Budget May Day

· by dusty · budget


So May was our last month on the road in South America. We spent the first week in Iguazu, then the next week in Asuncion, Paraguay, then headed back to the States to visit our friends in West Palm Beach, then on to Miami Beach for my little sister’s wedding, then finally home to Cincinnati. What an interesting month! How was it financially?

Category Budget Actual Difference Notes
Transportation 300 256 44 buses and taxis and ferries and planes
Rent 800 315 485 hostels and an apartment
Misc 225 904 (679) coats, clothing and hats
Activities 200 301 (101) lots of fun
Food 560 612 (52) food and dining
Allowance 160 200 (40) coffee and beer
Health 380 646 (266) health and travel insurance
TOTAL 2625 3215 (590)

Over budget by $590

Ok, over budget again. Looks like our budget wasn’t quite realistic, considering we were only under the first two months, then over budget the next 6. But, that is OK, you just tweak it as you go. We think of the budget as more of a recommendation.

In this case, we kept everything as it was to see how close we could come to our original guess. Although we were consistently over budget, we weren’t that far off from our original guess. BTW – this guess was with zero South American travel experience, and basically winging it.

Lets break down the interesting parts of May.


Transportation was a good month for us, staying under budget. The main reason for this is that we didn’t do a whole lot of traveling in May. We were only in Paraguay for 2 weeks and then back to the states. We flew to Miami and then to Dayton, however, we paid for those flights last month. We took a couple busses, a couple trains in Miami, had to pay for bags on Delta, then had to buy some expensive gas for our car at home. Overall, transportation was one of our better months in a while.


Rent was a fantastic month for the budget. We had a few hotels and hostels in Paraguay, then it was FREE the rest of the month. How lucky!! We got to West Palm Beach and our friends let us stay in their spare bedroom for the week. Then we went to Miami for the beach wedding and my parents were kind enough to let us stay in their extra room in their condo. Then, when we got home to Cincinnati, my parents were kind again to let us stay in a spare bedroom in their house free of charge. With all these generous freebies, we rocked the rent category.


Misc was way over budget, at $905 for the month! Ouch. Wendy recently posted about our Re-entry Dilemma and part of that was the fact that we wanted new clothes. We had been wearing the same few items of clothing for the last 8 months and we were sick of it. So, we went to Old Navy and some other department stores and basically replaced our entire wardrobe for about $500. Then we spent another couple hundred buying some nicer clothes and shoes for the wedding.

Overall, most of that $900 was clothes. We could have kept some clothes in someone’s storage at home, but we decided to sell everything before we left. Glad we did though, because its nice having new clothes and we both went down a size, so we needed it anyway!


After 8 months+ our teeth were not as pretty as my sister’s, so we both hit the dentist as soon as we got home. Since we have high deductible HSA accounts and no Dental insurance, we pay that out of pocket. A few hundred bucks added to the typical health month. You think that is bad? Wait till you see our Dental bill for June. :)


Overall, we didn’t do so bad for the Month of May. The wardrobe replacements hurt us, but the free rent helped. We increased our allowance when we got back to the States since we will be apart a little more than in South America. In Miami food was a little more expensive than we were used to, so that was a little over as well.

On that note, in case you are wondering, we are going to keep tracking everything in the US so we can compare our costs. We have already adjusted our budget to something we think will work for us here and allow us to save a little for the next adventure. In addition, we are going to try really hard to keep our costs low in the US, using some things we learned on our trip such as sharing meals.

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