Aloha and greetings from the land of paradise! I’m once again escaping the Canadian winter to visit what I like to believe is where I should be living, or, for the time being, my second home – The Big Island of Hawaii. I make the journey at least once a year and do my utmost to keep to simple, live with less, disconnect and be frugal.
What’s the number one thing on your mind while traveling or on vacation?
I’m betting it’s certainly not your budget, am I right? You’re more concerned about relaxing and enjoying the sights around you, experiencing as much as possible. It’s quite easy to set your budget aside or completely forget about it when you’re tempted with great food, amazing experiences and let’s face it – touristy type things. For the most part, I try to avoid the touristy things but sometimes they can be to your advantage if you pay attention and don’t get sucked in to the sales pitch. They can be the most frugal thing on your to do list. I bet you’re saying Really? How? I always end up spending money not getting stuff for free. They offer Free Samples! Coffee, Mac Nuts, Honey, Chocolate, etc. I swear you can almost have lunch for free at Costco on some days.
Week 1 Roundup
Most Expensive Meal – So far, I’ve been treated to meals out by my family but if I did pay, the most expensive entrée was $34.95 US. Since I don’t eat a huge amount, we save by ordering one appetizer for the table and share deserts by ordering one or two at the most. BTW, week two will be a different story – I don’t get a free ride the whole time and I do contribute cash to groceries.
Most Frugal Meal – This one’s a no brainer – cooking at home! In most cases, we have breakfast at home, pack a picnic lunch and sometimes have dinner out. But if I had to choose a meal while dining out, it would have to be the $21 Ahi Sashimi Platter from Costco.
Frugal Dining Out Tip: Happy Hour is HUGE in Hawaii, almost all establishments have it and it’s usually offered from 2PM – 6PM Monday to Friday. Some places only offer a couple bucks off, while others can be half price on selected drinks and appetizers. Cheap way to dine out if you can eat earlier! For example, a glass of wine cost $5.95 vs. $9 for a 6oz glass. The Kona Canoe Club has $3 Margaritas!
Most Expensive Gas Fill-up – $2.94 a Gallon at Costco
Most Frugal Gas Fill-up – $2.76 a Gallon at Safeway – thanks to a Safeway member card and paying cash.
Total Miles Travelled and Gas Money Spent? 408 Miles travelled, $45.85 US
Did I Forget About My Budget?
HECK NO. Last thing I want to do is derail my No Spend Challenge Plans. Happy dance that I haven’t spent a dime on a stitch of clothing! I haven’t bought a thing and refuse to – rightfully so. I will admit however that I haven’t been checking my finances as often as I would at home. I’ve just been logging in enough to make sure all is well and no one is charging random things to my cards.
What Did I Spend My Hard Earned Coin on in Week 1?
All totals in USD and including 4.166% state tax (yep, how awesome is that compared to 13% in Ontario? – WTF?)
Hawaiian Vanilla Beans (4) – $42.71 of which $11 is a gift for a friend
Macadamia Nut Honey – $11.41
Trip to Costco – $97.61 ($22.64 Ahi Sashimi lunch, $27.07 Gift for friend, $47.90 booze for Mai Tai Saturday)
Trip to Wal-Mart – $6.23 (Pineapple Juice for Mai Tai’s and a 3 pack of Altoids)
Sunday Brunch for 3 ppl at Kilauea Lodge $64.07 (see? told ya I don’t get a free ride)
Total Spent $267.88 US for Monday to Sunday
How does this compare to a week at home? Normally I spend $40-50 a week on groceries, $50 – 60 on gas and there’s rarely any restaurant outings. So for mathematical purposes, you could say I spent just over double (2.2X) what I normally would at home. If I base spending at home on $150 CDN, and I’ve spent $340 CDN for the week while on vacation (1.27 FX), we get approx. 2.26X the spending. I had challenged myself to keep spending at $1000 for the remaining budget items I had outstanding for the trip, let’s see if I can do it but things are turning out more expensive than planned. We’ll have to see if I can do it.