We are about 24 hours away from Sassy's departure for OOH La La. She is all packed, and I need to drop her suitcase and backpack off at school this evening. I have to have confidence that she will be ok. Please keep her in your thoughts....I am suddenly scared out of my mind that I am letting her do this!!
Some people are going to think we are nuts for spending this money NOW. We knew we had a salary cut coming. We knew we had a move coming. But we can't always plan for everything. And I can honestly say that we were able to pay for all of this trip in cash.....and we are so happy we are sending her this weekend (even if I am scared!).
The cost? We didn't think it was bad all things considered. I am giving you the US Dollar amounts, and since the trip hasn't happened yet...some of the money we have exchanged may come home with her.
Basic trip - $500
Included travel, lodging, and breakfast and dinner. Lunch is separate (see below). All activities are also included. This fee was paid for in 4 installments, September-December.
The actual fee for the trip was $575. However, the teacher did several fundraisers (a few too many in my opinion...how many times can you go back to family and friends in a 4 month period of time and ask them to buy stuff???) to help offset the cost. All of the fundraisers were optional, and were just a way to help the families with the cost (usually the kids got between 40-50% of the profit, and each child got what THEY earned). We participated in one...and were able to deduct $75 from the trip.
We did include this trip as "part" of her Christmas gift, so a few dollars were pulled from her budgeted amount. We also pulled some from the Kid Activity account, and G-man and I each had a 3-paycheck month this fall. Between everything, we were able to cover the cost.
Travel Insurance - $70
Our fundraising basically covered the cost of our insurance. This was optional insurance that allowed us a full refund if we moved before the trip. It also provided additional medical benefits, just in case she was injured while away. Our personal health insurance would have covered her, but it was a package deal. They did offer additional medical insurance as a separate option for those who didn't want the travel insurance.
Food/Lunch - $50-60
It was suggested that you send $50-$60 for lunches. Per the teacher, this is a high estimate; it is designed to insure that the kids have more than enough money so they don't have to worry...because kids worry. One lunch will be on the US side, and 3 lunches are on the Canadian side. Plus, they are going to be out touring and at a mall one day....so they may want to buy snacks.
This money came from our slushy savings account (not EF).
Spending Money - $100
We wanted her to be able to get something special to remember her trip...a sweatshirt or something like that. Plus a few small things...a keychain, a cup, etc. We are guessing she is going to come home with some money....but if she doesn't, we are ok with it. We did talk to her that she isn't to buy $100 worth of candy though....but "special" Canadian candy is ok.....M&M's are not ok.
I got a Google ad-sense check in December...for $100.16. Nice timing, huh? I have only gotten 2 (maybe 3?) checks from this in the 5+ years I have blogged....yeah, this isn't exactly a source of income. But the check was just enough to give Sassy her spending money.
Gear - $60
She needed snowpants and boots. We scored snow bibs for $8 at Goodwill...but no luck on the boots. Those were $24. Not the highest quality...but she is only going to use them for this trip....and really won't need them in the south. So for a weekend worth of use...I am ok with it.
Hat and Gloves were brought by Santa, and she also received a fleece jacket as a Christmas gift. Oh, and Handwarmers were in her stocking. :)
Documentation - $20
This was a self-imposed cost. Because the trip was through an educational tour company, they did not require a passport. If you already had one, then terrific! If not, they needed a picture ID (they used their school ID) and an official, raised seal birth certificate (no photocopies). We have her birth certificate, but we didn't feel comfortable giving them our only copy (even if we were going to get it back). So we went and got a second one. Since we were there, and we are leaving...we got one for Bossy too (but that is a separate thing...not included in the total).
Miscellaneous STUFF - $115
This is the category that I think every Mom would fall prey to. Making sure your kid has everything they could possibly need!!! We bought extra socks, thermal leggings, toewarmers, toiletries. Extra gloves (incase she loses one or they are too wet), scarves, and more socks...and another fleece that I found marked down from $75 to $10! I got her a hard case for her camera (which we already had), and a mini-backpack. We started buying stuff in October, so this was spaced out. I did buy her some snacks for the road this week though. :)
Miscellaneous Fees - $25
I am including this category even though not all of it has been spent yet. I exchanged her currency at AAA (before we were a member). Because it was under $200 of currency, there was a $10 fee, and a 1.5% non-member charge. After the trip, there is a $10 fee to exchange any left over paper currency (no coins) back to US dollars.
Communication - $5
New charger for her tablet...so she can e-mail us. We have gone over all of this with her, and she will ask her chaperone for help if she needs it. We really wanted to send her with a phone....but that is a whole other post. This is the best we could do. We know in an emergency, her teacher will call us. And if for some reason she called in general from someone else's phone....we will just pay the cost. People have been sending kids on trips for long before cell phones, and it was fine. She is only going to be gone for 4 days.
So....add it up and you get......$955. EEEEK. I am guessing it will be closer to $900 after we re-exchange her cash.
A fabulous opportunity for our daughter....priceless.