TIME Money

Why ‘Don’t Worry About Money, Just Travel’ Is the Worst Advice of All Time

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Chelsea Fagan is a writer and founder of The Financial Diet, a (non-boring) blog about personal finance.

It demonstrates only a profound misunderstanding about what 'worrying' actually means

I have an internet acquaintance that I’ve been following on social media for a little over two years now, an all-around nice, smart girl who blogs and does odd jobs and has recently decided to go back get a Master’s. In Europe. For a degree that, by all reasonable accounts, is probably not going to lead to a great job. And she knows this, I think, because she talks about it as “an opportunity to learn and expand her mind,” more than any sort of preparation for a future career. Which is fine, but the truth of the matter is that she is able to enjoy such freedom — to be a wanderer of sorts who enjoys travel, study for the sake of study, and long conversations over good dinners — because she comes from a good bit of wealth and, if not subsidized entirely, never has to worry about her safety net. She won that particular bit of genetic lottery, and it’s useless to begrudge her the freedom that fate bestowed on her.

But it is useful — important, even — to begrudge her the attitude that comes with it, one that is all too prevalent amongst young people who do not have to worry about the foundations of their future financial security: This idea that you must travel, as some sort of moral imperative, without worrying about something as trivial as “money.” The girl in question posts superficially inspiring quotes on her lush photos, about dropping everything and running away, or quitting that job you hate to start a new life somewhere new, or soaking up the beauty of the world while you are young and untethered enough to do so. It’s aspirational porn, which serves the dual purpose of tantalizing the viewer with a life they cannot have, while making them feel like some sort of failure for not being able to have it.

It’s a way for the upper classes to pat themselves on the back for being able to do something that, quite literally, anyone with money can buy. Traveling for the sake of travel is not an achievement, nor is it guaranteed to make anyone a more cultured, nuanced person. (Some of the most dreadful, entitled tourists are the same people who can afford to visit three new countries each year.) But someone who has had the extreme privilege (yes, privilege) of getting out there and traveling extensively while young is not any better, wiser, or more worthy than the person who has stayed home to work multiple jobs to get the hope of one day landing a job that the traveler will assume is a given. It is entirely a game of money and access, and acting as though “worrying about money” on the part of the person with less is some sort of trivial hangup only adds profound insult to injury.

I was able to travel, and even though I paid for my life abroad with my own work, it was still a result of a healthy amount of privilege. I was from a middle-class family who I did not need to support or help financially, I knew that I could always slink back to their couch if things didn’t work out, and I had managed to accrue a bit of savings while living at home for the few months before I left. There are millions of people who have none of these things, and even if they wanted to pay for travel on their own, would simply not be able to because of the responsibility or poverty they lived with. For even my modest ability to see the world, I am eternally grateful.

And what’s more, I understand (perhaps even better after having traveled a good amount) that nothing about your ability or inability to travel means anything about you as a person. Some people are simply saddled with more responsibilities and commitments, and less disposable income, whether from birth or not. And someone needing to stay at a job they may not love because they have a family to take care of, or college to pay for, or basic financial independence to achieve, does not mean that they don’t have the same desire to learn and grow as someone who travels. They simply do not have the same options, and are learning and growing in their own way, in the context of the life they have. They are learning what it means to work hard, to delay gratification, and to better yourself in slow, small ways. This may not be a backpacking trip around Eastern Europe, but it would be hard to argue that it builds any less character.

Encouraging that person to “not worry about money,” or to “drop everything and follow their dreams,” demonstrates only a profound misunderstanding about what “worrying” actually means. What the condescending traveler means by “not worrying” is “not making it a priority, or giving it too much weight in your life,” because on some level they imagine you are choosing an extra dollar over an all-important Experience. But the “worrying” that is actually going on is the knowledge that you have no choice but to make money your priority, because if you don’t earn it — or decide to spend thousands of it on a trip to Southeast Asia to find yourself — you could easily be out on the streets. Implying that this is in any way a one-or-the-other choice for millions of Americans is as naive as it is degrading.

