One look at the budget spreadsheet and it’s easy to see that we are over budget. Significantly over budget. So far, more than $4000 over budget and we’re only 4 months into our one year trip.
For a while it caused me quite a bit of stress. As I saw the under/overage column be in the red day after day I would worry about it more and more. What were we spending so much money on? Why were the countries that I thought would be more inexpensive so expensive? Was this going to mushroom and affect the rest of the trip?
I was getting crankier and crankier about it and wasn’t enjoying everything because I was worrying so much. Did we pay too much for such-and-such? Could we have gotten such-and-such for cheaper? Should we not have done such-and-such because it cost so much? Why did we have to pay so much for what appeared to be a nothing room with an uncomfortable bed and a shower that doesn’t work? Was I not doing a good job of finding places? Was there something more I should have been doing?
It peaked with an argument between Jason and I where I accused him of not being concerned at all with the budget while I worried about it constantly. That, of course, was not true. We just had different views on how the budget was going.
The $100/day budget we had set out was meant to be an average over the entire year, taking into account that some countries would clearly be over and others would be drastically under. While Jason understood this concept completely and accepted that the law of averages would be upheld, I, for some reason, could not let it go that we were over almost every single day.
In the end we agreed that I would relax a bit and trust that it would all average out and that Jason would be also keep an eye on the budget.
What have we learned?
- I have learned to be much more relaxed about the numbers now and to trust that it will average out. We looked at all the ‘big’ overall numbers again and realized that, even if we’re a little over budget daily, there is some room in the big budget for that.
- We learned that maybe we’re not quite the ‘budget’ travelers we thought we could be. Although our rooms now are not luxurious by any standard, we are paying a bit more for a room than we were…and we’re happier for it.
- We learning that we have to do the things that we want to on the trip. We won’t have any fun if all we do is hang around the hostel. We like to take tours and do stuff, and that costs money, so we’ll spend the money.
Maybe I’m finding it easier now because our ‘expensive country’ travel is coming to a close and I can see the day when we’ll stop bleeding money and maybe even make some of it back. I don’t know…all I know is that I’m enjoying myself more now…and so is Jason.