In this article I’ll be sharing tips on saving money. In a matter of 6 months the boyfriend and I managed to save about €25.000 for our trip to South-East Asia. But I’ll be sharing my part of the share which roughly rounds up to €11.000.
Set a goal
We’ve made it our mission to save as much money as possible to go on a year long trip to South-East Asia. This goal started mid-July 2015 with nothing on the bank and the intention to save AT LEAST €20.000 by the end of December. We’d figured that this was a realistic amount to roughly survive a year in South-East Asia with.
It’s very important to clarify a realistic goal and deadline to accomplish this mission. If not, you’ll be wandering off too easily, procrastinating your future plans and eventually see it disappear in probably a to do list for the next year.
One way to make sure you won’t delay your deadline is to already buy a ticket out of the country. Spending €600 on a ticket will force you to conquer that deadline, as you don’t want it to be a waste of your money.
Now when you’ve clarified this goal, make sure to stick to it. It will be easier if you share your goals with friends and family, so that they will understand if you can’t join a luxurious dinner etc.
It will make your life easier if you DON’T have to constantly turn invitations down.
So now that you’ve got your goal and deadline fixed, make sure to work for it. Meaning to say that you have to do EVERYTHING in YOUR power to save as much as you can.
Work, Work, Work
Money doesn’t grow on trees, we all know that by now. And to make money you got to work for it, AS HARD A YOU CAN. I made 60 hours a week trying to earn as much as I could, until I found a job (during the last 4 months of the process) that would pay the same for 40 hours. It gave me a little breather as I mentally started to fry up.
I ended up earning €1500 a month (net income), with roughly €250 on monthly expenses – which left me with €1250 a month clean.
My monthly expenses..
- Cellphone provider €45
- Insurance €35 (with healthcare benefit)
- Car €50 (insurance, taxes) ((the boyfriend paid for the gas))
- Contact lenses €17,50
- Groceries €100 (my share)Total: €250 x 6 months = €1500,-
So with just work alone (€9000,-) minus the monthly expenses (€1500,-) I saved a total of €7500 in 6 months. Now this probably isn’t fair, as some of you have WAAAY bigger expenses a month.
That is why I said in the beginning to create a goal that is realistic. With my income and expenses €10.000 was a realistic goal, as I lived with my mom who was one of the biggest help in cutting expenses. She took the entire rent and most of the food payments on her shoulder. Leaving me to save a lot more than expected. Thank you mom!
Cut back in Luxuries
It’s the small things in your life that can make a huge impact in your saving rituals. I had to quit subscriptions & memberships, dinner dates and biggest expense SHOPPING. That alone saved me €1000 in 6 months.
“Money looks better on the bank than on your feet.”
– Sophia Amoruso
Now some things you are just stuck with, like a house, your cellphone provider or taxes etc. we all have payments to do. But payments that “aren’t a necessity” can easily be cut out. You’ll see major improvements in your savings account when you do so.
It’s all about priorities over necessities, needs against wants. I learned to stop spending and not feeling guilty about it, by always asking the question; Do I really need this, or is it just something I want?
I always imagined what I could do with the money abroad. Eventually it became so easy, because I translated every penny into experiences during a travel. A €30 pair of jeans would be similar to a day of rafting in the jungle or 3 days worth of food.
“Stop buying things you don’t need, to impress people you don’t even like.” – Suze Orman
Now you may think; My life will be “boring”, but trust me you’ll find (free) ways to keep yourself entertained.
Don’t be so materialistic! Sell it all!
When you are as desperate as I was to reach a goal, you’ll be able to cut off “things that matter”. I tried to sell everything I owned.. “If I can’t bring it with me, I’d rather make money from it” was my initial thought.
I sold my..
- DLSR nikon D3100 €200
- Apple TV 3 €50
- Swarofski earrings €25
- Ipad €100
- Samsung galaxy tablet €100
- a lot of Sneakers €225
- Car (Kia Picanto) €2300
I sold a total of € 3000,-
Now being away for 7 months, I realise you only need so little in life. It was
almost liberating selling all those items.
