Our travel savings account currently registers at $0.00. Every last penny is gone, although all of it was used just as intended: for travel. If we are ever going to travel again though we need to build it back up again and there’s no reason not to start now.
Before we began our Big Adventure in 2018, we were able to automatically save a nice amount in the travel account every month, with some transferred automatically right into savings and the rest from other sources. However, we are currently committed to helping YaYu graduate from college without debt, and we are putting away over a quarter of our income into savings each month toward that expense. If we’re lucky, the amount we save will cover the difference between her financial aid and what she owes. YaYu has always paid a big piece of that difference with scholarships and summer work, but there will be no job for her this summer, and the external scholarships have run out. Also, she was previously one of three, then two, in our family attending college, but for the next two years, she will be the only one and her aid will be less because of that. She has saved every refund she has received so far this year and received a notice that she will receive a couple of thousand dollars in additional grant aid next year, but what she will owe next year is a big unknown. The first bill will come due in July (along with news about whether the college plans to reopen in the fall, another big unknown), and once she gets that we will either be able to relax a bit or have to figure out how to tighten our belts a little more. She may have to borrow, but we hope to keep that amount, if it happens, as low as possible.
As we have no idea what travel costs may look like in the future, we have no idea of what sort of savings goal to set for ourselves other than it will have to be very modest for the time being. Our goal is simply to try to save as much as we can. We want to have enough to get us to YaYu’s graduation in 2022, which will be a good start at seeing what we can accomplish.
Here’s what will be going into the account:
- We will initially be transferring $25/month into our travel savings each month. It’s very little, but if we find we can afford a little more later we will increase the allotment.
- We will again be saving all our change and $1 bills. We’re not using cash as much these days as we did in the past, so this won’t build up as fast as it used to.
- All refunds from recycling will go toward travel.
- All other refunds and rebates, like the annual rebate from our insurance, will also go for travel. We’re not expecting many of these though.
- We receive a lump-sum payment each year from Meiling (and this year will from WenYu as well) for the cost of keeping them on our phone plan. It’s not a huge amount as our phone plan is very low cost but we will put these payments into our travel account.
- If we can somehow ever come under our monthly budget for food, the difference will go into travel savings. Likewise for gasoline. Under current conditions, this is something else that’s unlikely to happen, but we’re going to try.
- Any other miscellaneous money that comes our way will go straight into travel savings.
If we’ve learned anything from the past it’s that slowly but surely, even small amounts put away eventually add up to something bigger, and more quickly than one might imagine. And, YaYu will eventually graduate and what we currently put away for her can go toward travel once again.
We’ve done this before and we know we can do this again. We don’t know what the new rules for travel will be yet, but we do know it’s the right time for us to get started saving for it.