The Motivated Millennial: A Writer in Austin, Texas Goes on a 30-day Money Challenge (Part 3)

July 24 - Taylor Marshall

A little background to this part of the series: We're switching gears during our boss babes beach vacation! Taylor Marshall is sharing how she strategically budgets away at the beach.

In case you missed it:

We had a couple money-focused posts come out earlier in the month regarding millennials and their spending. Since millennials are currently in a phase of their life that can get pretty expensive (i.e. living alone, indulging in a rockin’ social life, balancing bills, etc.), it’s important to think about how you can live a fun-filled, happy life, but not break the bank and make yourself miserable.

As current college students approach that stage of life, it’s a great time to start learning frugal habits and rituals, so that we can be prepared for more expensive stages of life.

In light of that, I am going to be giving a different perspective from someone in college: My spending experience on vacation for my twenty-first birthday.

My experience

So yes, anyone can see that these two factors add up to a pretty expensive weekend. In my opinion, I think it’s important to let yourself indulge a little bit if feasible when special occasions (like a twenty-first birthday) come along. For me, this mindset makes it easier to be frugal for the rest of the time. I know that I won’t have a problem with “treating myself”, when opportunities present themselves.

For my family and I, we followed two “rules” to help us be budget-friendly and still have a blast: We chose carefully which meals we wanted to eat out, and we chose one costly activity that we wanted to do.

“Rules” We Followed

1. Pick and choose the meals you want to eat out

We chose brunch and dinner on my birthday (which was Saturday) and a nice dinner on our last night.

Other than that, we went to the grocery store and stocked up on healthy, fresh foods that would sustain us for multiple meals and snacks. We made breakfast at home Sunday and Monday, lunch at home everyday, and dinner at home on Sunday.

Not to mention: drinks! We got ingredients to make drinks at our condo for most days and nights, and then got one or two out. This is a HUGE money saver, considering that drinks at restaurants or bars are $10 minimum.

* To put this in perspective, let me drop a crazy statistic right here: Our grocery bill (for my immediate family) for 3 days was almost exactly equal to the bill for one dinner we had out. *

Another thing to note: time! Not only does this method save you tons of money, but it also saves you hours and hours of time. When we went out to dinner on our last night, we waited over an hour for a table and over an hour for our food. We were in good company and at a great place, so this wasn’t the end of the world, but it’s definitely not something you would want to do every night.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t eat out and indulge in a nice dinner— just be aware of what you could get for that same price, and make it a special occasion.

2. For a long weekend trip, choose one (maybe two) special activities that you want to do

For my family and I, we were at the beach from Saturday — Monday. That’s only three full days, so we decided to choose one activity to do (that would cost money). On our last night, we went on a sunset sailboat ride, which ended up being so beautiful and fun for everyone. We spent the rest of the time chillin’ by the beach and finding ways to entertain ourselves there (but mostly just a lot of chillin’.)

Instead of going out and doing activities every day, choose something that will be meaningful and fun for everyone, and then use the rest of your time to enjoy the beach, for free! (Well, kind of.)

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