Eben and I find ourselves in a funny grey zone. We are not cheap. But we are not frivolous with our money either. We understand that the more money we save, the more we can do the fun things we want. But we also know that “what is the point of doing any of this if we can’t enjoy ourselves while we do it”.
Living in Canada is more expensive than we are used to. Food is more expensive. And alcohol…it’s almost like they don’t want us to drink here, it costs a small fortune to. But although it hurts every time we pull out the credit card at the grocery store, we are not going to start living off of only ramen and bologna. That’s not like us. We love good food. We enjoy wine. And our lives are better with both of those things in it.
Where Do You Draw That Fine Line? Between Being TOO Cheap and Being Cautious With Your Money.
That “line” is on a sliding scale. Changing spots for everyone. For us it lands on the more cautious side when it comes to material things, and the more relaxed side when it comes to adventures and the little things that make us happy.
When We’re A Little More Tight With Our Money
We don’t need a lot of material things. We have a roof over our heads, and a car to take us where we need to go. Really, the only other material things we spend a good chunk of our money on are our cameras and computers.
We don’t spend a lot of money on things.
When We Don’t Feel Bad About Spending
Experiences. The things that make our lives happier, more exciting, more worth living. Those things we are a little more relaxed on spending on. Those adventures, those perks, those are what get us really excited. They are the things that make for good stories. The ones that make for amazing memories.
It’s not EASY to spend money. We try to stay smart about it.
I wanted to go to the Virgin Islands with Eben, but was it smart for us to buy the extra plane tickets for the girls and I to join him when his sole purpose of going there was to make money? Nope. Good thing I lined up that work with their department of tourism, now we do get to go!
But we have a hard time passing up a fun opportunity if it is financially feasible.
A few years ago I was looking for a fun way to celebrate Eben’s birthday. As a surprise I bought us a 3 day package deal to Las Vegas and lined up babysitters for the girls. When I gave Eben his gift he was initially put-off by it. It was spending money when we didn’t need to be spending it. He thought it slightly foolish. I felt horrible. After a couple of hours he came to apologize for his reaction. He realized, and assured me, we have never regretted taking a trip.
It may seem like we are always travelling, on a perma-vacation. It’s not quite the case though. We work hard, sometimes even while we are travelling, and we know where our priorities lie.
We prioritize experiences.
This year, Eben will be in the Virgin Islands during his birthday, and we will not be with him. I decided to surprise him with a little couple’s getaway.
Before we could take off, I had to deal with where our “money line” lay. I was booking our mini, one night vacation. If you have ever been to Canmore, Alberta, this cute touristy town, then you’d know that lodging is pricey. I was really struggling at booking something. The only options, during peak tourist season, were more than I’d like to spend. But this was for his birthday. So I was going to spend it.
The next struggle came when comparing hotels. The cheapest one, which was not cheap at all, looked cheap. But if I was willing to jump to the next cost bracket, $30 more, then the rooms looked way better. I was torn. Save money and get a “blah” room. Or spend a bit more and get something noticeably better. But I was already spending a lot, even if I chose the cheap room.
I think I stared at the two options for about half and hour. Going back and forth between the two. Not really doing anything, other than feeling helplessly confused! In the end, I clicked BOOK on the more expensive of the two. And am I ever glad I did.
We had such an amazing night. Our lodge was beautiful, and they even upgraded us to a one-bedroom suite when we checked in. SCORE! We had all the comforts we needed, and some.
To make our one-night getaway even better I also arranged for us to go on a helicopter ride out of Canmore into the surrounding mountains and up to Mount Assiniboine Glacier with Alpine Helicopters.
We had a little scare that it was going to be cancelled due to the wildfire smoke. Our flight was rescheduled a few times. But eventually the smoke dissipated enough that visibility would be good enough.
The heli flight was amazing. We get to drive through these mountains often. But seeing them from above. Hovering around them. It was stunning. Eben got to ride upfront with the pilot, and had the best view for his birthday flight. Our pilot showed us the hot spots, and we even spotted some mountain goats way up there. The enormity of the mountains, the serenity of the untouched forests, it was all so beautiful. My favourite part was the glacier lakes, I will never get over the hue of blue they are. This heli flight was marking, in a good way.
Was Not Being Cheap Worth It?
Yes, I will still cringe when paying off the visa after this weekend. And yes, I will still struggle next time I go to book a “fun trip”. But our entire drive back to Golden that day, we kept talking about that heli flight, and about relaxing in our lodge room. About how this weekend was so much fun.
It will go down in the memory banks. It will be a getaway that we will continue to talk fondly about for years and years to come. So YES, it was absolutely worth it.
It was money well spent. They were experiences that created new, beautiful memories. It was a trip worth taking.
One day will I look back and regret that we didn’t own a four-wheeler, or a huge fridge, or the shiniest car? Probably not. What we will remember is that awesome heli trip in the mountains we took, that two-person shower in our lodge, and that special time together.