Do You Plan Every Dollar Spend ?

Old Jan 20th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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Tat
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Do You Plan Every Dollar Spend ?

OK< guys,

I see myself paid for the tickets (DONE), put away for the Hotel in Paris(DONE) and saving untill April for the food (my three major expences as I would hope)...
...but here is "unnessesary" stuff (which probably was the reason for my worrys
on the first place) - expences like :
1. I have to buy gifts for my friends I am staying with in Germany
(I will see people I grew up with, so some Philadelphia/USA souvenir for each
of 5-7 for 12 years of not visiting a lot ?)
2. While in Paris you guys -
how can you tell whether you will see painting/pottery/shoes/bag/...
that you dreamed about and buy it or not (another $1.00 - $XXXX.xx)
3. How to be sure we will not be offered some discount
tickets for ... whatever (EuroDisney let say ...)
4. I WILL bring souvenirs back for co-workers and friends. For their kids at
least. Even a keychain for 10 people is $100.00 at least, right ?

Please, just do not grill me for being not so precize with price of the 10
keychains from Europe, it is NOT the point.
Seing people here worrying about $20.00 overspent I am wondering if I am
"not getting" something...

So all of it may run me into overspending equal size of my trip.
But there is point of no turning back now, I can't change it,
I am probably coming back broke, thanks for cc invention !


...being here I am learning whole lot from you and appreciate it very much.
I am getting to understand little by little my own confusion when I posted
"How do you travel so much ?".
I am a planner, so I like to know where I am and where I am going from there.
So, I am going to have fat folder with me in Europe with cuts and paste from this forum.
One thing that I have to ask after reading some threads is "Do you eally plan every dollar spend ?"
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 05:30 AM
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ira
 
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Hi tat,

Yes, you will overspend, but not by 100%.

Small souvenirs are in the $3-5 range.

Over the last thirty years I have occassionally thought about something I could have bought but didn't. It hasn't changed my life not to have it.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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PS,

I budget to the penny. After I get the CC charges, I see how close I came to my budget.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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"It hasn't changed my life not to have it".
I have to tatoo it on my right arm (which usually pulls cc out
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 05:45 AM
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So, ira,
you DO NOT fall for anything ?
How about when you went for the first time ?
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 07:04 AM
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I suggest you reserach your shopping just like you'd reserach your hotel, etc. Are there certain things you know that you do want to come home with? I've never come home with a t-shirt from my travels. But if you know you'll want a t-shirt (or item of your choice) don't grab the first one you see right outside your hotel. Those guys will be there day in and day out! Price the t shirt and then when you're in a museum gift shop and see a nicer/cooler/more unique one and can compare and make a choice. Last time I was in Paris I purchased two French shirts I knew were cheaper there than in the US or the UK. I will also be buying a new table cloth in Avignon. Budget for the things you know about and for the possibility of the unexpected.
Be careful with the little expenses. Walking around Paris is free and an amazing experience. Taxis are expensive and not always the fastest way to travel. Can you buy water in a shop and share or will you keep buying over priced ice cream every time some one asks? we eat very well when we travel but I also pack snacks (granola bars, chocolate, pretzels) for those times that everyone is hungry and I want to keep going!
One more thought. Items I have chosen remind ME of where I've been but do not compare with the memories and experiences. Relax and enjoy!
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 07:20 AM
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Hi tat,

We have lots of stuff that we don't need that brings back memories of our visits to other places.

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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 07:21 AM
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I can understand buying a nice little gift for a good friend or family member when you are traveling, but I have never, ever understood the concept of bringing home souvenirs for co-workers, their kids, etc. I mean, they didn't go on the trip! What would such a souvenir mean to them? Besides, it eats up time that is too valuable for me when I'm on a trip.

And either you have a budget and you stick to it, or you don't. On some trips, I allow myself to make unexpected purchases if, say, a wonderful painting or antique something-or-other captures my fancy; on others, I just don't even shop.

And I'm careful about some of those budget pitfalls - like soft drinks and juices at cafés - that can cost you a bundle in Europe.

But no, I don't plan every dollar, or even close to it. I just set a limit over which I will not go and sort things out along the way so I don't exceed the limit.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 07:25 AM
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ira, is this is a bad thing ?
highledge, thanks, it was very good to read.
StCirg, I hear you and taking into consideration.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 07:28 AM
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Hi Tat,

Don't worry so much. Do your trip budget and allow for 20% over for things unexpected. That way if you see something you must have then you can buy it.

You say you've budgeted for hotel, air, and food. Are admission fees, transportation and cafe costs in your budget? If not, they should be. These things can add up. I hope I'm not giving you one more thing to worry about.