Everyone needs to forge their own path to financial independence and freedom. And perhaps you are lucky enough that your path involves a lot of wandering around, taking your time, and trying a bunch of new things — because you know that security will be waiting for you at the end of the rainbow. That’s fine, and there is no need to feel guilt or shame over your privilege, if only because it’s unproductive and helps no one. But to encourage people to follow your very rare path, because you feel it is the only way to spiritual enlightenment or meaning, makes you an asshole. It makes you the person who posts vapid “inspirational” quotes that only apply to a tiny percent of the population who already has all the basics covered. And God forbid anyone who needs the money actually does follow that terrible advice, they won’t be like you, traipsing around South America and trying degrees for fun. They will, after their travels are over, be much worse off than when they started. And no souvenir keychain is going to make that reality sting any less.

This piece originally appeared on The Financial Diet.

Read next: 3 Credit Cards That Will Save You Money on Summer Travel

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TIME Money

These 3 Decisions Will Change Your Financial Life

Make these decisions consciously

There’s nothing worse than a rich person who’s chronically angry or unhappy. There’s really no excuse for it, yet I see this phenomenon every day. It results from an extremely unbalanced life, one with too much expectation and not enough appreciation for what’s there.

Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfillment. But how do you cultivate balance in life? What’s the point of achievement if your life has no balance?

For nearly four decades, I’ve had the privilege of coaching people from every walk of life, including some of the most powerful men and women on the planet. I’ve worked with presidents of the United States as well as owners of small businesses.

Across the board, I’ve found that virtually every moment people make three key decisions that dictate the quality of their lives.

If you make these decisions unconsciously, you’ll end up like majority of people who tend to be out of shape physically, exhausted emotionally and often financially stressed. But if you make these decisions consciously, you can literally change the course of your life today.

Decision 1: Carefully choose what to focus on.

At every moment, millions of things compete for your attention. You can focus on things that are happening right here and now or on what you want to create in the future. Or you can focus on the past.

Where focus goes, energy flows. What you focus on and your pattern for doing so shapes your entire life.

Which area do you tend to focus on more: what you have or what’s missing from your life?

I’m sure you think about both sides of this coin. But if you examine your habitual thoughts, what do you tend to spend most of your time dwelling on?

Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are better off than you financially, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have much to be grateful for and some of it has nothing to do with money. You can be grateful for your health, family, friends, opportunities and mind.

Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional well-being and wealth. But the real question is, do you take time to deeply feel grateful with your mind, body, heart and soul? That’s where the joy, happiness and fulfillment can be found.

Consider a second pattern of focus that affects the quality of your life: Do you tend to focus more on what you can control or what you can’t?

If you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll have more stress in life. You can influence many aspects of your life but you usually can’t control them.

When you adopt this pattern of focus, your brain has to make another decision:

Decision 2: Figure out, What does this all mean?

Ultimately, how you feel about your life has nothing to do with the events in it or with your financial condition or what has (or hasn’t) happened to you. The quality of your life is controlled by the meaning you give these things.

Most of the time you may be unaware of the effect of your unconscious mind in assigning meaning to life’s events.

When something happens that disrupts your life (a car accident, a health issue, a job loss), do you tend to think that this is the end or the beginning?

If someone confronts you, is that person insulting you, coaching you or truly caring for you?

Does a devastating problem mean that God is punishing you or challenging you? Or is it possible that this problem is a gift from God?

Your life takes on whatever meaning you give it. With each meaning comes a unique feeling or emotion and the quality of your life involves where you live emotionally.

I always ask during my seminars, “How many of you know someone who is on antidepressants and still depressed?” Typically 85 percent to 90 percent of those assembled raise their hands.

How is this possible? The drugs should make people feel better. It’s true that antidepressants do come with labels warning that suicidal thoughts are a possible side effect.

But no matter how much a person drugs himself, if he constantly focuses on what he can’t control in life and what’s missing, he won’t find it hard to despair. If he adds to that a meaning like “life is not worth living,” that’s an emotional cocktail that no antidepressant can consistently overcome.

Yet if that same person can arrive at a new meaning, a reason to live or a belief that all this was meant to be, then he will be stronger than anything that ever happened to him.

When people shift their habitual focus and meanings, there’s no limit on what life can become. A change of focus and a shift in meaning can literally alter someone’s biochemistry in minutes.

So take control and always remember: Meaning equals emotion and emotion equals life. Choose consciously and wisely. Find an empowering meaning in any event, and wealth in its deepest sense will be yours today.

Once you create a meaning in your mind, it creates an emotion, and that emotion leads to a state for making your third decision:

Decision 3: What will you do?

