A Vacation (From Our Budget?)

sunIt’s that time of year when backpacks gather dust, popsicles become an acceptable breakfast choice and the sun blazes through our shutters no later than 5:30 in the morning.

You got it—summer!

Summertime has extra value for us, as well as for most families, because along with the later bed times, the pool parties that take the place of bath time (or am I the only mom who thinks that counts?) and consuming unnatural amounts of watermelon, we also escape for our hallowed family vacation.

In our pre-YNAB days (we call them “The Dark Ages”) we would be meticulous about planning every detail of our trip: Where we would stay, where we would eat, what activities we would do, and the ever important, what we would wear. I would pack for every possible type of weather condition weeks in advance, new shoes were worn in, snacks and back-up snacks were dutifully placed in plastic containers. Not a detail was left to chance!

Oh- well, except one…..our budget. (Insert sheepishly grinning emoticon.)

We always planned a ballpark amount ahead of time to spend on our little adventures, but the truth is, it didn’t take much for us to go over and above that amount.

“What’s that? You forgot your sweater at the hotel? No problem. We’ll just grab one of these here, massively overpriced gift shop sweatshirts. No big deal! We’re on vacation!”

“A dozen of Disneyland’s hundred dollar churros? You betcha! After all, we’re on vacation!

“Monogrammed specialty keepsakes, eating out for every single meal and impromptu purchases at every turn? Why the heck not? WE’RE ON VACATION!

Whatever modest stipend we’d set aside for our trip would quickly expand without much thought, because, well… we were on vacation.

We are a few months into YNAB and have already seen huge changes in our finances as well as our daily habits. I don’t want to undo the good that has been done here. We are days away from our first post-YNAB getaway and I can already hear the vacation party monster whispering in my ear, “Ooh wouldn’t lunch with Shamu be amazing?!”  (I know, I know. I’ve heard all about “Blackfish”. Insert penitent emoticon.)

Here’s where I need your help: Obviously the longer we’re with YNAB, the more of a “vacation cushion” we’ll have to work with, but how do you keep from going overboard budget-wise on your vacations? Are we “rolling with the punches” or “giving every dollar a job?” Or both?

 Tell me, lovely YNABers: Do you stick to a certain, regimented plan or do you leave it up to chance in the name of “fun” and reconcile it later? I don’t want to be a vacation Scrooge, so how do you find the balance? Is vacation a proper excuse for leaving the budget behind and loosening the reins a bit?  (I fear an “Anti-Budgeters Anonymous” meeting may be in order before our trip to protect me from any upcoming spending triggers… eek!!  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.)

46 Responses to “A Vacation (From Our Budget?)”

  1. Dan

    We do one big family vacation every year at the same place, so we put aside 1/12th of what the vacation costs us every month into a Vacation fund. We put a little extra on top of that to cover other vacations. When the urge strikes us, we plan a vacation to fit the amount of extra money we have at that point. Has worked well for us, and gives us a good balance between saving for other things and not being overly frugal with the ‘fun’.

    • Christy

      I love that you set aside an exact portion of your vacation fund every month! Great idea! We usually go to the same place every summer as well. I’ll be scrutinizing our YNAB columns when we get back to see what the overall expense is this year. Thanks Dan!

  2. Dale Powers

    For me, the question is, “From which category am I willing to ‘steal’ the bucks?” It’s one thing to think about foregoing next month’s hair trimming; it’s a whole different deal if it means tuition money for college in August. Tossing in “Entertainment” dollars is often fine; reducing the extra we pay toward our mortgage is NOT. “Rolling with the punches” doesn’t mean going nuts; it means you have a cushion in a category that you’re willing to reallocate. And that may mean taking a different kind of vacation…like campgrounds or cabins rather than 5-star hotels; staying off-site at Disney, etc. For me (no credit cards), paying off “fun” for months isn’t an option…because that’s really no fun at all. Hope this helps!

    • Christy

      Love your responsible perspective Dale!! It’s so true! Eat out and entertainment categories seem like fair game- but dipping into the our mortgage or the car fund is a definite “no-no”. I want to roll with the punches, but I don’t want to derail our finances for one vacation.

