This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
Rather than taking a detour, I stupidly got stuck in a traffic jam from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on the way home from a visit with friends and a trip to Toronto (401 Westbound if anyone is interested). While I was moving approximately 100 meters every 10 minutes I had a lot of time to think (my wife was sleeping for much of the time) and realized that my wife and I have basically “booked” up every weekend of our summer, pretty much until after Labour Day.
We’ve tried to limit our plans to be able to spend some time at home, but once summer starts it just seems like a waste to stay at home when there is so much stuff to do and the nice weather only lasts for so long. We are constantly getting home on a Sunday afternoon, dumping everything out of the car, running to the grocery store to fill our empty fridge, doing some laundry and packing the car back up to go somewhere else 5 days later.
Most of our weekends involve just visiting family and friends, but there are a few that will be somewhat expensive – a weekend in Toronto going to see a comic (Adam Carolla) and a Toronto Blue Jays game, visiting 2 Ribfests around the province (ribs are our favourite food and we will travel to eat them 🙂 ), as well as my continuing golf habit that I just can’t seem to give up.
So, how do we afford to do this amount of stuff, when we’re knocking down our mortgage as quickly as possible? Over the past few years, we have figured out what our average spending is over the summer and treat it like any other expense – we save for it over the first half of the year. Basically, from January to July, we save up a bunch of money to spend over the summer period that (hopefully) will match everything we want to do. We continue to save the same amount in this same “fund” and use it in December to pay for Christmas and birthdays.
I really don’t see us slowing down at all over the next few years. I think if we did, we would probably get more of our list of things to do done around the house, but we realize we would rather be jumping off a dock into a lake up in the Muskokas, diving into waves in Sauble Beach, or enjoying a few $10 beers at a Jays game then we would patching and painting drywall (one of the things right at the top of our summer to-do list).
We have chosen to spend our time and money having fun, we have a plan to ensure it doesn’t get in the way of our long-term financial goals by looking up to a year ahead and figuring out how much we will need to be able to afford to do what we want and essentially hibernating in the winter to get there (neither of us are winter people).
Do you have a financial plan for summer? How do you balance the “fun stuff” with your long-term financial goals?