6 Minute Read
Get ready for all the numbers for our monthly budget for September 2017.
At the end of each month, we’ll review our monthly budget with you. We want to be completely transparent about our trip expenses and let you know if our original savings goal is holding up. Each month, we’ll break down our spending into two chunks:
- Trip Budget(s)
- Everyday Living Budget
If we took any trips outside of our home city (the location we’re using as our home base) during the month, we’ll show you exactly what we spent for each trip. We’ll compare these numbers to our original trip budget and show where we were right and wrong.
Our trip budget reviews should help if you’re planning a similar trip and give you an idea of what you can expect to spend.
Everyday Living Budget
This is the amount of money we budgeted to live in a certain location. This budget includes categories you’re familiar with like:
For each home city, we created a budget based on the amount of time we will live there. In our monthly budget post, we’ll recap our everyday living budget compared to what we’ve spent for each category. We’ll review any unexpected expenses or discrepancies between budgeted and spent and what we might change to help our budget work better for the next month.
The everyday living budget should give you an idea of the cost of living in a specific location compared to living in the Midwestern United States.
September 2017 Trip Budgets
We took three trips in the month of September: Portland, the Pacific Coast Highway and Auckland.
We came out $1.30 ahead compared to our budget…so our budget was quite accurate.
- Where we splurged: We probably could have spent less in the food/drink category. There were several “must eat” places we found while researching Portland that we decided not to pass up. I honestly wouldn’t say all of them we worth what we spent, so that’s a category I would scrutinize harder for future trips.
- Where we saved: While we budgeted for a few more entertainment experiences, we found that just hanging out with our friends was the best entertainment. Plus, we made up for the overage in the airfare by spending less on this category.
Pacific Coast Highway
We came out $660.51 ahead compared to our budget.
- Where we splurged: This trip we didn’t really splurge on anything. Our most expensive item was the Alcatraz tour, coming in at $75 (for two people), which we’d definitely say was worth it.
- Where we saved: There were a lot of ways we cut expenses. We stayed mostly with friends and a network of cheap home-stay options through an organization I’m involved in called P.E.O. For meals, we tried to buy groceries that were friendly for a car road trip and made most of our dinners. (FYI, our favorite grocery store discovery of the trip was the bulk food section at WinCo!) We also didn’t go out for drinks, but instead bought local beer or wine at the grocery store when we wanted to enjoy an adult beverage.
Auckland, New Zealand
Again, we spent less than we budgeted on this trip. We have a difference of $511.89 positive against our budget.
- Where we splurged: I think by the time we got to Auckland, we were so tired we just wanted to stay in our Airbnb. We didn’t splurge on anything. Quick note on the airfare budget…this is for a one-way flight for two people from Los Angeles to Auckland. So, our biggest flight on the entire International Hotdish journey.
- Where we saved: See above. We had plans to make it to a museum, go out to eat and more, but we were so tired after the first morning that we just stayed in. Not the most adventurous trip, but it did help us save money.
September 2017 Everyday Living Budget
Our budget per day to live in Wellington, New Zealand = $63.25 per person
In September, we lived in Wellington for just 7 days, making our total everyday living budget for the month = $885.50
We’re happy to see that so far, we’re ahead on our Everyday Living Budget by $203.45 for the month of September.
- Where we splurged: No splurging so far. However, here’s why our transportation budget looks like it’s doubled…We pre-loaded a bus fare card when we arrived in the city thinking it’d be the easiest and cheapest way to get around besides walking. We have only used the card once so far, so the rest of the money is still waiting to be used on upcoming bus fares (kind of like a gift card).
- Where we saved: When we created our budget, we were unsure about our rental situation and so we built in separate categories for utilities and internet. Now that we’ve booked all of our New Zealand rentals through Airbnb (pssst…use this link to get $40 off your first Airbnb booking), these two categories are no longer needed because utilities and internet are included in the price.We’re also continuing our trend of saving money on food. Groceries in New Zealand are expensive, which has made us much more selective in the grocery store. Anything fresh (produce, dairy, bakery items) is typically double the cost you’d find in grocery stores in the States. For example, a small cup of yogurt is 2.99 NZD. A quarter pound bag of fresh green beans is 5.49 NZD. (If you’re interested, just use Google to convert NZD to USD.) We’re doing our best to balance out eating healthy and maintaining our budget. So far, it’s working.
Total Budget Numbers for September 2017
Trip + Everyday Living Budgets = $6,155.50
Actual Spend = $4,508.35
We only spent 73% of our allocated budget for September. Our variance between budgeted and actual spend is +$1,647.15.
This is great news and means we can probably afford another little side trip in a future country (insert happy dance here!).
Since this is the first month we’re putting our budget to the test, I’m happy to see the positive outcome. It will be interesting to see how the budget holds up in the coming months and if we need to make any adjustments.
A Note on Income
I know some of you may be curious about how we’re making money during our International Hotdish adventure. At this time, we will not be including income in our monthly budget summaries. Here’s why:
- We purposely saved money to pay for this trip, which is what we are using to cover our trip and monthly living expenses. In case you haven’t read our post on how we saved $60,000 in 12 months, it’s time to check it out.
- Any income we’ve made for the month through our businesses will be going back into our business accounts. We do not plan to dip into that pool of money unless it becomes necessary later in the trip.
Do you have questions about our budgeting process? Would you like to know more about a particular expense? Leave us your question and we’ll get back to you!