There is nothing I love more than to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday working life. When trying to get out of debt and stay out of debt, work becomes more of a priority, especially if you are working more than one job. I was like this for the 4 years that I was working toward being debt free. I didn’t spend much time with my friends unless it was going to be cheap or even free. I didn’t want to be tempted to spend money that I had budgeted toward my debt repayment. Well, after I paid off my last credit card, I decided to spend some more time with friends, and it is a budgeting nightmare.
My friends and I have been working hard to try and get together more often and go on some weekend trips. Most of these trips are close by, but some can involve 3-5 hours of driving. When we first started taking these trips, everyone was exciting about getting together and having fun, but when we all get home, that changes.
The Hit to the Wallet
When my friends and I get together, we let loose and don’t worry about the little things. We try and enjoy the moments we have and do what we want. We can’t always be tight with our money and never do anything, can we?
The biggest hit to the wallet tends to be restaurant trips. We always eat out when we are together and if we are out on the weekend, it could end up being about 6 restaurant bills. We pay the bills by couples, so at least I am not ending up paying for an appetizer that I didn’t eat or anything like that. Unfortunately, we end up dishing out money that we would have never used on a regular weekend.
My wife and I only eat out once or twice a month. This is out way of getting away and just having a “date” night. It also keeps out budget under control. This method saves us a lot of money per year, so it is a good practice. When we are with friends, we usually spend about $35-$40 per restaurant bill for dinner and about $20 for breakfast and lunch. This account for over $150 per weekend trip, just for food! This is a budget destroyer. There are many other ways that I can think of using $150, like pushing it into my Betterment IRA account.
When traveling, I tend to drive my car. I get about 35 miles per gallon, so I can’t complain. I can easily get about 550 miles when driving on the highway, but it costs me about $60 to fill up my tank with today’s gas prices. If I drive my car to our weekend getaway, then I am going to be spending money that I didn’t budget.
I usually only have to fill up once every nine days. If we are traveling, then I have to fill it up about twice per weekend. This throws a wrench into my gas budget and knocks out another $120 just for the weekend. I am starting to hate gas prices and they appear to just keep going up or at least staying stagnant. I would love to see the day when we get back below $3 here in North Carolina. I am just happy that I don’t have a gas-guzzling SUV like I used to have. That would put a bigger dent in my overall budget, especially on our weekend trips.
Overall Budget Hit
After looking over the past weekend road trips that my wife and I have taken with our friends, it has been apparent that we are overspending. Our usual weekend trip is averaging a little over $300! This is a lot of money and it is never in our budget to let go of 300 greenbacks. That much money would do very well in a high interest savings account or in an investment account. We have to learn how to reign back our spending and keep to a tighter “weekend trip” budget. Hopefully we can get this under control because I feel like we are hemorrhaging money when we are out on these trips.
While this post might seem somewhat negative, I want to assure people that I still love going on weekend trips. There is nothing better than spending time with my friends doing things that we love to do. I don’t want to ween out weekend road trips all-together because that would mean that we would end up becoming a very old couple and just sitting at home. I know we have a budget and we need to stick to it in order to become financially independent, but I will not give up the weekend trips. Everyone needs to have a break from their working life.
We all know that being around friends can bring the best out of us, but it can also lead to bleeding money out of our wallets. When we start getting too relaxed, we can agree to things that might not be in the best interest of our financial freedom. Weekend trips have become one of my budgeting nightmares, but I will work hard to correct my mistakes and get myself back on a tighter “trip” budget in the future.
Do any of you have concerns about travel budgets or have any issues with your budget when you are out with friends? I want to hear from you below.