writing, but the payoff is the same as my less expensive hobbies:  we both enjoy doing them, we are happier people for doing these creative endeavors, our minds work, our bodies move.  The benefit of a hobby is more than just about spending money!

Having time to do something you like is sometimes hard to find.  Setting time aside to do something you enjoy is wothwhile – it gives you something to look forward to, useful products emerge – you cannot argue about the value of good, inexpensive beer!  – and there is a sense of satisfaction and raison d’etre which work does not always provide.

Hobbies are also a good way to connect with others with similar interests.  Sometimes this is through online groups, but even better is when you join local groups with real, live people!  Isolation is an issue for many people, especially older people when they retire and kids move out of the house.  Fostering an active community and being part of one is significant for health reasons, physical, intellectual, emotional.

Hobbies also help cope with stress.  Doing things, rather than being a receptacle for the TV’s antics, helps the mind sort things out on a subliminal level.  Many times when I am frustrated or trying to figure things out, I “put it on the back burner” (of the stove), and let it simmer.  While that is going on, I do something else.  Often, solutions present themselves after immersing myself in creative activities.

The mind is an amazing thing.  Right side and left side connect through the corpus callosum, and each half has its duties, both of which are completely different.  Getting them to work in harmony is wonderful – like a piece of art in itself.

Altogether, hobbies are worthwhile investments in yourself and those around you.  Creativity fosters new ways of thinking.  Rocket parts cost money.  Brewing costs money.  Drawing and sewing and photography cost money.  How much is spent depends on what is needed.  The budget should always allow for such activities.

The costs of not having hobbies is far greater . . . there is a loss that goes beyond the dollars saved that cannot even be measured.