Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Single Parenting (page 1 of 2)

It’s Time to Put You First

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Do you ever catch yourself thinking that life would be better if you could take time for yourself a little more? But it’s hard, and caregivers have the hardest time with this. Most people, both parents and adults without children just yet, need to feel needed.  It’s part of life to want to feel useful and vital to someone other than yourself. The ability to help and be compassionate to those who come into your life is one that most people treasure. The trouble with being needed all the time is that it can be extremely difficult to find time for yourself. By the time you’ve tended the needs of family, friends, children, work, and your home, there is very little time in the day that is left to have a moment to remember that you are important, too.

The idea that you must sometimes put yourself first is a difficult one to wrap your head around, especially if you are not used to finding time for your own needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, though, how can you expect to be there for anyone else? People need strong, happy individuals supporting them, and those who don’t take the time to look after their own needs often succumb to stress, depression, and sometimes, addiction.

If you find yourself being trapped in that cycle, where you feel like there is a lack of control over your life, then you need to start putting yourself before others. Stress and depression can lead to other physical manifestations of illness, and taking the time to rectify this is important. Checking into places like Compass Recovery for those who find themselves in the midst of an addiction as a way out of their stress is an important first step. It is not selfish to look after yourself or put yourself before other people, especially in the cases where you have spent so long looking after other people you’ve forgotten how to be you again.

Finally realizing that you matter enough to be important in your own life can set you on a path to freedom. Often, being relied on by so many other people can leave you feeling trapped. Their need of you can be suffocating and debilitating, and the feelings of guilt that you end up left with if you don’t help out on demand are consuming. The freedom you can feel by simply saying no and allowing yourself to be the priority in your own life is immense. The weight on your shoulders of unwavering obligation can lift, and you can start to see life a little clearer and a little lighter. You can still be there for people and put yourself first.

Start small, with evenings to yourself. A cup of tea in peace and quiet and enjoying the time you spend with your own company can be a refreshing change from being wanted and tugged at all the time. Finding a balance is never easy, but it’s one you have to seek if you feel pulled in different directions. Finding you is good for your health, and your health matters.

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Don’t Let Physical Distance Drive a Wedge Between Loved Ones

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People living in modern society often have to move around the country at some point during their lives. That could happen because they meet someone special, but it might also occur when the individual seeks a better job. Thanks to modern technology, there is no reason that physical distance should cause families to lose touch with each other these days. Any readers with family members who live more than a hundred miles away should benefit from the advice on this page. It’s vital that everyone works hard to keep in touch because family, friends and loved ones are important.

Send written letters with photographs

Lots of folks send emails or texts these days when they want to communicate. While they are cheap and efficient methods, there can be something sterile about receiving a typed message. With that in mind, family members should try their best to send handwritten letters to their loved ones whenever possible. The recipient will appreciate the effort, and it’s likely to mean more to them. That is especially the case if people remember to include photographs of their children. Experts from Silver Bee Photography say that even professional images are not going to break the bank, and they will let the loved one know someone cares.

Communicate via Skype and other video calling tools

Almost everyone has a laptop at home with a webcam, and so you can use these tools to keep in touch. There are many video calling software tools available on the market today that anyone can try. Best of all? Services like Skype don’t require any investment, and the calls go through the WiFi connection. That means there is no need to stress about inflated telephone bills. Also, the family members will get to see each other on the screen, which is fantastic for grandparents, aunties, and uncles with growing nieces and nephews. Some alternatives to Skype include:

 

Arrange family get-togethers at least once each year

Regardless of the distance, all family members should manage to attend a gathering once each year. Some folks might like to call it a reunion. Try to choose a location that’s in the middle of everyone, so that some people don’t have to travel much farther than others. It’s possible to save a fortune on hotel rooms if the entire group books together, and there are lots of other ways in which the family can save money, such as cooking some meals, sharing transportation costs or finding discounted tickets to activities online. At those gatherings and reunions, be sure to take as many photographs as possible and encourage all the kids to play together to create lifetime connections.

