One of the great benefits of my employer is that – at any time – they can come to me and say ‘Well MyCF, you are going to (insert province/place) next week!’. I love this about my current job but as great as this is it makes it extremely difficult to budget for these trips. I don’t mean budgeting for hotels or food, because most of my major expenses are paid for. It not uncommon for employers to provide for everything that is work related. They do not however want to pay for your bar tab nor for tattoos. Yes, I have tried to have both reimbursed in the past. Worth the try right? By far those are my two biggest expenses when I travel for my company. It also seems to be amplified because we travel in teams. This causes for some interesting memories as well as dents in the bank account.
What is great about these reimbursements is that I am not required to provide proof of purchase or purchase price. There are set rates for breakfast, lunch and supper. This allows me to make money rather than break even – sometimes. Breakfast and supper are the two biggest ‘allowances’ I am given at $20, and $50 respectively. I can tell you, I do not eat $20 worth of breakfast and not even close to $50 for a supper. So you can probably see where this is going, I have a bad habit for taking the money I have left over for meals and spend it on – you know it already – at the bar with the guys, or on a tattoo. And for those of you who do not know tattoos are extremely expensive. They can easily be over $100 an hour. I do not like small tattoos. So yet again, you can probably see where this will end up? I end up spending more than I have left over.
As some of you are aware, I am currently on such a trip. However, I planned it differently this time. I did not take the advance my company offered me. Instead I will collect the amount at the end. So now I will effectively be paying for everything out of pocket – minus accommodations which are provided. There is not a tattoo parlor or bar in the area (we are working in a pretty remote area). So I am limited to spending my money at a small dinner, a convenience store, a small grocery store and a video rental store. This SHOULD drastically reduce my spending while I am away. So far I have only spent money on food. Not too shabby.
One advantage I have is that I spend the majority of my day away from the town. So I am not tempted to run to the store to grab a snack. Everything must be pre-purchased if I want it. I leave my accommodations at 7:00am and return at roughly 6:00pm in time for supper. Only downside is I come home very hungry and exhausted so I think I spend a tad more on supper than normal.
Do any of you have opportunities to travel through your employers? Are all, or at least most, of your expenses paid? If it is, do you still have spending problems? I would love to hear from you.