  3. Jesse

    When we realized that our vacation hopes far exceeded our vacation budget for this year we compromised. It is easier for us without kids yet but we started thinking about what we enjoyed doing together and realized that we are within driving distance of a cruise port. We are saving a ton by not paying airfare and we opted for a cheap interior room. The total cost was well under budget leaving room for those inevitable gotchas that always crop up on vacation. For next year if our heart is still set on our original plans we will be proactive by researching the costs of the trip now and budgeting accordingly. So research costs ahead of time and allow for some extra cost cushion in the budget.

    • Christy

      I love that you stayed positive when your budget didn’t fit with your original plans! A lot of people would’ve “charged” through (pun intended) and put that vacay on credit. It sounds like you found a really fun compromise with the added bonus of knowing you have the cash to back it up! Have a great trip Jesse!!

  4. Melissa E

    I have a category for Vacation. Before you go, you could create a such a category and fund it with money that you’re pulling out of other categories.

    For the most part, I do pretty good at sticking to my Vacation budget. I might have a small overrun at the end, but I know I’m going to have to pull that out of somewhere when I get back. If I buy clothes while I’m on vacation, I pull it from my Clothing category. Sometimes I’ll pull money out of my Groceries or Dining category because while I’m away I’m not buying my normal Groceries or doing my normal Dining.

    I’ve been using YNAB since Jan 2013 and I took two trips that year. After having 12 months worth of numbers, YNAB made it easy to see the average Vacation spending. Now, in 2014, I budget $160 every month to my vacation category. In the past I would’ve thought there was no way I could do that, but I’ve done it, so clearly I can!

    Bought and paid for vacations are SO amazing!! The peace of mind that comes with them makes that swimming pool and destination sunset ten times sweeter.

    • christy

      Awesome advice Melissa! I look forward to having the perspective of a full year with YNAB. (As well as fully stocked vacation categories!!) :)

    • Kelly Barrington

      I totally agree with the last paragraph also.

  5. Lara Gray Coste

    No budget vacation. Too easy to fall back into the dark ages. If you can justify something in the name of vacation then the “emergency pizza fund” is also justified. Stick to your plan.

    • christy

      No more “Dark Ages” for me! Thanks Lara! :)

  6. jlemoine2

    I believe it goes against the YNAB philosophy to “leave it up to chance” and “reconcile it later”. We must plan ahead a little bit…

    When saving for a vacation, I simply put money away into a single vacation category until it’s of sufficient size to decide how we are going to use it… then…

    I change the vacation category into a master category, and spread out the saved dollars into individual vacation categories, which will vary based on tye type and duration of the trip. Examples are:
    – Airfare
    – Hotel
    – Rental Car/Fuel
    – Food
    – Shopping (my wife insists on shopping while on vacation, even though the same junk can be found at home)
    – Entertainment

    Prior to this basic list of vacation categories, I simply had the single vacation category and everything purchased while on vacation came out of the single category. But without some advanced thought, I would not consider fuel for the rental car, then it would be an unexpected expense. Having a vacation/food category would force me to roughly consider how many meals we would be eating.

    After a vacation or two (big or small) of doing it like this, I was able to use them as reference for future vacations to see (or prove to the wife) what we spent in the past. Even if you blow the budget and “reconcile it later”, it still handy to categorize the vacation spending so you can at least pretend to be realistic in the future :)

    • christy

      I’m loving the smaller sub-categories within the larger vacation category!! That will be a great help when reconciling our budget during (and after) the trip. Thanks for sharing your well thought out plan with me jlemoine2!

    • chrisandryo7424

      Thanks so much for this idea. I’ve been using YNAB for about 6 months, but didn’t think to have a vacation fund… duh! And to separate it out like (I already do this with my groceries) makes so much sense for future planning as you mentioned. There’s nothing to go in it this month, but next paycheck even a few dollars will help with motivate us – finally a fully pre-paid for vacation in sight!

      • christy

        It’s so great to benefit from the experience of other YNABers, right Chris? I’m loving all of these great suggestions!

  7. Melissa E

    It helps to remember that in the long run, experiences bring more happiness than things. I usually come home with very few, if any, souvenirs. If I get any, I try to make it something I will use. I still wear a $15 ring from the the Monterey Bay Aquarium gift shop that I got 11 years ago.

    There’s also a tip for maximizing pleasure on a vacation called the “Peak-end” rule. It basically states that you’ll most strongly remember the most intense (or peak) experience and the last experience of your vacation. If you can deliberately make these good experiences, you can get the most bang for your buck out of your vacation.

