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Dave Ramsey: Extravagant giving isn’t necessarily foolish spending

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are debt-free, and we have several hundred thousand dollars in savings. We pay for our children and grandchildren to visit during Christmas each year, but my mother thinks this is foolish spending. What do you think?

– Linda

Dear Linda,

I’m sure your mom loves you guys a lot, but she’s wrong twice on this one. First, she should mind her own business. Second, you guys have obviously worked hard and been extremely smart and disciplined with your finances. For someone in your situation, bringing your family together for one of the most important days of the year isn’t foolish on any level. I think it’s awful that you’re even having this conversation with her.

One of my great dreams years ago was to have the ability to do things like that for my family. When I was 22, I worked for a real estate guy who would bring his entire family in from all over the country once a year to go skiing for a week. He and his wife would pay for everything. They would rent a nice chalet, and spend that time having fun as a family and growing closer together.

I sort of borrowed that idea a while back. Once a year we’ll take all our kids and their spouses on a nice vacation. We pay for everything, and it’s just one of our gifts to them because we love them. 

So, I think your mom is completely wrong. There are three things you can do with money: spend, save and give. Trust me, giving is the most fun of all.

– Dave

Dear Dave,

Is it possible to book a hotel room without a credit card?

– James

Dear James,

Absolutely, it is. Just use a debit card.

I don’t have a credit card. When it comes to finances, the only pieces of plastic you’ll find in my wallet are two debit cards – one for my business, and the other for my personal account.

A Visa or Mastercard-branded debit card can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted. And the best part is that you’re not borrowing money when you use one. The funds come directly from your checking account. Some hotels might put a temporary hold on your account for the amount in question, so you need to make sure you actually have the money in the bank. But that just makes sense, doesn’t it? You shouldn’t be traveling without money in the first place.

If you’re too broke to travel, then you need to stay home.

– Dave

• Dave Ramsey has written four New York Times best-selling books: “Financial Peace,” “More Than Enough,” “The Total Money Makeover” and “EntreLeadership.” Follow Dave on Twitter at @daveramsey and on the web at daveramsey.com. 

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