Everyone has a “bucket list,” the things they want to do before they kick the bucket to really enjoy life, explore and LIVE before it’s too late. I constantly think about “the bucket,” knowing that our time is limited and it’s up to each of us, individually to take charge of the biggest, craziest dreams and claim them for ourselves, knowing that no one will do it for us!
I have a few big things on my bucket list- one of which, I’m really, really excited about this coming year- in 2015 I will be getting married and the icing on the (wedding) cake is that it will be PAID FOR IN CASH. We’ve been saving since we were seriously dating and it feels awesome to be honing in on the goal, to have $20,000 in the bank this year.
I’ve been warned that while it feels good to cross a goal off the list, it can also feel like a bit of a letdown if you haven’t found something else to fill the void with (even if filling it means you’re simply content to relax a bit!). In our post-wedding life, I’m looking forward to building the next set of goals and crossing off the stuff on my bucket list, which I’m super excited to finally share with you!
1. Visit Japan
Ever since I was a little girl, I have been in love with Japan. I was a Sailor Moon obsessive as a kid and a fan of all things kawaii. As I’ve grown older, I’ve been fascinated with the clash of culture- the ultra conservative and peaceful mindfulness of traditional Japan (think Geishas, zen gardens, tea ceremonies) and the cacophony of the big cities like Tokyo which are built around sensory overload, lightning speed and workaholism.
When we visit Japan, I plan on enjoying all the culture has to offer- the old and the new which coexists in a small country with huge possibilities. Of course, I will also gorge myself on sushi, ramen and green tea everything. It will be glorious.
2. A House With A Garden & A Porch Swing
It’s been nearly 4 years since I’ve been able to have a “real” garden. While our current space hosts many potted plants, we don’t have the yard or the sunlight needed for veggies. Being spoiled in California with good weather and plenty of fruit trees, I long for the time we can have a patch of dirt where I can grow zuchinni and tomatoes again. I don’t know where we will put down roots next, but I hope it includes a place to grow!
I have yet to acquire a porch swing (or even a hammock) but it’s been on my bucket list since I can remember. As a youngun, I recall thinking “I want one of these,” every time I’d take a seat on one. I realize it’s weird to have “porch swing,” on a bucket list… but I think it’s symbolic of something greater- the ability to have a bit of space and a place to call home…and a neighborhood worth sitting down to look at! Someday….
3. Fill Up My Passport
Growing up, we didn’t travel much. I have only been out of the country twice, and that was to Mexico or Canada, and only to stuff that touches the U.S. My parents split when I was 4 and my father is a Canadian citizen who doesn’t like to fly. I got a passport last year and haven’t used it yet- something I want to change and in short order.
I have a list of places I want to see and vacation in- while the aforementioned trip to Japan would be my big cultural trip, jam packed with learning, exploration and culture, the rest of the stamps on my passport will be pure fun. My future father-in-law and I both now have Bora Bora on our bucket list (amazing!) but I would still love to see the Bahamas, Brazil, more Canadian provinces, Thailand, China…Hawaii (which is not a foreign country, but I still haven’t been there!).
4. Travel Route 66
We’re doing a Route 66 themed wedding and I’ve driven parts of it twice, but never the whole thing. It’s on my bucket list to drive Route 66 and see all the kitschy sites- which of course includes stopping at the Big Blue Whale in Oklahoma, and trying to eat a big steak at the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas…one of my favorite spots! I usually breeze through road trips, but it’s a goal of mine to take a full week to see the sights, take lots of pictures and really, truly, enjoy the ride!
Of course, a bucket list like this would not be cheap to cross off. I’m all for saving up for a big purchase like this. When we saved up for our wedding, we simply had monthly payments of about $600 automatically deducted from our paychecks and put into another savings account.
Yes, it was painful sometimes to be living without that fabulous $600 each paycheck, but we were able to crush our goal to save $15,000+ in 12 months. The rest of the stuff on my bucket list, like traveling to Japan, I could easily save for in a year with around $250 a paycheck. With a budget and some savvy strategizing, anyone can cross stuff off their bucket list, and painlessly save for it. You can also check out this budget worksheet to make it easy.
Any big goal can be broken into small bits by making savings an automatic part of your life and figuring out what you need to cut back on in your budget.
For me, we have, and easily could again for the purpose of getting the bucket list totally kicked, cut back on restaurants, take on extra side hustles, and limit exposure to any emails or stores that cause me to spend money! Sometimes, it’s not fun to make cutbacks- but starting to save for a bucket list early takes the sting out of saving, and the payments can be smaller over a longer period of time, so anyone can do it!
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.