With the tips from this post, all families can manage to keep in touch and see each other regularly, even when they live hundreds of miles apart. People can come and go during most people’s lifetimes. However, family members will be there until the bitter end, and so it’s always worth making an effort. Sometimes our links to the past are an important part of creating a future that makes us feel happy and content. How have you kept in touch with family far away? 

Source for video chatting photo above

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Do You Have a Fussy Eater On Your Hands? These Tips Might Help

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Children are notoriously fussy in this day and age. So many mothers feel like they share something in common if their child is fussy with their food. Some children are worse than others; and while many parents try to figure out what they may have done wrong,  there really is no rhyme or reason as to why children develop such funny aversions to certain foods. That being said, there are some ways you can combat the fussiness and try and improve things for the better. I thought I would share with you some of the tips that may help.

Plant some fruit trees and vegetables

Many children like to get involved in everything, and many of them love spending time in the great outdoors. So take advantage of this exploring nature and do a little gardening with them. Plant some fruit trees or vegetable plants, and watch them grow together. This could help you to encourage children to try new things that they grew themselves, but what if you end up with a bumper harvest? Things like a pressure canner can help you preserve excessive fruit and vegetables, which means things like wastage become a thing of the past, and it may even save you some money in the process.  

Make the food more fun and appealing

One thing many parents struggle with is making the food look appealing. However, if it visually looks good, it may encourage children to try more foods. If the plate is uninviting, then children are less likely to want to eat it. Parents have great success with making smiley faces or little scenes on the plate. It might be worth a try. Thankfully, you can find a little inspiration online on websites like Pinterest.

Encourage them to cook with you

I think a great idea is to try and get your children to cook along with you. After all, they may love the idea of doing something with you (same idea as the gardening) and getting involved in the kitchen. It might be as simple as letting them put things in bowls or measuring out ingredients. Depending on their age, you can start to teach them new cooking skills. If they make it, they may be more enticed to eat it.

Relax during meal times

Many parents need to relax during meal time because children can sense tension and the anticipation that goes along with trying new foods. You may find that feeling frustrated with mealtimes, or even being over the top with emotions, can perhaps hinder your chances of success. Relax and go with the flow. 

A rewards chart

A reward chart may not work for everyone,but there have been many success stories of trying charts, specifically for new foods. Perhaps a sticker for every time they try a new food or finish their meal.

Positive encouragement

Finally, It is always good to remain positive and give positive encouragement when it is due. Sometimes, we can focus too much on the negative side of things, and this can have the opposite effect of what we are trying to achieve–getting children to be less fussy at mealtime. 

Perhaps you have more ideas to share. I would love to hear them.

 

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Keeping Your Sense of Self When You’re a Mother and Wife

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It’s fair to say, as women, we have drawn the short straw in many respects, and there’s no doubt we have it tough at times. Along with growing, carrying and giving birth to our babies, in most cases, we’re their primary caregiver, too. And as wonderful and special as this is, it does mean that everything else in our lives can be twice as hard as we’re fitting it around our children. One thing many women struggle with after having kids is losing their sense of self or identity. You’re no longer just you, you’re a mother. Your new name is “mom,” and your new role is of a parent and sometimes wife. But just because you are these roles (and as enjoyable as they are), it doesn’t mean you have to totally lose the person you once were. Keeping your own identity is important; here are a few ways you can go about it.

