Earlier this year, when I really started getting more and more interested in finance, the idea of paying off debt and saving as much money as I could really took over. I kept telling myself that every last extra penny should go toward making headway on debt payoff. I dove in head first without really stepping back to look at the big picture. This may sound great and all, but now I realize the error in my ways.
A huge part of a great marriage is support. My wife reminded me that although it is great to pay off debt, it is important to not become a slave to it and let life pass you by. It’s all about balance. (Thank you sweetie for bringing me back down to earth.)
A few days ago we got back from our family vacation. Late last year we started planning a big family trip, so we have been saving for a while. Although those plans did not end up working out, my wife and I already had time scheduled off work and had some money saved up for travel. So, my wife, my daughter and I flew down to Florida. We visited family in Tampa and then drove to Orlando to surprise our daughter with 2 days in Disney World! I know what you’re thinking, how does a guy who is so focused on finance and debt payoff justify a trip to Disney?!
When my wife first mentioned the idea, I was hesitant. We had already saved a good chunk of money for our previously planned family trip, so it was not just like we decided to up and go out of nowhere. But after she did much research and deal finding, she was able to convince me just how affordable it was. First off, she found a terrific deal on flights through Southwest. She also was able to find some phenomenal deals for hotels on a travel site as well as a rental car for a week (which was lass that $100!). The biggest help of all, however, was with the tickets to Disney World. We have a close friend that works for Disney and was able to get all three of us in the park for FREE! (Thanks so much Jon!) If it was not for the great deals and the free tickets, there is no way it would be in our budget.
In the end, we calculated that our entire trip to Florida cost just a little more than what the plane tickets alone would have cost on our big family trip. And you know what? I feel so refreshed. I resisted the trip in the beginning, but now I am so glad that we went. (And to the best wife ever, yes, you can now officially say “I told you so”.) Also, financial-wise, we planned our trip so that it would not impact our debt payoff plan. We are still right on track.
Many people hustle and grind for so long, they may start to lose focus of what they are working for. If you need to slow down your financial plans to take a break and free your mind, do it. In the end you’ll be happy you did. Once you do so, you will feel so rejuvenated and may even have a clearer path to your financial freedom. My lesson I learned from this, thanks to my wife, don’t get so focused on your fight to defeat normal that you lose sight of what you are fighting for. It’s all about balance.
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