You may have noticed the lack of spending posts around here, worry not my friends I AM still keeping track of every penny in YNAB ! …. but I haven’t kept track of every expense for the blog. For some reason it just takes me a long time to sit down and record that stuff.

So, instead of a spending report I’m going to let you know how I’ve arranged my finances for my holiday. (Accountability yo)

The Plan

It’s less than a week until I leave and I’m so excited but also nervous. I’ll be spending almost two full weeks in my home country The Netherlands and possibly a weekend in Denmark. (still to be finalized) I’m VERY excited to see my friends and I’m looking forward to seeing my family, notably my grandparents, but I’m also a little sad because it may be the last time I see them considering their age. (Because of that I’ve half decided to begin saving right away for another trip back next summer, I think it’s worth it to save up for that)

My ticket cost me $857 for a return ticket from Halifax to Amsterdam, which is a pretty darn good deal! Condor has recently begun offering great deals on these airfares so check them out if you’re interested in hopping across the ocean! Acquaintances got their tix for about $650 return to Frankfurt, not bad! I snagged my ticket back in June but there may still be a few deals to be had for October.

Taking care of business at home

I leave on Monday Sept 12th and I’ve figured out that if I split the pay that I get on the 9th in 2 and put each half in one checking account, it should cover all my direct withdrawal bills from those accounts until September 27th, when I get back – so I won’t have to worry about checking in on those at all!

And the fun part; spending money!

I’ve missed you!

I’ll get two checks WHILE I’m away which I intend to mostly use for my expenses there, it means I’ve CAPPED my expenses to the limit of those two checks and it’s split in two – one check for each week.  Although I haven’t exactly figured out yet how to get them deposited (I don’t get direct deposit) I may have to ask a family member to do that for me. I have figured out where I can use my bankpass to get cash and what it’s going to cost me. (Screw that credit-card markup!)

I snagged a Eurail pass for some unlimited 5 day train-travel in BENELUX, which will get me from the airport to my friend’s place and a few trips up to see my family and I’m expecting to still spend a bit on top of that for trains/buses/trams and the like. My friend has a car so I won’t have to public transit-it all.

Considering that I spent a good portion of my secondary school public-transitting-it-up I’m pretty familiar with the system and it should get me to where I need to go! Aside from transportation I have mostly free lodging so I don’t need to worry about that and the rest of my cash will just be spent on the occasional souvenir, (for the people here in Canada) entry fees or grocery runs and eating out. I have about a $2,400 budget for the whole trip, after you take away my ticket that means I’ve got about $1,543CAD to take along… that’s likely more than I will use so I’m good to go!

Eek! It’s been a while since I’ve been back and I’m curious how things are, I live a very different life here now in Canada. Much more laid back and very rural. The pace of life, the people, the clothing, everything is so different. I miss the culture and the people honestly, I’m curious how I’ll feel halfway through the trip. Will I feel stifled and want to come back? or will my old home feel like home again? Lots of questions. Time will tell and of course, I’ll keep you up to date.

Now, enough about me. How bout you, do you have any cool trips coming up, any dream vacations you’re saving for… family that live in cool places like… hawaii or somewhere tropical? Tell tell!

PS: I am still looking for  a guest-post or two to line up for while I am away from Sept 12 – 26, I can also postswap at a future date, up to you!

With summer quickly rolling in I’m noticing a SCARY trend in my budget. I’m off… like WAY off… still within my total budget but my categories are way out of whack and I don’t think that’s going to change until November rolls around… my student loan repayment has also suffered and I won’t make my <$5,000 goal for July 1. It’s making me feel a little on edge but the overpowering feeling is relief and happiness. Which is strange, I mean… I’m consistently OFF budget and I’m cool with that? I think I may have been too strict on myself this past winter and while I made some really nice progress financially it really added to me hitting the proverbial wall and… here we are. I need to find a balance.

I started writing this post because I realized that I missed a crucial and big expense in this months budget: I didn’t include that I’m leaving for Isles de la Madeleine on June 24th for a 5/6 day camping trip, I’ve been wanting to go there for a very long time so I’m really looking forward to it. (Speaking of which, have you been? I’d love to hear any tips & suggestions on what to do!) I haven’t had more than 3 days off in a row in more than a year and a half… that’s a long time and I’m really ready for a vacay. I’ve had slow weeks of work and haven’t worked full-time consistently throughout but it will be nice to just really be OFF and away for a little while.  I’m kind of wondering if I should actually make a new category in my budget for vacation expenses, what do you think?

Sure looks pretty...!

Aside from the camping trip at the end of June, I’m also going for a one day shopping trip with friends (it’ll be them shopping and me accompanying) the day after I come back and I’ve still got the possible trip to Toronto to see John Butler Trio mid-July. I’ve also just started researching prices for tickets to the Netherlands probably late August/early September (mentioned here) which is very exciting but it’s going to bust my budget… did I mention I have a huuuuuge renovation coming up before winter as well?

Yeah…. I just had a visit with the development officer in my community and in order to renovate and extend my porch about 3 feet (because it’s so tiny, the extra space is needed) I’m going to have to apply for a gross variance which will need to be approved by council & my neighbours individually. *sigh*Nothing’s ever easy… so everything with my mortgage refinancing is on hold until I get a cost estimate from my contractor, apply and hopefully get approved for a permit… and then we go from there.

I’m guessing it’ll take another month before I can head back to the bank to talk about the refinancing again. We’ve already established that I have the credit etc. to get it all done, just need to work out the kinks like the new terms of my mortgage, and for that I need to have a plan in place for the renovation + a building permit because without the permit the whole project changes. I hope to talk to the contractor again tomorrow and work out some details, I’m hoping to push the reno off until September so the framing & exterior can be finished right before winter and I can slowly work on the interior myself over the winter. It would save me some big bucks to do that. I’m really slow at stuff like drywalling but I can do it so hiring the contractor to only do the frame and exterior finishing should be good for the bottom line so I don’t bust my budget into oblivion… lol.

Ahhh! I’m trying not to get too overwhelmed and have a bit of fun too, I think I’ll be okay though as long as I stay within the rough parameters of my budget I’ll get where I want to be. How’s your budget fairing in this fair weather? 😉