Dream a Big Dream

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Setting goals and dreaming big dreams can be just the right motivation to help you save money and accomplish great things.

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This is my bedside table. Most are books that I’ve read before. A few I’m still finishing off for the first time. Most of them are books that I’m revisiting.

See a theme?

In 1994 we spent our honeymoon (and my 22nd birthday) in France, less than a year after I came home from living a year in Bordeaux. Having spent two consecutive birthdays in France, I was hopeful — and naive — that it would become a yearly tradition.

We haven’t been back in eighteen years!

Life happened. Babies, and houses, and debts. Life.

Dreaming a Big Dream

Over the last month or two, however, hubs and I have decided to dream a big dream: to take our family of eight to France for our 20th wedding anniversary. Our hope is to spend a minimum of four weeks in France in 2014.

  • Ambitious? Yes. It will cost a very pretty penny.
  • A little bit crazy? Yes. Six children on a European vacation is like the Griswolds on steroids.
  • Impossible? Never say die.

We realized that while it will take some time to save up the cash (yes, we’re going to pay cash) and brush up on my language skills, research and plan, it will be a wonderful experience for our kids who will be 16, 13, 11, 9, 7, and 5. The kids will all be young enough to still be at home, old enough to not need a potty every hour.

Plus, we’re just itching to go back.

We also know that saving and economizing is easier — and more fulfilling — if you have a goal in mind. 

To save just for the sake of saving ends up feeling rather empty and boring after a time. It’s harder to keep at it if it’s just a few more dollars in the bank. But, if you have something to work for, you have motivation.

So, we’re adding a little fun to our future, we’re planning a HUGE family memory, and we’re adding fuel to the fire of our frugality.

Certainly, it’s a plan to spend money, but it’s also an impetus to save, which is always a good thing.

Today’s Frugal Friday!

Time to swap ideas and inspiration for saving money.

jar of money on concrete by grassy lawn, with text overlay: Frugal Fridays.

How do YOU save money?

Please remember to follow the Frugal Friday Guidelines or be deleted.

  1. Post a money saving idea and explain how it is helpful in your post.
  2. No giveaways or deals posts.
  3. Recipes are allowed, but you must explain how it saves people money.
  4. Please include a link back to Life as MOM.

PS. I apologize in advance for any excessive postings about France.

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  1. I spent 6 weeks in France (based in Avignon) in 1999, and have never been back, so I’m looking forward to feeling like I’m traveling there again through your trip. 🙂

  2. I didn’t spend a consecutive year in France, but my parents moved there in 1990 so I did several college summer breaks in Paris. It is totally my second home. I watch terrible movies just for the Paris scenery! I always wanna go back even though my parental responsibilities have limited those opportunities.

  3. You go Fish Family! Dreaming big makes big things happen in your life. Yay!! Super excited for you. We have our own plans for 2014, that are a bit more, how shall we say, woodsy. But every bit as freaky. Let’s encourage each other towards courageous living WITH family.

    1. You bet! I ended up speaking with several Europeans over the last couple days and got mixed reactions on the size of our family, so this should be interesting. Can’t wait to hear what you are cooking up. I’m guessing it’s “yurt-like”.

      1. No, in 2 years we are planning to be thru hiking for six months. The yurt comes after that. And after that… our extended European trip when the kids are all teens. And that folks is the 5 year plan!

        Also wanted to say part of me wishes I was a classical educator just so I could have met with all you wonderful ladies this weekend. I saw the photo at Heidi’s blog today. How fun!

  4. Go for it! Next month, my family (me, hubs, 17, 16 and 10 year old) are spending a paid for week in St. Kitts! I am on a lockdown, saving money right now so we’ll have plenty for food and excursions. It is SO WORTH IT to me!

  5. Hi Jessica-
    I just had to tell you that we are currently living in Europe as American expats with our four kiddos (ages 9, 7, 3 and 1). We have been here (Krakow, Poland) since September 2011 and will be here until September 2013. I wasn’t sure what this would be like travelling all over Europe with young kids, but it has been a great experience. France is on our vacation planner for September. We’ve already booked our (very cheap!) flights and hotel. Can’t wait! We’ve been travelling as much as we can while we’re here, and even though our 1-year old won’t remember much of this experience, it has been amazing for the rest of us. I think international travel is so educational….I’m sure your trip will be an amazing experience for your family!

  6. What an amazing dream and awesome opportunity for the kids! I know that you’ll be able to do this!

  7. We need to talk! I can’t recall if I ever told you about my French background, but let me cut to the chase: My French mother–who married an American and settled here with him and raised me and my sister–inherited a house in Hossegor, just an hour south of Bordeaux (where SHE grew up). We and other members of the family use it in the summer, but she also rents it occasionally, in August and in the non-summer months, to friends or colleagues, to cover the upkeep and taxes. It sleeps 8-10, and is a very short walk from the lake, a 10-minute walk to the shops in town, and a slightly longer walk (or bike or car ride) to the ocean. You could rent it for a week or two and explore the countryside and the nearby French/Spanish Basque country! As I said–we’ll talk, if you’re intrigued.

