Friday, January 13, 2012

money resolutions

this is the time of year for starting things anew; and this post seems appropriately timed as the follow-up to my post about our son's newly acquired saving habits. neither one of those factors, however, weighs nearly as strongly in our new money resolves as the course we just completed by dave ramsey.

i admit that i was somewhat skeptical and hesitant about this subject material for our most recent church small group study. the men in the group seemed pretty jazzed about it, and in an effort to not be the heel dragger, i went along for the ride with a smile on my face.

don't get me wrong here -  i didn't think that we had it all figured out when it comes to money, BUT i was worried that this strange guy was going to insist we do radical things with our income.

we are about average as they come.....mid-twenties couple with two incomes, a mortgage, a sweet toddler and lots of daydreams about how we want to live out the american dream.  we had already started our retirement planning (insert pat-on-the-back), opened an account to save for our child's college education, and had a little nest egg saved up for a rainy day.  basically i thought we were doing what everyone else was doing and it seemed perfectly fine to me. why fix it?

fast forward three months to the completion of our course and the hubs and i were doing some online vacation planning last night.  I got an email from macaroni kid with a link to a fun family resort in florida that is really close to the aquiriam where winter the dolphin lives.  Since our son adores animals, loves swimming and will still fly free until next fall it sounded like the perfect inspiration for our 2012 family vacation!

we found a super quaint beach house to rent (travelling with a toddler sounds more appealing when the accomadtions include a kitchen and a separate bedroom for baby's pack'n play), the location in florida sounds super tempting for spring break in the midst of an iowa winter, and the flights are actually not so bad if we leave on a friday and come back on a thursday.


as we started to tally up the total cost of this trip (don't forget to add the car rental, aquarium admission, grocery budget, new swimsuit purchases, etc...) and compared it to the sinking fund vacation account that we started a couple months back, we had a serious imbalance in the budget.

what to do now?

we actually quite easily looked at each other and agreed - we better stay closer to home (within driving distance) and plan our vacation a little later in the year so our budget has time to grow a little first.

wow. what a change of heart.

last year we would have thrown it all on the credit card without hesitation because we wouldn't want to miss this awesome opportunity to create fun memories with our kiddo.

this year though, we have made paying off our debts  a priority (2 credit cards down and auto loan/school loans we are coming for you next!), we have created a budget and resolved to make only choices that stay within it, and most importantly we are talking about money and making decisions about what we do with it TOGETHER!

so all those nagging what if's -

what if winter isn't there in a couple years when we can afford to pay cash for this trip?

what if hendrix doesn't like dolphins anymore then?

what if we have another child by then and we won't all fit in that cute beach house?

what if we are missing a once in a lifetime opportunity to create fun family memories?

are replaced with our resolve that -

getting out of debt is the right thing for us to do for our family's future.

spending less money doesn't mean that we are going to have less fun.

and by doing this now so we can become debt free in the next couple years, we will be able to afford even better vacations in the future!
we can't wait ;)

so i suppose for now we will just go watch dolphin tale again and revisit trip planning again in a few weeks.  if you have any great ideas for family fun, please share!


  1. you will be happy later that you started good habits of saving! When we were your age we rented a beach house with other couples with kids our kids ages....this worked well b/c the cost was cut in half the kids played together and the adults partied at night!

  2. Good for you! We just finished facilitating Dave Ramsey's FPU at our church. Handling finances wisely is a great way to a strong marriage and to honor God.

    I don't know where you live, but we have a zoo membership. We set aside a little each month to keep the membership, but we are able to buy one that allows us to take guests with us everytime we go if we want. It is a great family outing for us and a way to be generous to others without hurting our budget.


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