Closing Out the Books On December

Our new “skinny” travel journal, ready to be made fat with travel tales and spending receipts.

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!

8 thoughts on “Closing Out the Books On December

  1. Looking forward to your visit to India. It is a place we have thought of visiting, but have hesitated; we value your down to earth “travel guides”!

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    1. India is the place I wanted to visit most of all, but also the one place I did not (and still don’t) feel confident going in “on our own.” It’s just too big, busy and crowded. We booked our visit with Easy Tours – they got superlative ratings across every platform, have many different tours but with small group sizes (no more than 12 people) and they take care of everything. We booked early so got a reduced price for our trip as well. I will have a review up when we’re done!

      I always wonder if people are bored with my travel writing, so I appreciate your vote of approval. I have enjoyed going back through the things I wrote this fall – they were like a diary for me and brought back many wonderful memories.

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    1. We were so relieved to get that monthly average down below our limit. The beginning of the month was actually quite scary as we’d never been so far over our daily limit. Fingers are crossed that January goes as well financially as we hope (and I hope I don’t get carried away at the bazaar in Delhi!).

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  2. I, too, am anxious to hear about India. The subcontinent calls me, but my fear of large crowds keeps me from even considering it. May you have an amazing time. I am looking forward to reading all about it. (I, for one, do not tire of your reviews at all. You really need to monetize this blog and begin a book. ) I would love to know what is in your pack this time out!
    BTW- the blog looks different. Quite nice!

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    1. The crowds, along with the language, were a big reason we decided to go with a tour company. I think I could travel for a year or two and still feel unprepared to enter and get myself around India on my own for the first time. Maybe when I was younger, but not now.

      Meiling updated the blog for me – from the layout to the splash photo to the fonts. She gave it a crisper look, and I like it too!

      The girls have all said I should write a book. We’ll see – the idea is sort of overwhelming.

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  3. You did well! The December outlay always freaks me out, too, but now we’re in January and all is well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I, too, look forward to reading about India. It looks a bit overwhelming to me and I agree that a tour is the only way I’d take it on. And please don’t stop blogging about your travels! It’s fascinating reading and I love your photos. Onward and upward!

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    1. The beginning of December scared us out of our wits, so we are very happy with how things turned out at the end of the month.

      Although I’ve been fascinated with India (history, culture, religion, etc.) for a long time, everything I’ve read or seen or heard about traveling in India has seemed overwhelming, to me anyway. I think too that Brett would have happily skipped the visit to India except that I wanted to go so much. We have a l-o-n-g journey to get over there (12 hours just from Vancouver to Taipei, and then another five to get to Delhi), but we’re arriving a day early so we can hopefully catch up on some sleep before we get going with the tour. Our tour date has sold out too which means there will be 12 of us – it will be interesting to see who else we’re traveling with.

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