 

Take Care of Your Appearance

As a busy parent, the way you look often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities. In the morning, it’s probably all about getting your little one up and washed, fed and dressed. But you don’t have to give up on yourself entirely, and actually making a small effort with your appearance is one of the best things you can do for your self-esteem. Perfect a super quick makeup routine- some foundation, bronzer, and a sweep of mascara will instantly make you look your best without being too done up. Every now and again, visit the hairdresser. Have a style cut, which is easy to maintain and quick to do in the morning. The trick is to work with your natural texture, for example, instead of shoving it into a ponytail. If your hair is already straight, run it over with the straighteners for just a minute or two. This will make it look tidier, get rid of any frizz or fluffiness, and allow it to sit better. If your hair is curly, you could scrunch through with some mousse; it won’t take long, but you’ll feel much better being well presented. You probably have your comfy “mom uniform” that you wear to run errands and get stuff done around the house; but a few changes here could make all the difference, too. Instead of a tracksuit, for example, a pair of leggings with a jersey skater dress and a long cardigan would look cute but be just as comfortable. If you run into anyone you know or catch sight of yourself in the mirror, you’re likely to be far more confident, too.

Exercise

Keeping fit is useful when you have energetic children to look after! It will allow you to play with them far more easily and generally keep up. You probably don’t have all the time in the world to hit the gym five days a week, but there’s plenty you can do. Go on a power walk with the pram, or take a ball or frisbee to the park and run around with your kids. Instead of driving shorter distances, walk them instead, and go on family bike rides. You’ll maintain your figure and the endorphins will make you feel good.

Maintain a Social Life

You might have hung up your dancing shoes long ago, and a night out with friends these days might not be to a nightclub or bar like it once was. But keeping friends is so important; find activities that you all like to do now that you’re mothers and wives. Whether it’s play dates with the kids, brunch on a weekend, or an afternoon tea, keeping those connections there is so important. There are of course other ways to keep in contact with friends too; you could use a postcard app to send any funny or sweet pictures as a postcard right to their house. You could talk on the phone, video call, or of course, use social media. But having that support and friendship group around you will help you keep a grasp of your own identity.

Go Back To Work

One way you can keep and maintain your identity is through your job or career. As a parent you might not necessarily want to go back full time, when you have children to look after. If that’s the case, how about part time? You could even start a home business or do some freelance stuff online. Either way, maintaining your career interests is a good way to go, and bringing money into the home will make you feel good.

Image source

 

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Parents: Taking Time For Yourself

I just returned from a three-night, four-day girls’ trip to Breckenridge, CO. We had a lot of fun, from sightseeing on Mt. Evans to dog sledding with a golf cart, from Oktoberfest to a winery with an incredible view–we laughed and relaxed; and each one of us took time for ourselves. We are all moms. Some of us are single; some of us are married. I am the only one with a young child; one mom has a special needs son, and others have teenagers, college students, and young adults. All of us have busy lives and jobs, but we made it happen. We took the time for ourselves.

The dog sled adventure

I’m not going to tell you it was easy or without guilt. I had a bit of guilt before I left about how I was taking this trip as a single parent, and two of the nights were my nights with my daughter. The guilt grew worse when KT had a meltdown on the phone with me the second night; and when I called her from the airport on my way home, she was teary eyed and wanted me home right now. My mom’s commentary on how miserable KT was also didn’t help. Grandmas hate to see their grandchildren teary-eyed.

I’m still glad I did it, though; but for a while, I doubted myself. Luckily, my friends are amazing.

One said: You have to let her figure out how to navigate life without you always there. You have to prepare her for the tough stuff. If you don’t, and life gets tough, she will have no idea what to do. (How about that for a smart, great friend?)

Another said: Everybody has to refuel. Everyone does it. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, mentally and physically, so you are stronger and better for your daughter. (Exactly!)

And there was a handsome police officer…

I mean–this is free advice I got, and I am now sharing it with you. 🙂

KT and I both survived, and the next day when we were together, it was even more special. We appreciated each other more. We hugged a lot, and we told each other how much we loved and missed each other. That is very special and just an extra bonus of going on a fun trip with my friends and also having a beautiful daughter!

