Closing Out the Books on February

Two trips to the commissary and one to the Navy Exchange in the past two weeks exploded our daily spending average for February. The commissary on the Yokosuka base was huge, with many affordable temptations but we stuck to necessary items only (I consider Diet Coke necessary).

February was not a good month, budget-wise.

We always knew that our stay Japan would be expensive and push the boundaries of our budget. Following two weeks in Sydney and New Zealand, we arrived in Japan slightly over budget. Our first two weeks here ratcheted our daily and monthly spending up even more. With a few no-spend days so far this week we have managed to get our daily average back down to a more acceptable level, but we’re ending the month with a daily spending average of $56.93 ($194.04 for the month). Ouch.

The biggest reason for our higher average in Japan were trips to the commissary and exchange at NAF Atsugi and another trip this week to the commissary at the Yokosuka naval base. Although prices were low we bought a lot of stuff to settle in and replenish supplies, as well as things we needed in the apartment, like food storage containers, extra toilet paper, and laundry supplies.

The upside is that we are starting March with a comfortable amount of yen in our wallets, and we are well-stocked with essentials and pantry basics. We will need to buy produce, meat and other smaller items (i.e. butter, yogurt) from the Japanese supermarket in the next few days but otherwise spending should be at a minimum.

February – not our finest month when it comes to staying on track with the budget. I tell myself that it could have been worse, and that we’ll hopefully see a better monthly average at the end of March.

16 thoughts on “Closing Out the Books on February

  1. Considering the amount of travel you have done, that daily budget is simply amazing especially for two people. I know you are a little over but have no doubt you will get right back on track. Hope you are having a great time with your son and his family.

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    1. Thanks, Vivian. Both Brett and I think March will be a much gentler month, or at least we hope so. Our daughter Meiling and her boyfriend arrive at the end of the month though and that could possibly throw things off again. In the meantime we’re having a great time with our son, DIL, and the grands!

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  2. When we “came home” to visit from overseas, we always spent more. It was our vacation. In some ways, this time is a vacation from your travels. The rest of your travel is your “every day” normal.You always saved and spent differently on your “traditional” vacations. Maybe you just need a different way of thinking of your family home time budget?
    I have so enjoyed your blog. Thank you for keeping it up.

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    1. First, a big thank you! Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to keep the blog going, but I enjoy the writing process and comments like yours let me know that people out there like to read the blog. Believe me, it helps a lot.

      You may be on to something about the spending, that we’re currently feeling like we’re “home” and have relaxed our usual watchfulness a bit. Going to the commissary though was like entering Fantasyland after what we used to have to pay in Hawaii, and even in Portland this past December. I had forgotten how low the prices were and it took a lot of effort not to go crazy.

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  3. You’re doing an amazing job sticking to your budget, and I’m sure some ups and downs will occur just as they did before the Big Adventure. But I also know from reading your blog over time that you’ll be back on track – you’re both pretty dedicated to your lifestyle and budget. Kudos. 🙂

    If you need more encouragement, I also love reading your blog and would really miss it if you quit. And I’m sure it will be a wonderful to go back and read later. When we travel, I take many, many pictures, and they’re such wonderful memories as screen savers, discussion points with DH, etc. Over time, I’ve really come to realize the truism that experiences are much more valuable than things.

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    1. Thank you, Laurel (by the way, my mom wanted to name me Laurel, but my dad said no, claiming it was “too theatrical,” so Laura it is). Writing the blog has helped me pull together our experiences, sort of like keeping a journal. I will treasure these experiences forever – taking these travels on are one of the best ideas Brett and I ever had.

      I think February would have turned out better if we’d had another couple of days. Our spending was on a downward trend, and we’ll hopefully be back on track in March.

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      1. Theatrical…haha. When I was young, I was called everything close – Laura, Lauren, Laurie, Lorna. And I’ve asked my mom over the year, but she doesn’t remember how she came up with my name. ?

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      2. I told someone when I was two or three that my name was LAURA and that ended that! There were a couple of people that called me Laurie, but I like them and let them get away with it LOL.

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    1. Thank you Wendy! I hope at the very least we have inspired others to take a chance, whether that’s traveling or some other choice that they might not have considered otherwise.

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  4. I haven’t commented before but I am a long time reader! I love your blog too! I look forward to each time there is a new post.

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    1. Thank you, Rachel! I truly appreciate your comment as I was feeling rather down about blogging for a while. There’ll be a new post up tomorrow morning (well, tomorrow morning in Japan).

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  5. Same here! I’ve been following your blog since before you moved to Kauai and I enjoy and look forward to every new post. It’s like reading an unfolding story and I’ve learned so much about different ways to travel and budget. It is fun to read about places you’ve visited that I have also been to and I’ve added the places I have not visited to my list. So it’s been educational as well. Please don’t stop!

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    1. Thank you, JJ. I have appreciated all your comments and feedback over the years, and learned from you as well! I am going to keep on writing – it is work for me but gives me great satisfaction in the end (although I am NEVER satisfied with my writing, but better done than perfect).

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  6. I also wanted to chime in and say how much I enjoy your blog! I love hearing about your experiences. I’m always impressed with how you stick to your budget and how much you can do and see. I also can’t wait to hear more about the Mystery USA location. 🙂

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    1. Another big thank you to you, M’Shell. It’s really hard sometime to know what to write about, or if people will be interested. Often posts I think will be interesting get a “meh” response, while a post about something trivial brings in a lot of readers – if I could figure out the formula I’d be famous!

      We’re still debating about the Mystery Location. And, we came up with a fourth option. So frustrating right now – each choice is equally balanced with pros and cons.

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