Why budgets will always hit a nerve

Why budgets will always hit a nerve
This horse does not care about budgets

People will always have an opinion when it comes to talking about money. How to make it, how to spend it, and whether something is "worth it".

I got into a debate in an Instagram reel (lol) about how much it costs to travel (from North America to Europe). The original poster said it cost her about $3500 for 2 weeks with a friend. I chimed in to say "that's accurate, and it cost me closer to $5000 as a solo traveller who stayed alone in hotels in Switzerland". I thought it was helpful to share a different side! And for some reason, the internet did not like that 😂

I had one random person with a protected account tell me that I was promoting "luxury travel" and that she's solo travelling Germany and her Airbnb only cost $500 for 2 weeks. Great! I'm happy for you. But don't label my experience as luxury 💀

Maybe I needed to preface every money-related thing with this:

  • I am a person who has worked in the tech industry
  • I am privileged (I have been able to save up)
  • I prefer to stay in hotels with a private bathroom
  • I prefer to eat out instead of cooking while I'm on holiday
  • I prefer direct flights with reserved seats as opposed to flights with connections/layovers/low-cost airlines
  • I prefer visiting European countries with higher standards of living where a beer costs $20

Also, note, I am flying to Europe from North America. Across an ocean. Of course it's going to cost more. If you're already living in Europe and you're taking a train to another European country, you can't tell me "oH bUt I oNlY speNd 10 Euros a dAy oN MY TRIP".

I live in the middle of nowhere where I cook all meals. I rarely eat out. So why would I do something I already do the rest of the 50 weeks a year? I need to give myself a break!

Missing connections and sitting in the middle seat of a 3-seater is not fun. I know my limits of wakefulness. I know lack of my ability to sleep on planes. I will pay money to avoid or mitigate the shittiness of that.

Budgets hit nerves because it is a comparison rabbit hole. People apply their biases, privileges, and circumstances to the conversation. People sometimes fish for compliments over how they've been able to "price hack" and be a "smart spender". But is spending $30 more a night for a hotel room going to harm your long-term financial position? Sure, it adds up. But at the end of the day, it's about what you value (to spend more) and what you're willing to put up with (to save).

I always cost out my travels. I spreadsheet everything down to the coffee I'll buy every day. And I add 25% for incidentals or things I didn't expect to come up. I spend more, and I do it responsibly. I set a limit and play within it.

Travel is a choice and privilege. It can be a luxury, depending on who you ask. And if you want my opinion and match my style of travel, it's going to cost the above. If you think I overspend, great! That's not going to change my choices. You can do it your way. No one dies in the end!