Yes, folks, home leave is officially over. My husband has to work all week, and then we're off to Jordan. So I am left, once again, in a small hotel room with four small beasts,and I'm ready to tally up the financial damage these past few weeks have done.
A friend of mine estimated, last spring, that she and her family spend $10,000 every time they visit the States. Sounds like a lot, but it's a reasonable estimate, and I was aiming to save almost that much in a special account I set aside just for home leave expenses - we do NOT like to go into debt for vacations. By mid-June, we'd saved about $8000 (go us!).
So here's where I open my wallet and show you how much home leave costs. (Not my purse, mind you - that thing is scarily full of restaurant crayons, old receipts and stale gum. You do not want to peer inside my purse.)
The credit card receipts are still pouring in, but here's the tally, close as I can figure:
$2800 - rental vans in two states
$1000 - vet and Casey travel fees
$3000 - lodging (despite the fact that we usually stayed with benevolent relatives)
$1500 - Target has, of course, its own line item on the budget
$200 - Starbucks. Also a line item.
$150 - US Postal Service (gotta get this stuff to post somehow; should've requested a supplemental shipment)
$2000 - restaurants and grocery stores (Wegmans! Trader Joes! Wegmans! Trader Joes! Wegmans!)
$100 - haircuts
$100 - movies, in real movie theaters. With popcorn. Yum.
Wow. That's a lot of money that just flew out of my pockets in 6 short weeks.
And I haven't even counted money spent on tires and sheet sets and blenders - close to $1000, I'd guess.
Or the computer I still have to buy and ship.
Or the transit insurance on our HHE that came due in July (likewise the car insurance).
So I guess, when we get to post (and after we write checks for the community association and other necessities), my first task will be to start putting money back in that savings account, in preparation for our next trip to the States, whenever that may be.
For interested FS folks, you can open up a "custom savings account" in addition to your regular account at SDFCU. You can't name it anything fancy, like "vacation" or "new car," though that would make it easier to track, I think. They just call it "custom." But then you can earmark funds toward whatever you wish.
Anyone else have ideas on how to save for home leave or exotic ski vacations in Lebanon? Anyone else want to 'fess up how much they spend on home leave?