I recently returned from a short trip happy to know I had budgeted well and even stayed UNDER my budget. Since I love to travel a lot (travel has been a huge priority in my life), this was great news. It means the more responsible side of me is also taking over in the areas where I tend to be more impulsive.
This trip was a budgeting success for a few reasons, but the main one is how I decided to handle our spending money.
On previous trips I admit to being a financial disaster. I’d throw some money in my account beforehand but then spend with abandon. Sometimes I came home with a few dollars left in the account but more often than not I’d come home to an overdrawn account.
On our last trip we decided to do things differently with our spending money. We set a total limit and then broke it out into days. We had a set amount we could spend each day and no more.
During the day we decided to actually track our spending. This is something we have NEVER done before. Ever. We decided instead of tracking very closely and worrying too much about it we would just keep a running tally in our heads. We rounded each purchase up to the nearest $5 mark and added it to the existing total.
After every meal or shopping purchase we would ask each other what we spent and then I would calculate the total in my head quickly. It didn’t take much effort at all but it kept us aware of our vacation spending.
Unlike our previous vacations we actually spent way less money than normal. Having the running total in our minds kept us more aware of our budget and our spending. In the end we spent HALF of what we had budgeted for spending money for the trip without sacrificing anything fun or delicious!
I’d say this method of travel budgeting works pretty well for us. We’ve only used it on one trip so far but it saved us hundreds of dollars and probably will help us do the same on future trips. I feel a lot better about our travel plans for the future knowing we have the ability to be reasonable on a vacation after all!
Do you budget and keep track of spending while on vacation? How do you do it?