Planning for a summer vacation

Photo: kakisky/

Q. I really want to take my family on a summer vacation but it means I will have to cut back, and make sure to save what cash I find. It takes discipline I’m not sure I have. Help!
— The planner

A.  A summer vacation — any vacation — sounds great to us, especially after the blast of cold that’s come to New Jersey.

It all comes down to prioritization.

Do not assume any debt for a vacation, said Debra Morrison, a certified financial planner with Empowered Retirement in Lincoln Park

She said start by ranking on a scale of 1 to 10 how high of a preference it is for you to take your family on a vacation. Then, she said, invite each family member to go on the vacation.

Next, identify what you’re spending the money on now that would otherwise need to be saved for such a vacation.

“Determine if you and/or your family wish to enjoy the current satisfaction that spending gives you versus the potential lifetime memories of a summer vacation,” she said. “Having input from family members as to what type of vacation and what budget may be required for same may also help you plan.”

Morrison said typically, once individuals actually write down their budget numbers, it is such an educational experience.

“They identify areas of waste. Perhaps just re-directing those wasteful expenditures could provide a very attractive middle-ground — enjoying current spending and a summer vacation,” she said. “Finally, any earmarked savings should be allocated and directed automatically to a separate account so there’s never a temptation to raid that balance.”

She offered one more thought: “Vacation memories are those remembered on one’s death bed; gadget purchases, not so much.”

Email your questions to .

This post was first published in November 2016. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.