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Travel Costs

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One of the biggest bones of contention in my latest budget is my travel budget for the year – $6,000. I felt maybe a little more explanation was needed…not justification.

Gymnast to Georgia

First, this is first year Gymnast has lived away from me. And thusfar, I’ve only had to purchase two airplane tickets…one was $366 (round trip to visit us over his Spring Break) and one was $74 (one way flight to Georgia for the summer). I’ve got one more I know I have to purchase to get him home this summer. And then I know I will bring him down either for Thanksgiving for Christmas…at least.

Trips from Chicago to Georgia, can add up quickly and I want to have a buffer in case I ever need to facilitate a trip quickly…my grandmother and mom are fine, but I know things can change at any point. I have to be in a place to bring him home quickly if I need too.

Georgia to Texas

As long time readers are aware and someone pointed out in the comments, my mom was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinsons in the last couple of years. As she has declined and been limited in what she can do, we have increased our trips to Texas. That is why the quarterly trips at this time…

And they fluctuate in expense…depending on the time of year, who all is going and how we are going. Last Thanksgiving, I had planned for all 5 of us to go and rented a car. This Spring Break, it was only 4 of us and we took my car (which ended in a wreck.) And this summer, only Princess and I are going and we are flying….

When we drive, it’s 28 hours of drive time round trip, which means a minimum of 2 but possibly 4 hotel nights depending on how driving goes. (We typically get there in two days of drive time, but here are times when we must stop more.)

Ok, are you getting the point…if we 3-4 times a year, it adds up. $5,000 (subtracting some for Gymnast travel) ends up being $1,250-$1,566 per 9 day trip. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

This Summer

Princess and I will go alone this summer. My dad bought us airline tickets to get there with his credit card miles. And our return flights were $74 each (just like Gymnast as he will be returning home with us then.) So our summer trip cost will be minimal…

With that in mind, I am not willing to change the budgeted monies. I will be more comfortable with a buffer in case of emergency.

I hope this clears up why this amount is disproportionately large compared to the rest of my line items. It is certainly not representative of my dedication to getting out of debt. But it’s no surprise that my family comes first…

Do you have things going on in your life that trump the “full on sprint” to debt payoff?

 


Revised Budget

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Now that I no longer have a car payment and our auto insurance and fuel cost has been reduced, I figured I should redo my budget for the summer. And I also needed to add a line item for a car savings account.

I also took your notes on my last budget into consideration and separated the groceries and entertainment. And I added an income line item.

Hope's Summer 2019 Monthly Budget, Rev 2

DescriptionMonthly Budget
Income$3,850
EF Savings$100
Car Savings$800
Rent$650
Groceries$500
Entertainment$200
Household (hygiene, cleaning, etc.)$10
Auto - Gas$60
Auto/Rent Insurance$150
Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash)$300
Life Insurance$23 (paid quarterly)
Buffer
Kids Activities$83
Gifts$83
Clothing$100
Travel$500
Auto - Maintenance/Fees$30
Debt Payments - minimum payments
Student Loans$100
Credit Card$62
Collections$0
Sub-Total$3,811
Sea Cadet & History Buff's Contribution($307)
Total Personal$3,504

Notes:

  • My income varies greatly from month to month, but this is a good average. Any excess goes to debt payments.
  • I figure if I can save $800 a month towards a car…well, it’s a start of a plan in that respect.
  • I think our grocery budget will go down a bit more, but don’t want to assume until I get a good feel for a new normal with the change to the summer schedule. And Gymnast will be here for the month of July and part of August.
  • My travel budget can probably be cut a bit more. I’ve already booked our trip to Texas in June/July and was able to get flights for less than $80 each way. Score! More on that in a later post.

I welcome any constructive criticism on this new budget. It’s definitely not been as thoroughly thought through but I think it’s workable.


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