7.09.2012

How to Stay Financially Sane While on Vacation

I apologize for not posting in awhile, but like any other blogger, I don't like hearing apologies for being absent! I've only been gone for a week, I'm sure most of you didn't notice anyway right? :) This post will be a mixture of a life update as well as a regular post. Hope everyone has been enjoying their summer!

I got back from Columbus, Ohio last Tuesday night after 2 loooong flights (both delayed as usual). My sister's volleyball team placed #37 out of 50 teams in the National league! They also placed 1st in their bracket. My sis plays outside hitter and she got so many kills! She also played the whole entire time. So proud!!!

My sister came back with me while my mom flew back home, and with my sister here, we've been playing tourists all over San Diego! Last Wednesday we went to the San Diego fair where we rode rides and ate fair food. On Thursday, I took her to my favorite outdoor mall. On Friday, I went to Turbo Kick and we went to my favorite Italian restaurant. On Saturday, we went to the SD Safari Park and yesterday we went to the beach and then went swimming afterwards.

Some pics!

Our vacation is still not over since we will be meeting up with my brother and cousins in Anaheim on Thursday and we'll be going to Disneyland and the beach again. Is there such thing as having too long of a vacation?! I'll be going in to work tomorrow and Wednesday just to check up on things, but I'm off again on Thursday and Friday before I go back to working full-time for another 2 weeks. When I was in Ohio, my mom paid for mostly everything, so it was more stress-free than being here in San Diego.

Not being at work requires a lot of spending, and I've been having trouble balancing my spending with fun. It sucks saying no to my sister sometimes, but I have to do it often since she wants a TON of stuff (she's 12). She's always asking for candy, food, souvenirs, clothes, and everything else money can buy. She wanted to go to Sea World too but I had to cross that off the list.

Here's how I've been staying financially sane while on vacation (in no particular order):

  1. Keep all receipts - I've been royally failing at this but it's really important to keep receipts. I usually rely on checking my accounts online and remembering where and when I spent X amount, however it's really difficult when you are going everywhere and the names of the stores are unrecognizable on your statement. For instance, I thought that there were fraudulent charges on my acct because I didn't know that WAP Thorntree was from one of the restaurants at the Safari Park.

  2. Review transactions everyday - This ties in with #1. When you're on vacation, you'll most likely be spending a lot each day. It's good to check in and make sure that the transactions are all correct. Once a few days pass, the transactions all blur together and you'll forget where and when you bought ice cream. The days might even blur together and you won't remember where you went each day. Vacations are awesome.

  3. Plan out your schedule - Without a plan in tow, you'll feel scatter-brained. You don't want to plan as you go (unless that's the type of vacay you're on), but I feel more safe with my money when there is a plan. My sister and I wrote out the activities we wanted to do and made a tentative schedule for each day. We planned some rest days too, which is nice. You can always change your schedule, but that's much easier than just going with the flow.

  4. Keep a budget - Whether you are keeping a budget for each day or for the entire trip, a budget will definitely keep you financially sane! You don't need to make it complex or even detailed. After we created our plan/schedule, I budgeted accordingly and made some revisions to the list. Make sure to give yourself some extra cushion too, since you might want to add in more activities last minute.

  5. Check on to-do lists - Even though I've been on vacation for 2 weeks now, I didn't want to escape reality completely. I would be coming back to a ton of work and stress if I didn't at least maintain some sanity with a to-do list. This doesn't have to be a crazy to-do list, but it should list items that are high priority in your life. For me, it was applying for my loan for school and requesting a transcript from my college for the law school.

  6. Keep track of due dates - Bills still have to be paid even though you are on vacation, so make sure to set automatic payments or go online and make the payments. I made all of my credit card payments before I left. While at the hotel, I paid for my cell phone bill and I've been checking on other bills online.

  7. It's okay to stay frugal - I've been staying true to my budget and saying "no" whenever possible - to myself and my sister! You can still eat at the cheaper restaurants, order the cheaper meals, and avoid other spending traps. Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean you have to say yes to everything or change the way you spend.

  8. Don't lose focus! - Don't lose track of your saving goals. I sent $1,000 to savings last week right when I got paid, because I knew that a lot of spending would be taking place. I felt better about it, but it also helped me to stay on track with my goals.
What tips do you have to stay financially sane while on vacation? Do you have any vacations coming up?

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