We had to purchase a new daily journal/spending diary this month – the last one ran out of room at the end of November. It was just one of several extra expenses in December, and we went through a long stretch during the first half of the month where we were not sure we would or could come in either at or under our budget. However, at the end of the month we came in just under – huzzah!
Because of the girls joining us for much of the month, and because we had to re-provision several items before we hit the road again, we upped our daily limit in December from $50 to $60 per day. Our food spending and travel re-provisioning however, especially the initial amounts, took us w-a-y over and out of our budget not long after we arrived in Portland, and it took a few weeks of low- to no-spending to chip away at that rather appalling large daily average (over $200) and get it back to where we needed it to be. Our daily average at the end of the month is $55.96, so we’re very happy about that!
January is thankfully going to be a much less expensive month (we think). All of our expenses in India, including all meals, admissions and transportation, are covered – the only spending there will be tips for our drivers/guides and souvenirs (I want to buy a couple of pieces of silver jewelry in the Chandri Chowk bazaar in Delhi). Our time in Hong Kong will be all about eating, but we plan to mix restaurant meals with inexpensive street food and don’t think we’ll have a problem staying at or under our daily budget. We’ve got six days in Perth after that though where we’ll have food and transportation costs, but when we get on the train on the 27th once again everything will be paid for in full (meals, drinks and tours) until the end of the month. Our goal is to hopefully end January with a surplus, a good thing because in February costs will be going up again, especially since we will be eating and sightseeing in Sydney, have to pay for (expensive) gasoline in New Zealand, and Japan can always be counted on to be expensive. The cost-of-living raises in our Social Security and Brett’s navy retirement have come at a good time and will help our bottom line in the coming months.
We feel like we did very well with our finances in 2018, so here’s hoping we do as well or better in 2019!