April was a fantastic month from both a financial and a traveling-to-new-places-and-having-lots-of-fun standpoint. We came in almost $2,000 under budget this month!
As an April Fool’s joke, we left Boston in the middle of a major snowstorm (gotta love New England!) and headed south for our much anticipated week-long scuba diving trip in Belize. This trip was pre-paid back in January, but a few additional travel expenses hit our back account in April. Core expenses remained low thanks to being away for 1/4 of the month and warmer temperatures resulted in lower heating costs. Spring was in full swing by the time returned to New England, so we hung up the skis and kicked off our summertime outdoors activities.
April 2017 Spending Total: $3,740
|Gas/Tolls||$135||Very low this month!|
|Groceries||$406||Includes all alcohol while on vacation|
|Entertainment||$18||Hulu, NY Times|
|Vacation||$705||Additional costs for our (pre-paid) trip to Belize|
|Miscellaneous||$243||Household goods, personal items, cat food|
April Spending Details:
Gas/tolls: Absurdly low (for us) this month! I can think of two major contributors: being gone for a full week (automatic 25% savings) and no more ski trips. Frequent ski trips throughout the winter definitely contribute to higher gas costs.
Groceries: The resort we stayed at in Belize included meals, but not alcohol. We had the option of paying $7 BZD ($3.50 USD) for a beer at the bar or… walking 50 feet down the road to the local grocery store and buying beer for half the price. We also picked up some Belizean rum for $12 BZD ($6 USD) – which was really good considering the price. Total alcohol purchases while on vacation for one week? $40 USD. And that included two bottles of rum that we brought home as gifts.
Hobbies: As I mentioned, spring is in full swing – woohoo! We pulled out the bicycles mid-April and met friends for a 20-mile rail-trail ride on a stunningly gorgeous Sunday morning. About 3 miles in, I started to question my physical abilities and couldn’t believe how tired I was getting. After a winter of hardcore skiing, I expected to be in better shape… Well, it turns out it’s really hard to ride a bike when you have a flat tire. Mr. Saverdink, our resident equipment repair guru, patched the bike tube on the spot, but assessed the situation as “really old bike tubes that are disintegrating.” Fair enough assessment since my bike is about 8 years old now. $63 dollars later, Mr. Saverdink and I both have new bike tubes, plus a small under seat saddle bag for my bike to carry a repair kit.
Vacation: Despite paying for the majority of our Belize adventure upfront, we still had several real-time expenses the week we traveled:
- Hotel in Texas for one night: $120 – Unplanned Expense. With a blizzard hitting Boston during our scheduled departure time, we made the decision to leave the night before and fly out before the storm hit. Our airline declared an official “severe weather” alert for the New England area and allowed passengers to modify flights without any change fees. We found a hotel in Texas, at our layover airport, for $120/night, including free shuttle to/from the airport and a free hot breakfast in the morning. The peace of mind and a good night’s sleep with definitely worth $60 per person. Plus, Texas-shaped waffles in the morning!
- Airport Parking: $90 – We’ve been using an offsite parking service, Pre-Flight Parking, for several years now and find it much more convenient (and cheaper) than onsite parking at the airport. Pre-flight has a frequent parker program, so if we need to travel for work, we use their service and accrue awards to towards our personal travel.
- Baggage Fees: $100 – We bring our own scuba diving gear and needed to check two bags.
- Restaurants while traveling: $45 – Airport food. We bring snacks to supplement but still purchased some meals.
- Tips/Extra Activities at the Resort: $350 – Tips for the dive crew, waiters, maid and renting a golf cart to explore the island.
Traveling is expensive, but it is one of our top priorities and we make sure to align our financial goals to that end. Belize was an amazing diving destination, with some rather friendly nurse sharks 🙂 Now that the warmer weather is upon, we’re preparing for a summer of BBQs, biking, kayaking and camping!