Last week’s blog was about how a holiday can be a need and not a want, especially at this time of year when you’re burnt out, stressed out and ready to throw in the towel
In this blog, I’m going to show you how you don’t have to put yourself in debt just to have a decent break.
Last week, when Mt Agung’s eruption on the island of Bali was playing havoc with flights due to the volcanic ash cloud, our own family travel plans were thrown into chaos. Add to the mix a child who has come down with suspected Glandular Fever and suddenly this Mum is going into alternative solution mode. You see, I had chosen Bali as our family Christmas holiday destination for the following reasons:
- It’s cheap to get there with direct flights from Townsville
- It’s cheap once you get there ie. Food, accommodation, shopping, travel, tourist stuff etc.
- I can afford to eat out every day/night and pay for a nice 4 star hotel without breaking the budget
- I get to show my kids that life is not all about Xbox, Ipads and electronics
As this trip was booked and paid for months in advance, I was a little concerned that we might not be able to go. Now I’m all for holidaying in your own back yard, but the most expensive part of holidaying in Australia is eating. Most times I book a self-contained unit so I can reduce our meal costs, but being a single mum 330 days of the year, the last thing I want to be doing on my holiday is cooking and cleaning – NO THANKS!
So, knowing that holidaying in Oz might be on the cards, I started to do some research to find out how we could still have our annual family holiday on the same budget if we had to. Of course, my boys wanted to go to the Gold Coast and check out the theme parks, what kid doesn’t, but this Mum was already mentally adding up the cost of such a holiday.
After a little research, these are the tips I would like to share with you.
- If you do enough google searches on Gold Coast theme parks, you can get surprisingly good rates. Check out sites like experienceoz.com.au where you can save on average $10 – $40 pp for prepaid theme park tickets. Their destinations are vast, not just for the GC.
- To save on meals and snacks, purchase the Entertainment Book for your holiday destination and watch the savings add up. You can preview books at entertainmentbook.com.au
- Quick searches on sites like Trivago.com, Booking.com, Hotels.com etc. can see savings up to 50% on hotel accommodation. If you’re willing to stay a little further out of town the savings are even greater.
- To hire a car, do your research at CarFlexi.com, this site has all the major and minor car hire companies for you to compare. Don’t forget to utilise car hire discounts available in the Entertainment Book and memberships like RACQ, RACV etc.
- Save on travel costs by driving your own car. If you do this, be sure to pack some premade sandwiches, drinks and snacks to avoid spending unnecessarily when you stop for fuel.
- If you have a long drive throw in a tent and some pillows, there are free campsites all over Australia. Check out sites like freecampingaustralia.com.au
- Have friends at your holiday destination? Call them and talk to them about doing a house swap or bunking with them for a night or two. Two nights accommodation saved either side of your holiday can free up a few hundred off your budget.
Throughout the year I allocate a small amount of money each week that I don’t even miss to ensure we can have a break at the end of the year. If you’re not good with money, why not go back to the good old days of opening a Xmas Club account. This type of account allows you to squirrel little bits of money regularly but the catch is the bank/building society won’t let you get access to it until December. Even just $35 per week will see a nice little nest egg of over $1,800 to put towards your next holiday.
So what are you waiting for, go plan your next holiday and how you’re going to pay for it now.
All year, I work with clients, educating them on how to break bad habits of the past and create new ones for a more serene financial life. A large part of this is recognizing the difference between a need and a want.
As the school year comes to an end, I have noticed that the patience and tolerance levels of both the kids and I are wearing a little thin and in general, we are all just feeling exhausted.
Depending on who you speak to, a holiday can be both.
Here are my top 5 reasons why I am happy to admit (especially at this time of the year) a holiday is definitely a NEED:
- When you’re burnt out and exhausted, you’re no good to yourself or anyone around you
- Your tolerance level for just about anything (in particular if you have kids) plummets to all-time lows
- Motivation becomes an effort
- Your quality of sleep drops, exacerbating tiredness
- Your Mind and Body go into survival mode reducing levels of joy and happiness in your life
Benefits of taking a holiday:
- Holidays put you in a good mood, make you feel more calm and increase your energy levels
- They help dissolve stress which is good for your health
- They clear the mind and help you re-focus upon returning to work, thus improving productivity
- You often meet new people on holiday opening up a whole new world of social contact and increasing happiness levels
- You no longer feel the need to yell at your kids because by the third cocktail your tolerance levels have increased dramatically
How do I find money for a holiday when money is tight?
