Closing Out the Books For November

The daily journal and spending diary is almost full – we’ll be picking up a new one for Round Two when we’re in Portland.

As of tomorrow we will have been on the road for 102 days, mostly living out of our suitcases, but also taking time to unpack and rest, relax and recharge when possible. In another six days we will begin our journey back to the United States for a month’s visit in Portland, and time with our daughters and friends over the Christmas holiday.

We woke up yesterday morning to a rainy, blustery day, the kind where the wind turns umbrellas inside out every few feet. We had planned to go out and explore around the neighborhood, but instead only made it to a nearby supermarket for a few supplies, and got soaked in the process. We spent the rest of the day, warm and dry, in our cozy apartment doing laundry or with books and computers, and Brett got our travel and spending diary up to date for the month.

Our biggest savings come from fixing our own meals “at home” versus eating out. We found the waffles in the grocery store’s bakery –  just 70¢ each and very delicious!

November turned out to be quite an expensive month because we did so much. We constantly worried that we’d end up over budget, even with being as careful as possible. Besides eating gelato every day in Florence we paid for several admission tickets and a couple of tours; we took side trips to the Cinque Terre and Siena which included train tickets, national park admission, and an overnight hotel stay in Manarola; we ate out six times (lunches in Monterosso as Mare and  Riomaggiore, an expensive (but amazing) Tuscan meal in Siena, dinner in Florence and dinner and lunch in Rome); stopped for coffee or snacks now and again, and we also bought train tickets down to Rome from Florence as well as a taxi ride when we arrived and a driver when we left to come to Lisbon. All of it added up – without regret – so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that we managed to keep our daily spending average for the month to $49.02/day, just under our $50/day limit. Yeah us!

The total for our first grocery run in Lisbon has us thinking we’ll probably spend less here than we did in Italy, and once we’re in Portland we know where to shop and save. Some of our Christmas shopping has already been taken care of (using funds from our Christmas savings), but we have a few more things to get once we’re in Portland. We plan to go out to eat a couple of times with the girls (dim sum!), but budget- and spending-wise next month is looking good, and we’re actually a little ahead of where we want to be!

14 thoughts on “Closing Out the Books For November

  1. H P says:

    Great news on the spending! It’s so hard to stay on track when traveling, so it’s great to see that you’ve been able to average out to approximately our expected budget.

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    • Laura says:

      We knew November was going to be tricky – every time we spent on something we worried, but went ahead saying, “no regrets.” The thing is, in between the big spends we would have several days where we didn’t spend on anything except for gelato, and in the end those days, and watching the daily average is what kept us in line. I think it’s going to be easier for a while – Lisbon is very affordable, and we know how to shop and stay on budget in Portland. Our India tour is fully paid for and covers everything including meals, so the first time we’re going to start to really have to watch things again is when we hit Hong Kong in mid January.

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  2. Vivian says:

    Wow! Traveling in style, enjoying yourself and still staying in budget. It shows the rest of us that it can be done. Gives me hope if I am ever able to travel.

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    • Laura says:

      Brett tracks our spending every day so we know when we need to rein things in, or when we need to worry. Whenever we get ready to spend, like going out for a meal, we always talk it over, and give ourselves a limit. It’s worked very well. November though had a whole lot of stuff going on, so we’re very happy we were able to stay under our $50/day limit.

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    • Laura says:

      One of the other things that’s greatly helped our bottom line besides mostly cooking in our apartments is that we rarely buy anything. So no $$ going for souvenirs and such. If we do buy something, it has to be practical, like the gloves we bought in Florence or the espresso maker, and planned well in advance – nothing spur of the moment. We’re all about the experiences on this trip.

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  3. Tamara R / My Retirement Project says:

    Ir might be worth noting that the street jewelry prices in Portugal are INSANE! I bought necklace after necklace for between 3 and 5 euro, and I get compliments every time I wear them. I think I bought something like a dozen in all, which took up virtually no space whatsoever in my suitcase. Just saying. ☺

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    • Laura says:

      Good to know! Didn’t see any yesterday (but then again I wasn’t really looking) but will keep my eyes open for it from now on. I’ve been seriously saving my pennies though for when we visit the bazaar in Delhi – I wear silver only now and there are some heavy-duty silver shops there with some amazing stuff and prices.

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  4. suzlearnsfrench says:

    Again – I’m truly enjoying your blog and now I know why. Like you, I met my husband in the military and then became a military spouse. The details in your Navy Wife blog post were so similar to my Army wife days. From the moves, to the housing, to the awesome Tricare benefits. I too would do it all over again – and of course traveling was the best part. Looking forward to reading about your future travels – Have a great time!!!

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    • Laura says:

      We always loved the travel part of the military – besides being sent to a new duty station, we always made sure to travel in between all those PCS moves. While it was always hard to say goodbye whenever we did move, I also enjoyed learning about our new place and making new friends. It was tough life, but a very good one too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • suzlearnsfrench says:

        Exactly – the traveling between was always so nice. And I always loved being the one to leave – hated to see others leave – but always excited for the next adventure.

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      • Laura says:

        Same here – loved it when we were the ones leaving, and felt so sad when others transferred before we did. One funny thing about that experience though – friends leaving always came by at the end with a bag of stuff left over in the fridge and pantry. There was ALWAYS a bottle of Tabasco sauce and we used to joke it was like a fruitcake, the same bottle being passed around between all of us LOL. I find it interesting too that as retirees there are now bases where we could still get into housing – amazing!

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