If You Want It Bad Enough, You Will Make It Happen

This month my husband and I will be taking a 20-day vacation to Australia and Hawaii. I’d be lying if I told you it was inexpensive. The trip consists of a total of 10 flights and 17 nights of hotel stays. We are not in the top 1% of earners. We did not receive an inheritance of some sort. We did not win the lottery. We have no debt associated with the trip. You may be wondering, then, “how in the world are you affording this trip!?” The answer is we have been saving for almost 2 full years for it.

Once a month for 23 months, we have had an automatic transfer set up from out checking account to an online savings account (currently earning a 1.75% APY). Some people may think this is nuts. Two years of saving just for one vacation? It may sound silly, but we wanted this trip, bad. And honestly, we didn’t feel like we were sacrificing anything. In the past two years that we have been saving we have gone on other vacations, eaten at several restaurants, gone to multiple weddings, celebrated lots of gift-giving occasions, donated to charity, completed projects inside and outside of our house, contributed to both our employer-sponsored retirement plans and our own IRAs, and lived our lives just as we normally would.

If we didn’t set this money aside for our vacation each month, I’m not so sure we would have been saving the full amount instead. If we didn’t have a specific goal in mind for the money, we probably would have ended up spending money on things we don’t need, rather than creating memories that will last a lifetime.

The thing is, when you want something bad enough, you make it happen.

A friend of ours mentioned to us that he could never save for two years the way we did. He explained that if they set a goal to save $10,000 for a trip to Italy, for example, by the time they saved $5,000, he and his wife would end up spending that $5,000 on a different vacation instead. Why would he spend that money, though, when he’s halfway to his savings goal for Italy? Because he doesn’t want it bad enough.

The problem with not wanting something bad enough is that when you don’t have savings goals, you end up spending your money on other things and, many times, having nothing to show for it. I know so many people who say “I wish I could afford to go on vacation.” A majority of these people do not budget, do not set goals and do not save. They are not taking responsibility of their financial decisions and are not holding themselves accountable. They don’t realize how quickly little things add up, such as multiple trips to the grocery store, getting a drink with friends, picking up a new shirt for yourself when you go to the store to get a gift for someone else.

In my friend’s case, going on a trip to a different destination makes sense for him. He’s been to Italy once before and, although he loved it, other destinations are more appealing to him, so he’d rather spend the money to see something new. He would prefer to experience the gratification earlier because for him, it can come from somewhere else. It doesn’t need to be Italy.

My advice is find something that you DO want bad enough. Use that motivation to help you form good savings habits. A few ideas for saving motivation: early retirement (the FIRE movement), down payment for a house, vacation (my personal favorite clearly), a car or a wedding. It can be hard to motivate yourself for extremely long-term goals, so for some it may be better to start with something shorter term then use those habits formed to work towards your long-term goal. For me, two years falls into my shorter-term goals. For someone else, it may need to be a 3-month goal. Whatever the case, find what you want bad enough and work towards saving for that. NO EXCUSES! 🙂

Is there something that you want bad enough that you are currently working on saving aggressively towards? What is it?

8 thoughts on “If You Want It Bad Enough, You Will Make It Happen

Add yours

  1. Great point! I have often made the point that being frugal is good (duh), but it has its limits! Sometimes it can still be good to indulge – *especially* if it’s something you really want. And clearly you do!

    Hope you enjoy it! I plan to start my traveling in the near-ish future. 🙂

    1. Oh I definitely believe in frugality, as well. Vacation and restaurants are my vices and the things I’m not quite money conscious with. When I analyze my cost-sensitivity to happiness ratio the happiness far exceeds my money anxiety haha

  2. Enjoy your hard-earned and well-deserved vacay!!

    Question: would you be worried about it not living up to expectations? I just know myself (and my bad habits) that if I were working toward something for two years, I would be intensely anxious about ‘making it count’ and being worried about being disappointed if it weren’t the Single Most Magical Vacation of All Time. Maybe you’re better at going with the flow than I am XD

    1. Surprisingly no! Maybe because we’re visiting 4 different spots, so I feel like even if one is less exciting than I thought I’d assume another would make up for it. But we tend to choose nice enough hotels that even in the worst case scenario, if the city isn’t the most amazing, the hotel makes up for it with views/food/service etc.

      We’re also going to be meeting friends we made on our honeymoon in australia and it’s my lifelong dream to encounter a kangaroo. We’ve also heard such amazing things about Hawaii so I’d kind of be shocked if it disappointed us. Going in optimistic and going to make the most of it 🤗

  3. I love my “vacation fund” account – every paycheque, an automatic deposit goes into that account.
    One year, a friend mentioned she was going to Mexico the next month, and did I want to come along? I checked my vacation fund – and there was money there to buy a plane ticket – so YES, I did want to come along!

    But mostly I love the freedom of being able to spend money on my trip without any guilt – the money in my vacation fund is there to be spent on vacation – that is it’s purpose!

    A few years ago, I opened a “kitchen reno fund” and set up an automatic deposit once a month into it – I looked at that account the other day for the first time in a while, and was shocked to see that there’s nearly $4k there! My plan is to wait until my house is paid off at the end of 2020 before making any big changes – by then I should have a good chunk of money and be able to do all the things I want to fix my kitchen!

    1. That’s amazing! I like the idea of an ongoing vacation fund account where you’re not saving for a specific trip but the money is there when something comes up, like Mexico for you!!

      That’s great about the kitchen Reno fund too!! When you set up automatic deposits you don’t even miss the money and as you said, you can spend it guilt free because it’s sitting there waiting to be used and you don’t need to rearrange spending to make it happen since the money is already set aside!

  4. The problem I see, that it’s also what I think happened to your friend, is that when they actually see how much they are going to spend physically, they bail out. You think “I’ll save $10K to go on a vacation”. Suddenly, when you’re halfway there, you see how much $5K actually is and that you still need double that money. That’s when people get real nitpicky about the value of the trip vs the value of their hard earned money. But yes, they definitely didn’t want it bad enough.

    1. That’s very true! When you see a larger amount of money sitting in one spot I think reality hits and like you said, you start to get very picky about what you’re spending your money on. But I guess my point is to set goals of things you REALLY want ahead of time

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