We’re going on Vacation! (On a budget, of course!)

Tales from the not-so frugal trenches.

Our Vacation on a Budget

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We still have a few more weeks until school starts after Labor Day, so it’s time to plan our vacation.
I say this as if this is a yearly occurrence which it is most definitely not. This is actually the first time since my oldest was born that we are in the financial position to actually GO SOMEWHERE on vacation. We have visited family throughout the years for holidays and family celebrations like weddings but I don’t count that as vacation!

Even though I am tempted to go all out for this vacation, alas, financially we are a bit constrained. So a budget vacation it is!

The most important thing for me at this point is going somewhere where my kids can run around, go swimming, and just chill outdoors. Living in an apartment building in a urban area there is not much chance for us to do that and we are all feeling a bit cooped up.
The two biggest expenses for us are the lodging and the rental car. We don’t have a car so in order to easily (or at all) get to a destination is to rent one which usually ends up being quite pricey. We have a local place where we rent from that usually ends up being the cheapest and we put the rental car on a credit car that gives CDW coverage so we save on insurance.

Everything else we do as cheap as possible. We go on cheap or free hikes, swim in the pool, and bring our small portable grill to BBQ. No fancy trips or eating out for us! I find that if the place we stay is nice and pretty, we don’t need to spend money on entertainment or food. We do try to factor in a small amount for ice cream or other small treats along the way.

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Close The Gap

How To Budget When Your Expenses Are More Than Your Income

What is the point of budgeting if your expenses are more than your income?

If you are not making it each month, then why bother putting it down on paper and actually KNOWING the numbers? It will just make you depressed and won’t change anything. After all, if the math doesn’t work then the math doesn’t change just because you wrote it down. Facts are facts. If there is no money then there is no money. Right, right?!?


Money management is not about the math. It’s not about the numbers. Its about the feeling that you have towards your money. And budgeting gives you CONTROL. Being in control is empowering. Being in control gives you options. Being in control makes you the master of your money and your life and not making money the master of you.

That being said, what do you do when your expenses are more than your income?

What if the outlay is actually more than your inlay?

How does writing it down help with that? How will anything change?

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Case Study: Helping a Friend

Putting the Savings Ladder into Practice

A Dime Saved Advice In Real Life

I recently had a friend reach out to me to ask for help figuring out her financial situation. I am not one to let an opportunity slide so I took the liberty (with her permission, of course) to write up her situation and the advice I gave her.

Many times you can read about savings ideas and practices but it’s hard to imagine how to implement it in real life- with real numbers and specific circumstances. Here is one example of using the Savings Ladder for a real person’s situation.

Mary graduated a year ago and has been living at home to save costs while working her first job. This has been great but now her circumstances have changed and she need to plan for the next few years.

She has been accepted to a graduate program that starts in two months and she has to move as well. It’s a lot! She is hoping to find a new job in her new city but is worried she won’t find one right away. What should she do?

Well, luckily, Mary has been very frugal since she started working and hasn’t spent much of her paycheck. The bad news is that it is all sitting in a checking account, doing nothing for her.

Here are the numbers:

Amount in her checking account: $24,856.00

Amount in a low-interest savings account: $4,366.00

Cost of Graduate School Tuition over the next 2 years: $16,099.00 (not including books)


Continue reading “Case Study: Helping a Friend”