Closing Out the Books for October

There are two more days to go in this month, but from the way things look now we will end up just slightly over budget for the month. Considering how the month began though we’re very happy with where we’ve arrived at the end.

Our goal in October, as in September, was to keep our average daily spending to no more than $50/day. That amount is to cover daily food and snacks, transportation costs (other than train journeys between cities or countries or rental cars; those trips were prepaid), entrance fees and tours, and any other miscellaneous expenses that come up.

An Italian breakfast “burrito” for Sunday brunch to use up leftovers (gnocchi, meatballs, and pesto with scrambled eggs in an Italian “tortilla”).

We spent the first three days of this month in Switzerland, but even with carefully watching our spending the costs for that short trip had our daily spend average at $123.83/day by the time we got back to Strasbourg on October 4 – yikes! Thankfully Strasbourg was a very affordable city and we were able to keep our daily spending there to around $40/day or less, and brought the monthly average down to $54.78/day by the time we left for Bordeaux. Our time in that city proved to be slightly more expensive than Strasbourg though so our daily average didn’t move as much while we were there, but Florence has turned out to be an affordable place to live and as of today our daily average for October is down to $51.25/day, or $38.25 over for the entire month. We can live with that.

A frugal early afternoon treat on a stormy day: coffee with a couple of biscotti.

November will be one of our “long” months; that is, we will be covering five weeks versus four between our Social Security payments. There is some Christmas shopping we plan to do while we’re in Florence, which we have covered in the budget, but we’ve also decided on two other purchases we want to make here and will have to fit those in somehow. Thankfully we have already set aside funds for museum entrances in both Florence and Rome so those won’t affect our daily spending amount.

Thunderstorms and rain have allowed us to stay home and recharge for a couple of days.

A couple of other items, unrelated to current spending, have popped up this past month and are going to have to be dealt with when we’re in Portland in December. A slightly chipped tooth has been causing some minor pain from time to time, enough to be annoying, so I’m going to have to see a dentist and get that taken care of. Also, while we were in Bordeaux, continual walking on (uneven) cobblestones began aggravating the bursitis in my left hip something fierce, which in turn has ramped up my lower back pain. There are cobblestones everywhere in Florence, so I take Aleve every day which helps some, but the pain has definitely had an effect on how much I can walk (between two to three miles, but not much more). I was grateful for the thunderstorms yesterday because they kept us inside and allowed the bursitis to settle down a bit. However, I am probably going to have to get a cortisone shot (which I have avoided up until now) when we’re in Portland in order to be able to enjoy the rest of our adventure in 2019.

Our life in Hawai’i feels like something in the far distant past these days, but the reality is we’ve only been on the road for a little over two months. So far what we’ve seen and done has exceeded all our expectations, we’re having a grand time, and we’ve managed to stay within or very close to our budget. Brett and I have settled nicely into our travel-team roles, continue to greatly enjoy each others’ company and have fun talking about what’s going on and planning what to do each day (and what to eat!).

17 thoughts on “Closing Out the Books for October

  1. Barb Florida says:

    Is the $50/day for both of you? If so, I wonder if you think $25-$30 is possible for a solo traveler?

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    • Laura says:

      Yes, $50/day is for the two of us. Because we are staying in Airbnb rentals versus a hotel, we cook most of our meals in our apartment which saves us a bundle and allows us to indulge a bit more with other things. I think if you were preparing most of your own meals versus eating out all the time, $25-$30 would be enough to cover one’s daily expenses. A lot of that would depend on where you were as well.

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks for asking! We miss them like crazy, and keep thinking how great it would be to be seeing so many of these things with them.

      The girls are all doing well though. In spite of the time differences we talk with them all around once a week, and sometimes do a family chat if that’s possible. Brett has been working with YaYu and WenYu on getting their FAFSAs done this past week and that’s involved a lot of back and forth.

      We’ve got all their tickets purchased for Christmas in Portland – we’re all looking forward to being together again.