    I first heard of that from The Simple Dollar. I hope YNAB doesn’t mind a link to the article. A review on The Simple Dollar is how I first discovered YNAB!


    • christy

      I absolutely agree with you! We’ve made a big push in our family to focus on memories and experiences over material things. It’s made a lasting impression on our little girls and we’ve had a lot of fun in the process. :)

  8. Amy Lundberg Leone

    Well, we plan a “big” vacation every five years or so. Disneyland, Carnival Cruise, etc are going to be big vacations. You need those once in a while. The other years we plan based on what we can afford.

    • christy

      You do need those, for sure Amy! :) I’m grateful to have YNAB in our back pocket from now on as we plan for the bigger getaways. We already have a savings plan in place for our Disney trip next Thanksgiving, and it feels great!

  9. Lisa

    We tend to be frugal eaters on vacation, which is very weird. Like, we went to NYC over spring break with the kids and ate for far less than I expected. I budget $150/day for meals. Some days, we just grab some pastries and coffee for breakfast. Other days, we split sandwiches for lunch and then splurge on a snack in the afternoon. And since some hotels don’t have microwaves (and I don’t really want to eat leftovers on vacation anyway), we split dinner entrees, or just have appetizers for dinner. At Disney, two kids meals was enough food to feed one child with a very light appetite and two adults who were trying to watch their calorie intake. You can’t do that at sit-down restaurants, but you can at counter-service or food courts at your hotel. I often find a grocery store near the hotel and grab a case of water and some fruit, juice boxes, granola bars, etc, to reduce snack expenses too.

    • christy

      You’re totally right Lisa! With a little planning and forethought you can still be frugal even if you are “eating out” for every meal. That’s a great place to cut back while on vacation- even if we only pick one meal a day to be thrifty with, the days add up! :)

  10. Brian C

    This is our first big vacation since being on YNAB. In the past, we always allocated “savings” for vacation monthly, but because all our money was in one big pool…. it was never really there (depleted by overspending in other areas). The move to YNAB means the money is ACTUALLY IN MY ACCOUNT!!!!

    It’s been great because we funded our vacations months ago (a combination of our tax return and monthly allocation). This year, we took the approach of an “extra cushion” so we don’t have to worry about it while vacationing! (And we know we are lucky to be able to afford to approach it that way.)

    In terms of preventing overspending, we typically structure our vacations as inexpensively on the front end. We rent a house vs. a hotel, most of our activities are outdoors (hiking/biking) and we usually cook our meals. We do the “one big thing” (thanks to Melissa E. for helping me put the “Peak” concept around it) and that is usually the only big expensive item.

    Later this year, YNAB will be put to the test though. We are embarking on our first cruise. We shall see how our discipline works in that environment!

    • christy

      That’s amazing Brian! Sending you a virtual “fist bump”, my fellow YNAB newbie! It sounds like you really have a great handle on your vacation spending/budgeting. Please come back and let me know how the cruise experience goes! (Don’t forget your Dramamine! ;) )

  11. RebeccaJN

    On our last vacation (a car trip rather than a airplane trip) we brought a cooler with some condiments and frozen leftovers that could become meals with a microwave at hand, and some non-perishable foods from our own pantry that could be eaten in the hotel or on the road (bread, crackers, nuts, applesauce cups or pouches, canned sodas or juices). Then we stopped at the local grocery store at our destination for a few other necessities (milk, lunch meat) to keep in the refrigerator in the room. (If your hotel room doesn’t have a refrigerator, your can keep a few, less perishable things in a cooler with ice, but it’s more work.) I think we only ate out for maybe two meals during that vacation, and it saved us a bunch. Our food costs weren’t significantly higher than they would have been at home..

    Now this wouldn’t work for every vacation. We spent most of our time driving through a national park and taking short hikes, so we could carry what we needed in the car. With an airplane journey, you’d have to purchase everything at the destination, and be careful only to buy what you will actually use up, because anything not eaten would need to be abandoned. Theme parks would be much harder, too, especially those that don’t permit outside food. With those, you’re kind of stuck, at least during the day.

