My wife and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in a few short months and, a few weeks ago, decided we wanted to make the occasion extra special by having a weekend away together. And, since we have kids and a cat that will need to be taken care of while we are gone, we are already starting to make plans for it.
One of the toughest things about planning for our romantic weekend is, as of right now, we don’t know what we are going to be able to spend on it and probably won’t have an answer to that until at least late February (our anniversary is in March). However, despite that obstacle, my wife and I have managed to do quite a bit, including booking our hotel room, by following some simple steps.
First, we started out by planning three vacations. When we started discussing this, we put together three plans consisting of an expensive weekend in Chicago, a moderately-priced weekend visiting the Mall of America in the Twin Cities and a budget-priced weekend at a local resort (at discounted, off-season rates).
We already decided to take Chicago off of that list (a decision that has more to do with the time of year than the money). However, the other two options are still possibilities.
The second thing we are doing is making all reservations ahead of time. With Chicago off the list, our preference is the Mall of America trip and we have already booked our hotel plus made dinner reservations at one of the local restaurants. However, since we still don’t know if we can afford that trip, I also made the same reservations for our budget-priced weekend. That way, if we don’t have the money to drive up to the Twin Cities, I don’t have to worry about trying to make alternative plans at the last second.
The tricky part of doing this was paying close attention to the cancel dates. I made sure all of my reservations could be cancelled without penalty up until the day of our trip.
The last thing we’re doing is putting as much money aside now as possible. Thanks, in part, to reserving our rooms ahead of time, I have a rough idea of what each trip will end up costing us and have a little chart on our refrigerator so we can keep track of how much money we’ve been able to save. As I said before, I’m not expecting to know for sure until at least February. But, until then, we have a visual reminder to encourage us to save money when possible.
Ultimately, I do hope to be able to go to the Mall of America with my wife in March. But, even if it turns out we don’t have enough money for that, I have a good alternative in place and know we will be able to celebrate our 10th anniversary either way.