If you’re thinking of taking a holiday but not sure where you’ll find the money, analyse your expenses and pick five wants that you can do without (or reduce just a little).
Here’s five expenses that really add up:
- Weekly takeaway
- Dining out
- Daily cup of takeaway coffee
- Can of Coke/Sprite/Juice
It’s not necessary cut out all these expenses, but look at maybe reducing the number of times you get each, eg. cut out one takeaway meal for the family once a month, results in a saving of $600.
So don’t miss out on another family holiday just because you can’t afford it, change one habit today and see how much your life can change in just 12 months.
How often do you hear yourself say, “I can’t afford that?”
or “sorry I can’t make it, I don’t have the money right now?”
Recently I was invited to an impromptu girls’ weekend to
Melbourne and within 24hrs five of my closest friends had booked their flights
and were busily organising the weekend.
I hesitated, not because I didn’t have the money, but the money I did
have was earmarked for an overseas trip I am taking with my boys next year and
it was my boys last weekend before heading off to their dads for the school
So here in lay two moral dilemmas, the first, as a mother to
get over the guilt of spending money set aside for the family, the second, the
guilt of not spending time with my boys before they go to their dads.
It wasn’t until one of the girls told me it only cost them
$70 using frequent flyer points that I seriously started formulating in my head
a strategy to make this trip happen.
The desire to go was starting to get pretty strong for a
number of reasons:
- It’s been a hard and massive year, starting out
with rebuilding after the devastating floods that hit Townsville
- I was burned out by May and knew I haven’t taken
enough time to rest and recover
- I have my boys 44 weekends a year so why am I
- I had enough frequent flyer points to burn
- My overseas trip is eight months away, giving me
plenty of time to replenish the coffers
But the biggest reason was, I had put out to the Universe
this year that I wanted to do a girls’ trip to Melbourne and here was the
Universe was handing it to me on a silver platter so who am I to deny the
And what a weekend it was.
I had decided I was going to channel my 19 year old flirty
self of old, you know, the one before kids, marriage and divorce. The one who knew how to have fun without the
worry, stress and responsibility of real life.
The one who once met a guy in a bar and within 3 hours was taking a road
trip to Cairns for the weekend (still can’t believe I did that and so glad my
Mum never knew about it). And oh boy,
did she come out, in a big way.
So off to Melbourne we went.
From the time we arrived until the time we left we laughed so hard my
jaw started to ache. We shopped up a
storm, swapped clothes and shoes, helped each other with our make-up, it truly
was like a massive girls slumber party.
We were all vibing so high and boy did other people notice. Everywhere we went we had random men and
women come up to talk to us, compliment us and just hang out with us. I remember thinking, no amount of money could
ever replace the amazing memories we were creating.
What I had forgotten though, was my 19 year old self also
used to do ‘dawnies’ most weekends and getting home as the sun was rising
wasn’t something I had thought of but obviously my inner child had.
48 hrs later, I have arrived back home, sleep deprived,
suitcase full and a camera full of memories that money cannot buy. I feel like I am vibing so high right now I
could tackle the world (after I get about 24 hrs sleep that is).
There is even talk of making this a regular event and when I
look back at all the money I have spent in the past on counselling post divorce
to make myself feel whole again, a girls trip every few months sounds like a
much better (not to mention cheaper and enjoyable) plan.
So next time you catch yourself turning down an opportunity
to enjoy living life, stop and think about how you can still enjoy freedom and
life-style without breaking the bank.
If you want to stop
worrying about how you can find the money to have fun like I just did this
weekend book an insight and
empowerment call with me today.
Want to know more
about what I offer? Head over to my programs page and read all about the packages I have to offer to help you live your happiest self.
Until next time
Love and gratitude
“The wound is the place where the light enters you” – Rumi
No truer have these words been than this week. Ever had one of those days/weeks/months or
even year where you’ve felt like throwing it all in?
Well that was me earlier last week. Monday morning, I woke to find myself feeling angry and despondent, ready to give up on all that I’d worked so tirelessly to achieve these past couple of years. By lunchtime Monday, I’d fallen in a complete heap. Mentally, emotionally and physically I was burnt out, done and dusted (and it’s only May!!). One might think this strange, but in amongst all my anger, bitterness and sadness, I was actually excited.
I was excited because I had seen this pattern before and knew that on the other side of completely falling apart, I would level up and achieve even more than I had thus far.
