Got this great email the other day. It’s an excellent question. And by the way, I LOVE giving free advice.
I’ve been following your blog and twitter for about a year now and actively trying to get my financials in a better position. I’m 27 with a solid job, a car payment, and some credit card debt. Every purchase I make, I now ask myself if it is necessary or will it make getting out of debt more difficult. My girlfriend of a year is also on board with this and has also made a commitment to save and stay out of debt.
The issue becomes at what point are you allowed to spend money? She would really like to take a vacation together later this year. Every time I think about it I think of how far that $500-$1000 I will spend could go towards my debt. And I know for her it would either take a hit on her savings, or go right on a credit card.
When I try to save so much money each month to put towards my credit card, it seems counter productive to take some of that for a vacation fund. We’ve looked at cruises to avoid food costs, all inclusive resorts to avoid drink costs, but the costs of all these just get overwhelming. I’m inclined to just say we can’t afford it this year, but I’m sure I will feel like this every year it comes up. I hate spending so much money on a trip that is over before you know it. But at some point, doesn’t everyone need a little time away to relax on a beach?
Would love to hear your thoughts on this situation.
It’s possible that you truly can’t afford to do it. What’s happened over the last several months is that you’ve raised the bar on your financial life. You are intentional with your money, and you refuse to “buy something and figure out how to pay for it later.” This is a good thing. However, this is what is creating a conflict. You’re battling your old sensibilities in making this decision. But have you gone too far? Is it possible to let up on the reins for a couple of months in order to go on this trip, without hurting your financial life? If so, do it. If not, then don’t do it. You can hit pause on your debt pay down, as long as you don’t go backwards by going on this trip.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.