Small Victories: Paying for Travels with Real Money

Thankful to get to spend time with my sweet niece

Thankful to get to spend time with my sweet niece

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving! We normally run the Turkey Day Race in New Orleans’ City Park, but at 7am we decided it was too cold to go out, and well, we do it for fun, not to be miserable–so we stayed in. In the afternoon the sun came out, and it ended up being a lovely day. We had lunch at Michael’s aunt’s house, and it was nice to see his mom’s side of the family.

At work, Black Friday was a blast. It always is! We’re super busy all day, customers are buying and everyone is having fun. Also, we always do a potluck on Black Friday, and everyone shows off and brings their best dish. We had a venerable feast! We had: turkey, ham, fried chicken, spinach dip, seven layer dip, crawfish cornbread, green beans with potatoes, 2 different shrimp fettuccines, baked mac and cheese, and for dessert: ooey gooey cake, cupcakes, cookies, pineapple upside down cake and pumpkin pie. There’s no time for lunch breaks on Black Friday so we all just grab bites here and there when there’s a lull for a moment. Even though I worked 7a-7p, the day flew by!

Yesterday, there was still plenty of food, and I worked 7a-7p again, and let me tell you, I’m tired! In the morning we picked names for Secret Santa. We bring each other gifts on Christmas Eve! I’m lucky to have great coworkers. 🙂

But you know what else I’ve done? All my Christmas shopping! (Almost.) I won a sales contest at work last week and got $275 in Amazon gift cards! I was so happy! I have Amazon Prime and I did all my shopping online Thursday night. It’s a small perk, but I love free shipping. Amazon Prime has my heart. Christmas shopping money was not in the budget until December, but because I won the gift cards, I decided to get as much of it done as I could.  Because of this, I should have most of my Christmas spending money left over in December, so I can put that money into savings.  Hurray!

But even more fun was buying my tickets for my trip to Mexico in January. My whole family lives in Mexico (except for my mom) and before I started working in retail we used to spend every Christmas and New Years together. Well, for the last 5 years I’ve gone to Mexico in January, as soon after the holiday black out period as possible.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever paid for a trip with real money that I saved up. In college I travelled throughout Europe on scholarships. After college, I opened my first credit card (I wanted points!) and used it to pay for my trip to Costa Rica and paid it off in full after the trip. All of my subsequent travels have gone on credit cards, but now that I’m focused on living credit card free, I decided to save up in advance for this one.

Let me tell you, buying tickets with real money felt… weird! I don’t know why it felt different… It was still typing card numbers in a web form online, but just the thought of knowing this trip is paid for… that I don’t owe anything… It’s bizarre! I even budgeted and saved up for Cirque du Soleil tickets for the fam!  Even though I´m still in debt, seeing my family is a non-negotiable for me.  I´m very proud of myself for not using credit cards!


FINANCIAL IMPLICATION: at least 16.99% APR ON $2000

This is going to be a great trip.  I’m a huge Cirque du Soleil fan, and have seen 11 different Cirque shows throughout the years (some multiple times).  If I ever formally make a list of non-negotiable spending, visiting family will be on it, and Cirque du Soleil will be on it.  I really value theatre, and love CdS above all else.  So instead of just going to Puebla–where my family lives–and spending time with them there, we´re flying into Puebla, then going to Cancun with my cousins to round out the week and see the newest Cirque show, Joya.  I´m super excited.

I think this will also be the first “grown up vacation” I take with my cousins.  I´m an only child, and so I grew up super close with my Aunt Barbara´s two sons, Joaquin and Francisco.  They´re 4 and 2 years older than me respectively, and so they´re like older brothers to me.  As kids we took all our vacations together–with my parents and aunt and uncle–spent all our summers, Christmases, New Years, birthdays, and graduations together.  They´d come here and we´d go there, all the time.  Well, needless to say, as we grew older and started going to college, etc, it became harder and harder to cooridnate schedules to see each other that often.  Now we only see each other once or twice a year, but I really, really value that time together.

As a kid I used to dream of being the “grown up” generation.  Instead of our parents planning vacations and us tagging along, I always looked forward to the day we´d decide to travel together, maybe with our own kids.  Well, none of us have kids yet, but I´m married, and Joaquin has a serious girlfriend, and so this trip to Cancun without our parents is a milestone, in my mind.  They think I´m silly, but I´m excited. 😀

Do you have any upcoming travel planned?  I always love to hear about/dream about trips on the horizon…

8 thoughts on “Small Victories: Paying for Travels with Real Money

    • Definitely. Balance is key to not getting burned out. Afford anything, but not everything–right? I think large purchases are okay if they’re part of the plan, and are personally valuable. Thanks for reading 🙂


  1. Pingback: What’s NOT On My Non-Negotiable List | SmashOdyssey

  2. Congrats on having saved for your trip. This gives one piece of mind as you do not have to think about how you will pay for expenses incurred. I also prefer saving up for my expenses as I do not want to have credit card debt.


  3. Pingback: Living Like I´m On Vacation | SmashOdyssey

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