Nearly Half of Americans Can't Afford a Vacation, According to New Research
And a quarter say they gave up going to the movies due to finances.
From groceries to mortgages to student loans to college funds, affording the things we need for ourselves and our families is so costly these days, luxuries seems more out of reach than ever. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor's Annual Consumer Expenditures Report for 2017 (the most recent data), spending on education, housing, food, transportation, and healthcare are all on the rise, leaving little leftover for fun. Now, a recent survey by YouGov commissioned by Bankrate shows just how much the average American is missing out on due to financial concerns.
YouGov polled 2,504 adults about their spending on those extras that make life a little more fun and found that 68 percent of respondents said they skipped a recreational activity in the past year due to concerns about money. The most common thing they ditched due to economic limitations? A vacation.
Of those surveyed, 42 percent of people chose to not go away for one night or more due to worries that it was too expensive or not worth the money. That means almost half of Americans aren't taking time off to get away from things and relax. What's more, 28 percent of the survey respondents said that their ability to afford a vacation is lower than it was for them five years ago.
"There's so much pressure on people right now that it's easy for fun to feel wrong. Maybe it feels wrong to go out or take a vacation when you could put that money towards student loans or a retirement fund," Aimee Daramus, Psy.D, of Behavioral Health Associates in Chicago, told Best Life. "Fun might be something that's always 'next weekend' because there are things to do now, but you never quite arrive at that mythological time when your to-do list is empty."
Not only are people not heading out of town to tune out the stress of their daily lives, but many are missing the good times available right in their backyards due to cost. In the YouGov survey, 32 percent of people said that because of money concerns, they sacrificed a concert or arts event; 26 percent skipped going to an amusement park, zoo, aquarium or baseball game; and 25 percent even stated that they gave up going to the movies.
"The problem is that our energy isn't bottomless, and we need to rest and recharge. If your life has no fun and you guilt yourself for every dollar you spend on yourself, you're well on your way to burnout, depression, or maybe some other mental health problem, but you may not even realize it because feeling that bad becomes your new normal," Daramus said. "It's a slippery slope."
While bigger purchases may be impossible at the moment, Daramus advises everyone to take the time to enjoy the smaller things in life, whether it's a picnic with your family or a free art exhibition in your town. And, if you can, put $20 from your paycheck toward something that seems indulgent. After all that hard work, you deserve it. And if you're looking for some tips and trick as to how to save more, here are 40 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Paycheck.
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