I remember when we had our cruise planned back in 2010, a friend asked, "Why would you spend so much money on a Disney Cruise?! Why not buy a car or something? That money is gone in a week!"
Evidently, our friends aren't the only ones who feel that way. I've recently seen several bloggers discuss and defend their spending on vacations. Here's a snarky one that is Disney-specific, and another post from a general travel blogger. By the way, I enjoy a little well-placed snark now and then.
We've waited 6 years for this and it's truly a dream vacation for us. After the kids willingly gave up their trip in 2010, we promised we would go in the future. Since that time, we've taken several major hits on our income. That's a long story, possibly for another blog, but we've literally had our salary cut in half for long seasons since selling our Highland Village house.
Even with serious cuts to our budget, God has provided. We've not been able to do all of the things we used to, but we've always had a home and food on our table. (Cutting it close sometimes!) Over the past year, I've increased my work hours, which I love, and Ken has had some opportunities to do contract work. (For those wondering about owning a business, 2 1/2 years in, neither Ken nor his partner have taken a salary. I think some people have the misconception that a thriving business equals tons of cash. Later down the road, that's the goal, of course, but it's not fast money.)
Read here how we had fun in and around Austin, either free or super cheap!
In our budget last year, Ken and I noticed a window of opportunity if we saved well, purposed our dollars, and found cost-savings wherever possible, we could finally take the cruise we'd been waiting for.
When it comes to saving for anything you want, it all comes down to priorities. I don't get my nails done. Ken doesn't golf. I cut my boys' hair and the rest of us go to a local hair place that costs $15-$40 for a haircut, depending. We buy our clothes at Ross, Target, Once Upon A Child and even Goodwill, sometimes splurging for nice shoes or shopping sales at the mall.
We would love to buy a house here in Austin, but honestly have enjoyed renting a house for the past 4 years. It's nice to not have some of the headaches of home ownership. While we really want to find a home with a pool, we've decided we can find a rental with a pool when it's time for us to move. We've owned 3 homes and have our entire lives to buy the next one.
For us, driving the newest, most fancy car isn't a big priority. So when I needed a new vehicle last summer, I found a $3000 Expedition that ran, had AC (and only ac...no heat), a lot of quirks, but functioned well and could get our family safely from A to B. Our other vehicle, the black, massive Excursion, has been our family member now for over 10 years. We paid it off 8 years ago and intend to drive it until only a heap of metal remains. For someone else, they'd much rather put more cash into a nice car that will last a number of years than take a 2-week vacation.
There is no right or wrong answer; it's just a matter of what is important to you and your family.
And this family DOES like to travel! 7 out of 7 Brownies agree, so the decision to save for a special trip as opposed to something else is an easy one.
Patience is required. We aren't sitting on a ton of cash reserves at this point in our lives, so we need time to save in increments. We booked this trip one entire year in advance. While waiting is hard, it gives me time to plan and anticipate, which I actually love doing! By the time we pack into our beloved, old Excursion and set off for Florida, the trip will be paid for, so we can truly enjoy our time without worrying about how we'll pay off the bills once we get home.
I'll be sharing a few blogs about how exactly I've been planning, budgeting, and organizing for this trip. I hope you enjoy!