How Can Three Weeks Overseas Help You Spend Less?

I’m overseas right now, and will be for two more weeks. My company has me here on a special project. I was able to bring my wife, so it’s been sort of a vacation for us. Luckily, my company picks up our hotel, my flight, and my meals. While my wife’s airfare was expensive, and were spending plenty of money on shopping and a few activities, I can’t help but look at the flip side and think of all the things we’re not spending money on back home. Here’s a quick list:

Summer Electric Bills – We set our automatic thermostats to 80 degrees so that our a/c wouldn’t kick in. We live in Texas, and so June is a very warm month. Just by us not being there and using the a/c we’re looking to not spend around $100 (I know…we have low energy bills…very efficient house).

Other Utility Bills – Not using our water and gas for three weeks will probably keep us from spending around $50 for this month.

Auto Fuel – June is peak travel time in the US. Gas prices are really high now…around $3/gallon where we live. Not getting to drive our cars means not having to fill the tank. Very nice! I estimate this is around $150 we’re not spending.

Dining Out – At home, we normally eat out about 3 or 4 times a week. We usually split meals, but still probably average $150 a week on dining out of the house (Yes, I know that’s a lot!). While here, we still have to pay for my wife’s meals (or at least the portion we don’t split) so we’ll end up spending around $50/week on dining out here. So, for the three weeks we will not have to spend $300 on dining out ($150-50 x 3 weeks).

Groceries – I estimate this is another $300 we’re not spending, as we usually spend somewhere around $400/month.

I think that’s about it. Did I miss anything?

Wow! That adds up to $900. I really didn’t realize it was so much that we were not having to spend. Considering my wife’s airfare was just a bit over this amount, this is quickly becoming the least expensive vacation we’ve every had. In fact, the longer we stay, the more we’ll actually not have to spend.

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About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon. He created this website back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence. He uses Personal Capital to track his wealth. All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. May I challenge you to chang your eating-out habits? I doubt anyone “has” to spend $150 a week on food outside of the home! How about cooking at home more, and later, starting a productive garden?