Guest Author - Previous BellaOnline Editor
It’s a well-known fact that raising kids costs money. Another mouth to feed, more medical expenses, new clothes, ballet lessons, prom dresses, college tuition – the list goes on and on!
On the other hand, choosing not to have kids frees up some money in your budget – not to mention the most precious commodity of all: TIME.
The child free can allocate a few more resources toward our goals and dreams than many parents, who simply don’t have the time, money, or energy to spend on such things.
Here are some wonderful ideas for your Child Free New Year Resolution!
* Plan a fabulous trip for your anniversary. Since our honeymoon, my husband and I have planned an annual anniversary trip every year. We wouldn’t miss it for anything! We love to travel, so we have identified destinations we’d like to visit for the next 5 years at least! Why not splurge this year and go someplace really special? Or maybe just to a bed & breakfast in the next town over. Start making plans NOW!
* Reevaluate your career goals. Are you where you want to be? If not, what could you do to get there? Think about what your goals were 5 years ago. Have you met them? Are there extra projects you’d like to take on at work to make your career more fulfilling? Or maybe you’d like to do more consulting on your own? Take some time this year to plan out goals for the next 5, 10, and 20 years. If you hope to retire early, figure out how you can make that happen.
* Go back to school! Have you always wanted to earn an MFA? No time like the present – go for it! Learning is a life long process. Many of us will change careers several times before we retire. Or maybe you’d like to pursue something “non practical” for your own enrichment that has nothing to do with your job.
* Maybe you just want to take a class or two. Every community offers continuing ed courses for adults. Why not take a cooking class? Or maybe try your hand at photography? Crafts are all the rage these days. Do you know how to knit? Crochet? Quilt? Decorated a cake? Most craft stores have a slew of classes you can sign up for – stop by and pick up a flyer.
* Go to the spa. You deserve it! Nothing is more relaxing than a regular massage. Make a resolution to go once a month, or even every other month. Have a pedicure and a manicure. Get a facial. Have your makeup done. The spa is my favorite way to combat stress.
* Everyone usually wants to “get fit” in the new year. You can join a gym like a million other people, then quit before the end of January. OR you can invest in a personal trainer to keep you motivated.
* Gym not for you? Why not try a yoga class? Or maybe Tai Chi? These slower paced disciplines give you double bang for your buck – they can tone your body AND provide relaxation.
* Learn to play an instrument! Music lessons aren’t just for kids – adults can learn too! Have you always regretted quitting the violin when you went to college? Why not start taking lessons again? Or maybe you played the flute in high school and you’ve always wanted to play the piano instead. Music can be a wonderful source of relaxation, and you don’t have to have a bi-annual recital to get something out of it. Music can be a gift you give yourself, just by practicing.
* Have you always wanted to start your own business? At least get a start by talking with a financial adviser about ways to make that dream come true. Maybe you want a side business selling handmade jewelry at craft shows. Or maybe you want to open a restaurant or a store. Time is marching on – if you really want to do it, then make it happen!
* Many child free couples enjoy a closer marriage than most parents, but you can never have too much of a good thing! Recommit yourselves to weekly or monthly dates with your spouse. Set aside time for special dinners at home, deep conversations, and doing things you both enjoy. Plan something new to do for each season. Go sledding or ice skating for winter. Take a bird walk in the spring. Go on a picnic in the summer. Take pictures of the leaves in the fall. Start your own tradition for the change of seasons.
* Why not take ballroom dancing lessons? You can impress everyone at the next wedding reception you attend! And it is sooooo romantic to sway to the music playing in your living room after a wonderful meal and a good bottle of wine.
* Think about getting season tickets to something you enjoy. The symphony, perhaps? What about the theater? The local baseball team? You’ll have a regular schedule of “dates” with your spouse!
There are lots of reasons to enjoy your child free lifestyle. Use the coming year to really get the most out of it!