My lust to travel the world and write about it isn’t new. I’ve dreamed of returning to Europe for years after getting a taste on week-long family trips in 2000 and 2001. Frankly, it never seemed possible. Between needing to renew my passport, convincing my family it wasn’t a horrible idea, and needing to save a ridiculous amount of money, I was starting to think it would never happen. Heck, it still might not work out how I want it to! But, you’ll never know unless you try.
So, you’ve decided you’re 100% willing to take a chance? What do you have to lose, right? I don’t think everyone should quit their job to travel, but if it’s something you want to do with every fiber of your being, then by all means, try to make it work! The next thing you need to do is start saving that money honey.
I’m a repeat offender of taking impulsive mini-vacations, so over the years I’ve gotten good at saving up money pretty fast. It takes dedication, especially living in New York City, but it’s completely possible if you make the commitment. I have a 3-Step Plan that actually works if you follow it! I’ve known these tricks for a while, but I didn’t have the right motivation to make me stick to the plan. Now I do, and you can too!
1. Cut out all non-essentials
Come on. You knew this was coming. Let me tell you how bad I am, so you can feel confident about this plan. If I can do it, trust me, so can you. I am no longer: coloring my hair or getting silk-wrap nails. No more recreational shopping for clothes, home goods, or makeup. I stopped getting restaurant food delivery every night (Seamless makes it way too convenient <3) and I stopped drinking wine
every on some nights. I started making my coffee at home instead of going to Dunkin or Starbucks. I cancelled my fancy gym membership and opted for free exercises. I started ordering more things on Amazon because I, without fail, spend no less than $50 every time in step into a drugstore or bodega.
I know, it seems like you’d be giving up your whole life. But guess what? If you want to be a travel blogger or just a straight up backpacker or traveler, then you have a lot of blogging or planning to do anyway. And, my plan includes some money for fun still. I’m a reasonable person.
2. Open A Qapital Savings Account
This nifty little app is the main reason for my success with saving for this adventure so far. Wells Fargo has had a program called Way2Save for all of their customers to use for a while, and now they’ve brought it to everyone via app. They called it Qapital. The funds in your Qapital account is FDIC-Insured in a Wells Fargo bank, so this app is legit.
This app allows you link your checking account for easy access and transferring, and allows you to set rules for yourself. For example, I have mine set to round-up to the next dollar. The app will then put the difference in my savings account for every transaction I make. So, if I spend $4.75 at the store, the app deposits $0.25 into my savings account.
That is just one example of many rules you can set up. Lets say you are trying not to spend money at coffee shops anymore. You can set up a rule so that if you buy anything from a coffee shop your “punishment” is $X.XX amount of money being transferred to your savings. It’s full customization of automatic savings that you’ll hardly notice. This app actually helps me save an extra $50 to $70 a month without trying.
3. (your $) – (Your expenditure)/ 2 =savings
It’s just a little math. Harmless, I promise. I ran away for months after I first learned this tip, but it’s simple. Really! I discovered that if you create a reasonable weekly budget by using some simple math skills it seems less daunting that a monthly goal.
First figure out how much money you make per week (Example: You get paid $800 every 2 weeks, so you make $400 per week). Write it down.
Now write your expenditures per month (Example: You spend $800 a month on rent, $100 on utilities, $200 on groceries. All of this adds up to $1100 in expenditures per month).
Next divide the number of monthly expenditures by 4 weeks (Example: $1100 a month / 4 = $275 per week).
We’re almost done, I promise! Next take your weekly pay and subtract your weekly expenditures (Example: $400 – $275 = $125).
The last step is to take your new-found “weekly expendable income” and divide it by 2. In the example it would come to $125 / 2 = $62.50.
What it boils down to in this example: $62.50 should be put straight into the savings account and the other half sits in your checking to use as you please that week. Anything left over on your next pay-day gets transferred to the savings account too.
I’ve discovered that since I’ve started working on this blog I’ve actually been saving all of my expendable income (sudden work-a-holic?), but I like knowing I could go pick up a new Beauty Blender at Sephora or go out for a drink after work without feeling like failure.
This plan is manageable because you’re not taking everything away from yourself. You’re just cutting out a little luxury for a short while, so you can go on the adventure of your dreams. It’s a small sacrifice for a huge and life-changing reward!
Happy saving dolls!