Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Vacation: Need or Want

Okay the WIR message board is really giving me some good topics to write about. The question is a vacation a want or a need? I say it's a pure want, there really is no reason to go on vacation when you are in debt. But a lot of people on the board say that a vacation is a necessity when paying off debt to stay motivated. I can see their point and possibly concur.

However what I can't fathom that people can justify a vacation as only a trip that is a week or longer. That a weekend away is NOT considered a vacation. I think this is just pure spoiled and selfishness, "I want it, and I want it now syndrome" coming out. This easily explains why so many people in society are in debt. Because we sit here and justify our wants as needs. We look to others who actually support these crazy ideas. Think I'm nuts? Look at these two different threads here and here.

These two threads, especially the one by MP Dunleavy "Can I afford a vacation" makes me physically ill. The materialism and support of it was galling. These women on the board said it was "okay" for her to take a vacation though she's in debt, and has been in debt for over 2 years! And she makes enough to have paid it off over and over again, but instead she keeps racking up debt. Also MP Dunleavy, knows it's wrong or else she wouldn't be asking.

In the second thread asking about vacations following up MP's thread, even called MP's vacation a "euphamism" for week in Spain! Week in Spain, and MP is already taking 2-3 vacations to visit family this year. MP Dunleavy just justifies rampant spending, overconsumption, and materialism. I used to be a huge supporter of the Women in Red, but now I feel that it's just a place where women go to get support for out of control spending. They instead have no idea what the words "delayed gratification," means.

This excesses are disgusting and puts a face on overconsumption. People who say that by talking about the harsh truth and calling the person on the carpet about their spending mean. I wrote on both threads, yes maybe to a weekend vacation, NO to a week in spain. I also called MP Dunleavy on making $80-$100k/year and still unable to pay off $40k in debt in 2-3 years. But another poster said it was hard, as - if! I know because we make that much and can easily save $40k in 1 year. Please. She's just running wild on spending and everyone supports her overconsumption.

Well my rant is over. I understand now why I left posting on the board a few years ago. It became a place to justify expenses not be held accountable for spending.


Dimes said...

MP is out of control. She's 40 years old, still mired in debt, and has a seven month old son. If she feels she *needs* some downtime, she should leave the baby with grandma for a weekend and go with her husband to a B&B. It would be foolish to spend a lot of money on an adventure when there's her retirement and baby's college fund to consider (both events, retirement and college, will happen concurrently, it seems).
However, it may be that she's just musing and trying to start conversation fodder.

Living Almost Large said...

If you read the thread can I go on vacation started by her, she is not starting conversation fodder. She is seriously contemplating it. And yes she is 40 years old, mired in debt.

limeade said...

I don't see how anyone can rationally describe a vacation as a need. Look at the billions of people in the world, and what percentage of them do you think get to take "vacations"?

Vacations are another source of entertainment. Plain and simple.


Escape Brooklyn said...

I agree and appreciate the thoughtful post. I've been fantasizing about taking a two night trip but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet because I feel guilty spending $600 when I've been trying to build up my emergency fund. It's obviously just a want and I certainly don't "need" it.

I appreciate MP's writing but I've been rather disappointed by some of her and the WIR's financial choices. MP also had two houses for awhile, one rental in NYC and one she owned upstate, which was just absurd. And now she has the kid to pay for. Sheesh!

Living Almost Large said...

I want to take vacation as well, but it's not always feasible. And while I understand this the selfish baby inside is whining. Just take the vacation you deserve it. DH works full time, school part-time, and would love one. BUT we're broke with student debt now and we can't go and he knows it. Our vacations are going to be smiling at each other in bed (not too shabby).

And possibly going home, which has already happened for emergencies like surgeries and death. Since we've meet we've gone on ONE, yep read that right ONE vacation ALONE not visiting family. One real vacation in 7 almost 8 years. And it was to celebrate finishing a doctorate. And we did go alone on a honeymoon, but I don't know if that counts? If so then two.

But we knew getting married because we lived 3-6k miles from families most of our time would be spent visiting them. So it's our sacrifice. Now we'd love to go away more, but maybe one day.

Never Again Debt said...

You can't save everyone. Some people are meant to wallow in their debt forever. It's not easy to live debt free. It takes a whole lotta strength.

A vacation can be a simple thing as a picnic in the park, a hike up a trail, a weekend camping, all of which do not cost a lot of money. It could even be a visit to a relative or friends house in another part of town. Getting away doesn't mean getting away with spending. It's a choice.

plonkee said...

You know, I think that a vacation is a necessity. A change of scenery and the opportunity to do something different are important ways of improving your outlook on life.

Whether this person should be investing so much cash in a vacation is probably another thing.

Anonymous said...

Vacation is absolutely a need for me ... both I and my husband are emigrants, so if we want to spend time at all hanging out with our families (which of course we do, as much as possible), check in with the home culture and see to various family responsibilities we have to travel. To Europe for my family, Asia for his bunch. The only way to possibly reduce this cost would be to place ourselves in our home cities or somewhere "central" like London, but cost of living in all three is significantly higher than here in Toronto.

Having said all that, we are aware of the cost up front, prioritize it, expect it, don't begrudge it. And more importantly we don't have the debt "MP" has (we don't have any).

Living Almost Large said...

Anonymous I get visiting family, but MP is already visiting family 2-3 times this year along with wanting a vacation. Second, she lives close to her family. It's not across oceans. You live closer to your family probably than I do. So I get it completely. And my husband is also foreign and I get that too. We live basically over 6k miles from my family and over 3k miles from his. We never get vacations only 1 and our honeymoon WITHOUT family or without visiting family because we live so far away.

Yes I sort of begrudge it, but I understand our reasons. I don't think however a vacation is a need. When you are in debt it's a want, luxury item.

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE to go on a vacation. I haven't been on a week long, go somewhere vacation since I was a kid and with my parents camping.

I REFUSE to spend money on a vacation as long as I bad debt. Credit debt. It's almost paid off but then I have to build an EF. So I think I may be 32 before I actually take a week and travel somewhere. However, it'll be paid for instead of charged and quite the reward I've been waiting years for.