How to budget on a family holiday

It’s been a long year. The three months off work recovering from open heart surgery wasn’t really a break.

Being pretty well immobilised and laying on the lounge room floor watching videos and reading books kept me busy, but not rejuvenated.

I knew I had to get back to work because the problem with having that much time off work is, you have time to research all the great ideas in business building. There are online strategies, marketing opportunities and events. All great ideas and ones I thought I could use when I threw myself back into the fray in February this year.

Hamilton Island - beach and boats

We had already planned the transition of Rick Rutten's business into Evolution Financial Planning and this was completed by 1st April 2014.

With this transition, came more work. New clients, new systems as well as making sure existing clients were being looked after. We have brought on new staff to cater for the growth. We have established a Townsville office that while not needing a lot of resources, still required time and effort.

James and Karen Cruz and kids

It has been a hectic period of my life and by August, I had realised I probably jumped into work too quickly and I was feeling burnt out.

Besides, my family had also been through all of this with me, and they needed a break as well.

Other than some recent trips to Yamba or Darlington Park, our family generally took a month off over Christmas and re-charged in Lennox Head. Why would you want to be anywhere else?

After some deliberation and spending time with a travel agent, it was agreed that Hamilton Island would be our destination of choice. Virgin flights booked, accommodation, kids under 12 eat free (thanks Ella) free water sports and the reef snorkelling trip done.

Hamilton Island water view

The boat took us out to the reef on the second day. We had great fun snorkelling over and around the reef.

Unfortunately, Ella and I got caught in the Great Australian current and had to be bought in by a boat. Rylee our eldest daughter went against my advice and went past the “Drop Zone” and was a little anxious after that. There were some great “Finding Nemo” moments on this trip.

We eventually made it back to Hamilton Island and had time for a rest before dinner. We got ready and were about to leave for dinner.

Keys to the golf buggy? Check.

Wallet? Missing.

I had left my wallet on the boat.

A quick call to Airlie Beach found nothing was left on the boat. I was distressed. I would have to cancel and re-issue cards etc. A painful experience as many of you have had to endure.

Fortunately, Karen had her cards. The beauty of not having a wallet on a trip like this soon became apparent.

Hamilton Island - Pool

Whenever the kids wanted:

  • Mocktails
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Souvenirs
  • Sunglasses
  • Clothes
  • Or any other item that required payment

...I didn’t have to worry about it.

It really was a blessing in disguise.

Poor Karen had the responsibility of all of this. Mothers can generally be tougher than fathers and we ended up having a wonderful, rejuvenating holiday and were able to share some great times and create wonderful memories for our family.


Take a family holiday and get refreshed and make sure one of you lose your purse or wallet because while it may seem distressing, it can be the best thing to happen to you.

P.S. My wallet was eventually handed into the Whitsunday police station and I picked it up this week still with the cash inside. Pretty lucky.