Every year Mr. SFF and I spend a week down in Misquamicut RI with Mr. SFF’s very large extended family. There are usually three rented cottages with various family member plus one house that is owned by one aunt and uncle that is right on the beach and is sort of Grand Central Station for all of us.
It can be a crazy at times but is a lot of fun and has always been a fairly reasonably priced vacation. There is usually no real plans for the week and most of us do our own thing but sometimes there are plans to do activities as a smallish group. A common statement is “all plans are soft” because things always seem to evolve and change. A simple dinner at our cottage for just 8 adults can easily turn into dinner for 16 before you know it. Thankfully I have been around the family long enough that I am better at just going with the flow.
We did not plan any extra activities for the week other than a massage that I scheduled for Monday. Based on a recommendation I went to see Emily at Blue Serenity who works with a lot of athletes and she spent a glorious 90 minutes working on my extremely tight muscles. I had a Groupon so I was able to save a little money on the cost but this was certainly a nice luxury. Other than this, our expenses were pretty low. I worked out at the cottage most mornings (and realized that I don’t need a personal trainer as often any more) and went for a couple of bike rides with Mr. SFF and then afternoons were spent on the beach. Most lunches were leftovers and dinners are at one cottage or another.
One of the great things about vacationing with so many people is that you usually only have to cook dinner once or twice per week. This year Mr. SFF and I only cooked dinner once and the other nights were prepared by someone else in our cottage or was a meal with everyone at the main beach house (easily 40 people). For anyone that stays in our cottage, we will collect all grocery receipts at the end of the week, add it up, and divide by the number of adults. This year’s total came to $86 per person. Not bad for a full week of good food!
One other activity that I did this year was going to the casino. Mr. SFF has absolutely no interest in casinos but I go most years for a couple of hours for entertainment and in hopes of maybe coming home with a little extra money. I was going to pass this year as I am trying to save money but one of the uncles wanted me to go with him (I was his good luck charm 2 years ago). Gambling is certainly never something I would recommend but I do always gamble responsibly and ended up with $206 in winnings. Woot, woot!! I will write up a follow up post on gambling to go over my personal thoughts on gambling and how I usually come out ahead.
So after a wonderful week spent relaxing on the beach with family, here is a breakdown of the costs.
Meals Out: $90.78 (these were only on travel days. One dinner and two breakfasts out.)
Massage: $80 (90 min massage-Groupon for 60 mins, plus the extra 30 mins and tip)
Postcards to my grandparents: $2.14
Cottage Rental: $793.75 (we divide the total cost per bedroom)
Groceries for two:$172
Holding Fee: $20 (to hold the same cottage for next year)
Net after the casino: $1,004.27
As I am usually in charge of the cottage booking and as it has to be paid for ahead of time we usually end up coming home with money. After all of the expenses were totaled and divided up we ended up with approx $720 in cash. I used $20 down to give us first rights to the same cottage for next year, used some of the cash for breakfast after checking out, and then deposited $800 into our savings account (using some of my $206 casino earnings as well). I should also receive another $500 from the damage deposit which I will also add to our savings account. If only I received money every time I went on vacation!
Reinforcement of My Dreams
One of the big takeaways from this vacation is how much I really want to live a life without the 9-5 job. Vacations are always a nice break from the day to day but this time I really reflected on how great it was to just wake up every day and do exactly what I wanted. I had plenty of time to exercise, sometimes even twice a day, we ate really well, had plenty of time to relax, and had time to spend with family. All of this meant that I felt great all week. Now that I am back to work I am finding it hard to exercise to the level I want (and strangely missing my morning workouts), my shoulders are tightening up from sitting at a desk, and haven’t had time to plan my lunches meaning I have spent money on lunch instead of preparing ahead of time. Man, the transition back to the 9-5 really sucks.
Also as I have been sitting at my desk the last two days I have felt the urge to shop for clothing. I haven’t bought clothing in a while and really don’t have a need for anything in particular but the urge has been there. Thankfully even though I have browsed many sites I have been able to look at my goals and how much I really enjoyed the past week and haven’t bought anything. Using the strategy of delaying a purchase and waiting to see if I really want it later on has worked. So for now I am sticking to my plan and dreaming of my next vacation and my eventual financial freedom.