What happens when our carefully crafted plans get changed by someone else?
Next week I’ll be taking a vacation out to California. We’ll be going to a resort, and our group was to split the bill. I had budgeted for this trip and was careful to set aside the right amount of money. To me, it was reasonable to spend money on vacation, so I had no problem throwing down for our room.
The only problem is that I got an email on Monday saying that since one person couldn’t make it, the price of the room was going up for everyone else. It’s not a huge dollar amount, but it is a 33% increase over the original cost of the room.
This isn’t enough to make a significant difference in my plans, but let’s pretend it were. Let’s act like this is a $300 increase and suddenly this whole trip is getting expensive. What would be the best way to handle the situation?
I could cancel my trip because the added cost makes it not worth it. But I would also have to lose the money I spent on airfare, which is half the original cost. That doesn’t make sense. I want to go on this trip!
I could argue to my friends that since I carefully budgeted, I shouldn’t be held responsible for the additional costs. Do you think that will win me friends with the rest of the people going? Plus, it’s not fair to the rest of the group: they also planned for the trip and the extra money has to come from somewhere.
I could put it all on my credit card and worry about it later. Not a great plan because that’s how a lot of people get into debt. I want to be proactive, but how?
The only real solution is to plan for extra expenses when traveling. Last summer I traveled to Guatemala and Honduras. Airfare was just $300 and we spent about $3 a meal on food. I knew coming in it would be cheap, and I thought $200 for two weeks of vacation would great! What I didn’t account for was the cost of traveling. We tried to see a lot of cities so we spent about $150 just on traveling, so things got slightly more expensive. Since I was prepared to spend more, it wasn’t a big deal.
My rule of thumb is:
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst.
Readers, how do you account for unexpected expenses?
Image from Joe Schlabotnik