Hello, my name is Warren, and I do not like to spend money. If it was not for my wife I would still be wearing the same jeans with the same shirt she met me in back in November of 2004. But with all successful relationships there must be balance, and she is my counter-weight. Where I save, she spends. I have learned to appreciate this quality in her over time as I have come to understand that money has no value in itself, other than the value of money to provide options and experiences to its user.
Remember Vacations are a Luxury item, no one has ever died because they did not get a Vacation. Think of these as a reward for being a responsible financial steward of your monies.
Today, my wife and I have returned from a 4 night cruise down to the port of Cozumel, Mexico to celebrate our relationship and the future birth of our first child. I surprised her with this trip nearly a month and a half ago on her birthday and she was completely caught off guard as this gift was highly out-of-character for yours truly. Now that we have returned, sunburns and all, I get to begin the sadistically fun part of analyzing what this trip cost our household.
When I say “cost our household” please do not read a value statement into that, I mean merely what did this trip do to the numbers in our accounts to enjoy this experience.
|Vacation Cost Accounting|
|Cruise Tickets x 2||$820.26|
|Total Cost of 4 Night Cruise to Cozumel||$1,409.27|
|One final relaxing get-away with Wife||Priceless|
This numbers are as correct as I can remember. I had to rely heavily on my wife to assist with number procurement as once we arrived in Mexico my mental state remained somewhat altered.
Now, let’s just round up to $1,500 dollars for simplicity’s sake. Did the trip have a $1,500 value is the question to be asked. If the answer is yes then as consumers of Cruise Vacations my wife and I would again look to a future Cruise, if the answer is no then other options would be explored for future vacations (trips to Miami, inclusive resorts, travel abroad, etc).
The trip not taken
In my opinion the cruise was worth the $1,500.00. Say hypothetically, we had decided to travel to Miami (we stopped over for one night in Miami during our honeymoon and both sincerely enjoyed the shops, food, and atmosphere of south beach and will return someday). Below is a hypothetical vacation worksheet for what that trip may have cost us:
|Hypothetical Trip to Miami|
|Total Cost of 4 Night trip to Miami||$1,422.87|
As you can see by taking this route many of the “inclusive” expenses start to rear their ugly heads. Also, we avoided a large impact on our finances that serves largely no major “experience” purpose- the airfare.
In the end, the decision to take a trip by Cruise won out largely due to the uniqueness of the opportunity. The experience was much more relaxed as there was no air travel involved, the vacation was the first Cruise for both of us, we got to travel to a different country, and be utterly pampered with all you could eat meals, entertainment, and serene views of endless water.
One question you may be asking is how can we have $1,500 just sitting around for an impromptu vacation. Well, as I described in a previous post, a little planning and an understanding of how you get paid can result in a forecast of cash inflow that is largely at your discretion to “invest” (April happened to be one of the months with an extra paycheck for me). Could we have taken that same $1,500 and put it toward our student loans? Of course. But as a very predictable major life changing event was on our horizons we took that money and made an investment in our relationship. As a child enters our family our lives will never be the same as they were. It was in our best interest, and his future best interest to spend this money, take some times for us, and ensure our relationship foundation is strong.
Before taking any vacation I would strongly urge you to take a second and see how it fits into your “big picture”. Every person’s financial reality is different and should be viewed with its own unique lens. Just ensure you are applying the foundation of financial principles, that you make more than you spend, and pay cash. If you cannot pay cash or float the vacation on your credit card (paying it off as soon as you return) for the “rewards” (yay for 1,400 points) then you probably should not be taking a vacation in the first place, at least not one that entails travel.