Monday, April 18, 2011

To Halifax, With Love

John and Kate minus all the effing children!

I’m not gonna lie to you, like a drunk sorority girl at a fraternity party, I was out of control (with my spending this week). On Wednesday, I headed east to the Halifax (aka Hali, or HFX) for a business trip, followed by a weekend of local beer and seafood – and it was freaking delicious.  Hate to say it, but I strayed far from the budget in a few ways so I think it would be best to go over the reasons for my financial fudge-up in order for you to learn from my mistakes.
The beginning of my financial demise is that I had been depriving myself of shopping and spending on me for far too long, which leads me to my first point – everyone breaks at one point or another. Like a fat kid deprived of candy for a few hours, as soon as I saw that sweet temptation, I filled my hands with the sweet sweet satisfaction of shopping. Can you believe that it has been since the end of October since I bought myself ANY clothing? Now, those of you who know me, know that I am the kind of guy who has a lot of clothes; perhaps too many. I’ve taken the time to count up some of the numbers just so you can understand how unnecessary it is for me to go shopping. I have:

20 Dress shirts
18 pairs of pants
20 pairs of shorts (including gym shorts)
9 scarves
15 jackets
14 non dressy button-up shirts
5 sport jackets
6 hoodies (or bunnyhugs for all you Saskatchewanians)
80 shirts (sweaters and cardigans included)
Oodles of underpants
Stacks of socks
Piles of Pajamas
Bundles of belts
Too many ties
And the list goes on

So as you can see, I really don’t need to buy anything else for myself as far as clothing is concerned, but I have been depriving myself of the rush of how good it feels to put on and buy a new piece of clothing. This is where I have run into a problem. For 6 months, I have been away from shopping malls and clothing stores for month because I know that if I remove the temptation, I won’t be tempted, however by not ever treating myself, when the temptation is there, I am shopping as if everything is 90% off!

The second factor in my overspending evaluation was being on travel status with work. Admittedly, I am new to this whole travelling with an expense account process and since I was allowed almost $90 per day (whoo!) to spend on meals and incidentals compared to my usual $120 for an entire week of living, so I quickly got used to spending like one of those insane couponers on TLC. I was right back into eating out, drinking too much, and buying any odd thing that I “needed” because I knew it was covered (very much like those crazy couponing ba$tards). This spendy spenderson mentality seemed to stay with me after I was off my work travel status and into my personal weekend of fun! I kept spending as if it was all covered by some magic money wand that would automagically fill my wallet with cash. The problem was that every morning when I opened my wallet, that $100, $200, or even $300 that I had in it, disappeared. Had my money turned into food, and my wallet Rita MacNeil’s mouth?

Donairs in Halifax are EPIC!
Alcohol is my worst friend when it comes to making logical spending decisions and believe you-me I drank a lot more of it than I usually do while I was in Halifax! With every great meal, you need to have a great glass of wine (I tell myself that it brings out the flavour). See Alcohol is happy to point out that the server is hot and they deserve a 20% tip for being hot, or that cab driver let you bring a leaking donair into the back of his cab, so he deserves a $10 bill for a $5 cab fare, or sure I can spend more money on booze, that’s why I took it out of my bank account, right? Oh Al, you get me every time!

So what does that translate into dollar amounts John? Well, let’s see, without factoring in my meals and incidentals:


$50 for swim trunks from American Apparel

Fancy new clothes from H&M ($36 for the shirt and cardi)
Did you know that employees at the Halifax American Apparel are actually helpful and not pretentious d-bags? I didn’t know that was possible. Usually you get eye rolls for asking for something on the top shelf. And why swim trunks you ask, well I wanted to go swimming in my hotel, and of course when I did, I lost a contact lens and there were annoying children in the pool who never actually swam, but preferred to throw a ball around my head while I was trying to relax in the hot tub.

$20 for a case of beer (to share with my friend, and an attempt at trying to get people to want to hang out with me in my hotel room (I ended up drinking 4 on my own – sad face).

Friday (gotta get down on Friday since everyone is looking forward to the weekend):

$244 at H&M. Now to my credit I made out very well; with this money I bought 1 pair of pants, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 cardigan, 4 t-shirts, and 15 pairs of socks.
$50 on supper – but it was the best duck confit and pizza I can remember having in the past forever.
My awesome owl art print!!! 
$30 to see Hey Rosetta!
I was so drunk I didn’t realize that they were on stage and then ended up meeting the bass player at another bar afterward – so ridiculous.
$75 on beers throughout the night
$5 for the best donair I ever ate
$10 for a drunk taxi ride home


$40 for yummy in my tummy food at the Market.
$15 for an art print of a kicka$$ owl!
$15 for more beers to go with my amazing supper made by the loveliest hostess ever - Kate.

For a grand total of: $554 on a really fun trip. Obviously I need to learn to get a little better with my money when I’m travelling or only take out a limited amount of cash when I’m hammered, but honestly, I feel like I needed to reward myself for all the hard work I have been doing. It doesn’t look like I am going to be getting wooden Catan soon, but I have learned a valuable lesson for when I travel – make a plan and stick to it! If you’re ever planning on going to Halifax, I highly recommend going – the people, scenery, and food are all marvelous!

1 comment:

  1. Hey John, has the spending while you were travelling made it easier to spend less while at home? Everyone must go off the wagon at one point, and you might as well get it all out at once! You need to find what works for you, a little at a time, or all at once in one big shebang!