But I found myself asking “where did this anger, rage and sudden desire to throw in the towel come from?” I’d had an amazing weekend with my family and friends at the local races. I’d met some lovely new people, the kids were behaving better than ever, business was going well and I was excited for the new programs we are about to launch. So why was I feeling this way?
Thankfully I have an amazing coach myself, and after an hour of crying and counselling , I was slowly returning to my old self. You see I’ve learned in the past that the only way past an emotion is through it.
In days gone by, I would have hidden my feelings from the
world, had a silent cry in the bottom of my shower and that would have been the
end of it. I would have put on a mask to
show the outside world and just soldiered on.
But these days, I’ve learned to recognise that if I am feeling
this way, then there are probably a dozen others feeling the same way, each and
every day. These same people likely look
at people like me, who to the outside world seem to have their sh*t together and
think that my life is perfect. Because in
today’s modern society, with digital photos, filters and editing tools, we tend
to only show the outside world what we want them to see.
No one sees the broken tears at 9 o’clock at night after a
hard day at the office or a challenging day with the kids. No one sees the stress we feel each and every
time a bill comes in that we are struggling to pay. No one sees the struggle we experience some
days, just putting one foot in front of the other.
But why is this? Why do
we hide our true feelings when all we really want is connection? Do we fear we will be judged by society if we
don’t have our sh*t together all the time?
I used to put so much pressure on myself to be the best
version I could be. A few years back, I
was nearly hospitalised for exhaustion whilst doing University. I had put so much pressure on myself to achieve. I was so burnt out I was drinking Red Bull
just to stay awake long enough to study for my exams. Looking back, I know it was me, and only me
putting that pressure on myself.
These days what I’ve come to recognise is that no one can function
at their best each and every day. No one
can be superwoman (or man), each and every day.
No one, no matter who they are, how rich or poor, successful or
unsuccessful, can function at great heights each and every day.
So next time you find yourself heading towards a downward spiral, take time to acknowledge it, look for the lesson within, allow the emotion to flow through you, but most of all, take time to rest, recuperate and heal.
Love and Gratitude
Since my first son was born, I used to joke that all I
wanted for Mother’s Day was a day off from my kids. Now this statement might sound absurd to some,
but to many, it’s probably going to resonate with your thinking as a Mum at one
time or another. Especially if, like me,
you’ve been doing this gig on your own for quite some time. And I’m not just talking about the single Mum’s,
because you can still be in a relationship and feel like you’re doing it on
your own. Hell, when my Ex walked out, I
was slightly relieved because now I only had to look after two kids, instead of
This will be my twelfth year in this life as a Mum and my ninth
as a fulltime single Mum. Mother’s Day
is always a bittersweet reminder for me, for my marriage fell apart literally
days before Mother’s Day all those years ago.
I still remember opening a present from my boys that my own Mum had
helped them pick out, bursting into tears for the joy and sadness I felt all rolled
Fast forward nine years, and I’m still experiencing that
combination of joy and sadness, but these days it has nothing to do with my previous
marriage or husband. These days, the joy
is felt when my boys now old enough to pick out their own presents, cook me
breakfast in bed and surprise me with a beautiful gift. But the sadness is now felt because they no
longer seem to need me on this day. To
them, the Xbox and their friends seems of a higher priority.
As the Mum of two tweenagers, I knew this day was coming,
but now that it’s finally arrived, I am now longing for the days when I was
their world. When we used to do everything
together and wherever I went, they came too.
Today of all days, when all attempts to get them out of the house
to enjoy some time together were met with resistance, well, that was it, I just
lost the plot. What a terrible Mother I
must be to yell and scream at my kids at how selfish and ungrateful they
are. But truth be told, in today’s
modern society of disconnected families, it’s probably what many Mother’s are
thinking, but too scared to admit for fear of being judged. Today of all days, I no longer feel the need
to put on the show of being a perfect Mum who’s got their shit together. Because I am just like all those other Mum’s
out there, doing the best I can with the life circumstances I find myself
navigating each and everyday.
As a new Mum, I read all the books, trying to arm myself
with the knowledge I needed to make sure I got it right. But one thing I remember
my own Mum telling me, that has stuck with me all these years “All these books
are great, but a baby can’t read a book so you’ll just have to figure it out as
you go along”.
So, this is a shout out to all the amazing Mums out there
just trying to figure it out as they go along, you are doing an amazing
Tag and share this with a Mum who you think is doing a great
Love and Gratitude