Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On Debt, Wishful Thinking and Travel.

We're in it.

By varying degrees, it's not much, but we're in it nonetheless. We have a mortgage, we owe money on "Delilah" and both The Husband and I didn't make it out of Villanova scott-free.

Before I proceed further, whether with this post or digging myself into a ditch, remember this: I'm married to Mr. Financial. We live our lives based on Budgets and Spreadsheets. So much so, that it's safe to say The Husband may or may not have typed up The Proposal in true business proposal form before he popped the question. Pun intended.

It goes without saying that neither one of us is careless or frivolous when it comes to money. Sure, I'm more of a Spender and Husband, the Saver, but that is neither here nor there. We both work(ed) hard to earn our money, often putting in 12+ hour days whether in the hospital or in Corporate America and saved when saving was possible. There was even a stretch of time when I worked both nightshift and overtime just to stash away the differential as we saved for our wedding.

Saving was and is important to us.

.... Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Here's where it gets gritty. I'm do-er. And a see-er. And a "life is short, let's see the world"-er. And not put any of that seeing and doing off so that we can pay off our student loans. Life is short and all that jazz. 

I know, I know. I'm quite sure that there are plenty of you out there that can both pay off your student loans AND see the world and this is me taking off my proverbial hat towards you.  However, I have zero patience when it comes to this sort of stuff and I had a lot of world-seeing and doing to be done before Carter came along.

Now, dontchya all go thinking that we're up to eyeballs in debt and that we forego paying important bills so that we can take vacations. And please, that is NOT the takeaway message of this post. Remember, I'm married to Mr. Financial and that's basically blasphemy in his book. 

Here, let me try this angle.

Do you know what a DINK is? No? It was The Husband and me approximately 387 days ago. Dual Income, No Kids. For us? It was amazing. Here's why:

{Looking back, I could have alternately sub-titled this portion of today's post, "The Many Hair Styles and Colors of AP."}

Pictured: Hawaii, Turks and Caicos, Ocean City, Bahamas, Chicago, Martha's Vineyard, Marco Island.
Not Pictured: California, more Ocean City, West Palm Beach, Dallas.

Do ya catch my drift?

The Husband and I were married for three {income-full and child-less} years before we started our family. Sure, we put money towards our debts. We even and often paid more than the monthly requirement. Although, I'll be the first to admit we certainly did not expend our resources to make sure our debts were paid off.

And the truth is? I'm glad we did.

I guess that's the point of this post. I'm kind of happy we're not debt free. There, I said it. Go ahead and pick your chin up from the floor. I'm happy we saw those places and did those things. Go ahead, stone me.

However, before you throw sticks and rocks...

Did you happen to notice that the bulk of our travel happened before 2010? Before the mortgage and the car payment and the baby? Go ahead. Go back and look again. It was all pre-Real Life. Between the years of 2007 and 2009. And it was glorious.

So what happened in 2010, you ask? Oh, that's right. I got knocked up, bought a house and decided to become a SAHM. Whew.

I think it goes without saying that we've been bit by the travel bug yet again and have been pouring over Budgets and Spreadsheets as if they're going out of style. With my new SAHM-hat, we knew there would be sacrifices to be made and I was all set to give up JCrew, Mr. Yurman and weekly Happy Hours at our favorite wine bar.

I wasn't prepared, however, to quit traveling cold turkey. To quit laying on warm sandy beaches, sipping umbrella drinks with The Husband. Immersing ourselves in cultures and tastes we've only read about time and again in travel magazines.

You're right.  Maybe I am telling you to make room for vacation. Skim a little off the top. And if you don't have kids? Wait, do I even have readers without kids? Are you still out there?

Go. Get out. Travel. Because I'll be the first to tell you, life is so much different after baby. See the world. Give in to the travel bug. And come back to thank me later.
Happy Tuesday, Loyals.



  1. I like this post a lot - and I'm glad you're grateful you got to see those places. We are DINKs, but we have so much deft (the majority of it my student loans) that even traveling domestically is a huuuge stretch for our budget and has to be planned down to every last cent. It's my constant struggle about whether we want to travel or start a family - and then seeing if we can afford to do either.

  2. I am a DINK - with no intentions of having kids but I still read your blog :-). There must be something in the air because you areamong 3 of the bloggers I follow talking about having the travel bug this morning! Hope you have a good vacation. OH - and none of us pay your bills so it shouldn't matter what we think about you taking a vacation! Enjoy.

  3. My husband & I did a lot of traveling before we had kids too. I love those memories, and am so glad that we took the time (and spent the money) to do those things. Now that we have two toddlers, traveling is much harder. But it's not out of the question! We still feel like it's important to take time to go and do and see things. I have never regretted spending the money to take a vacation together as a family. Those student loans will get paid off...eventually :)

  4. I so know what you mean...my husband and I used to travel so much before we had our little boy. So much easier when you do have two jobs with two good incomes. Now that I am a SAHM we have to think more about it plus you just can't go everywhere with a little baby! I know I have the traveling bug too!