The actions you take are powerfully shaped by the emotional state you’re in. If you’re angry, you’re going to behave quite differently than if you’re feeling playful or outrageous.

If you want to shape your actions, the fastest way is to change what you focus on and shift the meaning to be something more empowering.

Two people who are angry will behave differently. Some pull back. Others push through.

Some individuals express anger quietly. Others do so loudly or violently. Yet others suppress it only to look for a passive-aggressive opportunity to regain the upper hand or even exact revenge.

Where do these patterns come from? People tend to model their behavior on those they respect, enjoy and love.

The people who frustrated or angered you? You often reject their approaches.

Yet far too often you may find yourself falling back into patterns you witnessed over and over again in your youth and were displeased by.

It’s very useful for you to become aware of your patterns when you are frustrated, angry or sad or feel lonely. You can’t change your patterns if you’re not aware of them.

Now that you’re aware of the power of these three decisions, start looking for role models who are experiencing what you want out of life. I promise you that those who have passionate relationships have a totally different focus and arrive at totally different meanings for the challenges in relationships than people who are constantly bickering or fighting.

It’s not rocket science. If you become aware of the differences in how people approach these three decisions, you’ll have a pathway to help you create a permanent positive change in any area of life.

This piece was adapted from Tony Robbins’ new book, Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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MONEY

How to Be in Your Friend’s Wedding and Not Go Broke

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Being in a bridal party isn't all fun and games, especially when the tab comes due.

Being in a wedding may be an honor, but it’s expensive. Like, really expensive. Like, “I have to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes and travel then buy you a present to thank you for the opportunity” expensive. According the the most recent American Express Spending and Savings Tracker, the cost of being in a bridal party is now $701, up 13% from 2014.

But an honor is supposed to be priceless — or at least not send you to the poor house. Here are some ways to trim the bridal party sticker shock:

The Attire

Navigating sartorial demands is tricky because you’re limited to the wishes of the bride and groom.

Fellas, there’s not much you can do to reduce the cost of a tuxedo, but some tux shops do offer discounts when everyone rents from the same place. Unless you plan to wear it four or more times in the next few years, you’ll want to rent instead of buy.

Ladies have a little more wiggle room here. Once the bride has settled on a color and style (a process during which you can advocate for the lets-get-different-dresses-that-express-our-personality-and-are-consequently-cheaper approach) you can start scouring the recesses of the internet to find “gently used” dresses. Tradesy has a bridesmaid section, but steadfast options like Ebay can also help you find discounted dresses. Also, a local tailor may be cheaper than a bridal salon for alterations, so shop around before settling on a seamstress. And remember, you’re probably only going to wear the dress once — no need to splurge for a perfect fit, just enough tailoring to help you feel confident.

The Gift(s)

The American Express study also found that the average cost of a wedding gift is $106, plus an additional $77 for the shower gift, $86 for the bachelor/bachelorette party, and $89 for the engagement party.

One way to avoid racking up the gift expenses is by offering to contribute to the wedding in a creative way. Good at graphic design? Ask if they need help designing the invitations. A photographer on the side? Offer to take the engagement photos. When your friend tries to compensate you for your work, tell them it’s your present to them for their special day. Not only will your skills make a touching gift, they will also save the bride and groom money in the long run.

If your creative skills aren’t up to par, you still have options. First, try getting to the registry ASAP, before the cheap options (trivets! wooden spoons!) get scooped up. Pairing them with other low-cost items can help you create a themed gift (i.e. measuring cups + mixing bowel + cookie cutters = starter set for bakers) without selling your soul to pay for the professional stand mixer. If the registry still isn’t an option, you can buy off the list – just make sure you keep the couple’s style and preferences in mind, and always include a gift receipt.

The Logistics

Buddy up. With hotel rooms averaging $141 nationwide, split the cost with a fellow member of the bridal party. And though it’s hard to strategize when to get the cheapest flights, studies suggest booking 50 to 100 days before the event to get the best deal.

The Parties

Again, booking early can help transportation costs, but also consider Airbnb for cheaper lodging. For wild nights, consider locations that offer a high concentration of bars and restaurants so you can walk from place to place instead of relying on cabs or renting a limousine. You can also double down on the weekend by hosting both the bachelorette and bridal shower at the same time. It cuts travel costs in half, and one trip means less time off of work.