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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 07:46 AM
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Bringing home a trinket souvenir for a friend, coworker or kid is just a small thoughtful gesture, especially if that person did something for you in your absence. Some people are generous with their time and money even if their resources are limited. Some people are not.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 07:54 AM
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I try to plan for MOST every dollar, but I also leave lots of room for cushion spending. You know, for those times you just get a wild hair?
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 07:54 AM
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Hi Tat, on my first trip to Europe I bought gifts for many friends and family members. I went in Sept/Oct and decided this would be my Christmas gift shopping. What happened was, I spent a lot of time trying to find "just the right gift" for someone and then had to carry it for several weeks in a backpack. Some people really appreciated the gifts and some would not have known whether it came from Italy or Target - and didn't care either. As someone said, it wasn't their trip to remember. After doing this a couple of times, I now only buy gifts for a)people who appreciate the trouble I went through to get it and/or b)someone who has a b-day close to my trip. These are not necessarily big, expensive gifts but something that is unique to where I was. I try to budget less than $100 for these gifts. For myself - there has been at least one thing each trip that I regretted not picking up when I saw it. I'm getting better about it and I have a set price in my head that I am comfortable with - $30 for me and if I see something unique and reminds me of the area and it is under that amount, I get it. I also have to consider how much stuff I've already bought because I have to get it all home! So, find an amount you comfortable with for gifts and treasures for yourself but don't deprive yourself either. And don't spend a ton of time finding little trinkets for others, it is too stressful. Spend the time in Paris sitting at a sidewalk cafe sipping a nice glass of wine and enjoy being in the moment... ah, I can't wait to go back.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 08:00 AM
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Well, I think you're taking about 2 different things. One is walking around money - a drink at a cafe, a newspaper, the metro etc. You definitely need to set a daily budget for that and make sure you have several times that in you checking account so you can access it with your ATM.

The other is gift money - for yourself or others. I always set a limit for myself in advance depending on what I'm planning to buy (small souvenirs for parents, perhaps a gift for someone whose birthday is coming up, and a couple of souvenirs for myself. I keep the souvenirs under $10 unless it is something I would have bought at home anyway.)

That said, I love Italian pottery - and since I discovered that the same plate in Italy is about 1/4 of what it is in Blomingdales - I always buy some. But I don't count that as part of the cost of the vacation - because I'm really saving money on what I would have bought anyway.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 08:09 AM
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Send your co-workers a post card just to say Hello. Even if it gets there after you've returned. They'll get a laugh, I hope.

Send one home to yourself too. Great for the scrap book! \/

I don't count any special gift (ie: upcoming birthday) purchase as part of the trip "budget" oxymoronic. It would be a purchase that is seperate in my mind ...
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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I agree about the postcards. Inexpensive, not time-consuming, and as good a souvenir as a key chain or something that people aren't even likely to use.

And obxgirl, on the off chance that your post was meant to be a personal criticism, let me just say that if I had generosity issues, I doubt I'd be spending as much time as I do on Fodor's >-
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 09:49 AM
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I'm getting cheap enough that even postcards are too much.

In December I sent 20 postcards. 20 - 90 euro cent stamps, 20 - 50 euro cent postcards (that I had to shop for, many places were 1 euro per postcard) for a total of 28 euros. That's about 34USD I spent. That's a nice meal for one.

Only 3 of the 10 people I sent them to (2 apiece) even mentioned they got them.

Hmmmm, I see myself only sending post cards to 3 people this spring.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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I do agree that you have to watch the drinks and snacks as those can really add up if you are on a very tight budget.

For souvenirs, you can get small items for only a couple euro, you don't have to spend ten. And I agree with the postcards -- I don't buy souvenirs for co-workers, but send the ones I know well a postcard. I think people may like that more than a souvenir. I know I really enjoy getting postcards from friend who are traveling. It's fun to get one and if it is a pretty picture, you can post it. I know my secretary kept the postcard I sent her of the Eiffel Tower up on her bulletin board for three years because she liked it so much. You can get some very pretty postcards in Paris. Other than that, if you do want to buy something, you can get small items in a grocery or general discount store that might be more enjoyable than souvenirs. For example, a simple bar of European scented bathsoap, a small tin of hard candies, a bottle of a French brand shower gel, etc.

Don't count on getting discount tickets to Eurodisney or anywhere.

I am not a big shopper so will admit I don't have the problem of spending a lot on buying clothes, shoes, etc. I have bought an occasional sweater or piece of jewelry I've liked when I've been there during the sales, and I did buy some handpainted piece of china once, but none of these items cost more than $25-50 and I might only buy something once.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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Hi Tat, try not to get caught up in buying gifts for co-workers and casual friends. I used to do that and it is time consuming and costs alot and then they look at it and toss it aside, it really means nothing if they haven't been there and if they have been there, they have bought their own souveniers.

I buy a little gift for my one friend whom I know will never get to Eurupe and loves anything Italian/religious, but the others get to dip into a box of candy which I put on my desk when I return (I buy it at the airport so I dont have to lug it around).

You'll see, once you start it becomes overwhemlming and takes away from your own trip. Trust me, I used to do the same.
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Old Jan 20th, 2004, 10:30 AM
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chardonnay has the right idea for office gifts. Buy a food item that can be shared (like a box of candy or cookies) and put it out for your co-workers. It's a bit more "gifty" if you can put it in a common area rather than on your desk. And to really qualify it should come from somewhere on your trip and be something not readily available at home. This should be easy in Paris!

I have never planned every dollar. Not when I was in my 20's and didn't have an extra penny, and certainly not now. But if you do, yes, you certainly need to allow for all the little extras. If something big comes along, I don't think it's any different from something big coming along at home. You still have to decide if you can afford it, right?
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