Last week we made a trip to the local bank and found out that’s how much change we had in our jar that we put our pocket change into at the end of each day. This jar is always earmarked as “vacation money,” so even when times are super tight (like now), I refuse to use that money for anything else. This girl needs periodic vacations in order to recharge! We also use our credit card for most purchases, and that card earns us air miles (1.5 miles for every dollar spent), so between our air miles and the air miles my parents are continually gifting to us (thanks, Mom!), we can usually book our air travel for free. This is a huge bonus since we live in the middle of nowhere.
We were hoping for $300 in that jar, so to have substantially more than that was a welcome surprise for our vacation plans last week!
Here’s a breakdown of what we actually spent:
$100 – rental car + gas
$85 – checked bags (1 each way + carseat) + airport parking. Pre-Stella we never checked bags, but with diaper bag + kid + stroller + car seat + carry on for cheese on the way home, it just seemed like a necessity this time. 🙂
$150 – two tickets for the Cardinals baseball game
$70 – eating out (most meals we ate at home, so we saved a bunch here thanks to the generosity of friends/family)
$70 – beer & food at the baseball game on Saturday – mostly beer 🙂
$20 – beer for Saturday night
$495 — only $27 over our “free” vacation money!
All in all, I’d say that’s pretty darn cheap for a 5 day vacation for 3 people! It helps a lot to get free airline tickets (booked with air miles) and have free lodging (3 nights with Charlie’s aunt & uncle, 1 night with my blog friend Ann). The Cards game was the biggest expense, but it was also the #1 thing we wanted to do while we were there, and it was worth every penny! A lot of fun stuff (the arch, the zoo, etc) were free, so that was nice as well.
We also had a few expenses I don’t count as vacation cost – Stella would have needed those things (well, except diapers) either way, and the cheese is a grocery item! 🙂
$60 – Target (food/milk, Tylenol & diapers for Stella + 2 pack’n’play sheets)
$40 – 10# of provel cheese from Imos that we brought back (we actually brought 20#, but only 10# was for us). Yes, this is ridiculous, but it’s good stuff, and the shipping price is exorbitant if you buy online!
Overall, I’m pleased with our spending and thankful we decided to do the trip, even though money is tight. I only missed 1 day of work (I work 4 day work weeks so I just switched my days off), and it worked out that Charlie wouldn’t have had work last Thurs/Fri anyway, and he went to work Monday at 1pm when we got back, so he got a half day in and only missed 1/2 day of work, so even our “missed income” cost wasn’t very much for this trip. Charlie refuses to consider lost income as vacation cost – but I’m anal and always do. 🙂
At any rate, this trip was the perfect mix of family time and friend time. We got to have dinner with Charlie’s grandpa & aunt/uncle on Thursday night, met up with two of my IF blog friends and their kids on Friday (Arch Mama and Stephanie) after going to the STL zoo before spending the afternoon/evening at Charlie’s aunt/uncle’s house, spent all day Saturday downtown at my blog friend Ann‘s place and went to the Cardinals game, and went to the Arch Sunday morning with Ann and her boyfriend before spending the rest of the day Sunday back in the suburbs with most of Charlie’s extended family. Thursday and Monday were EARLY travel days (6am flights), but it was definitely nice to be at our destinations by around noon both times (we have to fly with layovers most every where we go, so that includes 2 flights + layover on both of those days). Flying early in the morning also reduces the chance that we’ll spend much money in the airport. I packed sandwiches, fruit, and string cheese for us on this trip, plus it seemed like too early early to drink beer. 🙂
So ya, for pocket change, we got to have a pretty awesome trip last weekend. It’s the first trip Charlie and I have done together since our honeymoon 5 years ago that wasn’t 100% family based, so it was definitely a much needed vacation together as a family!
Below are a few of the highlights from our trip — for all the pics, check out my family blog!