Spring Break Priorities

Maybe your family was like ours this spring break. We dreamed of taking the kids some place warm, fun and south. The reality is that our priorities dictate how we spend our money. Our big dreams will have to wait one more year. Instead we drove north about 5 hours to Boyne Mountain and spent several days having fun at the indoor water park, eating dinner at restaurants, and enjoying a great view of the greened up ski slopes out our window. In the end we all had a great time and enjoyed our vacation. I would have to guess that the kids didn't even realize that they had missed anything since there was tears shed when we had to leave the resort. All of this was done on less then $650 including all our meals, gas, tips, etc. I'm sure that was just a fraction of what our dream vacation would have cost.

As we got back to normal life this week I was happy with what we had done with our vacation time and money. In fact, I'm still very much at peace with the decision as I write this. However, I wonder how many people feel the same after they get back from their more expensive vacations. They might not verbalize it and maybe it really just doesn't click in their minds that they just set their priorities by how they spend their money.

Here is what I mean. Since being back in town and having kids back in school I've been able to hear about a what everyone did for their spring breaks. After hearing the first 5 I started to notice a trend. A really sad trend. Here are my observations.

The Big Vacation Families~

  • Have larger incomes
  • Live in the high end neighborhoods
  • Kids are in tons of sports, lessons, etc
  • Always wearing brand new name brand clothes
  • Newer high end cars
  • Have pulled their kids out of the Catholic school or are planning on doing it in the coming years because of the expense
  • More likely to be doing the high exposure volunteer work and monetary donations, less likely to be fully tithing

The Small to No Vacation Families~
  • Modest income
  • Living in lower middle class neighborhoods
  • Kids are each in one or two less expensive activities
  • Kids usually have second hand clothes that are not name brands
  • Older vehicles
  • They have made it clear that they will send their kids to the Catholic school no matter the cost because they believe it's the best thing they could ever do for their kids
  • Less likely to do the showy volunteer work and monetary donations, more likely to be fully tithing
I find it interesting to look over these two lists and see the differences. It really shows you that no matter how much you make YOU need to set your own values and priorities. YOU need to make a written plan and stick to it. MONEY is not what stops you from reaching your goal, YOU are what's stopping YOU from reaching your goal.

If you feel it's important for your children to receive a non-public school education then you have to sacrifice other wants. If you want to stay at home full-time with your little ones you have to sacrifice other "stuff" to reach that goal. In either situation your goals are obtainable no matter what your income. It is a matter of self control and stopping the desire to keep up with the Joneses. Let me tell you, they are broke and their kids are spoiled brats. That's not what you want for your family is it?

Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with you taking a nice vacation with your family. We have done it before and we will do it again when we can pay for it in cash that doesn't come our of our kid's tuition savings. The point is that you can't tell me that the private school tuition (which is really not that much) is too expensive when you make more then double what our household makes. Instead of telling people a lie, tell them the truth. You set your families priorities and you decided that sending your kids to the Catholic school was not a top priority.

Sorry if I offended anyone, but I really do get sick of hearing about grand vacations over every break just to have the same people pull their kids from the school or complain about the tuition. As I stated above, there are always a few exceptions and these are just my personal observations. And before you say this in the comments, no I'm not jealous because there is nothing to be jealous about.

Has anyone else noticed this? Is it just me?


Jena said...

Like you said, that's a sad trend. I haven't made that particular connection but I've noticed similar things. In general, when we get questioned about our finances it is by people who would never dream of sacrificing like we do and yet whine that they aren't doing so well.
We (well mostly I) are dreaming of taking a nice resort vacation before we have kids. I don't know if it will happen since we need to finish BS 2 & 3 too and don't want to wait forever. We'll see. Glad you had fun!

Anonymous said...

I actually disagree with the Catholic school assumption. I've noticed the affluent send their children to Catholic or private schools because the classes are smaller and they attain bragging rights.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you regarding tuition, we too hear this frequently... school is too expensive, right after they have made the choice to purchase a brand new expensive vehicle

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