I added up the numbers for my trip
Plane ticket: $525-Budgeted and Actual $525
Car Rentals: $240-Actual $161-I searched about 4 days to find this great price
Hotel costs $100-Actual $95
Extra Bag Fees: $75/0-did not have to pay extra for checked bags on an international flight!
Gas: $150/Actual $180- I drove more than I planned.
Meals: $150/Actual $100 we ate in a lot
Misc: $100/Actual-$145-includes the day pass at the Presidents Club.
Planned spending: $200/Actual 175
Grand Total: $1,540/$1,381
Under Budget: $159
Some of my planned and miscellaneous spending was on gifts for people in the UK and for those many folks taking care of my animals and some specifically British items I wanted. My contributions towards meals were mainly wine and beer for dinner,which I put under the planned spending category. I did spend about $60USD on gifts (and a bottle of liquor at Duty Free) to bring over which I included in the planned and misc spending categories.
I had used the last of my small holiday bonus to pay for the tickets and part of my tax refund and second job wages to pay for the rest. The hotel ended up being cheaper than planned because of the pound to dollar exchange rate was better when I was in the UK than when I posted my budget. I went over in gas as I really had no idea what gas would cost. I paid for gas for the girls trip out as part of my present to my friends (they paid for their own hotel, meals, drinks, I did get treated to a few rounds at the pub). I searched the Internet relentlessly to find a better rental car rate. The car was economy in every sense of the word, but it got me from point A to point B. This budget does not include the two weekends of lost wages by not working at the barn (I don't get paid holidays being part time). I do have some left over Sterling. I did not want to pay the ridiculous currency buy back fee at the airport and just pocketed the extra Sterling for my next trip. Since I used almost cash exclusively I had Sterling left over. I used my debit and credit card when I was on my trip with the girls since I left the majority of my cash at the house. I paid for my meals, gas and some souvenirs with my debit or credit card.
Part of me looks at that $1,400 spent and thinks-"Wow, I could have my spiffy new laptop and a fair chunk of change in my E-fund" . Then the other part of me reminds myself that the biggest and most important reason I went over now to the UK was to visit my friend and her ill husband. I truly enjoyed seeing them and I as I've posted before, my friends husband is very very ill. I sure hope he recovers, but there is a strong possibility that had I stuck to my original plan of a trip to the UK in the fall, he might not be around then, we just don't know for sure. People first, money second.
I have to keep reminding myself not to be so selfish about my money spent on this trip for that reason and remind myself that I also truly needed a vacation that was a trip away from home.
Plus I came back from vacation with a clearer vision of what I want to do with myself this year and specific goals I want to accomplish. That, in and of itself given my total lack of focused goal setting in 2008, was worth the money spent on the trip.