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Pay the Cred Cards or Send Kids to Camp?
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amother


 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 9:49 am
We owe about 10k on our credit cards. We have a big family and expenses coming at us ALL THE TIME. I do not like being in debt, and I can use the $$ that I WON'T be spending on school tuition and direct that $$ towards credit card debt over the summer. If I aggressively pay down the debt over the summer, I will have manageable payments during the rest of the year and will be able to pay off the remainder of the debt in the coming year. OR, I could send my kids to camp and give them a wonderful, fun summer AND save my sanity! If they stay home, I DO have a backyard and I COULD get them a little blow-up pool, etc - it would definitely be fun, but a lot of work and crazy-ness, too. I feel like we will always have money struggles, and maybe denying them a camp experience isn't fair to them. I am not sure what the right thing is to do.
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faigyl




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 10:03 am
No question for me at all- I would pay down the cc debt.
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Nomad




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 10:05 am
if youll alway have money trouble - will your debt get worse???

maybe then, keep kids at home, pay off debt, start finding other moms now who you can hang with and make a home-made camp...
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Marion




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 10:28 am
Is the option DAY camp vs. debt or OVERNIGHT camp vs. debt? Because debt beats out overnight camp any day in my books, but maybe day camp is a good compromise, for at least part of the summer. Home with you in July and pay off debt, then by August (when the novelty has worn off and the 3 weeks are over) day camp will work and still cheaper than overnight so still some money to pay down the debt.
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chocolate moose




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 11:14 am
If a blow up pool would satisfy them, they must be lttle kids. With bigger kids, you won't have a choice. Save the money.

Next year, pay the school over a 12 month period.
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Tamiri




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 12:28 pm
amother wrote:
I feel like we will always have money struggles, and maybe denying them a camp experience isn't fair to them. I am not sure what the right thing is to do.
This bothers me very much.
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GetReal




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 12:55 pm
I would keep them home...what does fair mean? Maybe denying them lots of quality and quantity time with you and each other, a wonderful unstructured time to play and learn and explore and discover, is unfair?
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Tova




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 12:58 pm
Tamiri wrote:
amother wrote:
I feel like we will always have money struggles, and maybe denying them a camp experience isn't fair to them. I am not sure what the right thing is to do.
This bothers me very much.


Why?

I can see both sides of the argument, but IMO a lot depends on the age of the kids in question.
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Happy Mom




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 1:01 pm
Amother, your question reminds me of a t-shirt slogan I once read -"Debt is normal. Be weird." Very Happy

It sounds like you have a really good plan for paying down your debt in a fairly short amount of time. Debt is a huge burden and the sooner you get rid of it, the happier and more peaceful you'll feel. And by learning to say 'no' to wants right now, it will make it easier next time around, which will help you create a positive financial snowball.

Camp is a luxury. Period. I know the party line in the frum world is that kids have to go, that they're being denied if they don't, yada, yada, yada. Everyone insisting on a luxury doesn't mean it's not a luxury. It just means everyone is watching each other to decide what to say and do. Rolling Eyes

You need to pay your bills. This isn't optional, this isn't extravagance, and this is part of being responsible with the money H-shem has given you. Being responsible means that you find ways to live on what you have, not what you wish you had. If you continue to overextend yourselves and live on credit for luxuries, what are you teaching your children? That they have to have what everyone else has regardless of the cost?

Your kids can have a great time at home at a fraction of the price. Don't think that they'll be deprived. Will it take more of your time and energy? Of course. You can sit down with them and ask them what kind of activities and trips they would enjoy, and make a general plan together with them for the summer; that general structure will be helpful for everyone. Stock up on art supplies, buy a blow up pool, and do a day trip once or twice a week. Let them ride bikes, read books, play together and with friends, and enjoy a slower and less pressured schedule than they have all year long. Everyone deserves a time for downtime, including children, and giving them this chance is a gift to them.

