Tag Archives: travel

Weekend Survival Guide for Girl on a Budget

Issue 61

Every Monday we provide you with our past weekend’s agenda to show you how you can continue to do what you love on the weekend while using your common cents!12.22.14 Weekend Logo Pic


Begin our travels home for Christmas break! Our ultimate goal on Friday was to make it to James’ mom’s house which was about a 12-13 hours drive. We made a pitstop to pick up a third golden retriever on the way :-) Splitting meals, packing snacks, and bringing water bottles helped keep food costs low.

12.22.14 Snack WeekendFriday Spending Stats:

  • Coffee (lots of it)                                          $10.00 (for both of us)
  • Breakfast at Chik-fil-A                                 $5.00 (for both of us)
  • Snacks from home                                      $0.00
  • Lunch-split Subway sub                             $6.00
  • Dinner at James’ mom’s home                   $0.00

Total Friday Spending: $21.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $10.00


Insanity max:30, quality time with family, and a delicious dinner helped up recover from a long drive and prepare for another one :-) My future MIL spoiled us by taking us to an AMAZING restaurant with fresh food and interesting flavor combinations…yum!

12.22.14 5 Dogs WeekendSaturday Spending Stats:

$0.00 thanks to our amazing host (aka “mom”)

Total Saturday Spending: $0.00


Another travel day to visit my family for Christmas. Even less spent on meals and carried our snacks with us. We even got lost and took a scenic detour through DC!

12.22.14 Sleeping Dog Weekend

The amazing standing dog! 11 hours in the car without laying down!

Sunday Spending Stats:

  • Coffee                                                                       $10.00 (what can I say, we love coffee!)
  • Breakfast                                                                  $0.00
  • Snacks                                                                      $0.00
  • Dinner at home with my family                              $0.00 thanks to our hosts/parents

Total Sunday Spending: $10.00

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $10.00

Total Estimated Weekend Spending: $31.00

Total Estimated Weekend Savings: $20.00

Our coffee addiction (also known as “stay-awake-and-focus-on-driving-for-24-hours-total) contributed to most of our spending over our trip…I have to say…I’m totally OK with that :-) What do you just HAVE to splurge on when you travel?

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Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 57

Every Monday we provide you with our past weekend’s agenda to show you how you can continue to do what you love on the weekend while using your common cents.


I was so excited to leave work and drive to Orlando to see Brittany! She flew to Orlando to attend a conference so we were able to make it a friend’s trip too! I was soooo hungry driving to Orlando, but between the 21 day fix and my budget, I decided to skip a snack and wait until dinner. We were both tired after long days so we had a little pre dinner coffee in the room and then split an appetizer and sandwich at dinner…delicious! We stopped at Walgreens on the way home to grab a small snack and some $4.00 wine :-)

Brittany Visit Friday picFriday Spending Stats:

  • Car Snack                                                      $0.00 (skipped and waited until I arrived)
  • Coffee                                                            $0.00 (made in hotel room)
  • Cream & sugar for coffee                             $0.00 (snatched some extras from food court)
  • Dinner                                                           $15.00
  • Drinks & Dessert                                           $7.00

 Total Spent on Friday: $22.00

Estimated Total Friday Savings: $23.00


Saturday started off by me sleeping in while Brittany attended the conference in the morning. I picked her up and we decided to wait until we got to my house to eat but I was feeling a little sleepy so I had to stop make a quick pit stop for a coffee at Dunkin. We enjoyed an easy lunch at my house followed by a nice, long, much needed nap. We sat around and enjoyed some girl talk while grilling out and drinking some wine. It was the perfect night to just sit around, eat some healthy home cooked food, and catch up!

Brittany Visit Saturday picSaturday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast                                                       $0.00 (skipped)
  • Coffee @ Dunkin Donuts                              $2.00
  • Lunch                                                             $0.00
  • Dinner                                                            $0.00
  • Drinks                                                             $8.00

Total Saturday Spending: $10.00

Estimated Saturday Savings: $32.00


Today was the day to experience it all! We started with “yoga fix” followed by our Shakeology and some coffee on the couch. Once we had our caffeine kick, we packed a picnic and some drinks for our day at the beach. We started off our adventure with some kayaking (and some shark watching) which was a great way to experience the water and outdoors! After kayaking we were ready for lunch so we headed to the beach for some good food and people watching. Finishing off our weekend trip was a delicious 21 day fix approved dinner at home and catching up on reality TV.

