I just got back from an outstanding five days in sunny San Diego. I’ve known this trip was coming up for a while, and knew I wanted to get out and enjoy it – but also didn’t want to completely kill my budget while I was there.
I have a hard time, especially when I’m doing something like vacationing with a friend, where you’re together the whole time, balancing sticking to my budget with not wanting to be a cheapskate. I also don’t like to say things like “I can’t afford it,” because a) I can, I just might choose not to, and b) she reads this blog (hi, anonymous friend!) and would know that it’s a lie.
We hit up a grocery store first thing when we got there, so we were able to eat breakfast at our rental and pack snacks for the day, going out mostly for dinner (and high tea, because we’re ridiculous).
When I’m with a friend, or a group, I try to keep to my budget in a way that doesn’t impose on other people. Maybe getting a delicious-looking appetizer instead of an entrée, or picking the $5 beer over a $10 cocktail (it helps that I basically always prefer the beer). I might get drip coffee when other people are getting lattes, or suggest taking the bus instead of a cab unless it’s super late.
I don’t want my friends to think of me as a cheapskate, because I don’t think of myself as one. I genuinely prefer the coffee I make at home to Starbucks, and I’ve improved my cooking skills to the point that I actually enjoy eating at home. I enjoy going out to eat, especially when the scenery is as beautiful as it was in San Diego and the food is something I don’t know how to make, and don’t feel at all deprived when I only buy one drink or order something because it’s on special.
I don’t really have a solution to this, as I definitely don’t want my friends to think I’m judging them for their spending decisions, and I realize not everyone loves calculating their savings percentage. Especially when it’s something like a vacation we’ve been planning for months (and already shelled out plenty for a place to stay and plane tickets), I don’t want to limit someone else’s fun by forcing them to stick to my budget.
I think I did a fairly good job – I had a blast, and don’t feel like I spent too much or like I skipped anything I really wanted to do. Hopefully my vacation partner agrees 🙂
How do you stick to your budget without annoying your friends?