Saving money is not that easy, specially when your taste goes to expensive things. Said that: How to save money to travel?
We’ve never been rich. Actually I came from a simple family and my mom always had to work hard to raise me. My first job was as a trainee in a jewelry shop, I was 14 years old and I’ve never stopped working since that. Rob’s parents also worked hard to give him and his brother access to good schools. Trainee on the school library was Rob’s first job. When he was 19th he started to work with shipping and, with years and lots of determination, we achieved a nice lifestyle.
Since 2009 I was working 13 hours a day, from Monday to Saturday. Not an easy schedule but I was able to get my car, build a house with Rob and spend in some guilty pleasure like dinners out, wine and some parties. But as soon as we decided to travel we had to cut all the expenses and started the project: How to save money to travel!
First of all I started taking notes of everything that I bought or paid. We checked all our bills and money we spend on food, house and leisure.
– House and Bills: electricity, water supply, gas and food.
– Car: insurance, maintenance and fuel.
– Leisure: dinners out, parties and small trips around our place.
We became more conscious about using electricity and water, and after a month we could see the decrease in our bill. On our groceries we stopped buying superfluous things and kept an eye on the promotions and seasons deals. If you look carefully at your shop list you can save money just making wise choices. Also cooking at home is MUCH cheaper than having lunch and dinner out.
The difficult part was to cut down on leisure: we love going out, have some drinks and dance. So the strategy was: we are allowed to go out once a month and on a budget (free entrance and low-cost drinks). And we had so much fun… We were waiting anxiously for our monthly night out and we enjoyed like it was the last one.
We also discovered that cooking dinner at home and inviting friends over is another cheap and fun way to enjoy weekends. We shared the costs of dinner and booze, had a great laugh and some dancing in the middle of the living room. Our friends that are reading this post know what I’m talking about!!!!
By the end of six months, we saw our saving account grow and it gave us a boost to keep the belt tightened. Also, we checked all the taxes we pay for the banks. We choose the bank and credit card that offered the best deal for us and cut all the services we didn’t need and used to pay for.
Since September 2013 we stopped shopping. We allowed ourselves to buy just books that could help in our Love&Road project. Even on Christmas we didn’t spend much money. Santa brought to Rob a nice second-hand book, The Bold Man of the Sea, and I got three helpful books: How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, Vagabonding, Delaying the Real World. Rob always spoils me :-))
On Easter, no gifts at all. You might think this is sad, cutting down on presents, parties… But the truth is that I didn’t mind it at all! I was so focus and thrilled about our trip that parties and clothes stayed in a second plan. And I think for Rob was the same, some nights we’d rather stay in organizing our dream while sipping a nice wine than go clubbing. And we are talking about two people who love clubbing… Well, sometimes things can change for a while.
Talking about things, we discovered another way to earn money. Our house and shelves were packed with nice and pretty new clothes, dishes, equipment. Lots of items that we would not need anymore and could easily be sold. March was the beginning of sale season: we started our Online Garage Sale and opened the house for some buyers! It was a profitable and fun story! In the next post will be talking about it.
Suddenly April arrived and was time to leave our house and rent it. We also sold the car and moved to Rob’s parents house. The last 24 days in Brazil we lived with Rob’s mom and dad, we saved money and spent precious time with family. Nice way to prepared ourselves to say “Good Bye”.