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Money Myths That Cost Single Parents Greatly

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Maintaining financial health is hard work at the best of times, but it can be especially difficult when you’re a single parent. After all, those life commitments could stop you from landing the dream job while the costs of bringing up children continue to rise each year. In truth, it doesn’t make things easier when you fall into the common traps.

A better understanding of the full picture gives you a far better chance of keeping your head afloat. Here are some of the commonly perceived problems, along with the best ways to overcome.

Myth 1: It’s You vs the World

Splitting up from a partner is emotionally difficult, and it’s only natural to concentrate on yourself and the kids. This is perfectly normal from an emotional standpoint. Regarding the financial outlook, though, help is at hand. Whether it’s support for medical bills, grocery shopping, or anything else, you are entitled to this assistance and should not feel any guilt in taking it. This is one of the reasons you paid those taxes throughout your working life.

In addition to the help provided from the state and discounts from businesses, you deserve support from your ex. Even if you ended the relationship acrimoniously, the children remain a joint responsibility.  If you can’t work this out between you, legal advisors are there to help. In the meantime, nonprofit credit counselors can assist with other decisions.

Myth 2: Poor Credit = No Hope

When you become a single parent, it is very easy to fall behind on bills. Sadly, it only takes a short amount of time for your credit rating to be badly hit. While you should make the necessary moves to start repairing that broken score, it will take some time to get back to where you once were. However, that doesn’t have to stop you from gaining temporary relief. Let’s face it: the immediate future is where most of those problems lie anyway.

Adjusting to life as a single parent can take a few months. Small pay day loans can help you get through those difficulties even when your credit score is poor. It may be that you can survive without that support. Nonetheless, knowing that the safety net is there can make a world of difference to your frame of mind. During this time, peace of mind is probably the most important weapon at your disposal.

Myth 3: Luxuries are Off Limits

 As a single parent facing financial fears, getting your priorities in order is essential. Repaying debts and keeping the household afloat should be job one. However, it’s equally important to remember that life is for living, too. You and your children deserve happiness, which is why it’s vital that you avoid overlooking the need for treats.

With a little creative thinking, it’s still possible to take a winning vacation when funds are a little tight. Otherwise, camping trips and cheap days out, including walks and picnics, can be equally fun. First and foremost, it’s a key aspect of giving your children the upbringing that they deserve. In reality, that special time together is what will get you through the tough emotional patches also. You are doing a great job, and those magical moments are your just rewards. Do not forget it.

 Myth 4: Working Is Pointless

Being a single parent does throw a spanner into the works regarding your career. Time constraints mean that you’ll either need to work part-time hours or hire a babysitter. Meanwhile, working may sometimes force you to sacrifice certain entitlements. In turn, this can leave you feeling that working long hours for minimal financial gain offers very little benefit. It’s not all about finance, though, and the emotional rewards and setting an example for the kids should not be ignored.

Depending on your location, it may be possible to find alternative employment that doesn’t impact entitlements. This means that you’ll see the full financial rewards of hard work. Otherwise, you could look at the prospect of starting a home-based company. There are thousands of inspirational single parents out there who have done the same. Whatever you do, losing that ambition altogether is never the solution.

Myth 5:  Small Savings Are Futile

If money is tight, regardless of your relationship status, you often enter panic mode. Therefore, you’ll almost certainly try to find the big changes that could generate huge financial influences. While these elements are vital, you must also acknowledge that the small switches often make the greatest impact. This is especially true when it comes to spending.   

Trade your contract cell phone for a Pay-As-Yo-Go deal. Remove your expensive TV package and buy a Netflix subscription instead. Run a price comparison on electricity bills or home insurance quotes. Those simple tricks may not feel hugely significant on their own. Cumulatively, though, they can completely transform your financial health. Better still, those saving habits will follow you for the rest of your life.   

