Living for TODAY, No/Low Buy Update, Positivity, Retirement Journey, Travel

July: A challenge update and a few unexpected surprises!

Photo by Maria Orlova on

It’s July 12th, and I’m well into my July savings challenge. As far as the everyday spending, I did well.

Here is my spending from July 1st – July 10th:

  • Groceries/Eating Out: $107.96
  • Road trips (excluding actual vacations): $169.01 (a trip to NY to visit my parents)
  • Gas: $0 (All gas was for our NY trip included above)
  • Vet/Dog Food: $0
  • Personal care/household. $37.00
  • Gifts: $17.02
  • Clothes: $0
  • OTC Meds: $16.00
  • Personal spending: $0

Total Spending: $346.99

My goal was to only spend $750 for the whole month, however certain circumstances and happy surprises have made me change this month’s challenge and pivot.

Here’s what happened in July (so far):

  1. My foot is still fractured: An MRI confirmed it. Okay, this wasn’t really a surprise, but I was a bit disheartened. The orthopaedic doctor said I had three options – 1. stay off foot and give it more time 2. try a stem treatment to stimulate growth in the bone for the low, low price of $2000, or 3. have surgery. (He didn’t sound confident in any of the choices, so I can tell you surgery will be the very last resort.) I’m seeking a second opinion and I will see where this leads before I make any decision. In the meantime? I liked option 1 the best, so I’m staying off my foot.
  2. My husband received a raise! This was quite unexpected, as he hasn’t had a raise in three years. It was a very welcome surprise. πŸ™‚
  3. We booked a trip to Italy! We were presented with an opportunity to take a ‘bucket list’ trip this September to Italy. The price was amazing, so we decided to go for it, foot issue and all. We booked a 9-night Mediterranean cruise. We will be spending two days in Barcelona, Spain before the cruise and two days in Rome, Italy after. My husband and I are thrilled to be able to go on this trip, something we’ve wanted to do for a very long time. (The extra money from my husband’s raise actually clinched the deal. πŸ˜‰ )
Photo by Piotr Arnoldes on

The trip itself was paid for from our vacation/travel account, which we’ve been building up for just such an occasion. Since we’ve never been to Europe, I want to purchase some extra travel items as well as some new clothes. This will most certainly put me over my savings challenge budget, which I am perfectly fine with. I still hope to reign in my normal expenses i.e. eating out, groceries, personal spending, etc. so that I can put away some extra spending money for the trip. I’ll do a follow up monthly spend at the end of the month. πŸ™‚

How was your week? Any suggestions for how to dress for Spain, France and Italy in September? Please share!

12 thoughts on “July: A challenge update and a few unexpected surprises!”

  1. Love that you’ve booked a European vacation! We did a Germany trip in 2001. Definitely ready to go back. Enjoy! I’ll be looking forward to photos.


  2. Looked at the cruise link and it looks amazing! I will keep my fingers crossed your foot improves. Are you doing bed exercises? I do a series of leg exercises and chairs exercises with weight s for my arms daily, It helps while I can’t walk that much. Do you do any travel hacking for your flights or hotel rooms? The Hilton Honors Surpass credit card has 130,000 bonus . They got the card to me in five days and a customer service rep said charge and pay the bill before the end of the month ( 25 th in June) and I would have the points to book my rooms . So you would need to jump on it quickly. Till December 2023 I have Gold Status with amazing benefits. Another 8,000 points were credited yesterday.
    Preparing for a spring Europe trip I just applied for the Marriott Bonvoy has five free night certificates.. I am paying my regular bills- house insurance, utilities, property taxes, income taxes, gasoline , cell phone, groceries to qualify for the spend requirements. I will then do the Holiday Inn one. I was turned on to the travel hacking possibility from the blog Go Curry Cracker. He also has awesome ideas on zero taxes. These bloggers have awesome retirement information- Fritz at The Retirement Manifesto, Mike Piper of Oblivious Investor and Chris and Darrow at Can I Retire Yet..
    So far this July Challenge, I have spent $58.60 for gas and $40 for lawn service. And $44 for a 180 day supply of a vitamin supplement recommendation. I am watching one of my Grand-dogs and my DS sent me home with all their produce from their weekly CSA and eggs, so no need to go food shopping so far. Lara


  3. Hi Sharon, this is Chris. It looks like you are doing well so far with your challenge. I stayed in my grocery budget last week and we have been eating from home. I was invited to a bridal shower this month, and did buy a gift for that, but otherwise did not participate in Amazon Prime Day. I consider that a win.


    1. Absolutely a win! I actually broke down and bought some travel books on Amazon – and K95 masks for Italy when I’m in Rome — not sure if I need them, but that was recommended. (Can’t wait for all that to end!).


  4. You don’t buy clothes before you go to Italy. You buy clothes while you are in Italy! Especially if it is Rome or Milan (my personal choice is Milan). Look at what the other gorgeous women are wearing and then go buy it for yourself! Scarves are very big in Europe. It enhances whatever you are wearing. And if you are in Florence, please, please buy gold jewelry!!!
    Tell your husband congrats on the raise.
    And congrats on going to Italy!!!


    1. I will definitely be shopping in Italy! We don’t go to Milan, but Rome, Sicily, Naples, Florence and Portofino — I’m sure I’ll be able to find something! πŸ™‚


          1. Ahhhh, Barcelona! I had an opportunity to go but at the last minute the host changed her mind. Oh well. Barcelona was on my bucket list. Have so much fun and please post pics along the way. I am so jealous BUT so happy for you and hubby!!!!!


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