Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vacation & Savings By The Numbers....How I Paid for It

Speaking of money......aren't I always?lol......
I finished doing the accounting on the cost of our Vacation to Ocean City.
For you math nerd/listmakers, here is how it breaks down--

Hotel Room 5 nights oceanfront....$411.03
Pet Boarding 2 dogs.....$174.00
Restaurant dotcom certificates....$16.00
Movie and Museum(including books)....$28.75
Food Out and Drinks/Liquor Purchases....$278.29
Tips 7 Restaurants....$59.00


How I did this trip more frugally?

*Going in the "Low" Season to the Ocean means much lower room rates.
Do you know what our room booked for last Summer?
$339 a night.

Going in October?
$89 a night weekday/$109 a night weekend(Sunday night is considered weekend).
Then you add the state taxes and the room charges equaling approx. 10% of your room cost onto that base number.
I brought the cost of the room down more.  Since I am on this hotel's mailing list I had a Rate Book from them that noted if I booked via telephone instead of online, I would get a 20% reduction in my room rates....20% off the discounted off-season rates.
This means I saved $100+ more on the room charges.

*I could have skipped on the pet boarding since 2 of the kids were home.  But with their schedules it would have meant making the dogs either "hold it" for too long stretches during the day and having their feeding schedules disrupted.  We have no pet sitting options here(we tried that last year with bad results)so it was money we had to spend in good conscience.
Not frugal but the best way for us.

*We didn't do much that cost money for activities.  1 movie, 1 museum, a few cheap books.  Besides eating and drinking we concentrated on the free stuff...... walking the boardwalk, people & ocean  watching from the balcony, plus a little tv.  We don't see the reason for "doing things" that don't take advantage of where you are and what makes that place special.  Beaches are for hanging out by and enjoying nature, not spending your whole vacation in the mall or an activity you can do anywhere.

*Gas and Tolls are what they are.  Toll roads could have been avoided mostly but it would have taken us more time and more gas to get to and from where we went.

*The only non-food type item we bought was a pair of clip-on sunglasses for Hubs.  They cost more than I wanted to spend but at least they are good quality and not a "cheapie" pair so Hubs should get a few years of use out of them, so frugal if they last.
No junky souvenirs were bought.

*Food and Drink was a mix of eating in(groceries), eating cheap and moderate restaurant meals.  I didn't figure in the cost of the groceries we bought and consumed on vacation since those are counted under our Food Budget for the month.  17 meals were eaten--3 breakfasts and 1 dinner at the room and 13 meals(plus 2 snacks) out or on the way to or from on the road.
 Between not eating every meal out and using some Restaurant certs. to try new places we had a successful eating experience on this vacation.  We didn't plan on skimping on meals out since it was vacation and that is what we decided to spend on, not souvenirs or activities.

*Having been a waitress in one of my previous lives, I make tipping in establishments that require it a priority.  Seriously, if you can't afford to tip the help, then you can't afford to eat out and you should stay home or go visit Ronald's or The King's Place.
I had an online friend who refused to tip when we ate out together.  It pissed me off so badly that I stopped going places with him.  He'd get all up into his psuedo-European attitude that we shouldn't have to tip an employee.  Well, until the whole restaurant business model changes in this country, you are required to tip that waitperson Mr. Jerk Face!  And you are NOT in Europe and you are NOT European so get off that popsicle stick stuck up your ass and deal with it.
Deep cleansing breath.......

Yeah, I get a little prickly about the dining public that stiffs their wait staff.  I tip well.....no apologies.

$1,103.74 for 2 people for 5 nights is how it all shakes out in the end. That's $110.37 per person per day inclusive.  Our room slept 4 so we could have reduced the cost maybe(though food/eating would have increased)if we had brought the kids, but then again, our "enjoyment factor" for the trip would have fallen with 2 sullen teens along. Just putting up with all that eye rolling from them would have necessitated more adult beverage purchases which would have negated any frugality.  lol

So the question now is..... where do we find the $1,103.74 to cover the cost of this vacation......much of which was put on our credit card?
That's easy.
We will take $1,103.74 from the money we saved last year in my Savings Challenge in 2011.
We saved $34,461.31 in 2011.

As is my routine, any expenses in the following year that aren't earmarked to be paid for with current year income, we pay for from the money we saved in the preceding year.  Expenses paid for in this fashion are not the normal bills, either monthly bills or irregular bills that are planned for and expected each year.

They are the emergencies like "the car motor needs an overhaul", the fridge can't be repaired so we're buying a new one" or  the "wouldn't it be nice to have X because we are frugal and have the extra money for it" expenses.  I guess you would call my savings challenge pile of money our emergency fund for the following year.
Having saved $34,461.31 in 2011 meant we had an emergency fund of $34,461.31 for 2012.

So far in 2012 we have spent $1,523.42 of the 2011 Savings.
--$600 was used toward the Ohio trip in June of 2012.
--$923.42 was used toward the purchase of the 3rd car for the children's use n August 2012.  That car was paid for with the insurance check from the driver who totaled our last 3rd car in May of 2011 and a small inheritance check.  The $923.42 was the difference between those 2 funds and the price of the car.

With the addition of the Beach Vacation expenses we have now spent down $2,627.16 of the 2011 Savings Challenge monies.

