People often say to us “you’re so lucky you get to travel”. Ever hear that before? We laugh at the notion because we aren’t lucky- we sacrificed and worked our butts off to save as much as we could to be able to go on this adventure and live out our dream.
Some of the ways we saved money:
1. Track your expenses
I can’t stress this enough- this helped us figure out where our money was going and where we could start cutting our spending. We use the app Mint to help us categorize our spending. Once you eliminate your necessities (I’m talking real necessities) like rent, utilities, cell phone bill you can start going through everything else and making positive changes.
2. Cook and drink at home
We noticed our main overspending always came from Restaurants and Night’s out so we started eliminating them. We had people over at our place instead of going out to restaurants and bars. We bought groceries and never let them go bad. We’d make large meals so we had leftovers for lunches the next day. Another spot we could save on was Piet’s daily McDonalds coffee. You laugh because it’s only a couple of dollars a day but that starts adding up real quick after a month. Every penny counts!
3. Stop impulse buying
This may have been the hardest thing for us to cut out. We didn’t really realize how much we were spending impulse buying each month until we started tracking it and holding each other accountable. The term ‘treat yo self’ which my brother Justin lives his life by, put things into perspective for us because we knew this trip at the end of the year would be our ‘treat’. I used to really really....really enjoy shopping with my girlfriends and Piet used to spend hundreds a month golfing with his boys. We put a line in our budget each month where we allotted a certain amount of “impulse buying” each. I could spend it getting my nails done and Piet could spend it out on the golf course. Even though it was hard at times it was a key to getting our reward down the road.
4. Sell what you don’t need
Because we were planning on leaving the country for quite a lengthy amount of time we wanted to get rid of anything we didn’t need in the foreseeable future. We started listing furniture and big ticket items and once those were gone we started selling small things. You may laugh at the thought of me selling perfume for $5 but that’s $5 more than I had two minutes ago. I sold everything using the app VarageSale which is so easy- a quick snap of the item and tiny description and it’s posted and hopefully sold. Sometimes it can be a bit painful with people not showing up when they say they will or not responding but I promise you what it adds up to is worth it in the end.
5. Choose what’s economical
Piet and I both have to drive to work, transit isn’t really feasible for where we work and live so we have two vehicles. Piet drives an SUV and it’s fairly expensive on gas, I drive a car that’s cheap on gas and can go forever on one tank. We got to the point that we started switching vehicles because Piet drove double the distance to work just so that we could save the extra gas money.
Of course there are always things that you can’t cut out so you don’t miss special events with your best friends and family. Some of the additional things we did this past year included 5 weddings (we traveled for all of them), 1 week trip to Mexico, 3 week trip to Europe, and most importantly we bought an engagement ring!!!
It really comes down to realizing the difference between your ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. It’s not always the most ideal or the easiest thing to do but we promise you the reward is worth it!