Good luck!
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Tamiri




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 1:03 pm
Because being in debt 10000 dollars (count the zeros) is a TERRIBLE thing. There are interest, fees etc. and the amount can easily spiral out of control. We are living in a time (well, at least those in the U.S. are) where families need to relearn the meaning of debt, debt load, repayment and restraint. I believe that our OP, as a mother, owes more to her children about being fiscally responsible and not getting into debt than she owes them a camp experience.
I think that someone with the mind-set of "not being fair by denying the children a camp experience", who has such massive debt which is not a mortgage has a problem with priorities and that will trickle down to the kids who will think the "deserve" luxuries like summer camp.
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Tamiri




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 1:06 pm
BTW, OP, living debt free is sanity. Living with debt and more debt for camp is not, IMO, sanity. It's mishegass.
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sequoia




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 8:32 pm
PAY IT OFF!!!

Kids need unstructured time, too.

Everyone wins.

Seriously.
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alpidarkomama




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 8:53 pm
No brainer. Pay off debt. Camp is definitely a luxury.
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lamplighter




 
 
    
 

Post Wed, Mar 17 2010, 9:21 pm
I'd say pay it off. Camp is a luxury, but something to do for 10 weeks of summer is not- make sure you have a plan.
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ysydmom




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 18 2010, 2:03 am
Okay, here a few ideas from someone who is in the same boat.

Firstly, ask the daycamp you are thinking of sending to if you can get a job in the day camp thereby getting free tuition for your kids (I did that a few years ago and also managed to get a small paycheck) it's worth a shot.

Secondly, if you are going to stay home and you live in NY or any other area where they have a zoo pass get one it's only a bit over $100 and you can take your kids on different trips using it every day. Buy a monthly metro again if you are in NY and go everywhere.

I know one mom who went to a different park everyday with her kids, I know another father that took his kids to each zoo, aquarium, science musuam in the area.

One other idea is to take them to visit a relative out of town for a week or 2. I'ts cheaper than camp and they will have fun in a new environment without spending alot.

I hope this is helpful.
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mandksima




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 18 2010, 3:15 am
Wow, I can't believe people even consider luxuries they can't afford. If you owe someone money, don't you even have a halachic responsibilty to pay it back before spending elsewhere? You're not talking paying back credit cards vs. buying food or paying utility bills.

What did kids do before camp? Go back to the basics and get out of debt. If you are considering such a luxury as a necessity then I assume you're spending a lot of money elsewhere that you think your kids also really need like matching outfits or expensive dinners or pizzas or whatever. I would go over your budget and see where you can skim to maybe afford a few extras for the summer so the kids won't miss camp.
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JC




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 18 2010, 5:50 am
Camp is a luxury
Paying off debt is a responsibility
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Liba




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 18 2010, 6:31 am
Pay the credit card and save the money you would have been spending on credit card payments for the $10k over the next year for camp the following year.
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beshira




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 18 2010, 7:26 am
Try a rotating mommy camp. Have a meeting with other parents and plan each parent to be responsible for lets say 1 day a week. You can chose activities in your neighborhood, water day, etc... You will save tons of money and even get off the other days of the week. I have done it and it worked out beautifully.
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prettyone




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 18 2010, 8:56 am
mandksima wrote:
Wow, I can't believe people even consider luxuries they can't afford. If you owe someone money, don't you even have a halachic responsibilty to pay it back before spending elsewhere? You're not talking paying back credit cards vs. buying food or paying utility bills.

What did kids do before camp? Go back to the basics and get out of debt. If you are considering such a luxury as a necessity then I assume you're spending a lot of money elsewhere that you think your kids also really need like matching outfits or expensive dinners or pizzas or whatever. I would go over your budget and see where you can skim to maybe afford a few extras for the summer so the kids won't miss camp.


the OP asked a sincere question and everyone else here was able to respond nicely and civilly but you have to go and make all sorts of assumtions about her without even knowing anything.

FYI- credit card companies are not gemachs. They make tons of money from pple who pay their debt out slowly. There is nothing irresponsible about that. The OP said she would like to pay it much faster. she never said she wasnt going to pay. There is no halacha that says when you have to pay off debt so dont make things up.

and to the OP- I think you should pay the credit cards and forego camp this year as well. Youll be alot less stressed the rest of the year.
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