And How to Stay on Budget even at Quilt Shops!
Advertisers like to make money. So, it makes sense that the big travel companies are the ones that can afford the advertising costs. Which means the main ‘vacations’ we see on screen are these big giant extravagant (and expensive) vacations. However, with a little budgeting and shifting your focus to enjoying the experience versus the amenities, you too can enjoy even the grandest quilting adventures!
I hear so many people tell me “I wish I could afford to go on more trips.” My response is usually ‘that depends on how you travel’. For instance, are you a Traveler, or a Vacationer? Because Vacationers tend to spend way more than Travelers. And we Travelers are better at knowing how to make a budget work it’s magic.
Creating your Road Trip Budget
I am a list and numbers person. Seriously, you should see the number of note pads I go through in a month. Therefore, one of the highlights for me is creating a budget for each of my quilting trips. Sounds so exciting, doesn’t it? However, knowing my budget ahead of time has helped me stay on track in many situations. Let’s use my latest trip to the North Carolina mountains as an example.
For creating our road trip budget, we need to know 5 main numbers:
I am a big proponent of using AirBnB. For the majority of my trips I try to find a good one in the area. In most cases you can almost always find one cheaper than staying at a hotel chain. Plus, there are many other advantages to staying in an AirBnB like having a place to spread out and sew at night, just to name one.
For this trip I knew I wanted to stay around $70 per night. That worked out to a total of $630 for 9 nights.
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According to Rick Steves, you should always Budget $30 per person per day for food costs. This includes eating breakfast at your hotel (or AirBnB) and taking a lunch with you. Then, enjoying dinner out at the end of the day. This is another reason I like AirBnB’s. They almost always include a kitchen.
If you want to save even more money, plan to eat all your meals at your lodging. Think of it this way. Do you eat out every night at home?
As it was just me and I was going to be gone 10 days, I figured in $300 total for food costs.
Depending on where you travel this road trip budget cost can vary tremendously. If you are flying, this is where you would include airfare. If you are driving (or renting a car) this is also where you want to figure in your gas costs.
By planning my route on a map, I was able to estimate that my trip up and back would be around 600 miles total. Then I plugged in that number into my gas mileage equation, and rounding up, found I would need at least $50 for gas.
Whenever we travel there are always bound to be some extra costs along the way. For me personally, I LOVE going through antique shops and usually find at least one or two items that need to come home with me.
For instance, this trip I found this amazing 1910 Featherweight calling my name. Don’t you just LOVE antique shops!?
This is also where you want to include things like entrance fees for museums and parks, etc. I’ve found that using a round number of $25 per person per day usually fits about right.
For my 10-day trip I’ll budget $250.
And everyone’s favorite… FABRIC!
Let’s face it. We’re going to buy fabric. Whether we’re headed to a Quilt Show or a big Shop Hop, that wonderful cotton goodness is going to find its way into our bags. So, that’s why I made it its own category. You can also include gadgets and notions here as well.
Because I visit a lot of quilt shops on the road, I try to limit myself. I’m sure you know how easy it is to go overboard on fabric, am I right? It’s just so pretty!! However, I’ve found that I can usually stick to $25 per shop.
Realistically, I’m not going to spend exactly $25 at each shop. Some I may spend more. Some I may spend less. It just all depends on the shop. But it usually evens out in the end. Of course, you can always increase this number (or decrease it) as you see fit.
For this trip I was going to visit 5 shops so my fabric budget would be $125.
With all those numbers in place, here’s how my road trip budget shaped up:
So, how did I do?
I’d say I did pretty darn good considering I actually came in $100 under budget!
So How do we Stay on Budget?
Creating a budget is one thing. However, sticking to that road trip budget can be quite another. I did mention the fabric addiction thing, yes? Even with the best of intentions, overspending is a real thing. So, here’s a few tricks I use to help me stay on budget.
This is always a big one. If you go on a trip and eat out at every meal, the costs add up quickly. So, instead, I always plan to eat the majority of my meals at my lodging. Now, if you are staying at an AirBnB with a kitchen, this is easy.
However, if you are staying in a hotel, this might not be so easy. However, with a little planning, and a fridge in your room, you can easily have breakfasts, packed lunches and snacks for the day from your hotel room.
One of the items I plan is for entrance fees to museums and other adventures. This one can be hard to tackle if you don’t know ahead of time the places you plan to visit. So, I make it a point to check online for places in the area I really want to see. Then, I make a list of their importance.
For instance, on this trip I knew that I really wanted to see the Blowing Rock scenic area, Horn in the West and the Mystery Hill area. However, my road trip budget did not accommodate all of the things I wanted to see/do. So, I decided Mystery Hill was the least important of the three and I could live without it.
This one is by far the hardest budget item to stick with, especially when you travel to a quilt show. However, I have a plan. No, really that’s it. Have a plan. When you go in with a specific project or pattern in mind it helps keep your mind focused on the items you really want and you’re less likely to grab all those impulse buys.
Above all, it’s much easier to stick to a budget when you know approximately what the costs will be before you leave. Of course, it’s impossible to stick to a road trip budget if you don’t make one. With a little planning and self-discipline, you can get out on the road with more peace of mind and enjoy every moment of your quilting adventure!
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