My wife and I are not debt free (although we are VERY close). When I was on my solo debt payoff journey, I went with the philosophy that ALL of my debt was an emergency, even before I had discovered Mr. Money Mustache. After I landed my full time job, I paid off my consumer and student loan debt in the span of just a few years. While this opened me up to so many opportunities, during those years, I also almost never relaxed, went out, or took a vacation.
On the other hand, my wife was cut of a different cloth. She had her consumer debt, paid the minimum on it and continued to live her life without any large sacrifices. On the one hand, she didn’t stress about every dollar like I had, but on the other, she ended up bringing her debt forward into our marriage since it hadn’t been paid off.
When we started to combine our finances, clearly something had to give. So, we sat down and figured out what we wanted. I let go of trying to save every single dollar and Kayla agreed to find a coffee we both loved so she didn’t feel the need to buy 3-4 coffees out every day. We started putting our money towards our priorities.
One of the most important line items we had was, and still is, our travel budget. We started setting aside money every month for vacations, even if we didn’t have a trip in mind. This allowed us to have very realistic dreams about travel and know that if some great opportunity came up, we could go for it.
Well, we just came home from an amazing opportunity that we used our travel budget to fund. We were in France for the women’s world cup! (USA USA USA!) We went to the 3rd/4th place game in Nice and it was an amazing experience. One that we will never forget. However, I’m not here to just tell you about our trip. As I added up all the costs of everything once we got back a couple of days ago, it dawned on me how this great, relaxing time away could have only happened because of how we budgeted.
So, while budgeting may not be the sexiest thing there is, it can provide amazing, once in a lifetime opportunities. Even if you still have some debt, I would strongly suggest trying to save up some funds in case you get overloaded and need a mental break. Rushing to pay off debt isn’t worth it if you are stressed out and don’t take care of yourself. If you could have paid the debt off 6 months or a year later, but been far happier during the process and been able to take that time off to recharge in between, wouldn’t you prefer that?
Set up the automatic savings, forget about it and let your mind begin to travel. Even a small amount is more towards your goal than you had yesterday.
Do you save for your vacations even if you are still in debt? If so, what was your most memorable trip? If not, why? Let me know in the comments below!