Hidden Cost of Returning Home

hidden cost

I had the opportunity to work in Shanghai for 6 months (3 in 2015 and 3 in 2016). The 2015 Christmas and 2016 New Years holidays landed smack-dab in the middle of that allowing me the ability to return home for the holidays! However, I had no idea what the cost of returning home would really be. (Spoiler Alert! It was more than I’m happy admitting)

At the time of writing this, I haven’t had the opportunity (or really the self-discipline) to go back and write about my time in China. I was certainly a great experience that I will not forget. For six months, I worked on a major theme park in Shanghai. I prefer to keep the customer confidential, the ears are always listening. In taking on this relocation work, I received an additional $20/hr and also $146/day in per diem (dictated by our generous government!). Holy crap, right?!? That’s what I thought too. The sad part is, I didn’t realize how much this truly was until I started reaping the benefits. If you’ve been checking out my net worth posts, that’s what has really boosted my savings recently!

Now, I know what you’re all here for. Hell, it’s what I’m here for too. The numbers

On to the cost of returning home: $731.65

Say what?!? Nearly $750 for a single week home? I’m not proud to admit it but yes. In my sad defense, it was Christmas time and $256 of that were gifts. As a self-proclaimed minimalist, I didn’t buy many souvenir gifts in China. Why spend all that time/money stressing over the crap you want you buy your brother’s girlfriend’s dog?. But I had to return with something! With only a few days before Christmas, I settled for lame gift cards.

The second most expensive category was groceries. I spent $155 that week alone. I admit without shame that most of this was on peanut butter and avocados. Don’t judge! After 3 months away, let’s see what you crave!

I also ruined two (newish) pairs of jeans in the three months in China. So I bought two more pair and a pair of shoes for $149. I’m hate clothes shopping, so I’m not good at finding deals. I knew I needed them so I bought the first pair I saw.

The full breakdown:

  • Gifts: $255.92
  • Groceries: $155.21
  • Clothing: $148.45
  • Restaurants: $123.64
  • Haircut: $19
  • Gas: $18.44
  • Entertainment: $10.99

Most people think that they save money buy leaving home for a while. Certainly this can be true, but learn from my mistakes! Have some self control when you get back home! Don’t get carried away in the grocery store or replacing lost clothes!

What about you guys? Have you ever returned home and found yourself spending much more than you thought? Maybe you spent less? Let me know below!

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