Bridesmaids are also often tasked with throwing the bridal shower, and food, decorations, alcohol and favors add up fast. One way to curb the cost is to host the event in someone’s home instead of renting out a room in a restaurant. You’ll avoid rental fees and have more flexibility with food and alcohol. It’s also a chance to flex your Pinterest muscles and adopt a DIY approach. Unless you want the shower to be a complete surprise, run generic ideas past the bride. If she’d rather not have the shower at someone’s home, consider parks (have a backup plan for weather), fraternal organizations or community spaces in condo or apartment complexes as well as her favorite restaurants.

And even though the financial tab for the shower often falls on the ladies, you groomsman may not be in the clear for long. Jack and Jill wedding showers are on the rise.

The Alt Option

Remember, if money is tight, being honest with your friend from the very beginning can help avoid a lot of headaches in the future. You can say no to the opportunity, and hopefully your friendship is strong enough that the bride or groom will understand. Start by acknowledging how honored you are to be offered a part in their day, but explain that financial constraints might keep you from performing your duties. You can finish the conversation by offering to help in other ways, like hosting the bridal shower or helping with last minute crafts and decorations. Besides being open with them, you also want to have the conversation as soon as possible to avoid causing last minute stress for the happy couple.

Read next: 8 Cost-Cutting Wedding Hacks

MONEY Smart Spending

How to Splurge (on National Splurge Day!) Without Busting Your Budget

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Paul Taylor—Getty Images

Or feeling remorse.

We’ve all been there: The excitement of a big splurge purchase can turn into feelings of guilt or even disappointment in as much time as it takes to walk through the checkout line.

But believe it or not, splurging done right can actually be good for your happiness and even your budget.

“Allowing yourself to have a splurge and enjoy it can actually keep you on track with your other budgeting goals,” says Kit Yarrow, professor of consumer psychology at Golden Gate University, author of Decoding the New Consumer Mind, and a MONEY contributor.

Thursday is National Splurge Day, a faux holiday created by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith about 20 years when she came up with the idea for the celebration – you guessed it – on a whim. But with a little thought, you can make the most of your splurges today.

Splurge on Experiences

One way to get the highest happiness out of your splurge buys is to spend on experiences, says Michael Norton, professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School and co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending.

An evening out with friends or a vacation is a more reliable way to get the most bang-for-your-splurging-buck. And the happy memories from the experience usually last longer than material goods.

“The key pitfall of splurging is that when we splurge, it tends to be on stuff: TVs, clothes, iPhones,” Norton says. “But research shows that stuff fails to pay off in much happiness.”

Splurge on Others

There is a new body of research that shows the tremendous emotional rewards of splurging on other people, says Yarrow. Simple gestures like taking someone out to lunch or buying them something they’d never get for themselves can help you feel happiness in your connection with them.

“There is a rich reward that you get back from treating somebody else,” says Yarrow. “You can’t buy that level of emotional reward for yourself.”

Splurge Within Your Budget

But what about splurging on a budget? A virtually sure-fire way to feel guilt after a splurge is to spend outside your budget. Norton notes that worrying about debt has an enormous negative effect on your mood.

“When splurging, committing to stop before you go into the red helps to ensure your purchases will increase rather than harm your happiness,” Norton says.

Smaller, planned splurges will also help you stay in your budget, adds Yarrow. “Think of shopping like dieting: If you’re in deprivation mode for a long time, it ultimately leads to an unplanned binge.”

Splurge Without Spending

And you can always “splurge” on things that don’t cost a lot, or are free. Make time for yourself to do something you enjoy, like taking a run with your dog or watching a movie with loved ones.

With a little planning this National Splurge Day, you can feel like you treated yourself with no price tag attached.

 

TIME Diet/Nutrition

9 Health Foods That Aren’t Worth the Money

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Getty Images

Check whether these health food costs are equal to their nutritional benefits

After handing over what feels like your whole paycheck at Whole Foods, it’s not uncommon to wonder whether the health foods you picked up are worth the dough you dropped.

Amid the constant reports about the most superior of superfoods, it can be tough to keep track of not only the healthiest newcomers, but also which previous darlings are still worth your grocery dollar. Eat This, Not That! has rounded up some of the most publicized health foods and analyzed whether their place in your budget is equal to their nutritional benefits.