    • christy

      Great suggestions Rebecca!! That’s an area where I know we can make some cuts and yet still enjoy a nice meal from time to time. :)

  12. Kenneth

    I love these blogs and comments.
    All of you people are trying very hard to spend your money the way you want to – keeping in mind your important goals. I’m 64 and wish mightily that I had know about this stuff decades ago. But I didn’t, I spent like a drunken sailor, and I’m paying the price today. But last year I saved $60,000, about the same this year, and have one more year to go after this year. So I’ll come limping into an adequate retirement

    • christy

      Hi Kenneth!! Thank you so much for your kind words! I have so much respect for the amazing efforts you’ve made to get your finances on track. You’re an inspiration to all of us! I hope you’ll continue to stop by. :)

  13. Bri Allen

    My fiancee and I pull out the agreed amount of cash and just the that on our trip. It’s so easy to run away with amending even using a debit our credit card on vacation but having cash on hand makes it really easy for us to keep track of what we have left, and less likely to add on those extra purchases. This may not be practical for everyone, but it worked for us really well when we went to Hawaii last year. We even had money left!

    • christy

      Aloha Bri!! That’s a great way to stay accountable to our budget. Thank you for sharing your experience!!

  14. Donna

    I am so jealous of you all. Hopefully by this time next year (when we will be one year in to YNAB) I’ll finally be able to take a vacation.

    • christy

      I’m sending you love and lots of YNAB success, Donna! I know it will feel so good to take a well-deserved, hard earned vacation!

  15. Janet

    I have 8 kids at home, 13 and younger, so vacations take definite planning and budgeting, but most years we take one big trip and several smaller ones (3-4 days) to visit family. Two years ago, we went to Disneyland for a week and San Diego for a week. Last year, we spent 10 days in Yellowstone. I plan on doing the 2 week California one again in about 3 years. This year, we’ve just done back yard camping/staycation stuff because I am due in August and have had a rough pregnancy. Yellowstone is relatively easy to do cheap. We tent camp and pack the food. I can do food for only slightly more than our regular food budget using things like instant oatmeal, instant rice and chow mein from a can, stew from a can, smores every night, bagels, . . . The biggest expense is gas. You can stop at the lodge and buy a shower without staying there. We do lots of hiking (last year we did about 30 miles) and it’s a blast. We don’t buy souvenirs, but in the months prior, the kids are welcome to earn and save money to bring for stuff they want, but they rarely buy anything because it’s so much more expensive there.

    Disneyland/California is harder, but we rent a house, usually through vrbo.com and I take my crockpot. I throw dinner in each morning and we come back at night. We stop at a grocery store a few miles from the park the first night and buy what we need for the week. I cook eggs for breakfast, along with bagels, cereal, and fruit. Lunch is 2 loaves of bread, a jar of peanut butter, which I spread with a plastic knife in the park as we sit under the trees. We have water bottles, and I buy the little flavoring pouches as a treat. I usually also bring a bag of apples/oranges/baby carrots. I also buy junk food like fruit snacks, granola bars, and crackers that I normally don’t buy, so those are fillers. We never buy food in the park which saves a lot. For driving days, I budget fast food from the dollar menus. We also buy a pass to our local science museum for around $100 which gives us reciprocal privileges at other museums. Alternating those activities or beach days with more expensive disney days also helps and gives us time to relax. Disney days we are there when they open and leave at closing. :) The first time we went, each kid had a certain amount of money to spend on souvenirs. This last time, when they found something they liked, I took a picture and looked it up online and was usually able to order it cheaper and we didn’t have to haul it around. They knew if they didn’t choose something during our trip, they could pocket the money or order something online when we got home. Last time, we also took a nanny along. I spent a lot of time researching, but we did our vacation, for 14 days with 11 people for under $4000, plus 1/2 of my regular food budget for the month we were gone ($300). It is doable, just stick to the plan you make (based on the budget – 10% for surprises) and look for bargains.

    • Christy

      Janet- you are a rockstar! I’m so impressed with the efforts you make to ensure a fun, memorable vacation for your family- all while sticking to your budgetary goals. Thank you for the lists of helpful ways to save some pennies on vacation!

  16. Jon J.

    Thanks to YNAB having an amazing smartphone app with Cloudsync, “the budget” is likely in your pocket at all times — even on vacation. :-)

    I have been intrigued by the suggestion of having envelopes with cash labeled for each day of a vacation. If any money is left over at the end of each day, you put it into the next day’s envelope. This fascinates me because you could have a fancy last day (if you behave all of the other days) and still stay within budget.

    If you don’t want to carry a lot of cash around, the aforementioned YNAB smartphone app could serve the same purpose. You could make temporary categories called Vacation Day 1, Vacation Day 2, etc. and consolidate the categories when you get back home without the vacation spending hangover.