  5. You're so right girl! I think "vacationing" with a kid is almost like work!
    I was wondering who that hot blonde with your hubby was ;)

  6. Oh the life of a DINK...I vaguley remember those days. I am in the same boat you are. I am ready to travel again but its so hard and decide what you should do financially.

    At least you have great pictures to remember and think back on. Maybe that will cure for fix for a little bit :)

  7. I'm a DINK reader too! And this post spoke to me! I did a post on Friday about all the places in the world I want to go. Before that I had a post on how do I decide where my priorities are - Do I want the big (ger) house to ready for kids or can we pause the responsibilities and be jet setters for 1 week a year?

    I think I needed your post this morning :) Thanks!

  8. What great advice! Hubby and I did some traveling before kids, but not as much as we would have liked looking back. We are a two income family still, even with kids, and its still hard to save for vacations. We are lucky enough to live close to family who vacations often and let us tag along, so that helps a lot with the money part of vacation. Hope you get a wonderful, fantastic, and well deserved vacation soon!

  9. I seriously feel like this post was written just for me! We've been struggling with "should we have a baby now, or wait because there's so much we still want to do." We LOVE traveling and are the "live it up now type" when it comes to paying off our debts. I would much rather live up my 20's then to do nothing just to pay down loans faster. No thanks :)

  10. Umm you were This.Close to me in Chicago? Gah! I had never heard the term DINK before.. made me laugh. I agree, vacations won't be happening unless our parents are paying to take us with them, as is the case this summer! However, we do make it a yearly thing to go to Colorado skiing, but since we have friends that live out there and allow us to buy lift tickets at discount, it makes it much easier to do it.

  11. Love this post!

    We also travelled a lot prior to having a baby. So many great memories!

    We have been to RI and we leave for CA tomorrow with Sawyer. Money is tight, but travelling is worth it!

  12. i wish i could show you the spreadsheet my Mr. finance has created for our life :).....it changes colors as you input the numbers - black means we are doing what we are supposed to and red is BAD. we are total savers too but i am way more so on your team.

    ...our wedding spreadsheet was pretty awesome too. All of the numbers changed based on the guest count. It was updated daily as our response cards came in.

    i find it all kind of hilarious....until i want to go shopping and there isn't a line item on the spreadsheet allocating unplanned shopping funds:) ha ha

  13. You inspired me to do a travel post:-) We definitely traveled all over before baby girl resided in my uterus. I can't wait to travel again. We promised each other that we would try Buenos Aries in 2013, but we'll see. We too are buying a house and birthing a babe in the next three months. We will still have two incomes, but also two mortgages....let me just say, a private doctoral program = a CA mortgage plus some, ugh.

  14. Um, DITTO! We have a mortgage, student loans, and my shiny new Tahoe (yet-to-be-named, because I named my husband's car "Steve" which he totally didn't appreciate).

    But we also LIVE. We traveled a lot before Kate was born, and now we get a bottle of wine at the liquor store instead of paying 4x more at our wine bar. You make changes. We actually cut out cable altogether and just use Netflix and Hulu. We only have cell phones (no land line). We're doing what we can to get rid of our loans but we also save for fun extras...and now we're researching how feasible it is to take a 1-year-old to the Bahamas.

    I love what Winna said - none of us pay your bills, so it doesn't matter what we think, anyway!

    And while being DINKs was fun - isn't this TOTALLY better????? :)

  15. Love this post!!! The hubs and I have been DINKs for exactly 5 weeks. In our almsot six years of marriage, this is new territory for us. Over the course of our marriage, one of us was in school or unemployed, so, we've never had the means to travel or do any of that wonderful stuff you do before kids. Hopefully, we'll be able to do those things now.

    I think traveling and spending time doing those things as husband and wife--even if it causes some debt--is a great thing to do, because you're right, everything changes after baby.

    And now? I really want a vacation!

  16. You and your husband are just like me and my bf. I have no idea how I convinced him to spend money on a vacation to Jamaica in Dec. I also still have tons of school debt and a car loan, haha.

  17. I have been a long-time reader of your blog, although I've never left a comment. We are in a similar boat as you, although it is pre-baby, and getting my husband to agree to loosen the reins a little so we can really soak up this time in our life is like pulling teeth. Just wanted you to know I copied and pasted your post and emailed it to him at work. We've long had this debate--he wants to pay off all our debt, I say we can skim a little off the top and enjoy our children-free days. Sigh.

    Anyways, thanks for the brilliant post.



  18. I am a DINK that still reads your fabulous blog... this post is great and I totally agree! :) We are currently trying to get our traveling in, but we are also trying to prepare so I can be a SAHM! :) Awesome post!

  19. I'm here! No kids for us yet : ) and you just convinced me (well, mainly those glorious, glowingly happy photos convinced me) to take at least a couple more big trips before babies.

