Vacation Mary is really a crazy broad. She gets pedicures. She drinks before noon. She wears all-white outfits. She ignores her shark-phobia and swims in open water. She goes in canoes. She air-dries her hair. She spends money on some objectively stupid shit.
Pre-vacation, I wrote about all the vacation spending traps I planned on working hard to avoid. Post-vacation, I am proud to say that I did a pretty solid job avoiding most of them. Sure, I drank with many meals, but not all of them. And I’m returning home today with no pastel Cape Cod sweatshirt to donate to Goodwill in a year, so I’m considering this entire week a success. However, I did inevitably drop a little dough on unnecessary crap this week. Some of it was stuff I kind of needed; some of it was stuff I absolutely freaking didn’t need and never will. But at the end of it, I kept my weekly total pretty low, and am considering this one of my greatest vacation spending successes so far in life.
In any case, this is a detailed list of every single thing I spent money on this week, minus lodging and meals – and how much each cost me.
1. A toothbrush (because I forgot mine).
2. A travel toothbrush holder (to hold the aforementioned toothbrush, because I play no games when it comes to germs).
3. An eyebrow pencil (because vacation is no excuse to let your brows be “off-fleek,” and mine ran out the first day).
4. Three postcards with a picture of a dog running through a cranberry bog (because dogs are cute and I thought it was hella funny).
5. Sunscreen (because I burn just looking at a picture of the sun, and I ran out quickly).
6. A six-pack of my favorite beer during a visit to the local liquor store (because I felt it was necessary even though I know it wasn’t).
7. A bottle of nail polish (because my paws looked like hell, and I was bored sick in bed).
8. A blanket (because the house we rented was freezing and the blankets definitely looked like they carried some diseases).
9. A pack of mints (because my inhaler makes my mouth taste weird and I like to replenish my stash as much as possible).
10. A Cape Cod themed birthday card (for the little girl I nanny, because I missed her birthday while I was away – happy birthday Caitlin!)
My grand total for the entire week was a whopping $47.75. I’m actually kind of amazed that I ended up spending under $50 on random crap this past week. This was perhaps slightly due to the fact that I became ill a few days into my trip, and spent a lot of time in the rental house fighting off the bug rather than gallivanting around the Cape tossing my cash around like a madwoman.
As Chelsea has mentioned a few times before, shopping has a tendency to become a mindless travel activity. Vacation mentality seems to blur the line between actually wanting/needing a particular item, and just wanting to buy it for the sake of treating yourself because, hey, you’re on vacation! Since vacations already cost a good chunk of change in terms of lodging and food, it also sometimes shoots us into spending mode – or at least it does for me. I often figure if I’m already spending this much money to be here, I might as well spend a little more and live it the heck up!
However, going into this week with a well thought out plan of what I would spend money on (some cool postcards, maybe a mug to add to my mug collection because yes, I have a mug collection, and that’s about it) and wouldn’t spend money on (anything I can get back home, any item of clothing, or any otherwise unnecessary travel souvenir) helped keep me in line and made sure I wouldn’t spend on anything I knew I’d later regret.
Mary is the summer Media Fellow at The Financial Diet. Send her your summer intern stories (your lessons, failures, triumphs and good advice) at firstname.lastname@example.org