Saving Money vs. Lost Opportunity

Lately, my wife and I have been trying to find things to do since the pandemic has either shut down the things we used to do, or we won’t do things because of the right they bring up. We used to love doing escape rooms, to the point that we now have to drive over an hour to get to a room we haven’t done. And most of these escape rooms are open, but seeing that many people being locked in a room, touching the same things, is a recipe for transmission, we opt to not do them.

This week we talked about going camping. I used to go camping all the time when I was in the Boy scouts and with friends and family. I haven’t been tent camping since I was 17. I mean I’ve slept in a camper backstage for a music festival or concert I was working, but that’s work and literally was there to sleep, work, and get out of the heat. We started to look at tents, and equipment, and the prices are starting to add up. and the options are slim as most sporting goods stores are trying to get rid of the crap that didn’t sell this season. August is not the time to buy a tent. The only options were the cheapest tents that (from experience) will fall apart as you set it up for the first (and last) time, or the $600-800 long term camping tents.

In come the, “I wonder how much a small pop up camper would be?”, question. Well we came upon the 2020 Coachmen Clipper Express 9.0. When someone says “tiny house” you think of a trailer with a bed and some cabinets. That’s what this thing is. The top hinges open so you can at least stand in the entrance (unless you are my 5′-0″ tall wife and then you can stand anywhere in this thing) and has a bed, some cabinets, and port holes in case you decide to bring this on a frozen lake for some ice fishing.

It is damn near, half off its retail price right now. It usually sells for $6,000 and is going for the low, low price of $3,995. We were seriously thinking about if we had the money to get it (we do) or if we should finance it. and after a couple days, I had to be the one to say no.

There is a part of me that is still on the fence. I paid off my car to free up $250 a month and if we financed it, we’d be paying $120 a month and that would slow down my debt payoff for my consumer debt and student loans. And logic and math dictate that taking on more debt, will not help pay off my current debt. The emotional side of me says that We’d finally be able to go camping and do more fun things that are socially distanced, and not expensive. (I have a WI state park pass and the nightly site fees are around $35/night). We also have bikes and access to kayaks that we’d be able to bring along with the camper.

With my current debt plan, I should be consumer debt free by the end of the year and that would free up $1,300/ month of payments. and then I’d be able to save for a couple of months or be able to buy the next level up of this camper that has heat, A/C, a fridge, outdoor grill, and water service. I know in the grand scheme of things, this is a small missed opportunity, especially when I could be starting a side hustle or saving up towards buying rental properties, but in a time where the pandemic has stopped a good majority of entertainment and stuff to do, this seems like the ticket to getting a chance to get away from the stresses of everyday life.

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