How I Spent $300 Too Much on Vacation – And What to do About it Part I

overspent-on-vacation

Is this us? Nope, since it was cloudy our entire time….but at least we got to spend time together.

Recently I had a lovely vacation with Mr. RichMama. We had nice (but not crazy) hotel room on a wonderful seaside island in the Northeast for 3 nights and 4-ish days. We got a good deal on the room – about $125 a night so all we had to pay for were meals and entertainment. The place we stayed in was quaint and not too much to do in the way of entertainment – beach, swimming, golf and eating – which was just fine with us. However, I realized as I jotted down just about everything we spent, that we went over our vacation budget (I’d given us a rough budget of about $800) by $300 – YIKES… I am sure this has happened to many of us out there – after all, you’re on vacation, so who wants to stick to a budget. But we always have to pay the piper, so this series  is about what we’re going to do for the rest of the month to make up for it for all the extra dough we spent in the first 3 days of the month.

Since we paid for things with a mix of cash and credit card our spending budget for the month is already depleted and we’ll have a balance to pay off at the end of the month. So I need to cut our ongoing expenses and/or make up the shortfall with extra income.

Plus, I’ll take any tips on how you guys would make up for this shortfall – except of course for pulling the money out of savings – which is possible, but not as much fun – at least for a RichMama.

So the first step was realizing just how much we spent – most of this was on room, and dining out. A round of golf was surprising affordable and the only ‘shopping’ we did was buying some t-shirts for the kids.

I wrote down each purchase on my Phone notes app and then added it up afterwards – and nearly had a panic attack and then calmed down, realizing that this problem can be addressed.

  1. First money saving step – no more eating out for at least a week. The night we got home, we got take out – pizza – due to time constraints but that was it. The next morning I bought the weekly groceries (spent $250) and I that’s it – we’re not going out until at least the 15th of the month – not even for pizza. I’ll let Mr. RichMama go out for lunch during the week, but the kids and I will be dining inside – Note this is made easier by the fact the kids are camp all next week so we have pre-planned activities (and since I already paid for this, there’s no sense in cutting this out to recoup some cash). Estimated Savings – $50
  2. We skipped the fair.  And didn’t tell the kids…the annual fair/carnival is town and normally we would take the kids and spend a lot of money in about three hours on rides, food and junk…so we’re keeping quiet on it (helps the kids are young) and not going   $75 Saved
  3. Make more money – I have decided (especially since we’ve already committed to another vacation expense this month) that I need to make some extra money this month – as a consequence I am working harder on my freelance writing, accepting more jobs and bidding on more.  So far I have managed to add about – $50…(Working takes time and I have three kids underfoot so there’s a limit to how much work I can take on without giving up sleeping…or everything else.)

So will I make it? I will give you an update next week – and in the meantime – please let me know any tips you have!

 

How to Set up A Household Budget

Do you want to know how to set up a household budget?

 

basic-household-budgetSetting up a household budget is not as hard as many perceive. According to experts, the first thing to do is gather your monthly income. This includes job-based revenue, along with other monies that you make on a monthly basis. The latter can include interest on bank accounts, along with money earned from investments or business endeavors. Once you have an approximate number, you need to create a spreadsheet with your approximate monthly earnings. Programs like Excel have existing templates to determine monthly or annual household budgets. Next, you need to take into account all your monthly expenses. This can include groceries, electricity, utilities, credit card bills, and mortgage payments if applicable. No matter what your monthly expenses are, you need to include them on the household budgeting sheet.

 

The next step is to simply subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly earnings. For example if you make $3,000 a month and your expenses total $1,500, the remaining balance will be $1,500. You can then deposit this money back into the bank, or allocate it for any unseen expenses within the month. The key to any successful household budget is cost-savings. Depending on your income, you may have to curtail your household expenses per month. Due to the recent fiscal crisis, there are several people still struggling to make ends meet. As a result, most are living on fixed incomes, or are facing financial constraints across the board. One way to secure extra income, however, is by eliminating any unnecessary expenses per month.

 

The best way to do this is by subtracting non-essential expenses from essential expenses. For example you will need food, electricity, water, and gas for your loved ones and household. There are known as basic necessities, which simply cannot be curtailed or avoided. Non-essential expenses relate to entertainment, eating out, or excessive use of electricity. Therefore, instead of having the air conditioner run day and night, you can open your windows to secure proper airflow and distribution. This will lower monthly energy costs, which can result in savings and more money per month. You can also limit both television and computer use to a few hours per day. Cooking at home can also prevent eating out, which can really add up at the end of the month.

 

Even if you have a limited income after expenses, there are ways to make the most out of your household budget. For example you can purchase generic or standard grocery products, as opposed to high-end brand names. You can also use a water filter, instead of purchasing costly bottles per month.