No Vacations? No Thanks, Dave Ramsey!


Create a vacation fund today and travel the world, if that’s what you want to do!

-Peerless Money Mentor



Annual Summer Vacations

When I was growing up, my father made sure he saved up money for our annual family summer vacation.  At one point, we went to Biloxi, Mississippi two or three years in a row.  I did not mind the monotony because I enjoyed going to Wet Willy’s water park.  Right next door to Wet Willy’s was a small amusement park with go karts, bumper boats, and other fun rides!  I really loved those bumper boats; they were so much fun!  We had a blast every year we went, even though the cost of the vacation was not very much.  To save on costs, we would stay at the same Motel 6 every year.  After visiting the same place for a couple of years, we eventually graduated to better vacations.  My father probably got a raise or a new job but I cannot recall what happened.

I used to love the bumper boats! Source: Wikipedia

Better Vacations

When I was in middle school, my father and I traveled to Chicago.  It was my very first plane ride and I remember chewing my gum rapidly upon takeoff.  During our plane’s landing, we had to circle around the landing zone multiple times.  We hit a bunch of air pockets and this made me chew my gum more rapidly than before.  Eventually we would have a successful landing and I would be excited to see what the windy city had to offer!  My father and I are huge basketball fans so one of our first stop would be The United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls!

The United Center

I remember taking a picture in front of the MJ Statue! Source: Wikipedia

I believe we checked out the United Center our first day there.  The year was 2000 so I would not get to see Michael Jordan play.  But I would get to take a picture in front of his statue and that was enough to satisfy a kid like me.  We would end up going to see the Chicago Bulls and Spurs play later that night.  I cannot recall what the final score of the game was but I know for a fact I was a happy little kid.  On a scale from 1 to 10, my happiness rate was at 1,000! The following day we would visit Navy Pier.

Navy Pier

Navy Pier sits on the shoreline of Lake Michigan and has a ton of fun stuff for visitors to do.  Although I do not recall visiting any of the attractions or shops, I remember staring out at the beautiful, greenish, blue water and enjoying the serenity it offered.  I have an old picture of me at Navy Pier but I think it is too blurry to share.  My father and I had an amazing time that weekend and I could not imagine a life without taking a few vacations.  So that is why it is incredibly shocking to me that Dave Ramsey recommends putting vacations on hold while getting out of debt.

Dave Ramsey’s No Vacation for 10 Years Revelation


A CBN reader asks Dave if he should skip vacations while getting out of debt

Dave Ramsey’s response to the question above is, “I think you should put vacations on hold while you are trying to get out of debt.”  That was shocking to me but it does not end there. “My family and I didn’t go on vacations for more than 10 years while we were getting out of debt.”  Can you imagine going ten years without taking a single vacation?  I applaud his determined effort to knock out his debt but what about burnout?  Paying off debt is tough and I recommend rewarding yourself along your journey to becoming debt free.  Dave goes on to recommend that you save up cash for a vacation if it is needed.  I totally get that but not taking a vacation in ten years is insanity.  Taking an affordable vacation while in debt is doable and I will show you how!

Ways to Build a Vacation Fund

  • Create a vacation fund by automating your savings.  I used Capital One 360 account to create an account called “vacation fund”  For example, if you set aside $25 per pay period if you get paid bi-weekly, you will end up having $625 to spend on vacations during the year.
  • Join the SaverLife program program I recommend in my article titled SaverLife Savers Program.  SaverLife Savings Program, formerly Earn savings program,  is a non-profit organization that help families save and invest to build wealth.  The program lasts six months and for every month you save $20, a $10 reward is set aside for you to redeem when the program ends.
  • Pickup a side hustle to bring in some extra cash!  Read my article The Five Side Hustles to Help You Achieve Financial Independence.  Also, check out and for more side hustle ideas.
  • Read ESI’s article titled How to Grow the Value of Your Career by 50% and take the actionable steps listed!
  • I know Dave Ramsey doesn’t recommend using credit cards but if you have good credit, try travel hacking!  Choose FI has a great episode on this titled Travel Rewards: How to Travel the World for Free (The Easy Way).  I only recommend taking this step if you are able to avoid credit card interest.
  • If you have an HSA, try using my HSA travel hacking strategy.  I actually called into the Choose Fi Podcast and they played my voicemail on episode 56r Choose FI Nation!
  • Choose a cheap destination like Biloxi to start and work your way up to better vacations like my father did!

My Choose FI Voicemail

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The Importance of Taking A Vacation


Getting out of debt is tough and sometimes it requires a tremendous sacrifice.  It involves delaying gratification and staying committed to your financial plan.  With that being said, you deserve a vacation, even if it is just a cheap one within your own town.  Give yourself a break sometimes and enjoy life while you can!  I believe you can travel within your means!  Like Paula Pant always says, “You can afford anything, but not everything!”

Using Your Credit Card like a Debit Card

Dave Ramsey is against using credit cards for any reason but I doubt he knows or care about Debitize.  According to a review on, “Every time you make a purchase with your credit card, Debitize will automatically transfer that amount of money from your bank account to your Debitize account.”  To read the full review, click here!

Special Shout Out

I recently read and article featured on titled Live The Life You Want Now: Don’t Wait Until Retirement.  It was a thought-provoking piece written by Melissa Brock at  The main message of the article was to enjoy life now while saving for retirement because you never know when it will be your time to go!  Her post really inspired me to write this article.  Keep up the good work, Melissa!

