July Update and Post-Travel Money Pit

budget, debt, frugal living, saving money, travel, Uncategorized / Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

July has been a very busy and expensive month for me. Great and filled with fun memories and family, but expensive.

My husband and I started out the month by flying to England to meet up with my family, host my little sister’s bachelorette party in London (the Brits call it a hen party) including seeing the Book of Mormon on stage in the West End (it’s really, really funny), sightseeing, eating out a lot, and celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday with a tasty French meal and seeing the Phantom of the Opera. There’s so much to see and do and London is a lovely city, but expensive and we really lose out on the exchange rate. Prices may look the same but have a different currency sign in front, meaning that for Americans everything costs twice as much.

After five days in London we drove up to Cambridge in a strange left-side-of-the-road and circling muliple times around roundabouts caravan. While in Cambridge we visited with my little sister’s new in-laws, walked around the city, decorated the marquee tent for the wedding reception, worked on last minute wedding items, stress argued with eachother, had a lovely wedding for my sister and her hubby, danced the night away at the reception, went punting down the river Cam (it’s like a gondola in that you push the boat along with a long pole), wrangled with the airline to fix my flight so I didn’t have a 6 hour layover on my way home, sat on the tarmac in the rain for an hour anyway, and finally returned home. Overall, we had a really lovely time and even though traveling with family can be stressful, I was glad we could all be together and celebrate my sister’s marriage.

We went over budget by about $280 for the trip to England, which is pretty good considering I realized about a week before we left that we had planned poorly to have only $1000 USD spending money. We figured $100 a day would be enough (albeit tight) to cover food and miscellaneous expenses for two people, especially since we were staying in rental houses and could go to the grocery store and eat at the house for many meals. But with the US dollar only being worth .59 GBP we essentially only had $500. Yikes. I totally forgot about the exchange rate. We ate out a lot with family every night while in London and tried to keep costs down by eating at the house as much as possible, but we ran through almost all of our money before we left London. We had already pre-paid for the play tickets and housing (well, we are still paying back my family for the housing) so at least we didn’t have to worry about those costs while we were there. We didn’t buy souvenirs for ourselves (aside from the jeans my husband bought because he forgot to pack some and we had luckily won 50 GDP at the casino in London) and only got a couple small items for other people.

Returning home, we found ourselves with a number of extra expenses for the month, some of which we knew we would have to pay and others which were unexpected:

  • Parking our car at the airport- $168
  • Paying our friends for dog-sitting both dogs while we were gone- $460
  • Taking a dog to the vet the day after we returned because he had a skin infection + follow up appointment and treatment for ear infection (and no, we haven’t yet signed him up for pet insurance, drat)- $253.78
  • Higher cable bill because they charged us for someone to come fix the cable box when it was their fault (currently disputing)- extra $60
  • Higher electric bill because it’s summer in Louisiana- extra $50
  • I dropped my phone and broke it – $300 to repair
  • Assorted medical bills waiting in the mail for us-  $253.09
  • Our microwave broke and we had to replace it- $54.11

That’s an extra $1810.98, including the overage spent on the trip. It makes me hyperventilate.

I can’t put any of these things on my credit card since it’s maxed out. Yes. Here I am, a personal finance blogger sharing with you my major money problems. This is why I blog anyway, because I am trying to share my shortcomings and victories. Life happens and this is exactly why I need more money saved in an emergency fund.

We knew some of these expenses were coming and I worked extra hard in June on side hustling so that we would have the money to cover things like the dog sitting expenses. Unfortunately, we only had $60 in savings (due to depleting the money for car repairs, etc months ago and not rebuilding it). The rest of these payments have to be paid out of our monthly budget and luckily we budget a month ahead so we have buffer money in the account and are not overdrawn.

We have paid around $630 already for these expenses out of extra side hustle money or our regular budget and are still $1180.89 in the hole, borrowing against next month’s money (September’s money since it’s August now). My plan for digging us out of this hole is to trim expenses in our regular budget and work my ass off side hustling. Update: Oh thank God. I just realized that I got an extra paycheck this month so I have a full paycheck that I can use to right this sinking ship and put money aside for savings to help prevent this in the future. Hallelujah!!!

So here I am in all my glory, over spent and stressed (though very relieved now). I share this because I want to be accountable and also because I am sure many of you can relate to overspending on a vacation and unexpected expenses that you didn’t have enough money in savings to cover. Yay real life. Anyone have any freelance writing they need done?

4 Replies to “July Update and Post-Travel Money Pit”

  1. I don't think you did too badly! I was actually mad at myself bc when we went to Cabo, we actually didn't need as much spending money as I exchanged (like almost $400) and we ended up spending it bc I din't want to exchange it back..we easily only needed about half that amount.
    Also, make sure you read the fine print on pet insurance. We considered it, but a lot of the fine print says it doesn't work for pre-exisitng coniditons, you still have to pay a deductible, and they only cover a certain amount annually. I researched a few and finally gave up bc it seemed like a better idea if we just kept a savings account specifically for our dog.

    1. Thanks Erica! We have pet insurance for our older dog and it has turned out well since we got it for him as a pup and he had no preexisting conditions. But I like the idea of a separate pet savings which could offset costs without paying insurance premiums. I'll have to cost it out for sure

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