How to Financially Plan for a Large Trip

Last week, I discussed how to make an annual budget that works for you. Within that, you will find that I like to set up sinking funds prior to a large trip (>$500). This post highlights how to financially plan for that trip, whether for personal or small business purposes. This thought process can be used for smaller trips, however, I find that larger trips are typically the hardest to capture financially.

Estimates with Example

I have found that expenses for large trips typically fall within 6 categories. These are listed below with some short descriptions.

  • Purchase Prior – This is for any items that relate to the upcoming trip. It may be decorations for a Bachelorette party, alcohol or minimal food items to avoid higher costs in the city the trip is taken, or anything that may not have another use after the trip and does not fit into your other budget categories.
  • Transportation & Parking – This includes gas, ride sharing, or other means of transportation on the way to, during, and/or from your trip.
  • Lodging – This would be for any lodging you may need during your trip.
  • Food – This would be for food that you would consume while out during your trip.
  • Paid Activities – This is for any ticket, event, or activity you may want to partake in during your trip.
  • Tangible Items – This is for any personal or family/friend gifts that you would want to take back home with you.

Now that I have discussed the different types of purchases that I have for a large trip, it’s time for an example. I’ve displayed my expenses from a trip to Universal Studios and Island of Adventures that my family and I took over Christmas break 2020 in Figure 1 below. You can see dates with costs (rough costs in orange), resulting with a final total cost of roughly $1,547 and an average cost per day of $258. Please note these costs may not be the same for everyone and are used for example purposes.

Some things to note with the expenses below are that I did not always pay the complete totals by myself. We would often pay one tab and distribute any funds after. There were 8 people total (6 adults and 2 kids) split between two connected rooms and cars. The below expenses highlight what I spent as a 30 year old and does not include the other 7 people’s expenses with me, including my husbands. For example, I split the lodging and paid activities for the park (hotel with general and express pass), gas traveling to and from, and overnight parking for the vehicle I was in. We decided to spend a little more to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel so we could have general and express passes included with our lodging expenses. Also, this was the quickest walk from a hotel to the theme parks and City Walk. We highly valued spending more here because it lead to more flexibly for everyone and eliminated any driving between the trip or additional parking charges at the theme parks. The express passes allowed us to ride more rides and really maximize our time at the parks. I highly recommend the Hard Rock Hotel and/or paying for express passes if you can budget it in. I also don’t eat breakfast everyday or much myself, so I tend to have lower food costs.

Figure 1. Example Trip Expenses for One Adult

Planning

Now how would one want to plan for this? I would estimate costs within each category and then take the final estimate and divide that by the time until the trip is taken or needs to be paid. Since the trip was in December, if I started saving now, I would budget roughly $155 dollars for 10 months. This way I have the funds accessible to pay lodging prior to the trip and close out the balance on my credit card to avoid any accrued interest if not done so.

There are a few things to note while planning. I recommend to not wing it. If that is done, I can almost guarantee you will go over your budget or result with expenses that you could have avoided. Research where you will be going (lodging, how to get there, any local food menus) and understand yourself and others joining. Do you value maximizing your time, drinking a lot of alcohol, fine dining, bringing gifts home? It’s okay to spend money, but we want to make sure we budget and stick to our budget. I promise you will mentally enjoy this trip over feeling like you overspent.

I hope this blog helps you prepare for your upcoming trip. Thank you for taking the time to read all the way to the end. Please reach out here to book a free introductory call so I can learn more about you and your personal and/or small business needs. I would be happy to share my excel file and draft a version for you!

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Birth Budgeting Series: Postpartum

The Birth Budgeting Series was inspired by both The Doula Nurse and Functun’s audience: people focused on their goals and budget. One goal many people share is to become a parent. Even though we may be told we will never be prepared for children, we can be knowledgeable of the finances involved with having children. This series explores key areas during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases that one would want to be aware of and decide if it needs to be included in their personal budget. This is not to find the most cost-effective way to have a child, but to understand the potential resources provided to each of us based on some of the most common birthing practices. If your situation is not listed within these articles, we encourage you to do additional research or reach out to alternative resources that may be within your desired industry. The series will be presented in four parts: introduction, prenatal, birth, and postpartum. This is part four, postpartum. 

We discussed important and potential birth expenses in the last section. We also touched on how learning about and creating a birth plan can help alleviate any stress of the unknown. Now it’s time to learn more about your little one(s) and how life works as a new unit. Postpartum needs can vary drastically from person to person, but baby supplies will always be on that list. In addition to the items discussed during the prenatal period, the following items may need to be incorporated into the foreseeable budget: 

  • Additional medical or disability needs 
  • Upgrades as baby grows (clothes, strollers, bedding, etc.) 
  • Toys and development items 
  • Scrapbook to document milestones 

You will typically follow up with your care provider within a few weeks and the pediatrician you chose for your baby will also want to see them within 3-5 days. If your child experiences complications after birth, they may be admitted to the NICU for a few hours or a few weeks depending on the amount of care they need. After you return home or your care team leaves your home, your postpartum doula will begin their home or virtual visits to help you during recovery and then as you transition into parenthood. You may want to consider hiring a night nanny, or see if your doula does overnight care, as many sleepless nights lay ahead.  

