My husband, a Navy Submariner, is deployed. On submarines, communication is extremely limited — no phone calls, IM’s or Skype sessions. We get email, but we go weeks, even months, without it. But there is one upside – port calls!
In the past, I would fly out to meet him in port, and charge up a storm to get there. This time, I made a goal that if the chance arose, I would be prepared, pay in cash and not touch my savings.
How I Did It
When he left, I:
- Shrank the grocery bill and shopped in my pantry.
- Ate out less, and split meals with friends.
- Grouped errands together to save gas.
- Read books when I was bored instead of shopping.
- Worked longer hours so I could go home for lunch.
With only one person home, these small changes added up fast!
Soon I learned he would port in Singapore. I cringed. Singapore is expensive!
I researched tickets, studied exchange rates, read about cheap/free things to do and sought advice on prices for everything.
When ticket prices dropped, I bought them straight from the checking account. Then I bought travel insurance that covered military cancellations. If there is one thing you learn in the Navy, it’s that the schedule is written in the sand, and the tide is coming in fast! I wanted to be covered in the event of a change.
The next big purchase was the hotel. I watched every day, and when prices dropped, I paid in full, saving me $220 per night! I chose carefully – free Internet, breakfast and drinks in the room, none of which is common there. It was also strategically located by the transit system, the cheapest way to travel.
Then it was budget crunch time. Meals, drinks and events are all more expensive in Singapore. And, I wanted to be able to shop for unique items.
For the first time, I successfully used the envelope system! Every time there was money leftover, I put it in a jar. Two days before the trip, I took the jar to the bank and had $250 for traveler’s checks!
A Great Trip Plus…
Some may think this is too extravagant of a trip. But to see my husband, touch his face and talk to him, it’s worth every penny. To do it all with cash, stick to a budget and come home with wonderful memories and leftover money too? That is icing on the cake!
I should be clear – I’m not a mom, unless two big black dogs count. I read MoneySavingMom because the advice is practical, and the stories are motivating. Someday, I hope to be a mom. For now, it’s just me and the dogs, waiting on our sailor to come home safe! ~Kristen McDonald
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