1. Steel-Cut Oats

Ah, steel-cut oats: One of the most vaunted of health foods, they connote a bearded artisan prepping your breakfast by hand with a blade. But the romance doesn’t match the reality. A can generally runs you upwards of $8, and each bowl requires about 20 minutes of cooking time. That’s not an ideal investment of your money or time, as their nutritional profile is almost identical to rolled oats. Although steel-cut oats have a slightly lower glycemic index, you can feel fine about reaching for a $4 canister of two-minute Quaker Oats: A half-cup serving has only 150 calories plus 4 grams of belly-filling fiber.

2. Low-Carb Bread

At prices topping out at $7 to $8 a loaf, low-carb bread is an inexplicable commodity. Your first-line healthy option is to pick up whole-grain bread instead. While it’s not as ideal a whole grain as quinoa or oats, whole grains of any stripe increase satiety and have heart-protective effects. (Just make sure your bread is whole grain, not multigrain, which has more sugar and less fiber).

3. Fresh Berries

Nutritionally, fresh berries are a totally worthy addition to your grocery bill. But you can still get their benefits while stretching your dollar. Berries possess polyphenols—which prevent fat from forming—and frozen berries have the exact same nutritional value as fresh. Plus they can cost about half as much, and you can get them year-round.

4. Turkey Burgers

Long held to be the far superior alternative to beef, turkey burgers can actually have as much fat and a bit less protein than their more traditional cousin. Plus, store-bought ground turkey can contain dark meat, which boosts the fat content up to 20%. If you want to feel virtuous, go for grass-fed beef, which has belly-blasting omega-3 acids that turkey doesn’t.

5. Pomegranate Juice

Remember this craze? Pomegranate juice is still ringing up tens of millions in sales annually. Don’t contribute. A two-serving bottle can cost you $5, and while you could just eat the fruit—which will give you the same amount of antioxidants plus more fiber and less sugar—it’s far better to eat a cup of blueberries or cranberries instead. They’ll give you almost three times the antioxidants, along with demonstrated fat-burning benefits at a fraction of the cost. Looking for a natural way to supercharge your sex drive? Go ahead and buy; that’s something this drink truly is good at—just be sure to add water before you down a glass.

6. Superfood Powders

Chlorella, camu camu, $30 tubs of green powder with words like “Wonder” and “Vibrance” on the label: they claim to be packed with nutrients, but we can only take their word for it. The nutritional supplement industry is unregulated, and there’s a big question mark about the benefits these supplements provide, particularly in the wake of recent studies that show that multivitamin pills may have little or no benefit. Stick with the tried and true—legit research shows that spinach, chard and Chinese cabbage, among others, burn belly fat.

7. Almond Milk

For those of us simply averse to cow’s milk rather than actually lactose-intolerant, the almond version can be a tasty alternative for cereal and coffee. Just be realistic about what you’re getting: A hydration entity, not a health food. At around $4.50 a carton, almond milk contains very little protein (around one gram) and sweetened versions can have up to 13 grams of sugar. Instead, opt for full-fat or 2% milk, and a pick up a package of almonds for a fat-burning snack. If you’re lactose intolerant, stick with almond milk, but also pick up the package of almonds to get the protein and fat-burning benefits of the nuts that the milk just can’t provide.

8. Whey Protein

It may be the go-to supplement for muscle-builders, but whey protein’s benefits are offset by its tendency to cause belly bloat. And the price makes it a doubly bad deal: A canister can run near $30 for a few dozen servings, which provide—at most—about 25 grams of protein. You can get the same amount of protein from four eggs or a medium-sized chicken breast, which are packed with stuff you want (fat-burning nutrients such as choline, in the case of eggs) and lack the things you don’t (artificial sweeteners and flavors).

9. “Light” Olive Oil

With its heart-protective and weight-loss benefits, olive oil is a health food that needs no substitute. The “light” version doesn’t mean what you think it does. Light olive oil is a highly processed mixture of different oils, and it contains about the same amount of fat as extra-virgin olive oil. It’s just lighter in color. EVOO has higher levels of oleic acid, which researchers say can spot-reduce abdominal fat.

