Back when I met my boyfriend Marc, we had one of those never-ending, soul-bearing conversations about what we hoped for our lives — aspirations for travel, professional goals and hope for the future. We always said 2012 would be the year we “made things happen”.
The smallest piece of that came true on our recent trip to the British Virgin Islands and our decision to pay cash for everything That’s right, EVERYTHING. This came about in a simple way. We read Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” and made a decision to kick credit card debt to the curb. We are looking ahead to a time (the end of 2012) when we are free of Chase, Amex and Citibank, but until then sacrifices have been made, namely traveling. But when friends invited us to the join them on their BVI sailing trip, it was too good to pass up as we could never afford to travel there so inexpensively on our own.
So, we sat down, crunched the numbers and with some extremely diligent budgeting we made it happen.We scrimped and saved, and adhered to our respective budgets. And…it worked. We were able to pay cash for our entire trip and, more importantly, return with some extra coinage in our pockets. It felt so odd to not use plastic, yet liberating at the same time. We spent less (the physical act of handing over money is much harder than the swipe of a card) and knew exactly how much we were spending along the way (as opposed to my old “I’ll figure it out later” swipe-swipe ways).
Here’s the rundown of what my final expenses looked like:
- Frequent flier miles used for the flight: $10 processing fee.
- Cabin/accommodation for the week: $500.
- Cost for boat provisions and the kitty: $200.
- Dining Out: $200.
- Souvenirs: $50.
- Long-term parking at JFK: $138.
- Verrazano Toll: $13.
And the beauty of it all?
In 28 days, I won’t have to open an email or envelope requiring me to relive our trip through purchases, exchange rate conversions or foreign transaction fees. And that may just be the best souvenir of all.