Last week I was knee-deep in research over airfare, condos, resorts, weighing all-inclusive versus self-service, beach front versus ocean view. It was overwhelming. But also fun. Brian and I have dreamt since pretty much the day we got married of taking a nice trip for our tenth anniversary (this September). And we were about to make it happen.
I write fairly often on here about our quest to be financially free. We still have some debt left, but if all goes according to plan we will be debt-free (minus our house) next February - or sooner.
Changing financial habits can be a lot like changing eating habits. First you have to acknowledge that you have a problem. Then you have to take steps to change it. Those steps can be hard, and you have to practice them over and over until they become habit. And then somewhere along the line you look back and realize that you feel better than you ever have. You're happy with your life changes. But that doesn't mean that temptations won't still arise. Like that cake that you were only going to have one piece of, but suddenly you ate half the cake.
We started asking ourselves real questions about how we were going to pay for this trip. Brian is expecting a bonus that should easily cover all the expenses. Sounds like a decent plan to me.
Problem is the bonus won't be in our hands until September or October. And we needed to book our airfare right away to secure the great price we found. So, in comes our credit card.
But we would pay the credit card off as soon as Brian got his bonus.
We continued looking for places to stay on our trip. Maui? Kauai? Mexico? Each time I thought I had found "the place", something else would come along and tempt me. It was a weird problem to have - so many wonderful places to choose from. Yet I didn't feel a peace about any of them. Why not?
We have been working hard (off and on) for the past two years to get out of debt. To change our habits. And to teach our children by example. Yet here we were, about to duplicate old habits. The same habits that got us here.
I am so thankful for that unsettled feeling I had, and that I finally decided to pay attention to it. We revisited our priorities. Number one: get out of debt. After that: save for the family Disney trip we have been promising our kids and using as a motivator.
So our anniversary trip is off (for now). I am disappointed, a bit. But the feeling of peace I have is so much better than the angst over which resort to choose.
We are back on the path to being financially free. And staying there!