This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

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MONEY groceries

6 Crazy Facts About the Bird Flu Outbreak

A notice that the price of eggs will be rising soon is seen on June 4, 2015, at a Giant grocery store in Clifton, Virginia.
Paul J. Richards—AFP/Getty Images Egg prices are expected to hit a record high due to the bird flu outbreak of 2015.

Record-high egg prices will hit grocery shoppers.

“Why Aren’t We More Scared of the Bird Flu?” a New Yorker headline wonders this week. As early as mid-May, some were referring to the spread of avian influenza in early 2015 as the “worst bird flu outbreak in U.S. history.” Back then, roughly 30 million chickens and turkeys had been killed. The toll is now up to 47 million birds and counting. And there is much uncertainty about how or when the danger will dissipate.

“If there is any disease that’s incredibly humbling, it’s influenza,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota, explained to the Minneaspolis Star Tribune recently. “Every time you think you know it, you are reminded that Mother Nature is in charge.”

According to the CDC, the bird flu virus has been detected in chickens and turkeys in 15 states. “No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time,” the CDC notes, and that is the simplest answer to the question posed above by the New Yorker.

Nonetheless, there is still cause for concern about the bird flu, if for no other reason than its impact on your grocery bill. Consider the following:

• More than 47 million chickens and turkeys have died as a result of the bird flu.

• For the first time since 2008, domestic egg production will decline this year.

• The bird flu has already caused egg prices to soar this spring. In some cases, supermarket prices for a dozen eggs have more than doubled since May. And the USDA forecasts that prices will hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2015.

• American consumers will wind up spending roughly $8 billion extra on eggs this year, a 75% increase over last year.

• U.S. companies will soon be importing eggs from Europe for the first time in more than a decade as a means of coping with the domestic egg shortage

• The U.S. government budgeted $410 million to battle the bird flu and compensate farmers for their losses, and it looks like that won’t be enough—it’s likely that more than $500 million will be spent.

MONEY Travel

5 Money Tips for Vacationing With Friends

It can be tricky to navigate trip planning and financing, but vacationing with friends can be fun and frugal.

You love hanging out with some compatible friends or families and you both love to vacation. Why not go on a joint vacation? It can be tricky to navigate trip-planning and financing with others, but you also have the potential to enhance your experience and even save some money. Communication is obviously key to a successful joint vacation, but here are some more concrete tips that will ensure you have a fun, financially comfortable trip together.

1. Make a Budget

It’s important to create an open forum early on in the planning process where each vacationer can disclose how much they are able to spend, which aspects they are willing to splurge on and where they prefer to scale back. Each person or family may have a different budget.

While this may make it a bit more difficult, you can still vacation together. You can set times to do activities separately or if you plan to rent a home, you can have families pay for what they’re using (like paying more for using more bedrooms or for an ensuite bathroom). If you want an easy way to know the full budget, you can look into all-inclusive vacation options. You can also appoint a money person to keep track of spending so everyone on the group stays on track.

2. Plan Ahead

Find out what everyone wants out of the vacation and discuss logistics once you have a target budget in mind. Pick the dates and location carefully because this will dictate the activities you’re able to do. You may not be able to do everything that everyone wants, but reaching a consensus on as many details as possible will save discussions and disappointment down the road. You can even make it fun by having a pre-vacation planning party to lighten the mood and get excited.

3. Look Into Deals

One great part about traveling in groups is the ability to save on your vacation. Most destinations offer a variety of lodgings. You can rent a home instead of staying in hotels or talk to travel agents or sales managers about discount group rates. The same works for nearby museums, parks, zoos and fun activities. You can also pool your resources and see if anyone’s job or connections can offer up some discounts.

4. Talk About Discrepancies

If you were comfortable enough to plan this trip together, you should be able to discuss any issues that come up. It may be tricky, but if someone isn’t pulling their weight on financial, cleaning or preparation duties, bring it up. The worst you can do is let it boil up inside you. For example, if you offer to use your airline rewards credit card to book everyone’s flights, contingent on being paid back by each individual, explain when you need to be paid back and how much everyone owes before booking. This can lead to hard feelings (and a damaged credit score) down the road if someone doesn’t pay you back and you have to carry a high balance on your credit card. (You can see how your balances are affecting your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

It’s a good idea to avoid being accusatory and instead discuss what you think isn’t quite going right so you can come to a solution together.

