I am one of the few lucky one(or maybe smart is the right word) that planned for this trip, almost to the penny. That is, despite all the temptations of Sin City, I was able to deflect any damage to my budget by simply being organized and having planned my vacation budget beforehand.
But like I mentioned, this is Las Vegas and there is so much to do, see and dine that your plans may not go as planned when on the ground (or more precisely, the strip!)
That is almost what happened! I still stuck to my budget, but it didn’t go perfectly as I had planned it. In other words, although I didn’t spend more than what I had budgeted, I ended up spending money on things I didn’t plan to buy and vise versa. If you have been to Vegas, you know how it goes: you see so many things that you like, and given the environment, you end up getting these things and not worrying about money. It is like when in Vegas, it is OK to spend your money on anything that you see and like. That is some some clever marketing by the city and its casinos.
In my case and the three family members that were with me, we tried to stick to the plan. For example, we had already bought tickets to the show ‘Mystère by Cirque du Soleil before we even got to Vegas, but while there, we came across other shows that we really wanted to see. But with 4 of us, it would cost us anywhere from $300-400 to watch even one extra show. That is a lot of money and could have easily taken a big chunk from our vacation budget.
One obvious mistake we did-not me personally but the family members with me on the trip-was to shop in Vegas, and in more than one mall. Most of the items that we purchased are available locally and even cheaper in most cases. Yet for some reason we thought shopping in Vegas is cool enough and worth the price.
As for dinning out, we went all out sometimes and refused to just go for the cheapest options, and that cost us a fortune at times. But overall, we balanced it pretty well. At the end of the day, it is a vacation and one of the ways to enjoy it is to eat at some nice and upscale restaurants that offer exceptional food and settings. It is part of the overall experience. You just can’t experience the beauty of Las Vegas without trying some of its exceptional and signature restaurants. But if you don’t care about this aspect of your vacation, then you can settle for the more affordable fast food options.
This is not to suggest that you should be cheap while on vacation. To the contrary, you should spend and enjoy your time, after all, it is your escape from the routine of everyday life. But as per our ‘principles of successful budgeting and finances’, being efficient and organized with your money is different from being cheap!
By the end of this trip, I unpacked my stuff and collecting all my leftover money. Lucky for me, and thanks to my ability to spend an insignificant amount on casinos, I actually had some money left. This is money I will be able to transfer to my savings or pay some bills.
Last, I believe it is important to mention how I saved for this trip: I basically employed most of the points from an earlier article I had written about ‘how to save for large purposes’ as well as from this about the same concept.
This was an unbelievable vacation, and although it was my first time visiting Las Vegas, it certainly won’t be my last. And now that I got familiar with the city, its hotels, restaurants, shows and other venues, I will be even more efficient with my vacation budget the next time I visit Sin City.