But you go back and forth in your head: should you take a vacation if you’re in debt?
Well, it depends.
Weighing Your Vacation Decision
If you’re stressed to the max and know that a little getaway is going to rejuvenate you and you’ll come back with a new intensity to conquer life and rid yourself of debt – then yes, you should take a vacation.
BUT (yeah, there’s a but…sorry) you should be budget conscious when you do it.
Your vacation should be in no way shape or form a way to get you deeper in debt. So if any of the following apply don’t do it:
- You have to use a credit card
- You have to take out a payday loan
- You have to borrow money from friends or family
- You have to borrow against your retirement account
- Going on vacation means you’ll miss a debt repayment
If any of those will occur then you should in no way, shape, or form be going on vacation. You’ll just end up derailing your progress and adding a ton of extra stress to yourself. Don’t do it.
However, if you have savings earmarked just for vacation or if you can find creative ways to come up with the money (we’ll go over that in a minute) then by all means go enjoy yourself. You only have one life to live after all.
But before you make that decision let’s weigh the pros and cons.
The Pros of Taking a Vacation While in Debt
If you’ve been working yourself to death, trying to free yourself from debt then a little break might do you good.
You see, sometimes when you’re working on a huge goal, like debt reduction, occasionally cutting yourself some slack is the only way you can avoid burnout.
Here are the pros of taking a vacation while in debt:
- Rewarding yourself for your hard work
- Refreshing – coming back with gazelle intensity to slay your debt
- Enjoying your life (you only get one)
The Cons of Taking a Vacation While in Debt
There are some obvious pros to taking a vacation – the biggest one is giving yourself a break and time to pump yourself up to come back with intensity.
But there are cons too:
- Spending money that could be used to repay debt
- The guilt of spending money that could be used to repay debt
Whatever decision you make needs to feel right for YOU! It’s your life and it’s up to you how you want to live it.
With that said if you do go on vacation here are some things you can do to creatively fund your trip. (And if you decide not to go on vacation you can use these things to throw at your debt!)
Ways to Fund Your Vacation
The one rule of going on vacation while in debt is that you should in no way, shape, or form add to your debt load.
Here are some creative ways you can raise some vacation funds.
Sell Your Old Stuff: Host a yard sale or sell your items online in places like Facebook Yard sales or Craigslist. You should be able to earn at least a couple hundred dollars.
Find a Part Time Work From Home Job: There are so many different ways you can make money online, no matter how many hours you have to commit. By working 10 or so hours from home you could bring home around $100-$150 per month.
Read Emails: You can read emails to earn a little extra cash. My favorite company for this is InboxDollars. You’ll be surprised how quickly the money can add up. Plus this is super easy!
Search the Web: You can use a search engine like Swagbucks to earn points you can redeem for gift cards. This is also another super simple way to make a few extra dollars.
Cash in Your Change: The change you’ve been saving all year long can be a huge help for your vacation budget. The jar I have should have around $500 in it – if not more.
Cash in Your Credit Card Reward Points: Well I’m really hoping that if you have debt you aren’t still using your credit cards. That’s a risk you shouldn’t take. However, if you’ve accumulate points on past credit cards cash those suckers in.
If you do all of these things you should realistically be able to come up with around $500-$1000 in one month.
So get to it!
Ways to Keep Your Vacation Cheap
So let’s say that $500 is the amount you feel comfortable spending without letting guilt set in. It’s a doable amount and is about what I like to spend on vacations.
Here are some options for stretching your budget:
Take a Weekend Vacation – Instead of spending a week somewhere just go for the weekend. Get a two night hotel stay for the family, visit cheap attractions like museums, go to the movies, and dinner.
You don’t have to go all out to have an awesome vacation.
Go Camping - A tent, sleeping bag, and some firewood and can do your budget good. Stay near a place that has horseback riding, fishing, and other nature centered attractions. These will generally be cheaper than other vacation options but will amazing memories for children.
Your $500 can go pretty far with a camping trip.
Don’t Fly – Plane tickets are going to eat up your whole budget so don’t plan on flying somewhere. You need to stay relatively close to your home in order to stretch that $500.
Use Restaurant.com Gift Certificates – You can get restaurant.com gift certificates for up to 70 percent off of regular restaurant prices. Choose your food based on deals. This is a great way to expose yourself to new places you might not otherwise try.
Check Deal Sites – Look for offers on Living Social or Groupon to stretch your budget. You may even come up with a ton of new vacation ideas.
There is a lot of conflicting advice when it comes to taking a vacation while in debt. But ultimately the choice is yours.
There’s no right or wrong answer. You have to pick the best solution for you and your family.
What’s your opinion on taking vacations while in debt?