Brittany Visit Sunday picSunday Spending Stats:

  • Breakfast                                                                            $0.00 (Shakeology at home)
  • Coffee                                                                                  $0.00 at home
  • Kayaking                                                                             $26.50
  • Beach                                                                                  $0.00 (picnic lunch and drinks)
  • Dinner                                                                                 $0.00 (at home)

Total Sunday Spending: $26.50

Estimated Total Sunday Savings: $27.00

Total Estimated Weekend SPENDING:             $59.00

Total Estimated Weekend SAVINGS:           $82.00

I was so excited to show Brittany my new home and experience some of the fun activities around Florida. We were so caught up in hanging out and talking about each others lives that we didn’t have to spend money to make it fun. How did you make your budget work for your life this weekend?

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My Life on a Budget: A Year in Review


Year in Review Sam EditionJust a little over a year ago Brittany and I decided to start Fun on a Budget Blog to document the outcome of 20-somethings trying to live well on a budget. We wanted to share our financial battles and triumphs as we fought the good fight against our debts and gave our best effort to keep living lives that kept us happy and excited to get out of bed each morning.  We had a few different purposes in starting Fun on a Budget:

First, we wanted to support other people that were in the same situation as us. Debt is one of those topics that most people are ashamed to talk about, so we knew that there were probably many silent sufferers out there that could use some help.

Second, we wanted to learn more about how to be better with money…and we have learned A LOT!! A huge amount of research and many conversations happen each time we prepare for a post, and from those actions new knowledge is gained.

Finally, Fun on a Budget Blog was a way to stay motivated to keep our focus and momentum strong because after all, paying off debt can be a long term and difficult goal to achieve. Fun on a Budget Blog has 100% fulfilled its role in being a tremendous motivator for staying focused on our end game of getting debt paid off as quickly as possible. Every month we sit down and write up an entire report about how much debt we’ve ditched or how much money we saved, and this gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we are doing well and what we need to start doing a little bit better. Don’t get me wrong, I do hope that people like our budget blog, and I hope that if some Googler stumbles upon it (probably on the 5th page of search term results, haha), that it will help him in some way—but at the end of the day, if I it’s just me, Brittany, and our moms reading the darn thing, we are okay with that. We’re okay with it because we truly enjoy not just living on a budget, but writing about it.

So, here we are one year later, and it just wouldn’t be right not to reflect on how being on a budget has impacted our lives, right? I must say that I originally assumed I would post about how my budget has impacted my debt only, but once I started taking a deeper look at all that has happened (or not happened) and changed over this past year, I realized that the debt numbers are only half of it!

Debt by Numbers: How Being on a Budget for a Year has Impacted my Debt

Year in Review Total Debts
In just one year I have cut the number of total debts I owe by 75%, went from having paid off one debt to having three fully paid loans under my belt, decreased nearly all of my debts to less than the original amount I was loaned (interest is the WORST), reduced my minimum monthly payments by $228.34 , and decreased my overall debt by over $18,000.

Income Distribution

From August 2013 to August 2014, my income was delegated into four different categories: debt payments, living expenses, flights (home and for trips) and savings. 42% of my income went towards my debt snowball, 43% was used for living expenses like rent and food, 7.5% went toward flights to visit family and friends, and the final 7.5% went into my savings account–which was primarily used for moving across the country.

Current Debt Comparatives YIR

The chart above gives a more detailed look of how being on a budget can have a significant and positive impact on getting rid of your debt.

 Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…So you paid off a lot of debt, but what else have you done??

Well, you might be surprised

One of the most rude frequently heard comments that comes out of someone’s mouth when he/she learns I believe in sticking to a budget is “Oh, I couldn’t put myself on a budget because I still want to do things.”  Give me a break…I was on a budget from August 2013 – August 2014, and I did A LOT of “things”.

During my first year on a budget I…

Fun Pics

And I did a little traveling too..

Travel Pics

The good, the bad, and the really really good

I would be lying if I ended this post with my fabulous traveling pictures and told everyone that being on a budget is all rainbows and ice cream cones all the time. It’s not. You aren’t idiots, and you already knew that.  I whined like a child when I had to miss friend’s weddings, wear running shoes that have holes in them, go hungry during happy hour, and had to start drinking water at the bar after I ran out of money (but felt pretty happy the next morning hangover free).

When you are on a budget you cannot do 100% of the things you want to do, buy 100% of the things you want to buy, or travel to 100% of the places you want to travel. You must pick and choose, but whenever I feel down about being on a budget, I remind myself that one of the most important and impacting choices I made in this past year was to LIVE on a BUDGET. Because that choice brings good things to me now—like paying off debt quickly and never bouncing checks—and will bring really-really good things to me in the not-so-far-future—like being able to save for retirement and use money to travel and celebrate in the present —the blips of “bad” that I’m experiencing just don’t seem so bad.

