Is It OK to Take Vacations When You’re Getting Out of Debt?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated June 18, 2018

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Money Saving Tips
June 18, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Facing a mountain of debt can seem like an insurmountable financial obstacle, but you can climb to the top. One of the first steps might be to start cutting out your excess expenses. Eating at home more often, packing a lunch for work, minimizing costly outings, etc. As you cut back on fun money to pay down debts does that mean no more vacations? Even if you have a long-term debt like student loans or a new car? Probably not. After all, vacations can help you rest, recharge and stay focused on your financial goals. So, how do you balance the need to cut expenses with your need for the occasional break? Here’s a few tips.

If you have a favorite vacation destination, consider buying a rental property in the area. If you have good credit and the resources to handle the occasional downswing, owning a vacation home can be a good way to make your vacations practically free. Rental income from your vacation home should cover the costs of ownership, and you may even turn a profit.

If you prefer to visit new vistas with every trip, plan your vacations well in advance. Make a list of all of the activities you’d like to do and finalize your entertainment list before you go. This will give you a good idea of the total cost of your vacation. Save up the money a little at a time, and you won’t break the budget or seriously delay paying down your debts.

Sometimes, you might just want to change the way you get away. Weekend trips can be just as relaxing, but they cost a lot less than an entire week out of town. If the cost of travel is an issue, consider keeping your explorations a little closer to home for the next few years. Choosing destinations within a comfortable driving distance can really help make holidays more affordable. Camping is another great way to lower costs on a week away. Campgrounds charge a lot less than hotels, and with modern gear and electrical service, you can enjoy a lot of the same amenities.

If you have debts that you expect to pay off within a few years, or you want to stay tightly focused on paying off your debt, feel free to skip vacations altogether. But, if you need the occasional time away, don’t be afraid to build vacations into your budget.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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