Budgeting, Cruising

How much does a Caribbean Cruise really cost?

Over the past two and a half years, my husband and I have taken six cruises.  Yep, you might say we had caught the cruising ‘bug’ and went a bit crazy.  Our first cruise was in November, 2016 to the Western Caribbean and our most recent cruise was this past November to the Southern Caribbean.  We’ve cruised the Eastern Caribbean twice, and took a cruise from NYC to Canada. (It’s amazing how much money gets freed up when you are done paying for college! 🙂 )IMG_2627

My husband and I had a blast on these trips.  They were amazing.  But they weren’t cheap.

bbADlQymRAGjGiWosBIPag

We’ve discovered that there are many ‘hidden’ costs to cruising — everything from insurance, gratuities, and drinks to hotel stays, excursions and airline tickets.   In fact, my mind was blown when I realized I could have hired a cleaning lady every week for a year for the price we paid for one week in the Caribbean on a cruise.  Ouch. 

Below is a typical budget for an 8 day, 7 night Caribbean cruise on a mid priced cruise line for a balcony cabin for two.  I’ve included air fare and a one night hotel stay, because it’s always recommended to go a day early just in case something happens with your flight.  (The ship won’t wait for you.)  If you can drive to the port, lucky you! 🙂

 

A Sample Caribbean Cruise Budget

8 days, 7 nights – Balcony Cabin MidShip on Royal Caribbean’s  Harmony of the Seas in April.

  • Cruise for two/taxes:  $2,800.00
  • Gratuities ($14.50x2x7): $203.00
  • Insurance for two: $400.00
  • Roundtrip airfare for two (Coach): $1,100.00 (from DCA-MIA)
  • Hotel in Fl.: $150 – 250 (mid range)
  • Uber/Taxi/Tips: $50.00
  • Meals in Fl.: $50 – $100
  • Specialty Restaurants: $100 (You will want to try one of them, trust me)
  • Excursions: $100-$300 (This is on the low side if there are more than 2 ports)
  • Drinks on ship: $200 (This is what we’ve spent for sodas, water, mixed drinks)
  • Misc. tips: $50-$100
  • Spending money: $250-$500 (depending on how much you like to shop and/or gamble 😉 ).

                           TOTAL:  $6,103.00

(I haven’t included all the clothes, accessories, luggage, etc. you purchase before you go on the cruise, so figure another $250).

Are you shocked?  We were.  We usually pay for everything separately which gave us the illusion that the trip cost less than it actually did.

Of course you can cruise less expensively.  You can choose to cruise off-season.  You can cruise with another less expensive cruise line (i.e. Carnival).  You can drive to the port, get an inside cabin, never take an excursion, never eat in a specialty dining room or never purchase a souvenir. You can skip the insurance and stiff the help by not tipping.  Or something in between.  Your trip will still most likely cost $2,000.00 – $4,000.00.

So, is it worth the price? Only you can decide.

IMG_0222

For us, it was.  The time spent together and the memories that we made will be cherished forever.

The only difference is that now (since we know the true cost of cruising) we are being much more selective with our future cruising plans.

If you have cruised, please share! Did any expenses or the final cost surprise you?

 

Budgeting, No Spend Year

No Spend Year: January’s Purchases.

money pink coins pig
Photo by Skitterphoto

The title of this post seems like an oxymoron, but my No Spend Year is more about intention than perfection.  These posts are a means for me to stay accountable, even if I spent money on items I’ve hoped I wouldn’t.  Also, this month’s purchases do not include food, eating out or regular bills.

This month’s purchases:

(The red highlighted purchases are ones that I wish I didn’t make.  I hope to have fewer red purchases next month.)

Household:

  • Vacuum bags ($24.90)
  • Batteries ($12.99)
  • Power Strip ($9.99)
  • Scale ($18.10) {Replacement}

Total:  $65.98

Personal Spending:

  • Budget stickers.  ($75.00) This one hurts a little.  What was I thinking?????? Of course, when you buy on Etsy, it’s $5 here, $10 there.  It really adds up.  All I can say is that they better bring me joy each time I use them. 🙂
  • Northern Exposure Season 1 DVD ($11.68)  I thought this series was on Netflix.  Bummer it wasn’t, but I really wanted to watch it, so I purchased it with some gifted money from my parents.
  • Excel Templates.  ($10.00) (Worth every penny.)
  • Spending Journal ($6.49) (bought on Amazon, but honestly didn’t need it. 😦  Already wrote in it so couldn’t return)

Total:  $103.17

Personal Care:

