So, let’s talk about the financial aspect of this adventure. June 2017 was a “three pay” month, due to our bi-weekly pay schedule. So, we left home on 6/23/2107 with $2,000 in our checking account from our “extra pay” of the month. In addition to the $2,000 in our checking account, we had managed to save $2,300 in our savings account, knowing we wanted to avoid accruing any new credit card debt. So, we left home with a total of $4,300 available to spend, as our bills were already covered for the month. Here’s the breakdown of how we did:
LODGING: $102.69 spent (For Christmas 2016, Josh’s mom had graciously offered to cover our part of the lodging for our trip, which was a FANTASTIC gift! So, we didn’t have any lodging fees to pay for while we were in Pagosa Springs. However, we did stay overnight in Amarillo, Texas on our way out to Colorado, which cost us $102.69.)
FUEL: $249.69 spent (We decided early on that we were going to drive out and back because we wanted to be able to see things along the way and we also didn’t want to pay for a rental vehicle once we got there in order to be able to have the freedom to do what we wanted to do when we wanted. So, myself, Josh, Josh’s youngest brother and youngest brother’s girlfriend drove from Marysville, PA to Pagosa Springs, CO in Josh’s Chevy Silverado 1500. We used the truck to do all of our running around and sightseeing and then, of course, we drove the truck back to Marysville, PA from Pagosa Springs, CO. Total, we logged 4,637 miles in the 11 days we were gone.)
GROCERIES: $485.95 spent (Since the cabin we stayed in had a full-sized refrigerator, oven and stove, we cooked most of our meals at the cabin. Other than the first night, we purchased the majority of the groceries for our group that grew from 6 to 8 to, ultimately, 14. I feel pretty comfortable saying that a good chunk of this was bottled water and saline nasal gel. We went through a TON of water and a TON of saline nasal gel in the hot, very dry conditions. BUT, no one appeared to struggle with altitude sickness or any challenges from the high temperatures, so, it was money well spent.)
EATING OUT: $127.43 spent (Up until about a year ago, this would have EASILY been the biggest expense on ANY of our vacations or trips. Since focusing our attention on paying down our debt, we’ve drastically changed this habit. I am VERY proud of the small amount of money we spent on eating out during our time away from home. And, honestly, most of the “eating out” that we did was truck stop food.)
ENTERTAINMENT: $883.05 spent (This is another HUGE sense of accomplishment for me. I am VERY please that the majority of the money we spent…almost half, actually, was on things we considered entertainment or experiences. Horseback riding, rafting, hiking, “recreational medicine,” admission to parks and fishing licenses were all part of this expenditure. In September of last year, our goal was to focus on paying off our debt while not limiting our ability to experience new things and enjoy those experiences without fretting over the money spent.
KENNEL: $260 spent (We always take the dog to the kennel (a.k.a. doggy daycare) when we go on vacation, as to not inconvenience anyone else with his neediness. It’s $20 per day to board him, but, we have absolutely no worries while we’re gone and he absolutely LOVES the kennel, so it’s definitely worth it for us. We dropped him off on Friday, 6/23/2017 and picked him up on Wednesday, 7/5/2017, so, that’s 13 days of kennel fees, totaling $260. We always consider the cost of boarding him an expense associated with our vacations, so, it’s included here.)
So, for the entire 11 day adventure from PA to CO, we spent $2108.81. Since we had $4,300 available when we left, we did really, REALLY well. Before we left, I hoped that we would have some money left when we got home, though it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if we didn’t. But, having nearing $2,200 left after a 12 day vacation and not worrying about money at all the entire time we were gone is a HUGE success!