Look at any given monthly report, and you’ll see that I’m always trying to catch up with friends. Just recently I was making a date with Katy and she mentioned we hadn’t seen each other since this time last year. And yet I know so much about what she’s been up to – social media has a lot to answer for! And I’m not alone, every year almost everyone forms an intention to spend more time with their friends, so this month I’m looking at a Stay in Touch Holistic Spending Plan.
Vision, Mission, Virtues
At almost every stage of life, there are a lot of reasons for trying to maintain deep and intimate relationships, and we talked about some of them when we were planning friendship. But for the moment, let’s imagine it’s someone who realises a year has gone by without meaningful contact with particular human beings…
Close loving relationships with friends and family.
Regular contact, in person, on the phone, or by ordinary mail. I’m including ordinary mail because these days it’s a real treat to receive something personal as well as bills when you check your box.
Let’s say Friendship, Love, and Reliability.
While it’s counterintuitive, I think that this kind of staying in touch needs to be a SMART goal. Ideally, you’d sit down, work out your priority people, and a contact schedule for each, and end up with a nice matrix. Then you’d phone people and book in person dates, and add them to your calendar along with times you plan to telephone and dates to send letters or cards. And then you’d just do them as the year progressed.
Basic Spending Plan
We’ll use the same basic proportional plan with the after-tax monthly income of $3,435.
We’ve identified three main types of communication:
- in person
- by phone
- by letter or card
and while all of them have a time component that needs to be planned for, each of them has a different financial requirement.
This will be a combination of visiting them at their homes, inviting them to you, and meeting in a third location.
When visiting them, you’ll need a hostess gift such as a cake, bottle of wine, or some flowers and this may cost $10 – $30.
When they visit you, you’ll provide a meal or snacks of some kind. There will also be drinks whether that’s a nice hot cup of tea with some cake or several bottles of wine with dinner. Say $15 to $350.
Meeting in a third location might be a picnic in the park. drinks at the pub or a café or a meal in a restaurant. This might be $15 – $100, though you might share the cost with your friend.
Let’s say $75 a month for a nice lunch with Katy (as opposed to a snack in the food court).
Depending on where you live, and your phone plan, each call may cost next to nothing, or $5-$20.
Let’s say talk to your parents who live in another state for an hour $18.
Many postal services are struggling at the moment as we don’t send much mail anymore. We keep in touch by email, and send gifts direct from the online store. The paper and ink will probably come from your own supplies, but a nice card might be $5, and then there’s postage on the top. It’s not really a lot of money, but it sure feels like it!
Let’s say $7 for a monthly card to a friend who lives overseas.
So all up, we’ve got $100 per month to find.
- Food: No change. Though depending on your other goals, you might trim this back a bit.
- Housing: No change for me.
- Clothing: A monthly luncheon does provide the temptation to buy new clothes, so you’ll need to watch this.
- Operations: Your phone and postal costs will come from here. You may need to look into new phone plans to subsidise the phone calls, and consider buying a bulk box of cards (say $25 for 10) to reduce the cost).
- Happy Life: The cost of your lunches will come from here. It’s tempting to trim costs from other departments to cover them, but present happiness shouldn’t cause future unhappiness, so you’ll need to choose a cost from here to cut. Or if you can’t or won’t do that, then the food court is looking good! Or you could consider a different activity with Katy such as a sandwich in the park followed by an ice cream cone on the way back to work.
Stay in Touch Holistic Spending Plan
So all up, no change to your financial allocations. just a shift in priorities. Hope you’re not too disappointed in me!
I think that staying in touch should just be part of the life that you lead. We all need human connection, the hard part of this goal is actually making the time for it. And you will find as I do, that sometimes you are not as high a priority for others as they are for you.