Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Setting priorities and putting travel on hold

photoThis year has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Everything in my life seems to have been up in the air at some point over the last six months – whether it’s my career, friendships/relationships, health, and travel. I want (and am trying to work towards) a lot of goals, but sometimes plans don’t work out the way you want them to.

That being said, our travel plans to Europe for September have been officially axed. I’m disappointed, because ever since I got back from Germany, I had envisioned going on one international trip each year. Last year was France/Morocco. This year, well I didn’t know where we were going to go, but I was excited that it was going to be somewhere that involved crossing an ocean. :)

But it’s really for the best. Among other reasons, I lost about 6 weeks worth of pay when I was laid off earlier this year. And while I didn’t have to use my Emergency Fund to get by, I still hurt my savings rate and my RRSP contributions for the year. Plus, I have some upcoming medical expenses (not covered under my extended health) that could end up costing me thousands. That alone scares me when I think about planning a trip that will also likely set me back thousands. Straining my budget like that would be too much, and I’m not comfortable with it. Making sure I’m saving enough for retirement is, and likely always will be, my number one financial goal.

Even though I’m disappointed, there’s still a lot to look forward to this year. In the past few months, I’ve been to Portland and Las Vegas. And BF and I just planned a road trip to the Oregon Coast for the Canada Day long weekend. There’s Seattle in August, and as a consolation trip for not going to Europe, we are tossing around the idea of going somewhere else for a week in the fall. New Orleans, perhaps.

You can have anything you want, just not everything. I think about that statement a lot. I can’t just buy whatever I want – nobody can. Even millionaires can’t afford everything on their wish list. :) But my personal health (and the medical expenses that come with it) as well as my financial health are more important than a trip, so that’s what I’m choosing. For me, getting to make decisions about where my money goes remains the most empowering thing about being out of debt. Not owing money to anyone opens up so many doors. It gives you choices, and freedom. It’s something I never want to give up, or take for granted.

As for next year… well, I’m going to have a ton of vacation time available. So that will give us even more time off (and time to save) for a bigger, better trip. :)

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Personal Finance Blogs says:

    Hey, Travel is not everything in life, and you can have a good relaxing break in Vancouver, I am sure you can find a nice BandB where you can re-charge.

  2. How about visiting family? I remember a few posts ago you talked about not going home enough so instead of new orleans take an extended “stayaction” and visit for your family and friends and maybe do things in the area you normally wouldnt do? Kind of hard with medical expenses bc sometimes you don’t know what the total cost will be till after it happens.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I’ve already planned a trip back home for next month, and we’re all going to go to a local baseball game. That will be fun. Another trip home planned for October for Thanksgiving. And yeah, it’s definitely hard to plan for expenses when medical expenses are up in the air. Going to make the best of it though. :)

  3. tracder says:

    I can’t even imagine something not covered by our healthcare system or my extended health coverage. Guess I best get on saving that Emergency fund pretty soon before I find out the hard way what is and isn’t covered!

  4. I’m in a similar position this year…….we need a new vehicle but also have (had) travel plans. I really don’t want to buy another vehicle but it’s been difficult managing with just one in a city dominated by the automobile (Calgary). We’ll have to decide between the two and the vehicle will likely win out. Travel plans will be delayed until next year……

  5. Barb says:

    Thank you for sharing. “You can have anything you want, just not everything” really struck a chord with me. You’ve inspired me to be more conscious of my budget and I’ve started to set some financial goals. This post came at a really good time. I hope your medical expenses get sorted out.

  6. Jennie says:

    You are so, so sensible…kudos..

  7. Anonymous says:

    I always liked “You can have everything, just not all at once”

  8. Jen Collins says:

    I always liked “You can have everything, just not all at once”

  9. Jacquie says:

    Ohhhh that is an amazing quote….so far I’ve been living with “You can have everything, just not all at the same time”.

  10. Ha. I have a post like this lined up too… I’m struggling about whether to go on an EPIC vacation to Australia/NZ or… Just save my money. =/

  11. I’ve put off large trips several times to stick with long term financial goals and it always feels like the right decision. I am currently racking up miles with a credit card, though, and look forward to splurging on an international trip with those! It sounds like you’re making smart financial decisions that will pay off.

  12. For the past two years, we’ve been scaling back our family vacations too. It’s been only road trips for this family of four.

    We are trying to save and invest as much of our money as we can hoping that one day our investments will pay for our travels. :)

    Best wishes. AFFJ

  13. reneeliamrhys says:

    Great that you have your real eyes on and not blinkered ones. Reality makes us think about the real life and not what we want. As a commenter said…kudos to you.
    There’s many a way to have a break albeit not overseas. Staycations are my favourite. We went down that road after not finding reasonable priced accommodation for a weekend away…we just had to think differently and in the end enjoyed the treats/fun more and over a longer stretch. We stayed home but went to different spots around the city and beaches enjoying foods at new to us venues over a number of weekends.

    Alexa from Sydney, Australia

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