This month was one of the most extravagant in the history of our marriage not to mention since we started giving a crap about saving money. We went on a vacation to New York City and New England all by ourselves. We didn’t stay with friends. We didn’t sleep in a tent. We didn’t buy groceries and cook over an open fire. We flew direct. We rented a car for the week. We stayed in several hotels. We ate out every single meal. And we enjoyed the hell out of it.
Truth be told, we have never embarked on a trip like this before. Beginning with our honeymoon when we flew for free thanks to a relative who is a pilot and gave us passes, we typically focus on spending as little as we can to still have an enjoyable trip. That’s not to say that this trip we threw caution to the wind and traveled like Trumps – just that we veered from our typical travel M.O.
The past few months have been a combination of highs and lows. We really wanted a chance to get away, so we booked a weeklong vacation in July.
High: Brandon finished writing and defending his dissertation and is officially done with his PhD.
Low: My mother was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer and died two weeks later.
Obviously we were thrilled that Brandon finished his doctorate, and we had planned for the past several years that we would take a bigger trip to celebrate, but my mother’s illness and death really took its emotional toll as well. We wanted to go to the east coast, and we found the best deal on airfare by flying to New York City. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to see the fireworks in NYC on July 4th, so we decided to make the city our base of the trip. We spent two nights in NYC (July 3-5), then hit the road in a rental car. We spent four nights in New England (in Maine and Massachusetts) before returning for a final night in NYC and our flight out the next morning. We were gone for seven nights, longer than we have ever been gone on vacation.
For the sake of really seeing where our money went, I broke down the vacation costs and the household spending separately.
July Spending Report
Car Parts: $848
We bought new tires and hydraulic shock absorbers for the Xterra, and I got my car washed. We don’t have an outside faucet at our condo, so we pay to wash our cars.
Car Payment: $331.48
Cell Phones: $137.46
Dining Out: $214
Netflix subscription, icloud storage and a Redbox rental
This includes our monthly church and charitable giving as well as two gifts purchased for loved ones. I make gifts on occasion for things like housewarmings or hostess gifts, but I also like to give generously for bigger occasions (like birthdays!) for those I love. Not to say one can’t give generously out of their homemade or free offerings, but I know my own heart and I know when I’m being stingy. So, I usually buy gifts.
Before we left on vacation, we ate everything we could in the house so it wouldn’t go to waste. When we returned, we were pretty low on some of our staples. Ergo, mammoth Costco trip upon our return.
Home Supplies: $17
Dish detergent, laundry detergent, A/C filter, etc.
Home Décor: $161
When my mom was sick, I borrowed an Aerobed for our houseguests (my sister and brother-in-law) while they were in town. It somehow sprang a leak during its use, so we bought one to replace the one we borrowed. We also bought a patch to fix the broken one. We didn’t feel we could return a broken item to our friends, so we now own an Aerobed that needs to be patched.
We finished outfitting our garage with gym equipment. We have had the best time in our Crossfit box downstairs. We will never pay for gym memberships again, and we are really enjoying this free activity together. This was a significant investment in our health that doubles as free entertainment and quality time together.
I attempted to renegotiate our monthly cost with our provider, but so far have been unsuccessful. Time Warner Cable tells me they are upgrading the technology in our neighborhood and that my current service will decrease in price sometime in the next month.
Personal Care: $28.30
Toiletries from Costco and a haircut for Brandon.
Car rental: $395.34
This includes our entrance fee to Acadia National Park, sea kayak rental in Bar Harbor and jazz club cover charges in NYC. Some of the best experiences of my life!
We buy a Christmas ornament and some sort of art print each place we travel. We also bought lobster paraphernalia for Brandon’s mom and sister who watered our plants for us while we were gone. And Brandon bought some souvenir lobster socks because a pair of his mildewed.
MTA Fare: $84
This includes two seven-day subway passes and transport to and from JFK airport via the Air Train. We rented our car from JFK because it was half the price of renting in Manhattan and we could take the subway and train rather than a cab.
Parking in Dallas: $104.88
Tolls in New England: $27
Uber to/from La Guardia Airport: $105
Sunscreen and a couple health related items
Vacation Total: $2,866.58
Total Spent: $7,640.51