Myth 6:  The House Is Everything

Keeping hold of assets clearly has advantages, and possessions don’t come more valuable than the home. However, it’s only a property, and downsizing isn’t the end of the world by any means. Paying extraordinary running costs when you could be just as happy in a smaller space is very foolish. Besides, starting a new chapter can often be emotionally attractive for newly single parents.

The newer, smaller property might not boast the same financial value. But the capital this move frees up could make all the difference as you aim to keep the kids fed, clothed, and happy. There’s nothing wrong with staying in the old marital home if you can afford to. Ultimately, though, suffering for the sake of a few bricks is not the answer. There are far more important things in life, and seeing your children smile is one of them.

Source for calculator Image: above.

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Family Finance Failures: Where Could You Be Going Wrong?

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Being a single parent often means that every decision for the family is solely on one pair of shoulders, and it can be quite overwhelming and pressure to ensure that we make the best decision for all concerned. Finances are just some of those burdens and decisions we all have to face, whether a single parent or not, and often they can be depressing as well as making us feel like we are scratching for every dime we have. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. We all have family finance failures, and in some cases, we can continue to make the mistakes over and over again. I thought I would share with you some of the most common issues any one of us can face, and hopefully offer you a few tips to help you take steps to financial success.

It can all start with you

Often some of the bigger financial failures we can all experience start with us, and mostly that can mean debt. However, debt isn’t always a bad thing; but if it isn’t manageable, then it could be causing more harm than good to your credit profile. If you feel that your financial past is significantly impacting your financial future, then it may be time to take action and seek the help from websites like creditrepair.company. Specialists in the field can help to repair any damage to your history that can then ultimately help you move forward with your finances, offering you a little breathing space with your outgoings.

Now let’s tackle any debt we have

Once your credit file is on the mend, it is always worth placing a huge focus on any debts you may have. Of course, many of us can have a large debt like a mortgage; but this focus should be more on the smaller things like personal loans and credit cards. The more you have, the more interest you are paying; and in many cases, the rate can vary from one credit account to another. Look at your bills and focus on paying off the one that costs the most money, while still keeping up repayments with the others. Reducing the debt will ultimately free up income on a month by month basis. If you have the option, consider consolidating all of your debt into one monthly payment like a loan. A simple repayment plan with one lot of interest being charged.

Are we paying too much for our regular bills?

All of us are happy to pay out for the bills we need to run a home or keep us going, such as energy bills or insurance policies. But are we paying too much? When was the last time you checked a competitor company to see what they were offering? We can all get complacent with our bills, but what we fail to see is that loyalty doesn’t always pay off. So it is important to ensure that you compare other companies and switch providers if you can pay less for the same thing. It’s a no-brainer, and this one exercise can significantly reduce your outgoings.

I hope that this helps you to overcome some of the family finance failures we can all be dealing with.

calculator photo source

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Advice From Grandma: I Am Listening

Grandmas love to spoil grandkids and love to give advice. If some of you follow me on WOW! Women On Writing or Facebook, you know that I’m currently watching Gilmore Girls from episode 1 to the reunion show (exclusively for Netflix, that takes place 10 years later in good ole Stars Hollow). This is the best show for an example of “Grandmas love to give advice” because Emily Gilmore constantly shares her wisdom and her unwanted opinion with Lorelai, her daughter and mother of a teenager/young adult.

Don’t worry–my mom (thankfully) is nothing like Emily Gilmore; but when Katie was first born, she loved to share her advice. And daughters can be stubborn–Why do we not listen more? Most of the time, the advice is solid, comes from the heart, and can be quite true.

In my case, we lived with my mom the first 10 months of KT’s life, so that’s another reason why she often shared her opinion from: “You can’t let that little thing (her grandchild) cry it out” to “I never breastfed you. Why are you killing yourself to do this? Give it up.” So, we didn’t always agree on everything…but here are a couple of solid pieces of advice, where I think she is exactly right AND I want to pass on this wisdom to you.

