I returned from my Labor Day 5-day weekend on Tuesday night, and I must say I’m happy I went. As I’d mentioned before I was meeting with two friends from college that I hadn’t seen in two years (or longer), and we were just going to be relaxing all weekend….with the highlight being a hike in the mountains (which I’d never done). I thought it’d be inexpensive and I really didn’t think I’d spend close to the $100 I was allowing myself ($140.79 was my actual budget), however, as you will see I spent a good amount of money. Mostly on food.

9/4 Starbucks $2.89 (oatmeal, breakfast at the airport)
9/4 Metro $2.25 (to meet my friend in the city)
9/4 Lunch at City 1 $9.90
9/4 Dinner at City 2 $10.33
9/4 Movie $9.25*
9/4 Kroger (breakfast & misc.) $7.48
Day 1 – $42.10

9/5 Moe’s $5.48 (lunch on the way to hike)
9/5 Local Brewery $13.00 after tip
Day 2 – $18.48

9/6 Panera bread $7.20
9/6 Science Museum $5.00
9/6 Walmart $3.25 (snacks for the hike)
Day 3 – $15.45

9/7 Panera bread $7.42 (lunch on the way to 2nd hike)
Day 4 – $7.42

9/8 Lunch back in City 1 $7.67
9/8 Metro $1.75 (from city to airport)
9/8 Starbucks $3.53 (at the airport…couldn’t find Ben & Jerry’s!)
Day 5 – $12.95

Total $96.40 ($44.39 under budget, $3.60 under my challenge!)

Cash remaining: $77.33

I ended up using my credit card for a few transactions so my “cash remaining” amount doesn’t quite match up with the amount by which I was under budget. I always thought having cash was good in social situations, however I have now learned the truth: having cash is only good in social situations when you have many bills of different denominations. A stack of $20’s will do you no good.

You’ll also notice we saw a movie. If I must say what we saw, it was “All about Steve”. For the record I DID NOT really want to see this movie, but not wanting to damper the good spirits of the group I went along with it. As expected it was TERRIBLE. Sorry Sandra Bullock, it sucked. Don’t watch it. You will have wasted a perfectly good $9, at the least. (*I must say that is the only expenditure I regret, lol.)

The hiking was….interesting. Ok, let me rephrase that. The hiking was nice, but I am terribly out of shape. It didn’t help the matter that I was hiking along with two runners who are currently training for marathons. The first hike was about 1.5 miles each way, and on the way up I was completely winded!! I was continually embarrassed about how I was slowing down the group. The second hike was 4.1 miles each way, and I was very nervous about it the days leading up to it, especially after my performance on the first one. I would’ve tried to chicken out, but I was so embarrassed about it that I quietly went along with the plan. Luckily, it was an easier hike (not as steep, less tree roots to trip over) and I did it! I think 8.2 miles is the most I’ve ever set off to walk at once! It “only” took us 3 hours, and about 1 hour of that was in the pouring rain. Definitely an experience to remember.

We also made dinner at my friend’s apartment 2 of those nights. The first night it was so good we decided to repeat the same exact dinner the following night. Needless to say I have a new recipe to add to my repertoire.

Sure, my weekend could’ve been cheaper had I opted for a cheaper dish here, or skipped a snack there, but I had a good time without completely indulging, and without obsessing about how much I was spending. I enjoyed some good company, had some interesting experiences, and came back rested (although still slightly sore from the hiking). Best of all, my friends are now talking about flying over to my hometown where I’ll get to play host! I can’t wait!