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Cruise 2016 Planning

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In February we made our final payment for Cruise 2016. At this point our cruise has been paid in full, my plane ticket has been paid in full, and a few cruising essentials have been purchased with cash (e.g., new swimsuit, floppy sun hat, and a snorkel set so far). In addition to these, the remaining items for us to pay include transportation for hubs and the girls, all cruise-related gratuities, and a few more clothing items for the fam. Plus, I’d still like to have a nice little big stack of cash for while we’re actually on the cruise. All food is included in the cruise price, as well as water, tea, and lemonade. But if we want any other drinks, any souvenirs, want to gamble, etc. etc. etc….all that costs money.  My mom generously paid for a couple excursions for all of us as our Christmas gift in 2015, so the actual excursions have been paid (but, again, possibility of off-boat meals or souvenirs).  All in all, though, I think we’re in pretty good shape.

Even after paying for the things listed above, we still currently have $2400 in our Cruise 2016 savings (I save for different goals in various Capital One 360 savings accounts < refer a friend link). I’d anticipate maybe $200-$300 in our remaining expenses (things like new swimsuits and sandals for the girls, and I’d like us each to have at least one new outfit, plus the obligatory trashy magazines and some snacks for our room, etc.). And there’s still 1 month until our sail date so there’s still time to save up some more.

My goal is to have plenty of money for our trip, and still have plenty leftover at the end. I really want to just have a good time and enjoy our vacation while we’re there without worrying about money so I’m not imposing strict limits on spending (with the caveat that, obviously, we’re paying cash so we can’t go over our cash limit). I hope to still have plenty of money leftover once the trip ends so we can throw it toward our debt and play a little catch-up since the first part of this year is going to be spent mostly in savings-mode (building back up our EF and saving for a house down payment).

But even though this is a get-out-of-debt blog, I just can’t feel guilty about this trip. We’ve been planning and saving for it for over a year (since February 2015). This was NOT a light-hearted decision made on a whim. We’ve carefully carved a little money from our budget every single month to make this goal a reality. The trip comes at a great time, as we finally declared our freedom from consumer debt! But, really, the point of the trip was to celebrate my Mom’s 60th birthday. Having lived through the completely unexpected turn of events in the past year that ended up with my Dad being laid off from his job, declared permanently disabled, and being diagnosed with frontotemporal degeneration (a rare form of dementia), I’ve really stopped to reflect on my life and my relationship with my family. It’s hard not living near them and having them in my daily life. And there’s no promise of how much time we’ll have together. So as much as this trip is a celebration of our passing the critical consumer debt-free threshold, it’s also a celebration of family, love, and life. An opportunity to cherish the moment, even when we still have a lot of work to do on the get-out-of-debt front. Basically, it’s my way of claiming some balance in this crazy life of mine; one that’s totally changed in the past 2 years while I’ve been blogging. I wouldn’t change a minute, but I don’t take it for granted either.

I know that many readers are still deep in the trenches of debt reduction and I’d hate to feel like I’m bragging or rubbing our success in others’ faces. So I won’t spend a lot of time talking about the cruise, but I do want to acknowledge that it’s coming up in a few weeks and to talk a little about how we’ve been able to scrimp and save and actually afford the trip by paying in all cash (Cliff’s Note version:  basically, we planning and saved for a looooong time).

Hubs and I used to love to travel. Since our wedding in 2010 we haven’t traveled anywhere other than to visit family (which is still travel since we live out-of-state, but it’s not the exotic, beach-laying or mountain-skiing type of travel/vacations of the past). I’m so excited to have our first vacation as a family of 4 (+ extended family) and to build some memories that will hopefully last a lifetime.

I can’t wait!