Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And The Grand Total Is...

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?

9 comments:

DelhiBound said... [Reply]

We totaled up what we would spend over a summer back in the US (non FS) and decided our money was better spent on a couple of trips over in this neck o' the woods.

People said "how can a European cruise with all of the frills AND another trip be cheaper than the United States?"

It was! All of the stuff adds up ... great post, giving a price to that sought after home leave!

ForeignObsession said... [Reply]

WOW!

That is a lot for being at home.

Bfiles said... [Reply]

thank you for this. When I first started thinking about FS life, home leaves didn't sound like a big deal, financially. And then I realized I stress about all the extra spending when we go on a week's vacation in OR every summer. Somehow, money just floats away, even though we are staying w family! So yes, I can understand this amount of spending completely, and I will have to start saving as soon as I join the FS!

A Daring Adventure said... [Reply]

Holy COW.

Oh, how I love your blog. I love the honesty, and I love reading about finances! So today is just a total triple score.

GIRL. I can totally see how everything could hugely add up.

And - as for the computer - can't wait to see/hear about what you're going to get. We made the jump from Windows to Mac a year ago and will never, ever go back.

TulipGirl said... [Reply]

Yikes. This is scary. (And, yes, we spent an insane amount when we were on the road in April/May. . . even with staying with family and being pretty frugal.)

Ah, it is life. . . what can you do?

Jill said... [Reply]

And funny enough ... I thought your totals were pretty right on! Amazing how we can spend so darn much during one summer, one home leave, one "vacation".

I hesitate to begin to add up my totals for I'm sickened right now to even think about all the money I've p*ssed away just getting acclimated and settled back in here in So Cal.

Sending you sanity my friend... thinking of you as you make your way onto your new post and into your new adventures.

Jessica said... [Reply]

How's this for bleeding money: We're returning home after two years in Baku. Posted in DC for the next two years. Here's my list of what we have to buy:

1. A house
2. A car
3. A new non-buggy computer
4. Phones
5. New pots and pans
6. A crib
7. Changing table
8. A big boy car seat
9. I desperately need a new wardrobe. Desperately.

Oh, and we need to find a nanny.

Goodbye sweet savings.

Sara said... [Reply]

OMG - I need to start saving!

Melissa V said... [Reply]

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing!

It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

Here is the link:
http://www.vonhinken.com/?p=782

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