Overcoming birthday & vacation spending mode

by Karen on October 11, 2008

I apologize for my absence yesterday and most of this week. We’ve spent the week recovering from a wonderful but exhausting trip to Seattle, and yesterday we celebrated my 24th birthday with some sushi and gift card shopping.

Our trip has thrown off our budget considerably. It’s not because we overspent on the trip. Thanks to the generosity of my sister, who was a very gracious hostess, and my parents, we didn’t spend much at all. My sister and brother-in-law even treated us to a very fancy (and delicious) meal in the city for our birthdays.

As a thank you, we awoke early one morning and went to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for apple cinnamon pancakes and cooked breakfast for everyone Sunday morning. Other than that, we spent very little on the trip aside from a couple of quick airport meals.

This is good news, as we didn’t have much to spend from our vacation budget after buying plane tickets, boarding our dog, parking the car at the airport, and paying for gas to drive 2 hours each way to the airport. Our total vacation spending ended up being about $600 including all travel expenses. We’d been saving for it over the past few months, and factored a little cushion into this month’s budget, so the vacation itself didn’t throw us off too much.

However, we’ve been struggling all week to get out of vacation mode and get back on track. It seems that the casual vacation attitude seeps into our daily life every time we leave town. This happened after our honeymoon, too. Our spending inhibitions lower on vacation, and we come back home and can’t seem to get back on track.

We’ve had three meals out this week alone (including sushi for my birthday last night). We also spent my gift card on some new work clothes and Tony bought a new pair of shoes with some money he received for his birthday two weeks ago.

All of this is fine with me. I’m happy to use birthday money on practical things like clothes and shoes. Our food budget is probably shot due to several meals out in the airport and for my birthday, but I can live with that.

The question is, how do we get back on track now? As a former spending addict, it’s hard to shut off the valve once I’ve started overspending. Not to mention, I hate watching all that money come out of our bank account, even though it was put there specifically to use for birthday gifts.

Sigh.

What about you? Do you have trouble getting your spending back on track after a vacation?

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