As usual, my breakthrough this week came at lunch with my friend Carol. Scott and I had decided NOT to try to go to Italy for our 15th wedding anniversary because of the cost. There just seems to be better things to do with the money.
Carol thinks we’re nuts because life is short, we haven’t done ANYTHING fun for ourselves in, oh, many many years and because we’re tired, worn out, losing our joy and not taking enough time for each other.
Most of you know my grandmother raised me and Nana was a party girl. She loved to travel, shop, have fun and eat out as often as possible. She believed that credit cards were part of God’s provision and to be honest, she wrestled with credit card debt her whole life.
The other major player in my childhood was Auntsie, Nana’s closest sister. They looked alike, laughed alike and loved alike but financially, Auntsie was the opposite of Nana. Auntsie scrimped and saved, NEVER bought groceries without coupons, ordered only water in restaurants and was known to take an extra baked potato off the buffet and stuff it into her purse for the next day’s lunch. That woman put the thrift in thrifty.
My whole life, Auntsie dogged Nana for never having any money. And Nana dogged Auntsie for never having any fun.
Carol pointed out that before we hit the debt wall (more than $100,000, thank you very much) I was very much like Nana. Then when we started our stewardship journey and for the past seven years since, I became like Auntsie. Penny pinching, overly cautious, even fearful.
“Can’t you find a happy medium between the two?” Carol asked me. “Can you find a way to be the best of what each of them taught you?”
I don’t think I could ever stop being thrifty after what we have been through, but I do believe it is time to relax and have a little fun. I encourage my clients to have fun, shouldn’t I do the same for myself and for my family? (Although believe me, NO ONE in this house is suffering.)
Scott is still really not sure about Italy. He’s suggesting a long weekend in Vegas or San Francisco. I’m starting to think that since we actually have the vacation time available and can pay CASH, that we go, but go wisely and conservatively.
So what do you think? Should we go? Should we do something shorter, cheaper and closer to home? Should we stay home and clip coupons? And how do we strike a balance between having money and having fun?