Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How much did it cost?

Now that we're back, and we know how much we actually spent (as opposed to what we had budgeted for) I can publish the finances for the trip. I've taken out some details - in particular the home running costs which vary for everyone (and in any case are none of your business thank you ;-) ). Before clicking on the link, which will bring you to a Google spreadsheet, there are a few things to note about how we organized the budget.

The first page of the spreadsheet is the most interesting one. The main section shows our predicted breakdown of costs by country and category. Then to the right there are the more sobering columns: actual expense and difference between it and the budgeted amount.

The bottom line? We spent EUR 58,400 (US$85,700/GBP46,800), not including costs of keeping things ticking over back home. It was 14% more than we had budgeted, but comfortably within our contingency plans (If we were to do it again, knowing what we know now, we could probably have come in on budget at 51k.)

Let's put this in perspective. For that same amount of money we could have bought:

  1. A second-hand 2007 5 Series BMW.
  2. Converted the attic (with sauna/gm) and landscaped the garden (complete with gnomes).
  3. 19 days in the Paris Ritz (not including breakfast).
I'm sure you can fill in other items - you get the picture. My point is this: it might seem like a lot of money, but that depends entirely on what you value. What you want to spend your money on. It represents accumulated years of savings for us, and the divesting of investments that might otherwise have been left in place. Some observers have made the assumption that we must be rolling in money, but that is definitely not the case. The decision to make this investment was a big one, but ultimately an easy one too.

Spreadsheet here.


Andrew said...

You didn't count the Telecoms costs - mobile internet etc. - or did you?

Brendan Lawlor said...

I was probably quite patchy about that. It got included sometimes but not always. But it wasn't a significant spend. We used Skype a lot, as well as Maxroam (with mixed results). But in any case, if there's another 200 euro to add on, that would be the limit.

Liz said...

Cheap at half the price! An invaluable experience for anyone to undertake. A brave move Brendan, but worth every penny I would say!

dathai said...

This is a useful artefact for anyone considering similar.

2 observations

1: Dividing by number of days and number of people you're in at about 60 euros per day per person which is good value for a day's food, lodging and entertainment

2: and this is a big one. The cost of the trip as such isn't what you spent it's more like what you spent over and above the regular cost of life. Food, transport and entertainment costs would have been run up had you stayed home as well. This cuts the overall figure significantly.

On the other hand earnings forsaken by going on holidays for this time could be taken into account but that puts no value on taking time off.

Anyway, the real resource is time and we all just spent the last eight months anyway. I reckon you got far better value out of them than most....

Brendan Lawlor said...

As insightful as ever Mr. French. I already felt good about the value we got - now I feel positively fabulous.