Today was the last day I really had the opportunity to make a longer trip while house sitting here in Arizona since it’s quickly coming to an end. I may be able to get in another short trip, but I need to begin getting ready for their return on the 7th. I wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity as part of the minimum wage challenge, so it was another early morning.
Being as close as I am, it would seem to be be a major failure on my part if I didn’t take at least one trip to the Grand Canyon. Luckily for me, the weather has been nice in that area for most of the week and they recently reopened the road so it was possible to drive the loop (it had been closed due to snow and ice for a couple of weeks). There was still plenty of snow on the ground and a chill in the air, but the trip was well worth it.
People often ask me why I go to national parks multiple times (I have been to the Grand Canyon a number of times) and it’s because these parks really are different depending on the time of the year that you visit them. The Grand Canyon is a lot different in the heat of summer than it is when there is snow on the ground. In addition, many of these parks are so big that it’s impossible to see all of them in a single trip, let alone in several. Many have miles of hiking trails in all different parts and with a much different feel, so each time going back seems like a completely different experience. I always come a way with a lot of new information and photos for my national parks blog as well.
It was another good day with me spending very little. I purchased postcards for the girls again which was $1.00 and when doing so, I was asked if I would like to add $1.00 donation to the Grand Canyon park association’s education program. Usually I will decline to give when asked this question at the grocery store or other retail outlet. It’s not that I don’t believe in the causes, I just like to know where my money is going and there is no real way to tell when donating at the grocery store. Plus I know that I can usually get a lot more in food for a food bank than most organizations can, so I prefer to give that way.
This time, however, I decided to give the $1.00. I felt comfortable doing so because I was in a Grand Canyon park association’s store where all proceeds went directly to the association, and I feel that I get such a great deal out of my national park pass that it’s important to give back in other ways as well. Now, $1.00 may not seem to be a lot, but it’s a lot more valuable when living on a minimum wage challenge, and it’s a discretionary expense. It would have been easy to say “no thank you” and moved one, but like with the postcards which I feel are important to send to my nieces and my best friend’s little girl, I am willing to give up something else if necessary to help out even in a little way. I’m finding that being on a minimum wage budget is making me think a little harder about spending decisions, but I also don’t want it to make me feel I’m so restricted that I become selfish and don’t consider each request on it’s own merits. I have a feeling that this might become a challenge if money gets tighter as the challenge goes on.
I did need to fill up the gas tank on this trip ($26.00), but since this was a trip to a national park once again, this gas becomes a business expense and not a personal expense. I managed to get by fine with the food that I packed for free and I didn’t need to purchase anything along the way in that department. That left my spending for the day trip to the Grand Canyon at $2.00, all discretionary, but spending which I felt was worth it.
And just to end the day on a nice note, I saw this beautiful sunset on the way home (and the photo really doesn’t do the color of the sky justice)
Next article: Day Six: I Don’t Buy Gifts for Special Occasions