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Making a Dream Vacation a Reality: Meet a Super Saver

By Emily E. Smith

  • PUBLISHED December 06
  • |
  • 3 MINUTE READ

Laurie Skattum, 35, had always dreamed of a long vacation to Hawaii. Although she and her husband, Olin, often talked about taking the trip, they never seemed to get any closer to actually getting to the islands—or feeling financially secure enough to spend the money. But when the couple’s 10th anniversary arrived, Olin announced that this was the year.  

With that, the couple, who live in Iowa, set their plan into motion. The Skattums wanted to take a 10-day trip without taking on any debt. After researching the costs, they decided that a goal of $10,000 would make sense for their dream vacation. At that point, they had $2,000 in savings.
 
Laurie says the pair had budgeted carefully for years, but their new savings goal motivated them to take a closer look at their cash flow. “Being more intentional with our spending habits really freed up a lot of money to be able to do a big trip,” she says.
 
She cut back on lunches out with friends, and together she and Olin eliminated dining out and shopping. After putting their paychecks toward bills and essentials, they placed what was left into a high yield savings account.
 
After eight months, the Skattums had built up the additional $8,000 they needed to reach their goal. “The biggest surprise for me was how easy it was to save that much,” Laurie says. “Once we were committed and had that time frame built around the goal—holy cow, we did it.” 

 

Laurie’s dream vacation became a reality last January. She says paying for the trip with money they had up front—instead of coming home to huge bills—made the vacation that much more enjoyable and meaningful. What’s more, they were able to tweak their plans along the way, adding a snorkeling excursion to their agenda, because the added expense wasn’t a problem for their budget. “The snorkeling ended up being the best and most memorable part of the trip,” she says.
 
Several months after they returned from their vacation, the Skattums welcomed their first child. Their next savings goal is building a fund for their son’s future—a task that feels much more achievable with their Hawaiian success under their belts.

 

Emily E. Smith is a freelance writer in Bozeman, MT. She writes for national and regional publications on topics ranging from personal finance to crime to wild animals. Her work has appeared in the The Guardian, Smithsonian magazine and Atlas Obscura.

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