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The kids are out of school, the weather is getting warmer and your friends are starting to leave for the annual family vacation that they’ve been talking about for months. You’re both happy and sad at the same time. Happy that they’re getting to go and sad (or maybe even a bit jealous) that you have to stay home all summer. Nope, there’s not one trip on your calendar.
For some reason, our entitled society feels like we need to go on a vacation every year. Whether we can afford it or not, we make plans to go to that all-inclusive resort or the posh condo on the beach. We haven’t given a second (or even first) thought as to how we’re going to pay for the lavish trip because we plan on charging it, which means that we’ll be paying for it for the next 10 years (or more). Oy!
Call me old fashioned but I think that vacations are a luxury.
Growing up, the only vacations we had were to visit family. Our family of six would load up in our baby blue station wagon (yes, we really had one) and make our long journey from Tennessee to either Texas or Pennsylvania (usually the latter). The only time I remember going to the beach was when my aunt graduated nursing school at a college in Florida, and we didn’t even get in the water.
If you’re starting to feel sorry for me, please don’t! You see, these yearly family vacations were all I ever knew. They were quite normal for us and never once did I feel cheated. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I experienced the luxury of a vacation. (And I’m totally okay with that!) Yes, I call vacations a luxury because I firmly believe that’s what they are.
Here are three lessons we can learn by not going on vacation.
As the old saying goes, “good things come to those who wait.”
The truth of the matter is that we rarely have to wait on anything nowadays. We’ll drive through the local burger joint and get upset if our food isn’t ready when we pull up to the window; if the stop light turns green and the person in front of us doesn’t immediately start moving their car we blow our horn; I could go on but I think you get the point.
When we’re so attuned to not having to wait we lose what little patience we have (and, yes, I’m talking about myself too.) When we learn to wait for things we really want, like an awesome vacation, we learn patience.
If you’re waiting for the vacation you’ve always dreamed of, remind yourself that waiting is only temporary. Let me say that again, waiting is only temporary!
Cash is King
You already know that I’m a big fan of being on a budget and working toward becoming debt free, which, in turn, gives financial freedom. With that comes the responsibility of living within our means, which means saying no to good things now so we can say yes to better things later.
If you’re not currently paying cash for your vacations, just think of the peace of mind you’d have when you came back from an awesome week not having to worry about how you’re going to pay for it. I can just see the weight lifting off your shoulders now!
I promise that if you save up and pay cash for your next vacation you’ll appreciate it 100 times more than you did before!
Oftentimes our kids expect to go on a yearly vacation. (And if we’re being honest, we do too!) What are we teaching our kids with these unhealthy expectations? Heaven forbid that we learn to be content with staying at home. (Staycations are awesome and you can make just as many memories!) We tell ourselves that the Jones’ are going so we have to go too.
When we learn that going to Disneyland, the beach or our favorite hot spot is a luxury, we’ll learn contentment. And, yes, I say we because adults are just as bad as kids, if not worse. When we learn that lavish vacations are a luxury, we’ll learn contentment!
I may have stepped on a few toes here, but I’m okay with that. The purpose of this blog is to help you live an abundant life; learning patience and contentment and having financial freedom are all part of that (and they’re also things I’m learning myself.)
If your family is going on vacation this year, I’m super excited for you and hope you have a blast! But if you’re not going on vacation this year, don’t be bummed. You can still have a fantabulous summer and learn some valuable lessons too!
What do you think – are vacations a luxury or status quo?