When the credit card bill arrived I almost threw up – $2,000 over budget. We had taken our first vacation as a married couple to my husband’s homeland of Panama. We had underestimated the cost, spent without speaking…and although we had fun, I vowed never to do that again.
I never wanted to feel that way after a trip again.
So now we vacation on a budget. It does not necessarily mean a cheap vacation, (although we certainly have had plenty of those)! It simply means that we estimate ahead of time how much we will spend, AND we save that amount before we go. Then while we are there we keep track of expenses so we do not overspend – leaving us free to have fun, sans guilt (that would be me).
3. Keep Track.
We recently vacationed again to Panama, but this time as a family of five. For months I had airplane fare prices emailed to me daily. I bought when they hit rock bottom. While there we had free housing and use of a car, but still expenses quickly added up. Travel, food, gas, gifts, fun, spending, and a three day trip to the beach.
I wrote down each expense along the way, and made a few adjustments. At the end of the trip, we came within $20 of our budget. $20!!!!!!
We had fun. We did everything we wanted to do (and more!) We did something fun everyday.
I was at peace at spending money because I always knew where we stood financially and could say, “sure, go out with your friends”, “yes, let’s go out to your favorite restaurant (again)”, or “A movie? I’m game, but let’s take the kids too…and while we’re at it, let’s get drinks and popcorn too.”
Ah peace…enjoying the trip without fear of the pending credit card bill.