5. Be Flexible

Flexibility is an important factor for any travel, but especially when it comes to joint vacations. It’s important to be willing to try new activities, foods, schedule or methods of travel and lodging. Try to focus on the fun and embrace however the vacation is going. You also might want to build in some time apart.

If you are careful about how you go about a vacation with friends or fellow families, you can make memories that will last a lifetime. Just take the necessary precautions to avoid any awkward or uncomfortable feelings around finances.

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TIME Rand Paul

Rand Paul Proposes Boosting Defense Spending

Sen. Rand Paul Vaccine
Bill Clark—CQ-Roll Call,Inc./Getty Images Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference on Jan. 27, 2015.

His amendment would add $76.5 billion to the defense budget

Just weeks before announcing his 2016 presidential bid, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is completing an about-face on a longstanding pledge to curb the growth in defense spending.

In an olive branch to defense hawks hell-bent on curtailing his White House ambitions, the libertarian Senator introduced a budget amendment late Wednesday calling for a nearly $190 billion infusion to the defense budget over the next two years—a roughly 16 percent increase.

Paul’s amendment brings him in line with his likely presidential primary rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who introduced a measure calling for nearly the same level of increases just days ago. The amendment was first noticed by TIME and later confirmed by Paul’s office.

The move completes a stunning reversal for Paul, who in May 2011, after just five months in office, released his own budget that would have eliminated four agencies—Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Education—while slashing the Pentagon, a sacred cow for many Republicans. Under Paul’s original proposal, defense spending would have dropped from $553 billion in the 2011 fiscal year to $542 billion in 2016. War funding would have plummeted from $159 billion to zero. He called it the “draw-down and restructuring of the Department of Defense.”

But under Paul’s new plan, the Pentagon will see its budget authority swell by $76.5 billion to $696,776,000,000 in fiscal year 2016.

The boost would be offset by a two-year combined $212 billion cut to funding for aid to foreign governments, climate change research and crippling reductions in to the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce and Education.

Paul’s endorsement of increased defense spending represents a change in direction for the first-term lawmaker, who rose to prominence with his critiques of the size of the defense budget and foreign aid, drawing charges of advocating isolationism. Under pressure from fellow lawmakers and well-heeled donors, Paul in recent months has appeared to embrace the hawkish rhetoric that has defined the GOP in recent decades. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in February Paul warned of the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). “Without question, we must now defend ourselves and American interests,” he said. Asked about federal spending, he added, “for me, the priority is always national defense.”

The amendment was filed on the same day as House Republicans overwhelmingly supported a plan to alter their budget to give billions more to the Pentagon.

It’s not the first time that Paul has adjusted his position on a foreign policy matter to find greater appeal within his own party. Early in his Senate career, Paul advocated for the elimination of all aid to foreign governments, including Israel, but after criticism has since backtracked on that proposal.

Paul’s change-of-heart on the budget highlights the importance of the funding document to many likely presidential candidates. In addition to the increased defense spending, Rubio provided a roadmap to his all-but-certain presidential campaign, introducing over 25 amendments stating his desire to deliver weapons to Ukraine, create education tax credits, strengthen pro-life legislation, weaken collective bargaining agreements and ensure Medicare wouldn’t be “raided” by Obamacare.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is considering a presidential run, pointed to Rubio’s measure to increase defense spending as an example of how budget votes will impact the 2016 race. “That’s a great amendment,” says Graham, one of the Senate’s preeminent foreign policy hawks. “I think if you voted against Marco’s amendment you’d be probably on the outside of most people in the primary.”

Outside of Congress, other GOP presidential candidates have used the budget process to insulate themselves from tough political questions. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has relied on his outsider status to avoid commenting on everything from immigration to the gas tax. In New Hampshire earlier this month, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush dodged a question on securing the border by pointing toward dysfunction in Washington.

“I think that Congress needs to pass a budget and put conservative priorities on the table,” he said at a house party. “And in that budget there are ways that you could show the opposition to the use of executive orders, and so I hope they do that, and I hope they fully fund the department of homeland security…because how else are we going to secure the border. This is the only way that we can do it.”

“I think we need to increase spending on defense and homeland security,” Bush added.

