Travel Thursday: More Time or More Money?

So travel Thursday largely deals with the life happenings when you have a traveling spouse.  For those that don’t have a traveling spouse I am sure there is still something in here for you!

by bitslammer

We were recently informed that one of the regular travel routes my husband takes is being changed.  He will lose several hours of paid work when this change occurs November 1.

On the upside this means he will have more time at home.  On the downside it means that our finances will take a hit.  The other thought this change brings up is what is most important to our family.  More time at home or more money in the bank?

This is a question most of us, traveling spouse or not, face at one point or another.
Do we take the promotion if it moves us to a more expensive cost of living area?  Should I return to work after maternity leave?  Do I take the extra shift if it cuts into family time?

Sometimes the decision is clear and obvious.  Sometimes, like in our case, it is made for you.  And sometimes you make the decision and having lived through it, change your mind.

Regardless of the decision or the outcome we all deal with the same questions in between.  I’d like to challenge all of us to wrestle with them, regardless of where we are at!

What does our family time look like?  

Our time as a family is limited and I have been wondering if we make the best use of the time we have together.  For the most part our routine stays relatively the same regardless of my husband’s presence but we have made one big change with our kids lately.  When Dad is home he takes on all the duties of night time.

There is something really special about bed time.  It is a time to be one on one with our kids, reassure them that we are there for them and in our family it is time for us to lay hands on them and pray for them.

Before, I was doing this, even when Dad was home.  My kids generally requested me and so that’s what we did.  BUT, it was not the best use of our time.  My husband needs and deserves that time with our children.  Our children  need to know that their Dad is their for them, prays for them and loves them.

This also freed up my time.  It allows me to pick up the house, do small things lying around and be really refreshed and relaxed to spend time with my husband when the kids are in bed.  Such a big improvement for such a small change!

What do our family finances look like?

Another way to ask that question is “Are we spending our money wisely?”  I’m a big fan of having a budget and making sure you have some finances for family entertainment.  But regardless of how you keep track, are you using money during your family time wisely?

Family entertainment may include eating out, seeing movies or having a collective family hobby like putt-putt or bowling.  Whatever it is does the money spent during this activity make sense and is the activity worth it?

This is a question we are asking right now.  Our kids are still little so most activities they find entertaining are free (visiting the pumpkin patch, going the the library, taking a walk and looking for treasure).  But occasionally we do spend money to go out to eat or take our kids somewhere special like a zoo.

As we re-evaluate this flexible budget line I am thinking we should decrease it for practical reasons and replace the money we spent with a new family activity that is free.  I don’t know what that activity is but I am looking for something that is both entertaining and interactive for all of us.

Regardless of the activity I still have to ask.  Are we spending our money wisely?  Does the activity make sense? Only time will tell!

So what’s your take?  Has there been a time when more money takes precedence over more time?  Or maybe a time when family time together has been much needed regardless of the finances?  I’d love to hear how you have dealt with the question, leave a comment below!

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