As Chip and I spent much of the past week staying with friends in Auckland, it’s been a rather odd week in terms of finances and saving money.
We saved money by staying for free with our friends, and enjoyed several meals and outings thanks to these great hosts. Chip and I enjoyed an amazing catered birthday party (complete with toys and bouncy castle for the tots), and a trip to the local aquarium. We ate at home as much as possible (I made myself useful by cooking as much as I was allowed to, and left my heavily pregnant friend with some freezer meals), and I took Chip on a couple of outings to the local playground. When travelling I took my own food when possible, and stuck to free activities such as playgrounds.
So there was plenty of free and frugal stuff in there. I’m loving having Chip all to myself while his Dad and sister are in the Netherlands, and my baby has learned to walk in the short time they’ve been away.
On the more expensive side, I did spend money on a night’s accommodation on the way up to Auckland, petrol, a few meals on the road, and a trip to Auckland zoo which is not cheap. My friend’s daughter and Chip had a ball at the zoo though, and Chip got to see so many animals in the flesh for the first time. Another surprising expense was having to buy snacks. I don’t normally need snacks during the day, but as I was staying with friends I ate what they ate at most meals. After two days of eating bread, I was starving! I ran out and bought jerky and cheese sticks which filled the gap nicely.
Normally I would go mad at the zoo gift shop getting cool stuff for the kids, but I restrained myself and bought a $3 poster for Chip’s room.
If I were to do our trip over again, I would have taken more picnic food for the trip. We ate at McDonald’s a couple of times just so we could use their indoor playground (it was raining), but honestly, Chip and I would both prefer a free local playground and some egg sandwiches over Maccas any day.
Chip was an absolute champ. He travelled well – slept most of the way! He charmed everyone with his antics, slept like a dream and was generally a world-class traveller who took it all in his stride. Thanks buddy.