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Author: Jerry

Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.

If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?

For a fun read, check out his article 10 Signs You’re a Personal Finance Addict to see if you are a personal finance nerd.

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31 thoughts on “No Vacations? No Thanks, Dave Ramsey!

  1. Nice read. I definitely agree that vacations are needed. Growing up My family did not take any vacations. Sure you were lucky. I first stepped on a plan when I was 30. It was the best thing I’ve ever done! Now I make up for lost time.
    Since then, I’ve been sure to travel at least once a year. I value traveling over any of my possessions.
    I also use a capital one 360 account for biweekly savings and that $600+ a year definitely adds up. People fail to understand the true value in saving a little here and there.
    I have to check out the other programs you listed here for savings.

  2. My earliest memories of family vacations are trips to the Bronx to visit my grandparents and traveling to Charlotte, NC to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Trips to grandma and grandpa’s place were cool because they always ended with money. We didn’t do much though because our parents didn’t let us leave the house for much. NC was a lot more fun. The first major trip I can remember was going to West Africa when I was in the third grade to visit my dad’s family for two weeks. We also went to London and Disney World, as well as road trips along the east coast with Jack and Jill.
    I’m a big fan of traveling and did so even at my brokest. I just saved up for the trips I wanted to take, got cheap transportation and stayed with friends at my destination. It is definitely possible to stay on track with debt payoff while having a bit of fun and relaxation.
    OMGF recently posted…Sanitation Is No ServiceMy Profile

  3. I never got into the whole movement around Dave Ramsey. I think part of it was exactly what you touched on, that with his system, you have to give up so much today for what you want tomorrow. There has to be a balance and I never thought his system gave it to you.

  4. Depriving yourself of these types of experiences raises the odds that you will fail to reach your financial goals! Just like starving yourself to get in shape is not a long term plan, neither is starving your life of experiences! Great work as always Jerry!

  5. I like Dave Ramsey and I think he’s coming from that whole “gazelle intensity” place. But I agree with you that you can have it both ways. Certainly don’t run up a credit card for a vacation if you can’t make the payment in full when it’s due. But a road trip? A $99 flight? It’s sort of like the way I am with sugar. If I don’t have it at least once in a while, I may end up breaking into an ice cream shop. You’ve got to live a little, even if you’re in debt.
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…Building Groovy Ranch: Update 4My Profile

  6. I don’t think I could survive without travel. I mean we skip it for maybe 1 or 2 weeks every month but skipping it altogether for 10 years is absolutely insane, especially if it is your passion.
    My husband and I are technically in debt (2 mortgages: 1 for our primary residence and another for a rental) but we don’t really consider it bad debt, and we use travel hacking techniques to make the most out of our travels.

    Life is too short to actually stop doing what you like doing just because you’re so busy paying down debt. Have some fun along the wya. We’re actually contributing a little extra every month to our rental property’s mortgage, but we’re not going too crazy over it.

  7. It doesn’t surprise me that Dave Ramsey says not to go on vacation while you’re in debt. As long as you are able to budget (read: save up for) the vacation and not go further in debt in order to go on vacation, I don’t see why not.
    JoeHx recently posted…January 2018 Blog StatisticsMy Profile

  8. It would so hard to go ten years without a vacation! You’d have to plan something modest and responsible, even if it’s in the area or region where you live. Like another commenter said, mental health is so important. Also, those family vacation memories are so, so precious and valuable and can be gained without breaking the bank. Kids grow up so quickly and will be out of the house before you might be ready for them to leave.
    Carol @ DownsizeYour2080 recently posted…NFL Playoff Excitement, Disaster Relief, and Joyful Habits: What’s in Your Giving Envelope?My Profile

  9. If you’re paying >10% on your debt, I can see delaying any unnecessary spending like a vacation. If your debt is at a more reasonable rate and you’re on track to pay it off, you need to live a little. Life should not be about a starvation diet. I live for my vacations. I look forward to them all year. I’d never skip them to pay my mortgage off a little bit faster.

    Dave Ramsey has helped a ton of people move in the right direction in life. That said, I find myself disagreeing with him often.

    I love the tips you share to save a bit and afford the next trip!
    Jason@WinningPersonalFinance recently posted…Urgent! Vote for WFP as Best Money Post from 2017 Today!My Profile

  10. I nearly didn’t click on the link to this article because the answer in my mind was a very clear ,”no way in hell’.

    I am now seriously reconsidering that view
    In particular the argument of setting aside a little each week to save for a holiday as a “reward” for reaching a goal is strong.

    Thanks for a thought provoking article.
    Peter recently posted…Overwhelmed by debtMy Profile

  11. The hardest part for me was saying “no” saying no to my friends when they wanted to go out, saying no to my dad when he wanted the bf and I to go on a family trip, saying no to myself when I wanted to buy things.

  12. I’m middle of the road on this one. I agree with both points of view somewhat. 10 years is a long time to have no break or enjoyment, but I also see “I deserve this” more often than not. And look, I say it’s you money and you do what you want with it. I know for me, the weight of debt or financial stress slightly outweighs the desire to travel somewhere, however, like you said, you CAN find ways to have some kind of vacation or break for relatively cheap!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Tonya! I definitely agree with you. If you are struggling to pay back loans, don’t take some fancy trip to Dubai. However, take a trip/break you can afford.

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