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5 simple steps to pay cash for your dream vacation

By: trish crossley

“Wait…what? Excuse me? Did I hear you correctly?”

A slight panic set in as my heart rate quickened. I could feel the little hairs on the back of my neck standing up in attention as my face burned from the quick rush of blood. I looked at the cash register screen as the cashier repeated a ridiculously higher amount than I expected to hear. 

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever painstakingly picked out a purchase, weighing all of the pros and cons, with an understanding of one price in mind — only to get to the checkout stand and learn that it actually costs more? Ugh. It’s such an uneasy feeling. 

In what feels like a split second, we have to decide if the item is worth more than we intended to pay for it. 

Life is full of seemingly less than life-altering decisions. Yet, these small choices can make a really big difference. 

Small Choices, Big Difference

God cares about our choices, even about our work, rest, and finances. We learn to use money wisely by practicing the stewardship Jesus taught, whether we have little or much (Matthew 25:20-21). With diligence, we can turn daily decisions into dream destinations. Proverbs 21:5 tells us, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” 

If you and I were sitting across from one another, I would ask you, “What would you rather have: a paid-in-full five-day vacation with your favorite person to your dream destination? Or, would you prefer a daily beverage from your favorite store?” Which would you choose?  

I’m inclined to believe most of us would choose a much-needed vacation with a companion over the temporary fix of a daily drink. What if we pre-determined our answers with the best interest of our future self in mind?

When intentions become actions, aspirations become destinations (Proverbs 14:15).

Pay Cash For Your Dream Vacation in 5 Simple Steps

The trick is to get S.M.A.R.T.

1. Specific

Pick out the exact location you want to go to for vacation. For example, "We want to go to Maui for our 10th wedding anniversary" not "We want to travel somewhere someday."

2. Measurable

Determine the entire estimated cost, round-trip. For example, "It will cost my spouse and I around $7,500 for this trip" not "It's going to cost a lot of money!"

3. Attainable

Ensure your goal is within reach.  For example, "We have 30 months (2 ½ years) until our 10th anniversary which means we'll need to save $250 per month" not "We'll figure out how to come up with the money a few months before our anniversary."

4. Realistic

 Define sensible ways to simplify and save. Do you buy smartphone apps, magazines, coffee, lottery tickets, or eat out? How about any subscriptions or memberships you can cancel? Decide if these are valuable discretionary expenses or wasted opportunities. For example, "If we reduce our spending by $150 per month and earn $100 per month more, then we'll have $250 per month to save." Not "We'll try to cut back and save when we can."

5. Timely

 Set a date! Begin with the end in mind. For example, "We're going to pay cash for our 10th Anniversary trip to Maui!" Not, "Maybe we'll put it on a credit card."

Bonus Tip: We can get it in our heads that it’s too hard to get into a routine. But the reality is that all of us are already in a routine. When we realize we already have a routine, the question then becomes, what would it take to make a change? 


Interested in help with your finances? Visit and learn how to win with your money today.

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