This Yakezie blog swap post is from LaTisha D Styles who is a finance graduate teaching young adults how to invest, budget and manage your money however little you may have at Young Adult Finances. Read my post at her site today on Splurging for Bells and Whistles on a Car.
Have you ever spent way too much on a vacation? I did. As a broke college student, I had no right to take myself on a trip for my birthday. But I was turning 25 and I was ready to let loose. I had about $20,000 dollars in student loan debt and plenty in credit card debt, but I still splurged with almost everything I had saved to that point.
I decided to take a spontaneous 3 day weekend cruise but unfortunately, my friends were not able to make that last minute weekend getaway. I decided to take my sister. At the time she was paying off her own debt and she was on a very strict budget. I offered to pay for her cruise ticket so she could go with me.
We drove from our home in Georgia down to Ft. Lauderdale where our Carnival cruise ship planned to depart. Once we made it to our staterooms and dropped off all of our bags, we were called to the evacuation deck to learn emergency procedures. Then the real fun started! I attended bingo night, sang for karaoke night and visited shops and restaurants in every port.
By the time the cruise was completed and I received my bill, I realized that I had spent the equivalent of two additional cruise tickets just on extras! I was shocked and as we headed home I thought about what I would do differently next time.
Keep a Running Tally
When you’re on a cruise ship, there’s no need to swipe your card every time you decide to make a purchase on the ship. Everything is billed back to your stateroom and you don’t see the total until the end. I kept the receipts that I was given every time I made a purchase but after a while I stopped really looking at them. However, I did check the receipts against the final bill once I had a chance at home. I would have written down each charge and kept a record of the dollar amount that I was spending. I know that would have helped me to stay within a budget.
Make a Budget
That’s the second thing that I would have done differently. I actually didn’t have a budget. Yes, I had a loose dollar amount that I didn’t want to spend over, but that was largely determined by my credit limit on one of my cards. I should have carefully planned how much I would be spending on excursions, drinks and other surcharges. I made the mistake of assuming that by booking a vacation on an all-inclusive cruise ship, I wouldn’t need a budget, but I quickly learned that a well-planned budget is always in order.
Would I do it again? Maybe. Would I watch my money better? Definitely. But at the end of the day, the memories I have were worth every penny. What about your experience? Have you ever splurged on something that was totally worth it? Are you still glad you did?