The Budget.

After disappointing news from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I have begun efforts to reach an agreement with another charity in the area of cancer research, and am hoping to have something finalized as soon as possible.  My efforts to reach some sort of agreement regarding youth golf are not going well as calls and emails remain unreturned.  I will maintain efforts to get both of the charities I’m working with now to become involved, but if I am unable, I will raise money solely for the ADAA while on the trip, and will be glad to do so.  At some point, I need to stop working on getting further charities involved, and embark.

Accordingly, I have etched my leaving date in stone.  I will be leaving Sunday, July 14.  This will have the trip ending at the end of August, still fully within the throes of summer, and will give me 18 days to hopefully iron out relationships with one or two more charities, and to work on getting more media coverage for the trip.

July 14 it is!

On to the budget!  I have set it at $8,000.00.  Most people I’ve discussed this with feel it to be a low estimate for the cost.  Allow me then, to elaborate on how I got to this number, and hopefully you will be able to sleep peacefully knowing that that number is a sound one.  There are four main categories which will comprise the majority of my spending: accommodations, food, fuel, and golf.  Of course, there will be miscellaneous expenses associated with travel, and I have addressed those as well.

Accommodations:  $60 / night ($2940).  There are Days Inns and Motel 6’s all throughout this country, and even if it was necessitated that I stay in a hotel during every night of the trip, I believe that this number would be easily attainable.  However, I have places to stay in Athens (GA), Las Vegas, San Diego, Madison, Chicago and Elkhart (IN), at this time, and anticipate that at least a few other offers or opportunities will present themselves as the trip progresses.  That’s six nights at no cost.  Coupled with my anticipated six or seven days sleeping in my Jetta in campgrounds, I’m realistically looking at about 35 nights in hotels, which gives me $84/night for when I am staying in hotels.  This is without doubt easily, easily attainable.  I’m expecting to come in under budget for accommodations.

Food: $20 / day ($980).  This has been the part of the budget which has come under fire for being unrealistic with any sort of frequency.  Frankly, I think it is a high estimate, but I could be wrong.  The only time I was given a per diem, I had $25 / day, and I had to find ways to use all $25.  Most hotels will have at least a rudimentary continental breakfast station, and most of my breakfasts will be at no cost beyond the cost of accommodations which I’ve already budgeted for.  The plan is to take a cooler with ice in it along for the trip, and to make stops at grocery stores along the way to stock up on fruits, veggies and yogurt for snacks, and bread, lunch meats and PB / Jelly for meals.  Of course, I am anticipating that my consumption of Gatorade and water will be massive during the trip, and have figured this into the budget as well.  Nothing I’m going to be buying is expensive, and I should easily be able to eat for well under my $20 / pay going this route.  The reason it is as high as $20 is that I will certainly want to eat at some restaurants on the trip; bring on the greasy spoon diners and grimy BBQ joints!

Golf: $40 / round ($1960).  This one was pretty easy to figure out.  When I began picking out potential courses, I kept track of the rates on the day of the week I would be playing there, and added up the lowest number for each state and the highest number for each state.  For the tiny minority of courses which did not list rates online, I used my best judgement given the prices of other nearby courses and the relative prestige of the course (as best I could through the web) to guesstimate the price.  I ended up with a range of $35 / day on the low end to $43 / day on the high end.  I have no concerns at coming in under budget for golf.  All of these rates were for riding as well.  While I don’t like to do it, I am easily capable of walking 18 holes.  I’ll want to conserve energy, and play quickly, and so don’t anticipate walking with any frequency, but imagine that I will walk about 5 rounds during the trip.  That should save anywhere from $50-$100 depending on the courses where I walk.

Fuel ($1250).  Another one that was pretty easy to calculate.  The trip figures to take about 10,000 miles to complete.  I added another 1,000 on for deviations.  Hoping not to get off path by the full 10%, but it’s not unwise to budget for some extra driving.  My Jetta TDI is a highway workhorse, and has regularly achieved 45+ mpg at 60 mph, and 42+ mpg at 70 mph.  Again playing it conservatively, I gave myself an average rate of fuel consumption of 40 mpg.  I highly overestimated what a gallon of diesel will cost, and figured $4.50 / gallon.  Do the dividing and multiplying, and you get just under $1250.

To review:

Accommodations: $2940

Food:                    $980

Golf:                      $1960

Fuel:                     $1250

Add these numbers up and you get $7,130.00.  It would be extremely naive to fail to budget for miscellaneous costs, and that is what the remaining $870 is budgeted for.  I am currently on my folks EZ Pass account, and it’s my hope that they will pick up the cost of the tolls I accrue while using EZ Pass, but if they do not, that will likely be at least a few hundred.  Golf balls and a golf glove will be another one – two hundred.  These are just a few of the expected miscellaneous costs.  I think approximately $1000 for miscellany is fair.

So there it is, that’s how I’m doing this all for $8,000.00.  If you think I’ve left anything out or am way off base regarding anything, let me know!

As always, please consider a donation.  At the least, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America will be benefiting.  If you don’t know someone who has struggled with or is struggling seriously with one of these conditions, you don’t get out enough.  The problem is pervasive, particularly among youth.

Tell everyone you know, and check back often for updates.  I’m going to do my best to keep these entries just a little bit shorter as time goes on.

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