My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

Gimmie A (Spring) Break!

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My wife and I are planning a trip to Florida in April with the kids.  For the last few months, we've been running numbers, having budget discussions, handling unforeseen car repair expenses, running more numbers, having budget discussions....well, you get the idea. We're trying to keep on task, ensuring we have the funds to make our trip to Florida everything we want it to be.  Then, as we looked at the big calendar on the refrigerator for this month, we noticed in big bold red letters the words "Spring Break" across the last week in March.  

My wife likes to do special activities with the family during school breaks, and suggested that we go see her brother who lives in Omaha - which is about 6 hours away.  I instantly started adding up in my head how much this excursion would cost us, and was not optimistic about the chances of being able to afford the trip.  She must have read my mind, as she proceeded to accuse me of being pessimistic, with a brief argument ensuing. 

We danced around the subject for several weeks, as the on again, off again trip was never discussed in any real detail.  In the past, this would have been an easy decision.  The credit card would come out, the hotel would be booked, and we'd be on our way.  After all, how much would the minimum monthly payment go up for a few hundred bucks?  However, now that we're living in a cash only world, this is a very different situation. 

Finally, one night after the kids went to bed, we sat down at the kitchen table and laid out our weekly budget, upcoming events including Easter, our daughter's birthday, as well as the budget for our Florida trip.  We discussed how much a trip to Omaha would cost us.  Hotel, gas, food, entertainment - it added up quickly.  We were both very surprised to see just how much a 2 day trip to visit her brother would cost us.  To be perfectly honest, my wife seemed to be a bit annoyed that it looked like we would not be able to make the trip.  Then something amazing happened.  After more discussion, we both came to the understanding that we just couldn't swing both trips, and we realized that it was OK.  Her brother would understand, and we will go on to have a great family vacation in April. 

With that behind us, could we find an alternate activity to do as a family during spring break?  A phone call to my mother-in-law confirmed that her fiancée could get us half-price day passes to an indoor water park where she lives only 45 minutes from home. We could even stay overnight at her mom's house and spend some time with her. Total cost for gas, water park tickets and lunch?  $65 - approximately 1/8 the cost of a 2 day trip to Omaha, and the kids are extremely excited about it! 

Does this story sound familiar to you?  Have you encountered a similar situation? How did you handle it, and what was the outcome? 

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