We’ve just returned from a lovely holiday in the South-west of Western Australia. It was a time for us to relax and spend time together and do some sightseeing in this beautiful part of the country.
Arriving home, I had a look at our bank balance and….mmm… it’s not great.
Our holiday costs were:
- Accommodation: $1,080 (2-bed chalet)
- Food and groceries: $57.40
- Attraction entrance fees: $52.50 + $35.00 = $87.50
- Fuel: $85.60
- Spending: $14.29 + $26.00 + $9.00 + $13.10 + $11.00 + $9.00 + $19.45 + $95.05 = $196.89
- Cattery: $90
- Total: $1,597.39
Driving up to the entrance of a national park that we had planned to visit, I was shocked at the cost of entry for our family. And then I was shocked that I didn’t already know the cost. We had planned to visit the park and Mr FF had done his research and set up a Google Map of all the places we wanted to visit, but at no time did I even consider the costs. I didn’t plan and I didn’t budget.
That’s right – I didn’t budget.
I applied some of my usual frugal ideas to the holiday. We stayed in self-catering accommodation so we could cook all our meals. I shopped locally at a cheap supermarket. I did a meal plan. We packed lunches every day.
However, the day-to-day spending money was left entirely up to chance. And – in retrospect – its no surprise that this accounted for the majority of the spending.
The area we went to is famed for its wine, cheeses and chocolates and an enjoyable part of visiting the area is tasting and buying these products. We bought 3 bottles of wine, one to drink on the holiday and two to bring home, plus a chocolate treat each. We had afternoon tea at a café and morning tea at a winery. We bought cream buns at the famed local bakery. These are all enjoyable (and yummy) things to do and boost the local economy.
Even so, I wish I had set out a rough spending plan for the holiday, such as:
- Accommodation: this was booked and paid for before we left.
- Food and groceries: roughly costed out my shopping list.
- Entrance fees: there were two places we definitely wanted to visit, we could have easily found out the entrance fees for these.
- Fuel: Google Maps can calculate the return journey from home to our destination, plus the main journeys we expected to make. From this we could have worked out a rough cost based on kilometres per litre for our car.
- Cattery: number of days multiplied by the cost per day.
By doing this we would have had a good starting point for what the holiday would cost. If we decided we were spending too much we could have changed our meal plan or swapped an activity that incurred a cost for a free one.
I could then have calculated an amount we were happy with for general spending. This would probably have been a third – or less – of what we actually spent.
We may have found extra places to visit once we arrived and impromptu journeys to make, but as we had established the budget we could have evaluated these and decided if we were happy to spend the additional money.
I don’t think it would have taken long to set out the budget, and it wouldn’t have taken anything away from the holiday – as I’ve said, we planned our activities we just didn’t plan how much they would cost. By doing this, I think we could have saved around $150 and still had a great holiday.