Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Student's Fraternity Plans Alarm Sister

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been struggling financially for years. Recently I got a job that pays more than I have made in more years than I want to count. I want to take my family on a vacation. We hardly ever get to go anywhere because the money is so tight. I also know that I should put away some money for retirement. Right now, that pot is empty. Do you think it’s wrong for me to want to do both? Am I being foolish in trying to splurge a teeny bit for my family when I know I need to save? -- Want a Vacation

DEAR WANT A VACATION: Your desire for a little spark of joy and change of locale is certainly understandable, especially during these times when we have been cooped up at home for so long. Before making your decision, take a look at your finances. Are you up to date on your bills? Prioritize your expenses so that you have a clear sense of your situation. Figure out what you can save right now. Then look at what’s left. It may be possible for you to plan a modest and safe getaway with your family while putting money away for the future. Airplane tickets are super-affordable now, as is gasoline. Research nearby getaways that might make your family happy without breaking your budget.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)