Read next: Why Rand Paul is Attacking Ted Cruz

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TIME Congress

Congress Boosts War Spending as Wars Wind Down

Paratroopers march up the ramp as they return home from Afghanistan at Pope Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Chris Keane—Reuters Paratroopers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, march up the ramp as they return home from Afghanistan at Pope Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, NC on Nov. 5, 2014.

The 2016 House and Senate budget proposals for war spending that moved toward a congressional floor vote this week were loaded up with tens of billions of dollars more than the Defense Department requested, representing the largest increase lawmakers have attempted to add to the executive branch’s requests for such funds.

These moves — which come as the Obama administration tries to wind down the U.S. war in Afghanistan and to steer clear of a large new incursion in Iraq — were pushed through by Republican lawmakers that since 2003 have received a total $8 million in contributions from the political action committees and employees of top defense contractors, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.

The proposals emerged from a convoluted congressional debate that pitted pro-defense hawks against federal deficit hawks, with the former — backed by defense industry lobbying — emerging triumphant.

The impetus for boosting war spending is that Congress enacted strict controls on regular Pentagon spending in 2011 and alleviated them only slightly last fiscal year, making a cut likely unless the Pentagon and the defense industry found new funds elsewhere. Supportive lawmakers as a result turned to the only military account not subject to spending caps, namely the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), a funding category created in 2001 for temporary expenditures associated with combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the Center for Public Integrity reported in December, OCO over the years has become a slush fund for lawmakers and administration officials seeking to retain or expand military programs with no direct relationship to those wars.

But they’ve never sought to do it as blatantly or unashamedly as they did this month, when the Senate Budget Committee voted in a straight party-line vote to spend $96 billion in the OCO budget for 2016, and the House Budget Committee voted similarly to spend $94 billion. The amount appropriated for OCO in 2015 was $63 billion. While no precise listing of the additional programs to be funded under the Republican proposals has yet been released, lawmakers who favored the OCO increases did not assert that the extra funds were needed only for the wars.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) were the principal sponsors of the successful Senate amendment to grow the OCO account. In urging a positive vote, Graham — who is exploring a presidential run — provided a long but imprecise list of security threats: “Everything that you have in common, radical Islam hates, and if somebody doesn’t do something about it soon, they will come our way again,” he told the committee, adding that increases to the OCO account were needed “to defend the nation.”

Signaling a difference of views among Republicans, the House Rules Committee on Monday night approved two versions of the OCO provision, requiring a final decision on the House floor. One sets OCO spending at $94 billion but requires $20 billion of that sum to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere, and another sets OCO spending at $96 billion while not requiring any offsets.

In total, the 67 current members of the House and Senate Budget and House Rules committees have received $15.6 million in adjusted dollars from the 2013 fiscal year top 75 defense contractors’ PACS and employees, from 2003 through the end of the 2014 election season.

On average, the top defense contractors gave Republicans $264,244 apiece while Democrats and Independents received $189,881. The lion’s share of contractor support went to the Senate Budget Committee’s 12 Republicans. The contractors’ PACs and employees contributed $5.7 million to their campaigns and leadership PACs, or an average of $472,219 per lawmaker.

Republicans on the House Rules committee received a total of $2.3 million, making them the second-highest average recipients of contractor largesse.

Graham received $760,244. The other sponsor of the amendment to increase the OCO fund, Ayotte, has less seniority than Graham but is one of the top average recipients of defense contractor contributions, calculated on a two-year basis, among the 67 committee members. First elected to the Senate in 2010, she’s raised $363,205 from the top contractors.

Two Senate Budget Democrats were also among the top 10 recipients of defense contractor contributions, though they voted against the Graham and Ayotte amendment. Hailing from a state that many defense companies call home, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia received $1,053,271 in adjusted dollars. He was followed by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the fourth highest recipient overall, who received $823,536 in adjusted dollars.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) disputed Graham’s claims during last week’s Senate Budget Committee hearing, saying the United States already spends more on defense than the next nine countries, and he rebuked his fellow senators for adding to the national deficit. “Republicans took us into protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—and ran up our national debt by trillions because they chose not to pay for those wars,” he said in a prepared statement.

The Center calculated campaign contributions in 2014 dollars from the top 75 defense contractors, as ranked in fiscal 2013, using campaign data compiled by The Center for Responsive Politics as well as data from the Federal Election Commission.

This story is from The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C. To follow their investigations into government spending and national security, follow them on Twitter.

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