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spend money

Gosh it is hot!

I’m sitting here, nursing a frappe (which incidentally I love) and looking at my son and husband playing in the pool.

Around me, relaxed, smiling people are having beer, chatting and making new friends.

You see, we could have decided to save ourselves the money we’ll spend on this holiday. If we did that, we’ll be at home, keeping busy and stuck to our computers.

As it is, we are in for a great holiday of sun, sand and smiles.

This made me think again about the thin lines between saving and lost opportunities, between spending and being opulently wasteful.

Sometimes you just have to spend! As I’ve said before, spending on having fun (and budgeting for it) is the Cinderella rule of personal finance.

How much you spend, do you have the money to spend and what you spend it on are the questions we should ask.

To answer these questions first:

  • This holiday will cost us approximately £2,700 (three people for two weeks);
  • Yes, we have the money. This is very slightly more that one month’s positive cash flow at the moment; and
  • This time I’m absolutely determined to buy experiences.

I love Greece; always have done.

Greece is almost the opposite of the UK and very close in temperament to my native Bulgaria. It is sunny, hot, relaxed and friendly. People really know how to have fun and enjoy life even when life is not as easy as it could be, or as it has been.

The food is great and people here don’t need one of the ‘slow’ watches advertised so much: time is still measured in cigarettes (even by people who don’t smoke). For example the nearest beach is ‘two cigarettes away’.

I also tend to worry about money. This was justified before 2013 when we paid off our big debt. Now I have no reason to worry: we’ve been saving and investing aggressively; we’ve increased our income considerably and have a positive cash flow that would have made my breath hitch two years ago.

I still worry. The woman who would rather miss out on life experiences than spend a bit of money is still inside me and come out to play often.

Because of this woman many of our holidays were missed opportunities. Looking back, we’ve been to some awesome places just to settle into a routine of swimming, beach, ice cream and the occasional dinner out.

Relaxing no doubt; but in a way where memorable experiences are sadly off the books. This is how the Bulgarian Black Sea, the Algarve in Portugal and the Greek islands all blend into one.

Reaching back to our holidays over the last five years, I can’t recall a single memorable experience. (It turns out that it is different for John. He remembers doing things probably because they were the kind of activities I don’t enjoy and had given a miss. Last year, for instance, John and our son went shark fishing in the Atlantic. I didn’t go: who want a woman being sick all the time on the boat anyway?)

This time, I’d like to break away and collect experiences. After all, experiences enrich your life and make you happier.

Each of us wants different kind of experiences. Our son wants to go water skiing, paragliding and jet skiing. John would love to spend his time on a boat.

Me? I’d love to do the following:

Explore at least eight beaches

Skiathos is a small island but it still has sixty-eight beaches. Normally, we’d settle into going to the nearest one to out hotel.

Not this time. We’ve decided to explore as many of the beaches as we could during the 12 days we are here (and no fewer than eight).

We will give the Small Banana beach a miss though. (This is the nudist beach here and visiting it may be a bit weird with my son.)

(Note: Today is wasted as a beach-exploring day – it rained heavily this morning and the weather is the best at the moment either. Still, there will be enough time.)

Go on jet skis

I’ve never done this so it may be time to have a try. Looks fun and if I chicken out of driving one of these myself, I could always go behind John. (John’s reaction: ‘And then we’ll both fall off!’)

Do some Greek dancing

This one will be really interesting given my opinion of Greek music. Still, I quite like dancing. Why not!

(Note: This has already been done. Last night there was a party here and we drank a bit and danced a lot. Simple Greek dances but still…)

Visit the local dog shelter

There is a famous dog shelter on Skiathos where people can go and walk the dogs. Have a look at their Facebook page. (I’m already in love with a pup called Sushi. She’s so sweet but John won’t let me take her home.) Anyway, walking dogs will be good for us because we are pining after Suzi the Dog. And it is something different to do.

Fun with family

spend money

Our busy lives mean that we have little time for simply spending time with each other when in Manchester.

Here is an opportunity to remedy that. Last night the three of us played a card game and it was fun; even though I lost to our son four times.

Our son has also started to include me in his fitness training. Yesterday we did upper body. It is madness: I did only three sets and fewer repetitions and today every single muscle on my shoulders and chest hurts. Today, we’ll be doing abs (and I’m already dreading it but I won’t give up).

We already have a hired car to be able to explore the beaches.

We are still to find a beach where there are jet-skis but I believe we will.

Let the fun continue!

Are you tempted to save on holiday? What are the things you are most likely to spend money on?