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      • Laura says:

        We miss having them around, more than we thought. Both Brett and I are already excited about December and all of us being together for the holidays.

        YaYu just went through the Lantern Ceremony at Bryn Mawr, or as she put it, “joined the cult.” Each one in her class got her a prediction – hers was “first in the class to earn a Ph.D.” LOL, although I can see her accomplishing it. And WenYu is going to Cyprus for six months next year for her study abroad. Meiling says she never had a more difficult term her entire time in college, but she’s picking up the rhythm and getting it done. She is mentally getting herself ready to move on as well, from college and from Oregon. So proud of her!

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      • Laura says:

        Her boyfriend is back east, so she’ll most likely be heading that direction after graduation. The two of them are coming to Japan while we’re there!

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  2. Lizzie says:

    Hi laura
    You could have your
    Cortisone shot in Italy. Only about euro30. Dave you from extra suffering
    Xx

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    • Laura says:

      Well, if either of us spoke Italian I might consider doing it here, but I’m slightly afraid to even get a much-needed haircut here. Actually, between Medicare and our other insurance there won’t be any out-of-pocket expense for the shot in Portland. Hopefully I can get through this next month OK.

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  3. Kay says:

    Weeeellll you may want to look into dental Care while abroad tho….

    Hope your health doesn’t give you much more troubles. Your adventure has been fun to follow and glad to hear the girls are doing well too!

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    • Laura says:

      I heard that dental work is both very good and VERY affordable in Malta, but we’re not anywhere long enough for us to make a side trip there. Sigh. The chipped tooth isn’t bad (our dentist in Hawaii said it was too small to fix), nothing that’s driving me crazy every day, but chewing on pizza crust (yum!) for example seems to cause a slight bit of pain. So, I’ll get it looked at when we’re in Portland – we have good dental insurance so it should be OK.

      The health stuff is small really – there was no way to anticipate that cobblestones or uneven streets would cause the bursitis to flare up. I can live with it, just have to be careful to take Aleve and not overdo anything for now.

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  4. Laurel Hill says:

    Sorry to hear of your bursitis flaring up. I find myself struggling to figure out which of my shoes and boots bother my knee and heel, and the long walks I love to take also seem to randomly really hurt afterward. Shoes that I think are perfect seem to ramp my knee and others my heel (opposite side, of course…ha!). A shot sounds smart, though.

    Looks like things continue to go well, and you two seem really able to roll with the money ups and downs…doubtless from all your years of budgeting and planning.

    Florence is such a great shopping spot. I didn’t buy a lot (carry on, you know), but I have a couple of leather souvenirs from Florence. I couldn’t resist. 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      The cortisone shot was recommended many years ago when the bursitis first flared up, but the Dr. warned me there could/would be side effects and that it was not a long-term solution. So, I’ve avoided it but I really do not want it bothering me any more than it does on this trip, so I’m going to get the shot when we’re in Portland.

      I am definitely going home with a couple of pair of gloves from here, one lined, one unlined – the big issue is what colors? They are all so gorgeous (Brett is going to get a pair as well). The two things we’ve decided to purchase are very Italian – I’ll have a picture up of one of them later this week!

      We are having a wonderful time – Brett’s sister wrote today that we must be doing things right because we both look much more relaxed and happy than we did back in August when we stayed at their place for a few days.

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  5. anexactinglife says:

    You have done an amazing job sticking that close to budget. It would be interesting to hear about some of the typical tourist things in each area that you have chosen NOT to do, either for financial reasons or otherwise. I would definitely be buying gloves!

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks! We try, but stuff happens. Like yesterday, which was still October: museum entrances, lunch out, groceries, produce and of course gelato ended up ticking our daily average up a bit. We’re still OK, but will have to watch things closely this month (we’re starting off with a no-spend day).

      Tomorrow we’re heading out to buy gloves, and one more very Italian item to take along with us! Thankfully, like the slippers, it’s lightweight.

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