One of the common complaints about being on a budget or paying off debt, is that it leaves no room for fun. Now some of you may suggest that if you are in debt then you should not be having any fun, but I disagree. Fun is an essential part of life and if you cannot treat yourself, then what’s the point?.
We have a budget category for a family day out, once a month and the reason for this is that we always have time and money allocated to spending time together, at least one day a month. This month we decided to splash out for an Easter holiday but keep it as cheap and cheerful as possible, so we set ourselves a budget for our weekend away of €220. This was for 2 adults and 2 kids staying in a hotel for 2 nights and having some fun during the days.
Step 1 was to find a good price for a hotel. We got our hotel for 2 nights, including 1 main meal for all of us (with a glass of wine for the adults) and breakfast on both mornings for €119. It will make a big difference to your budgeting if you have some meals included in the hotel deal. Next, we took some time to decide what our main trip was going to be and we pre-booked on-line to get a cheaper rate. We paid €25 instead of €30. We went to the Ailwee Cave in Clare, well worth a visit if you are holidaying anywhere close. From there, we went on a FREE trip to the beach and used the €5 we saved on the cave to buy ice-cream. After the beach we returned to our hotel and picked up a pizza on the way home for €15. Over the course of the 3 days we spent another €10 on small things like bottled water and more ice cream in addition to €40 for fuel for our car. Out total spending for 3 days in beautiful Co. Clare was €214 for all of us.
This low spending did not happen by itself, we had to plan for it and stick to it. We brought a flask with us for tea and coffee to have during the drive. We refilled our water bottles using boiled water from the hotel and we brought sandwiches and fruit from home for lunch on the way to the hotel (it was a 4 hour drive). We did not spend a penny that was not planned in advance and we both agreed on it and of course we had made a budget before we started spending. I should add, that we had a great time and doing it on a budget made it even more fun as we all looked for ways to cut costs. So cut costs on the little things and keep your money for the things that actually bring you pleasure.