Yes, before you say anything, it has been a long time since our latest post. Have we given up on budgeting? Of course not! Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean we can take a vacation from our budgets, but wouldn’t that be a perfect world?
My absence from the blog can be attributed to two factors:
- I was on a vacation. Mr. Practical and I took our belated honeymoon in Croatia, for which I suffered many a tofu dinner. (In case you’ve forgotten-this has been my short-term savings goal for the past year). Was the saving worth it? Absolutely. Did we splurge? Yes, but reasonably. (I’ll share some tips below).
- Mr. Practical and I have moved from New Orleans to Kansas City. In Mr. Practical’s words, “This is a long-term short notice move.” We found out while we were traveling, and it has been a whirl wind to say the least. Once we returned to the States we had exactly two weeks to pack up, find a new place to live, and say goodbye to all of our wonderful friends, so blogging wasn’t exactly at the top of my to do list.
While I may be a little less of a newlywed, I am unfortunately still ever as indulgent, and our Single Shopper is still reigning in Nola as we speak, so between her and me, we got you covered.
As I mentioned above Mr. Practical and I did splurge on our trip. It was our honeymoon after all. Yet, we didn’t go crazy. Below are some of my tips to stretch those vacation dollars as much as possible so you don’t go broke once you get home.
Plan Your “Splurge Meals” Before You Leave- Trying the local cuisine is one of my favorite things about traveling, so we definitely wanted to eat out while we were on vacation. However, while we didn’t want to waste a single meal on bad restaurants during our trip, we also didn’t want to blow the bank every night. Trip Advisor and restaurant reviews became my best friend before the trip. I got as many recommendations for restaurants as possible, and then picked one “splurge worthy” place in each city we went, making sure to make a reservation before we left. Since Mr. Practical doesn’t like too much structure on trips, we still had wiggle room for the other nights, but we knew in advance where we wanted to spend the most money.
Avoid ATM Fees: I detest ATM fees, but on vacations, especially in exotic locales, it is sometimes unavoidable, and before you know it you have been charged an extra $3-$6 per transaction. That $25 you were charged for your five ATM visits could have gone towards another meal out. So what do you do? Do you take out all the money you think you need before you travel and risk it being stolen? No! Do you take out as much cash as possible every time you visit the ATM? No! Instead get a Fidelity ATM card, which reimburses you for ALL ATM fees, anywhere in the world. The Secret Saver told me about this, and I didn’t believe her, but I opened an account online, and she was correct. There isn’t any fee for opening an online account, there’s no minimum balance, and I was not charged a single ATM fee while I was traveling abroad. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about taking out too little money or foregoing a souvenir I was dying to buy.
Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees: Just like the ATM fees, the foreign transaction fees charged by your credit cards can also add up. However, shortly before our trip American Express waived all foreign transaction fees, which meant we were able to use our American Express guilt free.
Between the American Express and Fidelity Debit card, Mr. Practical and I were covered. When restaurants or stores didn’t accept American Express we would just pop out to take out some cash. This worked out particularly well on our last night when I saw a necklace I had to have as a souvenir. Mr. Practical wasn’t as thrilled as me when he saw it, and when the store didn’t accept American Express, I thought that was the end. But, oh wait, an ATM was just around the corner. Fidelity to the rescue! Mr. Practical kindly obliged to withdraw some cash after I promised him the necklace would be his birthday present to me (my birthday is in May FYI). And while he did take an exceptionally long time to get the cash, which he later admitted was purposefully to give me more time to really mull over my purchase, I most likely would have lost the battle if it weren’t for Fidelity.
Enjoying guilt free wine on a budget friendly holiday.