This story is personal. Everything I’ve been teaching you via my ‘Money Stress to Success’ blog series was tested on our recent family trip to Thailand.  

First a little background about me.  I’m married to a wonderful man and even though were happy it doesn’t preclude us from the occasional differences of opinion. We have three teenage kids which involves many lively discussions and how the best laid plans and budgets swiftly get blown to bits.

Let me start at the beginning. We had been planning and budgeting to take our children on an overs seas holiday for quite a while. It was their first trip abroad holiday we wanted it to be an extra special holiday for them and us, with a reasonable FUN budget.

Our holiday budget had to include five passports, five return flights, accommodation, food for three growing teenagers who are eating machines at this age and including two weeks of fun experiences. Even more reasons why we decided to save a little longer, until we could afford a holiday that was financial joyful, and not financially stressful.

Two weeks in Thailand was wonderful, and to top off our holiday, we had a three day stop over at Singapore.

On the very last day in Singapore we went fun crazy and played hard all day, until very late that evening, catching the midnight flight home to Australia.

But did I speak too soon, because things took an unexpected twist! Oh, and did I mention I had my nearly 80-year-old mum with us, so there was six of us.

In my previous blogs I suggested many ways to turn your Money Stress into Success. My story that follows is a live example of how my blog content was genuinely tested and how it saved us from a crappy holiday ending.

  1. I’ve talked about how important it is to be financially aligned with your life partner.

Well, that was tested at the end of our fun day. We arrived at the Singapore airport around 11:00 pm when we discovered that my husband had accidentlly misread the departure date and time, and we were subsequently 24 hours late. Oops!  We looked at each other with our jaws dropping, as that sinking feeling drowned into loud silence.  OMG, what do we do now!

Neither of us got angry or blamed one another as it was clearly an accident. In the next breath we looked back at the check in crew and proceeded to discuss our options. Phew, we past this test, with more to come.

Luckily, we had planned to come home with several spare days to unpack and get ready for work and school.

The positive about the mistake is that we had an additional day of full on fun as a family. So, when we arrived at the airport around 11:00 pm, we were all happy and ready to go home. No regrets only gratitude.

  1. I talked about budgeting for the unexpected, so you don’t get caught out.

Well here came our unexpected! Six additional flight charges to take us home…ka-ching $$$$$$, and off course we paid for my mum because it was our fault.

This is what budgeting for the unexpected is all about. You never know what the unexpected could be.

Saving and planning for the unexpected is being money wise. This way when it happens to you, you are still able to think clearly and behave respectfully to the people around you, for example the airline crew.

As a couple we didn’t argue or blame one another about the mistake. We had to adapt fast and make new decisions to keep our family of six, safe, fed and on the next plane home.

We also paid $$$ for a whopping additional play day that lasted ‘til arriving at the airport. Got to tell you these unexpected costs to play, were well worth it!

  1. I talked about Loving your money and being grateful that you have money to pay for things

I was and still am so grateful that we had the money to pay for our incredible holiday including the unexpected fun and flight expenses. The fond memories are a bond we will share for ever.

The great life money lessons for our children, will hopefully impact their spending habits as they grow into adults.

  1. How important it is to be thankful to whomever provides the service.

Finding a flight for six additional people and six seats together was a challenge. Our children are still minors and needed us close on such a long haul.  The airline crew were patient and kind-hearted as they searched through several different flights to help us get home as a family. It took some logistical juggling and even then, we had to sit into two separate groups of three. I took one group of three and my husband the other.

Whilst all this is happening the rest of our family didn’t quite know what was going on as it took some time to organise our new flights home. Once that was done we then had to explain it to our family. They’re attitude changed from tired, bewildered, to concern, tears then acceptance.  We explained that their dad had made a mistake and as a family we had to adjust, adapt and flow with it, if we wanted to get home.

This live money stress situation quickly shifted to money success. A learning opportunity for our children, to not spend all their cash, which they do at this age, and to have plenty cash in reserve for the unexpected. We were not stranded in Singapore with no money and we are able to take care of our family, getting us all back home safely to Australia.

  1. Transit Hotel dilemma.

Now the flights are handled the next relief we needed was sleep. We tiredly walked the length of the airport twice searching for the Transit Hotel because the staff weren’t quite sure which end of the airport the Transit Hotel was. We finally arrived at the Transit Hotel to be told they are fully booked out, what…. it’s after 2 am and we are exhausted… now what are our options?

A taxi ride to the city and back and a hotel for a few hours, was not time a viable option.  The next best thing was to sleep on the hard floor in the airport.

Thankfully, my almost 80-year-old mum did not complain once. We found a corner to create some safety whilst my husband and eldest son stood guard. The protector in them was alerted by the loiterers walking by, checking us out with a potentially malicious intent.

Hours later we woke up at peace, knowing that we were all okay and were soon to travel home, with a memorable holiday in our hearts.

Lessons learnt

I’ve got to share with you how proud I am of my family and how we all pulled together at what could have been an emotional and financial disaster.

I hope that if this happens to you, that you too have put in place the Money Stress to Money Success suggestions to turn your money stress into money success because it impacts your life and important relationships around you.

The key points are:

  • It’s important to be financially aligned with your life partner.
  • Budget for the unexpected, so you don’t get caught out.
  • Love your money and be grateful that you have money to pay for things
  • Be thankful to whomever provides the service. Thank you to Singapore Airlines for your kindness, clean spacious planes and friendly efficient crew. 

Some extra things to think about!

Because we stayed calm, we were able to make good decisions for our family.

Because we stayed calm our objective drove every decision. Our objective was the Vision of getting our whole family home safely and swiftly. No negative chatter, just clear intention.

The more you practice, the better you will get at creating Money Success.

If you have any questions or need help or guidance please send me an email, give me a call on M: 0414 778 476 or visit me on Facebook @freedomchoiceacademy.

Zoe is the director of Zoe Slater Counselling and CEO Freedom Choice Academy. She studied at The Australian College of Applied Psychology, Sydney Campus and completed her Diploma of Counselling and Communication at the Brisbane Campus. Zoe is an Associate Member with the Queensland Counsellors Association Inc and a member with Australian Counsellors Association.

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