blown vacation budgetThe family and I just got back from a week long vacation at the beach. It was very relaxing and I don’t really want to be back. There’s nothing better than getting away for a week and not having to get online and do a bunch of work. Though I did still manage my WordPress business, I was able to keep the online work to a minimum. I really only worked a few hours during the entire trip. It was glorious! Anyway, now I’m back and wanted to share about my blown vacation budget. We’ve all been there, I’m sure!

Vacation Budget Blown!

Ever since I’ve paid off my credit cards, I’ve carried a budget for the important aspects of my life. Vacations are one of those. While I don’t take too many vacations (I should take more!), I still have a vacation budget. It’s super easy to spend a lot of money when enjoying life outside of the normal grind, so a simple budget should be on everyone’s list.

Since we just spent our week at the beach, I didn’t expect to spend too much money. The basic items were gas, food, beverages, and entertainment. When we go with family, everyone tries to split many of the expenses in order to keep the costs down for everyone.

I was able to effectively budget the right amounts for gas and entertainment, but my food/beverage budget item was way off. I mean, way off!  It wasn’t that I was trying to overspend on food or drink, but there were so many good places to eat where we were. They were all local places and I love supporting them. Nothing better than walking into a small establishment and coming out satisfied.

Long story short, I spent way too much money on food. I could sit back and feel bad about it, but I’m not going to do it. It’s not everyday that I get to go out to local places and eat quality food. All of the places were small little places and they make awesome food. There wasn’t one meal that was bad. I’m not going to be upset about spending more money and keeping in the local economy, especially since they all treated our group with respect and were very kind. That’s a win-win for me. I’ll go over budget when trying to support small businesses, especially when it comes to great food!

A Case for an Emergency Fund

I talk a lot about the emergency fund. I do it for a reason. I think they should be a cornerstone of personal finance. While many think you shouldn’t keep much in your fund and if you do have one at all, you should have the money earning interest through investments.  I don’t really care where you stick your emergency fund money as long as you have access to it and it doesn’t cost you to use it.

I wanted to share a quick glimpse into how my vacation started. My wife and son drove separately and went to the beach a day early. I had a few hockey games which I wanted to play in, so I went a day later. As I started to drive on the highway, my front passenger side tire blew out. It was a little scary, but I handled the car over to the side of the road. I hit a huge pot hole a few weeks earlier that required some repair, but didn’t realize it took a huge chunk out of my sidewall until a few days before leaving for the beach. I didn’t think much of it, since I wasn’t losing any air.

It was that tire that blew as I was driving. Of course it would’ve happened when I was going on vacation. I’m just glad I was the only one in the car at the time. Anyway, I pulled out my spare tire, put it on and made my way to the nearest tire shop. Luckily for me, the tire blew right by the exit for a tire shop that I use regularly. Well, an hour later and $900 down (replaced all four since they were needing it), I was able to start my vacation trip.

If this expense would’ve happened a few years earlier, I would have instantly been $900 in debt and feeling bad about myself. Luckily for me, I have a good sized emergency fund and this was taken right out of it. I did put the expense on my credit card to get the miles, but have since paid it off from the emergency funds. This is why I tell people to have an emergency fund. There’s no point in going into debt for an emergency. They can happen at any time and any place. Just remember it and stock your savings to account for life’s little mysteries!

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  1. SO glad you are okay, Grayson, and SO glad you enjoyed your time at the beach. Money is for using to enjoy life, and you did it perfectly on your vacation – great job!

  2. This is a bit off topic, but $900 to replace a tire? (???) Two years ago I got a set of four tires each for our car and van for about half that at Discount Tire. I’ll concede that it always helps to buy in bulk, but still – I’d never pay close to that for a tire.

    1. I guess I left that out! I replaced all four tires since they were getting close to the low point. This was at discount tire too. My car has bigger wheels, so they have to be low profile, thus costing more.

  3. Love reading that you’re not going to feel bad about blowing your budget. While there are lots of folks who need to think much more about their budgets, and maybe feel bad for a little while to spur action, you are not in that camp! For those who are budget conscious and stay on track 99% of the time, feeling bad serves no purpose! Thank you for setting a great example.

    1. It wouldn’t have scared me a few years ago, but I’m in a much better financial state. Yes, my budget is my guideline, but blowing it on vacation is worth it for me!

  4. Eating out on vacation is one of my favorite parts of a trip and we always plan on spending alot on food. That’s the whole reason you save and earn in your real life, so you can enjoy time off without worrying about coming home broke. Bummer about the tire, but at least you should be good for a while.

  5. There is certainly comfort in that good ole emergency fund! My dilemma is balancing my emergency fund with my student loan repayment. I’m half tempted every month to just throw $5k or so onto my loans from my emergency fund because it earns nothing in the bank and interest is rapidly accruing on my student loans. But I usually don’t because I know that the time will come where I need that for a car repair or something else.

  6. Aren’t you thankful for emergency funds?! I always look at local stores as a chance to invest in the economy, and it really is investing in the local community. So glad you had a wonderful vacation!

  7. Welcome back Gray! It’s good to know that you still managed your online work while on vacation. I am like you I always spend so much on food especially those delicacies. I just consider it as a reward for a job well done. Congrats, by the way.