Saturday, March 3, 2012

Time to come clean

We're going on vacation. An expensive one. There, I said it.

A little background. We have three children. We decided when our oldest was in high school that rather than gift her with something that would likely be forgotten, we would take her on a family graduation trip. (Remember that those were the days when our financial heads were buried way deep in the sand.) It's a tradition we've carried on with our boys. Each graduate chose the destination and off we went to make memories.

Now it's time for DS3 to take his trip. He asked to go to New York City and see a couple Broadway shows. So that's what we're doing. Because he is in a wheelchair and the logistics are more complicated (like the fact that not all NYC subway stations are wheelchair accessible), we are staying smack in the center of Times Square. And, yes, that means even more expensive. As a disclaimer, we've already saved the cash to pay for the hotel. And we've already bought the show tickets in cash (Phantom and Wicked). We hope to have food and gas money covered by the time the trip rolls around at the end of this month.

Should we be doing this? No way. We have no business spending this kind of money when we have that kind of debt. So why are we?

Because sometimes the memories are worth the price we pay. My older two kids, if you ask, will cheerfully bore you with a blow-by-blow recap of their graduation trips. They remember every detail and they love to relive the fun we had. They'll pull out the scrapbook and make you look at every last photo. For each, it was the last true family vacation of their childhood and one they'll never forget.

But this trip is even more important to us. DS3 has already outlived his life expectancy by five months. From here on out, it's borrowed time. And if my theater-loving boy who has worked harder than anyone I know to get to this point wants to see a show, then by golly that's what's going to happen.

This is one of those times when we are going against everything we know is right so that we can do the right thing.

Because times like this only come once in a lifetime. And you can't put a price on that.

Sarah

21 comments:

  1. You are in debt; you can't afford this. Not paying off debt and going to shows and holidays is madness. You are not doing the right thing, you are doing what everyone else does and indulging yourselves and your children when you can't afford it. Sorry to take a hard line, but you are going down the 'one drink won't hurt me' as a comparison to any addicted behaviour. This is by far, the most ridiculous excuse for 'I just wanted to' I've ever heard. Plus, you are setting a very bad example to your children. If you can't afford it, you go with out..........full stop! Said with real love, Frugal Queen xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  2. I have seen both phantom and wicked and would love love love to take my boys to it in NY. That is a very special memory being created.

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  3. If this trip was for any other reason than a graduation trip for a son who has already outlived his life expectancy I might tend to agree with FQ. But I can't this time. I say go and have a great time but don't go crazy with spending when you are there. To me this is one of those if you don't go "you will regret it for the rest of your life" trips. You already "know" better and are doing something about it.

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  4. you won't regret this. one thing to help with food costs (not sure where you are staying) - but right off times square (46th) is a restaurant called Havana Central Times Square - great food (and drinks) - and you can get a gift card on restaurant.com for cheap (right now $25/card for $10 - but watch for a coupon code and you can get for under $5) - good for any meal and they look like they can accommodate a wheel chair - even a picky eater will find something.

    I'm sure you know there is a TCKTS booth right in Times Square - great place for discount tickets - you might be able to squeeze an extra show in!

    have a great time and enjoy this trip

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  5. Good for you! I really think that life is just a collection of experiences and memories. I'm sure you will have a great time.

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  6. I think this will be an amazing trip for everyone, and lots of memories will be created. This is not a frivolous trip, and don't worry about the negative comments... if they were in your shoes they would do it too.

    Can't wait to hear about the trip :-)

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  7. There are some things in life that are worth the cost. Some things more important than money. I hope that you have an amazing time and make memories that last forever!

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  8. I think you absolutely SHOULD be doing this. I completely disagree with FQ. I'm impressed you are doing it with cash, and this is a memory you will treasure, especially with your son's health issues. No regrets. This post brought a tear to my eye and gave me a great idea for my future kid's graduation gifts. I hope you will post pictures, or at least a detailed account of how much fun you have. There are things more important than money, and this is one of them.