Brittany lived on a budget the past year too! Check out how she fared by clicking the link: Brittany’s Life on a Budget: A Year in Review

For more information about transitioning to life on a budget click on our“Getting Started” link in the menu bar at the top of the page, and get your free printable budget by visiting our “Materials” page.  We have a couple of options for you there.

But enough about me…I want to hear about your experiences on a budget–what works and doesn’t work? What are the best and worst parts of holding yourself accountable with money? Follow the “Reply” link at the top of this post to share your thoughts with Brittany and I!!

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Weekend Survival Guide for the Girl on a Budget

Issue 34

Every Monday we provide you with our past weekend’s agenda to show you how you can continue to do what you love on the weekend while using your common cents.

Total Estimated Savings: $97.00

Total Amount Spent: $127.00

A weekend spent in San Francisco fit into my budget!! See how I did it in the tables below:


A long weekend in san fran on a budget!

A long weekend in san fran on a budget!

A long weekend in san fran on a budget!

A long weekend in san fran on a budget!

A long weekend in San Fran on a budget!

A long weekend in San Fran on a budget!

A long weekend in San Fran on a budget!

A long weekend in San Fran on a budget!

A long weekend in San Fran on a budget!

A long weekend in San Fran on a budget!

Ways i lower expenses

  • Chose your airline wisely: Joe and I fly allegiant air even though the airport is almost 30 minutes further from our house than the international airport in our city. It’s worth it because we save at least $100 per ticket!
  • Pack light: Airlines will make as much money off of your trip as they can. We were able to squeeze our weekend supplies into one carry-on bag, and that saved at least 50 bucks!
  • Savor your food but don’t stuff just because you are on vacation. We ate at new restaurants when we were hungry, but we didn’t force it just because it was a novelty.
  • I took out my allotted spending money as I normally do every pay period; however for the two weeks leading up to my trip, I made conscious attempts to save as much as I could—that meant less eating out and shopping in my everyday environment. The trade off was that the only “extra” expense required by my trip was the flight. Once again, patience pays off :)

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The Travel Debate: Which is better?

1. Flight vs. Drive:

  • Winner: It depends

Flight: Flying always seems more expensive. Sometimes you HAVE to fly due to length of stay and distance of destination, but sometimes, it may end up being less than the price of gas for your car for the same distance. For example, short flights (8 hours or less) tend to be less expensive than driving your car and buying gas along the way.

Drive: If you’re piling a group of friends or a family into a vehicle to drive to a vacation for a week, driving is typically cheaper. Plus, a road trip with fam or friends is a great way to make memories and catch up!

Road Trippin' with Kate!

Road Trippin’ with Kate!

2. Events/Activities vs. Window Shopping

  • Winner: Events/Activities – In my opinion, spending a little extra on events/activities while on a trip is well worth it. You’ll end up seeing and experiencing your travel destination. Plan ahead and decide how much you want to budget (aka “save up for”) toward activities/events. Events don’t always have to cost money! Go on a hike or walk through nature or a fancy part of town!

I was able to experience Phoenix while visiting Brittany without spending any money on our incredible hikes!

3. Nice hotel vs. crappy hotel

  • Winner: Nice Hotel – If you spend a little bit extra on your hotel:
  1. You may be closer to city attractions (less taxi/transportation fees)
  2. Your hotel may offer breakfast (save $5.00-$15.00/day)
IMG_0776.JPG (2)

A combination of LOTS of people and it’s prime location made this the perfect place to sleep while in Vegas.

4. Small Group vs. Big Group:

Winner: Lots – One would typically think that a trip would be cheapest when fewer people are traveling. In reality, the more people you have going on your trip, the less expensive it will be. The more people you can get to split hotel rooms, meals, and car gas the better.


Splitting a hotel with several people makes it affordable and hilarious!

5. Don’t spend vs. spend!

  • Winner: Spend! – Wait, what?! I thought this was a budget blog? Like Brittany and I have said so many times, a budget doesn’t mean you NEVER SPEND MONEY. It means you save up (aka budget) the amount of money you want to spend while you’re ON your trip…not just travel expenses. Wherever you’re going,  make sure you bring some extra cash to fully experience and enjoy your trip!
Travel Skiing

Dishing out some cash to experience the breath-taking mountains in Alberta, Canada was well worth it!

I hope this helps you plan a trip this spring or summer without breaking your budget!

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