In Discussions, Discussions, Money, Travel

Why do we spend so recklessly on vacations?

And by “we” I mean, “I” of course, because there are plenty of people who go on vacation and come back with nothing but relaxed smiles on their faces.

But as not-the-most-frugal-person-in-the-world, I find it odd that I can chastise myself in posts about how I shouldn’t really be impulse spending so much, yet when I go on a vacation, it’s no holds barred!!


(A photo I took of a gorgeous department store in Paris, France)

It’s as though I have a compulsive NEED to purchase something on vacation.

Taking pictures is the #1 activity of course (I came out with 19,000 photographs from a trip once), but I also seem to require a souvenir of some sort, and if I don’t find anything (GASP!), I clutch on to anything to remind me of the place.

Why do I do this?

I can remember everything about my trips, especially the strongest memories which seem to last a lot longer than what I bought.

Why am I trying to be so careful about my money in my normal life, but then I go hog wild when I’m on vacation?

It’s like the valve is released when I am not on my home continent, and money pours out of my wallet.

I’ll have to remind myself of that each time I go to try and buy something on vacation: Would you buy that if you were at home?

Something to think about, for sure.

Do you do something similar?


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. MelD

    Boxes of matches in a big bowl in my kitchen show a lot of places we’ve been to and are a useful souvenir – though eventually I didn’t know what to do with the empty boxes so got rid of them. Postcards, as mentioned, I also like.
    Nowadays (now I’m reformed LOL), I like to replace something wearing out or buy something I need and then I always have the memory that it came from Paris, England, Munich, Vienna or wherever. This summer, I brought cherry red ballerinas back from Brittany, not typical (foods are better for that: honey, salted caramel…) but whenever I wear these until they wear out, I will remember my holiday :).

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Clothes as souvenirs. I like.

      I also think collecting a pretty bill note from each country is nice.

  2. Mochi & Macarons

    It is also the idea of ‘getting away’ and letting your shopping inhibitions go.

  3. Jaime

    I don’t buy souvenirs anymore. A lot of the prices are hiked up and they just end up sitting on a shelf. I got rid of my souvenirs because they were basically dust collectors. Anyway like you I like taking photos and spending money on food. I’m a foodie. 🙂

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I need to keep this post in mind when I travel again.

  4. Bridget

    bahahaha. I have a totally different spending personality on vacation = I get so carried away. I think it’s just being in a new place and having nothing else to do all day but wander & shop

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      That is it!!!! Wandering with nothing to do although BF keeps us super busy with a lot of attractions. I am worn out at the end but I STILL feel the need to shop.

  5. Cosmogirl2100

    I used to do the same, until I found my solution: Postcards! They are usually very cheap, and I now have a collage of most of the places I have visited on my wall (pleasant way to start the day!) Plus I get the satisfaction of having “shopped”.

     However, I have a feeling that all this will go out the window when I visit Paris in September..

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Paris is another world.

      I spend very recklessly on food but then my shopping is insane there.

      The BAGS!!!! The WALLETS!!!! Best country for leather.

  6. B. (Below Her Means)

    Being out of your element! I do the same thing. I figuratively run naked and wildly, arms flapping in reckless abandon. Sorry for that visual.

    1. Mochi & Macarons


      I think it is the sheer excitement and novelty of vacations that make us go crazy

  7. eemusings

    Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

    I’m going to be planning some big trips and fear how that’s going to turn out. I may ask you at some point for advice about travelling Europe.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Email me any time 🙂 I’ll give you as much info as I can.

  8. Fabulouslyfrugirl

    I totally understand what you’re saying. 

    I never really budgeted much for my trips (gasp!), until last year!  I always had a rough idea of what I’d need for accommodations, food, etc., but I never made a budget and tracked my expenses (aside from big expenses like flights and hotel – since they were on my credit statement) that same I did in “real life”.

    But now that I started to budget my trips, sometimes, it makes me feel a bit depressed about how much money I am bleeding.  I know it’s not very vacation-like, but seeing the numbers makes me kinda wish that I didn’t need to spend so much…  For instance, if I spend $15 on a mediocre meal because I need to eat, I think about how many meals I can make with $15 at home.  But, if the $15 was spent on a delicious meal of local cuisine that I can’t find in Toronto, I don’t feel any remorse, at all.  Not sure if that makes sense, but I really noticed it in my Italy trip.  


    1. Mochi & Macarons

      You want the max out of your money. That makes sense to me. My problem has always been shopping. I don’t know why I never thought about it.


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