  • Hair Color ($13.62) Took advantage of coupon sales and purchased 3 months worth.
  • Sensodyne toothpaste ($10.00) (2 tubes) Having sensitivity issues with my teeth.  This was the suggested toothpaste from dentist, but didn’t have coupons. 😦
  • In Shower Lotion: ($7.00)  {Replacement}
  • Make-up (Ulta): $6.38 {Replacement}
  • Diet Bet ($20.00) I had high hopes of not only winning my own personal bet, but adding a bit more to it.  However, as the bet went, I needed to lose 7 lbs in 4 weeks.  I should have known better. 😦

Total:  $57.00

Clothes:

  • Gloves ($19.99) I needed a warm pair of gloves.  Unfortunately, these failed miserably, but I couldn’t return them as I had already worn them.
  • Tank Top ($2.98) Super deal at Target.  Couldn’t resist — but I didn’t need it. 😦
  • PJs ($11.98) {Replacement}

Total:  $34.95

Total Amount of Purchases I made for January:  $261.10  Total Amount of Purchases I wish I didn’t make: $136.14  Goal for February:  Lower the number in red.

Final Thoughts on January’s spending.

  1.  Research items before purchasing (i.e. gloves that keep your hands warm.)
  2. Take off all payment methods online.  I really should have waited on several items I purchased.  Had I waited at least 72 hours, I wouldn’t have purchased them. (i.e. budgeting stickers, DVD, spending journal). Taking off the credit card from Amazon and PayPal should slow down my trigger finger a bit.
  3. Even though I give myself $100 for personal spending, I should be more mindful of how I really want to spend it.  Seeing everything in black and white is very eye opening.
  4. All in all, $261 is not bad in spending.  Half of the stuff was replacement or consumable products that we purchase on an ongoing basis.  As long as I am  mindful and intentional with my future purchases, I should be well on my way to controlling my spending.

Your turn.  Did you buy anything in January that you regret?

 

Budgeting, saving money

Budgeting: How I keep track of all those numbers.

I talk a lot about budgets on this blog, so I thought it only fitting to show you how I actually budget and the tools I use to stay on track.  Hopefully they will be helpful for you too.

I utilize three ways to budget:  A Budgeting App, Excel Spreadsheets and, my personal favorite, paper & pen (and a few markers).

accounting apps bookkeeper business
Photo by Pixabay

MY FAVORITE BUDGETING APP: YNAB

Yep, I’m a YNABer.  It stands for You Need A Budget, and it’s the best tracking budget software I’ve ever used.  Its basic concept, budgeting just the money you have right now and getting one month ahead is game changing.  I’ve been able to save so much money just by using this program.

If you want to see YNAB in action,  Connie Porter, a YouTuber and friend, has great videos on how she tracks her own budget using this software. Free video training can be found here as well.

If you want to see if it can work for your budget, you can try it out for 34 days free here.

{Full disclosure:  if you click on the links here, and sign up, I will earn a free month.}

SPREADSHEET/ZERO BASED BUDGETING

Yearly planning has become very important to me as well.  I absolutely love having my year all mapped out and focusing on my yearly goals.  It’s very motivating to see how much I can save, but also eye opening seeing the absorbent amount I spend on my mortgage. 😦  Planning out a whole year can be a daunting task, but Kelly from Freedom in a Budget, has taken most of the work out of it and created a yearly budget template  It is $5 (less than a Starbucks coffee) and it has saved me hours of figuring out formulas and set up.

image 0

If you are a spreadsheet nerd, you might also like her monthly zero based budget.  You can download her monthly budget template ($5) as well.  This is a great way to track your income/spending for the month.  And, once you download her templates, you can copy it over and over, year after year.

image 0

{Full Disclosure: non sponsored or affiliated.  Just a cool product to share…}

Paper & Pen (and markers and planners, oh my!)

Yep, I’m a planner girl, and I also have a specific planner for my budget.  I love taking time to plan out a month of expenses and tracking my individual spending with colorful stickers and markers.  What can I say?  I’ve made budgeting a creative outlet for me. 🙂

fullsizeoutput_5cbe
Erin Condren Monthly Planner
I find my inspiration here.  I like tracking my spending and certain categories each month that I tend to overspend in (i.e. personal spending, groceries, misc. spending).  This is just a creative way for me to track and make it fun, if budgets can be fun. 🙂

So there you have it.  My three ways of tracking my numbers and budget.  If you don’t have a budget, what are you waiting for?  If you do, please share how you track your numbers! 🙂