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  9. Wicked is my favorite show! I live near San Francisco, so I see lots of great shows when they come through. But it is a dream of mine to see some on Broadway.

    I love, love, love the message of Wicked. I wish more people would take it to heart.

    Enjoy!

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  10. I think you need to do what your heart tells you. Have fun. My kids ate at Sabarros a lot when they were in New York. You can get almost anything, portions were huge and could be split. They danced there in the summers when they were younger.

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  11. In your shoes I would do the same thing. And it doesn't sound like you're incurring debt for this trip - you've planned and saved and made it happen. I'm thrilled for you to have this wonderful trip to look forward to with your family:)

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  12. If we wait for the perfect time to do everything, we'll never do anything. Making memories with and for your children is more important than getting out of debt, especially when you've been careful and planned ahead for the trip financially. I'm not familiar with Frugal Queen who commented above, but I'm wondering if she has any children. As a mother, I support this decision 100%.

    Your son will remember this trip for the rest of his life. Instead of handing him money or something that will get shoved in a closet somewhere, you're giving him (and your entire family) an amazing memory. DO NOT let anyone make you feel guilty. Take your trip, enjoy the heck out of it, and resume debt payoff when you get back. Thank you for being brave enough to post about this! I can't wait to read about the trip.

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  13. I am with Andrea on this one! I am not a Mom, but frankly you have to do what is right for your family! And doing something for 1 kid is 100% wrong when you don't do it for the other! Plus you sound like you are making sure that this trip is not going to be paid on plastic! Living on a travel budget is a rewarding experance. I promice you this method works and you'll come home with money in your pocket. Take as many envelops as days you will be away. Decide how much money goes into each day (depending on what you are doing that day). Than each day take the moeny out and leave the rest in the hotel, when the day is over trans what ever is left back into the envelop for that day. Do this for each day and watch you'll likely leave your trip with money in your pocket.

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  14. Do it! Debt has ruled our lives for so long that sometimes we forget to live. You have the cash for the hotel and the tickets and even if you have to stretch everything else for a little bit I say go. Your son deserves this its not about the money its about memories that you will hold in your heart forever. Go and enjoy!

    Do not feel guilty. Love every minute of it and cut your budget somewhere else if you need to. I hope this is a trip that will be everything he wants it to be.

    Hugs

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  15. You go girl! Back when we were buried in debt we still did a lot of vacations with the kids and now that I am debt free, I really wouldn't have changed a thing. Kids grow up so fast and there are so few years when you can make lifelong memories with them that family trips are one of the few things that I think are actually worth going into debt for. Plus when you said your son already passed his life expectancy...OMG I can't even imagine. I hope you all go and have an awesome time!!

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  16. Have a blast in NY! There are times when you do what's RIGHT, not necessarily logical or practical. Enjoy every moment and fill us all in on your stay!

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  17. It is all about balance. This is a joyous occasion, on so many levels. You won't regret it.

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  18. I think it's fantastic, and I think you won't regret the trip at all...don't listen to any nay sayers. From what I can see, you're not adding to your debt, so what's the problem. The memories will be priceless. I am personally jealous, Wicked is the one show I really want to see. Enjoy yourselves, and congratulations to DS3 on his graduation...fantastic!

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  19. I think this is wonderful. While getting out of debt is very important, it doesn't hold a candle to family. I hope you are blessed with many more family vacations. Keep an eye on your spending and be reasonable, but make many, many memories with your children. You have a unique situation and I doubt you will look back and regret taking this trip.

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  20. I think it is a wonderful thing.
    My husband recently took a trip with our boys & he kept texting me with "Priceless" You can not get this time back for any amount of money. You go & have a great time!! This will probably be the best money spent...
    E.V.E.R.....

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  21. I think that this is the right thing to do 100%. I worked in palliative care for many years. This trip is about much more than a family vacation & being in debt. Memories & experiences are irreplaceble. You go and enjoy every moment - no guilt allowed!

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