Saturday, 8 October 2011

Fun vs. Sensible

After the excitement of agreeing to go away next year to the US and thinking about all the places we'd go, we then had to think of the serious (boring) stuff - like will we actually be able to afford this? I do think if we're careful in our spending the next year it should be ok - but considering I'm planning to submit my thesis before we go (aargh!) I will not actually have a scholarship when we get back. So we need to plan for having money for when we return also.

I'm hoping that the 'saving for something fun' thing will be a bit more motivating than the 'saving to be sensible' plan of the past has been. Apologies if this is not super exciting, but here are some things I plan to do to make this dream a reality:

Love this show!
  • Sell some unwanted stuff on ebay (anybody want a Nintendo DS or an iPod nano?) 
  • I'm a compulsive dvd buyer, but really what's wrong with just watching regular tv, or reading, or talking, or even uni work, as activities to do at home! I'm not cancelling my pre-order of the next Bones season however! 
  • Cut down on bought lunches and eating out. If I'm honest, we probably eat dinner out about 4 times a week. Which is not only costly, but wastes the food we've bought for that week since I often plan to cook a lot more than that. It's also probably not so healthy either! 
  • I don't really want to cut down on out of the house activities, because we usually only go out or to the movies etc. once a month or less. We could plan to do less costly activities though, like picnics, going to the beach, walks etc.  
  • Actually look at how much we spend monthly, and work out how much that means each week. Doing this, I was very shocked to find out that we can actually afford to live just on husband's pay and we'd get by OK. Which means - where on earth has all my pay been going all this time?
  • Additionally when we're over there, nearly 2 months is a long time to eat out for every meal. So we're going to try to find places to stay where we can store and prepare our own meals. Not only will this be a much healthier option it should save a fair bit of money too. Of course we'll still treat ourselves to some nice meals though! Eating local cuisine is all part of the experience!
  • Hopefully this doesn't happen though!
  • On our honeymoon, Husband and I were a bit picky about where we stayed, since it was supposed to be romantic. Nothing says the opposite of romance like staying at a hostel (to me, anyway). However while we still want our next trip to be nice, we're both much more willing to stay in budget places for some locations. If the dates stay as they are, we will be celebrating our 2nd anniversary over there, so I'm sure we'll pick a nice place for that anyway.

Do you have any tips for saving up for something big? Or any tips to make the money last longer on a holiday?

P.S. On a totally unrelated note - the party is tonight! Look out for pictures soon of me all zombied-up! 


  1. I used to be a compulsive DVD buyer too, but I've recently started using Quickflix. I'll probably end up buying a fair bit of the stuff I've been renting through them. But at least it means I can put off the purchasing until I've got a job again!

    You could still go to the movies, but go on Tuesdays when the tickets are cheap. Doesn't save you THAT much, but every little bit adds up! :)

  2. Remember, everything is a LOT cheaper in the States, so eating out etc isn't as expensive as it is here (well, says my lab partner who is American and gets shocked every time we go and get lunch.)
    Good luck!

  3. FOr our trip, we're doing most places that are budget and include breakfast. but we are splurging for to nights in a fancy hotel.

    also, buy snacks instead of full meals all the time. and try priceline for hotels! that's how eric and i book all our hotels in the US. As long as you don't care specifically what hotel you stay at, we've been able to stay in 4 star hotels for about $80.

  4. I'm always trying to figure out ways to save money, but these look like pretty good ideas.

    {and I'm actually married to a Psychology PhD student, so I definitely know what it's like to have to try and survive on not a lot...}

    Visiting from FTLOB. Hope you have a fabulous week my dear!


  5. IC and I have quite a detailed spreadsheet of all our expenses that we update weekly to get average food costs and how much money we're spending doing specific things. It's done wonders for how we budget for things!

  6. Well I am your go-to-girl for tips on this!! :D But more so when you are over here than before because I rather sucked at that.

    1. Eating out can be cheap and it can be 'Holy mother, how did the total come up to that'! Take into consideration that you need to add each states tax to each meal and tip on top of that. (as I am sure you already found out in NY).

    2. Tips - This has killed us on our trip. You see people get their nose out of joint when 'tourists' don't tip enough (or at all according to some sour waitstaff we have had), they forget that tourists eat out for every meal, they do touristy things during the day, they are constantly having to give out for tips for everything. It isn't a big deal when you only eat out two, three times a week (U.S Citizens) but when you take into account 3 meals a day + all activities, tips can come up to over $50 a day!!!! No joke.

    3. For places to stay I would highly recommend Comfort Inns and Hampton Inns, Holiday Inns and ... Ramadas. We have been staying in them all the way along our trip and they have all been clean, nice rooms, most come with a microwave and refrigerator. And they all offer free wifi. (most to all) Stay at a Hilton, or other haughty taughty hotel that you pay $170 and up a night for a room and they have the nerve to CHARGE you to use their wifi. SUCH A JOKE!!!!!

    Are you going back to NY? If so check out 'The Pod'. It was an awesome place to stay, and so much cheaper than the other hotels. We had shared bathrooms but it was so clean and I never had to wait for the bathroom, not once! And you have little lights in your room to tell you when the toilets were free.

    We also had the 'we will cook our own food' theory. Didn't work. Major Epic Fail!! :D

    How exciting. if you have any Q's you know where to find me :D


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