Yay! We are back from the beautiful Emerald Coast of Florida! We had a great trip, made some wonderful memories, and we are already planning our next trip back to the Gulf Coast Region. But the burning question that most of you frugal fellows (and females) are here to read about is this: did we stick to our vacation budget?
Yes! Well, no. Well…kind’ve??? I guess we didn’t stick to it very well in some ways, but we did OK in others. If you remember, I wrote about our vacation budget a few weeks ago and I budgeted $1,000 for vacation spending. The categories were:
- Transportation Budget: $300
- Restaurant Budget: $300
- Grocery Budget: $150
- Entertainment Budget: $250
We did pretty well in this category as our final total for transportation was around $250. This basically included gas only. Compared to our last trip, it seems pretty high. This is because we brought our minivan instead of our Prius. Bringing our hybrid would have cut that total more than in half, but then we wouldn’t have been able to bring our family friend along as a babysitter. Bringing the minivan cost more but provided us with childcare and some much-needed alone time.
I am proud to report that we spent almost exactly $150 at the grocery store on vacation. We ate all of our breakfasts at home and most of our lunches and dinners. Yay for renting a condo where you have your own kitchen!
We really hit the ball out of the park in this category. Our entertainment spending was exactly zero. Yep, you read that right. I said zero. There were plenty of activities available if we would have chosen to partake, but we just never felt like doing any of them. For instance, we thought about going on a dolphin cruise. However, we didn’t see the need to go on the cruise since we saw tons of dolphins off our balcony every day. For the same reason, we didn’t take the kids to the resorts version of Sea World. They were very happy just making sand castles and swimming.
Epic Fail! We spent almost $700 on eating out. How is this even possible?!?!? I honestly cannot even explain how we managed to fail so miserably. Though, I will say, that I had some of the most amazing meals of my life on this vacation. We had a kid free dinner at a restaurant called Firefly that was probably the best meal I have ever eaten…..and it should have been for $120 we spent on just the two of us! We ate my Gulf Coast favorite – crab claws - on multiple occasions, and those are always expensive. You know it’s going to be bad when it merely says “market price” on the menu. And, although we tried to keep restaurant spending under control on vacation, it just didn’t happen. Luckily, we had $250 from our entertainment budget to eat up some of our ridiculous food spending!
Yes, we spent a lot of money on vacation. Yes, we could have done it cheaper. Would I change anything if I had it to do over? No. I wouldn’t. It was worth every penny.
We got up each morning and played on the beach. My children laughed, made sand castles, and played as best friends. My fearless three-year-old played in waves that seemed huge compared to her small stature. She squealed and laughed as they knocked her down. She found shells. She made friends everywhere that we went. My one-year-old ate sand and learned to fill buckets with a shovel. She marveled at the beautiful ocean and seemed completely shocked by how huge it is. She stood on the shore line and watched her big sister play. I think she wants to be just like her one day.
As we watched the most beautiful sunset that I have ever seen in my life, dolphins literally jumped out of the water and put on a show for everyone on the beach. Amazingly, I caught it on camera and it’s a good thing – I’m not sure that anyone would believe me if I didn’t.
Yes, vacation was expensive…but it was a glimpse into what life can be someday. It was a reminder of what we really want out of life. It was a small taste of having financial freedom – where no one went to work and all of our time was spent doing exactly what we wanted. We are working hard to get there. While we don’t want to wish away the time we have, we can’t wait until the day comes where we no longer have to worry about money.