Several years ago in one of my graduate classes, the professor had us fill out a “getting to know you” sheet. One of the prompts read: “Fondest memories as a child _______.” After a short while, the class shared their results. Approximately 99% of the class shared their fondest memory was taking trips in the car as a family. Of course, we all complained about the lack of quality (or no) AC, annoying siblings, endless hours in the vehicle staring at desolate landscapes, and various unpleasant odors that accompanied the trips. However, despite having no smartphones or tablets, videos, or MP3 players (I’m really dating myself) – we all agreed those were the most cherished parts of growing up. The destinations, of course – but also the journey there: Stopping at hole-in-the-wall cafes/dives, using our creativity to invent games, spotting license plates from other states (still can’t believe we saw Hawaii one time), and praying feverishly that the hotel had anything that resembled a swimming pool.
Fast-forward to the present day. As we occasionally reflect and discuss our favorite memories as a family – the majority of conversations hover around vacations, the experiences we’ve encountered, the “unique” individuals that crossed our paths (usually resulting in deep belly laughter), and the eager anticipation for our next trip.
However, most of these memories come at a price beyond the trip. Confession time (gulp). Like the typical American consumer featured in some statistical chart somewhere – many of our trips have been funded by credit cards. I would love to live on cash only as many books, seminars, and financial experts proclaim. Excuse time: Our vehicles break down, teenagers eat a lot, medical expenses, holidays and birthdays, outdated appliances stop working, one of us always needs some type of new clothing, home repairs, two kids in college, did I mention teenagers eat a lot? 🙂 I know, it’s called Life.
Like the majority of families, we try to save. But something seems to always come up that drains the “emergency” fund. I’m reminded of this obscure verse in the book of Haggai: “. . . and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” (Haggai 1: 6b)
So . . . thinking about the quote in the picture and your own experiences – what is your opinion? Is there a way to save for a vacation beyond hopefully receiving a tax refund check? Only go if you have the cash? Charge it now, pay later? What about the opening scenes from the movie Up where Mr. & Mrs Fredricksen never got to take the trip of their dreams because things were always breaking down? Are you willing to work a year or two extra to pay off credit cards? Please compare and contrast the two verses below:
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” James 4: 14
Final thought: It seems like yesterday we were signing paperwork for daycare. Now, we are signing paperwork for colleges. It goes so fast with the kids – I personally want to experience as much as possible now, even if it means I have to pay for it later 🙂
What say you? Please comment below . . .
P.S. If you haven’t received a copy of my free ebook “31 Quotes to Destress Your Life” – you’re missing out! It was designed visually and linguistically (such big words!) to help you calm down, reorient, refocus, and fight against anxiety. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “destress” in the subject line. I’ll then send you a copy when I have a free moment and I’m not stressed out 🙂
Hilarious. Love this.
About saving for vacations (also cars, remodeling projects, kids college, or whatever), Get a good financial software. I recommend YNAB (You Need A Budget). Then break down your savings categories to include weekly expenses, monthly bills, quarterly bills, semi and annual bills, and the more fun categories. Work out a budget so that you can fund them from your pay each month even if it’s just a small amount in each category. We have done this for years and are completely debt-free in spite of the fact that we are both retired.
I say go for it…..as long as it doesn’t get too ridiculous. Families need it. you need it.
Brought back so many memories of summer road trips. We also loved the license plate game. Many of our trips were to visit family, but wherever we went, enjoying time together was the goal. You don’t have to break the bank to find things to do and see together. Our kids may not have had the opportunity to go to Hawaii or Europe, but we made lasting memories together as a family, just the same. No regrets.