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Subject:  Re: Thinking about a new rewards card Date:  8/28/2015  11:02 AM
Author:  Patzer Number:  309654 of 312957

I want to take her away for a vacation. We havent really done much together in the last 3 years, since DD joined our clan. Problem is, I really dont want to take the money from our e fund, and I also dont have money set for a vacation (we used it taking DD to Disney earlier this year.

I don't relate to wanting a second vacation and spending a lot on it, but that's okay. This isn't really about what I would want to do. It's about budgeting and priorities.

So, another vacation with your wife prior to the arrival of your second child is a priority. Okay, it's your priority. How important is it to you?

You've already answered part of that. It's not so important that you're willing to accept a smaller e fund. Okay. What else do you have budgeted that you could forego in favor of the vacation? Can you scrape up enough dollars by not doing/getting something else you want, that you just don't want as badly as you want this vacation?

I dislike the idea of getting a new credit card for the rewards, with the excuse of using it to offset the cost of the vacation. That muddles the thinking of how important the vacation is. If the new card is a good deal as a new card, it's a good deal. If it's only a good deal because it offers a discount on something you wouldn't otherwise buy, it's not really a good deal.

So, think about what vacation you want. Figure out how much it costs. See if you are willing to take the money from something else and do without that something else. If you get that far and can fund the vacation, only then look at how a new card might reduce the cost. That puts the decision in context. You explicitly say, for example, "I want this vacation badly enough to defer replacing my car for two years longer than I had previously planned." Or, "I want this vacation badly enough to use my e-fund then make rebuilding the e-fund a priority that will squeeze out other spending for a while." That's really the kind of decision you're making.

Others are telling you the decision should be, "I don't want the vacation badly enough to give up anything else I had planned on." That's the way I would lean, but it's okay if that's not the way your priorities shake out. Just be honest with yourself. By taking this vacation, you are giving up *something* else. Make sure it's worth it to give up whatever it is you end up giving up in favor of the vacation. Don't let the card rewards confuse the underlying issue.

Rewards are nice. I use rewards cards, though I favor cash over points and travel awards. But the rewards are really a sideshow. Controlling what you spend your money on, and making sure you're spending it on the stuff that is most important to you, is where the real action is.

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