Justifying the Cost of Experiences

Justifying the Cost of Experiences

Well, we’ve been living in Utah for six months now, and Johnny and I haven’t taken a single day off from work. Okay, that’s not completely true… we’ve taken a few sick days. But those don’t really count, do they? Suffice it to say, the last six months have been full of work, work, work. And if we’re being honest, this is par for the course for Johnny and me. We’re not shy about letting each other know that we need a vacation. Nope, not shy about that at all. And we even go so far as to daydream about where we’d like to go and when. But then the months pass, and here we sit, as our vacation days accrue and collect dust.

Obviously, we have a problem. We just can’t seem to pull the trigger on taking vacation time. So we’ve told ourselves, “This is the year! We will vacation, and we will do it well.” Or something like that. But what started all this vacationless silliness in the first place? If you asked us, we’d say, “Oh, you know. We’re just so… busy. So very, very busy.” But that, ladies and gents, is the mother of all excuses. Anytime anyone says they’re busy, it’s an excuse, mmmk?

Why did your plant die? Why did you stop exercising? Why don’t you brush your teeth?

“Oh you know… I’m just so… busy.” (But for the record, I do brush my teeth.)

For one thing, we are actually busy, but it’s not the reason for not vacationing. The truth is that we just haven’t made it a priority. But for another thing, vacations cost lots of dollars. Like, lots. Like, we can try really hard to get a really good deal, and it’s still one of our biggest expenses for the year. So sometimes it’s easier to just talk about that amazing vacation we’d like to take and then never actually spend the money to take it. And at the end of the year, we’re a couple thousand dollars richer because of it.

But we’re also very exhausted. And still in desperate need of a vacation. And kind of cranky.

So when Johnny and I had the “This is the year! The year of vacations!” talk a few weeks ago, we also talked about why we were going to make vacations a priority. And why it was worth spending the money. And here’s our conclusion: We spend a lot of money over the course of the year. And in those 365 days, some of that money gets spent on pretty dumb stuff. And thousands of it gets spent on food. FOOD! Do you ever look back and reminesce on food you ate five years ago? I don’t. But memorable experiences? Those stick around. And we ain’t getting those memorable experiences by working every day of our lives. That’s what vacations are for. So, yeah, it’s gonna cost us a couple thousand dollars to take a few trips this year. But we’re gonna do it anyway — because it’s totally worth every memory made and every single penny.

Do you have a hard time justifying the cost of experiences, too?

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  • Reply Kasey February 12, 2014 at 8:10 am

    I moved to Utah a little over a year ago. Since then I have taken a lot of cheaper mini vacations since I’m new to the area, I think you mentioned you have family in the area so Utah is probably not all that new to you but what about a mini vacation? A long weekend visiting somewhere nearby?

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:31 am

      Good call, Kasey! As you can see, we took your idea to heart :). We are excited to explore more of what Utah has to offer!

  • Reply Becky @ RunFunDone February 12, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I absolutely do not have a hard time justifying travel! Travel is super important to me! That being said, 1 of our 3 short-term savings goals is for travel. So we make travel a priority, but we don’t go overboard. We book travel after our travel savings account has enough money in it to be able to pay for the booking. Right now we’re at the point where we could book a vacation, if a good deal came along! Yay!

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:33 am

      That’s a good method! Johnny and I need to be better about making it a priority. After our much needed weekend getaway, we feel much more motivated to making more vacations happen! 🙂

  • Reply Little House February 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Good for you! Take that vacation! This year, I’m actually not taking any vacations except maybe a camping trip. Mr. LH and I decided we need to focus on paying off debt and investing/saving. Of course, I did go to NYC in early January, but I’m not counting that! 😉

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:35 am

      Good for you guys for setting your priorities for the year! At the very least, make sure you take a few stay-cations so you can at least catch up on R&R throughout the year!

  • Reply andee February 12, 2014 at 10:06 am

    My husband has to do the justifying of vacations in our house. I don’t really like traveling, but he loves it. And I always love it once we’ve gone and come back. He has to push me to have fun – ludicrous I know. I’m totally content to just work my life away. I can always tell when I need a vacation thought because I start resenting my job. Then we go on vacation and we come back and I’m in love with work again.
    I’m excited you guys are going on vacation!! Can’t wait to hear about it! I’m also interested in the logistics and differences of traveling with a baby/toddler.

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:38 am

      Johnny’s more like you when it comes to travel. But once we’ve gone, he loves it. If it were up to me, our lives would just be one big vacation. And good idea on posting about the logistics of traveling with a baby… I’ll do a post on it soon. It’s definitely different, that’s for sure :).

  • Reply Dana P. February 12, 2014 at 10:21 am

    This post came just in time… I’m currently dealing with the same thing. I’ve been tossing around the idea of planning a weekend getaway when my school semester ends, but keep weighing it against the cost. I know I could really use the break away from school, work, etc. Thanks for the reminder that the memories and relaxation found on vacations is totally worth it.

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:39 am

      Yes, you deserve it, Dana! It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a getaway from all the day-to-day stresses!

  • Reply Amanda @ Passionately Simple Life February 12, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Vacations are so so so important. Even quick getaways have to be put in there somewhere or the bf and I would have gone crazy a long time ago. Those few days off somewhere else really help recharge the mind and body. You guys should definitely make it a priority in your lives, along with food and internet!

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Yup, vacations, food, and Internet all need to get a little higher on the totem pole in our house. After getting away this past weekend, we’re feeling recharged and remotivated. And our Internet is currently working, so that’s a plus!

  • Reply Lauren May February 12, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Vacations are a must! Gotta recharge those batteries every so often 🙂 I never have trouble justifying travel expenses because it’s something we love to do. However, we do try to stick to a budget on trips.

