To explain the picture, my mom loves letter block decorations. And we love to rearrange the letters. This one stayed up the entire time I was there, probably because she knew I’d change it back if she ever tried to fix it 🙂 I think it said “Give Thanks” at one point. Anyway…
Happy December everyone! Well, our trip to Utah last week was a success. And by success I mean we didn’t die in a fiery car crash in the middle of the barren wasteland AKA Wyoming. It’s as if they want you to fall asleep at the wheel on I-80 driving through that state. There’s absolutely nothing to see. Either that or pee your pants as you go across almost the entire state without a rest stop or gas station.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun going out there and seeing friends and family. We got to go out to dinner one night with some people we met through an online group we’re a part of. We also got to see Catching Fire with my sisters (I did NOT cry at the end when Peeta was captured by the Capitol), which was awesome. And, luckily for me, my sinus infection cleared up enough by Thursday that I could gorge myself on two Thanksgiving dinners. What a warm welcome back to the world of food!
I got to wrestle with my nephews and chase around my nieces. I tried to tell funny jokes to my nephews, but I got shut down. It went a little like this:
Me: Knock knock
Nephews: Who’s there?
Wife: Don’t teach them that!
If I don’t win the coolest uncle award this year, we’ll all know who was holding me back.
Anyway, on the money front, we ended up below our budget despite our heat of the moment Black Friday DVD craze at Walmart. Here’s how we did.
Gas – Budget: $250, Spent: $252.38
A couple of things made us go over on this. First of all, I didn’t take into consideration the fact that we would be driving uphill the whole way there, so that killed our gas mileage. I also learned to make sure to start looking for gas stations before you’re running low. That way you don’t get stuck at the one gas station in the middle of nowhere that charges $.50 more a gallon than the other ten you passed in the previous hour. And it took me two times before I learned.
Hotels – Budget: $140, Spent: $69.25
My father-in-law saved the day on this one. When I told him our plans, he told us to let him know where we planned on staying on the way back and he would use some of his hotel points to pay for our stay. The Holiday Inn Express was much nicer than the Super 8 and it gave us a little breathing room for some other things. So thanks Bill! He’s definitely a role model when it comes to credit card reward points.
Food – Budget: $75, Spent: $36.21
I guess I have my sinus infection and my religion to thank for this one. We only stopped once on the way there because I refused to spend money on food I can’t taste. I offered to stop for my wife, but she said no. So we lived off of beef jerky, fruit snacks and Goldfish crackers for those two days. On the way back, we stopped for lunch and dinner on Saturday, but we were fasting on Sunday (in our church, we go without food and water for 24 hours once a month and donate the money we would have spent to help others in need). So it was perfect timing! Although driving all day without food or water only makes the time draw out longer…glad that’s over.
Snacks – Budget: $25, Spent: $14.90
This one was also helped because of the above mentioned stuff.
Random – Budget: $150, Spent: $243.71
We definitely blew this one out of the water, mostly because I didn’t really talk to my wife about her plans. She ended up doing some shopping with my sisters and my mom. Then there was the time we spent almost $70 on DVDs. I feel good about it, though, because we averaged $3.70 for some pretty solid movies, a lot of them kid movies so we can prepare for the future (no, this is not an announcement). And, overall, we were under budget, so I’m fine with it.
Total – Budget: $640, Spent: $616.45
Not bad considering how far we went over the Random budget. We definitely would’ve been a little more frugal if we knew we had to pay for the hotel on the way back, and we’re definitely making plans to return the favor to my father-in-law in a big way once we’re rich and famous.
How was your week? Did you get to do any traveling? Do you know any funny knock knock jokes?
p.s. BIG thanks to all the people who have been sharing my stuff lately. I’m really grateful for it. And not in that one-time-a-year way. Mucho thank to:
Tonya at Budget and the Beach
AB at Aspiring Blogger (who shared two of my articles. That’s doubly delicious)
Tonya at Budget and the Beach, this time in carnival form
Jon at Money Smart Guides
FI Pilgrim at FI Journey
Cough Up the Dough
Lorillia at Your Money Mentor
David at Financial Nerd