Starting off, I do apologise for not been as active as I would have liked on this blog in the past couple of weeks. I have been very busy with work and also I have just recently came back from a holiday in Spain. I plan to be a lot more active (2-3 blogs a week going forward) and if you wish for me to talk about any topic in particular in any of my blog sections (Money Management, Gambling Addiction or vadThought), please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Today however, I would like to talk to you how to have a holiday on a budget. Don’t worry, its not as bad as it sounds. I am not going to suggest that you should not go out and have fun on your holiday, however, there is a way of having fun on holidays and still come back with a healthy wallet. It will all make sense below. Let’s dive in.
This holiday has been my very first holiday since I had the total mind shift in my money management techniques and thoughts. All my previous holidays I splashed the cash as if it was my last. However, this time it was different. As always I kept track of all my expenses and kept a close eye on my spending. I wasn’t being too tight. That’s not a fun holiday. I spent money freely where appropriate, but I was always looking out for where and how I can save few euro here and there to ensure I wasn’t being reckless with my hard earned cash. Few days ago I entered all my expenses into my Excel sheet and studied carefully the areas where majority of my money went during my stay in Spain. I didn’t include the flight or accommodation, we all know that these two are the major expenses that come with most holidays and there is very little that can be done regarding saving money on these two. Instead I want to focus on top three expenses that most people have on daily basis during their holidays. I will base this on my own experience with some advice mixed in to ensure YOU have a great holiday and a great bank account upon your return.
The top three (daily) expenses I had on my holiday were:
This was always going to be one of the main expense. Holidays are all about sampling the local food, dining out every day and eat to your hearts content. True. However, there is a lot that can be done to save money in this area also and still have your tummy satisfied. It is no surprise that food can be very expensive in tourist areas no matter where you go. You don’t want to spend most of your money on food when you are on holidays and have very little money on other activities. So what I did on some days (not all) was I went to the local supermarket and bought myself some food such as cereal, fruit, bread, ham, drinks (Ice Tea) etc. and that satisfied me for my breakfast and lunch as well as some refreshment during the day. I spent less than €5 on all the food and was happy all day long until it was dinner time. In contrast if I was to buy breakfast and lunch at the hotel I would have paid around €17. I mean that is just no brainer. I am not fussy when it comes to food so I can eat just about anything, this helps I guess. However, I didn’t spend my holiday eating rolls are drinking ice tea, I did spent money on Italian, Chinese, Spanish cuisines in the evening time and plenty of beer with that (more on this later). I just felt that where I could easily safe some money then why not spend less. Yes, I was on holidays, but why do I need to be reckless with my money just because I am on “holidays”. I was just as happy with my supermarket food as I was with expensive stuff at the hotel. Then when I went out on the town with Leanne in the evening time I was able to treat myself.
There is such huge range in price regarding food between supermarket, take-away, restaurant etc. no matter where you go and holidays are no different. It would be foolish not to avail of any deals where possible. It will be foolish not to. Yes, you are there to have fun, but let’s not be foolish with money and splash on food that you don’t need. Just a thought.
This only applies to those who are drinkers among the readers. It is no secret that there is a great deal of alcohol that’s is consumed on holidays. There is nothing wrong with that. Having few cold drinks by the beach or while you soak up local culture among the busy streets of your destination. Bliss. However, there are couple of things you can do to limit your alcohol budget.
- Look out for happy hour deals – most bars and restaurants have them
- Try some quality local beers or wines of your destination (they are usually much cheaper than the bigger brands and much more tastier)
- If you want to have a quite night in, get some drinks at the local supermarket for very cheap and enjoy some cold beers during your quite night.
As with food budget, there is no point spending money on alcohol just for the sake of it. Not buying a drink here, getting a happy our deal there and having a quite night at some stage during your holiday all could amount in €10-€20 or even €30 in savings or more. That’s a lot of money to be saving on something that is a pure luxury and what many people often go over the top with. Just have a think about it. If you don’t feel like having a drink and all your buddies are buying drinks like no tomorrow, then don’t buy any. If it’s not worth the sore head in the morning or an empty wallet the next day then don’t fall for the trap. Yes enjoy your night, but we all can enjoy our night within reason.
Not surprisingly being in a foreign country it is hard to get your bearings and know where everything is or how to get around. Everyone tends to hop into a taxi and get Easy right? True. However, you can quickly accumulate a lot of money in the space of few days being driven everywhere. Not ideal. Here what I suggest:
Get off your butt and go for a walk and explore your surroundings
Don’t like walking, no problem, look for a bike to rent (many hotels offer this) or look for public transport. Quick google search would offer you many cheaper and probably more convenient options via public transport in your area. You still get to where you want to go, just as fast but for a lot cheaper. However, my first option is for you to walk as much as you can, this will allow you to explore the city, town, area etc. where you are staying which is a lot better than seeing it briefly from a taxi window. A lot fo hotels are situated very near the city or town so there is no excuse to hop into a taxi. Don’t be lazy and walk. However, that’s just my opinion.
Thank you very much for reading this blog and I hope you don’t think I am too crazy. Yes, I can be a bit nagging with save, save, save! However, I have a simply motto:
Don’t spend money on things you don’t have to.
Holidays is a prime example of impulse & careless expenditure that gets out of control a lot of the times. However, it doesn’t have to be like this and you can still enjoy your holiday on a budget but just considering the top three expenses described above. This will leave you with extra money on tickets to Water parks, Theme park, Tourist Attractions etc. Spend money on things you enjoy and not blow your money carelessly on pricey food, excessive alcohol and unnecessary transport. As always I welcome any suggestions, ideas or feedback on this topic or anything else to do with money.
I haven’t been blogging for awhile. However, I want the comments to be a place of discussion, sharing of ideas, helping each other financially and a feel good factor section for those of us who are just starting off on our financial journey and may find it a bit tough. I thank you all for sticking with me during this blogging drought and there is plenty of blogs to come in the coming weeks and months. Promise.
Thanks again and talk to you all on the next one.