Even though 2012 is not over yet, I am going to close out the books on the 2011 Savings amount now.
Since we are only $400+ short from the savings goal for the 2012 Savings Challenge with 2 months to save that amount AND we have an extra paycheck in November, even if we run high on expenses for the last 2 months of the year, I don't foresee having to dip into the 2011 Savings monies again this year to cover any overages in our expenses.
So I can close out the books on the 2011 savings/2012 emergency fund monies and report that we ended up hanging onto $31,834.15 of the monies we saved in the 2011 Savings Challenge.  This amount can now be invested since we won't tap into it again until we retire.

Once 2012 is over, the money in that Savings Challenge fund becomes the new Emergency Fund for 2013, and I will continue to save in 2013 and put that money into a new Savings fund to tap into for 2014.

It's just a never ending circle of frugality and savings.  I try to stay 1 year and 1 emergency fund ahead of the expenses. 8-)
It's sort of like putting money away as soon as you pay off a car, to purchase your next car so you never have to finance a car again.
I put money away for future emergencies so that I never have to finance anything in my life again!

How do you save for vacations and those nice little things in life?  Do you plan ahead?  Do you put money specifically into a fund for fun?  Or do you fund a general emergency/expenses account?



  1. This is a great idea, Sluggy. You did an incredible job saving for 2012, and it's nice to know that you had money to fall back on. We are trying to save as much as we can, but I like the whole idea of a challenge. I may just have to do that for 2013!

    1. I'd love company in 2013 saving money, thanks!

  2. "If you can't afford to tip the help, then go visit Ronald's or The King's place." Ha! That really made me laugh. I'm happy to hear your stance on tipping... I do tip based on service, and most of the time I overtip (being in the restaurant industry myself), so I understand what's it like to be paid below minimum wage. I know overtipping is bad (encourages bad/lousy service), but I try to at least leave 20%. The rest is up to the server.

    And WOW. That's what I call an Emergency Fund... Totally dying of jealousy over here. As far as my vacations, I take them seriously. I work hard and grind the fine grit all year long, so when it's time to relax, I plan to relax. I do try to save over periods of time, but lucky me, most of my vacations fall right around those 3 paycheck months (usually Mar-Apr and Jul-Aug). So I just take the money from there and call it even!

    1. People who have never worked for tips just don't know, do they? And that waiter who you stiff because of bad service?....it might not be their fault either. Sometimes the kitchen staff and/or management can screw with you as a waiter doing your job correctly. My advice to anyone starting a service job at a new restaurant?....bring gifts for the kitchen help and make friends with them, because having the cooks hate you and sabotaging you will get you fired right quick!lol

      As for my EF--remember, I've been at this a very looooong time. I'm old enough to be your mom...or maybe your grandma!lol

  3. I have three savings accounts. One is the untouchable emergency fund with six months expenses. Number two is my "Crap happens" Account and that is used for house things, Repair costs, Unexpected but not a life or death emergency. Number three is my vacation account. I fund two thirds of the money to the "crap happens" and one third to vacation.
    Now I'm scared to use either one of the funds because I don't know what's happening with the husbands job.
    Oh well money sitting in the bank won't hurt me!

    1. 3 tiers of savings is a good idea too! Crap happens every year to most people so we should go ahead and plan for it and not stand there shell shocked w/our mouths gaping open when it happens, right?lol

      Money in the bank can't hurt anybody at any time....unless you are trying to get school scholarships....

  4. I tip way too much wherever I go. I start at 20% and then just round up. If you can believe it, we incurred $40 in charges at the Waffle House last week and I added $10 on. I figure we eat out about 2-4 times per year, so might as well drop some money when we do it! Whoever waits on us just gets lucky. I would not want to wait tables so I pay those who wait on me.

    1. As an ex-wait staff I always appreciated getting lucky. Hmmm, that didn't sound right, did it?lol

  5. I am amazed at how much money you save each year. We are still paying down the credit card debt and then the mortgage.

    1. Lisa, I've been at this a long time. I wasn't alway able to save at this rate. But having never gotten into credit card debt, we didn't start out in the hole. And having saved up for cars and not financing vehicles any longer and having paid off the mortgage about 5 years ago, we are now in a really REALLY good place with the finances. I just wish we had lived frugally sooner than we did(and had Hubs salary increase sooner). ;-)

  6. I'm so with you on tipping. I waited tables for 7 years and I still tip very well, at least 20%. When I'm eating out with my co-workers on a business lunch, I'm usually handed the check now because of how I tip (I don't mind as we are reimbursed for business lunches). You are really good at saving money. I love how you are always a year ahead and then you wipe the slate clean. That's a great idea.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks ND Chic. I have this saving money thing down after doing it for so long. Sometimes it bites me in the ass though as I can easily cross over into miser country.lol

      Save it year 1, use it as a slush fund in year 2, anything leftover goes into permanent savings year 3 is the system.
      I've been doing that specifically since 2009.
      From 2009-2011 I saved $92,346.55 in this way. After spending $16,515,78 on things not in our yearly budget for those 3 years(appliance replacement, trips, car, etc.), I now have $75,830.77 leftover that went into permanent savings. While it's only saving $25K a year it adds up quickly. ;-)

  7. I think that anything that gets the two of you out of the house and reconnected is worth the money spent! But I love you even more for being frugal!


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