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As we head into a new year, we’re still tracking our monthly trip expenses and giving you all the details. Here’s our full review of our January budget for 2018.
For those of you interested in a complete breakdown for our entire trip, you can access our budget tracking spreadsheet here. We spent a few hours redoing it in December and it’s made seeing our expenses at a glance super easy. Give us a shoutout in the comments if you like it!
Trip Budget(s) vs Everyday Living Budget
A quick refresher on the two budgets we cover in our monthly review.
Trip Budget: What we spent on a trip taken outside of our home city (in January we did a couple of day trips outside of Melbourne and visited Cairns). If you’re planning a trip to this same location, it should give you an idea of expected travel expenses.
Everyday Living Budget: What we spent to live in a certain location, including costs like rent, utilities, and food. This budget should give a good comparison for the cost of living in a specific location compared to living in the Midwestern United States.
January 2018 Trip Budgets
Our January travel schedule was pretty light; we took two day trips and then went to Cairns at the end of the month.
Day Trips: Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula
We came out $101.12 ahead compared to our budget.
- Where we splurged: We did grab fast food on the road for both trips, which definitely isn’t our normal behavior. But when planning the trips, I anticipated something like this happening, so there was money in the budget.
- Where we saved: Everything we did on our day trips was free. We stopped and saw plenty of sites and they didn’t cost a dime. Thanks, Australia!
Read our trip recap for Cairns.
We came out $656.10 ahead compared to our budget.
- Where we splurged: We weren’t originally planning to rent a car in Cairns, but after doing some more research it became a necessary splurge. Our first budget draft didn’t include it at all.
- Where we saved: We stayed in a suburb of Cairns, which was easier to manage because of our car rental, and saved us a little money. In the beginning stages of trip planning, we had also considered doing the Kuranda Train tour. We budgeted the $200+ needed for tickets in our entertainment category, but decided later on not to go. No surprise here, but we also ate most of our meals in the airbnb during the trip, too.
January Budget 2018: Everyday Living Costs
As I mentioned above, our home base in the month of January was Melbourne, Australia. Our budget per day to live in Melbourne is $44.54 per person. In January, we lived in Melbourne for 26 days, making our every day living budget for this location = $2,316.29.
We’re ahead (again!) on our January Budget for everyday living by $839.49.
- Where we splurged: Hmm…I’d call this not so much a splurge as a necessity. You can see under Misc that we spent over $100 we didn’t budget for. We decided before we left Melbourne that we wanted to pare down our items even further and ship back things we weren’t using and some souvenirs. It cost us over $100 to ship two small boxes back to the USA 😭 But, on the bright side now our bags are lighter and that’s going to make a big difference for the rest of our trip.
- Where we saved: We were much more careful about taking public transportation this month. Per usual, we saved some money by making food at our airbnb and only going out sparingly. We did treat ourselves to a fun meal (and donut ice cream cones!) in the Greek neighborhood near us on our last day in the city.
Total January Budget Numbers for 2018
Trip + Everyday Living Budgets = $4,641.29
Actual Spend = $3,044.58.
This was our biggest month of saving compared to spending yet! We spent 66% of our allocated budget and the variance between budgeted and actual spend is +$1,596.71.
For the first five months of our trip, we’re now at +$5,305.31 compared to our budget. I’m happy to see this large excess because it seems that the list of countries we’ll be traveling to this year keeps growing. And to be completely honest, I really really really want to come back with some money in our pockets (really!). We are always thinking about what we want to do when we get back to the USA and almost everything we want to accomplish would be difficult with $0 to our names 😂
If you want to see all the details, view our Google budget tracking spreadsheet.
Post your travel budget questions in the comments! We’d love to help you budget for an upcoming trip in Australia or anywhere else in the world.