No, not that kind of fast. I’m going on a spending fast.
The hubs and I are pretty fortunate in that we’re comfortable financially. Two full-time jobs and no kidlets will do that for you. However, my biggest financial downfall is that I haven’t really had a savings account since I depleted it my first six months living in New York City. (Working for literal beans while living in the most expensive city will do that for you.)
It’s not even like I spend money like it’s going out of style. I hardly ever go shopping (maybe once every month or two, with the occasional Target trip sprinkled here and there). But the fact is that I know I’m spending money I don’t need to spend.
For example, I used to bring my lunch to work every day. When I started making a real person salary, I let myself go out on Fridays. But since starting the new job, I think I’ve brought my lunch maybe twice.
Lunch out isn’t expensive when you look at it on an daily basis, but lawdy folks, when you total up a month’s worth of lunches, it adds up mighty quick. Plus, I’ve been going out for coffee or tea way too much. It has to stop.
So the new rule is that Friday is the only day I’m allowed to eat lunch I didn’t pack for myself. (And for all of January, I’m bringing lunch every day.) And I’ve stocked up on chai teabags in one of my drawers at work, so that will solve THAT dilemma.
Additionally, I’m not making any unnecessary purchases at least until Iceland. (Necessary purchases include gas, groceries, and paying bills.) The only exception I’m thinking about allowing myself is to get my Iceland boots because I do genuinely need snow boots, and I’m worried if I wait until February to order they won’t arrive in time. AND I AM NOT PAYING FOR EXPEDITED SHIPPING BECAUSE THAT WOULD NEGATE THE ENTIRE PURPOSE OF SAVING.
All of these leads up to my bigger, year-long goal of paying off all of my credit card debt. I don’t have a lot, but the bit I do have still nags at me. The only thing I plan on having left by this summer is my car payment.
So while I might have to be a total fun-suck for the next few months (in that I won’t be making dinner plans out on the town) this time next year, I will be (mostly) debt-free AND have a sizable savings account.
Is there anything more exciting than a spontaneous trip? I, for one, think not.
The hubs and I have attempted spontaneous travel only once before. We were on our honeymoon, and decided around 9:45 p.m. one night that we were going to go to Disney in Paris the next morning.
We. Were. Stoked. (Ok, I was stoked. The hubs was excited to “high-five French Mickey!”)
Our plans were, however, thwarted in the worst way when we both started vomiting uncontrollably around 4 a.m. the next morning. Ahhh, food poisoning. The ultimate buzz kill. (And, as I’m sure you can imagine, also not that helpful on the romance front.)
So when we discovered we both had a 3-day weekend ahead of us and made the decision to head out to Boston on a whim, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to improve our spontaneous trip record.
First, reservations had to be made.
I started with the hotel. My primary vacation sites are Travelzoo and Orbitz (well, and my friend and former bridesmaid Megan). We booked Iceland through Travelzoo and our honeymoon through Orbitz. When TZ didn’t have any deals for the weekend, I hit up Orbitz for deals.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you since I can’t even cut my own bangs without getting your opinion, but I am a HUGE believer in the comments section of review sites. So after I had narrowed down our hotel selection to about three places based on price, I scoured through about a half-dozen pages of comments to determine which place would be best for our stay. (Seriously, I live and die by what people post.)
What I was looking for: inexpensive without feeling cheap, excellent location (meaning we could walk to just about everywhere we wanted to go).
The winner? Club Quarters in Boston. Three words: location, location, location. The rooms themselves weren’t anything to write home about (though they were spotlessly clean), but the hotel completely made up for that fact by being no more than a 10-minute walk from every major site in the city. Plus, the price was extremely reasonable, the staff was helpful, and the area felt super safe.
Next, I needed to lock down our dinner spots.
Can I admit something to you? I put a lot of pressure on nice meals out. Especially when I pick the restaurant. I want a trendy/chic atmosphere, delicious food, helpful/friendly waiters, and an all-around good time. And I don’t mind paying a little bit more if the overall experience is worth it.
And because this was going to be our first real vacation since our honeymoon, I wanted two nice dinners out.
So in true me fashion, I turned to Yelp. When I tell you that I spent the better part of three hours researching restaurants, I just need you to believe me that I am not exaggerating. If anything, I’m low-balling that number. (I’m a research nerd. You knew this.)
After a few preliminary searches, I decided we needed one good Italian place and one good seafood place. Two spots stood out.
First, Taranta. Nearly all of the reviews were positive, it was centrally located, and the photos depicted a restaurant with the right mix of swank and coziness. Plus, it was one of the few places with reservations open on New Year’s Eve. Sold.
So how did it do? It was pretty much everything I wanted and more. Joey and I both had lobster ravioli. (I know, if we were smart we would each get something different so we could try more things, but the fact is that we both love lobster ravioli. It happened. We don’t regret anything.) It was really, really delicious.
Our waitress was also really nice and helpful (although she did have crazy eyes…it didn’t affect the service). The only weird thing was that our meals came out literally five minutes after we ordered them, which sped the whole dinner up a lot. I wouldn’t have minded lounging around a bit longer. Overall, I would go back and I would definitely recommend it.
For the second night, I was determined to have some really good seafood. It’s our favorite food genre, and our standards are fairly exacting. Yelp pointed me in the direction of Island Creek Oyster Bar. (For realz, check out their website. It’s really cool. All their stationery is in that style. Reminded me of something you would see at a hipster wedding.)(What, you don’t see trendy paper goods and instantly translate it into wedding stationery?)
The food was awesome. We ordered a half dozen of the Island Creek signature and a half dozen Hama Hama oysters from Washington, clam chowder (the biscuits they threw on top made it), a lobster roll (delicious), and lobster roe noodles, which are house-made noodles blended with lobster eggs and topped with braised short rim, grilled lobster, mushrooms and pea greens (sounds crazy, but was seriously amazing). I also had a piece of the lemon poppy seed cake, although if I did it all again I would have skipped the cake and just ordered another champagne cocktail.
Our waiter here was actually everything I like to have in a server. He was friendly, attentive without being obnoxious, joked around with us, and made helpful, specific suggestions for just about everything. Plus, he kept our water glasses filled. I like that.
In general, the place was great. A bit pricey, but you don’t walk out feeling like you wasted your money.
We spent the rest of our trip walking around downtown, strolling Quincy Market and the harbor, napping, eating a really good brunch at The Pour House on Monday, and touring the Samuel Adams Brewery (yay, free beer!).
The best part? We were home roughly four hours after we left the city.
So there you have it! A spontaneous, relaxing weekend trip. What’s your favorite quick trip? (I’m especially interested if you live in the tri-state area!)