To celebrate a birthday in style, I recently went on an extended weekend trip to Miami with two of my girlfriends. Of course, it was important for me to keep the trip as cheap as possible.
Here’s final the cost breakdown:
Food & Drinks: $152.04
Everything Else*: $71
*includes my share of the birthday present, cabs, and anything else my friends covered that I owed them for.
I never said this trip was on an extreme budget. There were definitely ways to have a cheaper three-day trip, but, at the same time, the three of us wanted to have a full spring break experience.
How we trimmed off some of the most expensive parts of our trip
Because we went during spring break, we had a lot of trouble finding a place to stay at a reasonable cost. Yes, it would’ve been cheaper for us to stay farther away from the beach, but for such a short trip, what would’ve been the purpose of that? What we ended up doing was booking a room for two with a king-sized bed that easily fit the three of us. The (almost) beachfront hotel ended up similarly priced to larger AirBnB options that were farther away from the water.
The hotel fee also included free breakfast. I wish we had made better use of that breakfast – we only ended up taking advantage of it once; other mornings we got up too late or left too early. In South Beach, nearly all the restaurants automatically include 18%/20% gratuity, so dining out is expensive. Even having just one meal included saved a decent sum of money.
When we weren’t spending boatloads on Cuban food and sushi, we avoided snacking. I definitely felt less guilty about my expensive meals because I wasn’t getting boardwalk fries or booze every other hour. For the minimal snacking we did do outside of restaurant dining, we stuck to convenience stores, which were automatically much cheaper.
Finally, flights. Using Google Flights, we realized that leaving on Saturday instead of Friday would save us $100 on airfare, so that was an easy decision to make. We all had flexible vacation days, so taking off on a Monday or Tuesday instead of Friday wasn’t an issue.
My takeaway of this trip is that I wasn’t afraid to spend money, especially for things I felt were worth it. By implementing some cost-saving measures, I got full enjoyment out of each dollar spent. The whole point for me to be saving so much of my income is so that I can maximize enjoyment on trips like these! Save money where money can be saved; otherwise, don’t be afraid to spend it. I’m still going to preach having a strict budget and living a frugal lifestyle, but that’s also because I also get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing my bank accounts grow. I strongly believe that saving for your future self should never come at a huge cost to your present lifestyle. That said, there are things that can be cut from my current expenditures that I know will not have a significant effect on my lifestyle; these are the things I continually focus on in my Cash Fasts.
As three-day trips go, I think $530 isn’t terrible at all. Anyone have other numbers I can benchmark against?