Well, I am squeezing one last trip out of the summer – this coming long weekend, I am headed to Tofino! I haven’t been there in a few years, so I’m really looking forward to it – even if we’re only going to be spending one night camping We also plan on heading down to Victoria to spend a night in the city. It will probably be my last time home until Christmas.
It won’t be a cheap vacation – trips to the island never are. But, we will be staying with relatives one night in Nanaimo, camping in Tofino, and then staying at my parents house in Victoria for the other night, so at least our accommodation expenses will be kept to a minimum.
Here’s the breakdown I’m expecting:
$76 ferry & 2 passengers (one way)
$25 food & miscellaneous
$10 camping fee
$100 Wild Play ($48.15 x2)
Wild Play is a high ropes course that we will be doing with Cupcakes and Cash. I budgeted paying for Nic too, since it was my idea. I did it last summer, and it was a blast, so I’m really excited to attempt it again. Other than that, we have a few meals planned with my friends, and a bunch of wandering around the city. Fingers crossed for good weather!
After this trip, I’m kind of excited for my travel schedule to calm down a bit, and to just settle into a more normal routine – with much less spending. To be honest, I expected the summer to be really laid back and inexpensive, but it ended up kind of being the opposite.
Thankfully, the next trip planned isn’t until the end of September for the Financial Blogger Conference in Chicago. I finally booked my flight for $515, which in my opinion, is a pretty decent price. But, it’s still expensive. There were roundtrip tickets for about $375, but all of the flight times were ridiculous and inconvenient. At least the hotel room was cheap – only $82/night, and right at the convention centre. And I can write all of the expenses off because it’s related to my freelance business.
Also, I’m already taking 2 vacation days for the Chicago trip, but part of me wants to take another day off. That way, I can spend an extra day in the city (I only have one full day to explore the city as it is). Because, really, when am I ever going to go back to Chicago?
I briefly mentioned before that I was thinking of hiring a cleaner, and it’s true. I am definitely going to hire one. For the longest time, I was completely against it. When I moved into this townhouse, I tried to reason with myself that my place is small (just less than 700 sq. ft.), and I can just suck it up and spend the time to clean it myself. Surely doing it myself would be worth it to not have to pay someone to come and do it for me.
But you know what? Cleaning sucks. I work 65+ hours/week, and I hate the fact that I have to use my precious free time to clean. Then, I started to fall behind with cleaning, what with traveling, a boyfriend, and a ton of work to do. Not to mention that starting next week, I’ll be playing field hockey 3x/week. So, a few weeks ago I made the decision not to clean anymore, and just hire someone to do it for me. Just like that. And since then, a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders – I feel great! I’ve decided to eliminate something that I hate (cleaning) in favour of something that I do like (anything but cleaning).
Then, I debated about how I was going to budget in the expense. Usually, I would cut something out of my budget to make room for it, but I’m not going to do that either. I feel sort of like a PF rebel today. Not only am I admitting that I’m hiring a house cleaner, but I’m also going to just add it to my monthly budget as a new expense. Like it’s no big deal. Lifestyle inflation here I come! Just kidding. :)
Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve increased my income by nearly 100%, but (aside from my mortgage and housing expenses), my budget has remained the same. I still only spend $100/month on entertainment, and $150/month on groceries. I still clip coupons, and I still try to get the best deals on everything possible. I have to keep reminding myself that I will be more than okay if I add an additional $50-60/month expense. Just like I will be okay if I end up buying that scooter that I really want.
There’s no sense in working as hard as I do if I can’t enjoy life. And I do not enjoy life when I’m cleaning (does anyone?). I figure as long as I’m putting enough money away to satisfy all of my savings goals, and as long as I’m taking into consideration my wants vs. needs, and making sure that what I spend my money on is going to put value in my life – then I really don’t see a problem in it.
It’s a weird feeling, budgeting in something as luxurious as a house cleaner. But at this point in my life, it just makes sense. Obviously if my income were to drop, or there was a sudden change in my financial wellbeing, the cleaner would be the first to go. I like staying financially healthy a lot more than I hate cleaning.
I haven’t hired anyone yet, but I’ve done preliminary research into different companies, and have asked around for recommendations. I’m thinking that, after an initial deep cleaning of my place, I will get somebody in once a month for a couple of hours. That’s all it will take.
Would you ever hire a house cleaner?
We spent Saturday in Portland. It only cost $3 to park downtown for the entire day (take that, downtown Vancouver!). We also ended up buying transit day passes ($4.75) because we didn’t realize the light rail system was free within the downtown core. We wandered through Chinatown, then down by the water where we found the Saturday Public Market, as well as a huge beer festival. Lunch was Thai food at a random food cart (how awesome is the food cart district?!). After that, we headed to Powell’s Books (insanity), a bunch of random stores, did the Portland Aerial Tram, drank some beers, and then had dinner at Hot Lips Pizza. The hotel we ended up staying in was quite a far ways away from downtown, but it was cheap and clean and perfect for our needs.
Since I have never been to Portland before, my first impression was that it was a city that really didn’t seem to have an identity. There was nothing particularly remarkable about it, and I felt a bit of the magic I’ve always felt for Portland disappear a little. But as we kept wandering through the city, I finally got the vibe. It’s just a really cool, super chill city that doesn’t need to be anything that it’s not. Everyone does their own thing, it’s super eclectic, quirky, and interesting. I feel like in order to really understand the city, you need to stay there and just hang out for at least a few days. I was only beginning to “get” Portland, and then we had to leave.
Sunday we headed south to the Oregon Dunes National Park. But not before stopping in Florence for groceries for the day (keeping food costs low, loving it!). The dunes were amazing! So beautiful and weird there. I felt like I was in a movie or something. After that, we drove up the coast, stopping at view points and beaches on our way to Lincoln City.
We stayed at the Sea Horse Motel, where I opted to splurge for an oceanfront room. The cost difference between a room with a view of the parking lot (compared to the oceanfront room) was around $35, so I definitely consider it worth the price of the upgrade. After a few failed attempts at wandering into different restaurants for dinner, we finally settled on Mo’s Restaurant. I’m not a fancy restaurant type of person at all, and I’m so glad that he isn’t really either.
Monday was spent driving from Lincoln City to Astoria. We wandered the town for a bit, ate lunch at the Silver Salmon Restaurant, then headed across the 6.5km long bridge to Washington, and eventually back home. It was a really fun trip. Perfect weather, great company, kept under budget, and lots to see and do.
$45.45 groceries & restaurants
TOTAL = $290.53