If you’re having trouble with lactation and feeding your baby, a consultation with a lactation consultant could be very beneficial. They may need to work with you over several visits depending on your needs. Other services to consider during this time are mental health support, exercise classes, chiropractic care, postpartum massage and yoga, pelvic floor therapy, naturopathic or homeopathic medicine, and folk or traditional healing practices. 

Lastly, think about when you (and your partner if applicable) are going back to work. If you have family or friends available to help care for your baby, the transition back to work might be easier. Regardless, you will likely have to think about child care at some point. There are so many different daycare services and programs including Head Start, which may have a wait list depending on your area. Look into and plan these things as far ahead as possible to ensure you are able to secure what you need for your family. 

Thank you for reading our Birth Budgeting Series. We hope that you learned a few things and were inspired to begin planning ahead for your growing family. As always, feel free to reach out to Kat for doula support and resources (thedoulanursekat@gmail.com) and Molly to help achieve specific goals for personal or small business needs (molly.murphy@functun.com). If you have any questions related to the information provided throughout this series, please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of us. 

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Birth Budgeting Series: Birth

The Birth Budgeting Series was inspired by both The Doula Nurse and Functun’s audience: people focused on their goals and budget. One goal many people share is to become a parent. Even though we may be told we will never be prepared for children, we can be knowledgeable of the finances involved with having children. This series explores key areas during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases that one would want to be aware of and decide if it needs to be included in their personal budget. This is not to find the most cost-effective way to have a child, but to understand the potential resources provided to each of us based on some of the most common birthing practices. If your situation is not listed within these articles, we encourage you to do additional research or reach out to alternative resources that may be within your desired industry. The series will be presented in four parts: introduction, prenatal, birth, and postpartum. This is part three, birth. 

We discussed in the last sections how insurance and the care provider chosen will provide a starting point to understanding your upcoming financials. The insurance company can provide plan specifics and inform you how much of your deductible you have met within the calendar year, while the care provider can provide insight into the extent of their care and billing practices. This includes how long the care lasts and specific costs involved for tests, medicine, etc. so there are no financial surprises due to miscommunication. You may end up working with multiple care providers and each may have their own prices with the chosen insurance plan. We also touched on some key items to purchase/get gifted for baby and parent and thoughts to help structure your birthing plan. Let’s explore the day(s) of a little more.   

Pre-planning will be key to minimizing and understanding costs when it’s go time. This includes researching your desired birth plan and emergency interventions (such as a cesarean section). We want things to go to plan, but also being knowledgeable of the alternatives can help your stress levels if something does not go to plan. Consulting with your doula or childbirth educator can help you be prepared for the many situations that may occur during labor. We have listed some items below that may involve financial resources during birth.  

  • Transportation to and from a location other than home 
  • Overnight bag prepared with essentials 
  • Labor tools and comfort measures 
  • Food and drink 
  • Nights of stay 
  • Cost for any other person’s care if absent (parent, child, other) 
  • Medical interventions (such as epidural, Pitocin, etc.) 
  • Emergency costs (just in case) 
  • Birth photography 

Some items to consider to facilitate your labor and provide comfort are a birth ball, peanut ball, labor scarf, birth pool (which can sometimes be rented from local birth professionals), massage balls, stress balls, oils, lotions, diffuser, hand fan, and a mini speaker to play music of choice. If you have a doula or midwife, they may provide some of these items for you. A hospital or birth center might have tubs for water birth and birth/peanut balls – be sure to inquire about these items ahead of time to be prepared and ensure your birth setting will meet your needs. Also, be aware of policies or interventions that may limit your ability to do things while in labor. For example, many hospitals may not allow the birthing person to eat while in labor due to the potential for an emergency cesarean. 

Stay tuned for the next article exploring key financial areas within the postpartum phase. As always, feel free to reach out to Kat for doula support and resources (thedoulanursekat@gmail.com) and Molly to help achieve specific goals for personal or small business needs (molly.murphy@functun.com).

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Birth Budgeting Series: Prenatal

The Birth Budgeting Series was inspired by both The Doula Nurse and Functun’s audience: people focused on their goals and budget. One goal many people share is to become a parent. Even though we may be told we will never be prepared for children, we can be knowledgeable of the finances involved with having children. This series explores key areas during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases that one would want to be aware of and decide if it needs to be included in their personal budget. This is not to find the most cost-effective way to have a child, but to understand the potential resources provided to each of us based on some of the most common birthing practices. If your situation is not listed within these articles, we encourage you to do additional research or reach out to alternative resources that may be within your desired industry. The series will be presented in four parts: introduction, prenatal, birth, and postpartum. This is part two, prenatal. 