  1. When I had you, I wish I wouldn’t have worried so much about my house being clean.   I have taken this one to heart. No, we don’t live in a pigsty, but I definitely don’t clean as much as my mom used to when I was  younger. I try to keep things neat as possible; but if my daughter seems like she needs my attention or something fun to do pops up, I will put cleaning aside for another day. The dirt is not going anywhere!
  2. Meals time should not be stressful. My mom did not force me to eat food I did not want to eat. Now some of you might not agree with this philosophy–and you take this stance instead: Kids will eat if they are hungry enough. But I have raised Katie like my mom did me, where food is concerned. Is she the best eater? No. But she does eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and we are adding to her main dishes all the time. Recently, without complaint we added to her diet: salad, pasta salad, Morning Star veggie patties and turkey (she ate this before but she would complain). As I grew older (once I hit first grade like my daughter is now), I started eating more foods, and now I eat just about anything (within reason). So at mealtime, I give her food I know she will eat. I add foods every once in a while–she must try it and rate it, but  I make sure there is other food on the plate that she will eat. By the way, 9 times out of 10, she tries the new food before eating anything else.
  3. Enjoy every moment because they grow up too fast.  Not exactly original–I know…but it’s good advice. And I try to remind myself of it constantly because already it seems like I blinked and went from breastfeeding to driving her to school for first grade.

What advice do you take from your parents about their grandkids? 

 

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The Worst Feeling As A Parent

Some things in life are very difficult. I’m sure every adult you know has some kind of difficulty whether it’s a relationship problem, financial concerns or health scares–problems and issues are all around us. I’ve had my share, but they don’t compare to what many of you have experienced or may be experiencing now. But the hardest thing for me is when my daughter has a problem and I can’t solve it.

Disclaimer: Before any of you get up in arms about this–I know I shouldn’t solve all her problems. She is only 6, but she has to learn to work through things and figure it out for herself (in a lot of cases), so she will learn to do this as she grows up. 

The problem my daughter and I are now facing is that the little girl who she considers to be her best friend, her grandparents’ neighbor, her playmate three or more times a week has MOVED TO FLORIDA. Naturally, KT is very upset. She has been crying off and on, and I have been encouraging her to talk about it. I’ve been trying to use skills I’ve learned at Kids in the Middle, where feelings need to be validated and worked through–not ignored and pushed under the rug.

I told her there is nothing she can do about this but feel the sadness and talk about it if she feels like it. I’ve left out the part that she will probably never see this little girl again. She might not even remember her very well in a couple of years because right now, this missing her friend already feels all consuming to KT. I think that “wisdom” would actually make it worse. We’ve talked about the things KT could do at Grandma’s house to pass the time and how sometimes, when you feel sad, it really is okay just to sit and watch TV and relax for a while.  That was the end of my wisdom. My heart breaks for her because she is so sad, and there really is nothing to fix this.

Of course, this made me reflect on my own friendships throughout the years. Social media makes it easy to “keep in touch” with people nowadays, but there are some people who I loved dearly that I am not in touch with anymore (whether it’s because they aren’t on social media or I haven’t found them or they don’t want to be in touch) or who have actually passed away. And there is nothing I can do. There is nothing I can do but feel the sadness and work through it, maybe write about it, maybe just sit and watch TV and relax for a while.

The worst to me as an adult is when you have a good friend and you are having a conflict and you are out of touch, whether it’s agreed upon or not. It’s sad. And you miss this person, but what can you do? You just have to work through the sadness and hope one day you both can figure it out.

So for now, that’s what KT and I are going to do. The good thing is KT is busy at cheerleading camp this week, and she told me that she doesn’t even think about it when she is there, and I see that as a positive life lesson she’s learning. And I will follow in her footsteps.

