Spending on Life Experiences

Looking back on the past 29 years of spending, I recall only a few products I’ve purchased but most of the experiences I’ve had. I feel it is much more worthwhile to spend your hard-earned cash on experiences versus more stuff. Yes, I buy “stuff” too, but in my ripe old age of almost 30, I’m looking for better ways to spend my money. And if that means an extra month in a beat up car to experience something new, the trade off is worth it.

As I’ve written about previously, my boyfriend is currently unemployed, but I want to experience life with him. He’s working on getting a job and will probably return to graduate school next year, so one day he’ll have the cash to support traveling together. However, today, I can’t let him spend the little of his savings on paying for an entire romantic getaway. I still want that romantic getaway and I’m willing to pay for it. We only have a few more years before are married with kids, and with him out of work and my ability to take a few days off, this is the perfect time to travel together.

I purchased 5 nights hotel in two different towns on the Southern California coast next weekend. I’ve compiled a list of potential plans and sent them over to Derek. Many of these are free or low-cost things to do, such as hiking and hanging out at the beach. It will be lovely to get away and spend some time with him away from our current living situation. Last summer we went to Yosemite for camping (he did pay for that) and it was amazing. We love to travel around California together and he’ll drive in his Prius so we can save on gas, and he’ll probably end up paying for all the gas and many meals. So it will even out.

Either way, the trip is going to be expensive. I’ve spent about $450 on hotel rooms so far. If we budget $200 per day for meals and entertainment, that adds up to a $1700 trip. We don’t need to spend $200 per day, and we probably won’t, but when traveling food/eating out can add up. Perhaps we’ll figure out a way to do this cheaply.

I’ve accepted that February will be a poor month for saving. I’ll make up for that in March. And I expect that the experience of traveling with Derek for six days driving down the coast will be worth it, even if it puts a small dent in my networth growth for now. The good news is I’m still able to aggressively work towards maxing out my 401k early this year – as I’ve invested $6k into it already, and have just $10k more to go. Putting 50% of my income into it is about $3500 per month, so if I keep that up I’ll have it maxed out in 4 months. Then I have 3 months of maxing out my Roth IRA. And then I start saving for my new car!


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