You may be thinking how ignorant it was to set out a savings target as I did for 2018 knowing the volatility of DH's salary. I can't argue-I did go into 2018 with rose colored financial glasses. Still, goals need to be set if there is any hope of reaching them. I won't ever regret the vacation. I have memories with my family, and created more hopes and dreams for future adventures. Both of those outcomes are priceless. The thing about a vacation like that, once you commit financially, it is really hard to pull out. I learned that with our blip and needing to change dates and expensive airline tickets charges.
Stretch budgets though, trip aside, do a lot for my fortitude in being thrifty and wise at least most of the time, with our money. It made packing my lunch 95% of the time worth it. It made the search at second hand stores to replenish a few items in my wardrobe almost fun, and I hate shopping. Stretch budgets help you look at the needs in your life and evaluate if they are in fact needs are just wants that have become routine and no longer special. To me, that is crucial. It doesn't mean I'll cut things out of my budget automatically, but it does help me gain peace of mind to know if we truly had to have an austere budget, there is fat we can cut to do so. In that, it makes giving to others easier as well because foregoing a few extra wants means someone else's need can be fulfilled.
Because of my stretch goals, I want 2019 to be the year we look at additional cash earning schemes, particularly those that are passive. Life will change dramatically next fall when other than weekends home, we will truly be empty nesters with my non-work life not evolving around hDD2's extra curricular life. I'll strive to look at ways to reduce and reuse our consumption of non essential things, and find past times that are enjoyable, but with relatively little or no cost. I'll still develop a savings goal, highlighting the priorities of where we will spend those funds and track our progress. And, I'll start planning for the next big vacation. Maybe it won't be for another ten years, but if I'm here, it will happen. That is why thrift matters.