Reigning in the day to day budget for the sake of travel

Reigning in the day to day budget for the sake of travel

Bootsnall prompt/challengeFind one major expense to cut from your daily life. How much can you save for travel by cutting it? How many other expenses (large or small) could you reduce in order to put that money toward travel?

This is really hard.

I don’t make a lot of money. I don’t do a lot of extraneous spending. I feel really constrained by “have to pay” stuff like rent, student loans, and medical bills. I don’t have a smart phone. I’m not shelling out cash for a hefty cable package. I do have the Internet at home, but I have to have it for my job. I do buy a fair bit of coffee out, but since I work from home some days my latte is my ticket to human interaction and a change of scenery. So I’m not sure I can cut a major expense entirely.

But I can do a couple of little things.

Netflix: I won’t cut it entirely because it’s how I keep from wanting that cable package and going out to the movies on weekends so it saves me a lot of money. However, I think it’s time to cut out my monthly DVD. There’s still plenty of stuff that’s only on DVD that I want to see, but I have a decent DVD collection that I want to pare down and just found a place that I could trade DVDs so I could trade old stuff for stuff I might otherwise  order from Netflix.  I would save $7.99 every month if I just did streaming and set up an automatic transfer to put that 7.99 directly in my savings (because I already spend it!) At the end of the year that’s $95.88 – a few nights in a hostel or a really nice meal out for two with dessert and wine or a train ticket or a whole lot of baguettes.

 

Coffee shop habit: I also won’t cut this out entirely because some days I just can’t work from home. That’s just how it is – some days I need noise and other people. However, I can cut this down. The winter cold and my cat have helped me to cut down on the number of days I go to the coffee shop already. Post grad school and pre Aayla kitten I was going out for coffee six days a week. Now I go about 2-3. I can really cut this down to almost nothing now for a few reasons. I just committed to going to an office 2 days a week for volunteer work. That leaves me only 3 days of working at home without anyone being home and it’ll be really tempting to take some time out, especially with the weather improving.

I’m going to combat this with a piggy bank and going for walks. Instead of walking to a cafe and back, I’ll walk just to walk – every single day. And every day that I resist going to a cafe and stay home, I’ll put that cash in a jar for travel (or transfer that amount into my savings if I don’t have cash). I probably spend $7-15 per week at coffee shops – more on the odd week I treat myself to lunch because I’m hungry and in a good groove of work, probably about once a month. So I probably spend $75 a month on coffee, baked goods, and space to work. If I cut it in half I’d save $37.50 per month and $450 by the end of the year. That’s a weekend getaway trip!!

Well, Bootsnall…thank you, again, for this challenge. I just found over $500 to save for travel this year. And discovered I spend a lot more money on coffee than I thought.

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