My Journey out of Debt

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Why Yes, We Can Afford That!

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My wife has an idea in her head, and when that happens, it consumes every ounce of her energy until either she finds a way to make it happen, or circumstances and restrictions put her idea completely out of reach, and crush her dream.

Debt BudgetingShe has wanted to go as a family to Wisconsin Dells for many years, and something made her start checking into options. Wisconsin Dells has many theme parks that can be enjoyed during the summer, and the hotels have indoor activities that can be enjoyed year round. 

She latched onto one of the largest and most well-known hotels that has an indoor water and theme park, as well as a "room" that sleeps 20 people.  If we could get four additional families to share the expense of the accommodations and get off-season rates (January), it would actually end up being very reasonable.

Did I mention when my wife does something, she goes all out?  The people in our neighborhood call my wife "The Cruise Director" for a reason. 

She asked around and found four other families that were willing to go if we could work out the details.  Of course, eventually she asked the inevitable question:

Can we afford this?

I instantly thought of a fellow blogger  whose website I visit often. The main message of the blog is that even if you are in debt, you can afford anything.  You just cannot afford everything. Obviously there are limits to this, as there's no way I can afford a $30 million dollar mansion, but I think you get the idea.

"Sure!" I said, without hesitation.

She looked at me kind of funny and wondered how I could be so sure.  After all, it seems like we are always struggling to fit within our budget, how could we possibly afford a family vacation, even a relatively inexpensive one?

I asked her what she was willing to give up in order to go on the trip.  We could afford the trip, or we could afford the little "extras" from now until January.  But not both.

It's all about priorities.

We went through our budget and made a list of all the "extras" we could cut or reduce temporarily, how much money it would save us, and added it up.  If we truly cut out the things on our list, we would have sufficient funds to go on the weekend getaway.

My wife was excited.  We broke the news to the kids, they were excited. 

When they're excited, I smile on the inside.

One of our close friends offered to reserve the room and put the necessary deposit on her credit card so she could get reward points (avoiding another problem since we don't have any credit cards).

The room is reserved and the whole group is looking forward to a neighborhood weekend event in January.

With self-control and discipline for the next four months, we are able to easily say, "Yeah, we can afford that."

Related Links:

Planning Our Budget Friendly Family Vacation

Renting a Car Without a Credit Card

Life Simplification

Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis very candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also follow along with Travis on his personal blog, Our Journey to Zero. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Great advise and I'm stealing your motto "We can afford anything, but not everything. What are you willing to do without for it?"

  • Hey drive that motto like you stole it, right ScottMo68?  How do you think I got it?  ;)  In any case, it really is great advice, and it's really stuck with me since I heard it.  If you really want something bad enough, the sacrifices will not seem as bad, as long as you keep your eye on the prize!

  • You know it's rather cold in Wisconsin in January, right?

  • Yeah, Jeff, living in Minnesota we're well aware of the weather in January - LOL.  However, The Dells have HUGE hotel "communities" that have indoor amusement and water parks that can be enjoyed year round.  It's going to be an amazing mini-vacation!

  • I've been called nuts, crazy, and obsessive for my early morning fitness routine. I call myself self-disciplined.

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