Monday, January 14, 2008

Joint Goal

My husband and I have one major joint goal this year – that is to save $15,000 to go on a 4 week vacation. This vacation is going to span multiple countries and it’s a major vacation we want to do before we have kids in a couple of years. C and I have been talking about this vacation for sometime and only recently did we come up with an estimated dollar amount of what we need to save. $15,000 is a significant amount of money. Our estimate has some cushion for currency exchange fluctuations. One area where I have always struggled with is letting my savings dissipate. If we spend less in one area, we usually just spend it in another area and don’t see any real benefit. C and I are going to do our best to save the $15K by cutting our spending in other areas and putting it towards this goal. C always says that we work so we can enjoy our money and we see this as the vacation of a lifetime.

It’s amazing the number of vacations C and I went on in 2007. We went on quite a few vacations to attend the weddings. We counted anything as a vacation if we had to obtain a hotel room for the trip. Unbelievable to me, we actually went on 10 vacations. Several of these vacations were only for 1 or 2 nights for friends’ weddings. We also each went on a single sex vacation with friends – I counted those two trips as one trip. Another trip was completely free from lodging and travel expenses (other than gas) since we drove to that destination and I was able to use points to get us a free hotel room. Since I travel quite a bit for work, I am often able to score personal vacations for little or no cost. So the total cost of our 10 vacations was . . . just over $4,000. When you consider the fact that airfare was involved in several of those vacations, I think that's a reasonable amount of money. I don’t track our expenses that closely, so this is just a ballpark of how much we spent.

Within those 10 trips, there were a lot of free hotel stays (I did not count the trip where we stayed at my friend’s house) and buy 1 get 1 free hotel stays (this was accomplished due to my hotel status). When I change jobs to a less travel intensive project, there is no way we’d be able to vacation so much with so little money!

I might be able to subsidize some of our $15K trip with hotel points and bonuses, but it’s going to be tough. Airfare alone for the both of us will probably be several grand since we’re planning on going to another continent and we will need to take a few more plane trips to get to the different countries we want to visit.

Wow, writing all of this down makes it seem really extravagant. While I do have a goal of retiring early, I am a big believe in conscious spending. You need to spend money on what makes you really happy, rather than letting it slip through your fingers. Lest you think we are living beyond our means, C and I have minimal debt and we do a good job with our savings. Our only debt is less than $10K in student loans. We both maxed out our 401Ks for 2007 and we’re waiting to do our taxes before determining how much we can contribute to our Roth IRAs. I am almost positive we are below the income limit, but I want to do the taxes to be sure. We also have an emergency fund and a house down payment fund.


Becky said...

Wow! That sounds awesome :) The vacation sounds like a really cool idea to do before you have kids. Maybe I'll have to talk to my husband about something like this!

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