    1. Bien sur, ca m’interest! 😉 We will have to talk….

    2. Basque country! Walking the el camino de san diago is the dream I share with my hubs. Sans enfants sil vous plait. Someday!

  8. Hi, thanks for hosting! Today I’m sharing my scratch marinara #1 – roma tomato, roasted red pepper & basil. We are a cycling/running household so we eat a lot of pasta! I was tired of buying jarred sauce at $4 a pop so I set out to make a scratch marinara. I was dismayed when I couldn’t find any recipes that didn’t contain canned ingredients, so I made my own. I buy the overly ripe tomatoes at our local farmers market (usually $1/lb), make a couple of jars of sauce at once and freeze it for later. Enjoy!

  9. Thank you for hosting again! I hope you enjoy your trip to France…I hate flying, so I don’t see myself taking that trip. LOL
    I’ve linked up two this week:
    1. Mother’s Day Handprint Tiles – a cute and cheap homemade gift (about $1.80 each)
    2. Is 90 Days Same as Cash REALLY The Same as Cash?? We think not.

  10. Great dream! We spent a week in Paris the year before our first child was born, and I plan on taking them on some sort of international vacation once they get a little older.

    I’m sharing a frugal and delicious breakfast for the kids today!

  11. While my dream is not as lofty as a trip to Paris (Way to go!), I’ve got my eyes on Disneyland within the next 2 years.
    Neither my husband or I have ever been and I want our son to experience when he is somewhat little (he’s almost 6 now).

    All my spare change, Ebates checks, and money from recycling soda cans goes into my piggy. He’s quite heavy and my goal is to pay for our trip in cash.

  12. A trip to Paris sounds amazing. My husband and I also took an extended trip to Europe before our debt and life got out of control! Every tip, trick, and piece of advice for an affordable trip back with a family will be greatly appreciated. I would love to go back! Florence is my belonging place. 🙂

  13. This is an awesome goal…strangely enough so is ours…I grew up in a country called Malawi in Africa and have not been back in years. A lot has changed since I was last there with my folks…My folks who still live there have requested us that within a year we are to make our first visit to Malawi as a family(my hubby n 3 year old have not been there at all)…we will be working on it this goal this year…in spite of all the health risks and safety issues, some places such as my memories of growing up in this country have to be passed on…depends on how important it is to you and the next generation I think…

  14. We’ve talked about Paris or Florence or Hawaii for our wedding anniversary, but when it comes down to it, it just didn’t feel right. So, instend we saved and purchased packrafts so that we can backpack and river/sea raft together.

  15. What a fantastic Frual Friday post. Isn’t this what saving money is all about? We all have dreams we’re trying to accomplish by being wise with money – becoming debt-free, buying a home, overseas travel ( with 8 people?!?!). Thanks for the reminder that after you get your bases covered, the dreams can get super fun!
    BTW, my husband’s family did the same thing – saved up their cash and brought 5 of their 7 kids (the ones that were still kids or could get off work) to Israel and Greece (and a few other stops) for 6 weeks. It really did shape the younger kids’ lives. It was an unreal adventure hauling all those people around the world, but they *loved* it.

  16. I agree with how it all works out with family, children, etc… but… you still have to feed your soul and true self. I spent my senior year in Luxembourg – and due to Europe withdrawals (I think it should be classified as a disease) – we went there in ’07 without the kids – but took the kids in late ’07 to Germany and will be taking them to Italy this summer (Rome, Florence, Venice) b/c it simply feeds my soul and gives sooooo much exposure to them as knowing they are a global person and giving them a huge educational experience to the world…. don ‘t delay – show them the world!

  17. LOL@ Griswolds on steroids! I nearly spit out my coffee on my screen!

    I think this is an absolutely fantastic goal. So many of us don’t experience much outside our home states. A wonderful initiative as MOM to allow your children to experience another culture in their childhood – imagine the possibilities this trip could have on shaping their lives!

  18. I love how you are wanting to pay cash for this trip!! So many people use credit cards these days!! We do not and I am glad we don’t. We have finally got money put back into our savings so hopefully by this time next year we will have a nice amount put back for a down payment on a new house.

  19. Yay Mama! What a great dream! I’m sure us other Moms won’t mind hearing more France trip posts! You might look into renting a house instead of hotel rooms, since you plan on being there so long…

    1. Yes, that is what we do here in the States, too, since we can’t all be in one room anymore.

  20. How exciting! We put our tax refund away for a trip to India in the fall (sister-in-law’s wedding). However, we aren’t taking the kids and if I get pregnant, it will just be hubs. Our kids are just too little to go because of the sanitation issues (everyone, including a coworker from Delhi, where the wedding is, agrees). Ditto if I’m pregnant. SIGH.

