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Financial waffling…


I’ve been struggling with my decision to travel to Italy with my family. The cash for the trip is sitting in a separate account but I see the total pop up every time I log in to my online banking. It’s tempting to cancel the trip and pull out the cash to pay off my husband’s truck.

This weekend, I was able to spend time with my grandmother and she asked if I had any big plans for the year. I told her about the Italy trip but mentioned I was considering not going. She said, ‘You HAVE to go’ with more force than I could have expected from an 89 year old woman.

After dinner we sat to talk and she shared a story I had never heard before. My grandmother had always planned to travel with my grandfather. In their youth, work obligations and five children made that dream impossible. She figured they would go when the children were grown and out of the house. My grandfather started to show signs of Alzheimer’s in his forties and by his retirement years the disease had taken over and her dreams of traveling with the man she loved were gone.

‘Don’t ever assume you can go later. Listen to the wisdom of an old lady. Go now.’ She said emphatically.

She gave me the rare chance to look at things through the eyes of my future. When I’m 89, will I look back and say, ‘I wish I hadn’t gone to Italy and had paid off debt 3 months faster instead!’?

I think not.

So, I’m moving forward with my decision to go. Irresponsible? Yes. Will I waffle over the decision for 3 more months? Yup. But…

Will I regret it? No.


  • Reply Tonya |

    I think it will be a trip you cherish forever. Memories are worth more than money.

  • Reply chacha |

    I doubt on one’s deathbed they think “Man! I wish I would have paid that mortgage off 3 years sooner!” or “I should have worked more!”

    It’s about balance. Overdoing anything – including frugality isn’t good, either. It’s swapping one obsession/control-issue for another.

    I think you’re making a good choice.

  • Reply Jenn in Michigan |

    Good Choice! Not that you should take advice from me but, I had the chance to study in England one semester in college that I turned down. I was worried about being able to afford it since I was already on my own for paying for college. I turned it down and still graduated with $24,000 in debt undergrad, then went on to work on two more degrees culminating in a whopping $84,000 in student loans.

    In the end, I regret not taking that extra $2000 for a semester in England. Really, I regret all my bad financial decisions concerning school, but would $2000 made that much more of a difference? I’ve still never made it to England.

    And your not financing your trip with credit! You can still have fun in life and and be frugal. I save money every month in a separate savings account for “fun” things. If its $10 or $1000 as long as the money is in there it is free to be spent on whatever my heart desires. Balance!

  • Reply MJ |

    Glad you are taking the trip. Don’t dwell on the money but think about the memories you’ll make and remember that tomorrow is promised to no one. Go, have a great time, and consider it money well spent!

  • Reply brooklynchick |

    Your grandma is one wise lady! Its wonderful that you saved for the trip! Enjoy (Italy is so great!)!!!

  • Reply Maggie |

    Good! It is hard to find the right balance, but I think this trip will be worth it. Think of the memories you will always have.

  • Reply Thankful |

    Your grandmother is right — my dad started showing signs of alzheimers in his mid-50s, and by his 60s required 24-hour care. So many dreams he and my mom had for retirement were never realized, namely tooling around the US in an RV. Thankfully they were able to travel extensively throughout their marriage. You never know what life has in store for you…

  • Reply Rini |

    It’s all about priorities. I would make the opposite decision as a no-brainer, but for the same reasons. I’m working to get out of debt so I can stay home with my kids. Would I commit to working another year so I could take a random trip with my husband? Not a chance! I can’t get this time back.

  • Reply jaye |

    Trust your grandmother! This reminds me of a choice I made in my 20’s. My now-husband, who is Mexican, needed to go back to Mexico, as his student visa was up. We talked a lot about going together and living there for awhile. I spoke to many people about it, but I will never forget the words of a co-worker of mine. She was in her early forties with young kids. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Do it. Once life starts happening, you will never have the freedom to make this choice again.” Happily, I took her advice and we lived there for two years. Now that I’m the 40-year-old with kids, I know how right she was!

  • Reply Nichole@40daysof |

    I think you should take from this experience the fact that you are mature. The reason you are concerned is because you are a grown up. Yeah! Go and have fun!

  • Reply Stephan |

    you definitely are making the right decision here, traveling the world is something you cant put a true value on. the extra time paying off the truck will definitely be worth it to experience something as unique and fullfilling as international traveling. obvsiouly you can take steps though to minimize the cost of the trip. do you already have an itinerary?

  • Reply Sarah |

    I DO NOT think it is irresponsible at all! Paying with money you don’t have, such as CC, is a different story but not the case. Plus, this trip will create a moment in time that is priceless. You go on and have the time of your life! I admire you and your tenacity for a debt free life but you must take this trip and ENJOY IT!

  • Reply Lorie |

    GO!!!! When our son was 6 we had booked a Disney trip. The very next day my husband was laid off. We went back and forth about whether we should go or not. We had the cash it wasn’t being put on credit. My husband had a decent severance package so we would be alright for a while. We went. Now 3.5 years later my husband still hasn’t found a full-time job only part time ones. Our son is soon to turn 10 if we had waited until my husband had full-time employment we probably wouldn’t get there until we had granchildren. This past Mother’s Day at school the kids had to write what their favorite memory was of their mom. My son’s was when we went on the Tower of Terror. Even when we have a tough month I never regret going.

  • Reply Jen |


    I teared up reading your grandmother’s story, and I so wish she could have traveled with your grandfather.

    I want to you be able to travel with your family. You have the cash. Go!

  • Reply Amanda N |

    My grandmother always wanted to travel to Europe and my grandfather always said they would at some point. He put it off and then his health failed. He died before they had the chance. Then she got Alzheimer’s. My mother, her sister and sister-in-law went on a trip with my grandmother to Hawaii before she got too bad. It was more for them than her, but they cherish the memories now tht she is gone. You are working hard to pay down your debts and doing the right thing. Now do the right thing and don’t miss out on your chance to spend time with your family on an amanzing trip. I do not think you will regret this.

  • Reply Canan |

    Please do go! Your Grandma is one very wise lady. Seize the day! I am not saying jump on every opportunity and get into more debt. You are already making responsible choices and reducing your debt. What is just those three months?

  • Reply David Bibby |

    Enjoy your trip. Time spent with family is the most important thing you can do. You’ll treasure the memories… and so what if it takes you a little longer to pay off the truck? You stopped borrowing LONG ago, so there is nothing to worry about.

  • Reply Penny |

    Good for you! My grandmother has said the same, as well as “Travel is a lot more fun when you can move around more easily. Don’t get me wrong, we’re glad we traveled some in retirement, but it would have been a lot more fun when we were younger and could move better.” I’d never thought of it that way before. Enjoy!

  • Reply Lisa |

    Take the trip. You can still penny pinch during the trip and write about that in your next blog entry about traveling on a budget. Post lots of pictures.

So, what do you think ?