    And I'M the non-spender between the two of us. So you are quite convincing.

  20. DINK ovah here!! Though, my hubby isn't Mr. Financial, he's Mr. Latest and Greatest Gadget... so trying to save up to travel is near impossible, but we're going to the Bahamas next year on a belated honeymoon... so belated because of our conversion from PC to Mac, *rolls eyes*

    If you haven't picked a destination yet, may I suggest taking your little family to France? I had a co-worker go over there with a wee one and she said everyone in France LOVES babies and bends over backwards to accommodate baby gear and tired tourist parents. From opening doors to foregoing lines, she said everything was handed to them on a silver platter while someone was pinching the baby's cheek and squeeing.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


  21. hot mama! You are hilarious. And its so true. Prebaby, life was glorious and RICH! Its still rich, but in the emotional heartfilled sense rather than the pocketbooks. Different sitch.

  22. This is impressive, momma. You guys have been to some amazing places. Even when we were DINKS, we were too stupid with our money to afford a nice vacation. haha! you live & learn, right?

  23. I think you should do a mini trip with Carter.

  24. The hubs and I have been DINKs for a year and have done hardly any traveling! We really need to while we can.

  25. Umm can I get a big, big AMEN for this. I'm all for getting debt free, BUT I don't think life should stop in order to do it. Yes, we have some debt and it makes me crazy and I want it gone, but we aren't going to stop living to make it happen. Some months we pay a minimum so we can take a short trip, sometimes we pay more, but I have never regretted taking a trip. Sometimes it's just plain good for the soul.

  26. I hear you! We were married for 7 before baby! We didn't know what we had when we had it! Although life couldn't be greater now with Wyatt, it's definitely different. I say you take the little guy for a long weekend you two somewhere!

  27. I could not agree with you more. We are the same, but luckily only student loans for me, but I have a Master's, so that's almost 8 years we're paying off. It's tough and I am married to a Mr. Financial as well. It's tough to get away, but I have try to have a rule of somewhere once a year and biggies at the big anniversary marks (every 5 years)if we can make it work. We've missed one year because we needed the money, but were lucky to travel last year and will again this year. We both work our tails off and definitely work more than play, so it's a reward! We can't take the money with us when we die, not that there will be much there, but we need to enjoy our time here, that is what we work so hard for.
    Thanks for posting this! Great one!

  28. I'm glad you put this out there. While my hubs and I didn't do *everything* we wanted to do before getting pregnant, I'm so thankful for what we *did* do. And yes that means there's a budget and bills to pay (gotta love student loans) but we have so many great memories. And I'm confident we'll be better parents because of it.

  29. So true.. since we've been married (2009) we've been to Antigua, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, Haiti and Ocean City/Bethany Beach because I was determined to travel pre baby. Yes, we should have paid bills instead but we have our whole lives to pay bills. Ha.

  30. We're still in the pre-house/baby time and we just got back from a vacation in China. I do want a family, but this post reminds me not to be in such a rush. Thanks for this!

  31. We are so much in the same boat. Well, I guess I have one foot in the boat and one foot still on the proverbial beach. We did the EXACT same thing, but our debt is now the husband's MBA loans which started when he graduated last year...right after we took our "last hurrah" trip to California on which I got knocked up. And now I am considering staying home after going back to work for a few months (mostly because I said I would and I am a woman of my word). But I know I will miss the "extras." That said, I am so glad we traveled as much as we did - I am like you: life is short, you can't take it with you. But I also majored in finance so I struggle with giving up my income when I know it means we'd be debt free sooner. Such.a.struggle.to.decide.

  32. Thanks for the comment love!!!

    Ok, first off - you posted this at 7:00 am??? I really hope you scheduled...lol, I'm so not awake enough to write something like that that early in the morning. =)

    On the saving/spending. I'm the saver, hubs is spender, yet we both would love to travel and spend. Oh the choices...lol!

    Thanks again and I'm off to "follow" you!!!

  33. Bummer! I thought I was going to be # 600 - BUT I already follow. =) Hey, at least you didn't lose any more!

  34. I don't have kids! :) And before I read your caption, I was thinking just that: all the hairstyles! ;)

    I have to say, I totally agree! I think that is the time when you should travel (within responsibility, of course). I have friends in their early 20's, just out of college who are obsessed with saving to buy a home. I'm not saying that's bad, but use this time to travel and go and do before you get married and have children and more responsibilties.

    The only debt I have is my student loans. And they aren't too substatial in the scheme of things. I kind of have an issue with the Dave Ramsey craze (easy for him, he's rich! ha!) and the no-debt thing. You can use credit cards for perks like rewards and miles, just pay it off every single month, completely. And you need credit to be able to buy a house in the future!

    And now I've written you a novel. :)

  35. lol {found you from the circle of moms top 25}... travel.. that word is not even in my vocabulary anymore.. sad. so sad. oh - and that student debt... i wish it would just disappear.

    cute. blog.


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