Since I started this blog, Ms. Loonie and I have taken three vacations. One was a week-long trip to visit friends in Illinois, the second was a week spent at our family cottage, and the last was a long weekend spent in a small town in northern Michigan. For each of these trips, we tried to keep things as cost-effective as possible. We drove to Illinois, and stayed in our friends' parents' condo. At the cottage, we shared food costs with my parents and extended family. We also drove to Michigan, although we ended up staying in an historic hotel.
However frugal we tried to be on these trips, we still seemed to fall into the "I'm on holidays" mental trap, and found ourselves splurging, whether on dining out, buying beer and wine, or stocking up on souvenirs to give to friends and family when we got home. I'm sure we're not alone in this vacation mindset, but it's frustrating to watch months' worth of savings evaporate during a week away from home.
As we head into the holiday season, I'm trying to avoid falling into the same trap. One thing I have going for me is that I've been socking money away in my Freedom Account to cover Christmas gift purchases; I should be in good shape to pay cash for most of my holiday shopping. The main thing I'm keeping an eye on, though, is the little Loonie devil that sits on my shoulder and whispers, "you can afford it... it's the holidays!" That guy is trouble.
The key here is to have an enjoyable and memorable holiday season without undermining my financial goals. I think I've got a plan that will work, but the next several weeks will determine whether I actually succeed.