    • christy

      I love the app as well Jon! It’s become a bit of a security blanket for me. :) It’s great to know my budget is coming with me on our trip. I’m also intrigued by the cash idea! I’d love to hear back from those that give it a try this summer!

  17. Laura

    We’re still very young ynabers, so don’t have a heck of a lot of experience, but for our last vacation we made a list of everything we might like to do, where we’d like to eat (checked the online menus to help with price estimates) but then we didn’t really keep track on the go. We’d say “well, we made an impromptu decision to go here, so we can’t do that other thing” and it sort of evened out.
    THAT was just a week or so over Xmas though in the same country – we have a 3 week vacation coming up in America (from wee little New Zealand) coming up that I’m really struggling to budget for since its dealing with about 10x the normal amount of money, and different currencies (plus the concept of taxis which is foreign to us) so we’ve been doing tonnes of research online about tips and company reviews from locals, and prices from companies websites.
    Really loving everyone’s ideas here though :)

    • christy

      Hi Laura! Trips overseas can be extremely overwhelming to the wallet, for sure! (Remind me to tell you about my trip to Italy and how I had to hurriedly call my husband from our hotel to transfer more money into my account! Definitely wish I would’ve been using YNAB then!)

      It’s sounds like you’re already ahead of the game by researching and preparing for the changes that will hit your bank account once you’re here in the U.S. I hope you’ll come back and share your experience vacationing in America!

  18. Stepan

    Hi Christy,

    I dont have kids, so planning vacation for me in YNAB may be easier (more like only cheaper :D ).

    Anyways, vacation for me are a wishes/goals that YNAB helps me to achieve (as someone else has for paying off mortgage, etc.) So from the start i have set a goal to have at least one summer vacation (beaches), one winter vacation (skiing), and one sightseeing trip (towns etc during prolonged weekend).

    What i have then done is create master category Vacations, with subcategories to 3 vacations i wanted to have during a year (summer, winter, trips) and assigned maximum amount of money i wanted to spend for year divided by 12 months.

    First year of YNAB i have realized that i cannot afford both summer and winter vacation so i had to skip the winter one, but i went to summer vacation and London trip. Next year i got a pay-rise and suddenly could shift some more money to winter vacation as well :).

    What also works for me is to have two subcategories for each vacation, one called “vacation spending”. This is because usually long term planned vacation i pay months ahead, and then wan to save each other week for next year vacation. While other “vacation expanses” that come during the vacation itself i put into separate “vacation spending”. Food, gifts, treat everything. That way it does not mess my normal habitual budget.

    In some post above i have seen someone having specific subcategories for your vacation. I have played with the same idea but came to a conclusion that then you are trying too much to project/forecast what you will do on your vacation. When you have just vacation spending category, it does not matter, its up to you if you wanna go for good restaurant, or buy Disneyland this and that, you know how much you can spend in the total. This helped me a lot in making the budget easier.

    • Christy

      This is great Stepan! I love that you played with different strategies until you found the savings plan that worked best for you. :)

  19. Kurt

    I have rolled with some punches occasionally on vacation, but it is usually every dollar gets a job. But first, several talking points. I should be noted that I am 62 years old and recently retired, so travel expenses are going to increase. This is what I have learned over the last 40 years.

    1. Vacations are extremely important to our family, and my mental health. They need to be taken. I worked a very stressful and rewarding job for 35 years, and vacation and my supportive family has allowed me to do this. I think it is an investment in your marriage, family and mental health. I have always considered it a priority worth budgeting. It is a mistake to not take vacations.

    2. Although all vacations do cost money, the reward of the vacation is NOT linked to what you spend on it. My vacations have ranged from wilderness canoe trips to the Minnesota Canadian Boundary waters which costs a few hundred dollars (if we outfit ourselves), cross country camping trips when our kids were at home, our van pulling a pop up camper which we wore out, as well as the more extravagant and routine trips to Disney World. Often, the cheaper camping trips gave us more value in family time–no TV’s–the family has to interact. Recently, we have budgeted more extravagant travel–an African photo safari for example. But simple is often better.

    3. Many vacation opportunities can be prepaid in advance, with no need for add on expenses. Think of prepaid tours, dude ranches, etc. You know where you stand because it is prepaid–with little or no need for extra expenses.

