Spending money on our passions – over budget in May

My mum has this saying, which is “It’s only money.” It’s her way of telling my dad that she is going to go on a shopping spree and there isn’t anything he can do about it…

I’m only half joking.

More seriously, my mum has a great attitude to money – she’s willing to put some of it aside for life’s savings, but she’s not going to wait until she’s retired to enjoy it either.

My mum and dad have worked hard to get where they are. They live comfortably in Australia now, even though they left Zimbabwe back in 1982 with only 200 Zimbabwean dollars between them. They worked on their careers, made smart investments, and now they can afford to enjoy what they’ve earned.

Mum and dad Port Arthur Double-Barrelled Travel

My mum and dad in Port Arthur, Tasmania, earlier this year

Trolls criticising our lifestyle

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this post about being a digital nomad and someone posted a snarky comment at the bottom, telling us that our life is unsustainable.

J West Hardin said:

“Honestly Carmen, the catch-phrase ‘digital nomadism’ sounds more like working a gap year, extending a youthful fantasy or self-funding an extended vacation rather than anything remotely resembling ‘nomadic’. I’ll give you ‘the nod’ as a true traveller when you get back to me in five years and report back that you’re still living out of a suitcase somewhere.”

Nusa Lembongan sunset Double-Barrelled Travel

Whatever, J West Hardin… I bet your days don’t look like this

I know internet trolls shouldn’t upset me, but this one struck a chord. Dave and I have made this way of living our life in the past two years. We do consider ourselves as ‘true travellers’ – although what is a ‘true traveller’ anyway?

And the truth is that we’ve managed to save much more since we began travelling than we did when we were renting a small flat in London and had bills to pay.

Thankfully, other people commented to the same regard, and one guy who’s been nomadic for TEN years even put his two cents in, which was great.

A beautiful beach on Nusa Lembongan, where we spent some time this month

A beautiful beach on Nusa Lembongan, where we spent some time this month

Spending money like my mum

We might save money as we travel, but we still want to get the most out of travels. That’s why, when Dave and I decided to hit Nusa Lembongan for a week’s trip full of scuba diving, we decided to splurge.

We would go over our budget. We would spend the money on scuba diving. We would live like my mum and say, “It’s only money!”

Because although it’s smart to have savings, it’s not so smart to be so frugal that you forget to live.

Spend money on experiences, not things, and you will have a rewarding life.

Peaceful scene Nusa Lembongan Double-Barrelled Travel

I choose to spend my money on places where I can enjoy these kinds of views…

Over our budget on Nusa Lembongan – a picturesque island

Dave and I cut costs on Nusa Lembongan by staying in a cheap homestay. Our accommodations didn’t matter as we only went back to the room to sleep, and we were still paying our rent on our villa back in Ubud, so we wanted our stay to be as low cost as possible.

We spent our days scuba diving in the clear waters around Nusa Lembongan. We met a great bunch of people and Lauren, our new-found friend from the UK, came to visit us in Ubud the following week and then met up with us again when we went to Lombok.

We didn’t work very much and instead we decided to take a break and spend some time together. This might sound ridiculous, seeing as we are together all the time, but in Ubud we were often around friends and we wanted some alone time.

We spent time together as a couple, zooming around on our scooter all over the island, sipping cocktails on the beach and watching movies at the outdoor cinema.

It was perfect. Did we blow our budget? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes!

Scooter Nusa Lembongan Double-Barrelled Travel

Dave escorting me around the island on a scooter so I can take photos…

Other splurges last month

Even though we’ve only been away from Australia a few months since our last visit, most of our clothes seem to have holes in them, or stains on them. (Dave is a messy eater…)

We decided to do a little bit of shopping and we picked up some new clothes while we were living in Ubud.

We also have become a little bit obsessed with the massages in Bali, and find ourselves getting them once or twice a week. And I’ve been getting my nails done frequently too – bliss!

I also decided to do a series of treatment with the naturopath which I really enjoyed.

Seaweed drying Nusa Lembongan Double-Barrelled Travel

A house on Nusa Lembongan, with seaweed drying out the front. Seaweed is one of the main incomes of this area.

Not feeling guilty about spending money

So we went over our budget, but so what? We enjoyed every moment of it.

What do you decide to spend your money on as a splurge?

Nusa Lembongan beach bar Double-Barrelled Travel

Feeling relaxed on Nusa Lembongan

Travel budget in May (AUS dollars)

Transport (buses, ferries and taxis) $213.00
Accommodation $1,279.00
Eating out $1,237.01
Groceries $244.12
Alcohol $154.69
Entertainment $76.03
Tips $1.01
Toiletries $45.32
Laundry $31.02
Gas $14.45
Diving $621.91
Naturopath $70.50
Bank fees $30.00
Other* $648.69
Total $4,666.75

 *Other includes: Massages, beautician appointments, a gift for a friend, new clothes, phone credit, gym membership, extending our visas and a new lens filter for my camera.

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

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