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What's In Your Clutch?

Confession time. We’ve been on our debt-free journey for over 10 years and yet my husband and I still have a credit card “for the business.” Even as a financial coach I struggle with letting go of this card. It’s the Costco Visa. We earn a ridiculous “cash-back” rebate every February because we put so much on the card. Our practice is that we pay it off at the end of every month. This is the only way I can allow our family to keep the card. Even so, it is uncomfortable. Last year we paid over $120 in interest because we got careless. Once we realized this, we had a conversation about why we had the credit card again. We determined that it was a cash flow issue. Hello?! Does that sound any alarms for anyone?

Dave Ramsey is very clear that people do not get rich by utilizing the benefits of a credit card. Lately, I’ve been hearing people talk about their trips to Mazatlán or Hawaii. They go on to brag about how they can afford to go and fund the trip through the free airfare or lodging earned by using their credit cards. Today I heard of a blogger who specializes in helping people earn airline miles and free hotel nights as a way of paying for travel.

Have you ever heard something and thought, “this sounds too good to be true?” The challenge with the promises of free airline miles and hotel stays is that far too often the traveler is not disciplined enough to pay the entire credit card bill at the end of the month. Other opportunities to get “free” stays is to attend timeshare presentations where you to a vacation. Personally, I do not want to spend any time in a high-pressure sales presentation where I will most likely cave in and buy into something that is of little value to me in the long run.

I have a client who travels to Chile every year. We know this is going to happen! It is not a surprise. They are setting money aside each month to fund their trip before they leave. This allows so much freedom. They aren’t worried about qualifying for a stay or flight. Clients enjoy the peace of mind that they don’t have to sit through a presentation. They go, relax, and see the sights. Best of all, they come home without any of the logistic hassles of mileage/point redemption, transfers, eligibility requirements or additional fees.

I want you to completely enjoy yourselves when on vacation. I don't want you to return with any regrets. If you want help preparing a budget for a special trip to celebrate an anniversary, to see the world, or to check something off your bucket list, let’s get together. We can set up a budget and you can go on that trip with all the freedom intended for vacations and know how to prepare for your next adventure. If you have a different perspective, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

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