A few years ago I decided to take control of my finances and signed up for Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. That step changed my life. I started creating a zero-based budget (meaning every dollar has a job) and over the course of 2 1/2 years paid off over $50,000 in non-mortgage debt.
We didn’t do it by eating beans and rice or sitting at home every weekend. Instead I systematically cut spending and increased earnings. There was one budget item that many in my class considered discretionary, but it was essential to us.
No matter what your financial situation, it’s important to budget for fun. I budget for short-term fun like going to the movies or some other one-time entertainment event. We have one budget category that accrues for months and then gets spent rather rapidly.
I’m talking about vacation. Throughout the time paying debt off was the financial priority we continued to take one vacation a year. These weren’t staycations. No, we traveled to PuertoVallarta, cruised the Mexican Riviera and visited Orlando theme parks.
We shopped around for deals and chose a lower priced all-inclusive in Mexico and an inside cabin on the cruise. It was more important to have that experience than to be in luxury. We chose to cruise locally versus my favorite Caribbean location which would incur hotel and airfare charges.
We know that vacation is good for your health. But it can also make you happier. You get away from the stresses of everyday life. It’s important to remember why you want to debt-free.
Taking a debt-free vacation while in the process of paying off larger debt amounts gives you a view of your future life and should motivate you to continue on the path to financial freedom.
Decide what “fun” makes you happiest and then include it in your spending plan. Use it and see how it improves your outlook. Our nation’s founders realized the importance of “the pursuit of happiness”. Shouldn’t you?
Do you spend money on things that make you happy?
This post was inspired by Women’s Money Week. You’ll find many inspiring articles on a variety of personal finance topics for women (and men).