Thursday, 5 January 2012

How I did it - skiing that is...

Let's get straight to the crunch the cost of a Christmas Ski Spree. With flights, chalet accommodation with food, ski passes, ski hire, petit garcon ski lessons and his daily lunch then our lunch plus car parking, petrol and sundries - i.e. airport food at Innsbruck due to delayed plane departure (which was great - the food that is), my best friend Imodium (I suffer with unmentionables at altitude) the cost was £3,497.50.

The first thing I did was add up the actual cost where I knew it, which was most as even ski pass prices are fixed, and then add a forecast spend. having a total figure I broke it down by the months, weeks and days between the booking and the final payment date. I had to pay a 20% deposit immediately upon booking which I took off the total. I then set about tackling our household budget. I allocated income to spend and set aside the amount each month we needed to pay by the end of September. The time frame was 8 months.

Breaking down the amount into a daily amount meant Mr MDS lost his daily coffee habit as £2.50 helped bring down the £14.57 daily cost of the holiday. I also set a limit on Christmas present spending and did it gradually. Clothes spending was out although I did have enough money to get a few things from H&M. H&M is my current level when it comes to budget. I cannot afford anything else and I'm fine with that as I wouldn't swap the views and moments for anything.

 December 28th sat outside on a hotel terrace drinking hot chocolate in glorious mountain sunshine

Petit garcon enjoying his post race win celebratory ice cream on the hotel terrace

A monthly meal planner meant reduced spend on food, household items and wine all contributed to the funds. All my income went on the holiday minus my bills. I also started a declutter process which resulted in sales of Mr MDS's stuff sat in the garage. However he couldn't help himself but buy a Belstaff gilet. It was his only indulgence as we won't count his work suits and shirts, which were an absolute necessity and I did get two amazing suits from Paul Smith and Hugo Boss at knock down prices in the summer sales. In fairness I had repaired and repaired his previous suits before they were beyond redemption. I also updated his work mac which was an H&M purchase 3 years ago with new buttons from John Lewis.

We didn't need any ski gear as we had it all or could borrow from family. The petit garcon needed everything but apart from his ski jacket from John Lewis I managed to get the rest as his birthday presents in early December (handy) and off eBay or Ski Warehouse within budget.

The scrimping and saving meant no going out, no more weekly cinema excursions (the Ides of March was the hardest to resist) and plenty of book swaps with Vintage Vixen. I even saved all our change and went to the coin bank at Sainsbury and use it pay for groceries so I could allocate more food money to the holiday.

The benefits were the pleasure of saving up and this has really turned my spending habits around. We spent nothing for Christmas, no extra food in. We didn't buy each other any birthday or Christmas presents which was the wisest decision we made, not that we go mad but even a single spend of £50 saved is a good sum when you have other priorities.I did have a birthday lunch with birthday money and vouchers but again it was planned and had a fund allocated. Mr MDS is in August and a few days after his sister so he piggy backed off her 40th birthday celebration which was a lovely evening meal and then we had a his favourite a barbecue at home!

The holiday was such a joy all the effort and worry about whether it was the right thing to do was dispelled. My anxiety was based around the validity of spending money on a holiday when I had a credit card to pay off. My preference would have been to pay the card off first but I also didn't want to leave a ski trip any longer as we hadn't been for 6 years. I know the latter remark sounds dreadful given the hardships many families face but we are not  particularly well off, we really do just get by and if we weren't working then it wouldn't have even been a thought let alone a reality.

I found blogs like Frugal Queen hard core helpful and motivational when necessary. This year I will finally clear and cut up the credit card. The idea of using it any more fills me with revulsion. I'm sure I'm not alone in having one for emergencies but when I used to have a monthly even weekly emergency when I was doing my MA, the amount soon built up. To date I've been treading water with my credt card but this year it will finally be gone. My next plan of action is to clear all my clothes that have languished for years in my wardrobe and also sell the petit garcon's hardly worn ski items as he is a growing lad.

Equally I will continue to supplement my income with my part time Stella & Dot work. If any one would like a trunk show then email me or phone me - my details are on my Stella & Dot webpage!

Whatever you want to achieve you can do it!


  1. Brilliant post, Kate!
    I often get met by sarcasm when we mention we're off on another long haul holiday but it's all down to priorities. You can't have it all but you can still live a good life by budgeting, cutting back and saving.
    One of my friends is a solicitor and has to have decent suits for work. I've re-educated him into visiting charity shops in the more well-heeled towns where he's picked up two Hugo Boss suits for £25 each. Even after taking them to a back street tailor for alterations has only hiked up the price by another £15 a suit.

  2. Vix - thank you, you have of course been a major inspiration. I agree about looking in charity shops. Mr MDS is a professional who needs suits and I am lucky that I have an eye for a good suit and know when to pounce!!

    I'm doing a big eBay sale of clothes I don't wear/haven't worn for 2 years or more it will make me weep at times but I must declutter and need to start my credit card attack.

  3. this is my favourite post ever!!! I am addicted to Frugal Queen. Found her via you. Excessive consumption in this economy is just wrong. Good for you re the trip!

  4. Utterly brilliant breaking it down to a daily cost - I'm the saddo who does it the other way - once I'm on holiday I get very annoyed if I feel like I'm wasting a second of it given how much each minute has cost me! I am all for cutting back - had a big clothes sort last year and discovered eBay - fantastic. The other thing of course is that memories mean so much more than things don't they - looks like you had a lovely time, we are off to Austria in Feb/March, can't wait x

  5. Hi my dear-it sounds like the holiday was so motivational and enjoyable and really made you realise your priorities and goals for this year-good luck on bringing down that credit card bill, I know you will do it! xx

  6. I definitely think a family holiday is worth so much more than loads of Christmas pressies that you don't want or need. You have inspired me to start saving for a special trip, thanks.

  7. I feel that I will have to take drastic measures to afford the New York trip my eldest daughter is insisting we take later this year, I just can't see it somehow!

  8. I feel really inspired by your post, its a great way to have a holiday and seriously identify ways to afford one by budgeting. Sometimes you don't realise the little things which adds up costs, like those pesky daily coffees. I've started to reduce my spending and taking lunches to work. I'd love to wake up one day and not be facing debt. xx


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