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:42 am

      Good reminder, Lauren… keeping a budget while on vacation is a must! It’s easy to get caught up in feeling care free and wanting to just throw your money at everything :).

  • Reply Brian February 12, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Nope. We go on at least one vacation a year. We save for it and go. We try to do international, but that is probably going to slow down since our little guy will be over two in June and will no longer be super cheap to fly with. Of course we offset a lot of our costs with credit card churning, but I also realize that is not something that everyone wants to do.

    We also try to do a couple weekend getaways to refresh a bit. We like to go to national parks and stay in cabins that don’t have internet and are very basic so we can unplug.

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:44 am

      That’s the other reason we hope to travel this year… next year our girl will be two! Yowza. That’s great you’ve found a way to churn those credit cards to your advantage… I say if you can find a way to save, go for it!

      While we were gone this past weekend, neither of us checked our emails and it was AMAZING.

  • Reply Mrs PoP February 12, 2014 at 11:02 am

    It used to be a lot harder to justify, partly because of time and money. But the last few years have changed things a bit for us and we are more focused than ever on doing things instead of having things.

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 12:45 am

      That’s great, Mrs. PoP. What a great philosophy to live by!

  • Reply Taylor February 12, 2014 at 11:09 am

    This year we will celebrate our two year anniversary. Last summer, we were still treated like “the kids”, and my in-laws paid for our vacation to Charleston 🙂 but starting this year, we have decided to make our tax refund money our vacation fund. We really don’t have anywhere else to put it in our budget while we are paying off debt. But we are pretty excited! This year we are going to go to Washington, D.C.. (PS are two periods appropriate there? I know you’re the ones to ask!)

    Anyway, we are hoping this plan works out most years. Some years we may choose a few smaller vacations, and I guess it will all depend on how much we get back. But there’s how we justify spending on experiences!

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 1:02 am

      That’s great, Taylor! Tax refund money is always fun because it’s not allocated to any specific area of the budget yet! 🙂 Johnny is going to be in a wedding in D.C. in July, so we’re headed there this year, too! I can’t wait either!!

  • Reply Renee s February 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    check out the groupon getaways site–i think they have great deals sometime! maybe you can save money that way?

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 1:03 am

      Good call, Renee! In the next few months, we’re going to have our eyes peeled for any and all deals as we figure out our summer vacation!

  • Reply Rob February 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Hi guys! Like yourselves, when we were young (which was many moons ago – lol) we too had difficulty in taking vacations – either due to work pressures, cost, family illness, whatever. Sooo – given that it was hard to get away for a week or two (or 3), what we would do instead was take long weekends off (eg., take Mondays or Fridays off sequentially each week over the nice summer and/or winter periods). It allowed us to do some short distance traveling, to not get too far behind in our work commitments, to schedule easier taking into account good weather expected, as well it gave us better flexibility to enjoy diverse experiences, Anyway, that’s how we tended to often handle our much needed mental / physical recharging periods during those early working years. Later on things got better and we eventually did go on extended vacation trips (Bahamas, Jamaica, Aruba, Vegas, etc.), if not every year then at least whenever possible. So don’t ever skimp on taking valuable vacation time. It’s given to you for a reason – be rest up so you can be more productive. Just be creative in how you handle it.

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 1:05 am

      Great advice as always, Rob. 🙂 After taking the long weekend off, we’re determined to do a few more vacations like that this year! It was fairly inexpensive, easy with Sally, and we were still able to relax and recharge (as much as possible with a toddler). We may also try to get away just once without the kiddo so we can sleep in for once!

  • Reply Well Heeled Blog February 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Take a vacation! Research has shown that vacations (and vacation planning) can really increase your happiness and help you recharge your batteries. You don’t have to go all out – even an affordable getaway or day trip will be an awesome experience.

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 1:11 am

      We will! Just our short getaway this past weekend did wonders for our stress levels, so we’re feeling much more motivated to plan a bigger vacation later in the year!

  • Reply Halsy February 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Take a trip or two and enjoy them. You work hard, live within your means and are meeting your savings goals. I’m a big proponent of atleast 1 vacation of some kind a year even of its only a weekend trip. This year we are buying a house which we are hoping to be able to pay 20% down and having our second child so vacation is realistically probably not happening. However, we are having our first night Away from our almost 2 year old and going to a broadway show, staying in a hotel and going out for a fancy dinner. So we are making that our vacation/anniversary present. We are staying in our town but it will feel like a vacation!

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 1:20 am

      So glad you guys are getting away for a night, Halsy! You two will love that. It’s not completely relaxing unless you’re away from the kiddo! You guys have a big year ahead of you, and while it might not be the year for big vacations, it will definitely be full of excitement!

  • Reply Tarynkay February 13, 2014 at 11:06 am

    My grandfather used to reminisce about food he had eaten five years before. If someone brought up a trip they had taken, he would lean back in his chair and start talking about what they had to eat at every meal on that trip. Or if you brought up, say, Aunt Ruby, he would immediately start talking about her pound cake. That man loved his food.

    I love spending money on vacations. To me, a vacation is a much better investment than say, a new car. And we do come back and sit around and talk about the meals we have eaten on vacation- I guess loving food runs in my family. Though since we have a two year old, the most relaxing vacation we can take right now is down to FL where we have loads of baby-hogging family. So we have been doing that every summer. But we’re looking forward to our son being old enough to enjoy traveling and seeing new places.

    • Reply Joanna February 18, 2014 at 1:22 am

      Haha, your grandfather sounds awesome. And you’re right… the most relaxing vacations with a toddler are ones where people are around who want to babysit! Johnny and I are hoping to go visit my parents in Alabama soon and let them do just that!

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