March Goals

I will be travelling this month to visit with family and friends in another province, and this is my first major voyage since 2020, so it will be important to focus my goals on not falling into old spending habits from holidays past.

Packing

The benefit of staying with family and friends is that I can for sure do laundry and pack much lighter as a result (also free housing). Though I’ll be away about a week and a half, I want to limit myself to 3 days’ worth of clothing plus what I’m wearing on the plane – and my usual plane-friendly toiletries – to see if I can’t fit it all into my medium sized backpack. This will be helpful when navigating through security at the airports, as well as limiting how much stuff I can bring back. The last time I travelled, I did the opposite, where I left with one carry on suitcase that had almost everything in it, and then the larger checked bag was almost empty – with the intention of it being filled with goodies to bring home for myself and for family & friends. So, it’ll be interesting to see how I fare since I haven’t travelled in 2 years. Thankfully, the temperature will be a bit warmer there, so I won’t have bulky items taking up too much space.

Spending on Stuff versus Experiences

In the past, I would budget for about 1/4 of whatever I’m spending to be on stuff. Some of it would be souvenirs for myself (again, I was very “one for you, one for me”), which would include postcards (I use them as my travel diary for each day), clothing (both of the location’s name or of something specific to the region), books, and anything else specific to the area (honey from a monastery in Meteora, Greece? Sure, why not). Then there were also the souvenirs for others – I would generally focus on shirts, fridge magnets, post cards, and anything specific that was requested based on where I was going (I felt like a bootlegger coming back from Scotland). Now, I’m not about to turn stingy and refuse to get anything for anyone (capping it at postcards and requested items) – but I’m also not going to somewhere I haven’t been before, since I’m visiting family. Regarding experiences, I’m still keen on visiting at least one museum (if it’s safe), and I like to try the food of the region/stuff I can’t as easily have when I’m back home, so I have that to look forward to as well. I’m one to do my research about where I’m going and what to do while visiting somewhere (which I clarify only because I went on a group trip with someone who didn’t do any research at all before leaving, which is mind-boggling to me), but I’m being considerate of what my budget is and how I can still do what I want to do for fun without going all out.

Staying on Budget

I’ve given myself a “for fun” budget of $75 per month at the beginning of the year, or $900 for the full year. I haven’t fully finished my planning yet, but I can both see how that money can evaporate in a day or last me the whole second leg of the trip if I plan things out well enough. As mentioned above, I’m aiming for at least one museum and one lunch out. The museum I ultimately choose will be based both on price and content, and I know I’ll want to get myself 1-2 postcards of the exhibit. I brought up the for-fun money as budgeted for the year, as I don’t mind giving myself the flexibility to spend nothing in one month to build up $150 for the following month so I’m not actively withholding my ability to enjoy myself if the situation presents itself (not that I’d go ahead and spend all $900 in a day, but you get what I mean). If I under-spend, then small stuff like taking the bus versus walking somewhere can get added to the for fun/convenience budget versus come out of my travel budget (since I hope to do some travel this summer as well).

Other than Travel

I feel like I’ve reached a good stride for my No Buy that I can keep up what I’m doing on a long-term scale without it impeding my ability to enjoy spending my time with loved ones – as opposed to bargain hunting or other shopping with the people I’m there to visit. I’m stocked for groceries, I’m all good for body products, and there’s nothing major that I can predict at this time that would throw me off course. For reading, I want to have an e-book and audio book lined up for the flights, and I’ll be stopping by the library for some fun and lighthearted fiction (most of what I have here is non-fiction, and kind of heavy).

Next week I’ll be looking at the topic of selected luxuries as well as returning for the next instalment of my relationship to shopping. Thanks for reading!