My flight to the happiest place on earth leaves in a little over four hours and I have yet to even think of packing. Yes, I am that person.
I am doing something productive though. I am figuring out how to be in New York for four days without spending every dollar in my checking account. I love me some NYC, but my wallet does not. The second I land at LaGuardia I’m usually like
Between cabs/Uber/Lyft, restaurants, shopping, and general shenanigans I can easily spend a G in less than a week and have no clue how I did it. My modus operandi has simply been to spend based on what’s in my bank account without regard to needing that same money upon my return. Because I’m like Tommy right now and ain’t got no job I cannot allow myself to repeat old habits. I need to make a vacation budget and stick to it.
According to Mint I have already done this.
Budgeted right beneath my bikini waxes and laser hair removal is $150 for vacation and it’s all available. So cool! I should be able to get around (including transport to and from the airport), feed myself, and have a bit of fun for four days with $150 and maybe another $50 of fun money. No problems here.
So every month I put $150 into a vacation sink fund. I know that I am going to travel so I took Dave Ramsey’s advice and set up an account dedicated strictly to that. Well, I kind of spent this month’s $150 last month when I purchased the flight for this trip.
I know you’re thinking, “Wayment! Did you not just say that you no longer use credit cards to purchase that which you cannot afford?”
Yes, I did say that and I meant it. You see even though I didn’t have the funds in my vacation account at the time of ticket purchase I knew that I would have the money by the time the payment was due. The flight was super cheap and I knew that I’d be able to cover it within one month so I used credit (I got 3X rewards points if that makes it better).
Now that the actual vacation time has arrived I need to figure out a way to cover my spending money because I will not be dipping into October’s deposits to do it. That means I have to make this trip fit into my existing September budget
So where is there room?
So looking at my September spending thus far I have $185 that I can spend on food and $151 on transportation. Since this trip will primarily be dedicated to family time I will not be doing any clothes shopping or partaking in events or entertainment activities (unless they are $Free.99). Being on a tight schedule works in my budget’s favor. Here is my plan:
- Save on transportation to and from the airport by using public transportation. This is easy to do when it comes to getting to O’hare. It’s a straight shot on the blue line and I live within feet of two different buses that can get me to the train in less than 10 minutes. The tricky part is going to be getting myself to Brooklyn from LaGuardia. Unlike its Far Rockaway counterpart, JFK, LaGuardia does not have a subway stop. You gotta take a bus and that bus route is nowhere near where I’m going. So I’ve decided to split the difference. Upon arriving in NYC I will take the circuitous route from LGA to 125th Street to Brooklyn. It will take about 90 minutes, but it will only cost one subway fare, which I already have stored on the Metrocard I bought the last time I was in the city. Since I have a morning return flight I’ll take an Uber Pool or Lyft Line back to the airport. Estimated cost: $30.
- Get around New York City via public transportation or walking. I have a Metrocard with money and I’m not afraid to use it. I’ll actually only be in the city for about a day and a half since I’m heading upstate to visit family during my trip. There are only but so many places I can go in 36 hours so this one shouldn’t be too hard. And as an added bonus the walk between train stops and my destination will help toward reaching my much needed 10,000 daily steps.
- Packing food. Thanks to foregoing dining out or ordering in (ignore the $12 spent on take out. It will be reimbursed) for the last 2 weeks, I have $185 left to spend on food this month. However, I cannot use it all while out of town. There will still be almost a week left in September when I return home and I have the distinct feeling I will need to feed myself a few times during those 6 days. My refrigerator isn’t totally empty but I refuse to subsist on cereal, almond milk, and condiments. If I limit myself to two restaurant meals and $10 worth of groceries during vacation then I should be able to spend no more than $100 on food. I can rely on the contents of my best friend’s, parents’, and relatives’ food stores to fill in the rest.
If I can stick to this plan I will have figured out one of the greatest secrets mankind has ever faced: how not to break the bank in NYC.
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