    4. Planning is important. You will get more value if you treat your time as you do your money. Choose vacations that help you learn and grow. Get value for your time as well as your money, and it will often cost you less money. Which is more important–new furniture, or a great trip. And how do you want to spend your time.

    • Christy

      Kurt- I feel incredibly blessed to be benefitting from your years of vacation experience! Thank you for taking the time to share. There are so many kernels of wisdom in your comment! I especially loved “treat your time as you do your money.” So profound and so important!

      Also- do you have room for one more on your African Safari? What I lack in wilderness skills and lion taming, I make up for in campfire entertainment/S’more making. :)

      • Kurt Jorgensen

        The Africa trip was 4 years ago. It was a a tour in Tanzania through Elderhostel ( now called Road Scholar). It was a fantastic trip, sort of expensive, but almost totally prepaid upfront, with almost no add on expenses. I did need an extra chip for my camera, and the Tanzania visa was a crisp, new $100 bill, but this was told to us upfront.

  20. Liss

    We’re taking two big vacations this year – the first was our first family trip to Disney World back in April, and the second is two weeks at the beach coming up at the end of the month.

    For our Disney trip, I had the money sitting in the bank for (literally) YEARS, earmarked for exactly that trip, just waiting until I felt like we were ready to pull the trigger and go. And when I spent that money, I felt a huge pang of sadness that my Disney Account was almost empty – but a much bigger sense of freedom knowing that the money was doing exactly what we had planned for it to do. ZERO financial stress the entire trip as a result.

    For our beach trip, which we do annually, we know what it will cost and fund most of it throughout the year – lodging and tolls, additional gas money beyond what we spend in a ‘typical’ month, and some “extras” (a wild horse tour one year, for example). We also fund some of the additional dining expenses by rounding our vacation category up each month, but since we typically do two meals ourselves and eat out once a day or so, a lot of it comes from our standard grocery category. (If I’m making oatmeal and PBJ’s it doesn’t matter whether I’m doing it in my kitchen at home or at the beach!)

    The best part of vacation is knowing that since we’ve already paid for it, we aren’t coming home with that anxiety of wondering what the credit card bills will have to say when they arrive. They’ll say nothing, since they weren’t invited on the trip!

    [Full disclosure – we do USE our credit card when we travel, for security purposes, but I usually pay it off before we even come home.]

  21. hessi (@hessi)

    I’m using YNAB for over 1.5 years now, but after the first few months I started to relax a little bit about the rules – especially regarding the “Overspending Setting” per category.

    So what I’m effectively doing is borrowing money from my future self, by subtracting any overspending in a category from next month’s category balance instead of “Available to Budget”.

    Is it a problem? Not for me, no. Both my wife and I are aware that we’re doing it, we usually have about 10% of our monthly income left after we budget mandatory, important and nice-to-have budget categories, so depending on our track record of the past few months this money is either used to clean up overspent categories from the past or put into the Buffer.

    Getting back on topic:
    Vacation is the one category where I have no problem overspending – we’re big on taking independent, lightly-planned trips, usually to countries with foreign currencies, so having a fixed budget and staying within it is too much of a hassle for us, since we don’t even know what the exact amount of any bill is during the vacation (and YNAB does not support foreign currencies, at all…).

    And you know what? It works beautifully. We have so much money in the bank, an overspent budget of 2k on vacation (as it happens to be right now) is just not a big deal. Put another 500,- per month in for the next 4 months and we’re back to 0,-. Easy. And the bank account? It’s not even visible that a category is overspent by 2k.

    The more… conservative of you might consider this a slippery slope and avoid it at all cost, but I love the flexibility and would not want to give it away.


  22. Elodie C.

    We’re still in the trial of YNAB (prompted by a tight “Where did our money go?” month of June. We wanted to get away a bit, but didn’t have the cash even for a 1-night mini-vacation. So, we took a “micro vacay” and did a day trip to a state part we’d never seen. It’s primitive and protected, so everything was gorgeous. Our 3-hour hike was good exercise, too. We enjoyed our picnic lunch at the bottom of the hike at the natural spring-fed falls. Later, while watching kids jump off the cliffs at a popular swimming hole, we enjoyed a simple picnic supper. Park admissions totaled only $10. With gas, snacks, and everything, the whole day was <$50. …and every penny is tracked in YNAB. Next time we want to spend just a night somewhere, I bet we go for the day, instead. One night just doesn't get you that much more enjoyment/activities than a well-planned day.

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