Hope you all are well and the weather isn’t too hot or cold wherever you might be in the world. Today I’m taking you on a trip down memory lane. My junior year of university I took a trip Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with some of my girls. It was a nice little getaway from classes and boy problems and all of the other things 20 somethings deal with in college. I had a great time at the moment, but looking back I would file the trip under money mistakes. I was looking at my bank statement from two years ago and was shocked by my frivolous spending. While I’m sure many of us have been there when it comes to money mistakes, why not have a laugh at my $500 beach trip.
The Road was Bright Until…
So the night before the trip we get together with some other friends who are headed to NOLA. We’re all chilling, discussing meal options, outfits we picked out, what we plan to do with our hair, if we had even packed. You know, the typical spring break prep stuff. It was all fine and dandy. I was super excited about the trip. I hate all east coast beaches that aren’t in Florida, but it was girls trip. Something I could check off my college bucket list.
Then we get to the morning of the trip. Snacks and bags are packed. We got to pick up the homies riding along from the ATMs. Even though I’m not a fan of carrying cash, I decided I should pull out $20 to keep in my wallet just in case something happens. You hear wild spring break stories all the time, so it cannot hurt to carry a little cash. Well use arriving at ATMs and getting the others loaded is when the driver tells everyone to get $260 out to cover the room cost.
That’s when I go “whet” in my head. Because a month prior I paid $45 to secure my spot. So where is this extra $260 coming from? So me being me I ask. “ What was the $45 for then?” “Oh, that was just the deposit. The actual room cost is a little over a grand.” That’s when I realized my friends had poor money management skills.
Terrible Budgets Create Money Mistakes
You see, I’m the person who randomly creates trips and budgets I’ll likely never utilise. A flight from JFK to Milan for $320 in September. Let’s look at AirBnBs during that time of the year. Philly to Denver for $179 round trip, let’s get to skiing. So course I’ve looked at Groupon, and LivingSocial deals for Myrtle Beach. You know what I’ve seen, resorts very similar for ours for $45 a night ( They even have some right now on Groupon), even during peak season. We had a cute space with double beds, mini kitchen, balcony, and pullout sofa. Every standard for that area. No one with common sense should be paying full price to vacation on that crap beach. It became very clear that my companions lacked common sense.
I’m all for taking domestic trips and enjoying your home country especially if you live in Continental North America. There such geographical beauty to observe and a variety of cultures to take in, but I easily could’ve bought a ticket to Europe and partied with my friends studying abroad. My lodging would have been covered, and that was half the battle. I called myself being financially savvy with this trip but with one tiny piece of new information by budget double and it came back to bit me in the ass.
But I couldn’t be mad at anyone but myself. I didn’t do my due diligence and ask the right questions. I assumed my friends had done what most Millennials and college students do, try to save when and where they can. But nope. Ya girl was sadly mistaken. Some money mistakes can be avoided and this was one of them. If I could go back in time, I would’ve stayed in North Carolina or taken a trip to DC or even back home to Florida where the real beaches are(if you haven’t noticed, I was not impressed with the beach). The memories were nice and my pictures to stunt on the gram were fab, but I don’t see myself looking back in five or ten years and holding that trip near and dear to me, but you live, and you learn.
Not All Memories Are Priceless
Many times we are told “experiences are priceless” or “you can’t put a price tag on memories” but I’m here to tell you that is a lie. To put it into perspective, I spent nearly the same amount during my spring break to Disney as I did for this beach trip. Disney was definitely more exciting and memorable. That was a priceless memory for me. A few days at the beach, meh. Everyone is different. Our lived experiences influence what we deem to be priceless memories or one-off that could happen anytime. There are some moments such as your best friend’s wedding, the graduation of a sibling, your first time on a plane or dinner with a friend before they move across the country that are significant. Those are the moments I’d try not to put a price tag on, but there are some events like parties or dinners or trips that just happen and hold no greater meaning than being carefree or treating yourself.
Drake dropped The Motto six years ago. I think it’s safe to say we can collectively stop living the YOLO life when it comes to our finances and interactions with friend groups. You’ll never be an undergrad or grad student again, so some memories should be cherished. You should strive to bond with your cohort and build lifelong memories, but those memories shouldn’t always have an expensive price tag. Because unlike a stylish bag you may regret because did not meet your expectations, you cannot return your trip to sender.
I don’t know about you but I would rather have a bag or a Google Mini and realise I don’t like it, then get my coins back. Then to go on a trip or share an overpriced meal with family and friends and feel as if you wasted money and time for an experience. You can have moments anywhere. You can spend time and cultivate relationships without exuberant amounts of money being involved. What matters is the time you spent together. Those late night conversations I had with my friends pouring out our insecurities or laughing over the dishwasher flooding did not become more significant due to the cost of our lodging or food, but because we genuinely cared for one another. I know my bank account would have been happier if we had gone the Groupon route.
So before you book a trip or plan a spa day or go out to dinner just for the sake of doing so or to say you’ve had “X” experience, ask yourself if you’ll regret it. Ask yourself if you have it in your budget to do so. Ask questions in general before you sign up for something. Don’t make money mistakes because you think you’ll have FOMO. And if you have a friend how is on their financial freedom journey and they can’t make a certain trip or visit the latest rooftop bar, offer an alternative. Maybe a night in together or reading day at the park. Something as small as “after my trip, let’s have Saturday lunch at my place,” can make all the difference. It is the small acts of kindness that are priceless not the experiences.
Never feel guilty for putting a price on experiences or moments. We varied lived experiences influence what we deem valuable. At the end of the day, it is your money that is being spent. The great part of being an adult is that you own no one but yourself an apology as long as you’re spending your own money. If you’re like me and leave by the three Fs of life, you are ultimately responsible to no one but yourself. Relish in that agency and freedom.
Have you ever taken a trip you regret? Do you think all memories are priceless? Are you side eyeing more this money mistake? Drop me a line below.
Until Next Time,