    I have a lot of travel dreams but right now just dreams, nothing material. I’m adding travel to our yearly strategic plan!

    1. India is a fabulous country to travel in with children…there didn’t get to be 1.2 billion people there without people loving children!

      I have traveled all around India with my children since they were babies and prefer it to traveling with children in the US. People are understanding and helpful and the culture opens up before you if you have children in tow.

  21. This too has been a dream of ours for our “little” family of 6. Having been born and raised in West Texas and a recent transplant to Southern California, my husband and I are trying to pursue the extraordinary for ourselves and the kids. You will have to let me know how you plan a vacation like that? Where do you stay? How to cross the language barrier? (Don’t know if my Texas twang would produce flowing French words) How much money would you need? Would love to plan our trip for our 20th Anniversary, June 22, 2016!

    1. I was a French major in college and lived there for a year, so “hopefully” it will all come back to me in the next two years and I’m planning to add it to our homeschool curriculum this year.

      We plan to save the cash and rent apartments so that we can cook many of our meals as well as lodge together rather than many hotel rooms.

  22. How wonderful! I love your huge goal. We’ve been saving 50% of our income for a while now so we can finally build our home. It’s involved a lot of sacrifice, but having a big goal really does make saving and sacrifice a lot easier! I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in France!

  23. Dream a big dream…Dh & I talk about talking a trip to Europe every so often. Both of us love to cook, and we dream of eating our way across France. I’d love to see England where my dad’s family came from, and hear the wonderful accents of Ireland where my mom’s family came from. Can’t wait to hear about your progress on your dream.

  24. I love this! It looks like your kids will be the perfect ages for a family trip like this – all of them old enough to remember it, too. I think you will have as much fun, if not more, with the planning as you will on the trip itself.

    1. Yes, I think it should be the right ages. After several delayed flights this weekend, I’m very thankful that we are choosing to do it later rather than sooner.

  25. Thats a lovely idea. I love France too. I took my boys to Paris when they were 5 and 2, that was almost 8 years ago. We went back again last year, to a different part of France and had an amazing time. The French countryside is beautiful and I loved learning the language. Creating beautiful memories is the best thing you could ever spend money on.

  26. Cheering you on!

    We had a similar goal and lo and behold my hubby’s company offered to move us to Germany for 2 1/2 yrs. We took full advantage and managed to visit several countries. We even attended a wedding {a THREE day event} in Croatia.

    I look forward to seeing you accomplish your goal, and seeing pictures of your trip!

  27. This is fantastic! I will be rooting for you to reach your goal. As it turns out, my husband and I are going to Paris this summer for my best friend’s wedding. It was a completely unexpected opportunity – I’ve never been and didn’t expect to ever get to go – but things have (miraculously) fallen into place so that we can go. If I enjoy it as much as you did, maybe we’ll start saving upon our return in order to bring the whole family one day!

  28. What a great goal! You’ll be making so many memories and learning so much.

    Are you teaching the kiddos French? I’ve reviewed some lovely starter books and in the comments to this post there is a link to great low-key ways to study French. http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/2012/03/review-the-kids-can-press-french-and-english-word-book/

    I’m looking forward to all sorts of frugal travel ideas over the next two years! My husband may be working overseas in 2014, so we may be out there too!

  29. What a wonderful idea! We have our 20th anniversary coming up in 2013. I hadn’t thought of taking a big family trip to celebrate. Now my mind is whirring!

    PS: Your comment “PS. I apologize in advance for any excessive postings about France.” – first laugh of the morning!

  30. Please don’t apologise about excessive postings on France. I’m a big Francophile having lived there for 7 years. To make it the most affordable possible, have you though of a home exchange. Whenever we go long-distance we do this and it makes a real difference to the budget- you can even set up several, spread around the country? Good luck with your plans!!

    1. We probably won’t do a home swap since we don’t own our home, but we are looking at renting apartments.

  31. That’s a great dream to have and I have no doubt you’ll achieve it.

    I can’t help thinking that you could use this blog as a way to help you get what you want. Perhaps just finding one more advertiser or advertising spot will help you get one step closer to your goal.

    Anyway, thanks for hosting Frugal Friday again. I’ve just linked up to my Top 10 Homemade Beauty Gifts For Mother’s Day. Perhaps pick something out that you like and let your kids know 🙂


  32. Our 10th anniversary is coming up in 2015. And, since we live in LA now, making Hawaii a mere puddle jump away, we’re saving for a 10th anniversary vacation there.:)

  33. What an amazing dream! I look forward to your postings about France.