Creativity is key
During this hellish period, you got to be creative. WITH EVERYTHING. Creative grocery shopping, creative dates, creative ways of earning, creative with all factors in your life that contains money and your sanity!
Creative (grocery) shopping
It’s all about the discounts. Lay off the expensive things!! You can cook equally delicious meals with less expensive products, but you have to put effort in being creative with it.
Buying in bulk is known to be cheaper, only thing is that you have to cook in bulk too. But in times of dispair you gotta do what you gotta do. Cook that bulk food like your an Italian grandma and freeze it so you’ll have enough batches for the coming weeks. 😉
Dates are expensive, period. Wether it’s with friends, family, your crush etc. you still gotta spend the dough. Remember! You DON’T want to spend the dough.
Also, remember what I said before? Make it clear to EVERYONE you’re gonna be a cheapskate for a certain period of time. So instead of going to the cinema, you can have a movie date at one of your friends home, in which everybody brings something to snack etc.
As I said we are entering times of dispair. You’ll be mentally fried if your not going to do something about it. Find something that keeps you sane and happy.
For me it was going to the gym, but you don’t necessarily have to go to the gym.
Free yoga classes at home trough youtube or running outside are equally great factors of releasing tension and stress during this period. It keeps you sexy too 😉
During the last 4 months I got a new job that paid the same as working 60 hours a week. Which gave me 20 hours of (needed) free time. I decided to do some extra jobs on the side to earn some extra money.
I asked friends and family if I could help them out with anything for a certain amount of money. House sitting, baby sitting and even pet sitting made it possible to earn a whopping €500 on the side.
A list of tips
- Create a separate savings account
After creating a savings plan, this is the next crucial thing you need to do. You will be putting ALL of your income (minus the part you need for expenses) on it, the minute you will receive it. It would even be best if you could automate the transfer, this will make it easier not to touch the funds. Make it fun, give it a name (The Vault), create a mission!
- Track every penny and reassess
Calculate everything that goes out of the bank. Make sure you know where every penny goes to. This will also make it easier for you to understand on which parts of your expenses you can cut back on.
- Do free things
We might not notice it, but a lot of great things in life are free. So make use of it!
– Educate yourself in free online courses like, Udemy, Tedtalks, Khan academy and Codeacademy, or learn a new language. Youtube is a great way to start acquiring skills too.
– Get out and about! Outdoor sports like: tennis, running, cycling, basketbal, soccer etc.
– Volunteer for local charities
– Borrow reading material
- Say goodbye to subscriptions and memberships
Remember needs over wants. Those little luxury problems will add up over time.
- Keep your distance from financially irresponsible people
It just really sucks if you see everybody having fun and you..just..can’t. Especially when they seduce you that having a drink or two won’t be a problem…
- Earn some extra money
If you have some spare time on your hands, don’t hesitate to find some extra work to do. It’s the perfect opportunity to earn some extra cash and occupy your time so you won’t spend it. Fiverr is one of those platforms that makes earning money on the side easy.
At the end of the year, having earned a total of €7500 at the jobs + €3000 on sold items + €500 on extra work = €11.000,- within a 6 month timeframe.
And sometimes.. sometimes you just get lucky. NO I’m not talking about a lottery! But here’s just a personal story:
There’s a yearly foodtruck festival in the Hague where I and my boyfriend love to go, especially cause we made our relationship official (what better way than celebrate it with food huh?).
Anyways, those foodtruck festivals cost shitloads of money, so it was obvious for us we couldn’t really attend without us spending.
BUT there was this giveaway going on in which you can eat at 6 trucks for FREE with drinks and ALL that! So I enrolled, explaining why I should win (and I did had the ultimate excuse).
Long story short. I WON THE DAMN PRICE! It was the best thing ever, because next to the fact it had this emotional attachment on it. Getting free food and I mean GOOD FREE FOOD, is always a score!
Now I hope this article has helped you out a bit. It’s not starting the process that is difficult, it’s keeping it up.
And coming from a slight materialistic background, I can tell you everything is possible, as long as you want it really bad. The reward is eventually worth all the struggle and hard work you’ve put into the past months.
“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” -Bill Cosby