With the summer season now underway, you may be in the process of planning this year’s vacation. Where will you go, what will you wear, and what will you eat?
Before you pop the cork and get things movin’ and groovin’ though, I want to ask you some questions. I hope you don’t hate me for it but I think it’s important…
Do you have debt?
If your answer is yes, my next question might ruffle some feathers. Why are you going on vacation?
I want you to know that I love vacations. In fact, I want you to take all the vacations you want…but only when you’re truly prepared to do so. I know I may hold a minority opinion or one some would consider extreme or unrealistic, but I think not sacrificing a vacation to eliminate your debt is extreme.
It’s not forever; only for a short period of time.
It’s easy to simply dismiss the debt because your minimum payments seem manageable, but you have to ask yourself, At what cost? How long will your minimum payments eat away at your potential? That’s right, every single dollar you owe someone else, is a dollar you don’t have to follow your passion, build wealth, or retire with dignity. It’s also one less dollar you have to give someone else that may need your help.
Is a vacation worth that risk?
Are you ready to take a vacation? Let’s find out. If any of the statements below describes you, you’re clear for take-off; otherwise, you may want to evaluate your priorities to see if a better financial decision could be reached.
- You’re debt free except for the house with an emergency fund of at least 3 months worth of expenses set aside.
- You’re not debt-free but you’ve made great progress. The problem is you’re feeling stretched, burnt out, and ready to give up. (As opposed to giving up, take a mini vacation then get down to business when you are refreshed.)
- Your vacation will be fully funded using money you actually have to spend, AND you’ve paid off your vacation debt from last year. (You learned your lesson -– no vacation is worth debt.)
- Your vacation will be funded with vacation savings not your emergency fund.
If you couldn’t answer yes to any of those statements you probably need a new plan. Even though society has brainwashed us to think we deserve instant gratification because we work hard, you should reject that bogus idea.
The truth is you DO work hard for your money which is why you shouldn’t be okay with continuing to flush it down the toilet.
Will you let this cycle destroy you financially?
First you lose money, and then you lose hope, and the next thing you know you’re flat broke wondering what to do next. The thing you should know is the answer will be the same one year, five years, even 20 years down the road -– pay off your debt.
If you eliminate your debt now, you’ll find yourself in a scenario down the road where you’ll truly deserve a nice vacation. Until then, all you deserve is freedom.
How do you weigh the costs of a vacation with the importance of paying off debt? Please share your thoughts with the community below.
Brad Chaffee is a PerkStreet Customer Columnist who also authors Enemy of Debt, a place he passionately but candidly tackles the psychological issues related to our own habits and behaviors regarding money. Brad and his family crawled out from under $26,000 of debt and some major bad habits to become debt-free in 20 months, and he believes that if they can do it, you can too! Aside from his blog, you can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.