Blowing the budget

In January we went insanely over our budget. By more than $2,000 in fact. And what’s worse, if you add the cost of flights to that, it’s nearly $3,000 over budget. Ouch.

Unfortunately, January also coincided with a month that we didn’t make much money. Things were slow after Christmas and into the New Year. We decided to take some time off to make the most of travelling with my parents for two weeks in Tasmania, and then we spent another two weeks visiting friends in Sydney and Melbourne.

Redwood forest great ocean road Double-Barrelled Travel

Dave is dwawrfed near the Redwood Forest on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria

All of this cost money!

But we’ve had a wonderful time – a testament to this would be the $2,000 we spent on food (eating out) and alcohol in January alone.

Old news: Australia is an expensive place to travel

I feel as though I prattled on about this for quite a while in my last budget post, which is why I’ve decided to combine both January and February budget rundowns into this post together.

Travelling through Australia is still ridiculously expensive and nothing has changed on that front. (And I doubt it will any time soon.)

12 apostles ocean road Double-Barrelled Travel

The stunning 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria

Alcohol: I wish we didn’t drink

Our friend is a Bahá’í and doesn’t drink. We also have some Muslim friends who don’t drink either. It’s a discipline I certainly envy.

There’s no doubt Dave and I would be a few kilos lighter and our wallets a little heavier if we didn’t like our wine so much.

The upside of travelling for most of the year is that it’s difficult for us to entertain friends so often (something that we love to do) and therefore, difficult to drink as much as we usually do.

This went to pot recently as we entertained lots of friends we haven’t seen in years, and they invited us over in return.

There goes all the weight we lost travelling over the last few months – or should I say, there it came… right back on to our bellies.

Taste festival Tasmania Double-Barrelled Travel

Mum and I share a drink at the Taste Festival in Tasmania

Who looks after the finances in your relationship?

One thing Dave appreciates is that I know how to budget. True, when we first got together, I had a bursting wardrobe because I spent most of my money on clothes, but I always prided myself on my bargains and would scoff at those who bought designer items.

“What a waste of money,” I’d exclaim. “You could be an around the world ticket for the price of that handbag.”

And indeed, somehow I managed to save enough to keep travelling, mostly through Europe on my university breaks while also financing my ever expanding wardrobe.

Once, having recently returned from a trip, I bumped into an ex-boyfriend at the pub. After telling him about what I’d been up to, he replied, “Your parents pay for all your travel, don’t they?”

Boy, did I feel insulted! Unfortunately, because Dave and I have continued this travelling lifestyle, this is often a misconception many still have to this day.

But no, my parents don’t pay for our travel, not even when we’re travelling with them like we did earlier this year throughout Tasmania.

But in terms of budgeting – Dave leaves that part to me.

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Lawn library Sydney Double-Barrelled Travel

Dave relaxes at the Lawn Library – part of the Sydney Festival

My dad taught me how to look after my money

Being an only child, my parents were fully aware that I could possibly grow up to be a spoilt brat, and they wanted me to avoid this characteristic at all costs. Dave might argue that they didn’t succeed 😉 but they did their darndest.

My dad never believed in handing me money just because I wanted it, but he made me work for it. This meant I had my first job at the age of 14 working at the corner deli for $5 an hour.

At the time, it annoyed me. Why’d I have to work up and save my money for months every time I wanted something, when all my friends got things simply by asking nicely?

But, like with most things about your parents that you reflect back on, it’s now something I’m grateful my dad did.

Not only did my dad’s discipline teach me how to earn money by working hard, it taught me how to budget and save.

And that – being able to budget our money – has been one of the reasons why Dave and I have been able to travel. So thanks Dad!

Koala great ocean road Double-Barrelled Travel

A koala in the wild along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria

Spending this year

Although we’ve thoroughly enjoyed being back in Perth – so much so that we’ve even considered staying at some points (!), we are really looking forward to getting back to a cheaper lifestyle.

Perth city at sunset Double-Barrelled Travel

Our beautiful home city of Perth

After reading this post from Travel with Bender on the cost of living in Ubud, I’m fairly confident that we can get by on $2,000 a month.

We just have to be frugal. The good news is that if we manage to stick to this budget, then we can save a bunch of money each month and continue to grow our savings.

We always knew that coming back to Australia was going to be an expensive time, and it’s certainly proved to be that. We just have to be spend-thrifty in the future to make up for the funds lost already this year.

Do you live in Australia? How much do you spend each year?

View from Barnbugle restaurant Tasmania Double-Barrelled Travel

One of the fancy restaurants we ate at in Tasmania at Barnbougle golf course

 Budget breakdown over the past two months

Travel budget in January (AUS dollars)
Public transport (buses and taxis) $259.80
Accommodation $980.98
Eating out $1436.89
Groceries $730.74
Alcohol $521.20
Entertainment $262.22
Tips $2.00
Toiletries $59.88
Laundry $2.00
Gas $146.26
Other* $839.50
Flights $875.90
Total without flights $5241.47
Total with flights $6117.37


Travel budget in February (AUS dollars)
Public transport (buses and taxis) $40.00
Accommodation $120.00
Eating out $690.05
Groceries $468.26
Alcohol $390.44
Entertainment $372.39
Toiletries $86.55
Gas $191.91
Other* $741.03
Total $3100.63
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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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