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A Simple Six: Phoenix on a Budget

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Phoenix on a Budget

 The sister's three, Shannon, Sara and me. Yes, that's the new get up I purchases at the Velvet Owl last week.

Planning for a trip to Phoenix for my sister Sara's wedding was agonizing because I wasn't sure we would have the money to go. I fretted constantly about putting all the trip expenses on the credit card because it was my sister's wedding and who wouldn't look back on missing that event and think, it was only X dollars, I should have just gone?  Yet, I take after my father more than anyone, and if you can't afford it, then you don't do it and don't buy it. I don't always make this decision, but the principle is strong and I work hard to abide. The pressure was heavy from my sister to make an appearance, and bringing the whole family would have been great but we compromised with just me taking the trip.

All those money saving things we do are great, but typically we are still left living pay check to pay check. Several additional and beneficial things have occurred over the summer that have made the purse strings a bit more loose around here. Brent took on many extra contracts and has been grossing the equivalent of a double salary paycheck for a couple months, and we expect it to continue for a few more. Since we had the extra funds, we paid off the van at the end of July, thus reducing our auto expenses in terms of payment and insurance. We increased our auto fuel savings by not driving our van in August and have maintained a very reduced mileage for September. We gave away our second vehicle last month, also reducing our insurance obligation. London choose not to continue swim team this year and opted for the free fencing practices instead. All of these measures have contributed to about $650 in monthly savings, not including the extra income.

We are guilty of spending the dollars we see in our bank account. I took the breathing room we have been fortuneate to have as an opportunity to catch up on some wants and needs. There were the two bike purchases, Brent's GT and our Yuba Mundo, then there was the trip to Phoenix. Just because I had the money didn't mean I was crazy with it. My trip this past week was frugal, but not stingy. I certainly could have done a better job with my spending, but I was trying to relax a little and enjoy myself.

The expense break down


Summary and Explaination
  • $300--Airline ticket (not shown because it was purchases weeks ago)
  • $46.84--clothing
  • $136.24--food
 The larger food expenses were when I was buying a meal or coffees for everyone because they bought meals and coffees for me. We just shared the expenses and kept it as even as we could. My sister fronted the gas for her car and I slept on her couch. I could have done without the new outfit for the wedding, but I needed those flip flops from Walgreens if I didn't want to bandage my bleeding feet. My sister's new in laws treated us to homemade dinners twice and I will be sending them a thank you gift. I really think I was able to make a seven day trip affordable because of the generosity of others time, space and resources which I always return eagerly.

All the touristy things we did were free, or we did things that were around meals and family, so the expenses were ones we might have had anyway, were we not "sight seeing." I will be putting up a full post of pictures from my actual adventure later, but you can see some here, here, here, and here from the past week.

Before leaving Huntington we did take the whole family out for dinner, at Griffith and Feil's in Kenova. I didn't include this expense, but we had a wonderful time. I also packed a homemade granola trail mix, banana, sandwich and empty water bottle so I didn't purchase anything in transit.






I traveled light, thus eliminating the need to check any bags. My sister let me use all her soaps and shampoos and sunscreens. She even gave me a razor.
I ended up leaving the book, as it wasn't my sister's after all. I didn't bring the plain brown dress either. I opted to wear the yellow 1/4zip to the airport to save more space, and I added my bike helmet.

It all fit, and room for more.

Returning from Phoenix I bought trail mix, an apple and banana at the grocery the night before and refused to purchase anything in transit, although I was very hungry. Seeing a bottle of water for $2.25 and a small sandwich for $6.50 was an instant appetite suppressant. I made do with what I packed. It wouldn't hurt me to eat all the trail mix even though I desired something else.  I filled up my reusable water bottle and spent my two hour lay over in Detriot with my new book, Bike Snob. It was a gift from Sara and Micheal. I opened it up on the plane from Phoenix and didn't set it down until I finished it yesterday afternoon.

It's certainly good to be home. It is great that I still have money in the bank and I was able to open and pay all those bills waiting for my yesterday without a knot in my stomach.

How do you travel on a budget? Have any tips on how we could have taken the whole family? Something we could try next time?

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