Martin warns that sometimes unexpected expenses can blow a budget.

This is my first year out of college. This is my first year with a job. This is my first year handling my finances for real in the real world. But this is not my first year not living at home.

While I was in college, I never noticed how much I traveled and how much I spent on traveling. This fall, as I got ready to start my “adult” life, I drew up a budget. I included all the obvious things (rent, food, etc.). One thing I neglected was traveling:

  • I grew up in Washington, D.C.
  • I went to college in New York City
  • My brother is attending college in Boston
  • My fiancee runs track, which means I stpend a good deal of my weekends on the road.

This fall was especially busy — I visited D.C. and Boston numerous times. I spent a ton of cash of traveling, despite taking the Greyhound bus everywhere. Family is important to my fiancee and me. It’s difficult to make the choice not to see family. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit hers. Roundtrip airfare to Michigan (where she grew up) was prohibitively expensive ($350+ per person). I can’t rationalize spending $700+ dollars on a three-day visit.

This coming year we are going to have to plan our trips better and save money ahead of time to better budget our travel.

Each of us has recurring expenses that cost more than we think. There’s no way to be sure how we’re spending money unless we track every penny we spend. Only then can we draw up realistic budgets.

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