When Michael and I got married our first order of business was getting a dog. Okay and then immediately after that a house. We were living in a 625 square foot apartment (with a doberman) and saving every cent to buy a house. And we did it, in 6 months.
It was hard but not that hard. Honestly, making small changes added up really quickly. We took the same approach when saving for Europe. But let me further explain.
A few years ago we decided to move abroad. We weren't sure where or when but we know we needed lots of funds in order to do it the way we wanted. We will be working, me especially, but Michael is going to have a more lax job so we can travel more often.
Now that we're moving to Germany, we now feel comfortable with the chunk of savings we have to travel more than ever before.
I've always kept a budget, but I don't usually keep it down to the minute details. But since I knew we were going to be moving abroad and would need money to move, travel, and live. The number that we focused on $45,000. This was based on what we felt like we could live on for a few years moving abroad. We determined our “abroad budget” based on what we most spent money on plus having an emergency fund.
But we wanted to really dig deep into our finances to see what we spent money on. So we looked at all the details so we could see what we could cut down on:
This really helped us illuminate what to cut out- like food, and where we could save along the way. Here are some more ideas on what you can cut out. I swear to you, this adds up SO fast.
What to cut out:
- Cut out cable – do you realllllly need it?
- Stop eating out so much! Try to eat at home for lunches.
- Cut down on your cell phone bill – call and ask if you can change your plan and you'll be surprised that you can change it up!
- Don't drink out. Drink prices are so incredible crazy. So drink at home and save your money.
- Getting your nails done
- Turn up the air (or down…). I work from home but we set our thermometer to 80 degrees F during the day. I used to freak out over this – it will be too hot! But honestly, your body DOES get used to it. And you will save tons on utilities.
Each month we auto-draft money to our travel account. This is so helpful because I don't even think about it. It just goes into the account and I can't spend it. We also go serious about making money on things we already had. We are each only taking 2 suitcases each to move to Germany. So, we packed both up and then sold the rest on eBay, Poshmark, and Craigslist. Now, we had a LOT to sell, but still we made over $1,000 selling these items.
Ways to make money:
- Monetize your blog
- Freelance writing
- Sell items on eBay, Craigslist, Poshmark – you can sell almost anything, especially clothes (yes, get rid of that sweater that's been in your closet for over a year), electronics, and more.
- Virtual Assistant 0 you can become a VA and make money in your spare time
- Take surveys online
- Have a garage sale – Here are some tips on that.
Now I will say something that you might not often hear. I did ramp up spending on my blog. I do believe that spending money on some things can help you in the long run. Ever since I started spending money on my blog I was able to make more money in the long run.
Brilliant ways to cut corners and save money:
- Ebates is a great way to get paid back for things you're already buying online. You don't need to do anything crazy, just sign up and start shopping.
- I love credit cards that give you points for travel. I really think you can't go wrong with any card- I use the Capital One Venture Card– but just make sure to select one that has a sign-up bonus. And make sure to use your card like a debit card. Aka… pay it off every month.
- I always try to fly the same airline. In the U.S. I fly Southwest and abroad I fly United. This way I rack up points for each airline. We are flying to move to Germany completely free using points!
- I set up Airfare Watch Dog to help me find cheap flights. You can actually set up alerts to tell you when prices drop on places you want to travel.
- I have been using the eMeals program for YEARS. It's the best program out there to save money on food. You pick a meal plan (they have healthy options like gluten free, paleo, etc) and they give you 7 recipes every 7 days based on your grocery store sales. Awesome.
Now, I realize not everyone can make money and cut costs, but you still might want to travel. So here are a few ideas.
Travel abroad in other ways:
- Teach English
- Become a flight attendant
- Become an au pair (this is a great post from Speaking Denglish)
- Work for an international company
- Become a guide
There is no time like NOW to start saving money. For travel, life, future, whatever. Before you buy something, think, what else could I be doing with this money? I know it can see daunting, but cutting out or making money (or both!) on the side can add up in the end.
If you're willing to make some sacrifices and focus on your dreams you can save a significant amount in a short time.
You might also like to read: The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Trip to Europe
Here's a free budget planner that I use to help control my finances. Click below to get it:
Download a free budget planner! To help you save money where it counts!
This is the exact planner I used to save over $45,000 in less than a year!