Previously, I explained how I’m adapting the 52-week money challenge to allow me to travel to farther-off places than I might otherwise be able to go. However, I just realized that I never went over how I, with a job in retail, can afford to travel at all.
When my now-ex and I split up, I had been through a lot. I had had cancer, my mother had died, and then my marriage had ended (and with it, my hopes of ever having a second child). I was a little depressed during the final days of my marriage, and after my marriage ended, the depression got even worse. I found it hard to do things like get out of bed, much less getting the energy together to cook.
But I didn’t have enough money to go out to eat daily, plus with my history of cancer, I really needed to “eat in” as much as possible. So I came up with a scheme. For every day I cooked, I would put a certain amount of money aside. This dollar amount was about half of what I estimated that a restaurant meal would have cost for Alex and me.
Eventually, that money grew into a regular allowance. Entertainment, restaurant food, and work snacks and lunches all come out of that allowance. At the end of the month, anything left of my allowance gets transferred into my vacation fund account. If I stopped spending anything on entertainment, restaurant food, or work food, I could probably afford to go to Europe every other year, just based on that money. Unfortunately, I do still eat work lunches, and Alex and I do go to the occasional movie or restaurant. But still, it adds up.
Oh, and by the way, despite having been given six raises (one per year) and three promotions, I’ve never given my allowance a raise. I have considered it, but I’m used to doing the math based on that number and I don’t know how I would adjust it to make it as easy to keep track of. Maybe someday I’ll be able to work it out.