As you may know if you follow me on twitter I am currently on vacation in the beautiful city of Vancouver(my plane leaves in a few hours) and just like I do at home, I have been writing down every cent I have spent so far.
Here’s the detail : (everything is in Canadian $).
As you can see the plane tickets were my biggest expense with 35.66 % of my spending.
- Restaurants: 13 %
- Whale watching(including tips : 23.27%
- Accommodation(airbnb) : 19.54%
- Food (lunch and various supermarket food) : 5.93%
- Transportation : 2.57% Total 3454$
What are the areas where I spent more than budgeted?
I almost spent double my restaurant budget and spent a little more than I had planned on my plane tickets because I had to renew my passport and I only received it a month before leaving so the last minute tickets were obviously more expensive.
I also spent slightly more on my airbnb room than I had budgeted and for this, I have no excuses,. I just booked the cheapest place near a bus stop I could find. At that time of year, there’s not too many of them.
What are the areas where I spent less than budgeted?
I had budgeted 1020$ for whale watching and only spent 804$ for a couple of reason, two trips were canceled and I got a free trip given to me by the owner and I had a voucher for a few trip that was left over from last April.
I also spent less on food than expected.
All together I only went slightly over budget which I am very proud of considering it is so easy to let yourself go when you are on vacation and have sufficient funds to splurge or anything you want.
So, how can I spend less next time?
1)Now that I know Vancouver pretty well I can afford to stay at a place that is a little further away from the place I need to go to every day. I used to like being within walking distance but now I can book a room further and just take the bus. I will also consider couch surfing which I tried once and enjoyed but I reckon I would rather pay and have my own room and bathroom than sleep on someone’s couch for free.
2)Try to book my plane tickets sooner which I usually do.
3)The office manager of the whale watching company is going to try to convince the owner to start an annual pass for around 1000$ which would save me a lot of money( (I go on about 15- 20 trips a year even with a 15% discount that’s still around 2000$ per year.
4) I will try to spend less on restaurants and that will be the real challenge. I barely ever go out when I’m at home so when I go on vacation I sent to splurge a little.
What matters though is that I had an amazing time. I saw killer whales a few times and humpbacks every day and managed to take pictures I had been meaning to take for years(humpbacks breaching which a rare moment that is really hard to capture) and most importantly I relaxed. I did not think of work at all or about my next surgeries. For the first time in months, I was able to enjoy the present time and have fun with people I truly enjoy spending time with.
See FI is all about figuring out what you value in life and focus on that. What I value the most is traveling and yes, whale watching so I have decided that I will focus my financial resources and time on this.
Some people may judge me or wonder how I can afford it and still save up to 50% of my income. Well it is very simple, I live a frugal life, I do not smoke or buy clothes every month, I do not go out and spend 50€ per week at the local pub, I pack my own lunch(I only eat at work once a week) and cook from scratch and yet I do not feel like I am depriving myself at all. I live a very happy and rich life.
As Paula Pant from Afford Anything always says ” You can afford anything but not everything.” It is up to you to decide how to spend your resources, experiences that will nourish your soul or stuff you do not need to impress people you don’t even like?
So, what do you value the most?