Let’s start by discussing the most essential components of the prenatal period. First, you will need to select your care provider. Will you be working with an obstetrician or a midwife? Sometimes this decision will depend on if you’re considered to have a high-risk pregnancy. While most providers accept an array of insurance providers, midwives who welcome home or birth center babies may or may not accept insurance. Additionally, the medicines, tests, and procedures in the hospital will be an expense to anticipate and the amount you pay will again depend on your insurance. Next, consider whether or not you will have a doula. The cost of a birth doula can vary quite a bit and will depend on where you live. Childbirth education classes can be very helpful in understanding birth and the accompanying stressors. You can look for online or in person classes or attempt to find free resources. Insurance may provide some reimbursement for classes. 

So, what is all needed to care for your new baby? Here are some items to consider: 

  • Crib & crib mattress 
  • Baby clothes 
  • Diapers 
  • Blankets 
  • Wipes 
  • Soap & lotion 
  • Baby monitor 
  • Bottles & nipples 
  • Breast pump 
  • Formula 
  • Car seat 
  • Stroller & carriers 

This is just a starting point, as there are many items you can look into buying for your baby. If you want to splurge on certain products, feel free, but know that the affordable options are just as good for your baby as brand name ones. 

Now, we should think about what all you will need for the day of the birth. How much time will you be taking off and will it be paid for? If you’re not having a home birth, how will you be getting to the place you’ll be birthing in? And what are you bringing with you in your bags? You should also think about how many days you’ll be staying away from home and the costs associated with additional days at the hospital and meals. If you have other children, you may need someone to take care of them while you are away. 

Some other services to consider are things like chiropractic care, prenatal massage and yoga, naturopathic or homeopathic medicine, mental health support, and lining up a birth photographer. If you’re going to be having a baby shower, you can include ways to pay for some of these services through funds or gift certificates. Maternity clothes and self-care products should also be budgeted for as your comfort and wellbeing are critical to birthing a healthy, happy baby. 

Stay tuned for the next article exploring key financial areas within the birthing phase. As always, feel free to reach out to Kat for doula support and resources (thedoulanursekat@gmail.com) and Molly for specific budgeting and time management/process support (molly.murphy@functun.com). 

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Birth Budgeting Series: Introduction

The Birth Budgeting Series was inspired by both The Doula Nurse and Functun’s audience: people focused on their goals and budget. One goal many people share is to become a parent. Even though we may be told we will never be prepared for children, we can be knowledgeable of the finances involved with having children. This series explores key areas during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases that one would want to be aware of and decide if it needs to be included in their personal budget. It will be presented in four parts: introduction, prenatal, birth, and postpartum. This is part one, the introduction.  

Kat Louis is a Birth and Postpartum Doula who is in the process of becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. She has a background in public health and nursing and answered her calling to birthwork as she learned about the unjust practices within the US obstetrical healthcare system. She provides physical, emotional, and practical support; education; and advocacy to birthing people in the Atlanta area so they can reclaim their power and autonomy throughout their birth and postpartum experiences. 

Molly Murphy has worked as a mechanical engineer for the last eight years. The first three were on the research and development side for desired metallic properties, while the latter five have been regional support on fastening (nuts and bolts) for top manufacturing companies. She created Functun as a way to apply her technical mindset towards helping other women and small businesses achieve their goals. She focuses on analyzing budgeting and time management relative to each client’s need and/or industry but specializes in product development and financial planning.  

We will start off with the most important note throughout this series: the birthing person’s care and parental education are top priority. Everything found within this series is to inform on the process and the potential finances involved with the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases. This is not to find the most cost-effective way to have a child, but to understand the potential resources provided to each of us based on some of the most common birthing practices. If your situation is not listed within these articles, we encourage you to do additional research or reach out to alternative resources that may be within your desired industry.  

We believe the budgeting process starts with the individuals involved having open communication on the anticipated needs during the birthing process. This will be different for all but putting a plan together indicating the financial income and time available for resources will help keep everyone on track and aware of the families’ goals throughout the birth cycle. We will explore priority and supplemental needs within each phase.  

The second step would be to discuss insurance. This deserves its own series, but to keep things informative, we recommend fully understanding your current insurance plan. Is it through your employer, network of choice, Medicaid, under parent/guardian or partner, or uninsured? Please reach out to your provider or provider of choice to get financial and network specifics on the current or desired policy to determine if it satisfies your preliminary birth plan. Insurance is important because birth plan specifics will have different financial outcomes depending on the plan chosen. Such as, do you want to give birth at a specific hospital? If so, are they in network? Will you want an epidural? If so, that will have an additional cost. Being aware of the preliminary birthing plan will help determine the proper insurance to align with it. This should be fully understood to put everyone’s mind at ease, knowing when and how much a medical bill will be.  

Stay tuned for the upcoming articles that will explore key financial areas within the birthing process, starting with prenatal. As always, feel free to reach out to Kat for doula support and resources (thedoulanursekat@gmail.com) and Molly for specific finance and budgeting support (molly.murphy@functun.com). 

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy