Mar 18, 2014

Sallie & Perkins Believe in Vacations


Sallie & Perkins are getting controversial today. Yep, you heard it and you better buckle up because it might get a little bumpy! Ever since last June when we truly, seriously started this journey to slash our debt ASAP, we've been on our A-game. We try to motivate others to take control of their own debt situations, to stop spending, to pay extra on loans, etc... So what happens when Sallie & Perkins take a vacation?

I had a few people make the comment to me that they were shocked we would spend money on a vacation. (They were referring to our recent trip to DisneyWorld.) That got me thinking about our situation and it seemed like a perfect time to take a step back and look at what underlying principles guide what we do. To sum things up we believe in the power of KISS.

No, not that kinda' kiss. Keep It Simple, Stupid! Ever since Perkins and I sat down at the dining table last year we both decided to make a plan about our finances (using ideas from the likes of Dave Ramsey), talk about our spending habits regularly and most importantly to keep it simple sweetie! Perkins adaptation of the phrase ;)   We knew that if we tried to make it complex with charts, data-mining software and some financial advisor's 27 simple steps to debt freedom we would get discouraged as we would most likely fail to achieve them all.  That's why we chose to keep it simple and have some fun along the way on this debt journey.

Perkins and I researched and crunched numbers and analyzed and over-analyzed taking vacation this year. We truly put a lot of time, thought and prayer into it... and I'm not exaggerating. It took us quite a while to make a decision and I thought I'd help take away the shock factor for you all and fill you in on our process:

1. We came across an incredible deal for the trip. Disney deals are few and far between, but I did my research, knew the date/time the deal would be released and you better believe I was sitting at my computer at 5 a.m. when it went live to make sure we were able to book at the lowest rate.

2. We paid cash for the trip and still continued paying extra on our student loans each and every month. Our trip was completely paid for well in advance of our actual travel dates. 

3. My job. Due to my work schedule, I'm not allowed to take extended vacation time (more than 1-2 days) from mid-July until mid-January for the most part. That leaves a pretty small window of travel time and if we'd waited until our debt was paid off (shooting for August) we'd be waiting until the following Spring to even plan anything.

4. We looked at our budget and our projected end-date, and realized that by not going on vacation we'd only pay off our debt maybe a month or two earlier. One or two months?! Was sacrificing a vacation worth one more month of student loan debt? We decided no.

Now I don't say all this just say you can justify any type of vacation at any cost or at any given time, but I thought I'd share why we felt comfortable doing so. In fact, I'll just go ahead and put this out there right now:  We're going on another vacation before this year is over. And it fits into all the same reasons above that "allowed" us to go to DisneyWorld.

Most financial people, even Dave, would probably tell us this isn't the best use of our money, but it's just something we didn't want to miss out on. Long before we got married, we talked about all the places we would travel to as a couple, all the things we'd experience, all the new places we'd get to see together. It's something we've wanted for a long time! Jared Perkins and I will only be young and without children for so long and something we love doing together is traveling! To me, I'd much rather sacrifice eating out for a few months or a new Spring wardrobe if it meant a trip somewhere was possible. 

What are your thoughts? Do you spend money on vacations though you own someone money? What would you do if you were in Sallie & Perkins's shoes?

42 comments:

  1. Vacations are super important for couples and I think that's a great use of money. I wish I had your willpower because I literally buy something online everyday. I have a real problem... Lol

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  2. It's all about priorities and you said so yourself - you sacrificed other wants like eating out or new clothes to do so. That's part of any responsible budget, and in a way, it's a reward for staying on track. Just like any discipline, If you deny yourself EVERYTHING for too long, a worse relapse is more likely. I'm glad you had fun and were still able to think about and plan it responsibly.

    Can't wait to hear about your next trip! We're DYING to travel right now.

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  3. I think taking vacations is a necessary investment in yourself and in your marriage. Yes, the cost can sometimes make a person's stomach turn (especially Disney trips)--but if you get entirely TOO caught up in saving money that you're not allowing yourself to invest yourself in experiences, I think the entire point is lost. I think you made a good decision. And honestly? I think it's your business if you decide to take a vacation or not--even if you do this saving series.

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  4. We don't have any debt, but we're hard core trying to save for a house, so we both have a hard time shelling out the $ to go on vacation. Plus, Jordan doesn't actually LIKE traveling all that much. (I know, he's crazy!) All that to say, I still think spending money on fun things like eating out and vacations is important so you don't get obsessed with saving and forget to splurge every once in a while. Right now I'm planning a small-scale mini vacation for later this year. We have a "travel" fund we put money into every month that allows us to pay cash and not worry about the budget so much. I think you're spot on! Also... what is this vacation deal place you used? Is it like a Groupon type thing? I'm always afraid to buy a Groupon vacation because I'm nervous they'll send me to some shack somewhere.

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  5. I think you guys made the right decision. We're in a little bit of a different situation--we're not in debt, but we're anticipating a lifestyle change which requires some hardcore saving right now--yet we still decided to have a mini-vacation later this Spring. Sure, we could put the money that we'll spend on that getaway straight into savings and be done with it, but I truly believe that this is a good investment of our money too, and investment in memories. And when we're not even spend all that much (hooray for AirBnB!) it's easy to justify.

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  6. I don't think there's anything wrong with taking a vacation as long as you're smart about it (which you obviously were). Ben and I have taken a small weekend trip and a bigger 5-day trip already this year, even though we're focusing on not going into debt while I'm in school. For both I was able to project the amount of money we'd be spending and build it into our budget for that month, so it wasn't like we were spending any extra money. Our tax return paid for a little bit but most of it was covered by our normal spending money. I hope to take at least another trip before this year is over and plan to budget for it the same way. If you crunched the numbers and found out that not taking a vacation would only buy you a month or two, I think you were absolutely right to do so! It's all about balance. Money is important but it's not everything, and as long as you're really thinking about what you're spending and why, I think it's totally valid.

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  7. So I probably use you and your husband as an example to Freddie way. too. much. But he's gotten on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon lately and we've been doing a lot more financial planning (and it feels gooood). I think it is wonderful you took at trip! And planned it out so efficiently...(and I mean, come on! It's Disney!) I think it's good to find a balance when breaking down the debt. I don't think one should sacrifice living life to the extent of where he or she doesn't experience anything new or exciting! And to get to go on a trip where it's been planned so well and everything has been paid for? Brownie points.

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  8. I think it's great you guys were able to go on vacation - it's YOUR money and your life, so you need to do what's important to you! And I totally agree, a month or two delay is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things!

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  9. I agree! You will always be able to make money but vacations will be harder to take (and more expensive) later in life. As long as you take a vacation wisely and not go too crazy with the spending, it is totally worth it! You will hold onto those memories forever, unlike spending money on clothes that you will forget about in a year!

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  10. ALWAYS make time/save money for vacations!!! (That's my motto!)

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  11. Reading your post about how awesome you have been doing with slashing debt, I totally think that you earned the vacation!!! And plus if you didn't take it I wouldn't have been able to read all the amazing post from that vaca!

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  12. We ALWAYS do vacations!! Eric was a hard one to convince in the beginning that vacations are a necessity, but seriously!! I guess we have been blessed in a way that we didn't have to go into debt for school, so our debt has been very minimal throughout our marriage. But vacation seriously saves us! We just went to AZ last week and Eric was at his breaking point on the drive over. He was so discouraged with work and so many other things. On the drive home? He was totally singing a different tune! He just needed a break! We all did! And Mia was in HEAVEN with the time she got to spend with both of us!! It really came at the exact moment we needed it. A break from life and time to truly soak up family time and forget all of our worries! So I believe it's worth EVERY penny!

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  13. We have really been cracking down on our spending and trying to pay off our debts as well. But we also have a vacation fund that we put a little in to every month- with the goal of taking a vacation in October for our anniversary. For us- traveling is important, and I think we're going about it smartly- making sure that we're still able to save up/pay off other things as well.

    Good post lady! Sallie and Perkins are kicking butt.

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  14. I think you ABSOLUTELY need to enjoy life and taking a little break to treat yourselves was well deserved :) And the shirt Perkins has on... amazing!

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  15. Paying off debt is SO important, but so is staying sane!! And that is what vacations are for!!!! We are only young once ;)

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  16. Ha! First of all, I love the pictures, they crack me up! :)

    Secondly, that's great that you guys were able to sit down & discuss debts/vacations & be on the same page. Good for you!

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  17. Someone called you out for going on vacation!? That is ridiculous. Good for y'all for taking a trip. You guys work so hard to get rid of your debt, good grief! You need a vacation every once in a while. :)

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  18. I had a feeling ppl had been saying things about this whole scenario. My thoughts are for them to mind their own darn business! I work two jobs and hardly get time at home. We plan vacations to keep us sane, that give us much needed time together and allow us to have fun. We also book when there are great rates, like you, and use resources that get us free things (ie free flights due to points). We only live once, who knows when you won't have time, money, etc to do it again!

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  19. I love this philosophy! The hardest part of budgeting is the "no fun" part! I think adding fun into the equation (especially paid in cash, Disney themed fun!) is essential in succeeding! Plus - it's your lives, so I think you should do what you want to do!!!

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  20. "Travel is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer" I completely agree with your decison to explore and enjoy each other's company on a trip! I'm also one who likes to travel and I think its awesome that you pay cash for them.....makes them even more enjoyable.

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  21. I think vacations are a must. Couples really need that time together, just away from every day stress, at least once in a while. My husband and I are working on getting out of debt, but we are very strict on the fact that we take at least one vacation a year. Great job in planning your trip though! I'm never that much of a planner. I usually just pick the vacation I want and book it. Obviously I need to plan better. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. SUPPORT! You need to make your relationship a priority and it sounds like the two of you planned it really well. Yay for vacation!

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  23. Go on vacation girl! You only live once. Life would be pretty boring if all we did was work and pay bills.

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  24. Vacations/mental health days/etc. are a must! I will easily eat at home, skip new clothes, whatever to go on a vacation!

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  25. Vacations are so needed and such a great motivator!! I'm sure people can get burned out so easily if they don't reward themselves from time to time. And plus, those memories last a lifetime. I'm sure you'll never regreat it!

    PS- your hair is getting so long. Love it!!

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  26. I think Sallie and Perkins deserve a vacation, especially after reading about how hard and long the hours are at your job! There's no reason you shouldn't be able to take one and if you can get a great deal (I've priced many a Disney vacay, so I know what you mean!) there's no reason to say no. :)

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  27. Absolutely 100% agree with needing vacations. I'm one of those people who didn't get to go on vacations growing up because my dad was the biggest workaholic and wouldn't take off the time, so that's what I'm looking forward to now that we're making our own money. The honeymoon will be our first one but definitely not the last. Making memories with your husband is more important than one more month of debt! You guys deserve it after all this hard work you've put into it!

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  28. So we have two kids with another on the way... We did a major overhaul on our finances when I became a stay at home mom. We live on a pretty strict budget. But vacations are a non negotiable for us. We want our children to have experiences and it's simply a must for my husband and I.. So yes we believe in vacations too.. I'll be referring to your posts when we take our kids to Disney next year 😀

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  29. I totally think yall deserved to treat yourselves to a Disney vacation, especially if you were able to find such a great deal :)

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  30. I say "Bravo!" to Sallie & Perkins (and Erin & Jared ;-) )! Seriously, enjoy life. Vacations are a MUST. And as I repeat all the time, y'all have kicked this debts ass. Early rewards (and breaks) are so deserved.
    Where is vacation number 2 going to be?

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  31. Good for you two...work hard, play hard right? You 2 have been kicking your student loan's in the behind so you deserve a little fun and who can pass up a Disney deal?!

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  32. What are some tips/tricks you've got for saving towards a bigger vacation or getting good deals? We both want to travel more but as you know its not always easy!

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  33. Who are these people who say a vacation is not a good use of money?! On top of everything else you're doing with your money I'd say a vacation is exactly the right use!

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    1. And also, who cares, it's your money!!!

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  34. I firmly believe in vacations. I think people who want to pooh pooh others for how they spend their money are aholes, frankly.

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  35. I believe in vacations. I'm taking a short one, to go see my best friend get married next weekend. Could I have spent the money on something else, or an extra payment? Probably, but I need a break.

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  36. I just discovered your blog and I LOVE your Sallie and Perkins series! My husband and I used Dave Ramsey to pay off our debt and we've been debt free for just over a year now, it's a great feeling and you guys are making awesome progress! I completely believe in vacations, I just usually have to convince my frugal husband who likes to save money more than he likes to spend it (we balance each other out really nicely). We're continuing on with the seven baby steps to achieve our wealth ;) I have a series sort of like this on my blog, just not as unique and not as fun and entertaining ;)

    Amberly
    http://lifewithamberlyandjoe.com

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  37. First of all, are Sallie and Perkins for hire? I'd really like them to help get my finances in order and get me out of debt sooner. TEACH ME YOUR WAYS!!! And if I were you two - Sallie and Perkins - I'd go vacation! Personal happiness is so so important and so is taking a break from your every day life to enjoy time together in a magical place like Disney and wherever else you're going this year.

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  38. vacations are a MUST for sanity reasons, you need to take even a little vacation and if you have a great deal (especially to Disney) you cant pass it up!

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  39. Travel is one thing that I would never cut out of my budget. Maybe I'd find ways to travel CHEAPER, but I wouldn't just not go if I could afford it (without putting the costs on a credit card). I'm just surprised people would say anything about it to you! I mean, hello, you've been trying to be 'good' with finances for a reason... so you can go out and live the life you want!

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  40. Yes! I believe vacations are a MUST! Especially before kiddos. :) Even better when you can pay cash, such a great feeling! I don't think we'll ever cut out travel, but we recently had to re-evaluate our plans for this summer and decided to go somewhere closer (and cheaper!).

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  41. um this is not even a 2nd thought in our house ever- vacation each year big or small is a MUST!!!!

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