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4 Money-Saving Resources for Single Parents Looking to Vacation (Guest Post)

Recently, it seems as if I’ve been posting a lot about travel, and this is not a travel blog. But it’s summer, and let’s just pretend I had this in mind as one of my themes ON PURPOSE. Today’s post comes from Julie Morris, who is a life and career coach. She has a nice website with interesting articles, such as “How to Change Your Life For the Better When You Can’t Change Careers” and “How to Give Your Life a Positivity Boost.” Although this guest post is geared toward single parents, any adult could take advantage of some of these tips. So, on to today’s guest post. . .

4 Money-Saving Resources for Single Parents Looking to Vacation by Julie Morris

Traveling and vacationing are exciting, fun, and sometimes life-changing experiences, but for single parents making a solo trip, working it into a tight budget can seem almost impossible. The last thing you want to do is to spend your trip stressing out over money. Pre-planning and using all the money-saving resources at your disposal is the best way to guarantee a stress-free vacation. Here are a few of the best tools for saving money and enjoying your childless trip.

Don’t Over-Pack

Often, it’s tempting to throw in every item you think you could possibly need on your trip, but try to avoid doing so if possible. An over-sized, over-packed suitcase can lead to extra fees at the airport and will simply be a pain to lug from destination to destination. Before you pack, make a list of the core items you’ll need and try to stick to those items only. If you just can’t figure out how to get everything you need into your suitcase, there are many great tutorials available online.

If you will be traveling by car, try to get the car loaded up the night before, so it will be one less thing you have to worry about. Dedicate that morning to getting the kids dropped off where they need to be, securing the house, and making sure everyone has what they need for a few days apart. Make a pre-travel checklist , so you don’t forget to close the garage or turn off the bathroom light. Include a list in your child’s suitcase with any special instructions such as bedtimes, medications, or scheduled activities. You’ll rest easy knowing you covered all your bases.

Take Advantage of Research

Utilize available data to study bookings trends. Studies of these trends have shown that 54 days before your departure is the best time to buy tickets, as they are at their cheapest on that day. This time frame does vary when booking international flights, though. While you may have heard that you can get the best prices by waiting until the last minute, research has shown that tickets cost $150 more when booked two weeks in advance of your trip. Try to snag a departure date in the middle of the week such as Tuesday or Wednesday, as it will often fall in the middle of other people’s trips, making it a prime travel day. As soon as you know the exact date of your travel plans, let your child care know, so they can adjust their schedules accordingly. Nothing will cause more stress than having to scramble to find a sitter at the last minute.

For car trips, save on gas by utilizing gas reward programs or downloading gas saving apps to locate the lowest gas price near your location. Get the most out of your gas mileage by ensuring your car is in tip top shape before hitting the road. Properly inflated tires can increase your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, while clean air filters increase it by 7 percent.

Freelance Sitters for Homes and Pets are Cheaper

Freelance pet and home sitters are often more flexible and affordable options than kennels or leaving your home unattended and hoping for the best when you return. If you require additional home services, you can ask your pet sitter or dog walker to water your plants, check your mail, adjust your thermostat, turn your lights on and off, etc. Furthermore, they will provide more personalized care for your pets than a traditional kennel facility will.

Take the Road Less Traveled

Beauty, majesty, culture, and wonders exist in all corners of the world. Just because a destination is not a typical tourist location does not mean it isn’t worth traveling there. In fact, the less tourist traffic a place gets, the cheaper it is to get there, stay there, and shop there. Food, souvenirs for the kids, and lodging will all be at a lower, more local cost as opposed to the increased tourist prices. Most important, the plane ticket costs will be lower if you choose to visit a place that is off the beaten path.

Traveling on a budget does not mean missing out. Sure, you may not be able to decide to hop on a plane to Catalina Island tomorrow, but you will be able to hop onto your computer and start comparing the prices of a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida. With simple tips such as traveling to an uncommon destination or booking your trip in advance, you will be sure to leave your stress at home.

beach photo above by Stevebidmead

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. To contact Julie and find out more, please visit her website at http://juliemorris.org/.

 

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