We are in the final stages of trip planning and, for now, it looks like we’ll be headed home in the spring of next year. Call me the eternal optimist but I’m hoping there will be a fabulous vaccine and we won’t be relegated to the least inhabited areas of our country by then.
Since we’re staying off the beaten path, I wanted to plan one last hurrah at a nice campground in Florida…near civilization. There’s some beautiful spots on the white sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast. I shopped around and was stunned to see these camping spots crossed $100 a night. $100 a night!! For a parking spot! Some crossed $150! Five days at one of these ‘resort’ campgrounds would cost us more than a month at BLM or state park lands.
My husband watched in-depth review YouTube videos. I could see the stars in his eyes. Snorkeling in the clear waters. Sun tanning on the beach. Swim up bar at the resort pool. Walking hand in hand, watching the sun set. I knew exactly what he saw. “Book it!” he exclaimed. “We have it in the budget. If things aren’t better, we can cancel. Book it.”
That night, I tossed and turned. Sure, it is in the budget but I want to leave a big buffer. So many things could happen along the way. At 2am, I was still wide eyed. We don’t have the money. I can’t.
The next morning, I brewed a strong black tea. I searched and searched for alternatives. I found a delightful state park ¾ mile from the beach with tram access to that beautiful white sand. No, no swim up bar but it’s $40 a night (and we won’t be paying for those drinks at the bar!). I could tell my husband was disappointed but he looked at the numbers we had left in our budget for that category and he decided it would be best too.
Before we paid off our debt, we weren’t using a budget, we decided what to buy based on how much we had in our checking account. Money in. Money Out. These days, I have no idea how much is in our checking account. Seriously. Not a clue. I know exactly how much we have in each category. If I’m running out of money in a category, I pinch pennies. I freak out. When we relied on the checking account balance rather than how much we had budgeted for that category, we were legitimately broke! Now, I just FEEL broke all the time…but I’m not. It’s made me more conscious of what I’m spending and where. I tap the brakes on spending far sooner than I would have.
So yes, I hope you feel broke. I hope you budget well. I hope you stick to your budget. Your checking account will thank you. No, you might not get that great resort you were hoping for… but you won’t worry about your retirement either.
Beks is a full-time government employee who enjoys blogging late into the night after her four kids have gone to sleep. She’s been married to Chris, her college sweetheart, for 15 years. In 2017, after 3 long years working the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps, they paid off more than $70K and became debt free. When she’s not working or blogging, she’s exploring the great outdoors.