Day 307: Bling Bling Part 1

by Claire.

In about 18 days, we go back to Kenya. The fact that it looks like Lance Williams might not have to go to jail has jumpstarted this decision, and our excitement is mounting. In realizing that we are soon to go back on the road again - after a 2.5 month hiatus in the USA - we decided to deal with some money issues that have been hanging over our heads.

One of the major questions we get about our trip is money. Aside from wanting to know how we pay for our lives without trust funds, (you can read how at length in this infamous post), the next biggest question is how much stuff costs. And who pays. And if we know what we spent.

We ferociously maintain that more people can travel the world than you think. We know this, because we have a record of every single thing bought on every single day of our trip. In our past eight month stint, including everything (planes, trains, automobiles, housing, food, gifts, health insurance, video equipment, computer insurance, bridesmaid dresses, etc), we spent nearly exactly what we would have spent living in apartments in San Francisco. The major reason here is that rent and airplane tickets end up balancing out, and everything else is pretty much the same.

Lara and I are extremely frugal when traveling, and write down everything (EVERYTHING) that we spend, no matter if it was worth one half of one US cent. The majority of what we spend is joint, with the added discrepancies of Claire’s chicken dish versus Lara’s coffee in the mornings always being carefully tabulated and accounted for. For all the reasons above, the most important thing we carry is our Money Books. They are both Moleskine, and identical, if you are wondering.

Given all the well planned and meticulous things I have said above, you would think that we keep really on top of things. Alas, we do not. That is why, on February 17 of 2007, we are still having fights about fifty cent discrepancies from months as long ago as July. Ah, the life of an anal retentive. What it must be like.

Why is this so? Well, towards the end of the trip (and by “end” I mean month 4 of 8 months), we started to put off the calculating. We would write down the daily stuff, and check it and cross check it several times, but we would never pick up calculators and deal with evening anything out. Ever. Even though we were regularly having Lara steal our (Claire's) credit card to purchase 700 dollar plane tickets in Russia or, to Citibank's dismay, signing our (Claire's) name on credit card receipts in every country on the globe.

What’s interesting, is that fifty cent discrepancies add up, and now we are embroiled in an entirely predictable mess. Specifically, individually we have been doing extensive work on our “Bling Bling” Microsoft word documents that hold the secrets about what we’ve spent on the most recent Round the World. And, after much deliberation and a full 7 months of crunching the numbers, here are the results:

Claire has determined that Lara owes Claire 611.986 USD.

While Lara says that actually Lara owes Claire more like 186.9 USD.


*To defend ourselves, we think at first glance that about 250 dollars of this is easily dealt with as it appears that Claire forgot one of the countries we went to and thus erased those numbers. But then we are still dealing with like a two hundred dollar difference.


Another twentysomething said...

Aww I hope this doesnt mean you're fighting in the blog room? Then we're like your confused children who want you to stop the yelling and find a way to make the whole thing our faults anyway.

Alexa said...

Thats it exactly, another twentysomething, Claire and Lara are like peanut butter and jelly...they can't fight!
*collective blogworld shakes head dejectedly*

claireandlara said...

No worries, all...what this translates to is not a fight, but both of us shaking our heads knowing we each made obvious and stupid arithmetic errors along the way. And it is not going to be fought out...we are just going to keep putting off the final tally.

diana said...

Use's converter - it's got this function where you can insert a date-of-exchange (e.g. the first or last day of your stint in X country) and a drop-down menu for choosing which rate to use (I would use "Interbank Rate + 3%" since it averages out credit card/ cash expenditure and seems like a more or less fair medium).

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